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Director's Report November, 2000
- Upon returning from the national Lewis & Clark meetings in Portland in late October, and following the direction of Governor Racicot, the state Commission was charged with facilitating the planning of a meeting of interested parties to the pending grain loading facility adjacent to the Pompeys Pillar National Historic Landmark. With the combined financial support of the parties, the state Commission contracted the services of the Montana Consensus Council. Throughout the month of November contacts were made by the Consensus Council to determine if sufficient interest existed to convene a productive meeting of the parties. At month's end, no meeting date has been set, but overall interest remains positive.
- On November 6th I traveled to Butte to address the annual convention of the Montana Innkeepers Association (MIKA). I offered a perspective of both national and statewide Bicentennial planning efforts. Not surprisingly, those in attendance were especially interested in the projected visitation estimates.
- As a part of my one-year position as the Chair of the newly formed Circle of State Advisors (COSA), I crafted the first COSA Update. These periodic updates are new, and will hopefully work to keep the trail state advisors along the trail better informed on key planning efforts. Key programs now being planned at the national level include the process for selecting National Signature Events, and working to formulate Licensing & Sponsorship programs with the Carlson Marketing Group who just recently signed a contract with the National L&C Council. The COSA will meet next as a group in Omaha, NE on April 22, 2000 in conjunction with the 6th Annual National Bicentennial Planning Workshop.
- Final edits were made to Montana's new Bicentennial Master Plan, which then went to the printer in late November. A limited number of print copies of both the full Master Plan and an Executive Summary will be available by December 13th. The state Commission will distribute approximately 500 plans to key group contacts statewide. This new plan will also be available via the Commission's web site and on CD.
- Plans were put on hold for relocating the Commission's office until after the upcoming Legislative session, at which time we will know in more detail the long-range space requirements for the office.
- Program guidelines and application forms were developed and approved by the Commission's Grants Committee for the new, one-time 'planning & organization' grants to be made available to recognized Regional Bicentennial Commissions and Montana Tribal Governments. The deadline for submitting applications for these new grants (up to $2,5000) is December 15, 2000. The goal is to have grants awarded and the funds to the recipients by mid-January, 2001.
Note: The official announcement and publicity for the second year of the larger Montana Lewis & Clark 'project' grants program is anticipated in early February 2001. Presently the partners to the 2001 program include the state Commission, Montana Department of Transportation and the Tourism Advisory Council, generating a grant pool of $150,000 to $200,000.
- The meeting planned with the Montana Sheriff's & Peace Officers Association on November 9th to discuss options for developing a statewide public safety plan was postponed due to severe winter driving weather. The meeting has been rescheduled for December 7th, at which time the Montana Disaster & Emergency Services department will be represented as well. Potentially elements now being included in a similar planning effort in Idaho and Western Montana will be referenced as a model for a statewide plan for Montana.
- Work continued on the proposed legislation for the creation of a Montana Bicentennial Commemorative license plate. Draft legislation was reviewed and approved, and Senator Fred Thomas from Stevensville confirmed that he will carry the bill in the 2001 session. The final license plate design has not been agreed upon, nor have the details for distribution of the potential license plate revenue. The Commission-appointed License Plate Committee will finalize those details following the conclusion of the upcoming legislative session.
- I conducted a conference call on November 14th with representatives of Montana's three National Signature Event proposals. In a nutshell I informed them that no final selections were announced at the National Council's October meeting in Portland, Oregon. I further updated them that the issue of Signature Event selection has been raised to a high level with the National Council, and that I will stay very involved to assist with the structuring of a realistic and effective trail-wide Signature Events Program in the immediate future. The National Council did move to create an Events Committee, and established that signature event selection would be announced during the National Planning Workshop in Omaha in late April 2001.
NOTE: I participated in a second conference call on November 22nd to discuss Signature Events. In addition to myself, this latter call included the President and Executive Director of the National Council, and the Signature Event coordinator for Monticello, VA. This call was the first step to move the Signature Event planning ahead at the national level. The Events Committee created by the National Council (of which I am currently a member) has been charged with the task of facilitating this critical planning effort. A follow-up conference call with this committee will take place on December 8th.
- I participated in the final meeting of the Future of the Past Task Force on November 15th. This group has met periodically over the past several months to craft a strategy to secure on-going funding for historical & cultural projects. At the conclusion of this last meeting, it was agreed to approach the 2001 session of the Montana Legislature with up to four proposals in the form of proposed legislation. These proposals included: Creation of a rental car tax; an increase of 1% to the existing accommodations tax; the establishment of a community-based grants program; and the establishment of a coal tax loan program. In various combinations, the above proposals would create the desired on-going funding source necessary to preserve and maintain many historical and cultural properties in Montana. The potential for Lewis & Clark-related funding was built in to all of these proposals.
- On November 16th I met with Travel Montana and Tempest Technologies (the new webmaster contracted by the Commission) to discuss improvements and enhancements for both Travel Montana's and the Commission's Lewis & Clark web sites. Among the enhancements discussed was the creation of an "e-mail update" process. With this new feature, interested individuals and groups can register their e-mail addresses and receive periodic updates from the state Commission. This new communication process will be up and running by January 1, 2001. Also discussed were ideas and options for the listing of Lewis & Clark events in Montana.
- During November I spoke at various times with a representative of the Army regarding some proposed Bicentennial "events" currently being considered by the Army at the national level. I am attaching to this Director's Report very brief summaries of the two proposed events that very recently came to my attention. Please note that I was told that these plans are VERY tentative at this time, and to date no implementation plans have been made. Additionally, I will add that the US Army is an active partner in a 'Federal Agency Planning Group' that meets and coordinates planning efforts.
- In late November The Hingston Roach Group (THRG) submitted a Fundraising Strategy Report to the state Commission's Licensing & Sponsorship Committee as per their contractual commitment. Three options (philosophies) for Bicentennial fundraising are outlined in this report, with pros and cons highlighted for each. Following the review and comment of this committee, THRG will submit a specific proposal for implementation. The state Commission will then make its decision regarding their preferred fundraising strategy(s), including implementation.
- I traveled to Billings on November 29th to participate in a meeting hosted by the BLM. The special guest for this meeting was Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior. Secretary Babbitt made the trip to the Billings area to view the Pompeys Pillar National Historic Landmark for the purposes of recommending to President Clinton whether or not the Pillar should be reclassified as a National Monument. At the conclusion of this public meeting, Mr. Babbitt indicated that he saw no reason not to give a "positive" recommendation to the President for the proposed status upgrade. It was pointed out that such an upgrade would need to happen prior to 1/20/01, and could possibly happen by the end of December.
- The December 2000 issue of the 'journal notes' newsletter was drafted and prepared for mailing.
EDUCATION NOTE: In mid-November the National Bicentennial Council convened an 'Education Summit' in Portland, Oregon. Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer, with Project WET at MSU in Bozeman, attended that summit and reported back that two Montana education-related planning projects were very well received at the summit. The Education Directory currently being created by Project WET (in large part via a recent grant from the state Commission) was viewed as potentially a model to be referenced on a national scale. Likewise, the Lewis & Clark Symposium currently being planned in Montana in 2002 was considered to have the potential to be a national-level event, featuring American Indian participation trail-wide. One additional education project underway in Montana, the "Lewis & Clark; Montana's Story" video production has also received some attention along the trail. Although not discussed at the Summit in Portland, this front-line training program has been requested by other states interested in developing effective education tools for their respective states. An expression of thanks and "job well done" goes out to the Commission-endorsed Education Committee for moving these projects ahead.
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