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Director's Report September, 2001
- On September 4th I joined in a conference call of the National Signature Events committee to discuss if key communities along the trail should be invited to submit signature event proposals in an effort to fill some perceived gaps (both of 'stories' not being told and/or of geographic areas not covered). The committee did agree to move forward with a recommendation to the National Bicentennial Council that communication be made with Idaho (and Nez Perce Country), South Dakota (and Sioux Tribe), St. Louis (for L&C return to St. Louis in '06), and Philadelphia (for a concluding event fort the Bicentennial). Montana will host two National Signature Events: Discovering the Big Sky in July of '05, and Clark on the Yellowstone in July of '06.
- The state Commission made a loan application to the Montana Board of Investments (BOI) in September to secure advance funding from the Bicentennial license plate to go on sale in Montana in January of 2002. Advance funding on future sales of this plate will allow the state Commission to underwrite the proactive fundraising campaign being planned in partnership with the Montana History Foundation, as well as supplement the Commission's grant programs in 2002.
NOTE: On September 7th, the Commission received notification that the loan application for $200,000 was approved by the BOI. The state Commission will discuss the details of finalizing the loan during its meeting in October.
- Also in connection with the on-going effort to implement the above referenced fundraising campaign, the "consultant selection committee" met during September to discuss its interviews with firms who were being considered for contract to assist in the campaign research and development. This selection committee did offer a recommendation to the state Commission's Executive Committee.
NOTE: The Executive Committee subsequently met via a conference call to review the fundraising consulting firm being recommended by the selection committee. The Executive Committee agreed to further recommend the selection committee's choice of firms to the full Commission at its October meeting, contingent on a mutually agreeable contract fee negotiation, and subsequent approval of that negotiated contract fee by the full Commission.
NOTE: To complete the efforts in September to implement the proposed Montana Bicentennial fundraising effort, the top candidate to fill the Fundraising Coordinator position was in Helena for a second interview on September 14th. The "coordinator selection committee" unanimously recommended to the Montana History Foundation that Sara Groves be hired as the new Fundraising Coordinator. Sara has accepted this position and will attend the upcoming Commission meeting and annual Lewis & Clark Conference in Billings. Sara will start full time for the Montana History Foundation on Monday, October 22nd.
- As the October 26 meeting of the Circle of State Advisors (COSA) and the October 27th meeting of the National Council approaches, I worked to draft the COSA meeting agenda. Marketing, research, Congressional strategies, Corps II and fundraising will be discussed by the COSA representatives during this upcoming meeting in St. Louis. As the current COSA chair, I will also attend the National Council meeting on the 27th as an ex-officio member of the Council's Board.
- On September 8th I had the occasion to tour the murals and outdoor theatre in Whitehall, Montana. This small community has become very excited and involved in making themselves a "must see" Lewis & Clark attraction. Plans are already underway to present the outdoor Lewis & Clark play again in June and July of 2002 (and I believe even more murals are being painted!).
- On September 10th I traveled to Great Falls to participate in a planning meeting for the Discover the Big Sky signature event. Much needs to be accomplished via the creation of an organized network of volunteer committees. A "signature event coordinator/director" was identified as key priority.
While in Great Falls I also met with the President of Montana Rockies Rail Tours and the President of Columbia River Cruises. These two tour companies are planning to offer a new inter-modal Lewis & Clark tour on which tour patrons would travel via air (into Great Falls), motor coach (Great Falls to Livingston), train (Livingston to Missoula), motor coach (the Lolo Trail from Missoula to Lewiston, ID), and via cruise ship (Lewiston, ID to Portland, OR).
- I made a second trip to Great Falls in October as I made a presentation on the 12th to the Montana Recreation & Parks Association Conference. Conference attendees included park and recreation managers from agencies, groups and communities from around the State.
- Two new commissioners were named and one re-appointed by Governor Judy Martz this month. New to the Commission was Germaine White of the Salish Indian Tribe on the Flathead Reservation, and Jeanette 'Tootie' Rasmussen from Choteau. Hal Stearns from Missoula was re-appointed. All three will serve three-year terms.
NOTE: With Matthew Cohn's 'retirement' as of September 28th, Pam Gosink will assume a seat on the State Commission as Travel Montana's interim Director.
- The committee working on the planning of the Confluence of Cultures Symposium communicated via e-mails and a conference call in September to discuss strategies to hire a symposium coordinator. It was agreed to draft a position description and move forward immediately with the hiring process. This symposium is scheduled to take place on the University of Montana campus in late May 2003.
- I traveled to the Salmon Lake Conference Center on the 18th to present a Lewis & Clark Bicentennial update to the 'Share Your Heritage Workshop." This workshop focused on how to most effectively include culture and the arts in tourism, with the upcoming Bicentennial of prime interest.
- On September 19th I met and had a lengthy discussion with Bruce Meyers, the Coordinator of Indian Affairs within the Governor Martz's Office. Mr. Meyers expressed a strong interest in working with Indian Country in Montana to enhance Indian tourism businesses to coincide with the Bicentennial as tourism has been identified as a priority focus within an economic development strategy being developed by Mr. Meyers' office.
- The Commission's Grant Committee met in Helena on Wednesday, September 19th to discuss ideas and suggestions for improving the Commission's grant programs. It was decided to modify the grant guidelines and scoring criteria for the "Project Grant" guidelines by placing more emphasis (and points) on the connection to the Lewis & Clark heritage of the project rather to the project description or proposed project administration. The Organization & Planning (O&P) Grant guidelines didn't change, however the amount of funding available for these grants won't be decided until the October Commission meeting. The Commission must yet approve the proposed grant changes in October.
NOTE: At present the Commission is anticipating up to $200,000 for the grant programs in 2002. Joining the Commission to fund the upcoming grant programs will be the Tourism Advisory Council (TAC)/Travel Montana, and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).
- On September 25th I traveled to Glendive to address the Montana Association of Counties (MACO). This group, comprised of county commissioners from all 56 counties, is critical to the regional bicentennial commission network and specifically to the success of local bicentennial planning and preparation efforts.
- And, on Friday, September 28th I attended a portion of the events of the State/Tribal Relations Day held in Helena.
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