Flathead Electric to build new  Libby office

The Flathead Electric Co-op (FEC) office in Libby will undergo a major overhaul in the coming months. Built in the 1950’s, the office is antiquated in a number of ways and the Board of Trustees feel the time has come for renovation. Jason Williams, Assistant General Manager, says plans are underway.

“The old building is horribly inefficient, the roof leaks, and it has asbestos in the cinder blocks and the floor tiles. Our newer line trucks don’t even fit in the truck bays. The new building will be designed to be much more member friendly (including having a drive-up window), secure, visually attractive and energy efficient.” Williams says there are also plans to add some solar power and electric vehicle charging capacities.

Due to COVID-19 and the call for social distancing and protecting the health of employees, FEC is reevaluating a timeline on construction, but tentatively plans to move the Libby personnel into a temporary office (just south of the current location where the Lincoln County Credit Union was once housed) in the next few months and hopes to demolish the existing structure beginning in the late fall or early winter.

Besides the addition of a new office (scheduled for construction to begin on the existing site in the spring of 2021), the project includes improved and additional facilities at the Libby substation for trucks and other equipment to improve efficiency and response times. Williams says that Libby is worthy of its own new dedicated office and crew.

“Although Libby is a part of Flathead Electric Cooperative, if it were its own Co-op– based on the number of meters from Thompson Lakes westward—it would be approximately the seventh largest Co-op in the state of Montana. We are excited to play a part in beautifying and rejuvenating Libby’s downtown area.”

Flathead Electric will notify members of new developments as the project evolves.

Submitted by Wendy Ostrom Price



Libby Hostel Base Camp birding


On Saturday, May 2 the Libby Hostel Base Camp will be offering a unique birdwatching event carefully designed and organized to keep all participants and instructors safe during this COVID-19 crisis. We’ve put a lot of thought into this and have field tested these methods, which will work fine to allow folks to have a quality birding experience with minimal risk.

This outdoor educational program for adults will be limited to ten people. Attendees will travel in their own vehicles with couples and friends riding together when possible to eliminate parking problems. Participants will meet at 9 a.m. at the Riverfront Park pavilion on the southwest side of the Kootenai River in Libby.

Vehicles with full gas tanks will begin the “Birding Safari” from there, which will consist of traveling and pulling over at turnouts and viewing areas, stop and hops, and a couple of very short walks on private property. When walking, we will maintain 8-10 foot spacing between us, spread out and glass from good observation points in the field. Participants are asked to bring a bird book, binoculars, spotting scopes, water, lunch, and field clothes / foot wear. Accommodations may be available if needed at the Libby Hostel Base Camp or other area establishments. Find Libby Hostel Base Camp on Facebook or call Marina at 291-7529 for more information. Wrap up is planned for 3 p.m. Experienced instructors will lead the event. To register, please email b_baxter53 @yahoo.com or call 291-2154.

Submitted by Brian Baxter



FWP license

deadlines and drawing results

The wait is over. Hunters can now check the results of the 2020 nonresident combination and elk and deer permit drawing to see if they were successful.

To view drawing results online go to MyFWP and click on “Lookup Draw Results, Register for Lists” tab, or login to your MyFWP account. To sign up for an account go to fwp.mt.gov/myfwp. Applicants can also call the FWP licensing office at 444-2950.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ deadlines to apply for moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and bison is May 1; and June 1 for the elk B, deer B and antelope license drawings.

Submitted by Joleen Tadej




Eureka woman’s body found

On Monday, April 6, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office received a report that Darcy Nelson, a 62-year-old female resident of Eureka, left her home two days earlier.  Nelson had not returned and friends were concerned about her well-being. An “Attempt to Locate” for Nelson and her vehicle was issued to law enforcement agencies throughout Montana. Law enforcement was not able to locate Nelson.

On Saturday, April 11, friends of Nelson were told that she was seen the day before on Foothills Road southeast of Eureka. They drove to the area and found Nelson lying in the road. Nelson was hypothermic and unresponsive. They called for Emergency Medical Services, loaded Nelson into their vehicle and drove down to Grave Creek Road where they met Eureka ambulance. Nelson was pronounced dead at that time.

A Sheriff’s Office detective, along with deputies, responded to the scene.  The investigation is ongoing, but currently there is no evidence to suggest foul play.

Submitted by Brent Shrum



Zoom in with Troy City Council

On Wednesday, April 15 at 7 p.m. the Troy City Council convened via Zoom for their monthly meeting. Connected from their homes were Mayor Dallas Carr, City Clerk Tracy Rebo, Councilwomen Crystal Denton and Shawna Kelsey, and Councilman T.J. Boswell. Zoom is a free platform for video-based conference calling.

There were no public comments, so the council moved on to other agenda items. The council was grateful that a $500 donation was received by Troy Parks and Recreation for fertilizer. Planned training sessions that have recently  been canceled due to Coronavirus were discussed, and so was a bill for Public Works Foreman Dave Friedman to have his work truck repaired. All claims on the agenda were approved.

Topics transcended to a review of the work meeting of March 11. Guests for the work meeting included Jeff Staska, John Clogston, Mike Lee, and Stacy Shaffer. Mayor Carr explained that Mr. Staska wants to put in two RV camping spots on his property at 394 Riverside Avenue. Currently, due to City Code 4.4.7 5C (2) he is unable to do so. Staska seeks permission to put spots on his property for a limited service/ dependent vehicle RV park. Discussion followed concerning licensing, and making sure the septic system and RV safe chemical usage would not negatively affect the sewer lagoon system.

Planning Board confirmation of members was discussed, then put on the March 18 agenda. At this point, Kate Arpin, Penny Robins, Don Meyer, Shawna Kelsey, Bruce Clark, Doug Killingsworth, and Lynn Ward have all volunteered to serve on the Planning Board.

Next, the team talked about the Janitorial Contract which was due to expire on March 31. Mentioned were the number of times areas needed to be cleaned per week, and the possibility of putting this contract out to bid. A DOT mini grant was discussed, and the $5,000 would help pay for extra help during busy times and celebrations.

A COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) grant was submitted with hopes to fund a fourth City Officer. A scholarship for Deputy Clerk training was received and greatly appreciated. Also, writing up a Food Pantry agreement was mentioned. Concerns are electric load of freezers and refrigerators as they pertain to safety issues. All meeting minutes were approved.

At the Zoom meeting on April 15, Councilwoman Kelsey said that Troy schools have been getting EL Internet NW service hooked up in certain areas for at home learning through schools. This is state funded, and Boswell noted that state funded Food For Kids programs were also in place locally. Mayor Carr then added some comments on the COVID-19 Crisis. He cited official figures that stated Flathead and Missoula Counties had the highest number of cases, but that social distancing was working all over the state. The Mayor had concerns that with a small workforce, Troy must be careful to not lose any workers. Troy City Council is looking at innovative ways to gradually get folks back to work. The council is pursuing programs that help city workers get funded for some additional hours. Mayor Carr wrapped things up by stating that we are all working together under trying conditions. He asked that all of us make sure we say thanks to our police, fire, store, gas station, health, and all personnel that are working at risk to themselves to help see us through this crisis. Carr is glad to see folks are doing a good job handling things and that we are all looking out for each other. All agreed with an Aye, and the meeting adjourned 7:40 p.m.

By Brian Baxter, The Montanian



Quick tips to be bear aware

Although it is still early in the spring, people recreating outdoors in Montana need to be prepared to encounter grizzly bears as they emerge from winter hibernation. During  this time of year, bears are hungry and looking for food, and often sows have cubs close at hand. Also, with bears expanding their population and habitat, they can often be found in prairie settings, well away from the mountains.

In Montana, people should be prepared to encounter grizzly bears anywhere in the western half of the state. Here are some simple tips recommended to remain safe while recreating in areas that may have bears:

  • Carry bear spray.
  • Travel in groups of people.
  • Make noise to avoid surprising bears.
  • Let people know where you’re recreating.
  • Keep a close eye out for fresh bear sign, including scat, tracks and overturned logs and rocks.

Submitted by Joleen Tadej