Word is…

Not everyone likes to spread the word — the good or the bad word. Big institutions in particular like to keep their lips zipped thinking it’s the safest route and from their standpoint it might be. Lord knows my invisible friend Mark Walter isn’t shouting anything from the rooftop of the old Brick (hey, I thought that was going to be open by now!). This week CBMR and the USPS followed the tight-lipped template as well but others are happy to keep the people (us) all informed…

Word is a skier crossed to the other side near Paradise Bowl on Tuesday. But CBMR isn’t being very responsive about details, even though the story ends with good news as the skier was revived and crossed back to live again. Talking to witnesses it appears the skier fell in some small trees and probably ended up with a mouth and nose full of soft snow. Fellow skiers on the Paradise lift saw the situation, called patrol and quickly went to the scene where they found a purple skier with no pulse. Dead. They started CPR and ski patrol arrived a few minutes later and everyone continued to work on the guy who eventually took a deep breath. Word is the resort stopped the lift while this was all going on (fair) and eventually he was taken to the base area and transported by local EMTs to Gunnison Valley Hospital where he was treated overnight and is apparently doing fine. While the resort won’t spread the good word, we will, and give a hearty shout-out to the local heroes and professional ski patrollers and EMTs who literally, by all accounts, saved a life.

Word is that the Clark’s Market people say they are still on track for a December 18 grand re-opening. While a lot of local businesses, starting with Mountain Earth Organic Grocers, have stepped up to help fill the food gap in CB during the renovation, I’ll bet everyone, including the helping businesses, are really happy that Clark’s will be back with their doors opening in a few weeks. Sounds like it will be a tad higher end than it was a few months ago.

Meanwhile, we just got word that the Natural Grocers grand opening date for the Gunnison store is now scheduled for January 31. Word from the company is that “As always, this is tentative – you just never know with the entire construction and permitting process…” Fair enough.

Word is there are some local high-level people leaving their high profile jobs soon. The Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce will be selecting a new executive director as Scott Clarkson submitted his resignation this week. Andy Kadlec was hired as the executive director of the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority in October of 2022. He too has decided to move on from the job so the board will be looking for a replacement pretty quickly. Based on a classified ad submitted this week and the nebulous answers I’m getting to my questions, it seems likely similar changes might be shaping up at other high profile non-profits in the valley. We’ll see.

Speaking of changes—word is local rum distiller Montanya’s has changed hands. Karen Hoskin has run the local favorite for 15 years and certainly blazed a trail in the worldwide industry as a woman from a small mountain town in the Rockies. According to a press release distributed this week, the new ownership group, consisting of current head distiller Megan Campbell, former head distiller and operations lead Renée Newton and Houston-based brand strategist Sean W. Richards, “plans to build on Montanya’s rock-solid foundation of exploration, sustainability, diversity and community engagement while continuing its production of award-winning rums with respect to its high-mountain legacy.” 

Word on the street is other local businesses owned by longtime locals are lining up transitions as well, which makes sense as people reach the age… 

Word is the local Adopt a Family holiday program is seeing a spike this year in families expressing a need. For whatever reason it appears a lot of folks are dealing with a tough time. If you can help a neighbor in need, email objadoptafamily@gmail.com.

Word is I had COVID – and I did, but to answer some online comments from the local Lauren Boeberts and MTGs, I did not get the latest vaccine and haven’t in a while as I don’t consider myself in the high-risk group. As expected, my bout just after Thanksgiving felt like a medium cold for a couple days. But I am friends with or in contact with some who are in the higher risk groups: older people, those dealing with cancer treatments or people dealing with kidney or liver disease. The CDC says older adults are at the highest risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 and a person’s risk of severe illness from COVID increases as the number of underlying medical conditions they have increases. Now we all know that the vaccines contain a microchip to track your whereabouts because Lord knows that the tracking system in your pocket that doubles as a phone/computer just isn’t reliable enough — but who isn’t good with that?!

So, while there are some who scoff at just the idea that COVID might lead to serious illness for anyone, I took the precautions I wrote about more to help people who do believe in the possibility of severe illness be more comfortable. Staying away from the lift line or wearing a mask in crowded places was a small price to pay to not make members of our community feel insecure. Reading a book on a comfortable couch to ease the minds of some neighbors is not a hardship…but that’s just me.

Word is the Gunnison-Crested Butte Airport is actually a place jets can rely on. Remember when if you booked a flight out of GUC you figured it was a 50-50 shot and when booking a flight time you factored in how long you had to drive to Montrose or Denver if things went south? New jets are making that calculation not needed. Apparently out of the last 100 flights scheduled into GUC, 99 have landed. Who woulda thunk?

Word is…well, there is actually no word on what might happen when the U.S. Post Office lease expires in February 2026 at its current Elk Avenue location.

The town had been trying to work with the USPS to provide a site by Gothic Field, but the USPS suddenly went cold on the idea and now there’s not much if any movement on an alternative location. I’ve emailed USPS contacts several times in the last month, including this week, and not received an answer. Town officials say they have not received any updates either. So, whoever opens an independent post office box store in the North Valley first might just make bank…Hmmm, combo library and Pack-n-Ship in CB South?

Word is…that while silence is sometimes golden, words are still used to communicate effectively in a small town. And we live in a small town….

—Mark Reaman

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