Reflections from two years of local news

This month marks two full years of owning The Montanian. I love every minute of it, but boy have I had to learn not to take things too seriously.

If I did, trust me, I’d have an ulcer and I would never have a smile.

This is probably true for any of us who take regular risks in life. All we can do when we make a mistake is learn from it, apologize to those we hurt, and move on.

A big part of my personal growth, and the growth of this newspaper, has been learning not to let public criticism ruin the day, our sleep or our future vision.

We are learning to own our mistakes, work on our faults, and laugh at ourselves in the process. According to Readers Digest, being able to laugh at oneself is a sign of resiliency and positivity, and it even has documented physical and mental health benefits.

Last week ,The Montanian published two issues; our regular weekly newspaper and a parody travel guide called 50 things NOT to do in the Kootenai valley, a special issue for Ignite the Nites. The special issue featured deliberate exaggerations of our community intended for comic effect.

We thank all of you who told us how funny it was!

A few of you told us how not funny it was too. Some locals, apparently, did not appreciate our humor or its timing. If you are someone who falls in this category, we would like to say we’re sorry.

We truly meant no harm, and certainly no negative portrayal of our community was contemplated by the staff of The Montanian. Our sole intent was to add to the fun and entertainment of the weekend.

In retrospect, we do understand how our jokes and timing may have been taken negatively, and we humbly ask for your forgiveness.

Ironically, The Montanian has grown by leaps and bounds by featuring only positive aspects of our community in every issue which we’ll continue to do. We hope that you’ll continue to see us in a positive light too.


Tracy McNew, Editor and Publisher of The Montanian

Melodrama and thanks

I’ve had this letter floating around in my head since the Kootenai Karacters wrapped production of Dan Goggins’ “Nunsense”, performed with special permission from Samuel French, Inc., back in March 2018!

This community is AMAZING in its support for the performing arts! We raised enough money to give two $500 scholarships to two very deserving Libby High School 2018 graduates! The recipients were Laurynn Lauer who will be attending the University of Idaho, and Logan Christensen who will be attending Carroll College!

We also gave $250 to the Libby Children’s Select Choir! We had great attendance at our crazy shows…some people even came two or three times! And the businesses who advertised in our programs made it possible for us to pay all the bills to put on the show! We are just ever so grateful to all of you! AND of course the Libby Public Schools who let us use the incredible and cozy venue at the Central School Administration Building, the Maki Theater!
Well, we are at it again! We have been rehearsing for this year’s Nordicfest Melodrama, “Granny Smyth Goes to Washington…or She was the Apple of His Pie” by Sue Rae, Produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service, Inc., Englewood, Colorado! We will be performing Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening September 6, 7, and 8, 2018, at the Maki Theater at 7:00! I hope you can come join us for some fun and help us raise money for our scholarships for next year’s LHS graduating seniors involved in the performing arts!

Amy Smart, Acting Director for the Kootenai Karacters

La Tour de Koocanusa

Dear DTSR team and volunteers,

Thank you, thank you. Words cannot express how grateful I am for the superb, professional and caring assistance you all provided during the Tour this past Saturday. Without your amazing watch over us, I would not have finished the ride– so hot!

You provided me (us) with cold water, ice, great food, encouragements, and smiles. I knew I could count on you at the top of any hill, waiting for cold water. Oh the bliss!

I have been to many races (mostly running) in may countries in the world. Support is always important and was always good, but yours is way above that. It was a class act of competency delivered flawlessly. You people are amazing experts. I already passed word around and I hope more people will join in this beautiful ride. What one could hope for a better ride: master support and gorgeous scenery!

Thank you again, wishing you the best and hopefully, see you next year.


Blandine Baritaud, Albert, Canada

Senator Tester on new EPA asbestos policies

There’s no place for asbestos in our communities. That’s why we’ve been fighting to get this deadly, cancer-causing crap off our shelves, out of our attics, and away from our kids for decades.

Unfortunately, the EPA doesn’t seem to get that.

Instead of banning asbestos, the EPA recently announced a new plan to evaluate the risks of asbestos on a case-by-case basis. Even worse, this evaluation process would ignore established scientific fact and the painful history of asbestos contamination here in Libby.

Asbestos use has plummeted in the U.S. over the last 30 years, thanks to the lessons learned in Libby and a growing body of scientific evidence establishing the dangers of this deadly chemical. But up until recently, if a company wanted to start selling most asbestos-based products again, it could.

That’s why I helped pass the Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act in 2016. This bipartisan bill was the first major chemical safety reform signed into law since 1973 and it finally gave the EPA the authority to implement a comprehensive ban on asbestos.

But the EPA is now refusing to implement this ban. Instead, the agency wants to start from scratch, reviewing the risks associated with long-abandoned uses of asbestos on a case-by-case basis. This is ridiculous. We already know these “risks” are all too real. But what’s worse is that these reviews won’t consider the consequences associated with past uses of asbestos, which includes almost all existing contamination in our schools, homes, and communities like Libby.

In fact, the EPA’s risk evaluation proposal explicitly states a “use not included in the scope of this evaluation is Libby Amphibole asbestos…found in vermiculite ore mined near Libby, MT and extensively distributed throughout the United States during the 20th century.”

This is outrageous. I’ve already given the Acting Administrator of the EPA a piece of my mind. I told him that knowingly allowing asbestos into American homes and businesses is irresponsible and will hurt kids and families, and I asked him to extend the public comment period so more Montanans can weigh in.

The ongoing suffering in Libby and Troy cannot and will not be ignored. What has happened is a national tragedy. But thanks to the CARD clinic, long-term cleanup efforts, and community involvement in combating asbestos-related diseases, we have learned a great deal about the risks associated with asbestos. Not using this wealth of information to inform our chemical safety regulations going forward would be an affront to good policymaking, to science, and to families across Lincoln County.

That’s why I’ll never stop holding the EPA accountable—to ensure the lessons we’ve learned from Libby aren’t overlooked and the town’s many victims haven’t suffered in vain. We must learn from our history. If we don’t, we run the very real risk of making these life-threatening mistakes all over again.

Jon Tester is a third-generation farmer from Big Sandy and Montana’s senior U.S. Senator