Team 56 acknowledges ongoing work of Care Center employees

Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian.


By Stacy Bender


On Thursday morning, December 17, Susie Rice paid a visit to the Libby Care Center of Cascadia on behalf of Team 56 – a county-wide group of professionals and residents alike who actively encourage prevention amd reduction of the spread of Covid-19 in Lincoln County through education, encouragement and fun.  Her mission to hand-deliver two special notes of gratitude.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, you two have been creative and proactive in caring for the patients and staff at the Libby Care Center of Cascadia,” read the hand-written cards delivered to Sarah Soete, Director of Nursing, and Rachel Byrd, CEO at LCCC.  “You have set up protocols to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in your facility and all the while figured out ways to provide social interaction for your residents while meeting the challenges of physical distancing guidelines.”
“When Covid did manage to break the barrier of the care center, you had a plan to isolate infected patients and it worked,” the letter went on to share.  “You have put your hearts and souls into your care for these special patients and we have noticed!”
Humbled and grateful for the kind token of Libby Bucks awarded in appreciation for their work, Soete stated, “It’s been an emotional year.  At any point our staff could have jumped ship, but they haven’t.  In fact, many have taken on extra shifts – something which some had not done in over 10 years.”
The care center did experience a relatively brief encounter with the virus in early October of this past year.  Sadly, four deaths transpired during that time.  However, the center worked diligently to contain the outbreak/prevent further spread of the virus and was again cleared for controlled traffic under very specific visitor-guidelines by the end of November.
Testing of both residents and staff at LCCC continues to be done on a routine basis. The “Covid Wing,” while not currently needed for emergent care, remains staged and ready to be utilized should another outbreak occur. In the interim the area has been designated for new resident intake, providing a safe environment for transitioning clients in to the care center through a preliminary quarantine to monitor for Covid-19 symptoms.
Libby Care Center of Cascadia was one of the first to close their doors to visitors before initial state-wide mandates associated with the Covid-19 pandemic were implemented and they continue to work towards providing the safest environment possible for all those who work and reside there.  “We have sister facilities who have gone from having 5 positive cases to a building-wide breakout of Covid-19 in a very short amount of time,” said Byrd in conversation on December 17.  “They have the same policies and procedures in place as we do here at our center.  That just speaks to the unpredictable nature of this virus and the importance that we strive to do the best we can to prevent potential spread each and every day.”

Seat reserved in perpetuity for John Konzen at Troy Trojans Activity Center

By Someone


Trojan Basketball kicked off on Saturday afternoon, January 2, with one special seat now reserved in memoriam for John Konzen who passed away on November 3, 2020. Konzen was a long-time Educator, Principal, Superintendent, Athletic Director, Trustee and all-around champion for both the Troy School District and its community.

“He was many things to so many of us,” shared Courney Leighty, whose own children now continue to benefit from the educational legacies Konzen left behind. Leighty first confirmed with the school district that a place could be reserved in the event center stands where Konzen once sat, then purchased a seat to be specially placed on opening day of the 2021 Trojan Basketball Season. “He left a hole no one else can fill. His unwavering support will never be forgotten.” “It always made me so happy to see him at the games, even long after he really had reason to be there. He just loved the kids and seeing them play. He always knew who my kids were and asked about them. He followed my son all through high school and had started to ask about my girls. Not many people commit their life to the kids of the kids they once helped in high school. It was special to me and I’m sure to so many others.” As news of the memorial seat began to spread across social media, it was evident the number of lives touched by Mr. Konzen’s dedication to his students and community over the course of his lifetime will likely never be accurately defined. The breadth of his impact simply impossible to trace. “A class act and greatly respected ” said several of the legacy Konzen etched upon their hearts. “He certainly will not be forgotten.”

Local Rotary Club of Kootenai
Valley helps provide food

Submitted by Rotary Club of Kootenai Valley

The Kootenai Rotary Club worked with Libby Food pantry to distribute meals. Photo courtesy of Tracy McNew

2020 has been a pretty miserable year for many area residents but there are signs of hope everywhere.   Several people and organizations have stepped forward to help others endure what can’t be changed.  One of these is the local Rotary Club.

The Rotary Club of Kootenai Valley received a grant of $1500 from the National Rotary Foundation.  The local club matched the grant giving them $3000 to work with.  It was decided they would use the money to help those facing food insecurity because of the pandemic.

Fifteen Rotarians volunteered to help collect food and hand it out augmenting the usual dedicated volunteers at the Food Pantry.  2094 pounds of food were purchased and 60 bags were put together for larger families.  Included in each sack was a turkey or a ham along with vegetables, fruit, potatoes, and candy for children.

Linda Gerard, who wrote the grant and did the majority of the organizing for the event, said,  “It was good to see so many Rotarians come forward to help out and live out Rotary’s motto “Service above self.”

Kootenai Nordic Ski Club races

By Brian Baxter


Coach Ben Scott in red with rifle, reminds biathlon participants to be safe on the firing line at last years competitions. . Photo by Brian Baxter, The Montanian


The race is on at South Flower Creek. On Saturday, January ninth, of this new year at 11 a.m. the Biathlon races will begin. Biathlon is a cool combination, both literally and figuratively, of Nordic Skiing and rifle marksmanship. The young gals and guys really enjoy this event. The following Saturday, Jan. 16, are the Classic races also starting at 11 a.m.. The club welcomes spectators to come and enjoy these races, and cheer the kids on.

The Kootenai Nordic Club is a volunteer 509 a 2 organization. The club manages 13 miles of ski trails in the Flower Creek drainage about two miles from Libby. Flower Creek Trails serves as the clubs anchor site, where they centralize most of their club activities and facilities. Members of the Kootenai Nordic Club also groom 4.5 miles of trails on the Cabinet View Golf Course. This group is another stellar example of our big hearted communities generosity. Club President and Coach Ben Scott, himself a former collegiate biathlete, told The Montanian, “We have more programs going on this year`and the kids are getting better at racing and the competitions. As a coach, it’s exciting to see both the individual kids and the teams getting better in an even broader spectrum of regional competitions.”