Good afternoon, Montrose.

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Butter Side Up……At last. Live music on salubrious summer evenings.

The Montrose Summer Music Series returns for its sixth season. The concerts begin July 2 with Mickey and the Motorcars, an alt-country group from Austin. Local band Dave’s Fault will open. There will be two concerts in August with Montrose’s AJ Fullerton Aug. 6 (Jedi George, opening) and the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band on Aug. 20 (Last Spike, opening). Blues saxist-singer-songwriter Vanessa Collier of Dallas, recipient of two Blues Music Association awards, will perform Sept. 3 with Neon Sky the opening act.

There is a change of venue this year. The four shows will be on the back lawn of the Elks’ Club, across the street from the Black Canyon Golf Course.

Dig out and dust off the dancing shoes; the renewal of these summer shows is a reason to get a new lawn chair or two. Longtime local music empresario Dave Bowman is producing.

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HOF……Former resident-banker-good guy Garth Gibson was inducted into the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame April 17 in Lincoln. Joining Gibson were teammates from the 1971 Class B state champion basketball team, the Fairbury Jeffs. Fairbury, a town of 4,000 people in the southeastern part of the state, has been a hotbed of Nebraska basketball with four state championships. Gibson and his teammates have gone on to have successful careers in medicine, finance and education.

Gibson married his high school sweetheart, Cindy; she was a Fairbury High cheerleader. Gibson and Dennis White were majority stockholders in MontroseBank, first taking root hereabouts in 1995. Five more bank branches in Montrose and Delta counties followed over the years. They sold their banks six years ago. While in Montrose, they raised two daughters, Emily and Joslyn, who starred on MHS basketball and cross-country teams. They have four grandchildren.

The Gibsons were active in the community — supporting a slew of Montrose nonprofits, buyizng ads on athletic calendars and repeatedly saying yes to band candy. MontroseBank started the Veterans Day barbecue and at one time, fed 800-plus. Every year in the MDP “Best of the Valley” vote, MontroseBank finished number one in Best Local Bank.

They’ve built a home in Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii and sold their Montrose house last October. “Leaving Montrose was the saddest look in a rearview mirror I have ever experienced,” said Gibson.

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Jeffs & Artichokes……The big question, naturally: what’s a Jeff?

Gibson said the nickname came from Fairbury being the county seat of Jefferson County, Nebraska. The mascot is from the old comic strip, “Mutt & Jeff.” The team’s caricature, Jeff, is shown walking, wearing cool sneakers, a top hat and a determined mien. (Memo to younger readers: “Mutt & Jeff” had a long life in newspaper syndication, 1907-1983, and no CGI.)

The Notebook has always been fascinated with school mascots-nicknames and their origins. The ones hereabouts: Indians and Demons, Pirates and Cowboys, Panthers and Miners. Incidentally, the most used mascot in high schools and colleges is the lion.

A few favorites: The Criminals of Yuma (Arizona) Union High School, the Fighting Artichokes of Scottsdale (Arizona) Community College and the Meloneers from Rocky Ford. Art the Artichoke from SCC has a big grin and wave while Rocky Ford’s mascot is pictured with muscular arms, clenched fists and grimace. That’s one p-ohed melon.

ESPN named the Poca (WV) Dots its favorite all time mascot.

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RIP, Kirby Kline……Kirby “flew West,” to borrow a pilot’s term, April 10. He was 97. He

championed progress and self-reliance; civil civic engagement and stewardship of public lands. Growing up in Delta County, he was an Eagle Scout at 17, a licensed pilot a few years later. He first flew out of Grand Junction’s Walker Field in 1941. During the war, he piloted personnel and materials support aircraft and later in life, flew airtankers in the West and Alaska over forest fires.

A good many ornery types are predisposed to cuss federal bureaucrats. Kirby was one was one for 22 years who literally lifted the lives of people he would never meet. He was the primary architect of the Youth Conservation Corps, first initiated in New Mexico during the time he lived there as a manager for the Department of Interior.

These YCC projects involved teens in wage-earning jobs that would have lasting value and effect on the communities they were in and those who signed on for the hard work. The YCC developed hiking trails in the mountains, provided renovation on military bases; there was construction of walkouts over marshes and docks on lakes.

“The YCC was his fondest achievement,” said son Kenn Kline Sunday afternoon.

In 1974, Kirby was named Civil Servant of the Year. He retired (the first time) and went into ranching and business.

I first met Kirby in early 1997 when we moved here. He often dropped by the MDP office downtown and offered encouragement. Always encouragement. He knew I was in a tight spot being the “new guy” and dealing with multiple business, content and culture pressures.

He was a frequent letter writer. I had been burned previously by offering letter writers a column on a local newspaper’s opinion page. Never again, the lament. With Kirby, I made an exception. “On the Line with Kirby Kline,” became a Monday staple.

Said one friend, “he was one of a kind. Kirby went out of his way to teach us how we could all be better people.”

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