County, Historical Society contract would be wise

Thursday, October 31, 2019

County, Historical Society contract would be wise

A group of Stillwater County citizens, coordinated by the commissioners, has met, studied, and developed basic concepts that outline a rational, accomplishable, fundable approach for saving the iconic historic court house, relocating the fairgrounds to allow its improvement and expansion, and consolidating county management and administrative functions in a modern office building with convenient access by county citizens.

The commissioners are currently spending considerable effort in explaining the concepts developed by the citizens group, holding meetings throughout the county at seven locations, actively soliciting comments from interested attendees.

In the three concepts for reorganizing county government structure, Concept A describes all of the improvements required, but does not explain the implementation sequence or the way that funding will be required for cost-effectively accomplishing this daunting task.

Concepts B and C list subsets of the overall task described in Concept A. In accomplishing this monumental improvement effort, it is unlikely that all improvement efforts can be implemented concurrently, so the commissioners, in guiding the overall effort, must decide just how much of the improvement to take on.

The community and the government activities involved must accommodate the disruption and extra discomfort that results from stepwise functional and physical changes. More public meetings and public interchange can be expected. This newspaper will continue to be the principal means of informing the public on progress of this important process.

Since returning to home in the Stillwater-Rosebud Valley area, the Museum of the Beatooths — which is located on county property, but supported financially, operated, and managed in conjunction with the Stillwater Historical Society — has been a constant source of my personal investigation of local and family history.

The museum, under the Historical Society, has the only working system for preserving and displaying perishable historic information, including oral histories, pictures, and other memorabilia from family collections. The museum is currently a non-profit organization operated solely with membership, memorials, year-end gifts, gift shop sales, events, and special grants.

The museum and Historical Society staff spend fundraising time and effort that significantly limits their historic repository mission.

Penny Redli, museum executive director, has developed a close working relationship with county government, having been a key participant in the effort to “clean up” county records and bring the county into compliance with statue requirements. Collecting, organizing, managing and providing public access to county archives fits comfortably into museum and historical society practices and goals.

A contract between the county and the Historical Society would establish a clear interface between the two organizations. This would provide the museum with a basic funding source, thereby freeing museum personnel to accomplish their basic goals, and would free county government offices from daily management of their archives.

County residents are encouraged to visit the museum, see continual improvements such as the Thatcher/Dolittle collection and new military examples of local personnel, and consider donating valuable family memorabilia to the museum while the background for some of the material can be explained to museum staff.

Peter Gaustad


Thankful for quality of care at Stillwater hospital

No doubt, most folks in Stillwater County know about their hospital jewel in Columbus (now called “Diamond of the Beartooth Rockies” by me). So, just wish to reinforce what folks know and add a little info to those who may not.

Unfortunately, I have been in more than a few hospitals in my 87 years on earth, but fortunately, the Columbus Hospital was recently recommended for some extensive rehabilitation work.

I had no idea what to expect but soon found out when entering on Oct. 2, 2019, and spending the next 16 days there very contented by the positive energy felt upon entering. The building is beautiful and doubt if a single germ could stay there.

Then, I met the staff of the most dedicated, professional “care givers” who I have come to know as some of the more wonderful folks ever. NO exceptions!

They, perhaps, have equals, but feel very few could surpass their program. They have sure added quality of life. They also educate and know I learned many new things daily, and yes, still trying hard to stand up straight and tall (just for them).

When passing this special place from now on, I will offer a “snappy salute” with a big smile and a lot of nice memories. Thank you, Columbus hospital staff. You will not be forgotten.

Dick Hatfield