Date and location change for the annual Kootenai Harvest Festival

2019 Kootenai Harvest Festival.    Photo courtesy of Kootenai Harvest Festival Facebook Page.


Submitted by
Liz Whalen


The Kootenai Harvest Festival 2020 will be held on Thursday, September 10th​ ​ at the Libby Area Chamber of Commerce from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., along with the weekly Farmers Market at Libby.

The mission, of both the annual Kootenai Harvest Festival and the weekly Farmers Market at Libby, is to provide a place for local farmers, artists, and craftspeople to connect directly with the local community.  The Kootenai Harvest Festival will host about twice as many vendors (approximately 40+) as the regular weekly farmers market.

The Kootenai Harvest Committee has pared down and adapted some of the usual offerings for this year’s unique situation. The Harvest Meal, prepared by Gracious Table with locally grown ingredients, will be offered only as a “take home” option. You can purchase your meal at the Kootenai Harvest Festival at the Market on September 10th​ ​, or pre order your meal by purchasing a meal ticket at the Farmers Market on Thursday’s between 3-7pm, located in the Chamber parking lot.

To limit health concerns there will not be seating provided or a kid’s area, but there will be music, extra vendors, and harvest décor.

Overflow parking will be (as space is available) in the city campground, and in the parking lot of Rosauers. Please do not park in the Venture lot as they will have large semis and chainsaw carvers parking there.

Due to the COVID pandemic restrictions, masks or face shields will be required to enter the Harvest Festival and Farmers Market.  If you have preordered and prepaid with a market vendor, a Market Manager volunteer will meet you at the designated pick-up parking area, retrieve your items within the Market and deliver them to your car.  SNAP, double-SNAP, EBT, and senior vouchers will be accepted by vendors and accepted for the take home dinner meal.

If you have any questions regarding the Kootenai Harvest Festival, please contact the Chamber Office (406) 293-4167.

Information provided on

voting for the upcoming election

By Moira Blazi

As our national November 3 election approaches, there is revived interest in the security of the election process, especially the security and validity of mail in ballots.

The Montanian recently visited  with Lincoln County Election Supervisor, Leigh Riggleman, to help us understand the mechanics of the election process.

“A mail-in ballot is generated for every active voter.” Riggleman told The Montanian.

An active voter is someone who has voted in the last general election. If someone is registered, but not ‘active’, they do not automatically receive a ballot, also, If someone has recently changed their physical address, or used to have a P.O. Box that is no longer valid, they will not receive a ballot. That is because the USPS does not forward official ballots. All ballots that cannot be delivered are returned to the Lincoln county Election office. However, all registered voters names will appear on polling place rosters, regardless of whether they are ‘active’ or not.

“If someone wants to vote by Absentee ballot, they must request and fill out an application.” Riggleman, told the Montanian. “We can send them an application by mail ,or they can come into the courthouse registrar’s office and fill out the application in person. After they fill out the application they can send it back to us by  mail, deliver it in person, or even send it to us by e-mail.” She added. “There are lots of snowbirds here, we have a spot on the form for alternate addresses, and we will forward ballots to those who give us their addresses.”  The Elections office does ask for the specific dates  of residence. If an absentee ballot is marked as undeliverable, it comes back to the county elections office. “Last year we had over 700 verified  absentee voters” Riggleman said.


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Fire Watch and forecast update; Fire season may be on it’s way

By Brian Baxter


On August 1, the Predictive Services National Interagency Fire Center came out with its monthly National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook. This report represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services units and the National Predictive Services unit. For the Northern Rockies, above – normal significant fire potential is still expected for August and September in all the western locations. One reason is the predicted monsoonal lightning pattern in combination with the warmer and drier than average weather conditions that will keep fuels receptive to fire ignition and spread. Another reason for this is due to the likelihood that a weak La Nina pattern will still develop in late summer with analog comparisons suggesting above normal fire potential during that time. General translation folks is that our fire season could be just beginning.

A pattern change that typically happens during La Nina summers that produce warmer and drier than average conditions also produces an increasing frequency of monsoonal moisture, which is a prime pattern for dry thunderstorms in north Idaho and western Montana. Live fuels continued to cure in July with progressively longer periods of hot and dry weather, especially in the Idaho Panhandle and northwest Montana, where it has been much drier during the past 30 to 60 days. Which we here in the Libby, Troy, and Eureka areas are fully aware of, as we are also aware of the fact that in late July there was less relative humidity recovery overnight, resulting in drying fuels in the woods, and uncomfortable nights in our homes that were hotter than a cat on a hot tin roof.

The snow in the Cabinet Mountains is visibly melting, which is obvious to any observer with a good pair of binoculars, and results in more exposed fuels in the higher terrain. Latter July heat waves seem to have produced much drier fuels, which could result in above normal fire potential in our area, especially during windy periods of thunderstorm activity. For our immediate area, the thunder, lightning, and wind storms of Friday, July 31, that lit up the skies over Libby did result in several lightning strike ignitions in the Swede – McMillan – Williams Creek areas, as well as the Wolf Creek – Fisher River areas and a few other locations. Due to the diligence, preparedness, and fast acting work of federal, state, and some private fire fighting resource teams, those lightning strike ignitions were controlled with fast actions. Teams monitored and continued to patrol these areas. The entire area fire forces coordinate, cooperate, and monitor the safety of all teams and personnel. The common bonds of the diverse, specialized, and professional teams are not spoken about much, but are definitely felt. Extreme caution while recreating in the area is highly recommended, as we are still early in this 2020 fire season.

Libby School District staff member tests positive for COVID-19
Superintendent Goodman provides update for Libby Schools on registration & upcoming workshops

Submitted by Ron Goodman


Libby School District sadly announces that we have had a staff member test positive for COVID-19. Lincoln County Health Department has informed those individuals who are in direct contact and have started the process of testing those they feel had potentially been exposed. Fortunately, we are currently operating with a skeleton crew and only a few people could be affected.

Going forward: We are postponing the Libby Middle/High School registration for returning students from August 13 and 14 to August 19 and 20. New students are scheduled for August 24 The grade level times will remain the same and are posted on the Libby Middle/High School website page

Libby Elementary School Registration will continue on the planned dates beginning August 10.

However, families must call for an appointment 293-2763. Please refer to the Libby Elementary School website page

The second week of the Libby Elementary School Summer School has been cancelled. The Substitute Workshop will continue as scheduled on August 11 in the KW Maki Theatre from 9 to 11 a.m.

Please rest assured that Libby School District is doing everything we can to provide a safe, learning environment for our students. We would not intentionally put anyone in harms way. We are still on course to open on August 26. We hope to update the community in a week regarding any changes to opening and extracurricular activities.

Please contact my office at 293-8811, if you have any questions