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Director's Report October, 2000
- October started with a Commission meeting on the 4th & 5th, followed by the second annual statewide Lewis & Clark Conference. Both were held at the Holiday Inn in Great Falls. The Commission meeting notes from this most recent meeting are posted on the Commission's web site www.montanalewisandclark.org under "Commission Overview." Among the decisions made was the adoption of Montana's new Bicentennial Master Plan and to make available small planning and organization grants for regional commissions and Montana tribal governments.
The Conference attracted 175 attendees and was rated overall as a definite success. Highlights of the conference included a luncheon address by Dr. Stephen Ambrose, an overview from the state and national perspective, and numerous breakout sessions dealing with key Bicentennial topics. It was also announced that all three of the Montana Signature Event Proposals submitted to the National Bicentennial Council in mid-September made the initial scoring "cut" and will now be forwarded on for further review and hopefully will be selected as national events.
Plans are now being finalized to hold the 2001 state conference in Billings the second week of October.
- During the month of October the state Commission was made aware of a pending development of a rapid-load grain facility adjacent to the Pompeys Pillar Historic Landmark site. The Commission drafted a letter to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality expressing concern that additional study needs to be completed to more fully assess potential negative impacts. As of the end of October the construction of this new facility was held up pending an appeal of an air quality permit issued by the Montana DEQ. Again, the state Commission went on record in this appeal process suggesting that further appropriate research and study should be completed prior to construction completion.
- On October 13th I traveled to West Yellowstone to participate as a panelist during the annual state History Conference on the progress of the Futures of the Past Task Force. I spoke to the need statewide to establish an on-going funding source for historical and cultural preservation as that need pertains to Lewis & Clark-related projects and programs. It is anticipated that as a result of the work completed by this task force, legislation will be introduced in 2001 in the state Legislature to create the necessary funding program.
- Preparation efforts to introduce necessary legislation to the 2001 Montana Legislature to create a Lewis & Clark commemorative license plate in Montana continued through the month. Draft legislation is in final review, and some very preliminary designs have been generated. If legislatively approved, these new plates would go on sale in January of 2002, with revenue generated coming to the state Commission for distribution.
- Final editing on Montana's new Bicentennial Master Plan continued this month with Commission members and others making final review and comment. Likewise the Executive Summary of the Master Plan was designed and proofed. Copies of the final Master Plan will be widely distributed statewide by mid-November.
The Hingston Roach Group (THRG) also worked in October to finalize its recommendations detailing how the Commission should move forward to implement an overall fundraising strategy (i.e. product licensing & sponsorship programs, etc.). A report will be forthcoming in early November from THRG for the Commission's Product Licensing & Sponsorship Committee's review and action.
- The MTRI Bicentennial Focus Team met in Helena on October 18th to discuss appropriate next steps. It was agreed that once the MTRI agency members fully reviewed the new Bicentennial Master Plan, discussions would occur within MTRI to determine possible joint projects and/or interagency partnerships. It was further agreed that the MTRI, in partnership with the state Commission would apply to the National Park Service's Challenge Cost Share Program for funding to initiate the development of orientation signage facilities for both statewide and corridor application.
NOTE: The application deadline for the NPS Challenge Cost Share Program for 2001 is 12/31/00. FYI - The Parks Division of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks was awarded an $80,000 grant through the NPS's special Challenge Cost Share offering in 2000 for interpretive improvements at the Headwaters State Park.
- The state Commission contracted in October to retain the services of Tempest Technologies as its "webmaster." Shawn Peterson will immediately begin working with the Commission to design improvements to its website to enhance on-going communication, including the initiation of periodic "e-mail updates." Look for more details on how to register for this new offering in the December issue of journal notes.
- I met with the state's leasing agent during October to discuss the impending move of the Commission's office from its 600 North Park location. Due to very limited space for its daily operations, the Commission is anticipating a move within the next few months. So, call before dropping by! The phone number and mailing address are thus far unchanged.
- The last week of October saw me traveling to Portland, Oregon, for a series of Lewis & Clark meetings. On the 26th I gave a Montana planning update to the first-annual Columbia River Gorge Lewis & Clark Conference in The Dalles, Oregon. On the 27th I participated in the second-annual Trail States Coordinating Meeting in Portland. This year, through the suggestion of the Western Caucus of trail states (MT, ID, WA, OR), the National Bicentennial Council (NBC) created the Circle of Trail State Advisors. It was at the insistence of trail states that more input be made by states. It was during this Trail States Coordinating Meeting that I was "elected" as the Chair of the new Circle of Trail State Advisors for a one-year term. Wish me the best!
As the new Chair of the Circle of Trail State Advisors, I was given an "ex-officio" appointment on the NBC's Board of Directors. In this new capacity I then participated in the NBC's Board meeting held also in Portland on the 28th to lend the state perspective.
Summary of Two Key NBC Board Meeting Agenda Items:
It was announced during this meeting that the NBC did NOT make final selections from the Signature Event Proposals submitted by the 9/28/00 deadline. Rather, the NBC established a special subcommittee to review and score these, and potentially other Signature proposals in an effort to ensure a good trail-wide event calendar. The NBC pledged to have decisions made for announcement of chosen Signature Events at the April 24-25 annual planning workshop in Omaha, Nebraska. Montana's three proposals were very well received by the NBC, and are very much alive in the now postponed evaluation process.
The NBC did announce that a contract was signed with the Carlson Marketing Group (CMG) to design and implement Sponsorship and Product Licensing Programs at the national level that states will be encouraged to partner with. Work will start immediately on the Sponsorship program; a Spring 2001 date was suggested for the development of the Licensing program.
- I have made initial contacts with agencies and groups potentially interested in developing a statewide "strategic public safety" plan. This would include an EMS component as well as Search & Rescue, Law Enforcement, Public Safety Messages and Fire components. I will address a meeting of the Montana Sheriff's & Peace Officers Association in Helena on November 9 to discuss options for initiating this planning effort on a statewide basis. The BLM and USFS are also very interested in this project.
- On October 31st I traveled to Seeley Lake to address the Directors of the Glacier Country Tourism Association on the Bicentennial planning and preparation efforts within the state.
- New Commission appointments were announced by Governor Racicot on October 31st. Jack Lepley was re-appointed to a new three-year term, while Kathy Doeden from Miles City and Darrell Martin from Fort Belknap will serve as new Commissioners over their three-year terms. Kathy brings a strong background in Historical Preservation work in the Miles City area and statewide, while Darrell is the current Tourism Director for Fort Belknap, and is President of the new Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance (MTTA). Welcome aboard!
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