“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
To Web Cam or not to Web Cam…that is the question. What a great time I have had this past week trying to track down what happened to the camera that once had its home on the Benton Pharmacy Building. I had discovered a few weeks ago that the camera was no longer, where I thought it was, but it now resided up on the hill somewhere between the Shep burial ground and the Signal Point Golf Course in the TV Translator shack.
I had finally found the time to notify my adult children that I would wave to them via Web Cam at the Shep statue at a specific time. I check out the site and find I am looking at Fort Benton town from atop the hill and my kids could not possible see me by the Shep statue.
My second awareness was a letter to the Editor in last weeks River Press, from Sharon (Morrison) Manchester who resides in Las Vegas, NV. and basically would like to have the camera back at the Pharmacy Building. She and many others, as I was soon to find out.
I phoned Sharon and she was a wealth of information about how great the camera was in her life. She checked the site several times a day. She also said that she could watch the Summer Celebration Parades and her friends waved to her from the Shep Statue. (This opens up a whole avenue of the web cam site to those of you who live elsewhere or cannot make it to Front Street for the Parade but there is a trick to doing this.) Since it would cost a fortune and use all of the band width to have the video camera stream the scene live, you would have to click on Refresh and get a new picture every 30 seconds. Sharon could not make her 40th Class Reunion last June but her friends waved to her from their float. Who could ask for anything more?
Another story from Randy Morger in favor of the cam site was at the time he was still living in New Hampshire. One day he brought up the Fort Benton site to show some of his friends where his hometown was located. They were very skeptical so Randy said, “Watch this.” He phoned Roger Axtman at Fort Benton Realty and asked him to walk over to the Shep Statue and wave. Roger complied and the non-believers were amazed. Randy said, “And not only is that my home town, that is my first cousin.”
Still another very amusing story comes from Denny Allen. When he first moved to Fort Benton, after living in southern California for 36 years, he began his landscaping. He hauled loads of a good fertilizer from the Fairgrounds in his truck. His friends at T.R.W. were notified to direct their computers to the Fort Benton Web Cam and he drove up and down Front Street four times before they caught him on the street hauling manure.
You must be wondering what happened to the old camera. Well, it blew up, ceased to function, and in other words was no longer doing what it was supposed to do. Roger Hankins had another inexpensive camera that needed to be covered, unlike the other camera that was outside in all kinds of weather. The covered building up on the hill suited the purpose and there it is. He paid for, maintained the old camera for fifteen years, and is no longer able to accommodate the cost of a new camera.
I also did a survey in the last few days and this is what I found. I interviewed ten (10) people who used their computers for pleasure (is there such a thing when dealing with a computer.) Question: Do you access the Fort Benton web site? Two said occasionally, one said that three of her adult children did, and seven said they did. Question: Do you access the Web Cam? Five answered yes and five were no’s. Question: Did you know that the Web Cam was no longer on the Levee site? Two answered yes and eight answered no (or were told by another person.) Question: Would you like the Web Cam back in its’ original position? There were ten (10) yes answers.
Check the River Press next week for a possible solution to the Web Cam problem. There are a couple of people working on the project and if you have any ideas, pass them along.
It will be just over a week, when you receive your River Press, which the other Performing Arts Board Members from other small communities and the Showcasing performers will arrive in town. Put January 30th on your calendar and spend the whole day enjoying the show. It begins at 9:00 a.m. but arrive at the Elementary School about 8:45 a.m. for the beginning of the program. The doors will be closed when it begins and if you are not in time, you will have to wait for that particular Showcase to end. They are about 15 minutes long and having been to a Consortium before; I know that the schedules are very strict for the performers. The timetable will be adhered to without deviation.
Mark your calendars now for Wednesday, February 3rd at 7:00 p.m. at the Fort Benton Elementary Auditorium for the Foothills Brass. This quintet covers every possible kind of music from contemporary classical, country/western, and ballet all in one show. They will keep your toes tapping and humming to some of your favorites like The Entertainer, Darktown Strutter’s Ball, and even Beatles tunes. Please invite everyone you know to attend this and the other C.C.P.A. presentations. This group is fabulous and you will enjoy a wonderful musical evening. Let’s pack that auditorium of all of the 397 seats (I know three are broken on the left side.) Is there someone out there who would like to take on the job of getting the seats repaired?
CANCER FUND RAISER
Two days after the C.C.P.A., February 5th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00, there will be the soup and chili supper followed by the Chairs of Caring Auction. Please make an effort to be there and learn how you can help your neighbors affected by cancer. I have heard through the grape vine that the Chairs of Caring (painted by local artists) are such treasures. If you are one of the lucky ones to bid on and get one of the chairs, you will be the winner in helping a worthy organization. Bring all of your friends. Make it a real community event.
MORE OF THE 1936 ICE FREEZE
This continues Wally’s story of the 1936 winter freeze. Early in March, there was a very unusual rainstorm. The weather had turned warm and the ice began to break up. The rainwater from the Shonkin and Highwood Mts. ran into the creeks and then into the Missouri. There were huge torrents of water rushing down and causing flooding. The ice was breaking up in sixty (60) ft. lengths and as the water brought them down the river, they would go up on end to a height of twenty-five (25) or thirty (30) feet. They would then crash back into the river causing huge waves. There was fear that the ice would demolish the Old Bridge and although some of the chunks did reach the bottom of the bridge, they did not do any damage. It was quite a remarkable sight and the sound of those crashing pillars is still remembered.
Well, that is quite enough to absorb for this week. Enjoy the warmer weather (don’t you love going out without a coat.) Remember our Troops overseas. When I was leaving my surgeon’s office (after final checkup and release,) I met two National Guardsmen. I thanked them for what they were doing and asked if they had yet been deployed. They said that they were getting prepared for their third time departure. I think of those two brave people every day and pray for their safe return. God bless America.