Covid-19:  A firsthand experience with the virus

Kaide Dodson, mask and all hard at work.

Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian.


By Stacy Bender


Kaide Dodson, recently reassigned from her position as Principal at Libby Elementary School and now working as an academic interventionist at Libby Middle/High School, was caught on Friday afternoon, October 23, preparing to greet her students again as in-person instruction was set to resume at LHS/MS.

Dodson had left work at 4:00 pm on Thursday, August 6, feeling extremely exhausted.  Just an hour earlier, she had noted a sore throat and tinge of tiredness developing.

On Friday morning, she received a call at 8:00 am from the county health nurse.  “I was looking for a thermometer when I received the call,” Dodson wrote in the journal she has now kept while documenting her firsthand Covid-19 experience.

Dodson had just signed-up for a free program through her husband’s health insurance – “It Starts With Me.”  Each year, a free health screening provided.  Also offered, given recent times, a free Covid test.

Kaide took the test freely on Tuesday, August 4, feeling healthy and experiencing no symptoms which might predict the phone call she would receive just three days later.

Dodson has since kept that careful documentation of her journey, writing daily of the physical and emotional strains and consequential redirection her life has now taken (however temporarily).

See next week’s edition of The Montanian to read more of her personal account and how she is grateful to now share her story, celebrate the family, friends and co-workers who have been by her side, and continue championing a strong educational foundation for Libby students.

Libby Volunteer Fire Department ladder training during outfield assist

During one of several strong windstorms which had swept through the Kootenai Valley in recent weeks, the “Batter’s Eye” once fastened to the southeast corner of Lee Ghering Field in Libby had torn free and become entangled between its anchor posts. In conjunction with their weekly trainings, members of the Libby Volunteer Fire Department opted to utilize the windswept opportunity to execute some aerial ladder training. Many would flinch at the notion of simply scaling an open ladder towards a point with no sound anchor.  Add 50 pounds of turnout gear to the task while wrestling to secure a scene and extract a very large and awkward obstacle? The Libby Loggers Lumberyard crew could not be more grateful to the LVFD crew for thinking outside the box on training opportunities and stepping up to the plate on this particular assist. Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian

Local Teen finishes 4th
runner-up during first pageant experience

By Stacy Bender


“If I were to get the opportunity to run for Miss Teen Montana again, I would definitely give it another shot,” shared Rylee Boltz in a recent email exchange following her recent experience. “Going and competing in this competition gave me so much more self-confidence. You have no idea how much it has changed me (for the better, of course),” she wrote.
A sophomore at Libby High School, Boltz was one of 16 contestants vying for the 2021 Miss Teen Montana Crown in late September and ultimately placed as 4th Runner-Up in her first-ever pageant venture.
“The staff and coaches at the pageant were all so sweet, and they were all a big part of how far I got in the competition,” Boltz wrote, going on to mention the many lifelong friendships she also feels have taken root.
When selected as one of the Top 5 finalists at the 2021 pageant, Rylee recalled her nerves definitively kicked-in when it was time to answer an on-stage question.  “My question was: ‘What is something you are good at, and how can you teach others?'” Rylee said.  “So I replied with something like:”
“‘I know I do well at bringing other girls up. I think the best way to teach this is to model it and be a positive, motivating friend. I love bringing other girls up and seeing how we all interact with each other.”
During one of the weekend’s clinics, Boltz learned more about empowerment and the vital role self-confidence plays in life.  Tips on how to stand out and own a moment replayed in her mind as she took to the stage that night. “If a girl walks into the room with confidence, she just stands out.  And you want to give the judges something to remember.”
“Finally nailing the challenge of delivering my on-stage introduction was definitely a highlight for me.”  That poise under pressure found would register as one of Rylee’s most valued take-away experiences.
“Another big eye-opener for me was how much work is involved in preparing for and competing in a pageant overall,” Boltz added.  “I am lucky enough to have had so much support from my family and friends and our incredible community.”
“I want to thank Xannie Riddel for accompanying me backstage for the pageant,” she noted, “and I also couldn’t have made it to the pageant without my sponsorships from Noble Excavating, Les Schwab, Libby Sports, Timberline Auto, Fusions Salon, Sharon Gherke, and the Sweet Escape. I can’t thank you all enough!”

Rylee Boltz. Courtesy Photo

Educational horizons open with Running Start Program

By Gabriella Palister


Senior students at THS Troy High school has been offered a wonderful educational opportunity by the Running Start program that operates within the school. The school counselor, Kelly Palmer, who is managing this affair, has provided the community with an inside look into what’s going on, along with several other students who will be utilizing this advantageous situation.

Palmer begins, “As the name implies Running Start is an opportunity for high school students to get ahead, or get a running start on their college education. Running start is what’s known as dual credit courses, they’re counted for credit at the college level as they are college courses. They are also counted for high school credit on the Troy high school transcript. We grant at Troy High School a weighted grade for running start because they are more rigorous than high school level courses so they are calculated on a 5 point scale instead of a 4 point scale. So students can actually pull their GPA up above a 4.0 by the time they graduate and these classes are free to Troy high school students. The board of trustees approved a trimester schedule for the 2021 school year. The idea being we’re anticipating that we may have to transition quickly to a home base of study. When we did that last March it did not work out very well. There was a high number of students who got very low or failing grades. They didn’t have access to the internet or the necessary tech support at home that they did in school. So The board determined that it would be prudent, instead of having a seven period schedule, where students could be juggling seven topics in an independent study setting at home, that we would repackage the way we deliver instruction and have a 7.5 credit opportunity, about 2.5 credits per trimester, twelve weeks each. That way if we’re forced to shut down students are only juggling three topics at a time. Because that was the proactive stance that the board took it created some problems but it also created some opportunities. The problems are that two and a half hours is a long time to sit in any individual class and if you’re absent on a given day it’s like missing three days worth of material because we’re going through it at triple speed. You know instead of two eighteen week semesters where a student earns a half a credit in the fall and a half a credit in the spring, now we have a twelve week trimester, so classes are longer and absences hurt more. But the upside is that a number of our seniors were able to take their required courses of civics and European Literature in the first trimester of their senior year and now they will have all their graduation requirements satisfied.”

Students like Castyn Shupe have made note that this early form of graduation is what will best suit their future goals. She says, “I plan on trying to get an apprenticeship with a body shop somewhere near Troy or Libby. I would like to have my own body shop eventually and decided an apprenticeship would be the best option for me. If I need to continue my education along those lines later down the road I will, but I don’t plan on it at the moment.”


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