By Ross Markman
Two weeks ago, Havre Mayor Bob Rice proclaimed Jan. 27 as Jack Rampelberg Day, honoring the longtime minister at the Fifth Avenue Christian Church. At Monday night's City Council meeting, the mayor made another proclamation, naming "The Havre Song" as the official tune of Havre.
"I learned this new thing the mayor's proclamation and I really like it," Rice joked. "I think (this song) shows pride in our community. That's what I've been trying to emulate for a long time now."
Rice played the song, recorded by The Timely Trio (Kim Callahan, Mavis Filler and Dena Tippetts), for the public at the end of Monday night's meeting. Lyrics such as "You can almost hear the gardens grow. And the northern lights set the sky aglow" filled the City Council chambers.
"That's pretty much how I feel about Havre," Rice said after playing the tape.
Rice said he'll listen to the song each morning to inspire his day's work.
"I get choked up just listening to it. For me, it strikes home," he said.
Audience members agreed.
Rick Harada, a lifelong Havre resident, said the lyrics embody everything about the town.
"I think it's a great song. I think it personifies Havre," Harada said in an interview.
In other council news, City Council accepted a $2,250 grant from the state Department of Natural Resources. The city chipped in 10 percent, $225, to receive the grant.
The money will be used by the Havre Fire Department to purchase new equipment for fighting fires in wooded areas, according to Fire Chief Dave Sheppard.
"Our old stuff is getting pretty dated and worn. It's time to be replaced. So, it's needed equipment," Sheppard said.
Of the 17 firefighters in the department, the money will buy enough protective gear for 15, he added.
Sheppard said he applied for the grant last fall and the department was awarded the money in December.
"We don't receive a lot of grants. There's not a lot out there for the fire service," he said.
Also at the meeting:
Rice reappointed the following department heads: Kevin Olson, chief of police; Dave Sheppard, fire chief; Dave Peterson, director of public works; David Wilson, parks and recreation director; Jim Kaze, city attorney; and Lowell Swenson, finance director and city clerk.
Rice appointed former Police Chief Michael Shortell to the Police Commission.
The council started a new policy of limiting members of the public to three minutes of comment on each agenda item.
Lyrics to Havre Song'
Havre Song by Kim Callahan
(Recorded by The Timely Trio)
It's a golden wheat field and a clear blue sky.
It's a long straight railway with the cattle strollin by.
It's Fresno Dam where the muddy Milk River flows.
It's the greatest little town the Hi-Line knows.
Havre, you may have been born there. Havre, you might just belong there.
But there's one thing, you'll never stay long there. Without a friend.
Without making a friend.
To the north lies Canada, our sister and our friend.
To the south the Bear Paw Mountains stretch to the wide Missouri bend.
To the west the Rocky Mountains, to the east the prairies roam.
It's the heart of North Montana, it's my home.
And it's late in the evening on a late summer's night
And the wind has stopped blowing, and the feeling is just right.
You can almost hear the gardens grow. And the Northern Lights set the sky aglow
And this town holds a place in my heart, I know.
Where students, doctors, and businessmen. Farmers and ranchers and railroad men
Planted seeds of friendship and the lovely thing that grows
It's the sweetest little town Montana knows.