OVANDO COMMUNITY MEETING
THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2019 6:00 P.M.
OVANDO SCHOOL GYMNASIUM
Leigh Ann Valiton thanked everyone for coming. There were approximately 50 people in attendance.
Dan Massee gave an update on the Ovando Volunteer Fire Department. They are looking for new members and they meet the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 pm at the fire hall. BLM will be doing some burning on Marcum Mountain in the near future. The OVFD will again cook burgers and hot dogs at the 4th of July celebration. Look for a sign posting the date to bring your fire extinguishers in for inspection.
Jim Stone reported that things were going well at the Blackfoot Challenge. They have started drought calls in preparation for what could be a dry summer. The BC is going to hire an Operations Manager to fill some of the voids and help with fund raising. Jim invited folks to stop by the BC office anytime Monday through Friday when the office is open.
Sandra Roe gave an explanation of the newly founded Ovando Community Education Endowment Committee. Several people got together and established the endowment to supplement Ovando teachers’ wages as they are way below the national average and towards the bottom of Montana teachers’ wages. They are hopeful this will help retain good teachers. A few generous folks started the endowment fund with enough money to augment the teachers’ salaries for the next three years. Their goal is to raise $300,000 over the next two years and a donation of any size would be welcomed. In the event the school is ever forced to close due to low student attendance, the this fund would b e used to maintain the school facilities as a community center since it is already the hub of community activities. The funds are being held by the Montana Community Foundation.
The museum is housing lots of new exhibits, but the Ovando Historical Society desperately needs volunteers to staff the museum during the summer. Terry Sheppard said they need volunteers on the weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Barb McNally reminded everyone that the storage shed at the park has many medical supplies – such as walkers, crutches, canes, wheelchair, etc. – that are available for community members to use at no charge.
No changes at the cemetery this past year. But Barb and Deb did relay that the Cemetery Board needs a volunteer President.
Mark Hayden from Missoula Electric spoke to the group. He is trying to make the rounds of small local group meetings like ours and let us know how our company is doing. MEC has really stepped up the safety and performance standards. Accident incidents are very low, and last year they had the lowest number of minutes out in the last 20 years. MEC is rebuilding lines from Woodworth to Helmville. Their energy efficiency program is very successful and they have advanced power strips for everyone here tonight. Some of the benefits from being a member of MEC are the youth programs, capital credits, LED light bulb change out, heat pump rebates, etc. They are remodeling their front office into a show room for guests to visit and learn. Bonneville Power will be raising their rates again in the fall, so MEC’s will be going up also.
Leigh Ann reported there is a logging project going on at the BCCA and the school kids will be doing many education programs out there.
Kathy Schoendoerfer explained the Ovando Community Fund checking account as there had been questions. Funds are raised from the Christmas Fest, donations, the garage sale from last year, nightly rental of the tepee, wagon and jail, etc. And funds are spent on Christmas lights, rental of the cherry picker to put up the lights, bullets for the shoot out, the website, the doggie disposal, etc. Thanks to the money raised from the garage sale last year we were able to purchase a new teepee. There is $900 in the fund after paying $1,100 for the teepee.
Kathy would like some input regarding the Christmas Fest - Is the community still interested in it? We need younger blood, new ideas, new infusion in it, is there anybody with ideas? Should we take a hiatus? Or discontinue it all together? Shoot out liability could cost up to $500 for an insurance bond to cover them. If the Winter Fest continues, we need more volunteers for the actual fest. Peggy and Howie Fly thanked all the volunteers who helped decorate last year as it was the best crew ever. Kathy wondered if folks even like the town decorated? A resounding “yes” came from the audience.
Kathy reported 1,900 new hits to our website in the last three months. She will be upgrading the site and it will cost $10 for anyone who wants their business listed on it.
There were over 1,000 cyclists through Ovando last year, and some tours are already booked for this summer. We have been mentioned in several books and magazines as being a very friendly and helpful little town.
We have had many requests for music during the 4th of July parade – please let Martha Swanson know if you have any ideas. And Ruth Weis will arrange the garage sale again this summer, around the middle of August.
Roger Dey of the Blackfoot Valley Dispatch in Lincoln would like someone to write a monthly Ovando update in his paper.
A vote was taken and town cleanup day will be Saturday, May 2nd, this year. It was agreed that folks will meet in town square at 10:00 am and choose where they want to work from a signup sheet. Potluck lunch as usual at the museum.
Meeting adjourned at 7:20 pm
Minutes taken by Deb Dillree.