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Since the 27th Ken Evans looks back at 12 years as county commissioner near the grandstands by Tim Burmeister “It’s been quite an experience,” Ken Evans said Monday after- noon, looking back at his twelve years as county commissioner as he finished up his final day in the commissioners’ office “| tried to do the best I could, Evans said. “I hope 1 made a dil- ference. It seems like we've ac- complished a lot As he began the final year of his second six-year term, Evans decided not to run for reelection Four people ran as Republicans for the position, and retired farmer and banker Stan Klimas won the primary election in June I think Stan will do Evans said 4a great job tie’s gota good background Evans said that through the past twelve years, he has really enjoyed working with the other two Chou and teau County commissioners they have all gotten along very well. He has also had a good time working with commissioners from surrounding counties I've made a lot of good friends Evans said Over the Chouteau County years, Evans said, the commissioners have kept the county in pretty good financial shape This year and last year have been tough, Evans said 1s the commissioner have dealt with a tightening budget. Evans said he is concerned that next year Chouteau County Commissioners jim O'Hara Stan Klimas may be Daren Schuster and faced with in even tougher budget situation Evans anticipates that the state ezislature may do a tax shift, so that the state budget will look good torced to while counties may be raise taxes to make ends meet Evans has been the for Chouteau Oomm sioner County's district two, which includes most of Fort Benton and the eastern and county north-central areas of the including Carter In 1998, Evans decided to run for ommi after talking with john Witt, the district two at that time I talked to John one day ssioner commissioner tor and he said he wasn't running again, and! Then I'm going to run for it I felt like we said Evans said needed somebody who was rural enough to know about gravel roads, and | had experience with that 4 lot of Evans’ focus has been on maintaining and improving the Russ Albers became the road supervisor for dis roads in district two trict two a wer a year before Evans became commissioner We've done a lot of work on the roads,” Evans said. “We've tried to improve them, and I believe we I give a lot of credit to Russ They did dous job. They’ ve been really good to work with g with those guys have and the crew a tremen i'm going to miss workin Russ is running an inventory of how many roads we ve graveled in the last twelve years,” Evans said We've covered a lot of country While he has been commission- er, a lot of work has been done on the streets and roads in and around Carter, Evans said. Evans has enjoyed working with most all the people he has dealt with as a commissioner, al- though some people can become heated when they call or come in to talk about roads i've had some interesting con versations with people about roads,” Evans said The crew has kept up a search for gravel pits to supply the gravel needed for the roads We had a couple when I came on, and now we've got eight or nine gravel pits,” Evans said. “We're looking for more all the time We've got a couple more sites to check out The district two road depart ment updated to a 2002 gravel screen We still do quite a bit of screen ing,” Evans said District two has updated some gravel trucks and trailers, and has gotten a new front-end loader and three new road graders We've updated a lot of equip ment at the shox Evans said We've got a real good line of equipment Evans has often jumped into a plow to help plow the roads. H home nortn of Larter 1salwaysa« cessible, and a plow ts often kept there for Evans or one of the road crew to use to plow the roads in district two I enjoy running equipment Evans said and working witl the guys in the shop, updating the making project Albers has worked on has equipment, and changes One of the that Russ been the Gesish and Assembly of ian truck that is used to drill holes and install road signs it works quite 6 k Evan said We've done quite a tew things like tha Evans said district two had a new cattle guard system designed that has worked really well The expansion of the Columbia Grain elevator at Carter to a 110-car shuttle loader facility has been nice nddition to the county, Evans said We helped with promoting that nddition to the elevator in Carter Evans said. “We tried todo every thing we could as ounty to get that going The elevator ha said th been very busy Evans said. He nt when he recently was hauling erain there he was in a lineup of about 22 trucks one trip and about 30 truck olum on another trip, Evans said ¢ bia Grain has been talking about the possibility of further expansion of the elevator There have been many projects in the county that Evans has been involved with over the past twelve years There provements at the Chouteau Coun have been a lot of im ty fairgrounds, A new fair office and restroom building was built The county and other agencies worked on the riverside campground which is attraction at the A lot of cleanup had to now a nice fair- grounds be done to get the area ready for the campground There was a big hole that had old tires and everything you could think of dumped in it We dug that out and hauled that Evans said. all to Great Falls to the dump, and cleaned that area up While Evans was commissioner, the ¢ und Vir new boats arter gelle Ferries got ferry and towers and new houses for the ferry operators During that grant-funded project, the commissioners had some bat- tles over costs and the engineering of the ferries That was kind of a real inter esting thing,” Evans said. “There was quite a squabble, but it’s all worked out now, and the new fer ries are working good As Evans started as commis ioner, he and John Witt worked with Fort Benton Motor Co. as they dealt with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on fuel spill issues on the Fort Benton Motor Co. property We weren't able to do a lot, but we got that monkey off their back » little bit,” Evan nid. “We had yme meetin with the DEQ and the cleanup mnt o About a wee ifter Evans be an omm toner, tuel-contam r “ liscovered in the area near the yunty shop at the north end of Fort Benton That w nething else Evans said Holes were dug all around the srea to find the extent of the con taminatior The long, expensivg Superfund cleanup proce ym tinues to this day Due to the ntamination, the ounty bought the Granger proper ty across the street trom the county shop. The unty | tound several uses for the property tor whilk : building on the property was the central headquart ters for the WAG, bag operations in Chouteau County. Commissioners lim O' Har i Ken Evans were involved in the WAG bag project Chouteau County, and sometime worked at the headquarters site a people brought in their complete d WAG bag kits. People around the unty worked on the home sssembiy of WAG, bay waste slleviation and gelling” kits which provide a sanitary way to dispose of human waste when no toilets sre available. Unfortunately, the demand for the home-assembled WAG bees turned out to be on sgain, off-again, and soon the WAG bag assembly operations were shut down altogether The property which the county bought acro from the county shop later provided a site for a Continued on Page 2 RETIREMENT PARTY - JoAnn Johnson and Ken Evans cut the cakes at their retirement party at the Chouteau County courthouse Tuesday afternoon. JoAnn is retiring after nearly 35 years in the clerk and recorder’s office and 22 years as clerk and recorder, and Ken is retiring after 12 years as county commissioner. ——————————————— SSS Tim Burmeister photo of October, 1880 Fort Benton RRR 3. DIGIT a 70 _01- 15 01-12 17P MT HISTORICAL SOCIETY LIBRAR**B001 PO BOX 201201 HELENA MT 59620-1201 HalataladavetfossatallLocsesdast al Dsssssalld asesseldastlal .. The Birthplace of Montana... . 406-622-3311 . USPS 466-740 . Year: 1g1andIssue: 10. BLUE & WHITE - Deer graze under tall blue bushes in the yard at 612 Front Street in Fort Ben- RED & GREEN yreen for the City council discus by Tim Burmeister Al the meeting Fort Benton city council Dec. 2 s discussion about the Monday night there was ice, snow and icy ruts in the streets of Fort Benton. The council sched uled a street committee meeting for Wednesday, Jan. 5, at 4:00 p.m for a further discussion of dealing with the snow and ice in the streets At last week's council meeting, ity resident Ed Romano brought up the discussion of the ice and snow. Romano said he has been able to get around town just fine sithough he complains to himself as he ruts. He said his primary concerns slides around on the icy were the city’s plans for keeping the streets plowed around the schools and the hospital. He commented that the also ice 18 & Mapor problem for many people in town Some of the elderly peaple just can’t go anywhere,” Romano said The council members said they have heard many comments and complaints about the snow and ice and ruts in the streets it is bad,” council member Barb Thomas said The amount that the can do to get the snow off the streets is limited by the size of the crew and the equipment they have This year and last year the crew has been challenged by some intense winter weather. “We're in a pretty significant weather pattern here,” Mayor Rick Morris said at last week's council meeting. “This is the worst year we've had in quite some time,” Street Superintendent Skip Ross said “Last year we had some ice, but it wasn't as bad as this year.” Fort Benton got around 20 inch- es of snow in the three weeks prior to last week’s council meeting, Ross said. Fort Benton's location adds to the problems the city has with per- sistent ice, Morris said. Fort Benton is generally a little colder than the Great Falls area, he said, and since city crew Ed and Gini Onstad’s house on Riv holidays ee | ae the city is in a valley, it gets less wind and less hours of sunlight so once ice forms it is less likely to melt than it is in some of the areas around Fort Benton We need warm weather and and we Mor wind to get this stuff cut may not see it until April ris said Ed Romano said that with all the cold weather we've gotten already he thinks the ice is likely to stay all winter long Morris said that look back now at what the weather did as they they see that things could have so there less ice on the streets been done differently would be I guess what we should have done is gone around the clock and kept going There was a window in there when the Morris said snow was soft enough As the crew works on plowing the streets ing driven on and the snow gets packed down. This year, after the other streets are be snow got packed down, there was a frozen rain to help freeze things over the lerks said the city crew does put in overtime when city < they plow the streets. The more overtime that is put in, the bigger the effect on the city budget At next week's meeting, the street committee will talk with Skip Ross about several questions, such as how much snowfall should trigger the start of snow plowing, which streets should be plowed and how should these streets be prioritized, how much overtime the city crew should put into plowing the streets, and whether the city should get new snow plowing equipment. The city does not have a snow plow, but uses a motor grader with a blade to plow the snow At last week's council meeting, Ross said the rule of thumb has been to start plowing when there is about five inches of snow. Mor- ris said the crew has been starting to plow when there is less snow Tim Burmeister photo er Street has been wrapped in red and Tim Burmerster pr snowy, icy roads than that Skip Ross said the city crew starts out by plowing Front Street and then they try to plow around the schools, and loth, 18th and 10th Streets, and around the hospital and the business section of Main Street. The crew has begun to plow around the hospital in recent years because the hospital has begun to push more of the snow off of their property onto the streets. The busi ness section of Main Street was added to the plowing list last year at the request of the city council Ross said this week that the list of streets which should be plowed was set by the city council twelve years ago, so it is time to revisit that list if they want to plow more, it's up to the council,” Ross said if the city had a snow plow, the streets could be plowed faster Ross said. Morris said the city probably does need another piece of equipment to help the snow plowing go faster, but he said the street committee will have to take a close look at the city’s equipment needs and budget before making a recommendation about what to purchase. He said the city at some point is going to have to replace its 1976 street sweeper, and that is going to be an expensive purchase. Morris commented that it would be nice if the city could purchase a piece of equipment which would work well for plowing snow but which could also be used for other purposes year-round. Another issue the crew has to deal with as they plow the streets is what to do with the snow they move off the streets. On Front and Main Streets they sometimes pile the snow in the middle of the street until they have time to haul it away later. Some of the streets which the crew plows do not have a con- venient place nearby to dump the Continued on Page 3 nen _ ————