Chief Operations Officer of Isotex, Gary Rayward. Photo by Moira Blazi, The Montanian.


Real Art Works for natural gifts

The warmth of both the artists and their exceptional nature-based artwork greet and welcome you at Real Art Works (RAW) in Troy, Mont. RAW is a cooperatively run enterprise, and they have brought together a talented group of quality artists and artisans who enjoy their work and have fun. The small, clean, nicely lit, and well organized studio atmosphere shop has a diversity of unique items from every aspect of the earth and sky.

Milli Beal crafts paper birch bark baskets, mini – wood carvings, and antler jewelry for her company, Montana Forest Art.

  1. Scott Rodich, of Yaak Valley Forge produces innovative iron works that include fire box screens, pokers, and decorative hinge sets.

Becky Timmons creates treasures of jewelry, while Denise Killingsworth fashions scarves with nicely accented glass beads from her The Glass Cabin outfit.

Displayed on the shelves are hand carved wooden bowls by Dave Swanson, using an Inuit curved blade Ulu; Yaak Valley ceramic bowls by the Osters; and gourd rattles by Tess Jones.

All are complimented by framed hanging background art with amazing Don Jones photos, Paul Stark Riverview Photos, and Terrel Jones in depth paintings, and more. Visit RAW at 600 East Missoula Ave. in Troy or call 295-9799.

By Brian Baxter, The Montanian.



CARD Rally at Libby


It’s time to rally: CARD Rally that is.

On Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Libby Elementary Gym from 3:30 until 5:30 p.m., the whole community is invited to join CARD staff, along with Zero to Five, Public Health, Head Start and Unite for Youth in a fun pirate themed, interactive learning experience about Navigating  Your  Way to Better Health.

The rally is an innovative way to engage community members with  resources in a fun and educational event.  This community-wide, family friendly event will encourage community members to interact with resource teams, promote understanding of projects and develop relationships.  This event will be a thought provoking, fun filled experience planned for all ages. There will be six interactive stations along with free prizes, face painting, and cotton candy.

As you can see this is not your normal educational event.  This is an exciting opportunity to bring the whole family down and have a fun time, while learning how to navigate your way to better health.

Submitted by Dusti Thompson m



Isotex health


Isotex Chief Operations Officer, Gary Rayward, says they are very happy to be here in Libby.

“We are glad to be able to help this community,” he told The Montanian.

The company is now in the process of moving in and installing the massive equipment needed to extract pure CBD oil from raw hemp plants. “There are basically two types of equipment, pre-processing and extraction,” Rayward said. “In the pre-processing stage, we take the hemp plants in from the harvest, some the size of trees, and strip off the usable parts, the leaves and flowers, leaving the seeds and the stalk. Then we take that material and  send it through a proprietary, ethanol extraction process, to extract the pure oil.”

The parts that are left over, the seeds and woody, fibrous stalks are then sold to other companies. “We don’t have a lot of seed, because we grow mostly feminized plants,” Rayward said, “The biomass that is left can be used to make a wide variety of products including concrete, fabric, paper products, laminate floors, and other building materials.”

Isotex grows their own raw hemp on over 13,500 acres of land in Montana, hopefully including some acreage in northern  Lincoln county next season.

“We try to maintain a fully integrated supply chain,” Rayward said. “This is a big building, and we plan to use every inch of it.”

HR specialist for Isotex, Michelle Cross, has had the opportunity to get to know a lot of  Libby locals.

As  the person in charge of  hiring, she has fielded a lot of questions. She sat down with The Montanian to answer  some of the most frequently asked (FAQ) questions.

Where are you in the hiring process?

“We have completed phase one of the hiring process. We have hired 12 people so far,” Cross told The Montanian. “These folks are prepping the facility to receive the millions of pounds of hemp coming in, and about half of these folks hired are locals. In the next few weeks, we will move into phase two, and we will be hiring 20-30 more people to assist in getting  the heavy equipment set up. We will be looking for folks with machinist, and mechanical backgrounds. If you have gone through the application process, hang tight, it takes awhile to “ramp up” to 120 people,” Cross explained.

What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

Hemp  is a relative of marijuana, but does not contain any significant amount of THC, the active ingredient of marijuana which produces a “high.”  The hemp being processed by Isotex is high in all CBD Cannabinoids which are helpful for many medical conditions, including pain relief, tissue inflammation, and anxiety.

Is this going to be a seasonal facility?

“No, this is going to be a year-round operation. The facility has radiant floor heating and we are pursuing a lot  of different avenues of production. There are different things to do in every season, and the fresh hemp we receive is wrapped, and will stay fresh for a long time, so our processing will continue all year round.”

What is the product you are making?

“ It is nothing you or I would directly buy,” Cross explained. Isotex sells the purified CBD extract to a myriad of companies springing up everywhere, who produce CBD infused lotions, tinctures, edibles, oils etc. “Although the CBD extract produced by Isotex is not directly available to the public, it promises to be an ingredient in hundreds of CBD infused products now available.”

What will be done with the byproducts?

“We have been approached by multiple companies, Cross told The Montanian, ”Hurd, bast and stalk fibers can be used for so many things including animal bedding, mulch, fiberboard, insulation, concrete, fabric, rope, paper, cardboard and biofuel.

What skill sets are you looking  for in future employees?

“I am really looking for well-rounded individuals,” Cross said. “We will be hiring for line work and hoping for people with some degree of mechanical expertise. The facility will be in production around the clock, so we will need swing/graveyard shift employees as well. Later, in January and February, we will be hiring most of the clerical staff. The Lincoln county job service is currently and continuously taking applications for these positions.”

Isotex is committed to a high level of community involvement, they handed out candy to kids at the Job Service office on Mineral Ave., and they are already planning a company Christmas party and company picnic. Cross invites anyone to visit the company website to check for upcoming events.

By Moira Blazi, The Montanian