A year in review: The 10 most-read stories of 2020 in Conroe, Montgomery

All nonessential businesses throughout the county, including in downtown Conroe, were closed in the spring, as of an April 3 story. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
All nonessential businesses throughout the county, including in downtown Conroe, were closed in the spring, as of an April 3 story. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

All nonessential businesses throughout the county, including in downtown Conroe, were closed in the spring, as of an April 3 story. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, updates on business challenges, county initiatives and new business openings were among the biggest stories of 2020 throughout Conroe and Montgomery. Here are the stories readers viewed the most as of Dec. 28, excluding stories focused on counting cases of the coronavirus or highlighting measures to slow the spread of the virus.

1. Montgomery County backs down on proposal to offer $500 stimulus checks to county residents

Published Aug. 24, 2020

On June 1, Montgomery County commissioners unanimously approved a plan to provide $500 stimulus checks to Montgomery County homesteaders for COVID-19 relief, which commissioners said needed final approval by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The plan, which was proposed by Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, would have used about $65 million of the nearly $105 million the county received in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

2. Conroe, Montgomery businesses struggle to adapt to ‘new normal’ amid bleak sales

Published March 16, 2020

Days after Montgomery County and the city of Conroe issued disaster declarations banning large gatherings, local businesses and restaurants in Conroe and Montgomery are reporting slumped sales and feelings of uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic. In some cases, the effects of the coronavirus have led to more than a 50% decline in sales, and business owners said they are struggling to adapt and attract customers.

3. Montgomery County residents raise concerns over property appraisals during coronavirus outbreak

Published April 27, 2020

The Montgomery County Appraisal District has sent out notices of appraised value for the 2020-21 tax year, and residents are criticizing what they call a “cash grab”—raising values during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

4. PHOTOS: Scenes of Montgomery County as residents deal with stay-at-home order

Published April 3, 2020

Montgomery County roads and places of interest were notably emptier, despite the warming spring weather. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak and Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough's stay-at-home order, effective March 27 through April 30, have replaced residents on the streets of one of the fastest-growing areas in the country with silence.

5. FIRST LOOK: Margaritaville prepares to open Lake Conroe resort

Published June 5, 2020

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville opened its first Texas location in June.

6. Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Que announces opening date in Conroe

Published Sept. 9, 2020

Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Que opened its seventh store in the Greater Houston area Sept. 11 in Conroe.

7. Conroe-based company made unusable COVID-19 test supplies using $10-million FEMA grant

Published July 2, 2020

A Conroe-based manufacturing company awarded a $10.16 million grant in May from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to manufacture COVID-19 testing supplies has since ceased production, leaving behind millions of unusable products and little trace of its existence.

8. Home buyouts underway in Montgomery County

Published June 16, 2020

Following flood events, such as the Tax Day Floods in 2016 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Montgomery County officials have been purchasing homes prone to flooding as part of the county’s home buyout program.

9. Miracle City, a community for Montgomery County’s homeless, breaks ground in Conroe

Published Oct. 8, 2020

Standing on a 5-acre tract of wooded land, officials from Compassion United, a support ministry in Montgomery County, posed for photos with their shovels pressed slightly into the dirt. On the sides of their bright red shovels were the words “Miracle City.” The groundbreaking, which took place Oct. 8 at 350 Foster Drive, Conroe, marked the end of years of planning and praying and the beginning of years of construction, officials said.

10. Protesters convene in downtown Conroe over George Floyd's death

Published June 1, 2020

Protesters peacefully gathered in downtown Conroe on May 31.
By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball | Magnolia & Conroe | Montgomery

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball|Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.


Imperio Wine & Spirits sells a variety of liquor, beer, wine and spirits. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
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A new substation could be coming to Montgomery to better serve customers in the next 10 years. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Entergy Texas considering new substation in Montgomery area at FM 1097 and FM 149

The project is part of Entergy’s 10-year plan but could be built sooner.

See how some Greater Houston area school districts are planning to go back to school for the 2021-22 academic year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
See how some Greater Houston area school districts are planning to go back to school for the 2021-22 academic year

While some school districts in the Greater Houston area are doing away with face mask requirements and virtual schooling completely, others are pivoting to continue offering online learning options for students and plan to require face masks.

CDC ends all mask requirements for fully vaccinated people

The guidance states fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

The festival is estimated to bring in at least $1.1 million to the city. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Conroe music festival in the works

The four-day festival would include more than 30 bands and 40 shows across multiple venues and pop-ups.

Single-family home sales were up 47.4% compared to last April with 9,105 units sold versus 6,175 a year earlier. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
HAR: Houston-area home sales in April up 47% compared to last year

Single-family home sales were up 47.4% compared to April 2020.

House Bill 1024, signed into law May 12, allows restaurants and bars to permanently sell alcoholic beverages to-go. (Courtesy Pexels)
Cocktails to-go are here to stay in Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott signs change into law May 12

Supporters say the change will help restaurants continue to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Marcos Pizza is an American restaurant chain. (Courtesy Fishman Public Relations)
Marco's Pizza opening in Conroe May 13

The resataurant is owned by the Lee family, who formerly owned the Donut Wheel in Conroe.

Residents will have until May 2023 to obtain a Real ID. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
US Department of Homeland Security extends Real ID deadline until 2023

Drivers will have until May 2023 to get the Real ID, which will be required for adults boarding a U.S. commercial flight.

Construction on a three-story medical office building is underway at 3786 FM 1488, Conroe, following an April 22 groundbreaking, the development company, Egrets Group, announced in a May 10 release. (Courtesy Egrets Group)
3-story medical office building breaks ground on FM 1488

Construction is anticipated to take a year to complete for the medical office building.