Miles City Depot Project Update
Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
The last month or so have been busy for the MCDARP team and the Mayor, with several issues moving forward simultaneously.

The City signed a Temporary Occupancy Permit with BNSF earlier this month, allowing access into the building to perform the Environmental and Structural Assessments. As we reported earlier, we are waiting on the results now.

The MCDARP Team will work with the community to ascertain an acceptable, viable long-term use for the Depot. Once we know what it will take to restore the building from the Assessments being performed, we can provide that information to potential investors interested in opening a successful, sustainable business in the depot building that meet that criteria. The MCDARP Team would like to invite all our friends to use this site in support of the project, and let us know what type of business you would like to see in the building!

For years, the building has been open to the elements and has provided shelter to vagrants, birds and all types of animals. Now that the City has a temporary permit to access the building we can finally work to address the damage caused to the structure by the weather and pigeon waste. As a first step, the Mayor has requested that BNSF seal the building to prevent access to trespassers and further damage.

The MCDARP Team and the Mayor have been working with a local group of folks that are concerned about the safety of the feral cats that have taken up residency in the Depot Building. Earlier this month, attempts to trap the cats and remove them to safety were hampered when someone stole the city's traps.

Since that time, local citizens have donated the use of a trap, and our first attempt was successful in removing one of the cats to a safe home. We would like to appeal to anyone with knowledge of the stolen trap and ask that it be returned, no questions asked, to the city so that we can continue to work to remove the cats.

In the meantime, the MCDARP team is working to get estimates from qualified experts - contractors to perform the clean-up of the animal and bird droppings and to locate grant funding to pay for that effort.

Unfortunately, as long as the building remains open to the elements, feral cats, other wild animals and birds will continue to harbor against the weather in the Depot. Once BNSF has sealed the upper windows and animals can no longer enter, we will remove any remaining cats and turn them over to loving homes. When BNSF boarded up the lower level, the team spent a bitterly cold weekend before Thanksgiving, working with a group of local folks and was ultimately successful in getting one of the cats out. The upper windows of the depot remain open, so the other cats are not trapped. A customer from the Iron Horse next door called Saturday to report the Depot Kitties almost followed him into the restaurant that evening! We continue to work with BNSF and local folks to get the cats to safety.

What's important to know is that the Depot Kitties are being watched and cared for. The McDarp team is very concerned about them and going the extra mile to make sure they are safe. We also have to work within our agreement with BNSF; make sure citizens are safe - not injured while on the property feeding cats. We've learned a lot about the survival instincts of feral cats -- which are very strong! They are hunters -- as long as the building isn't sealed, they will escape to look for food - as they did the other night -- heading for the aromas emanating from the Iron Horse! The problem has grown from the cats being fed while housed in the Depot -- they were comfortable. We would have had them moved much earlier if the City's trap hadn't been stolen! It just makes it more difficult now that it's cold to do the work.

We would also like to ask that local citizens not visit the site. Access to the site as granted by BNSF is limited to those professionals performing work, and the site is dangerous. Now that the City holds the Temporary Occupancy Permit from BNSF, any further trespass, vandalism, or theft upon the property will be prosecuted.

It is very important that we work to clear the building for the safety of the public in general, contractors working on the site, and prevent further contamination from bird and animal feces which must be cleaned up. The City has gone out on a limb to save this building for the community, and we ask your understanding and support while we work to find a viable, long-term solution for the Depot.
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Posted by Dona Stebbins (+818) 6 years ago
What a huge endeavor you all have undertaken! My hat is off to you and I wish you well as you work to save this historic building. I am also glad to know that the feral cats are being dealt with in an appropriate fashion.

With the problem of un-neutered animals breeding freely, there will no doubt be many that will have to be euthanized, due to inbreeding and chronic disease issues. I know that you will save those you can and find good homes for them, hopefully after they have been neutered and spayed.

Good luck - updates as you move along will be appreciated.
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Posted by polar bear (+509) 6 years ago
Is there a fund set up for restoration costs?
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
Thank you for your understanding and support, Donna, on the issues we are addressing in regard to the feral cats. It is always desirable to save an animal when possible. It just makes good sense to have any feral cat examined by a veterinarian, spayed or neutered and vaccinated before adoption. However, there has been an uproar about our attempt to trap and remove the cats to the shelter where that could occur. There has been a lot of misinformation out there about our intentions in that regard, and accusations of trying to kill the cats. Nonsense! It is true that some of the cats that were sheltering in the depot have died, and, as the causes are unknown, providing an exam and treatment to the remaining cats before adoption, or as a condition of adoption, is just common sense. We must try and prevent the introduction of any disease carried by the feral cats into the healthy cat population in town.
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
Polar Bear:

Thank you for your question, as it gives me an opportunity to explain about how we are funding this project! We put any money raised in the bank and manage it carefully, but we have not set up a traditional "fund" with targeted fund-raising goals.

All members on the MCDARP Team are pretty active in the community, and know first hand that Miles Citians demonstrate exceptional generosity of spirit within the local community, giving consistently to the many worthy causes here in town. However, we also understand that in difficult economic times folks can only contribute so much.

So, the Team made a pledge to the project that we would not be knocking on doors or sending mass mailings to solicit donations or hold "fund-raising" events in the community at large. We have believed from the beginning that this project is important enough from the economic development and historic restoration perspective that we should be able to fund the project with the grants available for those purposes.

We have been pretty successful so far in that regard, winning a Targeted Brownfields Assessment Grant from the EPA for environmental assessments and a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the structural assessment. The $1,500 NTHP Grant required a local match of $3,500 for which the MCDARP team received donations and pledges for the match from 1st Interstate and Stockman's Bank, Schott & Jacobsen, Laura Mitchell Ross, Susanne Galbraith and Covenant Aviation Security, the Historic Preservation Commission, and Mike Coryell along with an anonymous donation from another private citizen.

The MCDARP team is very grateful to the donors that stepped up to help us raise the matching funds! We are also grateful to those folks that have called or written to offer labor, materials and their talents and expertise when it comes time to begin working on the site. When the project reaches that stage, we'll know more about what needs to be done and can organize at that time.

While the Project has a clearly stated goal to manage this project in such a way that we will secure funding through grants whenever possible and avoid soliciting donations locally, we always welcome support from folks with an interest in seeing the Depot restored. We also always welcome an opportunity to speak with more local groups about the project and can stop by and make a presentation if your group is interested in knowing more about the project.

We've had a few requests for MCDARP T-Shirts and Hats, but haven't yet funded the seed money to make them available. We have also talked about throwing a Grand Ball, similar to that held when the Depot opened in the 1920's, and invite the public to come see the depot in its glory again.

We have a long road ahead of us yet, so in the meantime: Thank you to everyone who has shared their interest in the building, their stories about the Depot and their support of our effort to date!
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Posted by Diane Grutkowski (+216) 6 years ago
The sad truth is that since entrance into the building was boarded up (over one week ago)several cats trapped inside the building would have been without food or water if it were not for an elderly lady who attempts to provide tiny amounts of food & water through a 2" opening in the building. At least two of the animals inside are kittens and are too small to climb out of broken windows and onto the depot roof to eat snow. This is horrendous, cruel, and inhumane. I wonder what is worse; starving to death or thirsting to death.
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Posted by Mary B. (+201) 6 years ago
Considering Connie's post, what do you propose is the solution Diane?
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Posted by Diane Grutkowski (+216) 6 years ago
There are many reports from people who have seen cats on top of the roof of the depot. These cats are trapped in the building and can only get out onto the roof. Residents in the depot area report seeing the cats come out of the broken windows and climb onto the roof. Employees at businesses in the immediate area also report seeing the stranded cats climbing in and out of the depot windows.
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Posted by Mary B. (+201) 6 years ago
I didn't ask about the problem. I asked about your solution.
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Posted by Diane Grutkowski (+216) 6 years ago
I suggest hiring professionals to humanely trap and remove the animals from the building. Whatever the cost, it is a better option than doing nothing and letting the cats suffer and die. I am positive there are many people in Miles City who would donate to help defray the cost. People all over the city are buzzing about what is going on with the cats in the depot. Many of our children are hearing these conversations. Children learn by our example. It is our responsibility to leave the footprints for the ones who will come behind us to make a difference in the right ways. Our young people watching and listening. We need to do the right thing.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+8820) 6 years ago
The cats have approached people at the Iron Horse, so they are not trapped on the roof. I recently spoke to someone who knows the cats and recognizes them and had them follow him almost into the Iron Horse.

Trapping efforts have been made but someone stole the traps. Using a borrowed trap, the yellow cat was caught. The building was sealed by the BNSF and the door was locked by accident. Since there is no key, there is no way in but if we can get the lock replaced, we hope to resume trapping with borrowed traps.

We are appealing to the person or persons who stole the city's traps to PLEASE return them. Their loss will not prevent the animals from being removed from the premises but the theft blackens the reputation of those trying to rescue the animals.

Encouraging feral cats to inhabit abandoned buildings is not a humane solution. We very much want to remove the cats from their situation and try to get them care and homes but at the moment, are stymied by theft of the traps and the fact that building is NOT public property and SHOULD NOT BE ENTERED by the public due to the danger.

I am a cat lover! I have two adopted strays. No one on the MCDARP team wants to see the animals suffer but we are having difficulties because of the situation.
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Posted by Diane Grutkowski (+216) 6 years ago
The cats at the Iron Horse are NOT the same cats that are trapped in the building. Several elderly people have fed the cats at the depot for years. There are many cats who regularly come to the depot for food and have for years. These cats cannot get into the building anymore, but continue to return to the area looking for food. The cats that are trapped in the building are only able to get onto the roof through the broken windows.
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Posted by Diane Grutkowski (+216) 6 years ago
I do not believe that anyone wants to see the animals suffer. I'm just saying; to do nothing is not the answer either.
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Posted by Kacey (+3105) 6 years ago
"What's important to know is that the Depot Kitties are being watched and cared for. The McDarp team is very concerned about them and going the extra mile to make sure they are safe. We also have to work within our agreement with BNSF; make sure citizens are safe - not injured while on the property feeding cats. We've learned a lot about the survival instincts of feral cats -- which are very strong! They are hunters -- as long as the building isn't sealed, they will escape to look for food - as they did the other night -- heading for the aromas emanating from the Iron Horse! The problem has grown from the cats being fed while housed in the Depot -- they were comfortable. We would have had them moved much earlier if the City's trap hadn't been stolen! It just makes it more difficult now that it's cold to do the work."

ok. Your posts have led me to ask a lot of questions.

HOW are the depot kitties being watched and cared for? If there are little kittens in there they do not have the ability to climb up and get out the windows. They are too small to JUMP off the roof!

Who is watching and caring for them? I would appreciate a name or names.

What is the exra mile you are going to make sure they are safe?

You said someone stole your trap. WAS it perhaps because Animal control only goes back and checks traps every few days, and if it's a weekend forget about it being checked at all?

Was it because someone heard a cat trapped crying for help and no one went to help it? So they took it into their own hands and took the trap and the cat?

You claim you would have had them moved much earlier if the city's trap hadn't been stolen. This project of trying to recliam the depot has been going on for a long time. You had someone offer a trap yet you've not used it. How could you since you had the building boarded up? NO ONE can get in, including whoever you claim is trying to help these poor cats.

AS for it being cold now and it makes it more difficult, how do you think the little kittens are doing in the cold? They need adequate food and water to survive! They need the fuel to stay warm. And you're worried about you being cold? You live in Montana! Give me a break already with the excuses.

I have one more question. IS there anyone who can verify what I heard about someone going in and poisoning a large number of the cats in the depot?

I have personally spoken with a gentleman in Seattle with BN. He wants the cats safely removed. He said they were not aware of the animal issue when the building was boarded up or it would not have been done! I'm sure you will be hearing from him soon.

I also think it's time the Gazette starts their own story on this travesty. Miles City has long been known for it's cruelty to animals. Our previous mayor bragged about how he and his council member rounded up dogs, taking them from peoples' yards and then took them out and shot them.

It's time for the cruelty in Miles City to stop once and for all.
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Posted by Steve Allison (+980) 6 years ago
I went in with the structural inspectors last week, there was one dead cat in the building not lots from a mass poisoning.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+8820) 6 years ago
Sigh. The rumor mills grinds on.

The traps were stolen. Why or how is not the issue. The issue is, they were stolen and they need to be returned. Three traps. They were left at night and gone the next morning. Over night. One night.

Yes, cats died in the depot. No one knows the cause. I am assuming disease since feral populations often have die-offs due to disease. They were NOT poisoned by either the City or the BNSF, no matter what you have heard.

The person who was followed into the Iron Horse is not a liar. Neither am I. He said they were the same cats he had been feeding occasionally at the depot and I believe him. They are not little kittens but are young cats.

Using a private person's trap, one cat was trapped. The BNSF then boarded up the Depot and locked the door. We were not informed of this until after the fact.

We would like to remove the cats. We cannot get access to the depot until the lock is replaced. If you would like to pay to have the lock replaced, please contact a member of the MCDARP team. We would be happy to accept your donations. The cost is about $100.

We like cats! We want to see the cats removed. We are NOT the enemy. We are trying to help the people who were feeding the cats but we also need to take into account that the depot is a dangerous, abandoned building and unauthorized persons cannot have access.

The solution is not to allow the building to be overrun by feral cats, which seems to be what some people want. If the building is to be restored, all animals will have to be removed and the sooner, the better, both for the animals and the building.
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Posted by Kacey (+3105) 6 years ago
Are you guys trying to say that the cats that you can hear crying inside the building have the ability to get out, go find food and then somehow manage to scale the building to get back up onto the roof and then crawl back inside through broken windows? And someone please ask your animal control office to tell you how many dead cats he took out of the depot...in a very short period of time.

I know a lot about feral cats so you can all stop the lectures to me about them.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+8820) 6 years ago
There are several ways out of the building besides the upper windows. A cat could get out through the basement or the back garage doors, which is open several inches.

Please, we are NOT the enemy. We want to rescue these cats. We are sincerely working on it. The fact that cats apparently died in the building shows how much they need to be removed.

[This message has been edited by Amorette Allison (12/1/2010)]
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Posted by Diane Grutkowski (+216) 6 years ago
Amorette, I do not want to sound disrespectful, and I am not questioning your honesty, truely this is not a personal attack, so please do not personalize it, but I am wondering how the cats, that you say, are jumping off the roof get back into the boarded up building. The people who feed & water the cats do so through a 2" opening in the building. If there was an opening big enough for the cats to come and go into and out of the building then I am sure they would be using that opening for feeding and watering purposes. The cats can be heard meowing from inside the building. They want out.
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Posted by Kacey (+3105) 6 years ago
Amorette,
Why have you made this about you personally? Why are you being so defensive? What part have you played in this?

This is about the cats. Living creatures. Everything is NOT about you.
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
First - Amorette is not being defensive -- she is trying to calmly provide facts to those of you who are asking about the cats. She is a very valued part of the MCDARP team and has played an important part in helping to coordinate the team's efforts in rescuing the cats.

Diane - did you call the Mayor with your BNSF contact information, as I asked you to? Last I talked with him, he hadn't heard from you. The mayor has contacted the BNSF state property manager for Montana again to ask that they close the upper windows. As I said earlier, until they do, animals and birds will access and exit the building. When it is no longer possible for animals to occupy the building, we will trap the cats. As the door locked accidentally, according the person from BNSF who closed it, we are asking that those persons concerned about the cats donate the $100 fee for the locksmith to access the building.

As for specifics: The weekend before Thanksgiving, the team, the mayor and the city animal control officer with three private citizens to trap and remove the cats remaining in the depot. The animal control officer also stopped by to assist. We worked in below zero weather, and managed to trap one cat. After hours of observing the cats, the private citizens had counted three cats remaining in the building - no kittens. The cats were uncooperative - wouldn't come out into the weather, or into the trap. Before the private citizens left, they placed quantities of food to tide the cats over until we could attempt trapping again.

The cats can climb up and down the tree to the west of the building to leave the roof. Years of feeding the cats in the depot has created this issue. No one responded with "home for abandoned animals" when we asked the public for suggested uses for the Depot.

In the meantime there is food being placed outside the depot - or just inside the garage door. Let me remind everyone -- the City's agreement with BNSF does NOT allow anyone other than contractors performing work to be on the property. Everytime the cats are fed, someone is putting the entire project at risk. The gentleman in Washington, who's name you did not provide me, Diane, was not a signator on the contract with BNSF. If we had his name, perhaps we could work with him. I would sugget that if you haven't, you call the mayor and provide him that information.

The MCDARP team and the city animal officer will remove the cats and give them to the private citizens who have offered homes.

Please trust us, throw your energy behind us, instead of tauntine from the sidelines. Another person here asked for a solution -- I didn't see a step-by-step plan offered. If anyone has contructive suggestions, we'll certainly listen.

[This message has been edited by Connie Muggli (12/1/2010)]
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
Sorry - I didn't see Diane's reply when I posted a moment ago.

"I suggest hiring professionals to humanely trap and remove the animals from the building."

Reply: The City animal control offier is a professional, before the building was locked, he was assigned the job. Someone made an assumption that trapping the cats was being done with evil intent, or felt that a feces filled abandoned building, without access to care by a vet and a loving owner was a better home for the cats that a nice warm cuddly private home -- and stole the traps. Do you have a list of other professionals?

"Whatever the cost, it is a better option than doing nothing and letting the cats suffer and die.

Reply: The issue the team is dealing with is not antipathy towards removing the cats, it is getting INTO THE BUILDING TO REMOVE THE CATS! I do have a significant problem, with the assumption that we are doing nothing. Seems your mind is made up Diane - even after all the information we have provided you, the time and energy spent explaining to you personally, what is being done, you still insist we are doing nothing! That bothers me after giving up a whole Saturday in sub-zero weather to try and save cats at the depot!


"I am positive there are many people in Miles City who would donate to help defray the cost."

Reply: The cost for a locksmith is $100. You can leave a check at Amorette's office, city hall, or at the Miles City Area Economic Development office with Mike Coryell in the courthouse.


"People all over the city are buzzing about what is going on with the cats in the depot. Many of our children are hearing these conversations. Children learn by our example. It is our responsibility to leave the footprints for the ones who will come behind us to make a difference in the right ways. Our young people watching and listening. We need to do the right thing."

Reply: The right thing is to make sure we are stating the facts when we're buzzing in front of our children. When people insist on spreading misinformation for the pleasure of taking umbrage, that is not the right thing.

[This message has been edited by Connie Muggli (12/1/2010)]
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Posted by Mary B. (+201) 6 years ago
Thank you for the updates. As to Kacey, it is her m.o. to be perpetually outraged about something and to spread misinformation in the process. Thank you for all that you are doing. It is appreciated by many. Don't get discouraged.
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Posted by C.Kee (+376) 6 years ago
Has anyone asked Ken Holmlund to donate his time and also discount a lock? He's always been there in minutes when we call him and is very fair in his prices.

I don't even have a cat, but any animal, especially in the cold and hungry breaks my heart.

Wonder if they have thought of using a tranquilizer dart or, would that be to big for the cats....just a thought.

I remember spending many hours helping look for Brandi's little dog, Shy, that was lost behind the truck stop. (What a HAPPY ending) The community really pulled together, wouldn't it be nice if we could on this?

[This message has been edited by C.Kee (12/1/2010)]
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
Yes - we've contacted Ken for an estimate, which is $100. This lock is ancient, and in a nasty, nasty environment.

Yes, it breaks our hearts as well. Thank you for your calm words of reason and support!
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Posted by Diane Grutkowski (+216) 6 years ago
Oh my goodness Connie, take a breath and calm yourself. It appears that you are feeling like you are being blamed. "you still insist we are doing nothing!"

Reply: When you and I talked last week I assured you that I did not place blame on anyone and absolutely understood the issue regarding public safety. At no point have I pointed fingers at you or anyone who is working on this issue.

You posted. "The right thing is to make sure we are stating the facts when we're buzzing in front of our children. When people insist on spreading misinformation for the pleasure of taking umbrage, that is not the right thing."

Reply: Unfortunately, as you well know, this is something that cannot be controlled. Hopefully people will learn by what they see and not merely by what they hear.

My suggestion: This issue has been ongoing for months. I think it is time to call in some help. Please call the Humane Society, they have the equipment and know how to get the rescue done quickly.

And with all due respect, do you believe that these cats (kittens) are climbing that tree and doing a kamikaze leap through the air hopeing to land on the snow covered roof of the depot in order get back into captivity?
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Posted by Bridgier (+7570) 6 years ago
I heard that the City/County Planning Board has contracted with a London furrier to properly deal with the question of the kitteh's.
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Posted by JLocke (+73) 6 years ago
It sounds like the depot should become the new animal shelter.
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
Diane:

The MCDARP project is very important to this community for many different reasons. It is my job, along with others on the MCDARP team, to ensure that people get the facts and that any concerns about the project are addressed. We will counter misinformation, mis-characterizations of action taken by the team, malicious gossip and rumors with facts whenever necessary.

"Whatever the cost, it is a better option than doing nothing and letting the cats suffer and die." was quoted directly from your post, not mine. Within that context, it is an explicit accusation from you that nothing is being done about the cats in the deopt. That is a misperception that you seem intent on perpetuating, inspite of the facts.

Look at it logically, Diane. We have an agreement with BNSF that we must honor.

Regardless of who we call in, the animal control officer or the Humane Society; we must still enter the building to trap the cats. This is for the safety of the cats - we wish to reduce exposure to wind and weather outside of what little protection the building provides. We also do not wish to risk theft of the traps belonging to those who assist. Mike and Amorette have been alerted that you, or others might stop by with a donation to assist with the expense of opening the building.

The next issue, of course, is that other cats may continue to enter the building in the future, if the upper windows are not boarded up. That would require another effort to trap other cats in the future.

The mayor has called the Montana Property manager at BNSF twice. It is clear that BNSF will schedule the closure of those windows when it is convenient for them. Putting men on the over-hang roof in extreme cold, icy condiitons is dangerous. Especially if they are trying to manage large sheets of plywood in the wind.

Several days have gone by, and you still have not called the Mayor with the contact information for the person you discussed the issues with at BNSF.

Perhaps your goal of saving the cats might be furthered more quickly if you would provide that information to the Mayor. As he is the designated point of contact with BNSF, he can discuss it with that person and ask him/her to use their influence within BNSF to request they deploy their resources to accomplish that work as soon as possible.

[This message has been edited by Connie Muggli (12/1/2010)]
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Posted by Beverly (+595) 6 years ago
The cats in the depot are very young. I've seen a black/white one sitting out on the roof as recent as one week ago. I work across the street and have never seen the cats come and go; unless they do it at night. I would like to see the cats trapped; taken to the vet for shots; spayed and neutered and taken to a good farm home. I would surely help pay for the cost of this and for that matter the lock too. Someone needs to get it done. It is a sad deal. Then after the cats are gone, board it up so this doesn't happen again. I have a friend with traps if they are needed. Whoever stole the traps please bring them back. I think people just need to be reassured that something humane will be done with the cats after trapping them. Thanks to the people feeding them as I'm sure they wouldn't have survived this long.
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
Thank you, Beverly.

Anyone wishing to donate for the locksmith, or to assist with the cost of having the cats examined by a vet, spayed, neutered, vaccinated can drop off a check at either the Miles City Preservation office at 907B Main, the Miles City Area Economic Development Office in the court house, or at city hall. Be sure to let us know what use you prefer.

[This message has been edited by Connie Muggli (12/1/2010)]
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Posted by Buck Showalter (+4460) 6 years ago
Is the floor made of stone?
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
Depends on where you are in the depot -- some tile - ceramic I think, some dirt, some concrete.
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Posted by David Schott (+11192) 6 years ago
Sounds like one of the biggest problems here is the people who keep feeding these feral cats thereby increasing the population.

"Some people even begin to feed feral cats, and soon find that they are swarmed by hungry felines looking for a free handout."

"Stray cats are a source of fatal and non-fatal diseases transmittable to humans and domestic cats, including rabies, ringworm, toxoplasmosis, cat scratch fever, allergies, feline leukemia, feline distemper and secondary bacterial infections."


http://www.aaanimalcontro...aycats.htm
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Posted by C.Kee (+376) 6 years ago
Thanks David; very interesting articles.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 6 years ago
This thread is a good example of why public servants so often consider suicide.

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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+13335) 6 years ago
You should copyright that graph. That is really funny!
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Posted by Cory Cutting (+1272) 6 years ago
I just hope that as much effort as is being expended here arguing about cats can be spent when it comes time to do some work. Having been involved with one of the attempts at restoration of the Billings Depot, I know that it certainly won't come easy. You want to save a cat, get on the project and help out!
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
Thank you to all that have shown your support here with both good ideas and sound information about feral cats.

The MCDARP team would like to provide the following update:

A gentleman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has donated the full amount for the locksmith ($100). We will schedule the lock repair as soon as possible, and then work with the city to trap and remove the cats as soon as we can be sure no additional cats can enter the building.

To date, we have not received any donations for the cats to be examined and treated by a vet.

In order to protect the local population of domestic cats, the cats will need to be examined by a vet, spayed, neutered and vaccinated. Anyone wishing to adopt a cat may pay the cost for doing so.

We have a report this evening, that the cats inside the depot are eating and are alive.
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Posted by Buck Showalter (+4460) 6 years ago
I think we can all agree Kacey said they were welcome at her house.
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Posted by Joe Smity (+114) 6 years ago
Has anyone else stepped forward with any contributions Connie? Good to hear that someone decided action rather than quibbling was the choice to make...
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
Thanks for asking Joe. So far, no one else has stepped forward to help finance saving the cats, help with medical care, or to offer homes.

We would like to say thanks again to the folks that have lent their assistance in the effort so far.
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Posted by Mary L. Partridge (+15) 6 years ago
You need to publish an address for sending donations. Possibly Amorette would agree to let you use her mailing address. Put out the word as Miles City is full of animal lovers. I know I would certainly like to send a buck than try to catch an animal outside in this cold.
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Posted by David Schott (+11192) 6 years ago
I'm seeing a trend here...

Q: Would anyone care to donate money to help save Miles City's historic railroad depot from demolition?

[sound of a pin dropping]

Anyone? Anyone at all?

[another pin drop]

Q: Would anyone care to donate money to help save a handful of wild cats from certain death?

[Sound of a stampede.]



Q: Would anyone care to donate money to convert Miles City's abandoned railroad depot into a wild cat sanctuary saving the depot and the cats from certain doom?

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Posted by ike eichler (+1207) 6 years ago
I have followed this thread with much interest. Am as much an animal lover as anyone,but lets get real and face facts.

The adult cats are as described feral cats and realisticly no matter what is done to them or for them, they will remain to be feral cats, and not be someone's pet kitty. Just as an adult bobcat or coyote is not going to be someones pet. The best hope for them is to get them neutered and relocated to a ranch or farm. Little kittens would be a different matter.

As far as locking the door and trapping the cats, the problem will still be there unless the windows are boarded up as well as any other way for them to get in.

Perhaps, the answer,after the lock problem is solved is to have the city board up the windows. They have the equipment as well as permission from BNSF to enter the building. I will start by pledging 20 bucks toward the cost of plywood. Anyone else??
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+9863) 6 years ago
I agree with Ike. I am good for $20 as well.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 6 years ago
Anytime Ike's willing to part with his green, I'm willing to part with mine. Another $20 is on the way...

I'm sure Connie will correct me if I'm wrong (it's her job), but donations can be made out to the Custer County Historical Society then sent to Miles City Historic Preservation Office, 907 Main Street (or P.O. Box 910), Miles City, MT 59301

[This message has been edited by Steve Craddock (12/3/2010)]
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
Hey Steve! It's nice to see you here, we've missed you! Hope Nevada is being good to you!

No need to correct you - I'll just add that if it's more convenient, those wishing to donate can also drop a check off with Mike Coryell at the Miles City Area Economic Development office in the courthouse, or at City Hall.

Wow! The offers to help buy plywood are very generous! Thank you everyone!

We'll have to run the idea of the city doing the work by the mayor when he gets back to town.
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Posted by Kacey (+3105) 6 years ago
Connie,
I do not understand you saying no one has stepped forward to help. I know that the animal rescue group in Miles City has offered to help with the cats. They have offered to trap the cats.

As for checking them for rabies:
The only way to be 100% sure that an animal is rabid is to perform a direct fluorescent antibody test (dFA) on the brain tissue, which requires that the animal be euthanized. This is the most rapid and reliable test for rabies and it has been used for more than 40 years.

So are you planning on taking them to the vet and having them killed?

[This message has been edited by Kacey (12/4/2010)]
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Posted by Joe Smity (+114) 6 years ago
@Kacey

Didn't see euthanasia mentioned anywhere in this thread. Don't see where starting that rumor is going to help anything.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 6 years ago
Kacey - That does it. You can no longer be ignored. Take a chill pill or something. If you can't tell by now, you're getting hysterical and looking foolish. The people who are working on this project have hearts just as big as yours - and they all have fully functioning brains, which is at this point questionable in your case.

It's obvious the MCDARP folks are doing everything they can to deal with the cats properly. They aren't going to do anything stupid. Perhaps you should follow their example instead of jumping off the high board into a shallow pool.

In my mind, the people who have been acting inhumanely (albiet with the best of intentions) are the ones who have been feeding the Depot denizens without going the extra step to have them trapped, neutered and relocated to places they belong. Instead they have been inadvertently encouraging an even greater infestation of feral cats at the Depot. Now it's up to the MCDARP people to deal with a problem that the "do-gooders" have created, in part at least. So please stop castigating the people who are acting responsibly and doing the right thing. In other words, SHUT UP and put your money (or at least your energy) where your mouth is!

[This message has been edited by Steve Craddock (12/4/2010)]
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Posted by Mary B. (+201) 6 years ago
Kacey, you are a real piece of work.
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Posted by ike eichler (+1207) 6 years ago
Kacey,
A sure fire test to see if you have contacted the deadly rabies is to be looking in a mirror,and have someone bring up the names Sarah Palin or Conrad Burns. (big grin)
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Posted by Connie Muggli (+97) 6 years ago
Just had a call offering to adopt all the cats from the Depot!

Thank you!
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 6 years ago
Was it from Kacey?
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 6 years ago

A sure fire test to see if you have contacted the deadly rabies is to be looking in a mirror,and have someone bring up the names Sarah Palin or Conrad Burns.


Another is to look in the mirror and see if you are starting to resemble Ike! (bigger grin)

Merry Christmas Mr. Eichler!!!

And congratulations, MCDARP Team, for finding a home for the cats. God Bless the Adoptive Family - they must be saints!

[This message has been edited by Steve Craddock (12/4/2010)]
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Posted by Dona Stebbins (+818) 6 years ago
Steve Craddock - you rock! How nice to see a sane response to Kacey, who seems a bit unhinged. The question of euthanization will have to be dealt with, and I pray that there are no rabid animals there. However there are other endemic problems, such as Feline Aids, leukemia, distemper and so on.

Having dealt with large numbers of feral animals (dogs, as well as cats) I know that they will never make happy house pets. Neutering them and returning them to a place they can live out their lives (farms, ranches) and earn their keep with rodent control is the only possible solution.

Again, kudos to Connie and the rest of the team who are dealing with an incredible challenge. The rehabilitation of the Depot is challenge enough, but they are stepping into the problem of ferals with determination to do the right thing, with grace and mercy.

May you be blessed with success in your endeavors.
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Posted by ike eichler (+1207) 6 years ago
Any update of the status of fixing the lock and door, as well as the plywood project?
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+8820) 6 years ago
Lock is fixed. Keys are with the city.

But. . .the really good news. . .is the structural report is back and whoo boy! It is a good one! That building really, truly is in amazing condition. I have only glanced at it and it will need a thorough read but it proves what I have been saying all along. This is NOT a pie in the sky project. THIS IS DOABLE.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 6 years ago
That is great news - and yes, it confirms what was expected by everyone who got a close at the Depot building. That thing is solid as a rock.

I guess that's why it's so often said: They just don't build 'em like they used to!
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Posted by Jay (+280) 6 years ago
Where does the money come from for this project?
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Posted by Buck Showalter (+4460) 6 years ago
Amorette, could you post a good photo of the building so the artists among us might come up with a few design ideas?
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Posted by David Schott (+11192) 6 years ago
Trackside view of one of the better looking buildings in town:



http://www.flickr.com/pho...743918119/
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+8820) 6 years ago
So far, the funding has been entirely through grants and donations, with grants the primary funding. The preliminary EPA assessment has been at no cost and $1500 of the structural assessment was a National Trust for Historic Preservation grant.

We are still in early stages and funding is up in the air, as is final use, but the costs are going to be quite low, compared to similar projects, so it looks very doable.
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Posted by Jay (+280) 6 years ago
Would you post who these grants & donations come from? Just curious.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+8820) 6 years ago
The grants are, as I said, the EPA and the National Trust. There is a long list of donations and some have been anonymous. I don't have it handy and don't know for sure who wants their donations posted so I can't do that. Except for the EPA assessment, which is probably worth between $10,000 and $20,000, most of the amounts have been relatively small as we have spent very little so far.
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Posted by Jay (+280) 6 years ago
What ever would be of public record is fine.
Thanks
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Posted by David Schott (+11192) 6 years ago
Jay, do you have a problem? Just curious.
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Posted by Jay (+280) 6 years ago
Me too. Just curious.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 6 years ago
Jay - Amorette has answered your question twice. The two grants were from the EPA (which isn't really a grant, per se - the environmental consultants are paid directly by EPA - no funds are received by the project) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The donations, as far as I know, have been from individuals and range from a few bucks up to $500 - at least that is the largest one I am aware of. Donations are made to the Custer County Historical Society because they have the 501(c)(3) status. Most of those donors would like to remain anonymous for whatever reason - and even though I don't mind folks knowing I donated, I don't particularly like the idea of the amount I donated being made public.

But now you've got me curious as to why you are curious. Usually such curiousity has an undertone of suspicion lurking just beneath the surface. If you are concerned that somebody is sneakily tricking the City of Miles City into restoring the depot so that somebody can make a lot of money down the line, you are waiting for a train that is never going to arrive. This is as grass-roots an effort as it gets.

If you still are concerned about something funny going on, then one way to put your mind at rest would be to volunteer to help out with the project. That way you'll get a first hand look at what's happening as it's happening.
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Posted by Kacey (+3105) 6 years ago
Steve, Mary and Donna,
I am not histerical or unhinged. I am just tired of people spouting words without actions. It's been a long while since Connie posted on here that keys were made, etc. WHY are the cats still trapped in the depot??
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