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Centennial \ Year - Edition • VOL 96 BIG TIMBER, SWEET GRAÇS COUNTY, MONTANA — ; WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, ,1983 NO. 12 F I S H I N G A C C E S S I D E A D I S C U S S E D Ray Bernstein, of the Billings division of the Montana Fish, Wild life and Parks Department, was the guest speaker at last Thursday’s Chamber of Commerce meeting The topic of discussion was a fishing access site in Big Timber. According to the guest, there arc 41 river miles between the two closest river access sites to Big Timber, Grey Bear and Grey Cliff. The department recommends breaking the river up into half day floats trips, or about 12 to 15 river miles between points. Big Timber has not had a fishing access site since the one on the north edge of town, located on private property, was closed by the landowner in 1981. The local Chamber o f Commerce has undertaken a project of looking into the feasibility of locating an access site in Big Timber, and is re searching possible locations. One such place is on the land located cast and on the north side of the river at the Highway 191 bridge. (This is in the vicinity o f across the highway from the former access point) The property is part of the Huidekoper land willed to the Montana State University. The FW&P has corresponded with MSU on the possibility of leasing 10 to 20 acres of this land Initial reply from the college was that the land cannot be released from it’s present use and that an access site would not be compa tible. However, some local residents feel the legal framework of the gift allows for this type of employment of the land The over 30 people attending the luncheon session were told there is opposition to placing an access site at this location. Some of the reasons noted included negative feelings about FW &P land ownership, trouble with keeping access sites unlittcrcd and personal interest in purchasing the particular property discussed Two local residents whose own ings border the Huidekopcr/MSU land Loren Brewer and Cecil Carl, were present at the Chamber meeting and voiced their displea sure with an access at this location. A PRESCHOOL PUT ON by the SGHS class studying child development is a hit with students and \teachers\ alike. Two and three year olds have enjoyed the activities planned by the class participants, under the guidance of Home Ec. instructor Ann Bitz Having fun fingerpainting are. left to right, Heidi Schimmel. Garret Gibson, Karen Gregorich, and Christoper Quigley. The class plans another preschool for four and five year olds after the first of the year B N H O P E S T O C O M B I N É B T - C O L A G E N C I E S A last minute amended propoeal presen led by the Burlington North ern railroad company to the Public Service Commission came as a surprise to those attending a public hearing November 20. The hearing was designed to take comments on BN’S application to triptize the Big Timber, Columbus, and Rapelje agents duties into a one-person operation. The Interstate Commerce Com mission has just recently approved BN'S plan to abandon the Rapelje line, so actually the proposal dis cussed in Big Timber last week amounts to a dualization of agent duties between Columbus and Big Timber. Currently there is a BN agent in Columbus, Patty Lont, who handles the necessary paperwork and agent duties for that city and Rapejjc, plus numerous blind sidings located in her territory. Bob Stief is the agent in Big Timber who performs his job for this town plus the blind sidings of Quebec, Greycliff, Carney, Elton, Mission and Springdale. A blind siding is a location along the railroad track where freight can be loaded or unloaded, but there is no railroad employee stationed Originally BN asked the Public Service Commission to grant that the combined Big Timber-Colum- bus agent be home based in Colum bus At the hearing held at Frye’s last Thursday, conducted by PSC Commissioner Howard Ellis, the only Commissioner in attendance, the company indicated the agent would be based in Big Timber - -laaMaá No-pahia aaiia change was given to either city prior to the hearing Also, it was first understood the i depot agent would spend a portion 1 of his time in Columbus, and a part in Big Timber. Now BN says the employee will be on a need-basis, with no set hours or days at either town. Three local BN shippers, Inter mountain Implement, Bieber Feed and Grain, and Starr Ford, plus users in Columbus, Farmer's Union GRA and Timberweld, and Living ston’s Strong and Bradley were contacted by BN employees and asked their feelings about the pro- poaed combination of agent duties. There were no objections. But Commissioner Ellis was told the shippers were under the impression the agent would have aspecific time he could be located in each town. If the BN propoeal is approved, persons wishing to use the railroad may contact either town’s depot, or calling collect or a toll-free number is a long distance call is involved Becuase of his seniority, 35 years with the company, Agent Stief would most likely be the person to assume the new dualized position At the hearing it was indicated Ms. Lont would fill another position with the railroad company. She joined BN in 1976. According to figures presented at the hearing prepared by BN Senior Analy.ist William Allbright 86 railroad cars were received at the Columus and Molt points (both handled by the Columbus agent) in 1982. Only 33 cars were received by the Columbus agent in the first nine months of 1983. The Big Timber agency received 21 carloads in 1980,41 in 1981,33 in 1982, and 10 from Jaa-Sept, 1983, according to BN’S tabulation Again, according to BN s figures, only 32 percent of the Columbus agent’s time in 1982 was spent on agency related work On the Big Timber chart, the percentage is even lower at 18. BN says combining the two agent positions would save one wage, payroll taxes, and health and welfare benefits. More of an issue, they contend, is the productivity Te* tiring at the hearing in op position to the dualization was railway clerks union representa tive James Mular. He questioned whe ther the customer would be burdened should combining the agencies happen. BN purports that with the dua lized agency 55 percent of the agent’s time would be needed to perform agent duties in Columbus and Big Timber. This percentage includes travel time back and forth between the two communities. A decision by the PSC on the request is not expected for several months. THIS SWEET PUPPY won't live until Christmas unless he finds a home Two four month old dogs, crosses between a Cocker and Hungarian Vizsla, were abandoned by their owner last week. It is hoped they will be adopted soon so they won’t have to be destroyed Wouldn't you like one of these pups for your very own? There's no charge And they'll make a good hunting dog If you can adopt a puppy, contact Doris Mauland at932-2691 ordropbyher houseat316 West2nd, BigTimber And it’ll give you a good feeling to know you've played Santa Claus to these little critters and brought Christmas to them earlyt NEWS BRIEFS T h a n k s g iving ssrv i c s This evening November 23, starting at 7:30 an ecumenical Thanksgiving Service will be held in Big Timber. Everyone, regardless of church affiliation, is invited to attend this special service, -which will be held at the Big Timber Lutheran Church. BB scrimmage A SGHS varsity beys basketball scrimmage will be held on Thursday, Dec. 1, beginning at 7:30. The public is invited to watch and there is no chaige for this eariy look at this year’s squad. Several MOA officials will be on hand to explain new rules and review several old crucial rule situations. The scrimmage will be held at the SGHS gymnasium.