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Bitter Root RC&D sweeps Western awards

The Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc. (RC&D) is pleased to announce its latest award winners. At the 2012 Western Regional RC&D Association Conference held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Bitter Root RC&D received three regional awards. The Western RC&D Association covers 10 states and 80 RC&D Councils. The Bitter Root RC&D 2012 award winners are:

Program Assistant of the Year – Angie Zito

Angela (Angie) Zito has been Bookkeeper with the Bitter Root RC&D for 17 years and has dedicated her energy to making sure that the financial housekeeping was in order. She has had a close working relationship with the Council Treasurer and has always attended quarterly council meetings to address questions or concerns that the board might have with the financial status; she has never failed to be able to provide answers to detailed inquiries even when she was away from the computer bookkeeping system. She is responsible for grant tracking and financial reporting for multiple on-going projects, and she is able to meet deadlines and to treat the grantors with respect and efficiency. With over 50 community projects in Mineral, Missoula and Ravalli Counties, this is no light duty. Funding comes from a variety of collaborative partners through grants and project fiscal management.

Youth of the Year – Amanda Zito

During the national campaign to get RC&Ds back on the federal funding table with a petition to get 5000 signatures, Amanda Zito took it upon herself to help with that national effort by creating a video that she used to market the benefit of RC&D across the country. This video was shared across the National Association of RC&D Councils listserv and across school campuses as well as FaceBook, YouTube and other social media. It was her understanding on a personal level of the broad community benefit of Bitter Root RC&D that spurred her interest to help RC&Ds across the country. Amanda gained an understanding of the various RC&D projects in her community through her own experience participating in RC&D projects and working as an RC&D intern in high school.

Partner of the Year – NeigborWorks Montana

The partnership between NeighborWorks Montana and Montana RC&Ds developed in the late 1990s and has been a strong alliance since that time. Maureen Rude, Director of Operations, stated that she works closely with RC&D councils in providing the training and support that creates viability for both organizations. She works with RC&D Board Chairs, Executive Directors and Housing Counselors to make sure that the needs of all are met. “I am very dedicated to the idea that our partnership is what makes us stronger” said Maureen, “and I make sure that the RC&D is recognized in all media that we generate.”

NWMT works with local service partners throughout the state to provide homebuyer education, homeownership planning, foreclosure prevention, one-on-one housing counseling, loans for downpayment and closing costs, due-on-sale loans for “gap financing” and development of new owner-occupied homes. Six out of the eight Montana RC&Ds have a service partner agreement with NWMT to provide First Time Homebuyer and Foreclosure Prevention education for reimbursement. In Fiscal Year 2011, NeighborWorks Montana allocated over $82,500 to their RC&D partners.

Western Regional Officers:

The Bitter Root RC&D was one of the first RC&D Councils established in the country. The mission of the Bitter Root RC&D is to promote conscientious development of the area’s natural and human resources, while maintaining or improving the quality of those resources and the quality of life in Mineral, Missoula and Ravalli Counties, Montana.

As a result of this deep history, the Bitter Root RC&D is providing a strong leadership role at both the national and regional levels. Pam Gouse, Council Secretary, has been named as the Montana State Association President. There are eight RC&D Councils in Montana. In addition, at the Western RC&D Meeting, Pam was elected as the Western RC&D Secretary.

Sue Sutherland was elected as the Western RC&D President. Sue is new to the Bitterroot Valley but has 15 years acting as RC&D Coordinator with RC&D Councils in Utah and Libby. Sue is married to Kit Sutherland who was the former Bitter Root RC&D Coordinator and they reside in Corvallis.

RC&D helps people and organizations with community projects. Bitter Root RC&D encourages local residents to volunteer and/or bring forward projects. Contact RC&D at 363-5450.

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