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.