by Stacy Bender
“We might say that Grant was ‘born with a ball in his hands!’ His entertainment of choice from early on was a ball of some variety,” shared Kathy Nelson. “Or he was busy making up a game or some sort of fun activity for the family. The construction of both a putt-putt golf course, and a clay tennis court on our property were evidence of his passion for sports.”
“We even hosted a couple tennis tournaments on our clay court,” Kathy continued. “Then during the winter, it was iced over and used as a hockey rink where he hosted youth group events while serving as youth pastor at Three Lakes Community Bible Church in Troy.”
Grant Nelson, a 1990 Libby High School graduate, was recently recognized by the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association for continuing to share his passion for sports and marking 25 years of dedication to student athletic programming over the course of his teaching career. Six years of coaching for the Troy Trojan athletic program and 19 years of coaching at the North Clackamas Christian School of Oregon City.
Nelson was a standout Logger athlete in both basketball and tennis and remains fondly remembered by many for his long homeruns during summer men’s and church league softball tournaments. Many may have predicted Grant might one day become a sports mentor, though the path to his recent recognition was not part of his own initial plan.
“I honestly didn’t consider going into teaching or coaching until my sophomore year of college,” shared Nelson. “I had planned on going into engineering, but it wasn’t a good fit for me. My mom was really the one who encouraged me to take a look at education since I was enjoying working with youth at our church.”
“I had also planned to play tennis for MSU but came to the realization that I didn’t love the sport enough to put in the time required of a college athlete. That in turn gave me the opportunity to put together intramural teams in basketball, softball, and football. I played some intramural tennis, too. I loved it,” Nelson continued. “And I decided then that I wanted to stick with organizing sports while I started my teaching career.”
After graduating from Montana State University with a BA in education, Nelson returned to Libby where he taught at Kootenai Valley Christian School and began his coaching career by working with the Troy Trojan boys and girls basketball teams and tennis athletes. Grant also worked alongside his longtime mentor and dad, Dave Nelson, in hosting tennis clinics on the Libby courts.
Grant accepted a teaching job at North Clackamas Christian School in the Spring of 2001 and moved to Oregon City that fall.
Continued on Page 7
MontanaSky brings major broadband upgrade to Troy
MontanaSky Networks, Inc., northwest Montana’s premier regional internet provider founded in 1994, is carrying the town of Troy, Mont. over the digital
After years of effort working towards a solution for faster fiber connections and more reliable internet access for Troy, MontanaSky is excited to announce construction to rebuild their Troy coax plant with fiber in these coming weeks. This much needed upgrade will bring gigabit internet speeds to the community of Troy.
MontanaSky has participated in several community driven initiatives over the past five years to help solve the major economic development issue for Troy: lack of broadband and redundant access. Many avenues were explored including federal grants, participation in the Governor’s Main Street Montana round-tables, and working with Deloitte on their broadband assessments for the region.
At the end of the day, the only feasible solution was MontanaSky stepping up and making it happen with their private investment. Amber Pacheco-Holm, General Manager of MontanaSky’s Libby branch, shared, “We are excited and encouraged to start deployment of fiber to the home (FTTH) offerings by Montana Sky in Troy.”
“Our continued focus on innovative solutions to enable broadband coupled with good old fashioned determination will take yet another step forward in the quest to provide bring gigabit internet speed to the unserved and underserved people of Montana.”
The MontanaSky team has invested hundreds of hours identifying a solution to serve Troy. The remoteness of this rural Montana community forced MontanaSky to seek creative solutions to reach the area. Securing a direct fiber-optic feed into Troy was the biggest hurdle for this upgrade, and that was turned up in fall of 2020.
Previously, MontanaSky has used mountain top microwave links to deliver internet to Troy. This limiting the total bandwidth that could be offered to the community.
Now bandwidth for Troy will be unlimited. Since its beginning in 1994, MontanaSky Networks has invested its private dollars into meaningful and needed broadband products for Libby and Troy communities.
MontanaSky Networks founder, Fred Weber, knew in the early days of the internet how important an economic
driver broadband would be for northwest Mont.
MontanaSky Networks has been the leader in bridging the digital divide in Lincoln County by laying the first fiber optic cables from the world to Libby in 2012. In the last two years, this community minded local company has launched wireless internet to better serve residents outside of city limits and brought continued upgrades to the cable plant to deliver blazing fast and reliable gigabit speeds to Libby city limits.
MontanaSky continues that resolve in bringing those same blazing and reliable gigabit speeds to Troy. Fiber is the gold standard of internet delivery, a future-proof solution for the Troy community, allowing for unsurpassed growth potential.
In the ever-changing digital age, access to broadband is more important than ever. MontanaSky hopes this investment in Troy will help support the City of Troy, promote economic development in the community, improve health care access, support education opportunities, as well as allow for 4K HD video streaming.
Continued on Page 3
Troy City Council – Wednesday, Feb. 19
New businesses, “Rabbit Tracks” and more
by Brian Baxter
Troy City Council members Mayor Dallas Carr, City Clerk Tracy Rebo, Councilwomen Crystal Denton and Shawna Kelsey, and Councilman Chuck Ekstedt were present for the council meeting held on Wednesday, February 17, at City Hall.
The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance. New business licenses were then discussed and approved for Jackson Electric, Fuller Electrik, and Kramer Computer repair. Claims and minutes from previous meetings were also approved.
Jim Siefert, of the Lincoln County Health Board, and Virginia P. Kocieda, current Director of the Lincoln County Asbestos Resource Program, then gave a brief update on Asbestos Planning and Covid-19. Siefert and Kocieda are working together with County Commissioners and select representatives from Libby, Troy, and Eureka, on Asbestos Planning and Covid-19 updates.
Amber Holm of MontanaSky was next on the agenda, giving an update on the broadband services being installed in the Troy area. Discussion then ensued on Resolution No. 2021, Authorizing the Application and Administration of the USDA-RBDG Planning Grant.
Councilwoman Shawna Kelsey took the lead on this topic. Resolution 2021-786 states that whereas the City of Troy participated in the Montana Economic Development Association (MEDA) community review process, and that MEDA made recommendations to increase recreation tourism for economic development, and that the city has proposed the project as the best next step forward to promote the city as a hub for recreation, that the city is in need of funding to accomplish these goals.
The City of Troy, with Mayor Carr’s signature, has resolved that the city obtain funding through the Rural Business Development Grant. The city would then have the authority to apply and administer these grants as necessary to accomplish the stated goals.
Councilman Chuck Ekstedt then shifted meeting discussion toward the proposed Rabbit Tracks Forest Partnership project – located directly north and east of Troy. This project incorporates several aspects of the Montana Forest Action Plan (MFAP) including forest health, wildfire risk, working forest lands and economics, biodiversity and habitat conservation, urban and community forests, human and community health, and sustaining cross-boundary work. Areas within wildland urban interfaces are identified as priority areas for focused attention. Necessary work defined is then considered by collaborative conversation with multiple landowners and stakeholders.
Many of the recommended goals and procedures of MFAP could be implemented within Troy’s wildland urban interface area. The proposed Rabbit Tracks Forest Partnership (RTFP) project considers decades of fire suppression and various logging practices which have changed both the composition and dynamics of the forest. This area was once a location where regular fire disturbance occasionally set-back the clock regarding vegetative succession. The landscape now only experiences change through timber harvest and land development.
Continued on Page 3
RTFP would build upon diversified treatments across the landscape to reduce the risk of wildfire in wildland-urban interface areas through fuel reductions. This would increase forest resilience to wildfire, insects, and disease, and invasive species. Vegetative treatments implemented would include commercial harvest, commercial thinning, pre-commercial thinning and mastication. This activity would increase tree spacing to reduce competition and mortality. Conditions that more fire and insect/disease resistant seral species require would also be created.
Given these procedures begin with appropriate funding, jobs would be created and timber would be provided to local mills. Replanting of western white pine, western larch, ponderosa pine, and Douglas-fir would ensure seral species stocking and perhaps provide additional jobs.
RTFP fuel reduction would create shaded fuel breaks and an 18-mile line of defense that would help protect over 150 private properties in the project area. Through collaboration with the local electricity provider, wildfire risk from powerlines was also identified and directed focus for treatment along lines that cross land ownerships.
The RTFP project area includes lands tucked in the narrow canyon formed by the Kootenai River. Highway 2, Burlington Northern Railroad, powerlines and local roads all pass through this corridor. The project description states that winds often come from the north/northwest direction and are channeled through the canyon. Wind-driven wildfires northwest of Troy could potentially be pushed up-canyon, sending smoke and embers across the river and resulting in spot-fires that could threaten the City of Troy, its infrastructure components, and its inhabitants.
Partners in the REFP project include Stimson Lumber Company, Vital Ground Foundation, U.S. Forest Service and Three Rivers District, Montana Department of Resources and Conservation, private landowners, Northern Lights Company, Lincoln County and members of the Lincoln County Fire Safe Council. Mayor Carr asked Councilman Ekstedt to keep the council informed of progress and potential funding for this project.
Wildlands Urban Interface Forester for Lincoln County, Jennifer Nelson, shared following the meeting, “At this point, the Rabbit Tracks project is still in the proposal stage, but with acquired funding work could begin as early as this spring.”
Contact information for the agenda items discussed is as follows: Jim Siefert, 283-1443; Virginia Kocieda, 283-2446 or email@example.com; MontanaSky, 293-4335; Shawna Kelsey, Shawna.Kelsey@gmail.com; Jennifer Nelson, 283-2322.