Tuesday, May 25, 2010

View From The Bridge 5/26/10

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

I believe this is the best Lilac bloom we have had in many years. Our bushes and trees have been frozen at budding time for many seasons. We ride around town as often as we can to enjoy seeing and smelling the blooms. Most of the Lilacs are the pale orchid color but a few homes have the very dark purple and we also saw several white ones. Take a ride today before they are gone.

There were 40 participants in the Recycle Workshop in Choteau, a full day on Tuesday, May 18th and half a day on Wednesday the 19th. What I learned from this workshop was that Fort Benton needs Raising Awareness, Communication, Organization, A Key-Person, Volunteers (worker bees,) Motivation, Information, and Incentives. The question is; do you want to reduce, reuse, and recycle? By recycling, you will divert from the landfills 80% of your residential waste. Montana residents produce approximately 9.3 lbs. of refuse a day that is twice the average of the rest of the country. On a Recycling Guide from the inter-net it says, “Recycling MUST be an integral part in every Montana citizen’s daily life.”

Let us start with Raising Awareness. Organizing a Town Meeting may be the first step. That would include everyone from the City Hall, the Commissioners, all Business Owners, Hospital and Clinic Personnel, Fire Department Volunteers, Police, and Sheriff Personnel, Elementary and High School Personnel, all other residents, and anyone I have failed to mention who lives in Fort Benton. We also need to include Carter, Geraldine, Highwood, and Loma. This is a County project and partnering would be helpful. We do not include Box Elder and Big Sandy because they are closer to Havre and could work with their already well set up recycling program.

A Montana MANG Guardswoman, Jennifer, offered to visit Fort Benton and give us a heads-up, head-start program. She would have liked to start with the schools but unfortunately, there is not enough time as school lets out this week. Children love recycling and feel proud about accomplishing something positive for their community.

In the meantime, there are many things you can do to get started. A good source for the collection of aluminum cans is Mary Seright. She is no longer able to crush the cans (you can just step on them to crush,) so it would be an advantage if you would take them to her house in that condition. It is saving space and she could take twice as many in a trip to Great Falls. By the way, Mary donates all of the funds to Non-Profit organizations in Fort Benton.

You can take your newspapers (I have to check if you are to include colored sections,) magazines, and cardboard to Great Falls. There are containers near grocery stores. Plastic bottles (crush please) are collected at Wal-Mart on Thursday through Sunday. PLEASE do not put other trash in any of the above-mentioned bins. That is one of the huge problems with recycling.

Here in Fort Benton, if you have other material to dispose of, you can call City Hall for a special pick-up. Call early in the week so arrangements can be made for pick-up on Thursdays if they have room on the truck. Be patient, if they do not pick it up on Thursday…they will pick it up the next week. This does not include refrigerators or anything with Freon in it.

Some welcomed advice was given to Judy Remick (one of my committee members who attended the workshop with me,) and myself. START SMALL. Please keep in mind that this is a very important project. I know that everyone thinks that of their projects, but if you feel strongly about preserving for future generations…the land, the air, and the water…you do not want to bury us in garbage…please pass on your ideas and solutions.

One other point is that it has been said, that Montana has plenty of room for landfills. That is not the point. The point is to lessen landfills. It costs money to recycle with little payback but you have to pay to get rid of your garbage. Accept that as fact.

More to come next week.

Checked with Tommy Willson late on Sunday afternoon and 116 fishermen, women and children had registered. The percentage of women and girls registered was about 15%. Tommy was still working on the figures (Tim B. will report those for you,) and he told me that Chad Buck set a state-wide record of the largest sturgeon ever caught.

A couple of other human-interest stories were Thad Axtman and family caught a 19# buffalo carp. Dustin Lehman pulled in 13# Catfish with a baby beaver in its stomach. I think I heard that right. Was that 13# with or without the baby beaver?

The weather was decent and there were many people milling around the tents. I talked to a few and they said it was a wonderful event. Everyone is looking forward to doing it again next year except the fish.

What a special time this Conference was. I spoke with participants from all over the country. Those that had never been to Fort Benton before were thoroughly impressed. Out of the 45 to 50 people who registered, there were about twelve (12) women. I tried to interview all of them but only managed six (6.) My question was, “Why are you attending this conference?” All of them answered, “Because we like history and the Mullan Road is an important part of Fort Benton history.”

The lunch on Friday afternoon and the dinner that evening, was excellent. As usual, Chandee did an outstanding job and everyone commented how good it was. That was especially true from the people who had never eaten her food before.

What can we say about Ken Robison? He organized the whole conference without a hitch. Everything ran so smoothly and held everyone’s attention. I think that he should quit his day job and become a professional “Conference Organizer.” He can forget about his book writing and his delving into historical research. Putting on a party like that to honor Mullan is more his style. Awesome job, Ken. All of us like your hanging around Fort Benton.

We will miss you Pat. I like change but not people change. Fort Benton cannot afford to lose you but we understand that you must go. Please come and visit often and we will all come to the Sunrise Bluffs for lunch. Again, we are going to miss you and we cannot imagine how much the residents of the Bluffs will miss you. There is no way to measure.

Here we go again saying so long until next week. It will be June 2nd and another month has vanish into thin air. Actually, June will fly by too because of preparations for Summer Celebration (just four (4) weeks away.) Get yourself ready for the best one yet. We are celebrating 150 years of not only the Mullan Road but of the first steamboat to arrive in Fort Benton. That is a double celebration. The t-shirts are special and I know you will want one just to keep as a special keepsake.