Stephen Woody

Good morning, Montrose.

No Sharpies were used in the production of today’s notes.

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One Community Safer Together……Call it a public nuisance. Or worse, a blight. “Drug houses” pop up around Montrose, typically rentals with out of town owners which become drive-by markets. Changing the character of a neighborhood, a community. There are laws on the books, of course, processes recognized by the courts to compel forfeiture and sale. Yet, if there’s not enough resources to do so, renters, aka dealers, simply churn through the house. They’re rousted by police, hauled off to jail and replaced by others in the same line of work. This proposal before voters, ballot measure 2A, will provide funding for landlords to be held accountable. The election is Nov. 5. Mail ballots go out Oct. 11.

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Aviation Weekend……A Tribute to Aviation will be at the Montrose Regional Airport Sept. 14-15 (9 a.m.-4 p.m.) and will include aircraft from all eras, military and civilian. It’s free, open to the public, there will be aircraft displays and opportunities to meet the pilots. More info: tributetoaviation.com; 970-249-3433…….Encore Appearance……Always popular at this air show is the B-17, “Sentimental Journey.” The Notebook enjoyed a 45-minute ride 10-plus years ago alongside Frank Casias, a much-decorated WWII soldier with experiences at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. Mr. Casias lent a particular dignity to the flight, wearing his service decorations and his combat infantryman badge. He was the guest of the Black Canyon Jet Center, the sponsor of the event then. Mr. Casias died in 2016. For the past five years, Montrose County, Montrose Regional Airport and Atlantic have been the primary sponsors……The Pinup……That’s Betty Grable pictured on the fuselage of the Sentimental Journey. One good trivia question: who sang the song of the plane’s name? It became a homecoming theme for all of the soldiers, Marines and airmen returning stateside in 1945. It was the number one song that year, written by Les Brown/Ben Homer/Les Green. The singer – Doris Day, her first hit. (Incidentally, that image of a smiling Miss Grable looking over her shoulder in a bathing suit was voted one of Time magazine’s “most iconic” images.)

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I see by the paper……There are less than 10 flying B-17s. The B-17G Sentimental Journey rolled off the assembly line in Seattle, by Boeing, in December, 1944 and saw post-war duty in the Pacific. It’s also been in a couple of movies, notably Steven Spielberg’s “1941.” The last B-17 in active military service was retired in 1968 from the Brazilian Air Force. In all, there were 12,731 B-17s manufactured…….The Name that Fits – and Stuck……Richard Williams, a newspaperman for the Seattle Times, was assigned to write the cutline (caption) for a photo describing the B-17 prototype built by Boeing in July, 1935. It was a 15-ton “flying fortress,” Williams wrote. The bigwigs at Boeing recognized a good slogan when they saw one and copyrighted the name. Williams died in 1989. Every time the plane was significantly modified, it was assigned a new letter. Hence, the ‘G’ designation. The B-17G had 13 guns including a chin turret with two .50 caliber guns to eliminate face-on vulnerability from attack aircraft. ……Recommended Reading……There are a lot of books about the Eighth Air Force in WWII and the B-17. Methinks the best of the bunch and the most satisfying is “Masters of the Air – America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany,” by Donald L. Miller. Miller’s 2006 book captures the let’s-get-it-done strategies and sacrifice of the flight crews in a rich narrative. In all, 17 Congressional Medals of honor were bestowed upon airmen and pilots who flew in B-17s.

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Tip of the Wings!......One of the movers-and-shakers in this event is Montrose’s Dick Manhart who was at the jump in bringing this mobile air museum to MTJ years ago and this weekend. Dick’s “retired,” allegedly, a former physician (anesthesiology), pilot and is the crew chief and part of the Commemorative Air Force, Arizona Wing, based in Mesa, Arizona, where he winters. The CAF owns the Sentimental Journey and makes it available for our benefit.

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Sight ‘em……The annual Telluride Film Festival always attracts the Hollywood crowd. Faces recognized at our airport and elsewhere included actors: Renee Zellweger, Adam Driver, Eddie Redmayne, Willem Dafoe (He flew commercial! Egad!) and Bill Gates. (Sources say the world’s second richest man shot pool at the Sheridan Hotel bar in Telluride. No confirmation on who had “next.”) The film, “Judy,” a biopic about entertainer Judy Garland which stars Ms. Zellweger, was the sensation at Telluride, making its debut.

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Lest we forget……Sept. 11.

Stephen Woody was the publisher of community daily newspapers for 38 years in four cities, including the Montrose Daily Press, 1997-2011.

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