|Caught in the Act of Doing Good|
See whose up to some good in the Flathead
Communities become Great Places when folks like you get involved and make a difference. With all the emphasis on negative news, it sometimes seems like no one cares and that one person can't make a difference, but they can and they are!
In this first issue of Caught in the Act of Doing Good, we have caught Sashia Klein, Eloise Hill, Cailin Rogers, and Steve Eckels in the act of doing good. Read about their good deeds below and send us a note about others who deserve recognition. Caught in the Act of Doing Good will be published monthly. It will also include a link to ways you can volunteer with Citizens for a Better Flathead! Scroll down to the bottom of this email to check out current opportunities or give us a call at 756-8993. There is much good to be done!
Sashia Klein 6 Month Volunteer for the WasteNot Project
After speaking out about the need for more recycling in the Flathead Valley at a Kalispell City Council Meeting, it was apparent that Sashia needed to get on board with the WasteNot Project. We gave her a call and she did! Sashia volunteered an average of 25 hours a month here over the past six months at our office doing research, creating educational and promotional materials, helping to run collection events, and work with local schools. She was an asset to our office and did amazing work, always with a positive attitude.
Sashia is native to the Flathead Valley, attended College in San Diego and has recently left for Egypt for a year to teach English. She plans to explore different volunteer opportunities while in Egypt. Thank you Sashia for all of your hard work and for your commitment to serve your community!
Spoke up and made a difference!
Eloise Hill has lived in the Flathead Valley for 35 years and is a retired nurse from Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Eloise has a history of taking action, having worked to maintain the scenic character of the Flathead in 1993 by successfully helping with others to secure a ban on new billboards along our major roads. She was inspired to take action again recently after viewing an announcement in the legal notices in the Daily Inter Lake, which she scans daily.
A Kalispell proposal to allow new signs in neighborhoods caught her attention. The proposal was to allow a maximum of 2 large signs per residential lot, with a maximum height of 3 feet and area of 16 square feet. There were no stipulations as to what sort of signs could be posted, leaving it open to any kind of sign, meaning that front yards in Kalispell could become a virtual drive through the yellow pages of a typical phone book! The City of Kalispell would earn a fee for each new sign and they could be renewed indefinitely thus becoming a permanent part of a neighborhood.
Eloise Hill first appealed to the Kalispell Planning board to deny this new policy, but a majority voted for and passed the proposal. She then stood up in front of the Kalispell City Council with a sign that met the size regulations for the proposed amendments that read "TOO BIG." After speaking, with the aid of the visual, the City Council voted unanimously against the proposed amendments to the sign ordinance. Thank you Eloise for truly making a difference! If you are also interested in signage issues, give us or Eloise a call. Keeping the Flathead Special includes having signage policies that keep the Flathead from looking like anywhere USA!
Student Board Member
For the past two years, Cailin Rogers, a student at Flathead High School, has served on Citizens for a Better Flathead's Board of Directors where she played an active role and provided a valued voice and youthful perspective to our work and decision making. She also served on the Board of the Nurturing Center. We never did determine when she had time to sleep. What's more is that she has been caught volunteering as a tutor for other students, helping at the food bank, and supporting school recycling activities.
At high school, Cailin has been involved in Debate, Orchestra, Band, Drama, Student Council, National Honor Society and the prestigious International Baccalaureate Program. Cailin will pursue a future of serving the community at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota where she will study Political Science with aspirations of becoming an attorney and eventually a politician where she can truly work for her community. She also plans on taking three years, after graduation, to volunteer in a location yet to be determined. Cailin is an exceptional young woman who has shown great commitment to her community and will be sorely missed by all of us at Citizens for a Better Flathead. Thanks Cailin for all of your hard work!
Speaking up for Better Air Quality!
Steve Eckels, an accomplished musician and teacher has lived in the Flathead for ten years inspiring youth as a music teacher and entertaining the community in numerous performances and four CDs. When moving to Montana, Steve had no question that he would be breathing fresh, clean mountain air. But his expectations were not met when he noticed that the winter air might not be as clean as he thought, due to the popularity of wood-burning stoves in his neighborhood. Others have complained about the additional impacts the regular burning of fields and forest slash piles in the early spring and late fall have.
Steve got busy looking for solutions. His research led him to state officials at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. They encouraged him to begin a local promotion of "Spare the Air Month"(February), which he did. This annual event now provides annual reporting of air quality trends in the Flathead and encourages local governments to stay on top of this issue and community members to get involved in speaking up for improving air quality. More needs to be done and Steve encourages others to join him in this work. Steve would like to see the city and county work to put in place a buy-back program for inefficient wood stoves that degrade local air quality particularly in high density neighborhoods found in our cities. As a result of Steve's efforts, there has been a slow improvement in the air quality over the last four years.
Programs to require paving of unpaved roads, parking
lots, and the use of liquid deicers (though these may cause water
quality issues that need to be monitored) rather than sand on icy streets have helped, as well as
action by the city county health department to expand the air quality
district around Kalispell. This expansion is providing better
enforcement of air quality rules in new growth areas of the city.
Burning on the outskirts of the city remains an issue that needs better
Getting the attention of local government leaders and the public at large on issues like air quality is a challenge for any individual. After a few years of making phone calls and writing letters to the editor, Steve also started to attend public meetings in the city to have his voice be heard. You may have seen him on you local TV station addressing the Kalispell City Council and this time asking for them to provide leadership on addressing the noise issues in Kalispell, especially air traffic generated noise. The City of Kalispell generously allows time for the public to bring such non-adgenda items to the council's attention at the first of each council meeting. Additionally these meetings are broadcasted on the local public TV station (Channel 9 on cable and Channel 13 without cable) and can be watched at the city's web site as well, which helps alert the public to these issues.
As a result of his efforts and the changes they have brought, Steve is confident in our local, direct government and optimistic that the citizens can truly spark change. Thank you Steve for all of your hard work and commitment to the public process and to making this a healthier place to live!
|Volunteer with Citizens for a Better Flathead Today!!
Committee Work: We are looking for volunteers to serve on our membership outreach committee and on our fund raising and event committee. Volunteer to help with our upcoming annual meeting on November 13th. Help us develop and send out membership outreach like this email. The possibilities are many.
Energy Planning: As a follow up to the successful conference we sponsored last year entitled "Re-Powering the Flathead for a New Energy Economy" we are working to compile baseline information on energy use currently and potential future savings in the Flathead. We need help with this research as well as with a monthly series of programs to encourage community dialogue on the energy choices we face. Work from home, volunteer a few hours or on a regular basis, we can tailor volunteer times to fit your schedule.
City and County Planning: New policies and development proposals are considered at weekly meetings of these local government bodies. Help us review and research these proposals, identify best practices to encourage. Network with others active in your neighborhood and be a voice for sound planning.
Office Support: There is never enough time to keep up with on-going office work. Help us out by volunteering once a week or once a month for a few hours. Sign up for our on call list for mailing parties, clean the files days, for making calls to gather information, doing research and writing for our publications, or just simply to help in the office when needed. Skills and talents of all levels are needed. We are eager to put you to work and to share the fun of getting to work together for a better tomorrow.
WasteNot Project: The Waste Not Project is a collaborative educational outreach program of the Flathead County Solid Waste District, Flathead Valley Community College's Service Learning Program and Citizens for a Better Flathead. We have ongoing programs to promote recycling and composting in local schools and in the community. Additional outreach includes, an annual electronic waste recycling program; annual small business and monthly residential hazardous waste collection events; a new pharmaceutical take-back program; promotion of Zero Waste Solutions to reduce waste; brochures, and web site to increase awareness of where to recycle in the Flathead. There is room for lots of volunteer support here!
Special Skills: Do you develop web sites, specialize in photography, understand data bases, delight in writing? Call us and let us know we can count on your help.
Call Now! at 406-756-8993 or email us at email@example.com. Also don't forget to check out the CBF website and the WasteNot Project Website.
As always you may also donate to Citizens for a Better Flathead to help us continue to support the good work of many by following this link
and donating online through our secure online service. Or, if you
prefer, you can call the office for more information at 406-756-8993.
Citizens for a Better Flathead