New EPA administrator visits Libby Asbestos Superfund site

Mike Cirian (L), Remedial Site Manager for the EPA’s Libby Superfund Project, and Greg Sopkin, Region 8 Administrator, remove signage from the former Information Center site in downtown Libby.  Though Cirian’s work with the local superfund site is far from complete, all residential and commercial inquiries regarding Libby amphibole asbestos will now be handled through the Lincoln County Asbestos Resource Program (ARP) – 406-291-5335

By Stacy Bender


On Thursday, October 15, recently appointed Region 8 EPA (Environmental Protective Agency) Administrator, Greg Sopkin, met with Lincoln County Commissioners and local EPA officials for a visit and brief assessment of the Libby Asbestos Superfund site.

“Greg was particularly impressed with the scale and scope of the EPA’s response to the Libby Asbestos site,” shared Beth Archer, Community Involvement Coordinator for EPA Region 8.

“The site’s cleanup has been on a national stage for many years due to the acute human health risk and associated public health emergency determination which was made in 2009,” Archer went on in an email exchange.  “Mr. Sopkin noted the progress which has been made at the site as extraordinary, particularly to the point that the only remaining risk driver is the former mine site itself – known as Operable Unit (OU) 3, is remarkable.”
OU4 and OU7, encompassing residential and business areas where broad cleanup achievements have been accomplished, were also a piece of Mr. Sopkin’s tour.

“Mike Cirian and his team have made huge improvements that have made a real difference to the communities of Libby and Troy.  The Libby site has been awarded two partial deletions in the past two years and anticipates another unit in 2021,” Archer went on.

“Partial deletions reflect cleanup progress at the site and show that the entire superfund site is moving closer and closer to being delisted from the EPA National Priorities List – an achievement which seemed almost unimaginable for this site 10 years ago.”

Mr. Sopkin offered several accolades to both the local EPA officials as well as the Lincoln County Commissioners during a short briefing held in summary of his October 15th visit.  “The groundwork and succession planning which have been done with such attention to the future here is impressive.  I have never seen a community as set-up and prepared for the future,” he reported while noting his honor to be stepping in as Regional Manager and overseeing the efforts of a team which continues to work towards the final remedy at the OU3 mine site with equal care and thoughtfulness.

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699 pounds and counting of food gathered by local Boy Scouts

By Stacy Bender


On Saturday, November 14, Libby Cub Scouts Jace Muniz and Elry Hall rallied on behalf of Libby Troop #4925 to round-up 699 lbs. in food donations for the Libby Food Pantry.

The same two scouts had canvased the Libby community one week prior, leaving flyers to remind about 250 friends and neighbors they would be returning to collect donations for this year’s annual Scouting for Food Drive.

Sans the majority of their fellow Cub Scouts due to Covid-19 and quarantine guidelines, the two young men set course on Saturday with two of their scout leaders as designated chaffeurs for the cause.

While 699 lbs. of food was delivered to the Libby Pantry by day’s end, the final tally has yet to be logged for the 2020 Scouting for Food season.

Due to a slight mix-up with one of several donation boxes staged within businesses throughout the community, one collection box will remain active at Empire Foods through Saturday, November 21.

Representatives with the Libby Food Pantry have shared the pantry is currently seeking evaporated (canned) milk, chicken broth and olives to stock their shelves for the coming holiday season.
Any questions regarding Libby Cub Scout Pack # 4925’s drive may be directed to Brittani at 291-2905 or

The Cub Scouts, along with their leaders, wish like to extend a note of gratitude for the community’s ongoing and remarkable display of generosity and support.


Jace Muniz returns from a front-porch pick-up along the streets of Libby on Saturday, Nov. 14, to load the goods gathered by Cub Scout Pack #4925 to benefit the Libby Food Pantry.

Stars and Strips Fly High at
Happy’s Inn

By Stacy Bender


On Saturday, November 14, the Color Guard from VFW Post #1548 in Libby along with members of the Fisher River Fire Department and several residents of the Happy’s Inn Community along Hwy 2 East of Libby came together as a 30 X 60 ft American Flag was raised to the finial atop a recently installed flagpole which originally stood alongside the former Montana Raceway Park in Kalispell.

“Kris and Casey have done so much for our community,” said one Happy’s Inn resident following Saturday’s flag dedication at the storied landmark’s site.

“Such an emotional ceremony,” said another resident of the afternoon event which took pause and offered a belated note of silence and gratitude in honor of Veteran’s Day held earlier that week.

Since acquiring the business in 2019, Kris and Casey Cole have been slowly breathing new life into the atmosphere at Happy’s which had diminished as a “hot spot” within local vernacular for several years. Yet that social buzz of days-gone-by has certainly seemed to steadily re-gain steam – even amidst the pandemic atmosphere which has notably dampened the momentum of several Montana businesses over the past several months.


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Camp Patriot Disabled Veteran’s Retreat Ranch

By Brian Baxter


Early November is both an historic and patriotic time for Montana and this great nation. The eighth was the 131st  anniversary of Montana being admitted to the noble union of the United States of America. November tenth was the 245th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps, established in 1775. The eleventh was the nation and every state’s proud celebration of Veteran’s Day. Originally, the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour was celebrated as Armistice Day on the first anniversary of the end of World War One, when hostilities ceased at 11 a.m.. Armistice Day became a National Holiday beginning in 1938. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was the Allied Commander of the D-Day forces that landed in France and helped liberate the world from tyranny, changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to recognize veterans of the two world wars. The intent is to celebrate all military veterans, living or dead, who have served the country, with an emphasis on thanking the people in our lives who have spent time in uniform for their service to this country.


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Camp Patriot Fishing Day Group with Dave Blackburn’s Kootenai Angler recently. Photo courtesy of Camp Patriot and the Kootenai Angler