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Director's Report March, 2003
Fundraising Campaign Update:As was reported during the month via separate communications, the Legacy Campaign set in motion some modifications to lesson its monthly overhead while maintaining the very positive work being accomplished within the campaign. As this report is being drafted a meeting is underway with key individuals on the statewide leadership steering committee to analyze and to develop new and expanded strategies. During March a letter was drafted and sent to the members of the newly struck Native American Heritage Program Advisory Committee to further articulate the goals of the committee. The Coordinating Committee of the campaign met on March 12th to review progress made and to outline the appropriate “next steps.”
- Publicity Update:
- On March 6th I presented a Bicentennial Update to the Gold Rush Lions Club in Helena
- On March 10th I gave an interview with the Seattle Times
- New Lewis & Clark articles have appeared in the March/April issues of the Smithsonian, Home & Away, American Cowboy, Horizon Air (in-flight magazine), and American History
- Work continued with the Montana PBS station for the airing of the Lewis & Clark: Montana’s Story 22-minute video. An introductory piece is being prepared for editing into the format for TV viewing.
- March is the deadline for submitting Appropriation Requests for Congressional funding through the 108th session. During the month I worked with Montana’s Congressional delegation to submit requests for Interpretive Signing ($500,000), and for Re-grant Funding ($1 Million). I have also had discussions and have provided input for a submittal again this year for an appropriation for Public Safety ($1 Million).
- It is becoming more important that interested groups be able to locate speakers and performers that can offer high quality Lewis & Clark programs. Likewise, it is very important for front-line employees to have access to key, local Lewis & Clark information to pass on to visitors. To secure information for both purposes, our state Commission will initially solicit information from Montana’s Trail Heritage Chapters and Tribes. The information gathered will be compiled and added to the state Commission’s Resource Library.
- New Tour Guide Training Classes Offered: On March 9th -12th the Lewis & Clark Training Academy in Great Falls is again offering pertinent training for persons interested in becoming listed in the state Commission’s Tour Guide database. Contact the Training Academy (727-8733) or the state Commission by May 1st if you are interested in being considered for addition to the on-line database of Tour Guides.
- The Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance (MTTA) announced in mid-March that Dyani Bingham was hired as their first-ever Coordinator. Congratulations Dyani! You can contact Dyani at: P.O. Box 1224, Billings, MT 59103. Her phone number is: 406-259-4600, and her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Legislative Update: Some pertinent legislation was passed during the current session of the Montana Legislature. They are:
- SB 118 – this was nicknamed the “License Plate Bill,” as it addressed the need to strengthen and modify the specialty plate bill passed in 2001. With this bill’s passage it will increase the qualifications for groups sponsoring a specialty plate, thus eventually limiting the number of such plates in the state. Also the bill specifies that vehicles with a standard size plate will be able to display a specialty plate (motorcycles and trailers will still be excluded); RV’s and large trucks will now be able to purchase specialty plates.
- SB 195 – this bill allows the state Commission, in partnership with the Montana Historical Society and a committee of former Montana Senators, to have a piece of bronze bas relief art designed and created for the west wall of the Montana Senate Chambers. The state Commission recently chose this as its primary Legacy Project for the state’s Bicentennial Observance.
- HB 601 – this was to maintain Tower Rock in state ownership
- HJR 22- this was to change the name of Half Breed Rapids to Pine Island Rapids
- Work continued through March to modify Travel Montana’s Lewis & Clark web site to include a “corridor breakout” component. This new feature will allow users to more efficiently access Lewis & Clark travel information in each of the identified Trail Corridors. Additional web site updates will be made to make the site as user-friendly as possible.
- On March 14th I traveled to Missoula for yet one more meeting of the Confluence of Cultures Symposium. Under the leadership of the symposium planners (David Purviance and Linda Juneau), plans are coming together very nicely. The presenters and performers have been confirmed, and attention is now on the many logistical details, and to get the word out that folks need to register (and pay the $25) to attend. Call the state Commission office or access the symposium web site at: www.umt.edu/cultures for more information.
- The state Commission jointly offered a Bicentennial Planning Update for the Montana Legislators on Tuesday evening, March 18th. A special Interim Report was created to showcase work accomplished and planning underway. The attendance was very poor, possibly due to many competing activities, and/or the lack of Legislative concern. If interested in having a copy of the just-completed Interim Report, contact the state Commission at 406-443-2109; we have a limited number of the reports remaining.
- From March 23rd through the 25th I participated in the annual Governor’s Travel & Tourism Conference in Helena. I attended a pre-meeting with the MTTA group on the 23rd, and then was panelist in a conference breakout session on the 24th. On Tuesday afternoon I was a participant in a meeting of the Directors of the interagency Montana Tourism & Recreation Initiative (MTRI).
- On Wednesday, March 26th the MTRI Bicentennial Focus Team met in Helena to discuss “next steps.” It was announced that the MTRI Challenge Cost Share application for 2003 was funded for $20,000 which will allow for additional corridor signing in possibly 3 Montana corridors. The focus team also discussed how they could assist in planning for hosting the Corps of Discovery II traveling park as it comes through Montana in 2005-06.
- Work also continued in assisting in the planning and preparation for the national Retrospect of Success conference to be held in Great Falls on April 13-16, 2003. A Montana public safety stakeholders’ meeting may be held on April 17-18, also in Great Falls. The state Commission is a co-sponsor on these projects. A special thanks to Jane Weber and Peggy Bourne for all of their leadership!
- The National Park Service announced the recipients for their 2003 Challenge Cost Share program. Thirty-two Montana groups will receive $861,500. That represents about 17% of the total of the CCS funding trail wide for 2003. Congrats to the grantees, and “Thank You” to Montana’s Congressional delegation and the National Park Service for ensuring this very valuable program lives on! More information was included in a statewide press release on March 31st.
- On March 27th I attended a Legislative Audit Committee meeting which concluded the just-completed audit for the Montana Historical Society. The state Commission had no areas of non-compliance. Good news!
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