Every now and then, I’m going to blog about a few things that some in this community would wish I would be silent on. Not going to happen. You see, this is my hometown. My family was one of the first to arrive here, we helped build this town and we’re a part of it. That some have a problem with these facts, well, get used to them and to me, because we aren’t going away. They can try to color fake facts with whatever shade of color crayon they want, but they still come off as being little kids attempting to create a make-believe world. It’s unacceptable, unbecoming and time for it to stop!
Back in 1999, I created the Havre Historic Preservation Award and ran it through the Clack Museum Foundation, of which I was a member at the time. Everyone knew whose award that was, and were very supportive of my efforts. The following year, I worked to get local legislation passed to create the Havre Historic Preservation Commission and when I was appointed to serve as its first Preservation Officer by former Mayor Phyllis Leonard, I came aboard with a lot of ideas that weren’t always embraced by the Preservation Commission. It was like pulling teeth to get them to do much of anything! I worked to secure an office in the old Post Office, then The Heritage Center, and found furnishings for the office which consisted mostly of pieces I brought from home. I also brought with me the files I created years before the Commission was started, books, pictures, etc. I pushed through several projects, and one I brought with me was the Preservation Award.
I will blog more about the things I did for the Commission in the future. I worked HARD for the Commission, even expanding the Commission to include Hill County but in the end two of the three remaining members were being obstructionists because they were jealous of my success and wanted me gone. I clearly remember Keith Doll and Rachel Lopez telling me that the Commission had “nothing to show for my work” (lies) and questioned whether or not I actually did what I said I did (unfounded and baseless). So, after discussing the situation with Lou Lucke, the Chair of the Commission, I submitted the resignation those two bullies wanted, but with the clear message that what I brought with me, I was taking, which included “all things tangible and intangible”, which meant my books, my files, my furnishings, my pictures, etc. (tangible), and my award, my ideas and my ambitions (intangible). They were so giddy with power and control, neither Doll or Lopez bothered to figure out what that meant, they just gleefully accepted my resignation. Fine. Lou knew, though, so that’s that.
This was in January of 2005, and on February 1, 2005, I founded my business, High Line Heritage Resources, as a way of achieving my goals for historic preservation, tours, tourism, museum services, events, publications, photography work, etc. (all of which were historic preservation/tourism related) and I got to work right away by opening up nominations for the Havre/Hill County Historic Preservation Award. The Preservation Commission didn’t offer the award for a couple of years, but lo and behold, they started offering the award WITH THE NAME I WAS USING, and they knew it. This was a deliberate attempt to confuse the public, and then “Preservation Officer” Todd Hanson picked a fight over the award, but I wasn’t going to let him or them bully me. That’s not my nature. So, in 2008, I filed paperwork with the State of Montana Secretary of States’ office to trademark the name, along with Old Downtown Havre. Both were approved. They were renewed in 2013 and just recently renewed in 2018.
Of course, the confusion continues, as is the Preservation Commission’s intent. However, I’m still not giving in and never will. For those who think I should just quit, they need to quit. It’s awfully funny that if something like this was happening to them, they would be singing a different tune, but when it comes to me, I should just give in. No. Not a chance. Don’t hold a double-standard with me, because I WILL level the playing field. For those that give in, well, those people didn’t really love what they were doing, didn’t have the passion, and I don’t appreciate martyrs. It has nothing to do with grace or good manners; it has everything to do with the difference between right and wrong, and it’s wrong for others to take over on others’ ideas when 1) they have no right to it; 2) they didn’t create or start it and/or 3) to give the other person a hard time, which is petty, childish and unacceptable on many levels.
I will continue to offer the Havre/Hill County Historic Preservation Award, hold any and all trademarks I darn well feel like acquiring, and work to make my business successful by whatever legal means possible in whatever subject I darn well wish to pursue!