Michelle Barney poses in her new shop which will be opening soon. Photo by Moira Blazi, The Montanian.


Custom imaging business to open in Libby: Flash 56

By Moira Blazi


Michelle Barney says she has always loved the old magic cleaners building, with its outdoor corner arches, high ceilings and large spacious room supported by metal poles, which Michelle has already painted a shiny, burnished gunmetal grey. Now, she is super excited to be moving her custom imaging business into the  iconic downtown Libby building, bringing the new technology of a brand new, full color, direct to garment printer.

“With this new Epson printer which cost almost $26,000, I will basically be able to print photos and graphics on a variety of fabrics, everything from quilt squares to clothing, including hats and shoes,” Barney explained.,

Although Barney is moving all of her computerized embroidery machines as well, most of the screen printing will still be down at the Twisted turtle, Barneny’s old shop. The quality custom embroidery and state of the art photo/graphic printing will be joined by merchandise as well, like local  artist, Eric Nyberg’s, wide brim, wool “Boonie” hats, which can be printed or embroidered.

Barney is calling her new store, Flash 56, “because I love Lincoln county, 56,” she said.

“I want to offer things to people that we don’t currently have here in Libby,” Barney told The Montanian. “I can take any picture, digitize it, resize it, add graphics, etc. The possibilities are endless, and I plan to be doing a lot of Rhinestones,” she added with a laugh.

With the large square footage of this new store, Barney also plans to have displays of themed sports attire, using the colors and logos of local  sport teams like the Libby Loggers and Troy Trojans..

Barney will continue to expand her online store and  increase her presence on social media including Facebook and Instagram. “I have already been getting lots of orders from Kalispell, Thompson Falls, Bonners Ferry, and Washington,” Barney added. “And I hope to expand on that.”

Barney hopes to open Flash 56 sometime at the end of January.

Libby City Council meeting; outdoor rec requests cause waves

By Tyler Whitney


Libby’s City Council met for the first time in 2020 on Monday evening, Jan. 6 at City Hall. The meeting started with reports from the Fire and Police representatives, the latter of which announced that the Libby Police Department was revving up a new theft prevention program being implemented in an undisclosed part of town.

Kootenai River Development Council announced the completion of a feasibility study regarding the sale of the Asa Wood school facility towards a group wishing to convert the building into an assisted living center or nursing home. A member of the City County Board of Health warned of a growing number of dear with Chronic Wasting Disease, and explained that there is a plan in place to take care of the problem. The Board member also cautioned about a rise in Influenza B in Lincoln County.

Next on the docket was a request from the Libby Outdoor Recreation Association to approve constructing a parking lot on city property and then the Kootenai Cross Country Ski Club who wanted a letter of support to pave a trail and build a toilet. The outdoor recreation  presentation was short and sweet, explaining that in order to support a new trial for pedestrians, a new parking lot had to be constructed. The response from many of those present in the audience was swift, passionate, and overwhelming: their concern was that such a project would risk the water supply and should be rejected by the council. The council listened and responded to concerns with a postponement until more information on the effects of the project could come out.

The response from the people of Libby to Dr. Scott’s request on behalf of the Ski Club was hardly any less passionate. He requested a letter of support from the council concerning plans to pave a part of the ski course and another to construct a toilet at the ski facilities with the growing number of kids and patrons joining the program. From these letters, they would  be able to apply for grants to pay for the projects.

Once again, citizens came out in force against the new construction projects, citing a lack of trust in promises of water protection, and in future oversight of the project.

Ultimately, the council decided to deny a letter of support for paving of the course, though they did vote to provide a letter of support for the construction of the toilet on the basis of how one citizen described it, “It has to go somewhere.”

From there, the meeting’s buzz died significantly, with many in the audience members eager for the meeting to come to a close after nearly two hours of discussion. By the end, few had stayed around for the conclusion of the final pieces of business, and even the council seemed eager to be done.

Other business on the evening’s agenda included approval of December 2019’s meeting minutes, swearing in of council members Peggy Williams, Brian Zimmerman, Hugh Tayor, and Rob Dufficy, election of a council president, reappointment of Jennifer Nelson to the Planning Board and Zoning Commission, and approving contracts for the City Attorney, Dean Chisholm, City Engineer, Mike Fraser, and WGM Group.

Watching national news and politics often gives the impression that civil discussion had fallen into an early grave to be buried with apathy. But from what our council meeting, it seemed that the spirit of civic engagement is alive and well in Libby.

Pop’s Vapor now Pop’s Shop now offering new products

By McKenzie Williams


Pop’s Vapor Shop has been open in Libby for about 6 years. What was once a vapor shop is now re-mastered into Pop’s Shop. Offering an array of various products. The vamped up business will be offering products at wholesale pricing.

On Wend. December 18, enforcement of emergency rules to temporarily restrict the sale of flavored e-cigarette products in Montana that went into effect, Pop’s Vapor Shop was effected with about 70 percent of their sales being taken away.

The 120-day ban restricts the sale of all flavored e-cigarette products, both online and in-store. Retailers were not required to destroy their existing inventory but store it away. Pop’s has not bent  under the pressure and has made the necessary changes to the store, unfortunately that included laying off employees to bring in whole-sale pricing.

Pop’s Shop now offers flavorless vape juice, vaping devices and coils and tanks, smoking accessories from lighters to hemp made cigarette cases. Pop’s also offers CBD products for you and your pets at the cheapest prices in town.

Pop’s Shop is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and is located at 513 Mineral Ave. You can reach them at 334-5027.