2020 becomes the year of the mask at Montgomery County

By: 
Theo Tate

Two students from the Wellsville-Middletown R-I School District step off the bus and head to school on Aug. 25 with their masks on. Many people around the country wore masks and face shields during the coronavirus pandemic, which started in March. THEO TATE PHOTO

The year 2020 was one many people around the country will never forget.

Neither will Montgomery County.

Since it became a pandemic on March 11, the novel coronavirus disrupted and altered life in many ways for residents in the county as well as the United States and around the globe. As of Dec. 31, there were more than 82 million cases and 1.8 million deaths worldwide, 20 million cases and 339,000 deaths in the U.S. and 821 cases and 21 deaths in Montgomery County.

But there was some good news in the county in 2020. A Montgomery City resident earned a big honor from the Missouri Court of Appeals, the county elected a new sheriff and two new commissioners and the Montgomery County High School girls and boys basketball teams did something they hadn’t done in 28 years.

Here are the top Montgomery County stories of 2020:

Montgomery County affected by COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak played a big effect on Montgomery County when it arrived in March.

Residents had to follow a stay-at-home order that was issued by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. In-person learning at the Montgomery County R-II and Wellsville-Middletown R-I school districts were closed for the rest of the year on April 9. Several events around the county were cancelled, including the Montgomery County Fair, which was scheduled for July 21-25.

The county had its first positive case of COVID-19 on March 25. Since then, cases continued to rise. Before school started in August, the county had 54 positive cases and one death. By Thanksgiving, there were over 500 cases and 17 deaths.

“It has been extremely hectic at the health department, especially with the large increase in COVID cases we have seen recently,” Montgomery County Health Department administrator Laura Yelton said.

Area school districts reopen

For the first time since March, the Montgomery County R-II and Wellsville-Middletown R-I school districts reopened on Aug. 25.

Each district had a new superintendent. Dr. Tracy Bottoms took over duties at R-II, replacing Mike Gray. Dr. Erin Oligschlaeger replaced Pete Nasir as superintendent at W-M.

Since they opened in August, the school districts had to go through many challenges due to the pandemic. R-II had three of its schools close for in-person learning during the year, while W-M had its schools switch to virtual learning for five days before its holiday break began in December.

Kelly Broniec appointed to Court of Appeals

Montgomery County associate circuit judge Kelly Broniec was appointed as a judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, on Oct. 19.

Broniec, who has lived in Montgomery City since 1999, was chosen to replace Roy Richter. Richter, a former prosecuting attorney and associate circuit judge for Montgomery County, retired from the Court of Appeals in July.

“It really does mean a lot to me,” Broniec said. “It’s hard to put into words on how much it means to me. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the citizens of Missouri in a different capacity.”

Broniec became the county’s associate circuit judge in 2006. Before that, she worked as the county’s prosecuting attorney for seven years.

Voters give nod to Allison, Teeter, Lensing

Montgomery County got a new sheriff and two county commissioners in 2020.

Craig Allison was selected as sheriff and Dave Teeter and Doug Lensing were voted to take over duties for 1st and 2nd District Commissioner, respectively, in the primary election in August. They ran unopposed in the November general election.

Allison, Teeter and Lensing were sworn in on Dec. 31 and replaced three incumbents – 1st District Commissioner Rich Daniels, 2nd District Commissioner John Noltensmeyer and Sheriff Matt Schoo. Daniels, Noltensmeyer and Schoo didn’t seek re-election.

MCHS basketball teams sweep EMO titles

The Montgomery County boys and girls basketball teams won Eastern Missouri Conference championships in the 2019-20 season, the first time that has happened since the 1991-92 season.

Both squads finished 10-0 in league play. The boys won their first EMO crown since 2017, while the girls captured their first conference title since 1997.

“To have both of our Montgomery County teams undefeated in the conference, it was just really cool for everybody that was involved,” MCHS girls coach Joe Basinger said. “It was really special.”

 

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Montgomery Standard

115 W. Third St.
PO Box 190
Montgomery City, MO 63361

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