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Director's Report December, 2004

  • With the January 14th deadline rapidly approaching for the 2005 Challenge Cost Share Grant Program, I have drafted letters of support for applications to be submitted by the Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance, “Encountering the Bitterroot Salish” event, the “Clark on the Yellowstone” Signature Event and Travelers’ Rest. The state Commission submitted its own CCS application for funding for a “Bicentennial Legacy Document.”

  • State Commissioner Hal Stearns and I both made contact this month with Chandler Jackson regarding the planning preparations for the symposium to be held as a part of the Explore! the Big Sky Signature Event. This innovative symposium will focus not on the well known historical elements of American Indians and the Lewis & Clark Expedition, but rather on current issue of special interest to Indian Tribes.

  • The state Commission continues to monitor and manage pledges to the Lewis & Clark Legacy (fundraising) Campaign. Qualifying donors will be contacted to coordinate appropriate naming opportunities, and an updated Memorandum of Agreement will be reviewed and signed by campaign partners in early 2005.

  • As instructed by the state Commission at its last meeting I drafted and sent a letter of acknowledgment to Jan Lombardi with the Office of Public Instruction. Jan’s work, and that of other OPI staff, has significantly assisted in keeping teachers statewide in touch with the latest in Lewis & Clark educational resources. Thanks Jan, and thanks OPI!

  • In early December I communicated with Peggy Bourne, the Executive Director of the Explore! the Big Sky Signature Event, and the Circle of State Advisors (COSA) for preliminary planning for a COSA meeting this Spring in either Fort Benton or Great Falls. A tentative meeting time the first week of June was discussed.

  • This past month I worked with Tom Cook in generating a press release to identify key Montanans now in national leadership roles. Montana Gros Ventres and Assiniboine Tribal Chairman and current state Commission vice-chair Darrell Martin is currently working as the Tribal Liaison for Corps II; George Donnelly is on the National Guard Bureau National Steering Committee for the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial; Margaret Gorski of Missoula is the Forest Service’s Lewis & Clark Bicentennial National Field Coordinator; and Dick Fichtler with the BLM office in Missoula is the acting National Field Liaison for the Bicentennial for the BLM. Thanks for quality leadership!

  • Also this past month Tom Cook and the Montana Historical Society took the lead in promoting the sale of the “Senate Bas Relief” limited edition bronze medallions. Contact the Society at 444-2696 to reserve your medallion!

  • On December 3rd Rita and I met with Dave Walter with the Montana Historical Society to discuss the creation of a “Bicentennial Legacy Document.” Plans call for a college grad student be hired part time in the summer of both 2005 and 2006 to research and draft a document that will capture for future reference the work undertaken and/or sponsored by the state Commission.

  • I have requested a meeting with Governor Schweitzer’s Administration to offer a Bicentennial Update. As of 1/3 I have not succeeded in setting that meeting date.

  • Work continues on planning for the February 14th Legislative Reception scheduled from 5 to 7 PM in the lobby of the Montana Historical Society. The reception is on the Legislative Calendar, and a special invitation will be sent to each legislator. Signature Event organizers, Regional Bicentennial Commissions, MTTA and MTRI will be invited to participate and/or to attend.

  • In December I communicated with both the Great Falls Tribune and Lee Newspapers regarding their respective plans to issue a Spring 2005 Lewis & Clark insert. I also discussed the concept of print over-runs with both papers and Travel Montana with the idea of making extra copies available in visitor information centers and larger chambers of commerce.

  • Jeff Olsen, the Public Information Officer for the Corps II project, recently sent updated Press Kits to the state Commission office. This latest information is also available on-line at:

  • On December 6th I made a presentation to the Helena-area Ham Radio club. In addition to being interested in possibly hosting a “call-in,” this local club could also be instrumental for communications in the case of a public safety incident.

  • Rita and I have been busy drafting and coordinating the layout of a 2005 Legislative Report. This new report will be widely distributed and will be given each Montana Legislator in advance of the February 14th Legislative Reception.

  • The Community Rural Assistance Program of the USFS relayed to the state Commission this month that Congress will not fund their program in the current fiscal year to the same level as they have previously, which means they will not be able to contribute to the state Commission’s grants program in 2005. However the Qwest Foundation called today (1/3) to say that they will be able to provide $15,000 to the state Commission for Corps II programming in 2005!

  • During the month I continued to coordinate with the DNRC on the proposed Arbor Day, 2005 program. An invitation was drafted that will be sent to schools statewide by mid-January, and a Certificate of Participation was also created. Montana’s Arbor Day will be April 29, 2005.

  • The Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance (MTTA) met in Great Falls on December 14th with members of the Explore! the Big Sky Signature Event planning team to discuss the logistics of Indian involvement in that event. Of special interest was the Traditional Indian Games scheduled as a part of that event.

  • In late December we received a letter from the Montana Tribal Leaders Council confirming their previously approved Resolution of Support for Montana’s commemoration of the Bicentennial.

  • On December 16th I participated in a meeting of the interagency MTRI group to discuss an update on agency “action areas” as outlined in the current Tourism & Recreation 5-Year Strategic Plan. This plan runs through 2007.

  • On December 21st I participated in a strategic planning meeting with the Parks Division of Fish, Wildlife & Parks to outline new marketing strategies. Linda Howard was recently hired to be FW&P’s new Marketing and Public Relations Manager.

  • Also in December I reviewed the new proposed “license plate” legislation that, if enacted, will extend the sales and renewals of the Lewis & Clark license plate beyond its existing12/06 sunset date, with the projected revenue being split between the Montana Historical Society and a grants program. This and other Transition Plan updates will be discussed during the Commission’s February 15th meeting in Helena. A meeting agenda and location information for this next meeting will soon be posted on the Commission’s web site; however, call the Commission office at 443-2109 with any questions you may have.

  • We were very recently notified that Montana state employees will be transitioning to new email addresses. Please modify your address books to show Rita at:, and Clint at:

    Sad News: On a very sober note, our Commission office heard news that Linda Koncilya, the Executive Director of the Glendive Chamber of Commerce, lost her life in a tragic automobile accident on December 17th. I had the pleasure of knowing Linda for a number of years. She was a positive, uplifting person and a pleasure to work with. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family.




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For more information please contact:
Montana Historical Society
P.O. Box 201201
225 North Roberts
Helena, MT 59620-1201
(406) 444-2694

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