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Director's Report June 2006
- June was partially taken up with my son’s graduation from the University of Washington in Seattle. In early June I was in Seattle for Brian’s graduation (he graduated with a Medical Degree and will specialize in Orthopedic Surgery!), and in mid-June I was traveling with Brian to his Internship and Residency location in Albuquerque, New Mexico (which he will do now for five years?!). This time was very special for me to spend with my son!
- On Monday, June 5th I attended the meeting of the Tourism Advisory Council in Missoula to say “thanks” for the on-going funding that Travel Montana has extended to the state L&C Commission over the past number of years. I also briefly spoke about plans for 2006.
- On June 8th I spent my entire day at the Video Express studio in Helena taping my narrative for the “Bicentennial in Review” production that will be shown at our last Commission meeting on July 21 in Billings. This will be a DVD slide show illustrating the many accomplishments of the state Commission since our start in 1998.
- I also this month drafted a special “thank you” letter for those state Commissioners unable to attend the July 21st meeting in Billings. These “thank you” letters will accompany the special mounted medallions given to past Commissioners.
- In mid-month I spoke with Nick Sohr, a Congressional staffer in Washington, DC who was requesting that we supply some Lewis & Clark Bicentennial images from the commemoration in Montana. These images will highlight an upcoming Bicentennial summary report destined for Congress.
- The Sula interpretive signs gained some attention this past month, as Jon Axline called to inquire as the status of these signs. I then spoke with Scott Sproull to ask about the status, and at the end of the month received a communication from Scott to say that Laurie Heupel was sending him two versions of signs to review (one for the Parking Lot, and one for the Overlook area). MDT has the Sula parking area complete now, and the new signs will be installed soon.
- The PPL Inc. grant was completed this month for the Upper Missouri Regional Bicentennial Commission, minus the signs destined for installation at the Great Falls airport. The un-spent monies were returned to the Montana Historical Society. The thought was that our office would then re-grant the un-spent funds (on a re-imbursement basis) to the Little Shell Tribe, and have them take the lead for the sign’s final design and installation. In late June I finally had to say that enough was enough, and that no monies would be granted to the Little Shell Tribe for this purpose. I will now check with the PPL folks to see what their wishes are for the un-spent monies; maybe for the state Commission’s sign legacy fund?
- The state Commission’s Grants Committee met this past month to review options for where to invest its “campaign-ending” cash balance; the Parks Division of the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Department, the Montana Department of Transportation, or the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. We had a conference call and virtually all committee members favored investing any left-over monies with the L&C Trail Heritage Foundation (Carol Bronson was on our call, and said that she would first need her Board’s approval which she would seek in early July). Subsequent to our conference call I drafted three questions the committee would need concurrence on prior to drawing-up criteria for distribution: 1) Is a local match still required? 2) Who is eligible? and 3) Should the grants be awarded on a competitive basis? In discussions with Betty Stone, she suggested that perhaps the interest on our investment, plus 10% of the principle be awarded each year. That would work to have the entire investment paid-out no later than 10 years. The Committee is now mulling over this approach.
NOTE: In the conference call the Commission’s Grants Committee also talked about first using ‘extra’ funds to off-set any un-paid bills for the Senate Art Bronze Project. It was generally agreed that was the Commission’s first priority.
- On June 14-15 I traveled with Hal Stearns to Lewiston, Idaho, for their National Signature Event; Summer of Peace. While in Lewiston I attended my last meeting of the Circle of State Advisors. Discussion points during the COSA meeting were: 1) briefing by the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles; 2) the status of the money from the US Mint for Trail Stewardship for the L&C Trail Heritage Foundation; 3) I reported that Montana’s Lewis & Clark Focus Team of the MTRI interagency coalition would discuss the options of completing an Assets Inventory for Montana’s portion of the Trail; and 4) we also discussed that each state could decide the “legacy contacts” for on-going communication with the National Park Service. Montana will have multiple names to share.
NOTE: In late June I learned that the US Mint agreed to “gift” monies to the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation for Trail Stewardship.
- During June I had some, but very little communication with the Blackfeet Tribe for their proposed Lewis & Clark in Blackfeet Country event scheduled for July 26-29. Larry Epstein likewise has heard very little on this upcoming event. I will visit with George Heavy Runner during Corps II’s visit in early July to get a better update.
- On July 21st Rita attended the kick-off event at Caras Park for the Lewis & Clark in the Rockies Bicentennial Festival being held in the Missoula area from the June 21st through July 9th. I made the trip to Missoula on June 25th to see the event venues, and to see the closing of the Corps II exhibit. The John Fisher exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was a real hit, as was the exhibit at the Southgate Mall. NASA was invited to display and had an exhibit on the Corps II footprint that was a real crowd pleaser as well!
- I was on vacation from June 26-29th.
- On June 30th Rob Bauer and I traveled to Lincoln to see the Corps II activities. Their encampment was in Hooper Park and would rival any venue along the entire Trail! Corps II will be in Lincoln from June 30 to July 2nd. Although we didn’t stay to take it in, the local theatrical group presented a Lewis & Clark play on Friday evening, as well as the community of Lincoln was host to its annual 4th of July rodeo on Saturday and Sunday.
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