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At the weekly town hall hosted by Chaffee County Public Health on Facebook Live and Zoom, Greg Felt said one of the challenges the county is facing is providing consistent messaging through the county and municipalities.

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STATEWIDE — As the weekend approaches, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources are reminding people to resist the temptation to travel to the mountains for recreational activities. Staying close to home and limiting travel are essential to p…

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The World Health Organization (WHO) recently created a series of “myth busters” or facts about some common claims and questions about COVID-19. The organization’s answers and comments are as follows:

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As of Thursday, more than 220 donors had given about $240,000 to Chaffee County Community Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund (ERF).

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Coloradans who are uninsured now have until April 30 to sign up for individual health insurance during the COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period.

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Salida Circus is seeking acts for its online Social Distance Extravaganza, scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.

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Small nonfarm businesses in 35 Colorado counties, including Chaffee, Fremont, Saguache and Lake counties, are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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The Chaffee County Clerk’s Office remains closed, but many of its functions can be completed online, by telephone or through the mail, County Clerk Lori Mitchell said.

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During Thursday’s Chaffee County Public Health update on Facebook Live, Andrea Carlstrom, public health director and incident command for COVID-19, provided guidelines for recreating while COVID-19 precautions are in place.

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After realizing Colorado’s stay-at-home order was negatively affecting her coffeehouse more than she expected, Gathering Grounds owner Ashli Campbell decided that instead of relying on takeout orders, she would convert her business into a buying club for essential groceries.

The club has two ordering deadlines: For Wednesday pickups, orders must be placed by noon Monday. For Friday pickups, orders must be placed by noon Wednesday. Pickup time frames for both days are between 4 and 7:15 p.m.

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As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Chaffee County had 18 reported positive cases of COVID-19, one of which resulted in death.

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Andrea Carlstrom, Chaffee County Public Health director and incident commander for COVID-19, offered tips for those working from home Wednesday during her daily update on Facebook Live:

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With increased collective anxiety about the spread of COVID-19, several local attorneys are encouraging residents to speak with professionals to fill out their wills instead of using online templates.

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Last week, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This package is primarily aimed at helping the economy weather the recession triggered by our “social distancing” in response to COVID-19.

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Half of the 18 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Chaffee County are associated with Columbine Manor Care Center.

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When a shortage of hand sanitizer products due to COVID-19 was announced, four Chaffee County companies took initiative to meet the demand.

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by Henry Netherland

Mail Staff Writer

Salida Community Center’s monthly food distribution event will take place at 10 a.m. today at 305 F St.

The event will distribute through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

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by D.J. DeJong

Mail Staff Writer

Salida High School chemistry and physical science teacher Todd Bright was honored when Boettcher Scholarship finalist Fin Petit nominated him for a Boettcher teacher recognition award recently.

The Boettcher Foundation began recognizing “teachers who have dedicated themselves to providing Colorado students with an outstanding education” in 1992.

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We are receiving an influx of calls and reports of false social media posts and even robocalls claiming that hunting and fishing seasons are canceled, that valid licenses are no longer required to hunt and fish, or that park fees have been rescinded due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These report…

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by Joy Jackson

Salida Regional Library

World War I pulled in with a tide of death and destruction; when it pulled back, a deadlier tide of influenza washed over the entire world.

The convergence of WWI with one of the deadliest pandemics on record had one bright note: The American Red Cross was at its strongest, reinforced by a large cadre of volunteer nurses. Here in Salida the Tuesday Evening Club, who were the founders of the library, started a Red Cross chapter in an effort to support troops who were headed overseas.

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by D.J. DeJong

Mail Staff Writer

With people staying home due to COVID-19, many are taking the opportunity to get spring cleaning done.

Under normal circumstances that might mean a trip to Caring and Sharing, 220 W. Fourth St., to donate items no longer needed, but just now, the thrift store is asking folks to please hold off.

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by Mountain Mail Staff

It’s no joke, today is Census Day.

Census Day is an important reference date for the 2020 Census, a press release from U.S. Census coordinator for Chaffee County April Obholz Bergeler stated. 

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by D.J. DeJong

Mail Staff Writer

Ark Valley Helping Hands continues to assist local seniors by offering grocery and medication pickup and delivery.

The service is available to all seniors in the Chaffee County area, and they do not have to be AVHH members to participate.

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by D.J. DeJong 

Mail Staff Writer

Andrea Carlstrom, Chaffee County Public Health director and Incident Command for COVID-19, said Chaffee County is not open to visitors, tourism or leisure at this time. 

“We’ve been fielding a lot of requests from people from outside our county who want to come here for these purposes. In order to protect our local resources and our health care system, we can’t allow that at this time. 

“We really appreciate everyone’s support and understanding that we’ve had to make these difficult decisions,” Carlstrom said. 

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by Henry Netherland

Mail Staff Writer

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a guide for small business owners, independent contractors and freelancers to help them file for a coronavirus relief loan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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by Cody Olivas

Mail Staff Writer

Salida Mountain Trails has decided to cancel its annual membership drive fundraiser and party this year.

“We thought with the extreme circumstances and the state of local businesses, we didn’t feel right asking for money at this point in time,” Mike Smith, SMT president said. “We’ve been blessed with an amazing amount of business support in the past and we’re extremely grateful for all of the support we’ve had.”

Smith said they still hope to have some sort of gathering in the fall, if the situation allows, but they haven’t decided whether that will be a fundraiser or just a fun event.

People who still want to support SMT with a membership, however, can do so online at SalidaMountainTrails.org.

“No pressure,” Smith said.

Canceling the fundraiser, however, will certainly impact SMT.

“This is a huge hit for us, as we have built our fundraising efforts over the past several years and depend upon these funds for future projects to further enhance our systems as needed via our partnerships with the BLM, Forest Service, county and city land managers,” Smith said. “The impact will be felt next year and onward.”   

The group’s monthly shin dig work days have also been canceled for the foreseeable future.

SMT’s trail steward program is helping it continue to maintain the local trails. Individuals rather than groups, however, are now doing the work so Smith said it might go a little slower than normal.

Smith said they’re in the process of putting up signs on the new Dream On trail in the Arkansas Hills.

Last year volunteers, who have always done all of the local trail maintenance, spent 1,330 hours maintaining trails locally.

This year, a new, 2-mile, grant-funded trail is being built that will connect the Rainbow and Double Rainbow trails. A hiking-only trail is also being built on the southern end of North Backbone.

As far as using the trails go, Smith said he feels like most people are following the letter and spirit of the current social distancing rules, which is important.

“We’ve heard about other parts of the country who have imposed stricter standards,” Smith said. “We want to preserve the privilege here.”

In a Facebook post, SMT reminded people to follow the 6-foot rule and find wide areas to pass; not to take risks that could end with a hospital visit; not to congregate at trailheads; not to ride or hike in large groups; and ride, hike and run close to home.

“One of the main things is to maintain social distancing at trail heads and parking lots and be thoughtful in encountering and passing folks,” Smith said.

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In the article “Organizations offer food” in the March 31 Mountain Mail, The Grainery Ministries was inadvertently left out.

The Grainery Ministries, 1348 E. Street is open 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday and Friday for families and individuals. Food pick up is every two weeks. 

The Grainery will be open Friday. 

Social distancing is being practiced, so food will already be boxed up and ready for pick up.

The Mountain Mail makes every effort to print all stories accurately. If an error does occur, please call the editorial staff at 719-539-6691 immediately so a correction can be printed in the next edition.

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Now This Is Love Colorado Auction had raised $39,110.94 for local businesses as of 11:36 a.m. Monday since opening to the public Thursday, Scott Peterson, Chaffee County Visitors Bureau marketing director, said.

In total, the online auction has offered $391,601.18 worth of local products and services for bid or sale. The page has been viewed 28,780 times.

According to a Saturday press release, the auction had sold 134 products and received a total of 192 bids, although Peterson said the numbers have been changing “by the minute.”

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Colorado Department of Health and Environment reported the most recent COVID-19 numbers Monday.

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Like many people, Jesse Luensmann and his mother, Brenda, have been struggling to find ways to keep busy during the stay-at-home order from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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To protect volunteers, staff and the people they serve, all Chaffee County Habitat for Humanity operations will remain closed until April 11 in accordance with Gov. Jared Polis’ executive order in response to COVID-19.

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The majority of Coloradans are “very concerned” about COVID-19 in Colorado, according to results of a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment survey asking residents about their perceptions and attitudes related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Chaffee County currently has 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and many tests are still pending, Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom said Monday.

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Several Salida organizations are offering free lunches and food programs on a to-go basis for those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, including some programs especially for children or seniors.

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Due to increased restrictions on social gatherings because of COVID-19, organizers of Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings have had to adapt by transferring their sessions to online formats.

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