Monday, December 21, 2009

View From The Bridge 12/21/09

View From the Bridge
December 21, 2009

Enjoy a brief tour of Fort Benton's Museum of the Northern Great Plains and Museum of the Upper Missouri.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

View From The Bridge 12/9/2009

View From The Bridge
December 9, 2009

To all of you who have asked how Muncie is doing...she is recovering nicely. She is just finding it a challenge to sit at the computer to write her wonderful articles right now, but expects to "be back" in January.

In the meantime we'll offer a few video photo montages of Muncie's favorite little town and some of its attractions.

Monday, November 2, 2009

View From The Bridge 11/4/09

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

Did I not say all along that the Longhorn Football Team could do it? There just are not words to describe how proud we all are of the whole team. Your teamwork is so apparent and so is your hard work. Tim (the editor of The River Press) will give you readers all the details but we see the emotional side of it. We see those young men’s love of the game and knowing that they are doing the best that is possible in them. We see the parents in the stands watching every move of their young man. We see proud smiles when their son is in on a good play. There have been many good plays this season. This first win in the playoffs is a tremendous boost for them. No matter what transpires in the next few weeks, the Longhorns are our favorite team and are winners in all of our hearts.

You are awesome ladies. Right to the very end, you made the games exciting and enjoyable to watch. We feel the same about you as we do the Longhorn Football Team. You are our favorite team and are winners in all of our hearts. Keep all those memories tucked away somewhere and in years to come when you have reunions…enjoy them with your teammates. That is the best part…the memories.

In the View last week, you read that we have family ties with the Arlee Warriors. They were so excited to be playing their first playoff game in 14 years. It was reported to us about the team’s trip to Fort Benton. They boarded the bus on Friday and arrived in Great Falls that afternoon to spend the evening at a motel. They went to Borrie’s restaurant for dinner and received the nicest compliment from the owner. He said that they were the nicest, most polite team that has ever eaten at his restaurant. In spite of their loss, they had a great time and there is always next year.

The V.F.W. is again sponsoring a Veterans Day Dinner on Wednesday, 11/11/09 at 6:00 pm at The Club House. Veterans and their spouses are cordially invited and no reservation is required. Cindy will prepare the meal. There will be entertainment and it will be an enjoyable evening. Mark your calendars and spread the word to any Veterans that you know. We owe our lives to the men who put their lives on the line for our country. Many of their stories have never been told and their oral histories need to be preserved.

If you have a grandfather, father, uncle, brother, or cousin who is a veteran, please take the time to write their oral histories. Surely, there must be someone in the family who could do this. When it is finished, bring it to the Overholser Research Center at the Ag Center so that it can be permanently documented. I have discussed this with many people and they promise that they will get to this project. I have yet to see them at the Center with the finished product. Just do it.

Please do not be like me who did not ask questions of my grandparents when they were alive. They had migrated from Europe and I know nothing of their involvement in WWI. I only knew that my grandfather was killed in 1919 when he was discharged from the army. He had written my grandmother that he would be arriving home soon. As the little, I learned about it, he stepped off the train for a cigarette and was shot by a sniper.

It was not until I went to Normandy in Europe that I realized that my grandfather fought with the Germans and Italians. Those two countries and Austria-Hungary were the three powers that fought France, England, and the United States. What a shock that was because it brought up questions that can never be answered. One of those questions was…why did my grandfather returned to Hungary from the United States to be conscripted into the army? What rank was he and was he in any battle? I think that my next project will be to do some genealogy on my family. I may get answers to some of those questions.

There will also be a Flag Retirement program held on the 11th. If you have, flags to be retired, please contact me and I will see to it that your flag is picked up. Call 622-3217 after 1:00 pm.

On Tuesday the 10th, Wednesday the 11th, and Thursday the12th, of November, Russell Country with the help of Pheasants Unlimited will be hosting nine Sports Magazine writers here in Fort Benton. The journalists are from all over the country and will promote pheasant hunting in this area of Russell Country. They will arrive on the 10th and do their hunting on the 11th and 12th. This is a wonderful opportunity for our town to have the articles published in other states. As I wrote last week, Fort Benton needs to be known as a destination place. This is another activity to be placed on the long list for Fort Benton as a destination place. The pheasant hunting is now added to that list of “things to do,”… historic locations/buildings, museums, the Missouri River, fishing, canoe trips, hunting, hiking, and I’ll bet I have missed a few.

If you happen to see any of these journalists around town, give them a Fort Benton welcome. You may get your picture in a national magazine.

On the Wednesday, the18th of November Chouteau County Performing Arts will present another of their programs. Scott Kirby is the artist and he plays the most delightful piano you have ever heard. He has appeared in Fort Benton before and the C.C.P.A. Board was very vigilant about having him back again. It will be the usual 7:00 pm at the Elementary School and I would love to see the last performances audience participation record broken. There were 211 people that attended, which was a record. Could we make it 250? I cannot stress enough about how professional these programs are. All the artists are top performers and brought into Fort Benton by a very hard working Board of Directors. Be sure and tell them how much you appreciate what they do for the community.

You may not hear from me for a few weeks. I have some important business to be taken care of and can no longer be postponed. I would like to be back with the “VIEW” by Thanksgiving and if I am not, have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy your family’s get-togethers as they are the most precious times of all. God bless America.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

View From The Bridge 10/28/09

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

Coordinator Ruth Carlstrom has completed the final count of visitors at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center in the Old Fire Hall. The figure is 3,293 as compared with last year’s count of 5,098. Bringing visitors to Fort Benton is not only the job of those people who are professionals but by word of mouth from all you readers to out of town family and friends. Spread the word that Fort Benton is a destination place. A destination place is a predetermined end of a journey or voyage and the ultimate end. It is not just a place to drop in on. It is not a place for museum buffs to drop in at 2:00 or 3:00 pm and expect to tour our Ag Center Complex, the Joel Overholser Research Center, the Museum of the Upper Missouri, the Old Fort and the Upper Missouri River Breaks Interpretive Center. It is a place to spend two days exploring, as tickets to the above are good for two days. Because of this years figure, would all of you spread the word this winter and early spring about what our town has to offer. We are like most tourist towns who welcome visitors during the spring, summer and part of the fall and then we have our town back to ourselves. Word of mouth is the strongest incentive for visitors. Fort Benton is an interesting, most historical, and beautiful place to visit. We get that from our visitors all the time. A little bit of public relations goes a long way and we need to up those figures.
Do you know where Arlee is? It is twenty miles (20) north of Missoula. The only reason we know where it is located, is because daughter Lisa Morger Miller is principal of the Elemental School in Arlee and her husband, John Miller, is superintendent of the school district. Several months ago, Lisa told us that playoff time might possibly match up Fort Benton’s Longhorns with Arlee’s Warriors. Well, it is going to happen next Saturday afternoon right here in Fort Benton.
Now Lisa has a problem. Where do her loyalties lay? She lived in Fort Benton since she was born, graduated from Fort Benton High School, and comes to visit Fort Benton often. We told her that she had to sit on the Arlee side of the field. She said that she would wear a Longhorns hat, an Arlee t-shirt and go back around the field. Sunday we chatted with one of her friends at a birthday party. The friend suggested that we built a special, small bleacher at the end of the field smack dab in the middle for her. Wouldn’t that be fun? Go Longhorns.
November 2nd marks the 10-year mark of the opening of the Grand Union and it seems like yesterday. We remember well the “Grand Opening” and we were fortunate enough to stay over that evening. Both the inside and the outside of the building looks just as it did newly renovated those many years ago. There are no figures on how many customers stayed at the Grand Union in those ten (10) years. Those that went through the building and attended functions number in the thousands. The oldest working hotel west of the Mississippi will still be standing by the Missouri in 2082. Hey, that is only 73 years away. Some of you will still be around. There are many exciting events planned so check out the ad in the River Press for a program schedule and times. See you there.
This big event will take place May 20, 2010 to May 22 here in Fort Benton. It will be the 150th anniversary of the opening of the road from Fort Benton to Walla Walla, Washington. Get your reservation in early by calling Ken Robison at 400-452-9374. This conference will be the big one of the year and will prove to be very exciting with people coming from all over the country. It will be happening before you know it.
When Ruth Carlstrom and I thought about this project, we were told “Good Luck.” Well, that is what we need because we cannot seem to get started. No one has called to put their events on the calendar and the reason seems to be that they had no knowledge about it. The reasons may be that they do not read the River Press and/or they are too busy to promote their events. Perhaps they think their events are not important enough but they are. Most everyone likes to know what is going on in the community. We are talking about entertaining and fun events. Meetings are reported elsewhere. An owner of a business told me today that an employee would be delegated to report events. Perhaps that would work for all organizations and businesses. Let us try again because so many people say to me that they wish they had known about certain events before they happened. People cannot attend if they do not know about it. Ruth’s phone is 622-3638 and mine is 622-3217 (after 1:00 pm.)
Be sure to mail your city election ballots and while you are at it let your President, senators and representatives know how you feel about government decisions either by telephone or e-mail. I will try to follow my own advice. God bless America.

Monday, October 19, 2009

View From the Bridge 10/21/09

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie Morger

If you missed the performance of Everything Fritz on the 12th of October, then you missed one of the best shows that the Chouteau County Performing Arts has ever put on. The Fritz family consists of mom, dad, and the four kids…two young men and two young women. The Fritz’s did everything but sing and they did not really need that to keep us entertained. They played so many instruments that we lost count. The “step-dancing” was phenomenal and was a cross between clogging and tap-dancing. All of the young Fritz’s are champions and have been playing and dancing most of their lives.

There were two hundred and eleven audience seats filled and that is a record. Word somehow got around because there were people from Great Falls and Big Sandy that were recognized.

I spoke to the sisters after the show and found that they travel for six weeks and go home to Ontario, Canada for two months. Then they are on the road again for another six weeks. I just had to ask what kind of social life they have with that kind of schedule. The oldest sister said that she does have a boyfriend and he sings. The other sister added that any boyfriends would have to be musical. We also wondered if they had a bus that they traveled in. We drove round back of the Elementary School afterward. We saw that they had some sort of van (do not know one vehicle from another) with a medium sized trailer attached. Do not think that would be the life for most of we retirees.

I know that there are many “I’s” in this column but I just have to tell you about the Montana Historical Society’s Conference last Friday. I wish every one of you history buffs could have been there. Kathy Nelson, Jack Lepley, Randy Morger, and myself were the only ones from Fort Benton. Randy and I only attended the sessions on Friday that started with breakfast at 7:30am. There were sessions on Thursday and field trips on Saturday. We had a breakfast speaker who spoke about Malstrom Air Force Base. It was an immensely interesting subject including the story about how it came to be much to the advantage of not only Great Falls but also the entire surrounding area.

I enjoyed the next presentation because of the actors. One of the programs listed it as “How Great Falls Began-125 Years Ago,” and the other listed “Electric Beginnings.” Four colorful characters told the story including Paris Gibson, Whitman Gibson “Vinegar” Jones, Martha Edgerton Rolfe wife of Herbert Percy Rolfe (played by our own historian Ken Robison.) Some interesting facts were that Paris and “Vinegar” were cousins and not loving ones. The banter that went on between them was very humorous. Herbert Percy Rolfe was Paris’ surveyor and lawyer. I am sure that you all know that Paris Gibson was in Fort Benton first. The cast related that he always wanted to start a city of his own. My slant on the story is that when his friend, James Hill, want to built the railroad in Fort Benton along the Levee, the townspeople put a stop to it (thanks to them.) Paris then said, “I’m out of here” and away he went to Great Falls. One very interesting statement that Paris made was that he lobbied to get the University of Montana to locate in Great Falls. Can you imagine if the “Griz” were located there. We would not have to drive over the mountains to see the football games. Awesome but it never happened although Paris tried.

We then proceeded on to the workshops. There were three concurrent sessions for each time period and Randy and I had decided we would attend different ones. I chose “Homesteaders and Homemakers” and again was fascinated with what I learned.

Lunch was again around the poolside area as was breakfast and Stephanie Ambrose spoke about her new book, “Why Sacagawea Deserves the Day Off.” I do not remember there being a questions and answer time because I had a question, I have always wanted to ask someone in the know about. Why does any painting, picture, book cover, coin and other items about this fifteen year old girl make her look like she is fifty years old? I still do not have an answer.

Women and War was my next choice and it was hard to imagine those very intelligent and brave women doing what they did. It was the story of women flying all type of aircraft for transport during WWII. Truly unbelievable. The next session was Water, Land, and Leisure that again I listened to stories I never had heard.

My final session was Medicine in Montana and it was the most interesting of all. It told about how the Deaconess Hospital was started and how the nursing force began. Women…can you imagine training under poor conditions for 12 hours a day. They not only took care of five patients a day, they made beds, scrubbed floors, cooked all the meals, did all the laundry and had to iron everything including sheets and pillowcases. All this work was done for room and board with no compensation until they were seniors. They were mostly 18 years of age, could not be married, and got one day off a year. I will never complain about my homemaking chores again.
If this interests you at all…join us next year (although I am not sure if they are held every year.) The Montana Historical Society belongs to all the people in Montana so take advantage of what they have to offer. Learn all you can about them by going to the internet and checking their web site.

A long time ago, I quoted a poster from a Museum in Polson that said, “A People Without a History is Like the Wind in the Buffalo Grass.” If you don’t know where you came from, you can’t know where you are going.

Don’t want to talk about the weather. We have had two wonderful warm days but what is to came at us tomorrow (Monday.) I was thankful for those two days as I got all the summer “stuff” put away and the dead plants and flowers in the trash can. Will think “snow” now I guess, as I put scrapers in the vehicles and the snow shovels in the garage. Ouch…it’s such a long time from November to the end of March.

God bless America.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

The fundraiser last Thursday at the Golden Age Senior Center for Shawn Giles was a tremendous success. Overheard several times was the comment that Fort Benton was the most generous community they had ever encountered. There was a very tasty spaghetti dinner and an abundance of brownies for dessert. There were many volunteers involved and they carried out their duties as planned. The duties included cooking the spaghetti, making the salad, baking the brownies, setting the tables and the special entertainment. It was certainly a special evening and we all want you, Shawn, to get well to be able to care of your five children. If you were unable to attend the fundraiser, you can still help by going to the First Security Bank with your donation.

Another worthwhile fundraiser had the Sunrise Bluffs “Rockin.” It was a “Rollin” success according to my sources. The Bluffs are a very important part of our community. Sometimes we older citizens bulk at leaving our sometimes life long homes and moving to the Bluffs. If only one could realize how much easier life would be and it would turn out a home away from home. Living alone is not only lonely but sometimes not the safest thing to do. At the Bluffs, there is always someone to check on you and the friendships are enduring. If you have any doubts about what to do if you have to make that decision…just do it. It is my opinion but I have had many who now reside there that it is the best thing they have ever done.

It was very disappointing when the public hearing was held a week ago Monday and only five (5) citizens of Fort Benton attended. The River Press editor, Tim, had a thorough report of the council meeting in last week’s edition, which told about the whole meeting. My view of the public hearing was that it did not include much of the public. I have urged several times before, that the council meetings should have some part of your life. You also could talk with your district councilperson and make them aware of your slant of various discussions concerning your city. For example,…a controversial topic is on the agenda. It seems as though, those who are for it are in the majority. Those that are against it rarely show up or voice their opinions. We should have a voice in all decisions concerning our city. O.K. that is enough of the lecture.

On the other hand, the forum the General Federation of Women’s Clubs who sponsored the program, considered it a success. There were about seventy-five (75) in attendance and about half a dozen people who asked questions. Editor, Tim, will have that report in this issue because the forum was held on Wednesday evening. All the candidates answered the questions and if you were not satisfied with the answers, you should contact them directly. I just wanted to make the point that there was a good attendance and that all that I talked with said it was a good and needed program.

Due to popular demand there were more Summer Celebration t-shirts ordered. There are three different designs in co-coordinating colors available in small, medium, large, x-large and xx-large There are no xxx or xxxx large available. Please call Cathy Burtch on her cell 490-1180 to order and/or leave a message if she is not available.

It was surprising last Friday evening, how many fans of the football team attended the game despite the cold. The main story, I was told, was that the concession stand ran out of hot chocolate at half time. Someone did not check the larder. The Junior Varsity and the Freshmen teams had the opportunity to get more playing time which was valuable experience for them. Go Horns.

Your coach, Holly McAllister, has been writing about your games and I am not into statistics. I just want to say that watching your games is very enjoyable to the fans and Go Lady Longhorns.

There will be public interviews for a new county extension agent on Friday, October 16th. I received an e-mail with just that information on it and since it is on the 16th, I had to pass it on in this week’s column. That is all the information I have and I am not able to check it out because the View has to go to the River Press tonight (Sunday) as I will not be home on Monday. The original e-mail was from Corrine Protsman and her e-mail is If this concerns you, please contact her.

There will be another Flag Retirement Program on Veteran’s Day; November 11th sponsored by the Boy Scout Troop whose leader is Larry Garlic. If you have a flag that needs to be retired, please take it to the V.F.W. Club House, give it to a Boy Scout, to Troop Leader Larry Garlic or at my house in the entryway on Main Street. If you do not know where I live, please call me at 622-3217 after 1:00 pm. If none of these options is convenient for you, we will arrange a pickup. God bless America and our Flag. This ceremony is only held two times a year so take advantage of this opportunity.

We said so long to another long time friend, Mickey Allen. Every one has a story about Mickey but the most amazing thing about him was that he lived to be 106 years old. He was an honest, hard working man who danced his way through life. We will miss you old friend.

By the time you read this issue October will be half over. Day light savings time will be ending in another two weeks and we will be well into what I consider winter. In my internal calendar winter consists of November, December, January and February. We did not have a so-called “fall” and went directly into winter. Perhaps we will have an Indian summer. I certainly hope so because these short days are not my cup of tea. I like to be outdoors and most of us seniors do not handle this cold weather very well. I suppose with the holidays, the time will pass quickly but I will be looking forward to spring every day. God bless America.

Monday, October 5, 2009

View From The Bridge 10/7/09

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger
Is it sad for you to see the dark Visitors Information Center and not see the Flags out front? The field trip that some of the Volunteers enjoyed last Friday was very enjoyable and interesting. We rode the Trolley for two hours around Great Falls and we learned so much about the history of the town. The Trolley owner, a very informative woman, loves the history of Great Falls, and really loves the Lewis and Clark story. She told a few stories about them that some of us had never heard before. Her story about how she obtained the trolley was also very interesting but you will have to go on the tour to learn about that. She also promotes Fort Benton in her narrative although she does not visit us often. She does her tours six days a week and does not have much free time. Wayne Hampton invited her to ride on his trolley and we teased him that at this time of year it is air-conditioned. (The explanation here is that her trolley has heat and is air-conditioned and Wayne’s is an open trolley.) We visited their Information Center (theirs is “City” and ours is “Country.”) Do you get the connection? I hope so, so I do not have to explain. We then had lunch, (catered by Wake Cup) and delivered by Ruth Carlstrom to the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks conference room in her vehicle. After lunch, they crossed the road, visited the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center for an hour, and returned to Fort Benton all in awe of what they had seen and learned. This trip will be remembered for a long while.
An out-of-town reader of the View gave me some constructive suggestions concerning what I wrote about the Harlowton football game. If one were not at the game, one would not know what had happened. I just assumed that everyone knew what happened with writing about the differential in the score. I will try to be more explicative without touching on sensitive feelings and please remember that I am not a Sports Reporter. Most times the stories are about what I have heard and not actually experienced. Superintendent Scott wrote about the “Mercy Rule” and since readers of the Fort Benton web site do not read the actual copy of the River Press they may be confused. I actually intended not to mention the score because the important part of the story was the manner in which Longhorn fans responded to the Harlowton touchdown. I was very proud of all that hootin’ and hollerin’ because Harlowton deserved it. It was very much the same situation at the Belt game last Friday. The difference in the score was great and in my opinion, it is not fun anymore. I have been told that nothing can be done short of putting in the JV and the Freshmen teams. There have been some games that were ended at half time but some people paid to see a game and they do not want it ended. On the other hand, some people leave the game and do not care that they have paid admission. What are the rule-makers to do? I would not want to be in their shoes, the referees, or the coaches. I would not want to be a player either. I just like to watch. Go Longhorns. This may be your year.
The Levee Walk is looking so very beautiful these days. The Plots are in full bloom and well maintained. There were still three Plots that needed adopting and one was recently. It should be looking’ good next spring. The two that are left would be very simple to do. It would just be a matter of a little mulch and some nice rocks around two large bushes. Think about it for next spring when I will be reminding you again. The area behind Jordan’s is looking fine as it is completely cleared now. The Levee Trail was one of the “things to do in Fort Benton” that the Volunteers at the Old Fire Hall pushed this summer. The walk from the Old Fire Hall to the Upper Missouri Interpretive Center is the nicest thing that a Visitor could do on a warm summer evening. Just sitting on one of the benches and watching the Missouri is so very pleasant. We have the most attractive small town in Montana and appreciate those who try to keep it that way. No other city or town has the river, the history that Fort Benton has, and most of all…the people. We have always been complemented that we have the friendliest people. I am sure that you all know that but it bears repeating. Sometimes we forget and a little reminder does not hurt. We are surely blessed with our bountiful little city.

Art Peterson was laid to rest last Saturday. He was a good friend and known as “the guy who would do anything for anyone.” Kindness was his middle name and although he has not been around much for the last three years because of his illness, he is going to be missed by many people. Keep him in your thoughts because he was one of the “old timers.”
I have not forgotten about the contest to name Jim Cummings pontoon boat. This is the last call before the contest is over so if you meant to call in a name but put it off…now is the time to call me at 622-3217 after 1pm. As I said before…we have so many clever people in town and surely, you can think of one name to enter. Let me hear from you this week.
Please see the Letters to the Editor in the River Press.
From today’s weather report (Sunday evening), it looks as though we are going to be house bound by the end of the week. Remember how several writers in this River Press predicted that we were going directly from summer to winter. I am not ready at all. Perhaps on Tuesday I can get the waterfall empty of water and get a few plants cut down. I did get the winter coats and clothing sorted out but not exchanged in the closets yet. I think it is also time to put up my “Think Snow” rag clown in our entryway. It seems like I just put it away. Oh well! God bless America (with snow.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

View From The Bridge 9/30/09

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

By the time you read this, the Visitors Information Center will be closed for the season. There will be some Training Programs in the spring and Visitor numbers are being counted. Those will be forthcoming as well as figures from the Museums and the B.L.M. The success of the Center is totally dependant on the faithful Volunteers who really enjoy being there. They all have interesting stories to tell about the Visitors. There is nothing that makes a Volunteer feel better than when they are told that the visitor enjoyed Fort Benton and had a great time while they were here.

Ruth Carlstrom has planned another outing for the Visitor Center Volunteers on Friday, October 2nd. The community bus will leave Fort Benton at 9:00 a.m. and proceed on to the Great Falls Information Center where they will embark on a Trolley for a two-hour Historical Tour. When they return at noon, they will visit the Center, meet other volunteers, and see the set-up that Great Falls has for their information. Their Center is located at the top of the hill behind the very large American Flag that is so beautiful to see waving when coming into Great Falls from the south.

At 12:30 they will have lunch, provided by Wake Cup Coffee Shoppe, at the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Conference Room. After lunch, they will visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and leave from there at promptly at 2pm to return to Fort Benton.

It is important, if you did not receive a phone call or post-card, that you contact Ruth at 622-3638 or 799-3638 a.s.a.p. to let her know if you will attend.

In a conversation with Connie Jacobs, Director of Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center, I gave some wrong information last week about the hours they were open. I said that during the winter months they were open by appointment, which is not the case. The correct schedule is Monday thru Friday from 8am to 5pm from October 1st until Memorial Day of 2010.

The Ag Museum, the Village, the Museum of the Upper Missouri, and the Old Fort can be seen by appointment from now until Memorial Day. The Schwinden Library/Joel Overholser Research Center is open on Tuesdays only, although the business office is staffed from 8am to noon Monday through Friday.

This announcement should be noted by anyone referring to the Bureau of Land Management and especially those Volunteers who are at the Visitors Information Center at the Old Fire Hall. We have been referring to the B.L.M. Visitors Interpretive Center, which was confusing with the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Information Center at the Old Fire Hall. We are now to refer to the B.L.M. as “The Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center.” That should clear up the confusion between the wordings of both locations.

We did not quite know what we were to expect at last Friday’s football game with Harlowton as they are not in our conference. We have not kept a good track on them. The good thing about the game was that the whole team had an opportunity to play and that the J.V. and the Freshmen teams played the whole second half of the game.
It was a proud moment when Harlowton executed an excellent play that resulted in a touchdown. The proud for Fort Benton was when the home team spectators applauded that touchdown. Great public relations in that action.

The Lady Longhorn Volleybally team is having a fine season and are so much fun to watch. You are a great team and your efforts are appreciated. Go Lady Longhorns!

A chance meeting with Howard Terpning, which I wrote about last week, introduced me to “The Wonderful World of Art.” I discovered that Bob Doerk has been a fan of Terpning’s for years. On Tuesday, at the Research Center, Bob brought in four art books for me to read and look at. One of them was a notebook with every picture/article (in plastic covers) that Bob had ever found in art magazines about Terpning’s work. The other three books were awesomely illustrated books of his paintings. I spent my entire day at the Center going through those books.

If you would like to see some of his work, just put his name into your computer and I know that you will be as thrilled as I was. One of the things I neglected to tell you about his illustrations (before his painting career) was that he did the “Gone With the Wind” and the “Doctor Zivhago” posters for the movies. Those were just two of many but probably the ones that are best known.

This coming weekend will be most likely the busiest one that Fort Benton will ever have as far as “goings on.” The Grand Union Gathering of western poets and pickers, singers and storytellers will begin on Friday, October 2nd at 7pm for a fee. On Saturday, October 3rd at 10am are more shows and admission is a free will offering. That evening at 7pm will be another show for a fee and Sunday morning at 10am will be Cowboy Church.

A member’s Year-End Party and 40th Anniversary is taking place on Saturday, October 3rd at the Signal Point Clubhouse at 6pm. This is a special event and I have heard that there are golfers coming back to Fort Benton just for this event. I do not play golf but most everyone in the family is addicted to the game. They tell me that Signal Point is the best golf course in the area and if you want an 18-hole just go around twice.

On Saturday afternoon, October 3rd at 4pm the doors at the Ag Museum will open for the annual local Ducks Unlimited chapter fundraiser. They tell me that this event gets bigger and bigger each year. We should have many people in town this weekend.

A fundraiser for the Sunrise Bluffs will have the place rockin’ and rollin’ on Saturday, October 3 from 8am to 8pm. If you think that, you are tired, just drop in at the Bluffs, and watch a while. Friends and residents of the Bluffs will be rocking back and forth for hours. Perhaps you could rock to soothing music and you would be refreshed. Whatever you do, sponsor one of the rockers and remember their Gift Basket Raffle is on display at the Benton Pharmacy.

I am reporting this FORUM information in this weeks River Press because the forum will take place on Wednesday, October 7th and you will not have received your Press by then. The General Federation of Women’s Club is sponsoring a forum for the candidates who are running for mayor and council members at 7pm in the Elementary auditorium. Make an effort to attend to get to know your candidates better and to ask those questions that you have always wanted to ask. Mark it on your calendar right now. It is important.

It seems as though that is all I am saying lately is so long. The weeks are flying by. Perhaps winter will slow everyone down a little but whatever…enjoy every minute of every day. Time is so precious and isn’t it funny how time slips away. God bless America.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

View From The Bridge 9/23/09

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

The Lady Longhorns did it again. They won their games against Highwood. How great it was…especially for the Homecoming game. Fort Benton is so proud of you and this may be the magic year for your team. It is all in that teamwork that you have exhibited and “Go Lady Longhorns.” We also enjoyed your cheering at the football game. We are sure that did a lot toward pepping up Longhorns on the field and actually, everyone in the stands too.

The Longhorns certainly have been giving the fans a lot to cheer about. I was asked, on my way to the stands Friday night, what I thought about the outcome of the game. My answer was “No doubt about it. We are going to win.” I never dreamed however that it would be big-time. Thanks Horns for an exciting evening.

Had the privilege of meeting Howard Terpning a week ago who is the best living painter of Plains Indians. I received a phone call from Mary Zanto telling me that Mr. Terpning was at the Grand Union Hotel. I phoned immediately, left a message, and when he called the next morning, we arranged to meet a.s.a.p. He was on his way out of town with his wife, Marlies, and his agent for thirty-five years, Stewart Johnson, and his wife.

Howard and Marlies live in Tucson, AZ, and they had never been to Fort Benton before. His interest in this area was the Old Fort and he was disappointed because it has not been completed. He was also interested in researching the Nez Perce Native Americans since he is a painter of the Nez Perce and all Plains Indians.

He was an illustrator for twenty-five years for motion pictures, magazines, and newspaper editorials. He began painting in 1974 and has painted over five hundred and fifty (550) paintings of all tribes of Native Americans. He has traveled all over the United States and Europe including Russia.

I directed him and his party to the B.L.M. Visitors Center to see Chief Joseph’s surrender rifle. He said there is another place that is claiming that they have Chief Joseph’s rifle. I checked with my source, Bob Doerk, and found that Chief Joseph had many rifles but the one in the B.L.B. Visitors Center is documented as the surrender rifle.

The painting of Howard’s that hangs next to the surrender rifle is “Chief Joseph’s Ride to Surrender.” Check it out the next time you visit the B.L.M. Center. If you have not been there yet, make it a priority this week although the B.L.M. Center is open during the winter months by appointment. Call them for their hours.

You only have a few days left before the Museums close and the Old Fort Tours will be over for this year. It is so interesting historically what has been done to those buildings as far as displays. It is everything you would want to know about the Fort’s early days and more.

Did you ever see the huge log within a frame in front of the Fort? Did you wonder what it is? It took very knowledgeable, skilled men to build and operate a buffalo hide press machine. They pressed the hides into small packages for shipping. Amazing! Did you ever wonder why the Blockhouse is still standing and is the oldest building in Montana? Did you ever wonder why there was a certain door that Native Americans used at the Fort? Did you ever wonder where the trade beads came from? Did you ever want to see some of the items that were found during the archeological digs a few years ago?

Enough “did you ever” and if you have ever wondered, make your way over to the Fort at 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. this week and check it out. It will be a real treat.

On Thursday of this week, your schoolchildren will be coming home with stories about the Fort and other related subjects. Adults are welcome to be at the Fort to share with your children what activities take place that day. The 4th, 5th, and 6th graders will have the morning session and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders will be there in the afternoon. Make an effort to be there.

This Thursday will not be the last Farmers Market of the season depending on the weather. We certainly have enjoyed many treats since the market began. There have been two great months and really does not seem long enough.

This event does bring back a related story and I know that some if you will remember. Mickey Allen, (who is now 105 years old,) used to have the best corn we have ever eaten. His house was on Franklin Street and he had an extra lot next door on which he raised his garden. We would pester him each summer to find out when his corn would be ready. Sure wish we could have a few cobs of his right now. We cannot understand why he does not have a garden just because he lives at the Bluffs. He sure can dance the night away so what is so different from raising corn in a garden. (Just joshing you, Mickey.)

Front Street and Main Street look very good after the chip-sealing process. It was finished so quickly that it was not an inconvenience at all. When Skip came to my door with a handout reminder about the dates and times, I told him that I would have lemonade, iced tea and lemon bars for the guys on Friday when they did Main Street. I baked on Thursday and when I was ready to move around about 9:00 a.m. on Friday, they were finished by our house and out of sight. Well, I thought that after my 11:30 appointment I would chase them down. On my way to the appointment, they were at 21st Street but when I was finished about a half an hour later, they were gone. They were nowhere to be found and I had to eat all those lemon bars by myself.

Remember Wednesday the 23rd, Thursday the 24th, and Friday the 25th is the Chouteau County Health Fair and Blood Chemistry Screens. They are being held at the Fort Benton Elementary School from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. There is a charge for these tests but it is less expensive having them done during the Health Fair. You have to fast for at least 12 hours prior to the blood drawing except for water with your prescribed medications. Your results will be due on October 15th at the Ag Center from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Take advantage of this time saving opportunity.

By the time you read this article, it will be fall. It began at 3:18 p.m. on Tuesday and speculation runs high as to what will the weather be like this winter. It looks as though we have having summer weather this week but the cool temperature and rain on Sunday were mighty welcome. No matter what, we will just have to hang in there and takes what comes along. That is what we love about Montana.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

View From The Bridge 9/16/09

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger
In my humble opinion, there was no doubt about the outcome of the game with Stanford. Unlike the game with Chinook, which had us in doubt a good part of the way through the game, the Stanford game was a runaway. It was a game of strong defense and offence. What more could we ask for? It was an intense and exciting game and we are sure everyone is looking forward to the next confrontation with anticipation. To add to that excitement, it is Homecoming week so not only will we have the visiting team, Tri City, here but a great many alumni. Let’s put on a good show for them and make it a special weekend with just a lot of good clean fun. Go Horns.
SERVING up a story about the Volleyball Team, we have not been to a game yet but every one who has attended said they are a BALL. The NET result of each game was UP IN THE AIR. (Just kidding Lady Longhorns.) The Girls have won every game so far and they are such fun to watch. They are playing together well as a team and were really fired up last Friday and Saturday when both the Varsity and Junior Varsity won. I quote Holly McAllister who said, “There is no star on our teams, they are all stars. Their hard work is coming together and paying off.”Try to catch the games on Thursday and Saturday of this week with Highwood. Check the River Press for the times.
The Memorial Plaques have all been attached on the benches and tables with the exception of two benches at the Ag Center. My “Super-Gluers.” Myrna and Denny Allen were caught hard at work attaching the plaques. Those of you who own these benches and tables should check out your plaques.
Next Friday is Pie Day at the Golden Age Center starting at 10:00 a.m. It is open to the public and the pies are homemade. There always seems to be a good variety so enjoy your favorite and come for a social hour starting at 10:00 a.m. Bring a friend and if you have Homecoming company, bring them along. What a treat if they are from larger cities that do not have the small-town activities If those of you who are regulars each bring a friend, it would double the number of pie eaters. It is a fundraiser for the Senior Center so kindly support them. Another thought would be to buy a whole pie and take it back to your place of employment. Perhaps you are having company for the weekend and it is too hot to bake…or you just do not feel like baking…or you just are too busy preparing for the company. Whatever the reason, get over to the Center next Friday and enjoy.
Please put bells on your cats. Several people have talked to me about cats in their yards. We all talked about how many birds we used to have in our yards. We filled our bird feeders at least every other day and now the birds do not come to the feeders any longer. They seem to know that it is not safe as the yard has stray cats laying in wait for them. So please, put bells on your cats. I would do it if I could get a hold of your cat but they are so quick to get away. I would love to have my birds back.
Joyce and Ray Erbe (former teacher I am sure many of you remember) visited Fort Benton this past weekend and were guests of Kathy and Harry Buckingham. Their daughter, who lives in Missoula, made them grandparents again which precipitated the trip from Denver. A chance meeting at the Expedition on Saturday evening brought us together. It was like old-home week for them and they were in Fort Benton for a few days. They are returning to Missoula for more visiting there and then they will return to Denver. The neat thing about our visit was that Joyce said they still receive the River Press.
Only five days of summer left from the date on the front page of the River Press (the 16th.) We made a trip to Utica on Sunday and saw many trees with yellow leaves. The speculation about what kind of a winter we are going to have is the subject of most conversations lately. If you see me around town, let me know what you think especially the “old-timers” who have known some very harsh winters. We picked up my youngest son, Jerry, his wife Sherry, and grandsons Joshua, Joseph, and Josiah in Havre where they came on the train from the Detroit area at 3:00 p.m. We went to the C.M.R. football game Friday night, Gates of the Mountain on Saturday (met Grayson and Greg Bonilla there,) and to the Hay-Bale Contest on Sunday. Jerry’s comment about Montana was said in five words, “It is a different world.” Our “Big Sky” certainly showed itself off those days with its deep blue and white fluffy clouds. Today (Monday) they walked the Levee and the Boys said their favorite was “Shep.” Jerry said his was the Old Bridge and Sherry’s was everything. I think that was a very good assessment.
God bless America.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

View From The Bridge 9/9/09

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

If you were not at the contest between Chinook and Fort Benton last Friday evening, you missed a game that will not be soon forgotten. There was some doubt in the stands for most of the game and a real nail-biter but at the end, it was awesome.

We have a rule that we never leave a game until it is over. That brought to mind a Dodgers game in Great Falls when we sat through 15 innings. The stands were empty and it was near 1:00 a.m. but we hung in there. We saw some spectators leaving on Friday and they missed the last few seconds of the game when the Longhorns achieved the victory by 1 single point. The touchdown pass was caught by Klayton Sykes and the winning point kicked by Kayle Axtman made the stands go wild.

It was a beautiful evening with a full moon…the perfect football night. We seniors think that perhaps our singing of “Shine on Harvest Moon” may have added a wee bit of an incentive to the plays. You know we are behind you all the way. Go Horns, you have it made now.

Sorry, there were not enough sign-ups for the bus to travel to Stanford next Saturday. Will not be doing any more on this program since there is a lack of interest.

Ruth Carlstrom turned in this story last week. Gary was the artist who sculpted the “Cowboy” statue that stands next to the Old Bridge. He, with his wife and her sister, visited Fort Benton from East Glacier (where he does his artwork,) when Ruth was doing her shift at the Visitors Center. The women bought charm bracelets, several charms, and were given the “Cowboy” charm. Gary was given a chain with the “Cowboy” charm on it. Ruth did not have her camera with her but they took pictures of Gary and the statue and said they would send them to her. Gary told stories of working on the sculpture with George Montgomery.

George started the “Cowboy” self-portrait and had pieces of it lying all over the studio. It was at the time that George was having problems with perspective and keeping things in balance. Gary picked up pieces: a hand here and a foot there, put them in place and while George directed him, they put the pieces together. This story from Gary was “the rest of the story.”

The cottonwood trees along the Levee and in Old Fort Park are one of the attraction treasures that Fort Benton has been blessed with. The following article is my opinion about the trees and my remembrances of some stories about them. Keep in mind that I have a good memory but it is short and getting shorter by the day.

About ten years ago, while I was still on the Tree Board Committee, I had an incident that perhaps some of you remember. It was about 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, we had a few days of 90-degree weather (like this past week,) and I was on my daily walk. When I came off the Old Bridge, I decided to walk on the shady street rather than the sunny trail. (I believe that at that time the walking trail was not yet in place. When I reached the area across the street from the Price Rite, there was a very loud crack of a tree branch breaking off. (There is a reason that this happens with the high temperature and no wind but because of the Holiday weekend I could not reach the State Forestry Department. I will try to get that information for next week.) It hit the trail exactly where I would have been walking had I been on it.There was not a soul in sight and Art Bennett was working on his daughter’s house on the scaffold. He asked if I was all right and I immediately returned home to get my camera. I was in tears by this time knowing how closely I had come to being seriously hurt or the other consequence. Wally returned to the scene with me and he actually turned white when he saw the size of the limb. I called Tim (River Press editor) to take some pictures so he could develop them immediately for me to take to the Council meeting the next evening. I wanted the pictures for my own personal use and much to my surprise when the River Press came out on Wednesday; the picture was in the paper. That is why I think that some of you saw the photo and may remember the incident. I cannot remember if this incident spurred the spending of many thousands of dollars to have the trees on the Levee and in Old Fort Park trimmed but that was accomplished.

Two years ago I went to a Council meeting to ask that money be appropriated in the July budget to purchase some cottonwood trees. At the time I thought that replacement of many trees could be done and a more desirable 40 feet apart. Don Hazen explained that that would not be the proper way to do it because the smaller trees growing up with the old trees would not get the proper sun. I should concentrate on just replacing the trees that are missing. I was told, while a member of the Tree Board, that the cottonwoods would last another 100 years. I totally disagreed with that analysis.

About a month ago, I talked again with Don about replacement of five cottonwoods on the Levee that have been missing for a few years. He said that there were no monies available because of the bark beetle damage the last two years. There were trees cut down and others treated.
I then considered Plan B. I am going to ask five organizations in town to purchase one male cottonwood tree and the funds for the planting of the tree. Last week I attended the General Federation of Women’s Clubs with my request. It will be brought up to the membership at our regular meeting for a vote. I contacted one other organization to be put on their board meeting agenda but it was full and I will try again next month.In the meanwhile, I found that there is not a good selection of trees at this time, it would be more advantageous to wait until spring when there will be larger cottonwoods; they will be balled, and ready to be planted.

To strengthen this validness of this project was the breaking of another limb last Friday under the same circumstances (temperature and no wind,) The tree limb was completely rotten and fortunately it did not fall on Thursday when the Farmer’s Market was in progress. My two-eye witnesses on Friday said that it made a loud crash and fell into the street. Again, fortunately the nearest car was 10 feet away. It is so unusual for finding a parking spot on Front Street between the Grand Union and the Visitors Center Old City Hall is not always do-able.
I dearly love our old cottonwoods and if you feel the same, please support the motion when your organization brings it up for a vote. If you do not belong to any organization, please call the City Hall and let them know that you want the cottonwoods to stay on the Levee. I know that money is so tight now but there are some things that cannot wait. The trees are in bad shape and check it out for yourself.

I know that Tim will have a picture of the broken limb and I too have colored pictures. A reminder of the web site is, click on Birthplace of Montana, click on enter and the View is on the right hand side. While you are at the site check out the video on the Museums and the Old Fort, which are brand new and viewable at

Children’s Heritage Day is scheduled for Thursday, September 24, at the site of the Historic Old Fort Benton. Children’s Heritage Day is sponsored by the River & Plains Society in partnership with the Fort Benton Elementary School.

The morning sessions for grades 4, 5, and 6 begins at 8:45 a.m. and grades K, 1, 2, and 3 begins at 12:45 p.m. For the first time since some time before 1869, the Fort’s cannon will be fired to welcome the visitors to the Fort.

This year the students will explore the interaction between the Fort Traders and the American Indians…for instance how did they communicate when most did not speak the other’s language? What kind of survival skills did the American Traders learn from the Indian’s to enable them to survive on the Northern Plains? What kind of trade goods were made at the Fort because they were in demand from our trading partners?

The students will visit these stations where they will learn American Indian Sign Language, how to start a fire using only a piece of steel and a flint, and watch a blacksmith and silversmith create trade goods.

This year’s presenters are member of the Manuel Lisa Party of the Montana Brigade of the American Mountain Men. The presenters are Gene Hickman, Paul Degel, Walt Walker, Glen Goldthwait, John Kroskey, Mike Nottingham, and Bruce “Burnt Spoon” Druliner. Adults are welcome to stop by and observe.

By this coming weekend we will be half way into September. I wish someone could tell me how the days are flying by so quickly. God bless America, Montana, Chouteau County, and Fort Benton.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

View From The Bridge 9/2/09

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

What a great turnout for the first game of the season at Centerville. The team certainly had a great deal of support from their devoted families and fans. Who even knew there was a Centerville and where it was? We now know and it lies in a little secluded valley just south of Great Falls. While sitting in the stands, we were facing a high hill. There were horses on the hill and they put on quite a show galloping down the hill to the water trough. It became very hot as the afternoon wore on and it was a long game. One would think that it would be shorter as everything else is shorter…the width and length of the field (a try here at a little humor.)

It is very uncomfortable when anyone of the players is injured and there were a few of those incidences. To the injured players, get lots of good rest, and we will see you again this coming Friday night at our home field. It must take a bit of adjustment on your part, to play 8-man instead of 11-man. Go horns, we are so proud of you.

I have the names, this past week, of six (6) people who would like to ride the Community Bus to the away football games. I need seven (7) more commitments before any arrangements can be made. Perhaps I was not very clear about who could ride the bus…it was not just for seniors but for anyone who would like to ride.

There are two (2) Varsity away games. The first is with Belt (Friday, October 2) and Chester (Friday, October 23) at 7:30 in the evening which means driving back to Fort Benton in the dark. The other away Varsity game at 1:00 p.m. is in Stanford (Saturday, September 12.) If there is a need for the bus for JV games, you will have to contact me to make the arrangements. Just remember that you will need thirteen (13) people.

Did you happen to see the group of photographers around town and camped in the Park at the end of last week? They were from the University of Montana’s Journalism Department doing a photo documentary about Fort Benton. There were twelve (12) specific photographic assignments such as following Burnt Spoon on his Old Fort Tour, following the EMT’s, following Bob Doerk to see the Hornaday Buffalo/Archives offices, and the Golden Age Center to mention a few.

I was able to converse with two photographers. The first was a young woman, Emily, who had just moved to Montana eight days before. I told her how lucky she was to be in the most wonderful town in Montana before any other town. She came from North Carolina to Missoula to the University of Montana and it was quite an adventure for her. She was in awe of our state but was a bit apprehensive about the winters. She came from an area were they do not know snow. Since I was not sure about Missoula winters, I could not assure her that she could handle it. Does Missoula have Chinooks?

I met the second photographer at the Studio Salon. Austin was assigned to work with the EMT’s and had come into the shop with Debbie Gessaman to talk with Kim Pimperton. They had an EMT call at 5:30 that morning and they were a wee bit tired. I asked if he knew William Marcus who produces the “Backroads of Montana” program for PBS. (If you do not watch this program, you are missing a real treat. It usually comes on Saturday at 5:30 on PBS.) The young man said, “No, but I covered all the back roads in the Knees yesterday.” Emily said she would contact me with the web site that they were setting up. The pictures they took should be on that web site soon. Will keep you informed.

The Memorial Plaques were being held because two of the benches are not yet in place (at the Ag Center…not the Levee…to whom it may concern.) Today (Sunday) I took the list and the plaques to Myrna and Denny Allen (my super-gluers) for application to the benches and tables. The weather is a consideration and barring very hot or rainy weather, the plaques will be on soon. When you take your walks or have a picnic lunch at a table, please remember those loved ones named on the plaques. The plaques (they are 8 in. x 10 in.) on Mary Tanner’s table across from the Freeze (where she used to sit when she had an ice cream treat) and at the Sunrise Bluffs are a history lesson. Her daughters did a wonderful job of writing a tribute of her fascinating story.

At Marion Smith’s funeral luncheon, Madeline Ragland introduced me to her daughter, Ginger who lives in Townsend, MT in the summer and Peoria, AZ during the terrible blizzard time in MT during the winter (this statement is for all those unlucky people who do not live here.) She wanted to tell me how pleased the family was that their Memorial Bench was placed across the street from where the grocery store was located. (It is the bench next to the Old Bridge and the grocery store was in the back end of the Benton State Bank building.)

She then related a story about the Old Bridge and the Ragland Grocery Store. When the farmers came across the bridge with their truckloads of grain, they would stop in front of the grocery store and Madeline would take their hand written lists from them. Upon the farmers return from the elevator, the orders would be delivered right to the truck so they did not have to get out of the vehicle. Those were the days that were known as “The Good Old Days.” That is a great story and I again urged the Raglands to bring their stories and pictures to the Joel Overholser Research Center for the archives. This goes for all of you who are interested in preserving the history of your family, Fort Benton, Chouteau County and the State of Montana.

It is my favorite month of the year. It is still summer by the calendar but the nights are cool. All the meetings start so one can visit with their friends they may not have seen all summer. Actually, we cannot say that here in Fort Benton, can we because we had so many activities going on these last few months. However, it begins a flurry of activities that will last until next summer. There is no slowing down time, so enjoy every minute of every day. The leaves on the trees will slowly begin to turn and before you know it, they are ablaze with color. It is time to get your snow shovels from their storage place and put the snow/ice scrappers in your vehicles (just in case.) Have your antifreeze checked and your “survival kit” to contain a flashlight (extra batteries), a candle, matches, a blanket or two, a shovel, a covered pail with sand and most of all…food. Don’t you just hate it when I remind you of things like this?

If you smiled all day on Tuesday, September 1st, then keep up the good work. Along with the smile, do one good deed a day even if it is a phone call to a friend, someone who has been ill or someone in need. God bless America, Fort Benton, Chouteau County, and Montana.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

View From The Bridge 8/26/2009

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

Starting August 31st (Monday) the Center will revert to the May-September schedule. Ruth will have the 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. schedule posted at the Center. Check it out. The Center needs more volunteers for Mondays. If you have some spare time, sign up for a two-hour shift. It would help tremendously.
Are we ready for some football? Cannot wait until Saturday. Never thought I would be so excited for a football season to start. When I stopped at the gate to buy my parking ticket for the Chouteau County Fair, there were two young men collecting for the Lions Club. When I paid, one of them asked me if I would like to buy a “Longhorn Gold Card” (which is a good deal.) I was not prepared to buy a card just then but said they if they would come to the house I would buy two. I asked if they knew where I lived and they said that they did. I asked if they were football players and they said they were. I said that I had just written a small blurb about the team and one young man said that he knew because he reads my column. Keep up the good work Reece.
Would like to mention here, that there have been no phone calls regarding the community bus travel to away football games. Cannot understand why there are not a few fans who do not want to drive long distances and/or at night? Perhaps it is because football fans do not read this column so for those of you who do, spread the word. It will probably be too late for this coming Saturday’s game but perhaps the next away game.
Two weeks ago a man came into the Ag Center looking for the 5,000,000th International Harvester Model f-1066 Farmall tractor. He read an article in a magazine that told about this particular tractor and that it was located in a museum in Montana (very vague.) The man contacted the magazine for the writer of the article and learned that museum was in Fort Benton, MT. He drove from CA and was very excited that he had found his treasure. He belongs to an International Harvester Collectors organization. Donna was on duty and knew exactly where to take him. He left the museum without signing the book and we have no way of sending him more information. I had overheard the conversation and at the Overholser Research Center, I checked out this 5,000,000th tractor. It rolled off the assembly line on February 1, 1974 at IH’s Farmall Plant in Rock Island, Illinois. For the next two years, it was featured at fairs, conventions, and shows all across the United States. On September 26, 1976, it was offered at auction to all IH dealers and out of 177 entries, the Montana IH dealer group submitted the winning bid of $40,086.86. It was then displayed at thirteen dealerships around the state. In June of 1995, the dealers voted to send the tractor to Fort Benton’s Ag Museum. It was in the Summer Celebration Parade of 2009.
Perhaps you readers remember the February 25, 2009 River Press article about the tractor being taken to the IH Collectors National Winter Convention in Waterloo, Iowa. If you want to know more about this tractor, I encourage you to a visit to the Ag Museum. You will not be disappointed but excited to experience the best museum in Montana. Most of the visitors who tour the museum will attest to that statement. End of commercial.

Received a call from Dusty Keuhner who was at her shift at the Visitors Center. She thought I might like to talk to two women who had come to research the above-mentioned man. I met with them on Monday evening at the Grand Union. Dr. Debbie Davis is Bucknum’s kin and she would like to write a book about his scouting adventures in and around Fort Benton.
Her step-first-cousin-once-removed, Susan Nordell, came on the train from Mission Viejo, CA for support and because she was related to the Henry Rowe family. Much to her surprise, she found that Wally Morger is a cousin of hers as their Great-grandmother was Mary Ann Rowe. This was Susan’s first trip to Montana and Fort Benton. She was in awe of what she saw. They both said that they would return to Fort Benton. They came to the Research Center on Tuesday and exchanged pictures and information about C.K. Bucknum. You will have to wait until her book is published to get the details of his life that turned up as quite adventurous.
She was a very special lady in so many ways. Each time I would find an article about her at the Research Center; I would photocopy and drop it off at the Nursing Home. As a young woman, she traveled extensively and wrote for the River Press an accounting of her trips. They almost filled a whole page. There were many more articles about her time as the first woman mayor of Fort Benton. She was very bright, articulate and always spoke her mind. There are so many of us that loved her and will remember her always. So long for now dear friend, who loved Fort Benton and Montana with a passion.
What a marvelous evening and wish that tasting could be done every week as you had to pick and choose. Each year we have to pick a different food and it will take us many more years to get around to all the vendors. It was the perfect evening…warm and comfortable. There was the thoroughly enjoyable entertainment of Burnt Spoon who had us “Sing-Along” many times, had quizzes about songs/writers of songs, and sang songs that we have never heard before. Everyone was happy that the event had been postponed from several weeks ago when it was cold and damp. Good show, Farmers Market Committee.
Kim Kelly Anderson’s hometown is Fallon, NV and she moved to Missoula, MT four years ago and received a degree in Social Work from the University of Montana. She was then able to take classes for her Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from Walla Walla University in Missoula. Her employer said there was an opening in Fort Benton and each time they had a discussion, he would bring the subject up again. He talked about it so much that she decided she would come across the mountains to see why she was told that she would love it. The first part of June she arrived and met with Superintendent Scott. The rest of the story is that she immediately fell in love with Fort Benton, but you readers all knew how the story would end. I give Tim, at the River Press, credit for scooping me but know that he will be reporting more on her job. I have the more personal report and spent some enjoyable time with her this afternoon (Monday.) She is renting Audra Morger, Greg and Grayson (our grandson) Bonilla’s house. My most important question to Kim was, “Do I have a grandmother’s clause (like grandfather’s rights) to park in her driveway.” She said I most certainly did. Welcome to Fort Benton Kim. We are happy to have you here with your two darling children.
What a gorgeous day we had today. Would like a couple more weeks like this with perhaps a little rain during the night. Take good care, wear your seat belts in town and God bless America, Montana and Fort Benton.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

View From The Bridge 8/19/2009

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

Heard at the Center…”You are so lucky you live here.”

On Friday the 21st of August at 2:00 p.m., the Golden Age Senior Center is having an old fashioned home-made ice cream party. This event is one of a few they hold that help support the Center so give them your support. It looks as though it is going to be very warm by the end of the week so a dish of homemade ice cream sounds soooooooo good. You know, you can bring your children and grandchildren. It is not just for Seniors Citizens, it is open to the public.

The last two weeks, since the first scheduled “Taste” was to take place, have just flown by. The food providers are now all in readiness to give us another great eating experience. The menus have been printed in the River Press so I will not go into that and what a choice your taste buds will enjoy. I will urge you to be there (just a reminder that it will be between the Fire Hall and the Grand Union.) Actually, I do not have to do much urging because this is a very well attended event. Fort Benton has had such a great eventful summer! Haven’t we had a great ’09 with all the entertaining events including all sports events at the high school, the swimming pool, happenings at the Chouteau County Free Library, Chouteau County Performing Arts, Summer Celebration, Farmer’s Market, The Old West Trio in the park and on patio of Grand Union, Shakespeare in the Park, the Fair, weddings and personal family get-togethers (I know that I have forgotten some of them.) There is never a dull moment and you certainly cannot be bored. If you are, just give me a call and I will “un-bore” you with things to do. Of course, it may be volunteering.

All is fair at the Fair. All the food you could possibly want, all the entertainment, all the getting together with friends and family, and all in all a wonderful weekend. Even the weather did not put a damper on the festivities. We covered all the exhibits and would like to see a little more participation in the food categories. I am just as guilty. Every year I promise myself that I will enter and time just gets away. I promise for next year, how about you?

I viewed all the animal exhibits (the cattle, the chickens, the pigs, and the sheep) with my grandson Grayson. The Petting Zoo and the Aussie Show were always crowded with children. The Pig Wrestling was a riot, the Rodeo was spectacular and the Derby (one child called it the Bumper Cars,) was one of the very best. A few years ago there was a Derby in which a car was bumped and rolled over (do you remember that one?) It is though so enjoyable to watch a show where someone is not going to get into an accident or hurt. It is just loads of fun and you can be happy that you are not in the arena being bumped around. To all the names mentioned at the Derby, we are so grateful that you take the time to do what you do. We do not ever want to end our Chouteau County Fair and you do a superb job of keeping it going.

A couple of weeks ago you read the story about a canoe that was built by the inmates of the prison at Deer Lodge. Shoni and Ron said when they returned from their trip down the Missouri, they would send a picture of the canoe. The pictures arrived this past week. I hope you enjoy them. Shoni and Ron’s adventures will be forthcoming.

Another of my errors (I’m doing that a lot lately) was a few weeks ago when I reported on the rare bird seen by Wayne Loving that I did not tell you that you could only see the picture on this blog. It could not be printed in the River Press because it was in color. If you are interested in the pictures, you can go back on the blog to past issues and view them. They are so intriguing and I was told that the Great Falls Tribune picked up the story.

With the first football game (an away game) scheduled for Saturday the 29th of August, I am trying to work up a way to get to the games that are a distance away and those that would result in driving home when it is dark. The school system cannot provide us with a bus because if it does it for the boy’s games, then it has to be furnished for the girl’s games. Many times they are being played at the same time. I am trying to get the Community Bus but there are rules and regulations there too. Handicapped and Senior Citizens have first priority. The football games are all within the distance limit. The limit of persons on the community bus is thirteen (13.) The bus fee is donation only, which is not a problem but availability of the driver is. What I need from you fans is a commitment to use this service. Please call me at 622-3217 (after 1:00 p.m.) by Sunday the 23rd. I will have more details by the next River Press issue as to what the final plans are. It may be a week to week advisory as the schedule of the games is not very reliable because of referee shortages.

These are the last two lines of the analysis and they cannot be one without the other. “You are, in the final analysis, it’s all between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” Mother Theresa. If you would like a copy, let me know and I will run one off for you. God has blessed America, Montana, and Fort Benton.

Monday, August 10, 2009

View From The Bridge 8/12/09

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

I know this is the news that you all have been waiting for…the first 8-man football game of the new ’09 season. It will be at Centerville on Saturday, August 29th and that isn’t a long way to travel. On Monday, the 31st the J.V. will play Centerville here in Fort Benton. On Friday, the 4th of September, there will be a home game with Chinook. Go Horns. We all support you. Everyone in town will be rootin’ for you because we know that the team is a powerhouse. You are the best entertainment in town. Mark your calendars.

Grandmother, Ruth Carlstrom, has taken her grandchildren on a trip to Costa Rica. Those of us at the Visitors Information Center miss her and although we know she is having a grand time, we will be happy to see her back in Fort Benton. Stella Scott, president of the Chamber of Commerce, has been covering for Ruth and that is a huge shoe to fit. The best part about going away, for whatever reason, is the coming back home. There is no place like home.

Having come from the “big city”, the sound of the County Fair is exciting to me. I loved all the “entries contests,” including the Art Exhibit, the Flower Exhibit, the Garden Exhibit, and the Elementary School Exhibit of last year. The Pig Wrestling was hysterical although I thought the little and younger kiddos should get a little more time. Then it is time to eat and we come to the food vendors. We cover them all in three days and you are at liberty to eat anything you want with no thought about if it is good for you or not. It is not that it is not good because it is all too good to the taste buds. Go at it friends.

The Rodeo is drawing more participants and more audience each year. Go, enjoy, and be glad you are not on that bucking horse. We finally get to Sunday evening (so happy that changed it back from Saturday) to the Demolition Derby. When I moved to Fort Benton sixteen years ago in June, the Fair was as usual in August, and Wally said we were going to the Derby. I had never in my life had seen one or even heard of one. I tagged along unwillingly because I could not think of a reason to get out of it. Well, guess who yelled the loudest and continues to do that every year. I actually have a sore throat from the event. Well, see you at the Fair and “don’t tell me the lights are shining anywhere but there.” (I just watched “Meet me in St. Louis” last weekend with Judy Garland.)

When the Memorial Bench program began a few years ago, I mentioned that another idea would be to purchase a cottonwood tree. I was on the Tree Board at the time but the idea did
not seem to catch on as the benches did. A couple of years ago I asked again at a Council meeting if money could be appropriated in the next budget to replace about five (5) spaces where the trees were needed. Nothing transpired and this past week I talked with a member of the Tree Board and asked again about the cottonwoods. I was told that because of the pine beetle a great deal of money was used to either protect trees or cut them down.

Therefore, my original thought about a tree for a Memorial has come back to mind and I offer it as a suggestion once again. We are working on a price that would include the tree, the planting, and a plaque of some sort. Just think about it and if the time comes that you would consider it, contact me.

Do you remember Connie Wood Thompson who used to write the above article for the River Press? We went to Conrad last week for a funeral and afterward tried to locate Connie. We found her residence but in conversing with a neighbor, we were informed she was at the nursing home caring for her husband. Connie very faithfully went to the home every day when Vernon (Wally’s classmate from Class of ’41) was there. Now she, having remarried, is going every day to do what she can to take care of Roland Thompson who is 100 years old, and has been in the home for nine (9) months.

We tried to call Connie that evening but the number is disconnected. If any one knows how we can get in touch with her, (she may have a cell phone now) please call 622-3217 after 1:00 p.m. (I am hoping that Kippy Schuler gets the River Press because she would know. We miss hearing about you too Kippy.)

As most of you know, Audra, Greg, and Grayson Bonilla are moving to Helena next weekend. If ever there was anyone in Fort Benton who loves our town…it is this family. Audra was raised in Fort Benton, graduated from Fort Benton High School, and graduated from the University of Montana where she realized her ambition to teach English. She and Greg moved to Berkley, CA while he attended law school. They returned to Fort Benton and settled down to raise a family. Grayson was born in 2001 and made life very exciting not only for our family but for the “other grandparents.” Hilda and Greg Bonilla moved to Fort Benton in 2003 and we share Grayson’s adventures. Audra and Greg love Fort Benton very much. Who would not when six hundred and seventy people showed up at the Ag Center for Audra’s cancer fundraiser? Only in Montana and only in Fort Benton.

Grayson wanted me to tell all of his friends from the First Christian Church Pre-school and Fort Benton Elementary that he will miss them. He would like to keep in touch by phone or e-mail (I will let you know the number and address later.) He will come to visit often (Audra promised at least once a month,) and if you are in the Helena area give them a call. They will be happy to hear from you but you will have to get in line after the grandmothers.

The sixth line is, “If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous. Be happy anyway.” Mother Theresa.

God Bless American, Montana, and Fort Benton.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

View From The Bridge 8/5/09

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

Come on you bright people out there. This was supposed to be a fun project. I have received three entries and two were from out of town. I want to hear from my Writers Group, Friends of the Library, Chamber of Commerce members, C.I.A. members, teachers and staff at the Fort Benton High School and Fort Benton Elementary School because at this time you may not be as busy as when meetings and work start not too long from now. I would like Veterans groups, the Hospital and Clinic employees, and all other readers of the River Press to put on their thinking caps and come up with some great names. Again, call my cell phone (after 9:00 a.m.) at 406-899-1380.

I also would like six volunteer judges. (If you are a judge, you will not have to do an entry.) I expect those positions will be easy to fill. Call above number. I would like to have this completed in the next two weeks as the summer is quickly getting away from us. “Funny how time slips away.”

I just returned this afternoon (Sunday) from White Sulphur after two great days at their annual book festival (my 3rd year.) This years’ theme was...MYSTERIES. There are a few book festivals around the state but this one is smaller and you do not have to choose which authors you want to listen to. It is so interesting to listen to the stories the authors have to tell about how they write. One author writes 5,000 words a day and finishes a book in 5 days (unbelievable and he does not use a computer but a Royal typewriter.) Another took 2 years to write his book. All the authors did mini workshops on how they wrote their novels, where they got their ideas, and how successful they were or were not. All present Sunday morning, put their thoughts together and came up with a mystery story line. It was about a grain elevator murder (or was it an accident?) We hope that someone that attended will write a book with all of our ideas.

It is such a beautiful ride to White Sulphur by way of Highwood, Belt, Monarch, Neihart, and King’s Hill. I could see the ski trails very clearly. We have connections with White Sulphur Springs and the Performing Arts programs. Some of the groups that entertain in Fort Benton either will have been in White Sulphur or are going there. They are smaller than our town with a population of about 1,000 people. Many of the attendees have been to Fort Benton and love it. It is always so good to hear that.

In last weeks USA Magazine, that comes with the Sunday Tribune, there was an article that named the five best places to retire in the United States. The #1 town was Helena, MT and in 5th place was Butte-Silver Bow. The magazine considered recreation areas and cost of homes. That should bring a few more people to Montana like it or not.

Lillian, what a great idea. I wish I had thought of it. I like to read your article because you tell it like it is. I am a little squeamish about some sensitive subjects but I have been told that a journalist (I guess that is what we are) has license to say whatever they like (freedom of speech.) We may be right or we may be wrong and the reader can make up his or her own mind.

We appreciate that the employees of the businesses across the street from the Visitors Information Center are leaving parking places close to the Center open for Visitor parking. It has been a tremendous help in the last few weeks and we need all the help we can get. The True Value Hardware is especially helpful by keeping our key for us and often helping to put up the flags or taking them down. We older volunteers cannot lift the flags and I was helped several times when a storm came up and the flags had to come in before the rains came.

The new Fort Benton brochures are in and they are very attractive. I mentioned a few weeks ago that the “Events Calendar” would be in soon although according to other years, they should have arrived in April. There will be no Events Calendars this year. I was informed that Events Calendars are in each of the "Tourism Country" books. The problem with that is that is only shows the events in each Country so I hope that each of you pick up a copy of Russell Country. The calendar is in the middle of the book. If you travel around the state frequently, then you would have pick up the books (6) from each country. I think that is inconvenient but then I am not the president and no one asked my advice.

Harvest is well on its way. Can you believe that school will be starting at the end of this month? Next week I will try to have the first football game date. The Chouteau County Fair is a week from Friday. All meetings of organizations start next month and Pie Day at the Golden Age will be on again. City Council meetings are the only ones that do not have a hiatus. I believe it is very important to attend Council meetings especially since there will be a change of the mayoral office this fall.

I was told, when I wrote about a Community Calendar on the Chamber website, a comment was made “Good luck!” It has been tried before unsuccessfully. There is a calendar on the Fort Benton website and a calendar in the River Press but the calendar that Ruth Carlstrom and I wanted was a social and entertainment one. We hoped that it would help with avoiding two events on the same day or evening. I will try a different path in the next couple of weeks to reach all presidents of organizations and owners of businesses. The project may work a bit better with personal contact.

The fifth line reads…”What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight. Build anyway.” Mother Theresa.