By Tim Leeds
The Hill County Commissioners met with representatives of the Montana Association of Counties (MACo) Tuesday to continue planning for the annual MACo convention, to be held in Havre Sept. 24-27.
Carla Smith, MACo financial officer, and Karen Houston, administrative assistant to MACo's assistant director, met with commissioners Pat Conway, Kathy Bessette and Doug Kaercher. They discussed strategies for the activities planned at the convention, and Smith and Houston were given tours of Montana State University-Northern and Camp Kiwanis in Beaver Creek Park.
Close to 200 commissioners and spouses are expected to attend, which does not include the people who will run 25 exhibits or people making presentations at the convention. The convention will be held on the MSU-Northern campus, with the main meetings in the Student Union Building Ballroom.
Bessette said this should be quite a boost to the community. She said there will be quite a few people in town spending money. Havre has recently lined up several conventions in town. The Montana Association of County Road Superintendents met here in April, the Treasurers' Convention will be here two weeks before MACo, and the State Clerks of Court will hold their convention here next year.
The MACo convention is planned to start with a golf tournament from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. Registration for the convention begins at 11 a.m., and there will be a board of directors meeting that afternoon. The President's Reception and Banquet will be held at 6 p.m.
The main work of the convention will be conducted Monday through Wednesday. There will be a Western night buffet held at Camp Kiwanis Tuesday night, with former commissioner Lloyd Wolery providing pitchfork fondue for the commissioners and spouses.
While the people attending the convention are free to do what they wish with their spare time, activities are planned for the spouses while the commissioners are in session. Workshops are planned; a tour of the Blaine County Museum, Bear Paw Battlefield and the Bear Paw Mountains, guided by Robbie Lucke; and tours of Havre Beneath the Streets will be provided.
The group continued the initial stages of planning the activities for the convention, such as hiring local businesses to provide the coffee breaks for the convention; lining up speakers for the spouses' workshops; arranging for cocktails at the banquet and buffet, and arranging the tours.
Conway said they had to bid to hold the convention here, although bidding was simply making a presentation to the board of directors, who then made recommendations to the body of the association to vote on.
"You just kind of throw your hat in the ring," he said.