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Director's Report December 2005

  • Throughout December I had numerous conversations with Steve Kubick, Laurie Heupel and James Parker Shields regarding the status of the signs for the Upper Missouri Regional Bicentennial Commission. It appears that the “sign company” is in process with its design and fabrication work, and that the completed signs will be mailed to Laurie soon. With regard to the airport signs, no firm decision has been made as of the end of December; however Steve did sign a contract extension until April 2006. Tentative plans call for the construction of a “teepee structure” constructed out of wood to hold the smaller signs for each tribe? More later….

  • During the month I communicated frequently with Robbie Carpenter and Melody Dobson regarding their planning progress of the Clark on the Yellowstone National Signature Event. Robbie and Melody did connect with Travel Montana in mid-November to get answers to some of their publicity questions. I had requested, and did receive, certain critical material from Peggy Bourne and the Explore! the Big Sky event planning committee.

  • The state Commission’s Transition Committee met via conference call on December 5th to review certain items that will now be presented to the full Commission for consideration. Topics of interest were: 1) that the State Commission consider empowering the Executive Committee to remain in place through 12/31/07 (when the State Commission officially sunsets); 2) re-affirmed that Clint is on staff until 7/31/06, and Rita until 12/31/06; 3) the Legacy Fundraising Campaign will be officially closed down in early 2006 (that committee will meet on 1/11/06 to discuss details); 4) the final meeting of the State Commission will be July 21, 2006; any un-finished Commission business will be handled by the Executive Committee); 5) the final report to the 2007 State Legislature will be the Legacy Report currently being drafted by a Rob Bauer, a UM graduate student. The full Commission will review and be asked to concur with these recommendations during its February 16th meeting in Miles City.

  • Also on December 5th I was contacted by Tyler Christianson with the Western Montana Monthly re: a Lewis & Clark article she was in the process of writing. She wanted to know about the less-than-great attendance during the Great Falls Signature Event, and whether interest was still there for 2006. I stressed that 2006 featured different components of the Expedition’s travels through Montana, and that we felt interest was still high; although travels through the state in 2006 would be more rapid than the crossing in 2005, as the Expedition was headed home.

  • Also during December I was in contact with Todd Capser, the State Director with Senator Burns’ office. We (COSA) had earlier discussed that Senator Burns be invited to a presentation on March 31st in Great Falls to discuss options for the continuation of the National Park Service’s Challenge Cost Share Program. Todd said that even if the Senator could not attend, he would commit to attending this meeting.

  • The group charged with planning the completion of the Senate Bronze Art met during December to review projected income (sales of maquettes), and the expenses incurred to date. Later in December I visited with Ian Marquand and he agreed to run a special on his Under the Big Sky segment in January or February 2006 on participating CBS affiliates. I will meet with Ian on Tuesday, January 17th to discuss details. In mid-December Kirby Lambert and Hal Stearns traveled to inspect the almost-completed larger image of the final piece. It looks awesome, measuring approximately 15’x 8’ in size! Senator Duane Grimes made a special presentation to his fellow Senators during the just-completed Special Session of Montana’s Legislature, and has 2 or 3 new, strong leads for maquette buyers. I also have spoken to Tom Cook and he will arrange for additional publicity for this project.

    NOTE: In late December I made contact with Patti Keebler, the Appointments Coordinator for the Governor, and inquired about access to the names of state governing/advisory boards for solicitation purposes for the Senate Art project. I have subsequently been in contact with an attorney to see if that approach is permitted. Late on Tuesday, January 3rd, Ann Brodsky, the appointed attorney, called back to say that they advised against any Board solicitations. She did offer at least one promising alternative to reach possible investors, however.

  • I know that the Advance Planning Team for the National Park Service was in Sidney on December 6th to review the selected host site for Corps II, and I’m assuming a similar visit was made to Miles City at the same time? Six month-out visits are now being considered during the second week of January for Missoula, Lincoln and Browning.

  • On December 8th the COSA group met via conference call. Among the items discussed were:
    • Inviting Senator Burns to the March 31st presentation on extending the life of the Challenge Cost Share funding past 12/31/06 (I earlier reported that I had contacted Todd Casper for this purpose.)
    • Conducting a personal visit to Washington, DC (David Borlaug and Karen Seaburg will participate in that effort) the third week of January 2006.
    • Contacting Homer Staves re: his interest in participating as a state. Commission representative in sales calls in DC (FYI - I did call Homer, and due to his upcoming personal travel itinerary, he elected not to attend those meetings). It was later suggested that State Representative Jim Peterson be approached about contacting Senator Burns, since Jim is very active in the Undaunted Stewardship Program. I did visit briefly with Jim during the state’s Special Legislative Session in mid-December, and he is considering that request.
    • Reserving a meeting room in Billings on July 21st for our next COSA meeting.
      NOTE: I did visit via conference call with Carol Bronson on 12/14 to discuss meeting details in Great Falls on March 31st. She is awaiting a response from Jane Weber re: the options at the L&C Interpretive Center for hosting that meeting.

  • On December 13th the interagency Lewis & Clark Focus Team met, also via a conference call. Their agenda included:

    • A discussion about which agency had not yet returned their Interpretive Sign Inventories to the state Commission. The USFS, FW&P, BLM and MDT will work to get those inventories returned in January or February 2006.
    • What would be the level of support for Corps II in 2006? It was agreed to pick-up where we as a group left off in 2005, and provide as much support as possible for Corps II host communities; Carol Crockett agreed to again distribute a chart showing which agency would take the lead in specific community(s).
    • Margaret Gorski agreed to take the lead in representing the Focus Team to coordinate agency support for the Clark on the Yellowstone National Signature Event; Dick Fichtler will lead in coordinating displays for that event.
    • The next meeting of the Focus Team will be the afternoon of April 11th in Great Fall in conjunction with the annual state travel conference.

  • Dick Fichtler and I have discussed how to raise $12,000 needed to bronze a heroic-sized image of Captain Clark for installation in the new BLM Interpretive Center located at Pompeys Pillar. Bud Clark, who portrays Captain Clark on the re-enactors’ trail, donated an image if money could be raised to have it bronzed. To date we have some, but not all, of the funding pledged. Interested persons can contact me at the state Commission office.

  • The Montana Historical Society and the State Budget Office met on December 14th to discuss how the Commission could move in a positive direction between now and the time we sunset with regard to budgeting issues. It was agreed that any monies raised while the Commission is in existence (i.e. funds from license plates sold but not collected by 12/06) could be retained by use for the Commission’s Executive Committee after 12/06. The question was also raised as to whether the MDT had an interest-bearing account that could accept monies collected by the state Commission for investment in the long-term interpretive sign maintenance for the state.

  • On December 16th I traveled to Missoula to attend a planning meeting of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Festival (to run from June 21 – July 9). In that meeting I heard that a decision had been made to have all “agency tents” locate on the grass at the new Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Interpretive Center. That decision is now been re-considered, and most, if not all of these tents will now co-locate with the NPS’s Corps II at the Southgate Mall in Missoula.

  • On December 20th I met with Montana National Guard representatives George Donnelly, Jim Kelly, Christine Easton, Daniel Martin, Don Emerson and Ted Reichert. We talked about what to expect for 2006. Their 2006 budget was not known at the time of this meeting, but was expected to be similar to the 2005 budget.

  • I have approached the KRTV station in Great Falls to request a copy of the footage showing the Decision Point arrival of the Expedition watercraft shot for the Explore! the Big Sky event. This will significantly enhance our archival footage when that time comes.
 

 


 

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