The month started off on November 1st with an all-staff meeting for employees of the Montana Historical Society. Arnie Olsen made a surprising announcement saying that he was resigning from his position as the Society’s Director effective almost immediately. He said he had a meeting the next day with members of his Board, but most likely his resignation will happen very soon. NOTE: Effective on November 2nd, Arnie announced publicly his intention to resign from the Montana Historical Society.
Also in early November Ted Reichert stopped by to say that he was retiring at the end of this year, and would not be the contact for the Montana National Guard for the Corps II program in 2006. He was going to ask Jim Kelly from Butte to take his position. On November 14th I met with both Ted and Jim and went over the 2006 schedule in some detail. Jim will make a trip across Montana in mid-January (after hearing if their funding is in place) to visit with all of the Tribes and non-Indian communities that will host Corps II in 2006. Thanks Ted, and good luck Jim!
In early November I reviewed, and then Rita submitted a 2006 grant application to the Qwest Foundation. No guarantees, but one last application was made at the encouragement of Rick Hays, the President of Qwest in Montana.
On November 4th I listened to a Public Broadcast Radio interview that Pat Williams had conducted with Bud Clark just shortly after Corps II was at Traveler’s Rest State Park in early September 2005. Both sounded very knowledgeable and I think gave a very favorable impression of the importance of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial activities. For those who don’t know, Bud Clark portrays Capt. William Clark in the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles re-enactors group. Bud is a direct descendant of William Clark.
I continue to work to get the signing project with the Upper Missouri Regional Commission finalized (this is the first of the PPL grant funds). I made a conference call with Laurie Heupel with the National Park Service, and Steve Kubick, our contact with the Upper Missouri group, on November 23rd which helped to sort out who had done what on this project. At the end of the month I heard that the teepee design for the signs at the airport was being re-designed, but all of the signs have been ordered. Laurie continues to work with the sign fabricator, and has ordered all of the signs to be fabricated. A new contract “due date” of December 30th has been established.
In mid-November I received an email that said that only $300,000 had been awarded for the Montana/Idaho eight-county Public Safety Project. This is another indication that the federal funds are becoming harder to secure. The original request for 2006 was for $2.5 million.
I traveled with Larry Epstein and Jane Weber as we three drove to Astoria, OR for meetings of the Circle of State Advisors and the National Council of the Bicentennial. The COSA group met first, from 8-10 a.m. on Thursday, November 10th. We discussed, and agreed to send a letter to the Congressional Caucus requesting continued funding for the National Park Service’s Challenge Cost Share Program. We also discussed strategies to get key Congressional reps from Montana and Idaho together in April of 2006. We have struck a date of December 8th for a conference call to discuss further. The National Council meeting was somewhat contentious as questions were raised as to whom was going to receive what amount of monies from the sale of coins sold by the U.S. Mint. The National Council said they earlier voted to set their distribution/ allocation priorities, and weren’t interested in re-visiting that discussion. The end of that conversation. I was asked to visit with Senator Burns’ Chief of Staff in Montana, Todd Capser, about his availability to attend an April 2006 meeting. NOTE: As of Tuesday, December 6th I have made that contact and Todd is very supportive of attending an event in the Spring of 2006 for the purpose of extending indefinitely the Challenge Cost Share Program for the Lewis & Clark Trail. The Senator may also be able to attend.
While in Astoria I met and visited with both Bud Clark and Bryant Boswell about a heroic size bronze of Captain William Clark to be place in the new BLM visitor center at Pompeys Pillar. Money needs to be raised, and I said I would follow-up some promising leads for that purpose. Bud Clark has the image available through his family.
There will finally be a movie with a Lewis & Clark theme! Brad Pitt and Edward Norton will co-star in this 10-hour HBO special sponsored by National Geographic. No shooting schedule or projected release date was forecast.
During November I called and spoke with Janet Andrew with the Office of Public Education. She immediately made some suggested text changes to the existing site, and added some informational listings to their Lewis & Clark web site. This remains one of our strongest partnerships! Thanks OPI!
I drafted and sent “Thank You” letters to Scott Sproull and Mike Wallace this month. Scott for his on-going work in Western Montana, and Mike for his re-enactors portrayal with the Travelers’ Rest Brigade. Thanks to you both!
We worked with Tom Cook and developed and distributed a Press Release that would hopefully accomplish two goals. First, the identification of the key 2006 Lewis & Clark events to be held in Montana, and secondly, to promote the on-going sales and renewals of our Bicentennial license plate. That release was distributed just prior to the Thanksgiving Day Holiday.
The Senate Art committee (now minus Arnie Olsen) met on November 18 to discuss where that project is at, and to plot our next move(s). NOTE: As of Tuesday, December 6, 2005 we have had two such meetings. We are exploring various ways to have the final, big piece shipped to the Kalispell foundry in early 2006 (the artist is finally almost finished with his work). Our intent and goal is to have this 16’x 8’ bronze relief ready for installation in the Senate Chambers sometime this coming summer. More later.
On Monday, November 21st I met with Mark Bruno and Mike Burke to discuss options for the phase out of the Commission, as how that phase out might affect revenue coming in from the sale of Bicentennial license plates. Mike has follow-up that meeting with an email outlining our discussion that day. I will meet with Mark, Mike and Jody Brandt sometime soon to finalize our strategies.
The end of the month saw me travel on Sunday (11/27) to Billings to attend a 7:00 AM Monday meeting with the Clark on the Yellowstone Signature Event planning committee. Following that meeting Melody Dobson and I gave an interview to the Billings area public radio station. From Billings I traveled to Miles City and attended a meeting of their Corps II planning team. Linda Wolf had a rough program draft for the Tent of Many Voices for everyone to review. While in the Miles City area I gave a total of three radio interviews. And, from Miles City I traveled even further east to Sidney. Marcy Hamburg facilitated a meeting to discuss their progress, and also gave me a preliminary program outline for the Tent of Many Voices. In Sidney I gave two radio interviews. Then it was a long drive back to Helena (why didn’t someone tell me that the roads were going be so slick…. BEFORE I started my trip across Montana!!).