Good morning, Montrose.

Today’s notes produced with social distancing.

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Butter Side Up……There’s a slew of local kindnesses happening in this community regarding Covid-19. Here’s three that merit additional ink.

• Montrose County schools are providing two meals daily to schoolchildren. There are four places to get the food – MHS, Centennial Middle School, Northside Elementary, Olathe Elementary. Drive-up or walk-up. Schools superintendent Stephen Schiell said that on the first day (March 18) of the program, which is available to all students K-12, 589 students were given two meals. Monday, there were more than 1,000 students involved. Pickup times are between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Schiell said morale in the school district is good these days as it serves some 6,000 students in the most unusual circumstances. The closure was announced Mar. 13; it’ll run through April 17 unless the pandemic situation changes. “We had prepped for it and got organized. The teachers and principals have been reaching out to their students,” he said. Schiell said more parents need to contact their schools and the district to provide up-to-date telephone numbers and data for their children. Schiell, 65, is retiring at the end of this school term. He’s in his fifth year at the helm of Montrose-Olathe schools. He started out as a teacher in Adams County schools in Thornton and was engaged in public education in Wisconsin before returning home to Colorado. “I love what I do. We’re going to make this work,” he said Monday afternoon. Other local governments that signed on to assist with this endeavor include the City of Montrose, Montrose County, the Montrose Recreation District.

• David Dragoo, CEO of the Colorado Outdoors development, has paid off the food debts of schoolchildren in seven local schools and the pre-schoolers in the early childhood centers. “It’s a stressful time,” Dragoo said Monday. “We sent up a ‘Bat Signal’ for others to get involved. The last thing a struggling family needs is to return to school and have a $75 debt over their heads.” Colorado Outdoors employs 90 people. Many have children in local schools. A Courtyard by Marriott hotel and new single-family housing are coming to the development soon. Colorado Outdoors was the recipient of a 2019 Governor’s Excellence Award.

• Just about everybody hereabouts has set foot on Matt Miles’ most visible development, Oxbow Crossing -- home to Target, Penney’s, Marshall’s. He’s got developments ongoing in several states, but he’s still a hometown guy who married his high school sweetheart, Marci. Sunday, he called and said he’s forgiving the April rent for three of his housing developments. Utilities, too. Two are in Montrose (Cimarron Creek, River Meadows), another in Grand Junction (The Mydlands). Rents are in the $500 range. He explained how he and Marci discussed it, then talked with the staff of his company, Leadership Circle LLC. “We wanted to take this measure to give people some slack,” Miles said. Though Miles’ primary clients are the big box stores therein at Oxbow, there are small businesses – Heidi’s, Pahgre’s, Rib City, Mountain Country Café, to name a few – that are closed. “Their cash flow just quit. That’s a real impact. No one really knows what the world will look like when it’s over; I’m optimistic.” Leadership Circle LLC has 45 employees in developments throughout the west. Like others, he started out small. Miles’ first development in Montrose was Ironstone, 1991-1996. “We will get through this together,” he said.

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Life, in the Time of Coronavirus……Before Gov. Polis ordered closure of bars and restaurants, Backstreet Bagels, on N. Townsend, had a sign out front. It was apt: “Everything Will Be OK. Chin Up…Eat a Bagel. If You Have 2 Chins, Keep ‘Em Both Up.”

Sure like the spirit of owners Deb and Scott Cassidy. We ordered bagel delivery Tuesday morning. Tasty as always. The Notebook’s fave: an “everything” bagel with a schmear of jalapeno cream cheese. Support Montrose business.

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I See by the Paper……Colorado’s Doobage Industry, aka as marijuana dispensaries, are on track for another record year, as per the impact of Covid-19. Last year, the marijuana biz reached $1.75 million in sales. “People are stocking up,” said one store owner in Denver.…..Time Has Come Today……What to do with all that time at home and telecommuting, eh? Grateful there’s seven miles of biking and hiking trails throughout our hometown, thanks to the City of Montrose, GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado) and local donations. Why, our Montrose Memorial Hospital might even expand their neonatal unit next year.

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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