Mr. Jim May retires after 30 years of teaching and coaching

Mr. Jim receives May, a Logger coaching life-time achievement award form Mr. Rewerts. The award is a saw blade that has his coaching achievements on it. He has coached football, cross country, girls basketball and track. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Sarah Barrick.


By Tyler Whitney


The coming Autumn, despite being an end for the green in the valley, indicates the beginning of so much more for students and their parents. Yet, with Covid’s persistence, it would be no surprise for virtual classrooms to make a depressing reappearance. As families then attempt to figure out childcare and how to teach their child at home, many will come to realize how much work teachers do every day to teach and mold our communities’ young people. One teacher, who has set a momentous standard for impacting students’ lives, will, unfortunately, not be returning to the classroom this year. After 30 years of coaching and teaching social studies in Libby, Jim May has retired from his position at the high school and is looking forward to finding new ways to serve the community he loves.

May began his odyssey into teaching after first having a great teacher himself, someone who made the stories jump off the page and made lectures on government relevant and inspiring. The passion from his teacher then translated into a degree and finding a job teaching in West Yellowstone for six years. Afterward, he moved to teach in Libby. He preferred the social sciences, making history and civics pertinent to students who might have thought old books, filled with the dead and gone, entirely disinteresting. He strove to make economics, geography, and the extensively ambiguous topic of ‘world history’ exciting with a sense of humor that made even the most dispassionate students crack a smile and pay attention, be it through trying to ride a skateboard or sharp pointed witticisms.

A class he took particular care in crafting was a course on the Holocaust and other genocidal events, passing on with great intention a history of how people can be turned to hate their neighbor. “From a social studies standpoint,” he explained, “people aren’t born with that evil, they had to learn it from somewhere.” This discussion of how people can be motivated to hate, or more generally, how large societies interact, was turned from the theoretical to the personal. Within his classroom, he wanted to create a culture of intellectual engagement that sought after the truth. But beyond three o’clock, he hoped to build within students the resolve to define oneself and participate in the community. “He was really passionate about us developing our own views about things,” said Shannon Reny, a previous student, “about developing our own opinions. Opinions based on facts. He wanted us to go out into the world and not be apathetic.”

But May’s tireless enthusiasm did not end at teaching history and civic participation, coaching many of the various high school sports teams for decades. For three years, he coached cross country; for six years, football and boys’ basketball; for 25 years, girls’ basketball; and for 28 years, the track team. On paper, these numbers could seem abstract, especially if you were to imagine coaching as simply an exercise in organizing practice and handing out Gatorade and encouragement at competitions.

Coaching was an extension of the classroom.” explained May, “You are working with the same skills in a different setting.” And beyond the thousands of hours dedicated year round to mentorship, teaching discipline and dedication, and providing an opportunity for reaching one’s potential, May had the same goal as he had with teaching. “He iterated over and over,” Reny recounted May telling her basketball team, “You won’t be a good player on the court, if you’re not a good person off the court.” He would organize community service for his teams, such as fundraising and volunteering at a local foodbank in order to instill a continuing sense of community engagement. Becoming an athlete, it would appear, was the same as becoming a student: one could not claim to be either without acknowledging the community that gave them the opportunity to enjoy both.

Losing May as a teacher, however, does not mean that May plans to simply dissolve into a quiet life of fishing and hunting every Tuesday and Thursday.  Natrurally, he plans to spoil his two grandchildren rotten and spend plenty of time planning and building a dream house with wife Shelly, who has also recently retired after 19 years as a speech pathologist. But he also intends on living out as much as possible the mandate he gave to his students to impact the community. He currently serves on the board of the Kootenai Heritage Council and as the chair of the board for Lincoln County Unite for Youth (LCUY) and plans on expanding his time dedicated to both. For LCUY especially, as Covid has already shuttered several events to reach kids at risk for drugs and alcohol, and as an unsure world promises an unconventional school year, May hopes to find new ways to reach those kids the most in need in our community.

We often use metaphors to explain the world when normal language fails us; an extremely athletic person is a ‘beast’, politics is a ‘game’, and love is a ‘battlefield’. But those metaphors then go beyond the word or phrase; the animalistic qualities are valued in an athlete, politicians are seen as conniving chess players, and couples try to ‘win’ arguments by collecting ‘ammunition’ against their partner. These metaphors not only define how we speak, but shape how we think. When asked about his legacy in Libby and for those teachers that follow after him, May gave the simple metaphor that “teachers build their own houses” and that he hoped he lived out his life as an example. Teaching and coaching for May was not some nine to five job of talking to kids about years long past. As he built his house here in Libby, it is a hard-wrought and long-term process of detailed planning, tirelessly establishing a foundation, and meticulously installing pipes and wires behind the scenes. For the last thirty years, we can only be entirely privileged and thoroughly thankful for the blessings that came out of the house that May built.

Dollar Tree & Family

Dollar plans to open late

October early November

By McKenzie Williams


Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR), North America’s leading operator of discount variety stores, today announced its new Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores in Libby, Montana.

Dollar Tree, a Fortune 200 Company, operated 15,370 stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces as of May 2, of this year. Stores operate under the brands of Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree Canada. To learn more about the Company, visit

The Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, both approximately 10,000 sqft. each, will be located at 31071 U.S. Highway 2, in Libby, or the old Shopko building.

Investor and Media Relations Manager, Kayleigh M. Painter wrote to The Montanian, “The stores are scheduled to open in late October or early November 2020.”

Dollar Tree stores offer great value and a broad assortment of merchandise all priced at $1 or less. Customers discover new treasures every week ranging from seasonal decor, household products, Hallmark greeting cards, party and craft supplies, dinnerware, food, teaching and school necessities, health and beauty essentials, toys, books and much more.

In addition to providing everyday low prices, generally from $1 to $10, Family Dollar stores offer a broad assortment of products including frozen and refrigerated food, beauty and essentials, household products, pet food, diapers, electronics, hardware and automotive supplies, apparel and seasonal items. The offerings include popular name brands and quality private label merchandise, typically priced lower than grocery, drug and convenience stores.

Both locations will be open seven days a week. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply online at, or in person at the store locations closer to the opening date.

“Dollar Tree and Family Dollar continue to grow and we are proud to be part of the Libby community,” stated Painter.

Ignite The Nites lights up Libby August 13-16

By Brian Baxter


The now traditional Igniter’s Car Club event starts on Thursday, Aug. 13 as local businesses are sponsoring a high stakes poker run beginning at The Mint Bar at four p.m. and ending at eight p.m. at the Switchback Bar & Grill, which will have live music until midnight. Friday, from two p.m. to seven p.m. is the selfie scavenger hunt and at six p.m. to nine p.m. is Cruise the Gut. And at nine p.m. is the Neon and Flame Throwing in front of First Montana Bank. Saturday from nine a.m. to three p.m. is the Car Show. At one p.m. is the Pin Up and Rockabilly Contests. Approximately three p.m. will be the Awards Ceremony, and at five p.m. is the Burnout Contest, sponsored by Les Schwab Tire Center, which will be at the Mill Pond Moto-X Park. Sunday is the Swedish Pancake Breakfast from eight a.m. till noon at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at 719 Utah Avenue. After breakfast, many folks like to walk downtown and check out the remaining cars and trucks parked along the avenue and still driving about the town.

The Igniter’s Car Club was established in 1961, and some of the quintessential cars of the 1960’s were just coming out. These included the outstanding 1964 Ford Mustang, which started a revolution. Cool looking and inexpensive, Ford offered a six cylinder and later a V-8. The next version of the better V-8’s had a solid four speed manual tranny that made the light Mustang a blast. Fastbacks, Convertibles, and Shelby’s offered body types for everyone. The 1960’s also rocked with the Chevy Camaro, Chevy Corvette, Plymouth Barracuda, Chevy Impala, Chevy Chevelle, the Pontiac GTO, and wrapped up that awesome decade in 1969 by producing the 1970 Dodge Challenger. The Pontiac GTO, nicknamed The Goat, had a title which was Delorean’s idea inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO, the successful race car. It is an Italian abbreviation for Gran Turismo Omologato, which means officially certified for racing in the grand tourer class, and became well used in reference to the Pontiac GTO. For more information on this event, folks can call Dee at 291-6939, or Gary at 291-5116. Also check out Facebook Igniters Car Club, and

The Igniters Car Club states that it is where small town America meets American’s passion for classic cars and custom cruisers. The Igniter’s Car Club of Libby, Montana is a select group of like-minded individuals that banded together to form an alliance of car enthusiasts dedicated to protecting and promoting the restoration, preservation, and maintenance of classic and custom cars. Their mission is to offer the best venue for car enthusiasts to showcase their superior workmanship, their unique passion, and their unconventional resources while highlighting our small town where the deep roots of gearhead hobbyists, legendary rods, and cruising were planted. If this sounds like a club you might be interested in possibly joining, you can email them at The club shop is located at 170 Hogan Drive, Libby, Montana, and the phone number is 293-3633.

Ignite the Nites brings in lots of people to enjoy one of Libby’s largest festivities. Photo  courtesy of