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Director's Report March, 2004
- Publicity Update:
- Throughout March I worked with Wendt-Kochman on the development of the text and visuals for the 30 and 60 second Lewis & Clark PSAs. The 6-week in-state publicity campaign to enhance interest and knowledge of the Bicentennial timeline is slated to start on April 15th.
- On March 16th I interviewed with the Great Falls Tribune regarding an article on specialty license plates (FYI - the L&C plate is still the #1 selling specialty plate in the state with 12,510 sold to date).
- On March 1st I joined in a meeting of the Senate Art Legacy Project Committee to discuss suggested modifications to the art piece proposed by the selected artist, Eugene Daub. It was agreed to have the campsite image be a recognizable area along the upper Missouri River in the White Cliffs area. Authenticity of dress and “time appropriate” with Lewis & Clark’s trip through Montana was stressed. A contract was drafted, reviewed and signed with Eugene Daub in early March.
- In early March a check and a letter of agreement was sent to the Upper Missouri Regional Bicentennial Commission for the transfer of PPL grant funding for 2004. It is anticipated that these funds will be invested in interpretive signage starting as soon as this summer.
- A considerable amount of my time, and Rita’s, this month was invested in the preparation for the June 17-18 Performing Arts Showcase to be held in Livingston, MT. Contracts for Services were drafted; invitations were issued to potential presenters; mark your calendar cards were designed, printed and mailed; registration forms designed; and the database for audience attendees expanded. The interest for this first ever showcase has been strong, with the list of possible presenters going over the 100 mark. Look for the showcase registration material to come your way by late April. Interested persons can call the state Commission office for more information.
- The National Park Service announced the recipients of their 2004 Challenge Cost Share grants program this month. Montana projects will receive $699,000 to fund 31 projects from this program this year. A special “Thanks” to the National Park Service and the Montana Congressional Delegation for working to ensure the continuation of this critical grants program!
- During March work continued in preparation for the April 7th Corps of Discovery II “Programming Workshop” to be held in Billings. Joining Patricia Jones to present this workshop will be Dick Basch, the NPS Coordinator of Indian Involvement for the Corps of Discovery II. The Montana Tourism & Recreation Initiative’s Bicentennial Focus Team will discuss an “adopt a community” concept during this workshop as an outline of how public agencies might offer and coordinate assistance for hosting, staffing and programming Corps II.
- Three Montana Congressional Appropriations were submitted this month. These included requests for Montana’s two National Signature Events, and a revised effort to secure VA/HUD monies to bolster the state Commission’s grant programs. Montana also expressed its support for a bi-state request for Public Safety funding for the Idaho/Montana border corridor.
- On Monday, March 8th I attended a training seminar featuring noted Lewis & Clark scholar Clay Jenkinson. The seminar was sponsored by the Helena Education Foundation, and was attended by numerous teachers and interested persons from throughout SW Montana. On Tuesday evening Clay spoke as President Jefferson to a standing room only assembly at the Montana Club.
- The Executive Committee of the state Commission met via a conference call on March 15th to further discuss strategies for the 2005 Montana Legislature, and to discuss possible modifications for the Commission’s 2005 grant programs. The Executive Committee agreed that requests for general fund monies would be best to come from local constituent groups with local legislators being very involved. The committee agreed to support efforts in the 2005 state Legislature for general fund monies to assist Montana’s two National Signature Events, and Montana’s two “significant” events. It was made clear the Commission’s support was contingent on these requests not including bed-tax funding.
- The Committee further discussed the options for future grant funding by the state Commission, and agreed to encourage the Commission’s Grants Committee to prioritize 2005 and 2006 grant funding to assist in Signature Events, “Significant Events”, and Corps II host communities. The Grants Committee will meet in mid to late April to discuss options, with the goal of bringing a recommendation to the June meeting of the full Commission.
- The Executive Committee agreed to meet again by the middle of June (or sooner) to give a “go” or “no go” vote on funding the full project grant amount approved by the Commission at its February meeting (funding at that meeting was approved contingent on license plate sales generating sufficient revenue).
- On March 16th I met I with the Signature Event Coordinators via a conference call to discuss the details of the Lewis & Clark session at the April 6th Governor’s Tourism Conference in Billings. We also reviewed plans for the L&C display booth for that same conference.
- I made a Lewis & Clark presentation to the Helena-based Summit Club on Friday, March 19th. This is a travel club of Mountain West Bank depositors. This and other similar groups may be a good resource for securing local volunteers.
- From March 23 through the 25th I joined the Montana National Guard on an aerial tour of a large portion of the Montana Lewis & Clark Trail. The primary focus of the trip was education, public safety and to highlight that the Expedition was a military mission. In addition to the Montana Adj. General and his key staffers, the tour group included the sheriff of Chouteau County and a representative from the Disaster and Emergency Services Department. Historian Hal Stearns provided the trail-long commentary from the North Dakota border to the Idaho border. The trip worked to impress all on-board that many public safety concerns exist and it will be good to be prepared in advance. Numerous media interviews were conducted en-route to relay the intent of the trip to the general public.
- On Thursday, March 25, Wyman McDonald represented the state Commission at the grand opening of a new Lewis & Clark exhibit at Fort Missoula. This new exhibit, partially funded by the state Commission, shows the interconnections of Indian trails, the Lewis & Clark Trail and new GPS mapping techniques.
- And, on March 26th, Rita and I met via a conference call with Jane Weber and Paul Lloyd Davies to discuss the planning of the “First Day of Issue” of the new Lewis & Clark postage stamps. An exciting 45-minute program is being created. This event will take place at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls at 11:00 on May 14th. More on this activity to come later.
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