Local volunteers rush to aid fellow citizens in need

By Brian Baxter


When recent complications arose with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and food bank foods being picked up in Kalispell and offered to people in Libby, Eureka, Troy, and Yaak, good hearted volunteers rushed to the aid of their fellow citizens.

Folks like Vince Backen, who opened up his storage room at the new Libby Mercantile to store the foodstuffs, and volunteer crews unloaded the cargo. Angel Ford, hastily gathered a volunteer force of drivers with trucks to pick up the goods and convoy them back to Libby, where they were unloaded at the Libby Mormon Church’s parking lot.

Judging by the long lines of vehicles along Highway 2, and the number of folks receiving  foodstuffs, plenty of folks were very appreciative to receive these items.

Ford and the group are very thankful for the help of the volunteers that have assisted so far. She  said, “Of course there are many to thank, but a few I can mention now are T.J. Thomas, Tim Junior, Deanna Schweitzke, and Conrad Futrell, who is 80 years old and helps unload.”

Sandi Sullivan of Aging Services Network has also been instrumental in getting the word out. The Lincoln County Food Bank will need more help with truck drivers, trucks, and trailers for picking up palates of food, storing of that food, and of course distribution.

Locations to unload and distribute food are also needed. Help is needed for the Troy pickup and deliveries, now taking place on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. at the VFW in Troy, and now on Fridays in Libby from 3 until 4 p.m. Folks interested in volunteering and seeking more information can call Angel Ford, at 360-590-4207.


Volunteers help unload and distribute.
Photo by Brian Baxter,
The Montanian

Summer Events are coming alive in Lincoln County

By Mati Bishop


Summer is here and so are a whole new batch of Summer events that have been announced since the COVID-19 restrictions have been loosened in Lincoln County. Let’s hope they stay that way so we can enjoy fun events including the chainsaw carving, concerts, cruises and car shows that have popped up on the summer calendar in recent weeks. After a difficult spring with uncertainty about how and when events would be allowed, business owners and event planners are finally getting an opportunity to announce their offerings.

One of Libby’s newest marquee events, the Kootenai Country Montana International Chainsaw Carving Championship, is set to take place as scheduled Sept. 10-13 in Libby. The competition features 20 world class carvers locked in a four-day competition with pieces created during the event available for public auction. In 2019 Takeo Hiyashi won the masterpiece division with his piece titled “Lion King.”  Dayton Scoggins won the people’s choice award. More information is available at carvemontana.com.

The Half way House Bar and Grill at Bull Lake has been busy booking summer concerts since the loosening of the COVID-19 restrictions. Their calendar is highlighted by local favorites the Copper Mountain Band and Third Ave on July 3. They also have Kelly Hughes performing on June 27 and a pike fishing derby scheduled for Father’s Day weekend. Their Big Sky Rendezvous is happening August 7-9. Camping at Halfway House events is free with paid event admission. More information is available on their Facebook page. Search Halfway House Bull Lake Montana.

The new owners at Happy’s Inn have already hosted their Pike Derby and their annual scavenger hunt. More events are in the works to go along with their weekly bingo night and weekend dinner specials. New events will be posted at facebook.com/Happys-Inn-712709725826741.

Cabinet Peaks Medical Center’s annual golf tournament fundraiser is set for June 27. The two-man scramble event will cost $60 per golfer and include lunch as well as the opportunity to win prizes. Registration is available by calling 283-7140 or emailing kstep@cabinetpeaks.org.

The Liberty on Parade event is taking place on fourth of July weekend to help replace the void left by the cancelation of Troy’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration. The event starts with a patriotic fun color run at 8 a.m. and includes a parade at 10 a.m. with more attractions capped by an evening fireworks show taking place at J. Neils Park starting at 11 a.m.

The Kootenai Pets for Lift Rummage Sale fundraiser is taking place on June 26 and 27 in the Ponderosa Room at City Hall in Libby. Donations for the event can be dropped off on the morning of Friday, June 26. Proceeds from the sale will go to support Kootenai Pets for Life.

Historic Hotel Libby is hosting the Libby Kids Market on June 27. The event features local youth selling handmade items. The event is outside the Historic Hotel Libby and vendor space for kids 17 and under is available for free. Contact 293-8635 to reserve your space.

From July 31 to August 2, the fastest Radio Controlled cars from Lincoln County and beyond will be featured in the eighth annual Hot August Showdown hosted by the Kootenai RC Racers and Scheer Brothers Hobbies. The event will feature races in a variety of classes of radio-controlled car and will take place at the Snowshoe Speedway. Details and registration are available at kootenaircracers.com.

New events are popping up on the calendar regularly, and hopefully will continue to do so if COVID cases don’t increase. Make sure to check out Facebook.com/Montanian to see shared events from all over the area.

Black Lives Matter protest at County Courthouse flooded California Ave. in Libby on both sides

There is no other way to start the story of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests and counter protests lining either side of California Avenue Thursday evening than by  the death of George Floyd. Portrayed as both a career criminal and a martyr, it can be difficult and complicated to summarize a life, though perhaps his own words might allow a better introduction. “I’ve got my shortcomings and my flaws and I ain’t better than nobody else… I love you and God loves you.” Not unaware to his own failings in life, Floyd saw his redemption in Christ, and hoped that he could train others to avoid his mistakes.

Floyd grew up in the impoverished Third Ward in Houston, where playing sports, he earned the name “Big Friendly” due to his kindness towards others. Then, beginning in the 1980’s, Floyd began a part of his life he would later use as a part of his testimony. He was arrested and convicted many times for violent assaults, thefts, and low-level drug offences, sending him in and out of prison until he was 40. Then, when released in 2013, Floyd joined the Resurrection Houston congregation and pledged to turn his life around, becoming an active part of food ministries, baptisms, youth outreach, and other programs lead by the church. After about a year, he moved to Minneapolis with the help of his pastor where he joined the Salvation Army as a security guard for their homeless ministry.

Seven years later, on the May 25, 2020, after trying to buy cigarettes with an alleged counterfeit twenty-dollar bill, officer Derek Chauvin restrained Floyd by kneeling on his neck. Cries for his mother and desperate gasps that he could not breathe had no effect on the officers holding him down, and then, after eight minutes and 46 seconds of crushing pressure, Floyd died. Not long after, video footage surfaced and protests began around the U.S. in response. Chauvin was first fired and then later charged with second degree unintentional murder. The other three officers present have also been charged with multiple accounts of aiding and abetting.

As peaceful protests fill over 750 cities across the United States and the world, and some riots fill the screens of late-night television, BLM fills the national consciousness and Libby finds itself a part of a broader story with their own peaceful protest. Not long before 5 p.m., citizens gathered under the shade of the Lincoln County Courthouse holding signs such as “Liberty and Justice for All,” “Momma I Can’t Breathe,” “Love, Respect, Unity, Make America Great,” and “Stand With Victims,” in support of Floyd and the movement to hold police accountable.

According to the organization Mapping Police Violence, 1,098 people were killed by police in 2019 alone. Of that number, black people were 24% of those killed despite representing 13% of the population. On top of that, between 2013-2019, 99% of officers involved in the killing of a person have not been charged with a crime. “It’s not that there aren’t other injustices happening, other killings,” said one protestor, “it’s just that we’re lucky with the police here, we can feel safe with them. But for some people in our country, they can no longer feel safe calling the police.”

For other protestors, however, standing in the sizzling heat while large trucks drove by, backfiring and blowing black smoke in their faces, their attendance was in defiance of a more subtle specter. Racial slurs and threats of violence that still happen on our streets. Patients in our hospital requesting not to be treated by our doctors and our nurses who are of Asian descent. People of color treated differently, judged harsher and sooner, in our judicial system.

Left: Right: Black Lives Matter Protesters take a knee at the Lincoln County Courthouse Thursday, June 11. Photo by Tyler Whitney, The Montanian.