Tuesday, March 6, 2012

View From The Bridge 2/7/12

VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

A week from today, on Wednesday March 15th, there will be a Chouteau County Performing Arts program. Phil Fortenberry (who plays the piano,) & Rebecca Spencer (who sings,) will be here to entertain. I am just reminding you to put it on your calendar when you receive this River Press because the following week may be too late. You may not pick up your paper in time for notification. Do you realize that there is just one more C.C.P.A night after this one? Pub night will be exactly a month later on Saturday, April 14th. That will be the end of the season. It is difficult to believe how quickly time is flying by. Make every effort to attend as you are getting Big shows for LITTLE money. See you there.

The annual Chamber of Commerce dinner was held at the Grand Union Hotel last Thursday evening. I am sure that Tim will give you a full report about it. I would like to comment on some of the goings on. A favorite part of the event is the awarding of plaques to three people who have benefited the community. Ruth Carlstrom, Coordinator of the Visitors Information Center (just retired after six years,) received hers for her work promoting Fort Benton. Randy Morger received his award for the “Light the Bridge” project. Sheryl Gagnon was awarded the business that promoted Fort Benton. These awards were much deserved by all the recipients. The president of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, Webb Brown, was one of the speakers.

I would like to pass on to you readers about 5 a week, some of the 20 Clues to Rural Community Survival.” The first was Evidence of Community Pride, and my opinion is that Fort Benton excels in this category. The evidence is in just looking around at the condition most homes and businesses are in. Appearance is everything. I know that this is way out but if you ever watch Wheel of Fortune, they give away fabulous vacation prizes. They show pictures of the resorts and they are immaculate. Yes, I know what you are thinking that they have plenty of money. You do not need money to be neat and tidy; you just need some hard work.

The second clue is Emphasis on Quality in Business and Community Life.  My opinion again is that the quality of our businesses and community life are top rate. The “Shop Local Program” has shown the quality of merchandise that our businesses provide. Have you ever been surprised at the beautiful gifts or helpful services you have found at Fort Benton businesses?

The third clue is Willingness to Invest in the Future. I do not have any knowledge of business ventures with investing in future projects. If anyone can fill me in about this, I would appreciate it. Give me a call; catch me on the street, or if you see me in one of our businesses. I would venture to say that it would mean improvements on your building or putting funds into inventory.

Number four is Participatory Approach to Community Decision-Making. Yes, our City Council, our many organizations, and our residents all have the opportunity to have their say in decision-making. You can attend council meetings, organization meetings, and use your telephone to call council members or organizational board members. The River Press covers all new ventures so you are well informed. No excuses there.

Finally, we have number 5 and that is, Cooperative Community Spirit.  No one can deny Fort Benton's community spirit. Just say the word and there will be someone to take up the gauntlet. I would like to list all the accomplishments of all the organizations but it would take up the entire River Press pages. I only see one program and that is that some are doing too little and some are doing too much. If you are not involved with one of the organizations in any capacity, then do so now. Its pay back time for what your community does for you. You will find great satisfaction in doing so. Do not be a complainer but a problem solver. Those who are very active could use a little help. It does not have to be much. An hour or two a week would be sufficient.

I would hope that these comments do not offend but instead fire you up to give back.

2/22      7:19 5:59
3/1        7:06 6:09
We had another 23 minutes of light last week. For those of you who are “Early Birds,” it must still be dark when you get up. My thing is that it is not dark when I wake and I love it. The sun is out, bright, and shiny this Sunday morning. It surely makes my day. I just want to get outside and survey the grounds not only in my backyard and around town. The ice is disappearing on the banks of the Missouri for those of you out of town. As I have spoken or been in contact with River Press subscribers around the country, it seems that we all have had mild winters. I actually wanted more snow or rain for the farmer’s sake. I wonder if April will bring showers. The “same ole, same ole” is we will just have to wait and see.

I received a very generous donation toward this project this past week. Madeline Ragland's great granddaughter, Kathleen and Darrell Pennington, asked Madeline to give the donation to whomever she decided to give the donation. Madeline gave half of the donation for the Service Photo project and the other half to Karla Ayers for the Sunrise Bluffs. This was a welcomed surprise and will be put to good use to accent the hallways at the Bluffs. A possibility is to buy an American Flag, either a standing upright or a wall flag. We will have to check out our space accommodations. Madeline said that her great, great granddaughters, Madison and Kendall were in on the decision too. To all the Pennington family I sent my sincere appreciation. It was a real surprise and made my day.

I know that I am belaboring the subject but I am thrilled to think that it is only two weeks away. The full moon is on Friday the 8th and hopefully we can see it. Overcast clouds have blocked the view during most of the winter months. It is now Sunday evening and what a beautiful day we had today. It made everyone happy at the Senior Center. Mother Nature was good to us but not so to the tornado victims of the other days storms. I have never been in a flood, or an earthquake, an avalanche, but I have been in a tornado. My home was almost completely destroyed in 1976 while I lived in Michigan. It was quite devastating and my heart goes out to those families because it changes your life in a few seconds. What I call “my tornado” lasted for about 10 seconds. When I moved to Montana, my daughter said that I would not have to worry about tornados. However, I remember very clearly going down into the basement with my grandson, Grayson, when there were tornado warnings here in Fort Benton. Thank goodness, nothing materialized.