Left: A photo posted on the Libby–Troy MT Rocks Facebook group’s page on Wednesday, June 24. These rocks come with a special prize for the child that finds them can be collected by taking them to the pyromania fireworks stand. Directions are on the back of each rock. Check out the group’s other posts on Facebook.
By McKenzie Williams
“After much deliberation the board has decided to cancel this year’s Lincoln County Junior Fair. This was not an easy decision and we offer our sincerest apologies to everyone who was looking forward to participating,” said the Lincoln County Junior Fair Board in a letter to the editor.
Due to time constraints and logistical problems caused by the Coronavirus, the board believed they were too far behind to provide an exceptional program this year.
There is no need to fret though since the board now has even more time to plan for a great Lincoln County Junior Fair next year. “We will be doing our best to keep you involved throughout the next year while we wait for the 2021 fair. We will be increasing our social media presence and we encourage you to find us on Facebook for updates, ideas, and feedback,” said the letter.
A change already planned for the event is printing fair books for next year’s Junior Fair this summer, rather than in the spring. The goal prompting this change is to provide local youth with an opportunity to enter new categories or attempt more time consuming and difficult projects requiring more planning.
While all details are yet to be ironed out, there are also plans to have exhibits entered and judged throughout the year. There is an opportunity to get involved now by entering into this year’s Independence Day parade, and entering posters for advertising next year’s Lincoln County Junior Fair.
“While we are discouraged about this year, we look forward to next year being the best year ever! We thank you for your understanding and support, and we welcome any and all suggestions, ideas, or assistance,” wrote the board.
For more information on how to get involved call 293-8869 or find their new Facebook page called, Lincoln County Junior Fair.
Libby Troy Facebook group Rocks local parks and beyond
By Mati Bishop
Brightly colored custom decorated rocks are being found all over the parks, streets, and woods in Libby and Lincoln County. A few have even turned up as far away as Glacier National Park and in Paradise, Montana. It’s all celebrated and curated by the Libby-Troy MT Rocks group on Facebook and anyone can be a part of it.
Search Facebook for Libby Troy Rocks, and you will find their virtual home base. People post pictures of the rocks they’ve found, the rocks they’ve hid, and the fun they have painting them too. Group members also post helpful tips like reminders to seal your rocks after you paint them so the paint doesn’t rub off.
The scope of rock art ranges from second grade level scribbles to legitimate works of fine art. Most of the rock searchers post what they’ve found and their intention to re-hide the rock so that others can have the joy of finding them as well. Inevitably, some rocks disappear into the collections of the lucky folks who find them, but the group celebrates the joy of hiding as much as the joy of finding.
The concept is based off the group Fidalgo Island ROCKS on Facebook. That group is based out of Anacortes, Wash. And was started in 2016 as a way to bring joy to social media in the midst of all of negative news. The participants, who refer to themselves as, “rock charmers,” also see the activity as a way to encourage people to get outside and enjoy the parks in their area.
Lincoln County sees first new Coronavirus case amid surge
By Tracy McNew
Lincoln County Health Department shared a COVID-19 update on Saturday, June 27. According to the release, Public Health was notified that morning of a positive case in the Lincoln County. The male is in his 70’s with exposure to an out of state traveler. “Contact tracing measures and support for the family are continuing,” the release said.
This brings Lincoln County’s total of positive COVID-19 cases to eight since the pandemic started, but this is the only new local case in over two months. On April 17 the Health Department reported a total of seven cases in the county of which six had recovered and one had died.
Mass shutdowns throughout the country followed the original spike in Coronavirus cases and Lincoln County was no exception. Between mid-March and early May unemployment spiked and stay at home orders were in full force. Phase one reopening began in early May without a spike and it was followed on June 1, but Governor Bullock bringing Montana in to phase 2 reopening.
According to Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, to date, Montana has seen 863 positive cases and 22 death from the virus. Twelve percent of those diagnosed have been hospitalized., and it is affecting all age groups as well as males and females in near equal numbers (433 females and 430 males.)
On Friday, June 26, after hearing of the 22nd death from COVID-19 in Montana, Governor Bullock said, “Each loss is a sobering reminder that this virus is still here and of the duty we all have. We cannot be passive. Each of us must take actions that mitigate the spread of the virus to protect our fellow Montanans.”
Montana remains in phase II of reopening which reduces capacity at most businesses including retail stores, restaurants bars, gyms, theatres, and pools. Gatherings are limited to 50 people, and vulnerable populations are encouraged to stay home whenever possible. Use of face coverings is also highly encouraged.
Cases around the country have surged in recent days especially in Texas, Arizona, Florida and California where closures are once again going into effect for bars, beaches, and other high risk activities.
COVID-19 testing information is available locally by calling 293-6295.
Multiple bears euthanized across NW Montana due to food conditioning
By Mati Bishop
Grizzly bears and garbage are a lethal combination. Recently, three bears have been euthanized in Northwest Montana. Although there was no aggressive behavior shown by the bears, a different trait was displayed. They had become accustomed to finding food in the wrong places: places too close to people.
The term biologists use when a bear develops a habit of eating human food or garbage is “food conditioned.” During this conditioning bears become adapted to finding food near humans. Even a slight smell of unsecured trash can draw a bear to an area. The easy, nutrient rich, meal received by eating the trash signals to the bear that this is an acceptable and adequate food source.
Despite having no ill intent, in bear country, humans who are not very careful about how they store their food and garbage can inadvertently help create a pattern of food conditioned behavior that is very difficult for bears to break.
In the case of the three-year-old male captured in Hungry Horse, he had previously been captured in Conrad and relocated, but found a new source of garbage in Columbia Falls. After hibernating for the winter, he returned to residential neighborhoods and the draw of easy meals.
The two female grizzlies euthanized near Stryker, had also been previously captured, this time near Ferndale in May and relocated to the North Fork Flathead drainage. They were spotted in Trego after the relocation, but reportedly did not find a food source and moved on to Stryker where they fed on the contents of bird feeders.
Much like the male bear, the two females displayed no aggressive behavior, but were euthanized because they had become to habilitated to seeking food near humans and were a threat to public safety.
Residents are reminded to take precautions by ensuring that their property is bear proof. Once a bear starts eating food created by humans, it can be too late for the bear to be saved. Prevention is the best policy. A guide about how to bearproof your property is available at bearsmart.com/live.
Avid Gardeners continue to beautify Libby
The Avid Gardeners and local volunteers met last week to garden away at the beautiful garden underneath the marvelous soaring Eagle on the side of Hwy 2. Keeping this garden beautiful takes a lot of work and the Avid Gardeners are looking for volunteers or new members. For more information on how ton get involved please call 293-9365.