Tuesday, May 11, 2010

View From The Bridge 5/12/2010

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

By the time you read this, the Friends of the Library will have met with Jamie Ford, author of “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.” I am eager to report next week on how that goes. I am also sad that this will be our last meeting of the season to meet, read, and discuss a chosen book. Cindy Lenington has never failed us yet with gathering up a bundle of the same title books for The Friends to enjoy. We will gather again next September so consider joining us for reading fellowship for your enjoyment.

It is 3:30 p.m. and I am sitting at my computer beginning this week’s View. This morning we drove all around town checking out the lilac bushes, flower gardens and the budding of trees. What a beautiful town we have.

At 3:45, it began raining for a few minutes followed by a beautiful blue sky with fluffy white clouds. At 4:00 the sun disappeared, it became overcast, although the deck floor had dried. It is now 4:35 and the sun is out again brighter than ever but no blue skies yet. I kept going to the kitchen window to see if there was a rainbow but to no avail. I was informed that there was the most beautiful rainbow seen on the way home from Great Falls at 7:30 that evening. I missed it.

I wonder what it was like where you are. I am sure that you have noticed the weather line difference at Carter and Loma. Traveling from Fort Benton to Great Falls can either be stormy from here to Carter or calm from there to Great Falls. However, it can be the opposite…calm from Fort Benton to Carter and stormy from there to Great Falls. I have been told that the same weather pattern holds true from Fort Benton to Loma.

I hope that you are taking advantage of the Weather Station on the Fort Benton website. Want the John Good Agency and Rodger Hankins to know how appreciative we feel the site is. I must check with Sharalee Smith to see how many hits (I think that is what they call it) the Weather Station gets.

I know the last thing you want to hear about is snow. I have wanted to write about this for several months, when the need was the greatest, but could not work it into the column. This subject has come up many times in the last few months among Senior Citizens.

When I moved to Fort Benton 17 years ago, during the winter months of 93-94, we had people knocking on our door with each snowstorm. “Can I clean your walks?” Now, when we really need it, no one comes at all. We are willing to pay a fair wage, actually more than willing. We not only cannot lift heavy snow but we cannot tolerate the cold for any length of time.

My adopted/sister friend, Helen O’Hara, counted the widows and widowers, and the count was in the 60’s. How I dislike seeing those senior men and women struggling to shovel their snow and or we do not do it at all.

So…perhaps by next winter, some young entrepreneur will organize a snow shoveling business. We seniors would phone and like magic would appear a person with a snow shovel in hand. The pay scale would be worked out according to time spent. The advantage would be sidewalks would be cleared at all times and not pose a problem for those using those them.

There was a controversy in Great Falls last winter about giving tickets to people who did not clean their walks. It mentioned Postal carriers but we do not have that problem. We do have Commissioners and Court House employees walking by our house for lunch but none of them has ever complained about us not shoveling the snow. We always tried to do at least one run with the shovel down the middle of the walk

I know that you are probably asking why mention this now. None of us wants to think about snow since we had our share this past winter (and spring.) Someone out there has about 5 to 6 months to think about starting a business, which would benefit the community. Someone could “Make a Difference.”

As of last week, about 40 people have signed up for the Conference. If you plan to attend, it would be a good idea to do it in the next few days. There is a great deal of planning for any event like this and it is always a great help to know how many people are attending. Seating arrangements and food preparation are a big part of the planning. You certainly do not want to prepare too much food but even worse…not to have enough food. I sure am happy that I do not have to make those kinds of decisions.

It has taken months of preparation to put together an event like this that has people attending from all over the country. Call the Ag Center (622-5316 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00) to register or go on line to the Fort Benton web site if you are proficient on the computer. I am not and would end up ordering a trip on a steamboat or a ticket to Walla Walla on a bus. Trust me, it has happened before.

My computer is so smart; it is one-step ahead of me every time. I used to say that it hated me and I did not particularly like it. That has changed a bit since I got high-speed internet. I like it now and I think it tolerates my mistakes and me. At least we agree to disagree.

On May the 18th and 19th, there is a Recycling Workshop in Conrad. It is sponsored by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. Because I am Conservation Chairperson of the General Federation of Women’s Club of Fort Benton, I received the information and I am going to attend. I would like to input some enthusiasm to those of you who have an interest in a recycling project here in Fort Benton to join me. Most people that I talk to, agree that we need recycling here.

The only project that my chairperson position is doing now is the trash pickup of the Highway from the curve on St. Charles St. to Highway 87, twice a year. Rita Elliott did the job previously. Karen Giles is my Co-chairperson and has organized the pickup the last two years since I am no longer able. She said I could do the paper work and she would do the physical work.

A few years ago, I did make an effort to get a recycling program started by contacting the Montana Waste Systems, Inc. director, Roger Bridgeford, in Great Falls. He told me that it was cost prohibitive to come to Fort Benton to pick up recycled products. I asked him if he would come to the Woman’s Club meeting as our guest and tell this to them. He would have more influence than I do in explaining the situation. He did make the trip to one of our meetings and got the point over to the attendees. So much for that try.

Now this opportunity has come up. Rachel Perry, who is the Executive Director of the Cooperative Teamwork & Recycling Assistance Program from Texas, will be one of the speakers. Their program was successful with over 60 rural cooperatives that represent more than 500 public, private, and nonprofit entities. In 2009, over 7,250 tons of materials were recycled by these organizations. Awesome!

The day and a half workshop will examine ways by partnering with other rural communities, to reduce the amount of materials land filled, methods of collecting recyclable materials, transportation issues in Montana, (that is our problem here in Fort Benton,) recycling markets available to Montana, and how composting can be used to reduce land filled waste. On May 18th, the workshop will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. The next day, the 19th, the workshop will be from 8:00 a.m. to noon. This workshop will take place at the Stage Stop Inn. There is no cost except if you have to stay overnight.

If you are interested, please contact Kathy O’Hern at 406-841-5215 for any questions or for registering. Please let me know if you are attending and perhaps we could car-pool. My phone is 899-1380.

Don’t forget about the Fishing Derby next week starting on Friday, May 21st through Sunday, May 23rd. I told you about it in previous issues but if you need information go to www.fortbenton.com/derby or call Tom Willson at 621-5592.

“Show me a person who is devastated when lives are lost or maimed, and I’ll show you a volunteer.” I know that I keep harping on this subject and the reason is that we need volunteers. Volunteer today.

By the time you read this, the month of May will be almost half over. Time flies when you are having fun so enjoy every minute of every day. God bless America.