In a rollercoaster year, there’s plenty for Moffat County to be thankful for
This past year was a hard one — not just in Northwest Colorado, but throughout the state, the country, and the world.
Here in Moffat County, we seemed to avoid some of the initial fallouts from the pandemic, but that all changed around Thanksgiving as things caught up with our rural community, causing us to take a significant step back from where we were throughout the spring and summer.
That said, things turned around for us early in 2021, and we continue to trend in the right direction as spring and the official one-year anniversary is upon us.
Knowing where we were, what we went through and where we are now, we have a lot to be thankful for in this past year.
Students went back to school
Spring Break 2020 was supposed to be a week off to refresh and recharge for Moffat County School District students and teachers. Instead, it turned into a nearly six-month break from in-person learning.
Thankfully, students in Moffat County — unlike many districts in Colorado — were able to return to a hybrid in-person learning model in late August 2020, thanks to the work the Board of Education did to ensure students could get back to learning.
Fast forward to the one-year anniversary and students are just days away from returning to full-time, in-person learning in the fourth quarter of the school year.
It’s so important there’s some normalcy for students following a year in which students dealt with increased stress, anxiety and depression as their day-to-day lives were thrown for a loop.
Who knows where we’d be as a community without the frontline workers in the middle of the pandemic, selflessly putting the health of the community and those vulnerable populations ahead of their own.
“I am thankful others decided to enrich their lives, get an education, and become healthcare professionals,” David Moore wrote on the Craig Press’ Facebook page. “Without their efforts, this all would have been much worse for a whole lot of people. I applaud our regional health system; they kept the public informed and up to date with what was going on. Anyone want to take a swing on the panic that would have ensued if information was not given out in a timely, professional manner? Yea, I don’t want to imagine that either. That is your health system working for you…Thank you to each and every one of them.”
Community Spirit and Support
When times get tough, this community sure knows how to circle the wagons, per say, and lend a helping hand.
In the minutes, hours and days following Governor Jared Polis’ Stay at Home orders in late March, the Moffat County community rallied around its local small businesses and restaurants to make sure they were able to stay afloat and avoid going under due to the pandemic.
No matter what someone is going through, this community finds a way to help in any form or fashion that they can. That’s truly remarkable.
Banner Year for Local Retail
That support and spirit in community and all things local led to this: a banner year for local retail.
Many were concerned with how they’d keep their lights on during the pandemic, let alone the doors of their businesses, but Moffat County residents stepped up in a big, big way, shopping locally more than ever.
Here’s hoping this development from 2020 carries over through 2021 and into the future in Moffat County.
New Businesses Opened
One would think that it would be tough to open a new business in the middle of the pandemic, but that wasn’t the case in Moffat County.
Prodigal Son’s Coffee House & Eatery, and Buckaroos Used Western Clothing store opened in downtown Craig, providing Moffat County residents with new options for coffee, treats, and western wear.
We’re glad both businesses appear to be thriving in our community through some serious support from residents.
Venturing out into the vast outdoor spaces of Moffat County
In the middle of the pandemic, more people got outdoors in Colorado than every before.
That led to many people pouring into Moffat County to explore all that the vast northwest corner of Colorado has to offer. From camping, fishing, hunting, and hiking, people came to our community from the outside, or stayed home and explored areas they may not have known about here in Moffat County.
Graduation was thrown for a loop in Moffat County for the Class of 2020 due to the pandemic.
In typical fashion though, Moffat County pivoted and came up with a unique way to honor its seniors, throwing a parade through downtown to the high school for the seniors. Seemingly the whole town turned out to show support.
A few weeks earlier, Craig Police got into the act, throwing a birthday parade for a young Craig resident who was stuck at home and could not have a birthday party due to the pandemic.
Both parades brought a bit of sunshine to the community when it needed it the most.
Events held without issue
While many communities were unable to have any type of event due to the ongoing pandemic, Moffat County was able to hold a handful of fun events in downtown Craig, providing residents with an outlet to get out and see people after being stuck at home.
Though key community events like Whittle the Wood, Balloon Festival and Kiwanis Club Play were all postponed, events such as the Bear River Young Life Car Show, the 2020 Moffat County Fair, and a number of Downtown Business Association events went off without a hitch.
It was wonderful for the community to have those events and experience some sort of normalcy in a time in which that word was unheard of in the middle of a pandemic.
When things were at their worst in Moffat County around Thanksgiving and Christmas, this community found a way to have some holiday spirit in the form of the annual Parade of Lights and Downhome Christmas celebrations.
With people sick, struggling financially, physically and mentally, this community found a way to bring some holiday cheer to its residents, which seemed to help turn the tide in a tidal wave of COVID-19 cases in Moffat County.
Which leads us to arguably one of the more important developments in Moffat County in the last year: COVID-19 vaccinations.
Major kudos go to all the health organizations rolling out the vaccinations in a big way. So far, the county has achieved its goal of vaccinating more than 70% of the vulnerable population, and is nearing 20% vaccination of the community at large.
It’s a small step towards normalcy as people are looking forward to returning to a typical way of life in 2021.
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SILT — Water managers are dealing with the after effects of the Grizzly Creek Fire and subsequent mudslides in Glenwood Canyon by continuing a water quality monitoring program.