With the April 13th deadline for submittal of grant applications, May was the month for the scoring committee to review and rate the 50 applications which were returned to the Commission office (these applications represented some $750,000 in financial "need"). The scoring committee comprised of eight people individually scored each application, and on May 10th met via a conference call to compile a recommendations list for the Commission's approval during its June 12th meeting.
During early May I met with the Montana Sales Manager of Qwest who is very interested in placing pertinent Lewis & Clark information in the Montana phone books for this next year (in the green "community pages"). This could be a good education, and marketing project in letting residents and visitors know more about Montana's Bicentennial planning.
I have worked during May with the Montana Congressional Delegation on options for moving various appropriation requests forward in the current session. To date, we have discussed a $500,000 appropriation through Senator Baucus' office for HUD funding that could be used by the Commission for re-grants. We have been working with Senator Burns' office for a $100,000 appropriation for planning money for a statewide Public Safety Plan. And, we have been working with Representative Rehberg for a $500,000 appropriation for the implementation of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Sign Strategy. Presently all three of these requests have been submitted to the appropriate Congressional Committees.
During May I wrote a letter to the Montana Congressional Delegation to stress the strong support of the state L&C Commission for the NPS's Corps II program, and for other federal agency funding.
On May 9th I participated in a meeting of the "Confluence of Cultures Symposium" being planned for May of 2003. As reported earlier, the state L&C Commission has partnered with the University of Montana's Bicentennial Committee to plan and host this cultural event in Montana.
I have had numerous discussions with the Montana Board of Investments with regard to borrowing money against future sales of the new Montana Bicentennial License Plate. With a loan of this type, the state Commission would be able to get more funding "on the street" in a shorter time frame. The loan would be paid back with the revenue from plate sales.
On May 10th I met with Dave Galt, the new Director of the Montana Department of Transportation, and various other staff members to discuss a proposed rest area near the Clark Canyon Dam and to overall discuss the continued support by MDT for the Bicentennial (funding for the L&C Grants Program and the L&C Interpretive Sign Strategy). The meeting was very positive, as Dave was very willing to have MDT be very involved.
As a result of a Corps II presentation at the National Planning Workshop in Omaha, NE recently, our Commission staff has created a 'checklist' to facilitate the process of locating potential "host site locations" in Montana. The Regional Bicentennial Commissions and the MTTA group will be asked to take this new checklist and identify possible locations within their areas for hosting of the Corps II project.
I was in Great Falls on May 15th and 16th to present to "Operation Lifesaver," and to participate in the first stakeholders' meeting for the building of a statewide Bicentennial Public Safety Plan. Some 100 people (Sheriffs, Search & Rescue, County Commissioners, Policemen, Fireman and Disaster & Emergency Services representatives) attended this initial meeting. There was significant interest in moving forward to plan and prepare for the un-expected "emergencies" that will come with the Bicentennial.
The Commission's Licensing & Sponsorships Committee met with Lorraine Roach via a telephone conference call on May 10th to discuss the best option for developing a Fundraising Implementation Outline. A second such call will take place on Friday, June 8th in advance of the Commission's meeting on June 12th.
On May 18th I traveled to Missoula to meet with the staff of the Lewis & Clark Education Center at the U of M, and to meet with Gerard Baker. Discussions involved the option of the Education Center partnering with the Corps II project to showcase Lewis & Clark electronic education programs and advancements.
In mid-May both Rita and I worked to prepare for committee meetings on June 11th in Missoula, and for the Commission's meeting to follow on June 12th. The meeting agenda, proposed budget for FY'02, Tasks Completed and Tasks to be Completed, and numerous reports were prepared. There will be a tour and reception at the Travelers' Rest Camp Site on Monday evening, June 11th.
On May 24th I presented a Bicentennial update to the Helena Home Town Pride; on May 30th I presented a similar update to a Terrorism Conference being held in Helena (yes, terrorism and not tourism!)
May 23rd was the one-year anniversary of Rita joining the state Commission. FYI - her 1st job performance evaluation rated an A+! She does a great job and we are very fortunate to have her working with the Commission.