Governor Bullock announces first round of COVID-19 Vaccine Plan

Santa has been quite busy catching up with everyone in both Libby and Troy these past few weeks.  On Friday, December 11, he stopped by Morrison Elementary School where group check-ins like this one with the transitional kindergarten class made checking his list a bit more time efficient as Christmas Day grows near. Courtesy Photo

Submitted by Governor’s Office abridged by
The Montanian


Gov. Steve Bullock announced on Monday, December 7,that the first round of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was expected to arrive for delivery in Montana. The shipment is expected to target health care workers at Montana’s major hospitals.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services had been scheduled to receive an estimated first dose allocation of 9,750 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines today, December 15.

“For nearly nine months, Montana’s health care workers have worked tirelessly to care for the people of this state, putting their own health at risk,” said Governor Bullock. “By prioritizing the vaccination of those on the frontlines, we can help ensure our hospitals can continue serving patients while we continue to manage the spread of this virus in our communities.”

Round one allocations will be provided to the following locations: Billings Clinic, St. Vincent Healthcare- Billings, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, St. James Hospital- Butte, Benefis Health System – Great Falls, Great Falls Clinic, St. Peter’s Health – Helena, Kalispell Regional Medical Center, Providence St. Patrick Hospital – Missoula, Community Medical Center – Missoula.

“It’s very encouraging that we’re close to receiving our first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine, but we must all remain vigilant and continue to follow all public health safety measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” said DPHHS acting Director Erica Johnston. “DPHHS is committed to implementing the state’s vaccination plan by working with communities and organizations all across Montana in the weeks and months ahead.”

The allocation each location receives will be based off of a survey conducted by DPHHS with Montana hospitals on the estimated number of health care workers that will receive the vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine contains 975 doses per box.

With the requirement of cold storage and the large number of doses per box with the Pfizer vaccine, the plan to allocate the first round to Montana’s large hospitals for their health care workers is the most expedient and best utilizes the resources available.

Montana is anticipated to receive a second round shipment of vaccines that will contain both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines one week subsequent to the first round. The second round allocation will focus on rural hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. The Moderna vaccine includes 100 doses per box and does not require cold storage, making it more easily delivered to rural settings or small facilities.

The national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) crafted recommendations that both health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities be offered vaccines in the initial phase and the recommendations are supported by the CDC. To ensure a fair and equitable distribution, Montana will be guided by the ACIP recommendations.

Kalispell business owner shares gratitude for two Libby

By Stacy Bender


“I am just so very grateful,” shared Judy Rowland as she fought back tears in a phone conversation on Saturday morning, Dec. 12. “They stayed right beside me, held me and talked to me while I was laying there so scared and unable to breathe.”

Rowland, a Kalispell resident and owner of Evergreen Acres Farmers Market on W. Reserve Drive, had been navigating a flood of residual feelings for approximately 48 hours before reaching out to The Montanian.  This following a chance encounter with two Libby area residents on Thursday afternoon, December 10. “My husband had come into the house to ask me about a price on one of the items in our little store,” Rowland continued as she took a few deep breathes to calm herself again.

“I decided to walk out and help our customer directly.  And oh…  I still just can’t believe what happened next! I was literally 30 ft away from the garage and my lungs went into shock. I have COPD. I lost my breathe and collapsed. I was so scared,” Rowland exclaimed, “I couldn’t breathe.”

“These two ladies – all I know is their first names were Tonya and Laura – they were my angels.  Tonya stayed with me while my lips turned blue and I felt myself panicking.  All I could do was nod yes or no in response to her words. She instructed my husband to call 911 and asked him to locate my rescue inhaler.  We later found out she used to work as a home health care provider.”

“Tonya’s friend, Laura, made herself visible to the street and watched so she could wave in the ambulance once they arrived.  Our Evergreen first responders were here in mere moments.  It was remarkable.”  Thanks to the quick response of Tonya and Laura, Graham was able to stabilize from the unexpected and critical shock to her lungs ultimately declined transport to an area hospital.  “If they had not been there…” Rowland stopped herself to suppress tears yet again.


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Santa visits Libby once again, Dec. 19

By Stacy Bender


Libby Farmers Market welcomes Santa to ACE Hardware: For over 15 years, organizers with the Libby Farmers Market have been coordinating schedules with Santa Claus to ensure he has a few extra moments with Libby area boys and girls before embarking upon his worldwide Christmas Eve tour.  This year the visit has been scheduled to take place at ACE Hardware from 11 a.m. until  2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19.  Those who wish to take a photo with Santa may do so as he shares a small gift in brief exchange.

Libby Volunteer Fire Department to provide Santa a lift on Fire Truck Tour: The Libby Volunteer Fire Department will again be providing transportation for Santa on a town wide tour! Santa will begin touring between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19.  Be sure to keep all eyes peeled for the duration of the afternoon and early eve, give a good wave if you spot him cruising by and Santa will stop to share a candy cane before he heads back North in preparation for Christmas Eve deliveries.

Libby Food Pantry 
2020 holiday distributions

By Stacy Bender


Pantry services for eligible Libby area individuals and families will remain open and available throughout the 2020 Holiday Season.  Special Christmas Meal distribution will be held this Friday, December 18, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. **Registration with the Libby Food Pantry is required.

The Libby Food Pantry is located at 700 Idaho Avenue.  Pantry doors are currently open every Tuesday from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.  Drive-by pantry pick-up and/or registration for all pantry services can be obtained during these hours.

Special delivery services for those sick and unable to come during distribution hours are currently available on a limited basis.  Arrangements for delivery within city limits can be requested each Tuesday morning between the hours of 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.

The Libby Food Pantry is currently in need of the following items: turkeys, hams, onions, sugar, peanut butter, dry beans, canned soup (especially large cans for families), and cereal.

Any of these or other fresh and non-perishable items are always welcomed and may be dropped during regular business hours posted above.  Monetary donations can be mailed to Libby Food Pantry, P.O. Box 311, Libby, MT, 59923.

For further information on how to register for pantry services or support outreach efforts, please contact Rhea Bernardy or Chloe Adamson at 293-3332.

Winter Solstice sky gazing;
Christmas star returns after
hundreds of years

By Brian Baxter


Montanans are known to be keen observers of natural beauty of all kinds. And being after all, that we are in Big Sky Country, sky-gazers may, depending on weather of course be able to view the rare Christmas Star.

This conjunction of Jupiter with its moons, and Saturn, the ringed planet will appear closer together on Dec. 21 than they have been since the Middle Ages, almost 800 years ago. Astronomers are calling this event the Great Conjunction or the Christmas Star.

Through telescopes, binoculars, or the human eye observers should look west and southwest approximately 45 minutes after sunset. The Jupiter – Saturn conjunction will look a bit like an elongated star, or a bright double planet, although they will still be hundreds of millions of miles apart. Also on the twenty first of Dec. is the Winter Solstice, or the first day of winter, which in the northern hemisphere occurs at 3:02 a.m.. Folks can pinpoint your navigation of this occurrence using a free download such as Stellarium, where you just need to put in your location. Also, interested people can email our local Kootenai Stargazers Astronomy Club, at to get exact times and locations in the sky-scape. KSAC is Libby’s first astronomy club formed by Kathy Nielson in the 1990’s.


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