Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Beware of the person who can't be bothered by details

"Beware of the person who can't be bothered by details."
~ William A. Feather, Publisher and Author

Carol Gibson's Passing
It is with sadness that I share the news of Carol Gibson's passing on Dec. 3rd. While some may think of Carol as the quieter sidekick to the conservation mountain, John Gibson, Carol was her own force of nature, she will be missed.

In addition to all Carol's Public Land/Water Access Association (PLWA) work, where I got to know her, she was an activist and a conservation hunter/angler here in Montana. Carol was an educator for many years, a Billings Representative for the Montana State House, sat on the Governor appointed Board of Outfitters, participated in numerous organizations like PLWA, Northern Plains Resource Council, League of Women Voters, MT Wildlife Federation, Billings Rod & Gun Club, and Montana Conservation Voters.

"Carol, who owned her own rifle and shotgun, spent many days hunting with John and friends. She also killed her own deer, field dressed them and along with John, butchered and put the meat in the freezer", shared Bernard Lea, a long time friend that was on many of those hunting trips, during their 60 years of friendship.

John shared, "At eleven A.M. on  Sunday Dec. 3, my wife, soul mate of 61 years and the mother of our 3 daughters, Jill, Shaun and Teal and Jill's 2 sons Justice and Frisco, left this world. Her heart became too weak to carry out it's life giving functions. Carol will be cremated. We will plan a celebration of her life at a later date but for now I will take a trip and spread a small part of her ashes on memorable spots that represent a part of our life together. One example would be Mud Creek where we lived in the mid sixties and the owner would let us swim in the warm pool while the winter snow fell."

In lieu of flowers, if you would like to send a memorial contribution in honor of Carol Gibson, you may do so to Public Land/Water Association, PO Box 80987, Billings, MT 59108 or online at PLWA.org.

John stated that he is thinking of holding a Celebration of Life for Carol on her birthday, January 27th.

Public Land/Water Access Association's New Website
Public Land/Water Access Association just raised the public access bar with the debut of their new website at plwa.org.
With nearly 2 million acres of public lands in Montana not accessible to the public, more than double that of other Western states, Public Land/Water Access Association was created in 1985 to, “maintain, restore, and perpetuate public access to the boundaries of all Montana public land and waters.”

With the growing membership and public access awareness, PLWA needed a new web platform to provide resources and an interactive library to their members, journalists, law students, lawyers, historians and the public at large, about public land and stream access issues in Montana. Their social media friendly web platform is designed to work on PCs, tablets and smartphones.

“This is a totally new vehicle for us, with interactive resources for public lands and water access awareness and activism in Montana - a fact based vehicle that will grow with us and go with us into the future, as we continue pursuing our mission of maintaining, restoring, and perpetuating public access to the boundaries of all Montana public land and waters”, said Bernard Lea, PLWA's new President.

For decades the grassroots public access non-profit has been working with local hunting/angling organizations across the State, as well as with County Commissions, State and Federal public lands agencies to restore access. When necessary, PLWA is not shy about fighting back in County Commission meetings, or in District and Montana Supreme courtrooms. One case, involving the Seyler Lane Bridge easement, on the Ruby River, took about 13 years to finally be resolved. Now, as resolved by State law, Montana's Fish, Wildlife & Parks will complete the fencing public access project on both sides of the Seyler Lane Bridge, this next spring.

Vice President John Gibson declared, “Private interests are continually attacking access to our public lands and waters. Check out our new website, see our track record of access victories! Then join the fight to preserve and restore access to our Montana public lands and waters. Let's get that 2 million inaccessible acres restored back to the public who owns them!”

Crazy Mountain Note
I am still doing research on the Crazy Mountains, including Railroad Grant deeds.
"Whereas, by the act of Congress approved July 2, 1864, entitled 'An Act granting Lands to aid in the Construction of a Railroad and Telegraph Line from Lake Superior to Puget's Sound, on the Pacific Coast, by the Northern Route,' and the Joint Resolution of May 31, 1870, there was granted to the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, its successors and assigns, for the purpose of aiding in the construction of said railroad and telegraph line, ... 'every alternate section of public land...' ".

Many of these granted sections are in the Crazy Mountains. When the Northern Pacific sold these sections (mostly by 1940) to private landowners, if there were public access roads/trails at that time, the deeds include language, such as, "The lands above described shall be subject to an easement in the public for any public road heretofore laid out or established or now existing over and across any part of the premises," or "... the lands hereby conveyed being subject, however, to an easement in the public for any public roads heretofore laid out or established, and now existing over and across any part of the premises." That language does not occur on deed sections that did not have roads. This has been very interesting plotting out the Railroad grant sections to current maps. ;) I am loving the research resources here in Helena.

Troy Downing update
While back in the Bozeman area for some research, I went in for the Downing omnibus hearing scheduled for Nov. 15th. The omnibus had been rescheduled. I was told that Downing had this rescheduled for Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 1:30 pm.
Meanwhile, an article came out in the Bozeman Chronicle, Montana U.S. Senate candidate claims primary home tax break in California.
"U.S. Senate candidate Troy Downing of Big Sky is receiving a tax break on property he jointly owns with his wife, Heather, in California, an exemption that is for homeowners if the home is their primary residence... The San Diego County assessor’s office confirmed that he had been receiving the homeowner’s tax exemption since 2005. The most recent property tax bill for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2018, showed Downing received the exemption... San Diego County Division Chief for Assessment Services Jeff Olson said Downing acquired the Fallbrook property in 2005 and has had the exemption since then. The application for the tax exemption is a self-declaration that is signed under penalty of perjury, he said."

I found the PDF of the San Diego County Assessors Homeowners' Property Tax Exemption.

Also online was the current property tax bill, which is public records, showing the $7000 resident Homeowner' Exemption (screenshot below) for their Sleeping Indian Road, Fallbrook property.

Concerning the MT FWP citations, in a press release on Nov. 8, Downing's campaign stated, "This is nothing more than an orchestrated attack on a combat Veteran..." Being a veteran has nothing to do with this, nor is it a defense. In the Chronicle's resident Homeowners Exemption story, Downing's campaign again tried to excuse the issue, "Downing’s Campaign Manager Kevin Gardner released a statement after being presented with the property tax bill and said it was California policy to automatically renew homeowner’s exemptions. He said if it was done, it was done without Troy’s knowledge."

This begs the question, if Downing can't keep up with his MT FWP residency information, nor notifying San Diego County's Treasurer Tax Collector as to a change in primary residence, as well as his campaign's deflecting/attacking excuses when confronted with legitimate residency questions, how in the hell would he be able to handle the very detail oriented, high pressure work load of representing Montana in Congress?

I mean, Tester is not a superhero, and he was none too happy with receiving a 479 page tax bill, including illegible handwritten notes, shortly before having to vote on it. What would, thus far, detail deficient and deflecting Downing do in that situation?

It's all about the details, accountability and properly representing Montana! I agree with Senator Tester, Montanan's deserve so much better.

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Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu
Helena, MT

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