Cycles & Swimming

Some “public service announcements” to make here on behalf of Walter, a regular commenter, and Tim Austin, a concerned citizen. First up: bicycle & pedestrian safety! Here’s what the City Code has to say about riding bicycles:

10.72.010 Riding on sidewalks–Prohibited where–Regulation.
A. It is unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within the central business district east of the west line of Park Drive.
B. Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian. (Ord. 2646 ‘(part), 1994; Prior code ’10-1-19).
C. Bicycles operated as part of the City bike patrol program are exempt from 10.72.010(A). (Ord. 2708; 1996)

The bottom line is courtesy and respect, from cyclists and pedestrians.

Next item is the hot-button issue of the neighborhood pools. Tim Austin has very strong feelings on the subject:

I was born and raised in Great Falls, Montana and I take pride in our community. It is time for the City of Great Falls to start putting some funding into the Neighborhood Pools & Neighborhood Parks!!! Will the continued funding of the Electric City Water Park eventually lead to the demise of our neighborhood parks and pools? (I hope not!)
(I love our City Park and Rec. Department and the many things they do for our community,
but I feel this department has never been in favor of maintaining or saving the neighborhood pools) Once the neighborhood pools are gone…they are gone forever !!!

To learn more about the details, check out Tim’s page.

My two cents: I’m not entirely sure why the City is involved in the pool business. Like the golf courses, I think that private industry is better suited to address the issue. After all, the City doesn’t own a roller-skating rink, or an arcade, or a movie theatre…so I’m a bit puzzled about the business of City-owned swimming pools, golf courses, and skate-parks. But if such enterprises are going to be owned & operated by the City, then they at least should be run efficiently.

Fireworks

Plenty of fun lined up for Independence Day here in Great Falls: parade, fund-raiser, water-park, free concert, food & drink, and of course fireworks. BUT…people should respect the law about setting off fireworks leading up to the 4th of July. Hearing them popping & banging at 10:30 pm a week before Independence Day can be somewhat annoying. Here’s a refresher on the rules:

Within Cascade County, the rules are not as stringent about when you can discharge fireworks; you’re allowed to set them off beginning on June 24th. Both City and County set the last day at July 5th. Within City limits, however, the ordinance states: “The selling, purchasing and discharging of fireworks will be limited to five (5) days from June 30th through midnight on July 4th.”

OK, now I’m off my soapbox. Independence Day is my favorite holiday, because without it, we may not be able to celebrate any other holidays. It is the most uniquely American holiday, and a great time to reflect on what it means.

Mini-Bash

As promised, we held the first-ever Great Falls Blogger Mini-Bash on Saturday. “Mini” accurately describes it, as there were only three of us that were able to make it this time, but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. Keri showed up with her boyfriend, and ZenPanda dragged her hubby along, and we enjoyed some good food at the Park-n-Ponder and then wandered next door to the “Bark In The Park” party where we were pleasantly surprised to meet the elusive GeeGuy! Then a brief howdy to Mayor Dona (one of the judges), said hi to the First Dude, had the honor of meeting Mrs Great Falls, and of course saw tons of cute pups! Then we fed the geese, ducks, and swans, and promised to meet again later this summer. Very cool!

To The Horse!

horse.jpg I’m sure most of you know that member of the 819th RED HORSE unit (in addition to the 219th RED HORSE and Malmstrom AFB Services and Civil Engineering units) returned home to Great Falls this week, after serving many months in Iraq and other “hot” places. It’s great to see so many of our local businesses welcoming them home! I snapped a few pix of some of the signs along 10th Avenue South, but missed probably as many. And if you’ve ever wondered what “RED HORSE” means: Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineer. And here’s a brief history lesson. In short, RED HORSE is sort of like the Air Force equivalent of Navy Seabees; they build things in harsh environments, such as buildings, utility systems, runways, towers, and such.

UPDATE, January 2008: The RED HORSE at Malmstrom is projected to grow soon!

The 819th Red Horse Squadron will gain 162 active-duty positions, a 58 percent boost, over the next 30 months, according to a Malmstrom Air Force Base spokesman…The extra folks will trickle into Malmstrom between this spring and the end of 2010, he said. They’re expected to be civil engineers, who already have core construction skills and will learn Red Horse specialties geared to deploying and building projects rapidly.