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Kuehn is new president of PhillCo; members urged to oppose port resolution

Phillips County News of Malta, Montana

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Kris Kuehn has been elected to serve as president of the PhillCo Economic Growth Council for the coming year.

Kuehn is superintendent of schools in the Malta School District.

Cody Oxarart, an employee at The First State Bank, was elected to serve as vice president, And Sharon Kindle was elected to serve as secretary-treasurer. She is actively involved with Phillips County Motor Sports.

The new officers succeed Marko Manoukian, president; Aimee Salvesen, vice president and Marty Johnson, secretary treasurer.

In other business, at Phill-Co's monthly meeting, executive director Anne Boothe welcomed two new board members, Mark Albers and Sharon Kindle, who were elected at the group's annual meeting.

In other business, Boothe urged PhillCo members to contact state legislators in the House of Representatives and to urge them to oppose Senate Resolution 6.

The resolution, introduced by Sen. Kim Hansen of Harlem, puts the state in the position of favoring creation of a 24-hour port of entry north of Turner.

PhillCo has been active in pushing for creation of such a port north of Loring at the Port of Morgan.

While acknowledging that the resolution which has passed the senate and awaits action in the house has no real power, she said it gives the mistaken impression that the state favors action at one particular port.

"Our intent is not to create dissention among communities, but to maintain a level playing field while awaiting results of an unbiased study that will provide a comprehensive analysis of potential impacts to the State of Montana," Boothe said in some talking points she distributed.

A study sponsored by the Montana Department of Transportation is scheduled to be completed in July 2009.

She also notes that: - The route from the Port of Morgan south on US 191 through Malta to US 19 and US 87 into Billings is a direct connection to US Interstates 90 and 94 and is currently part of the National Highway System...and has the ability to utilize federal funds easily and more directly.

- The Port of Morgan has significantly more commercial truck traffic over a 12 year period. Total truck traffic 1995-2007 at Port of Morgan was 21,653 compared to 5,785 at the Port of Turner.

- The TransCanada Keystone XL 1,980 mile 36-inch pipeline that will begin in Hardisty, Al., extending southeast through Saskatchewan will enter Montana just east of the Port of Morgan in 2010. This route and Port of Entry will be a key to this $12 billion construction project that will transport Canadian crude oil for refinement in Port Arthur, Tx.

In other business, PhillCo members formally adopted a 2009 Plan of Action. One phase of the plan commits PhillCo to work to expand opportunities for affordable rental units and home ownership in the county.

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Original Publication Date: February 4, 2009

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