New Life in Leadville, Take Three
In the weeks ahead, it will likely be Leadville’s pioneering spirit that pulls America’s highest city through the impacts of the Coronavirus. As the days tick by, there’s little doubt that self-reliance and neighborly assistance, all while practicing social distancing, is the order of the day as Lake County shelters in place and re-assesses its new day-to-day reality.
So for this post, Leadville Today gets down to the basics: Food. Water. Shelter.
Food Bank Distribution
Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, the Food Bank of the Rockies (FBR) will be at St. George Church in Leadville with their regular third Wednesday delivery truck, according to Avalon Guarino, the SNAP Outreach Representative with the food bank. The outreach starts at 9 a.m.
“We will still be there, implementing a drive-through model, which means people will be given pre-loaded boxes of food rather than them going through the pantry to select,” Guarino stated. Food recipients should:
- Remain in their cars, lining up as directed by volunteers
- Provide client check-in information to volunteers
- Volunteers will write everything down; not the client
- Should open their trunk (preferred) or take in food through an open window
- For those clients who do not have vehicles, please check in with the Food Bank representatives at St. George Church who can make sure you get what you need.
A reminder regarding Colorado’s best practices. While good intentions often lead to grass-roots food collection and distribution sites in rural communities, please be advised that there are rules in place, and for good reason. Residents and businesses are asked to leave food distribution efforts to the established systems. There are ways to donate, contribute goods and volunteer without putting yourself or others at risk. In Lake County, those are the four established food banks at St. George Church, Lake County Senior Center (including the Meals On Wheels Program), Holy Family Catholic Parish and the First Presbyterian Church of Leadville.
Retail Food Outlets
The Family Dollar in Leadville was shut down by the Lake County Building Department yesterday, March 16 after a buckling back exterior wall was found to be compromising the safety of the building. According to Leadville Fire Marshall Steve Boyle, the original report came into his department and was referred to the building inspector. On Monday, it was determined that several remedies had to be in place before the modestly-priced store would be allowed to re-open. Ice build-up seems to be the root cause of the issues. With snow removal measures aggressively underway today, along with Boyle’s fire inspection to assure that no gas or electrical systems had been compromised, the store anticipates to re-open tomorrow, March 18.
Recently, the Colorado chain-store has come under sharp criticism concerning crowded aisles and unsafe storage practices. Unfortunately, it’s another example of a labor shortage in Lake County as restocking a growing community’s demands has items rotating at a record pace. But not many people are signing up to do the work at $12/hour. Management’s hope is that some of the recently displaced food service or ski resort workers can help restock the shelves, refilling the store’s payroll, as well as necessary food and medicine at least for the short-term. Remember, this work doesn’t have to be done during normal operating hours, keeping new social distancing measures in mind.
It’s worth noting that the fast response from the building inspector and fire marshal meant that this morning’s delivery truck was able to unload its goods. Thanks for demonstrated responsive leadership; Leadville needs the toilet paper, apparently!
Further south of Leadville on Highway 24 at Saturdays Mercantile, things were quiet for a Tuesday morning that would normally be buzzing with commuters gassing up and grabbing some coffee for the road.
“We’ve been pretty busy the past three days,” said owner Jim Spesock, “but I have a feeling I’m going to see that drop off today. I hope I’m wrong.” Spesock’s take was that people now had their supplies and would be sheltering in place.
“I’m out of toilet paper, and we’re running low on ammunition, so people must be at home protecting their toilet paper,” he chuckled, nervously. All kidding aside, Spesock expects his next delivery truck in tomorrow (Weds) which should give him a good indication if there has been any interruption in the supply chain. While it doesn’t appear that way for Lake County, “people are nervous.”
Safeway is Leadville’s biggest and most critical food outlet and on Monday night, March 16 it was in a bit of a frenzy according to several reports from local residents.
“It was insane and there was no social distancing being enforced, that’s for sure,” described one LT reader. Still, the grocer’s parent company – Albertsons – reports that there should be no interruption in the delivery of goods.
“As the situation around Coronavirus has developed, we have been and will continue to monitor all information locally, nationally and globally so we can plan how to best serve you,” said Vivek Sankaran, President & CEO, Albertsons Companies.
Restaurant News. Yesterday Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced a 30-day halt to dine-in service at restaurants and bars and the temporary closure of gyms, theaters and casinos to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Most Leadville eating establishments have transitioned to a to-go or delivery system. Check with your favorite place to see what services they are offering; things are changing quickly for all small businesses. Please support them.
Water: Drink Up!
As the crazed scenes of fear-based consumerism plays out in the news feeds, this is one area where Leadville can draw a big sigh of relief. Raise your glass in gratitude, because at 10,152 feet, Leadville doesn’t need to battle it out over bottled water!
Parkville Water District General Manager Greg Teter contacted Leadville Today on March 16 to send a clear and strong message to Leadville water customers: your water supply is safe and plentiful.
While the water company made the decision to close their business office (2015 N Poplar St.) to the public due to coronavirus concerns, his staff and crew are still hard at work bringing Leadville the best drinking water in the state. If nothing else, this is one of the biggest advantages this community has, clean fresh drinking water. And plenty of it. Of course, water conservation is always good practice but feel free to increase your daily intake of this life-giving resource. Drink more water, it’s good for you. But a reminder that you still have to pay for it! You can do it online or call them at 719-486-1449 and the can take payment over the phone.
Over the weekend, one of the most direct messages regarding self-quarantine was relayed to neighboring Eagle and Summit counties. It should have been a warning bell rung as well by local city and county officials considering that more than 60% of our population travels over to these communities every day for work, school or goods/services. According to a Facebook post by Senator Kerry Donovan, on Sunday, March 15 the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a new warning: “Anyone who has been in Eagle, Summit, Pitkin, or Gunnison counties in the past week should minimize all contact with other people, whether or not they are experiencing symptoms.”
Another area of concern was the Colorado State Patrol’s announcement on Sunday that it would limit troopers’ responses to non-emergency calls in four counties (Pitkin, Gunnison, Summit and Eagle) as well as in Garfield and Lake counties in an attempt to protect troopers from exposure to the novel coronavirus. Troopers will not respond to car crashes unless it involves injuries or a suspected impaired or uninsured driver.
LT reached out to Lake County Sheriff Amy Reyes to see if local officers would be picking up the assist calls as another significant snow system is forecast for Thursday into Friday possibly bringing up to 18 ” of snow to the central mountains. In addition, what does enforcement and reporting will look like for the newly enacted “limited gathering” order.?
Sheriff Reyes response: The LCSO will handle calls as normal. Residents and visitors should continue to report accidents as usual to 719-486-1249, or emergency 911. In Lake county often the response time is longer than in many counties. just because of our geographic location, because of this we often handle accidents ourselves, and deputies are prepared to do this. Our community has been very responsive to the orders issued by the Governor and I do not foresee an issue with our community ignoring the Governor’s orders. If there was an issue we are prepared to handle these issues according to statue. This could be arrest and/or fines. – Thanks for addressing these concerns, Sheriff!
In conclusion, here’s a silver lining to wrap up this COVID-19 update report for Leadville Today. As more people are ordering food and goods by mail, Leadville Postmaster Greg Sandoval reported that “USPS is still running strong and we will continue to work to help the community during these trying times.”
The CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) have indicated that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through the mail. In fact, WHO says specifically that the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also low. Even the Surgeon General has commented that there is no evidence at this time that the virus can be spread through the mail.
“We know more people are ordering supplies so they can stay out of the public,” stated Sandoval, “and we are happy to continue to deliver to them.” Three cheers for good old 80461 – which you could be getting to know a whole lot better as you weather the Coronavirus storm in Leadville Today.
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