Emmett Wages

Aaron & Chelsea Wages welcomed baby boy Emmett Wages on November 23, at 9:45 a.m. Emmett weighed six pounds, .08 ounces and was 20 inches long. He was

delivered by Dr. Jana Hall at CPMC in Libby, Mont. Photo by: Joseph D. Jameson Photography.

Nolan Kramer

Shannon and Ramiah Kramer welcomed baby boy Nolan Kramer on November 21, at 2:15 p.m. Nolan  weighed five pounds, 5.7 ounces and was 18 inches long. He was delivered by Dr. Jana Hall at CPMC in Libby, Mont.

Photo by: Joseph D. Jameson Photography

Martha Bulger

Mark & Miranda Bulger welcomed baby girl Martha Bulger on November 23, at 12:31 a.m. Martha Bulger weighed seven pounds, and was 20.5 inches long. She was delivered by Dr. Brian Bell at CPMC in Libby, Mont.

Photo by: Joseph D. Jameson Photography

Thank You Montana Department Environmental Quality from LC Board of Commissioners

Submitted by Montana Newspaper Association


In addition to being a long-time citizen and business owner in Northwest Montana, I have been honored to serve the public as an elected State Representative and County Commissioner. I have lived through the economic chaos that has engulfed our area with the collapse of Federal forested lands management, subsequent mill closures and now chronic, multi-decadal poverty. I have also had the pleasure of working with Hecla Mining Company on their world-class reclamation of the now-shuttered Troy Mine as well as their efforts to permit two projects that would provide desperately needed jobs in our area while protecting the environment that we live in and love.

It is with this background that I applaud and support the Montana Department of Environmental

Quality’s decision to drop the case against Hecla’s Montana subsidiaries and their CEO Phil Baker. Hecla has proven itself to be the kind of company that our local area and state should embrace as we look toward a future of resource management and environmental protection.

Their work on the Troy Mine Reclamation Project has been first class. This effort and their history in similar areas such as Greens Creek on Admirality Island in Alaska serve as excellent examples of what northwest Montana hopes to look forward to in the decades to come. Hecla has a 135-year history that speaks to their commitment to both the communities in which they operate and cutting-edge environmental protection. Our area needs the family wage jobs that can come with modern mineral development and we also need and expect the environmental protections that come with modern mining•

I have joined my neighbors and my constituents in being excited that it is Hecla Mining, a proven responsible corporate citizen, that is investing in northwest Montana. Their communication with and support of our communities, especially our youth and education, has already been substantial and indicative of things to come when their proposed mines are approved and operating.

I now join in the area’s relief that the State of Montana has concluded that the previous administration had erred in their interpretation of state statute. That position always confused and bewildered me as the state tried to hold an entire company responsible for the past actions of their CEO of over twenty years when he was a young employee of another company nearly three decades ago, especially when those past actions were within the legal framework of the times.

In short, Montana DEQ made the right decision and I applaud the courage it took to do the right thing for our area and our state. As society moves more and more toward alternative forms of energy that will be intensive consumers of both copper and silver, Hecla Mining is the type of company we should want doing business here. Thank you, Montana DEQ.

Lincoln County Board of Commissioners:
Brent Teske-District 1 Libby, Jerry Bennett-District 2 Troy, Josh Letcher-District 3 Eureka,  Robin Benson-Clerk and Recorder

Troy residents gather for annual Troy Holiday Bazar


Troy Holiday Bazaar was held on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Troy Elementary School. Photos by Ashley South, The Montanian.

DPHHS Statement on Injunction Against Federal Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers 

“The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is pleased that a federal court has issued an order granting a nationwide preliminary injunction against implementation of CMS’s vaccine mandate for health care workers, particularly in light of its legal shortcomings and the dire impact it would have on frontier states like Montana. With the court’s decision, House Bill 702, which makes discrimination on the basis of vaccination status unlawful, remains the law in Montana. Thus, Montana health care facilities cannot require staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19. DPHHS continues to encourage all eligible Montanans to talk to their trusted, personal health care provider and get vaccinated.” DPHHS Director Adam Meier

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an interim final rule (IFR) on November 5, 2021, requiring COVID-19 vaccination of all eligible staff of health care facilities that participate in the Medicare or Medicaid programs. These health care facilities were required to ensure that all eligible staff receive the first dose of a 2-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a 1-dose COVID-19 vaccine by December 6, 2021 (and the second dose of a 2-dose vaccine by January 4, 2022), unless they received a medical or religious exemption.

The State of Montana, along with a number of other states, challenged the CMS IFR in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District on November 15. In a memorandum ruling issued on November 30, on the states’ motion for preliminary injunction, the district court concluded that Montana and the other states are likely to prevail in the lawsuit. Among other things, the court concluded the states are likely to prevail on the claims the federal defendants exceeded their authority in promulgating the IFR and that the rule is contrary to law and violates the Constitution.

The district court issued a preliminary injunction, applicable nationwide (except as to 10 states in which the IFR has already been preliminarily enjoined), precluding CMS from implementing the IFR. The order prevents CMS from implementing (or enforcing) the IFR as to all healthcare providers, suppliers, employees, and all others covered by it. The preliminary injunction will remain in effect pending the final resolution of the lawsuit, or until further order of the district court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, or the U.S. Supreme Court.

At the same time that CMS issued the IFR, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) that required employees of covered employers (generally private businesses with 100 or more employees) to receive COVID-19 vaccination or to wear a mask and undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. As a result of certain lawsuits challenging the OSHA ETS, on November 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order staying the OSHA ETS (pending adequate judicial review of the motions for permanent injunction filed by the parties that challenged the ETS) and directing that OSHA take no steps to implement or enforce the ETS pending further court order; OSHA has since suspended ETS implementation and enforcement.

As a result of the Louisiana district court decision (and the Fifth Circuit’s order on the OSHA ETS), House Bill 702 – barring discrimination on the basis of vaccination status – remains the law in Montana. Thus, at this time, Montana health care facilities cannot require that staff receive COVID-19 vaccines.

This Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page details House Bill 702, protections afforded by the law, and how to file a vaccination status discrimination complaint. Individuals seeking to file a vaccination status discrimination complaint can contact DLI’s Human Rights Bureau at 1-800-542-0807

Submitted by Department Public Health and Human Safety.