By Stacy Walenter
Councilwoman Shawna Kelsey
Shawna Kelsey was born and raised in Troy and graduated from Troy High School in 2001. She attended Spokane Falls Community College, Uni-versity of Melbourne, and graduated from the Uni-versity of Montana at Mis-soula in 2007 with a Bach-elor’s degree in Anthro-pology and International Development. After exten-sive traveling, she re-turned to Troy to apply her knowledge of interna-tional development to local development.
If there has been an innovative and communi-ty-based project in Troy, chances are Kelsey has had a hand in it. Kelsey worked with the late Ralph Stever to found the After School Program at Morrison Elementary in 2008. In 2012, she started the Troy Farmers Market, which is held every Friday from June to September adjacent to the Troy Mu-seum. At the beginning, there were few vendors. If it was raining, there were probably none. Now, the market has at least 12 steady vendors every week and the annu-al Apple Festival averages 30 to 40 vendors. Market vendor profits last year totaled $22,000.
Kelsey joined the Yaak Valley Forest Council in 2009, starting as a mem-ber of the Field Crew. She now holds the position of Community Development and Education Director. Kelsey focuses on sustain-able tourism for the Troy area, building wayfaring tools like the “Discover Troy” map that is availa-ble throughout Troy, and presenting guest speakers on topics including wild-life, economic develop-ment, gardening, leader-ship and small business skills. Kelsey is currently coordinating the work-shop series “Planning for On-Farm Success” with the Community Food and Agriculture Coalition in Missoula.
Also through her work with Y.V.F.C., Kelsey estab-lished the school garden at Morrison Elementary. She encourages students to visit the garden during the summer and use it as a “snacking salad bar.” Dur-ing the school year, the garden is tended mostly by After School Program students, but all regular classes have the chance to contribute.
Contribution is a fami-ly tradition for Kelsey, who comes from a long line of civic engagement. Her mother is on the Troy Fine Arts Council. Her fa-ther was a Boy Scout lead-er and served on the school board for a decade.
“My family has always been involved with the community,” Kelsey said. “I want to be a part of moving Troy forward. To me, that means more of a sustainable economy with jobs in a variety of fields, a healthier community, and continuing to improve the looks of Troy.”
A strong and healthy Troy is important to Kel-sey. She and partner Ben have two daughters, one who is in school already and another who will en-ter kindergarten next year. Aside from spending time with her family, Kel-sey enjoys gardening, traveling, and restoring her house, which was built in 1922.
Councilman Chuck Ekstedt
Chuck Ekstedt wasn’t born in Troy, but he moved here when he was nine years old and it has been his home ever since. A logger since his teens, he works during the week for Everhart Logging in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. On the weekends, he runs his own business: Ekstedt Tree Services.
Ekstedt and his wife have been together for 26 years and have raised two sons in Troy, with the youngest graduating from Troy High School later this year.
During the summer, Ekstedt works as a wildland firefighter re-moving hazardous trees from fire lines. This work takes him from eastern Washington, through Ida-ho, and into Montana.
Last year, Ekstedt was approached and asked to run for Troy mayor. Though he lost the race by 65 votes, he is happy that Dallas Carr is stepping into the mayor’s position. Ekstedt looks forward to the experience he’ll gain by joining the council.
“I’m gonna learn what I can and do the best that I can,” Ekstedt said.
Fellow council mem-ber Joe Arts ran Ekstedt’s mayoral campaign and is pleased to have the “dependable” Ekstedt on board.
Ekstedt is excited about the council’s new makeup and thinks the current mix of youth and experience will be benefi-cial for the community.
When asked what he hopes to achieve on the council, Ekstedt said that he would like to continue the beautification begun during Darren Coldwell’s tenure. He hopes that, as a familiar face around town, people will feel comfortable approaching him with their concerns about the city.
Ekstedt would also like to see volunteering efforts increase in the community including, ideally, a group that would maintain the Troy Cemetery. He would also love to see an in-crease in attendance at city council meetings.
Mayor Dallas Carr
Mayor Dallas Carr wants you….to volunteer.
“[Volunteering] is what makes little towns good,” Carr said, just after he was sworn in on Dec. 27, 2017. “So, I’m going to be asking a lot of people to do a lot of volunteering. I believe in it. That’s what little towns are about and we need to bring that back.”
Carr practices what he preaches and has been a dedicated volunteer him-self since 2000, when he became disabled and could no longer work.
“I couldn’t work full-time, but I volunteered. I coached for the schools: football, 4th/5th/6th grade basketball, Little League, T-ball, and soft-ball.”
Carr has also helped maintain Roosevelt Park for the past six years.
A self-described “Troy Boy,” Carr has lived here his entire life. His family has been in the area since 1904. He was educated in Troy and after graduating high school, he went to work with his father at the J. Neils (St. Regis) mill. In 1979, he was the sixth man hired to work under-ground at the Asarco Mine. He was under-ground shift foreman for many years.
After the mine shut down in 1993, Carr stayed on in maintenance until 2000.
The love Carr feels for his hometown was palpa-ble as he discussed his coming years as mayor, but his love is tinged by sadness. He is concerned by Troy’s shrinking popu-lation and the loss of the mining and timber indus-tries.
“I have five beautiful granddaughters and they’re all living some-where else,” Carr said. “They used to live here, but they’ve all had to move to find work. You want to take a chunk of heart from someone? Lose someone that way. Life is short. That’s time that’s lost.”
“That’s why I support all these mines now,” Carr said. “I would support another mine coming in.”
While running for mayor, Carr asked resi-dents what they wanted from him. Residents’ big-gest request has been to clean up the town. He plans to tackle the junk cars, garbage, and “eyesores” plaguing Troy.
Carr also plans to con-tinue the city’s beautifica-tion efforts, but will scale them back in favor of spending more on infra-structure. He hopes to replace many of the city’s water mains a block at a time, as the budget allows.
Though Troy’s popula-tion is small, Carr hopes to unite citizens and mobi-lize the town into action. He wants to hear your concerns, but he also wants to put you to work.
“If you have a com-plaint, what did you do to help it?” Carr asked.
“We [the mayor and council members] don’t get paid. We do it because we love our town. That’s why I do it,” Carr said. “I love my town.”
By Stacy Walenter