Free Dementia class in Libby August 21 (posted 8/20/19)
A free class offered by the Alzheimer’s Association at the VFW
Communicating with someone living with Alzheimer’s can be challenging. Often individuals living with dementia experience changes in behavior that can be confusing to friends and family. For caregivers, learning to decode messages through attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language can help all involved to connect and communicate in meaningful ways.
The Alzheimer’s Association is offering "Effective Communication Strategies" on Wednesday, August 21 from 6:00pm – 7:30pm. This no-cost program is at the Libby VFW, 114 W 2nd Street.
Attendees will learn:
• The communication changes that take place throughout the course of the disease.
• How to decode the verbal and behavioral messages delivered by someone with dementia and respond in ways that are helpful to the person.
• How to identify strategies to connect and communicate at each stage of the disease.
To register or learn about other upcoming programs, visit alz.org/CRF or call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.
About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association Montana Chapter, based in Billings, is the leading source of information and support for the 21,000 Montanans living with Alzheimer’s dementia and all those living with related dementias, as well as their 50,000 family caregivers.
The Alzheimer’s Association provides education, care coordination, counseling and resources. In addition, contributions help fund advancements in research to prevent, treat and eventually conquer this disease. The Alzheimer’s Association advocates for those living with Alzheimer’s and their families on related legislative issues. For information call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 or visit www.alz.org.
Special CWD hunting licenses sell out in two hours (posted 8/20/19)
White-tailed deer licenses only eligible inside Libby CWD Management Zone
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Hunters quickly swooped up the 600 licenses that went on sale the morning of Aug. 19 as part of the Libby Special CWD Hunt.
At 8 a.m., the antlerless white-tailed deer B licenses were available to purchase over the counter at a dozen locations in northwest Montana, including throughout Lincoln County. By 9:50 a.m., barely 60 remained. At 10 a.m., any remaining licenses became available to purchase online and at all license providers, and by 10:13 a.m., they were sold out. Each hunter was able to purchase up to two licenses.
The licenses are only eligible inside the new Libby CWD Management Zone (see attached map), which encompasses an approximately 10-mile radius around Libby and includes portions of Hunting Districts 100, 103, and 104. The licenses are only eligible during the archery and general hunting seasons and follow the same regulations for dates, weapon restrictions, and access.
The special licenses are in response to the detection of chronic wasting disease in the Libby area. Following the guidelines of Montana’s CWD Management Plan, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is holding the hunt to help biologists determine the prevalence and distribution of CWD in the area and to reduce its spread.
CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. There is no known transmission of CWD to humans or other animals, including pets or livestock. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that hunters harvesting a deer, elk, or moose from an area where CWD is known to be present have their animal tested for CWD prior to consuming the meat, and to not consume the meat if the animal tests positive.
All deer, elk and moose harvested within the Libby CWD Management Zone, including any harvested with a Libby Special CWD Hunt B license and any harvested with any other type of license, must be checked and sampled within 3 days of harvest. Animals can be checked at either the new Libby Special CWD Hunt Sampling Station (Montana Department of Transportation shop on US Hwy 2, mile marker 35) or the Canoe Gulch Check Station. Hunters who quarter or bone out their animal in the field must bring the head for sampling.
Before Oct. 26, hunters who successfully harvest an animal are required to bring the head to the FWP Libby Office, 385 Fish Hatchery Rd. A collection site will be set up for hunters to self-report and submit the head for testing.
During general big game season (Oct. 26 to Dec. 1), the Libby Special CWD Hunt Sampling Station will be open every day from 11 a.m. – 1½ hours after sunset. Hunters are only required to stop at the Sampling Station if they harvested an animal. The Canoe Gulch Check Station will be open weekends from 11 a.m. – 1½ hours after sunset during the general season and all hunters, with or without game, passing the check station must stop.
Hunters will be required to document the exact location of the kill. Animals will be tagged with a unique identification number. Hunters can use that identification number to look up test results on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov/CWD. Test results are usually available within roughly three weeks. Hunters who harvest an animal that tests positive for CWD may receive a replacement 2019 license.
To reduce the spread of CWD, whole carcasses, whole heads or spinal columns cannot be taken out of the Libby CWD Management Zone unless the animal has tested negative for CWD. Hunters are strongly encouraged to dispose of hides, bones and trimmings at approved landfills such as the such as the Lincoln County Landfill. If the carcass is processed within the CWD Management Zone, any brain and spinal parts must be discarded in the Lincoln County Landfill.
For more information about CWD in Montana, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.
CWD Public Information Meetings in Northwest Montana
Monday, Aug. 19 – Eureka, Glacier Bank, 222 Dewey Ave, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 21 – Polson, Kwataqnuk Resort, 49708 US 93, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 22 – Trout Creek, Lakeside Resort, 2955 Montana Hwy. 200, 6 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 26 – Kalispell, FWP Region 1 Office, 490 N. Meridian, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 28 – Libby, Ponderosa Room, City Hall, 952 East Spruce St., 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 11 – Kalispell, FWP Region 1 Office (in conjunction with Flathead Wildlife, Inc., 7 p.m.)
Two new replacement TV stations go online for Libby (posted 8/20/19)
Two of Libby Video Club’s volunteers, Jim and Randy spent Saturday, August 10th, at the site on Sheldon Mountain replacing the last two stations that the Club reported were going away. Due to their efforts they have two new stations, COZJ (2.1) and AMG (6.1) which replaced KREM and KHQ.
They got off the mountain before the thunder and lightning storm. Unfortunately, there was a power outage in Libby on Sunday which made channel 6.1 go offline. It will take another trip up the mountain to bring it back online. This will be done as soon as their volunteer’s time allows. The Club appreciates everyone’s patience and support.
Channel 6.1 is AMGTV which is an American family-oriented television network featuring television programming consisting of drama, sports, movies, entertainment, how-to, hunting and fishing, children's shows, and other features, much of it repackaged from off-network and first-run syndication. The network is owned by the American company Access Media Group. AMGTV provides programming to television stations in the United States. AMGTV also syndicates several movie packages and music specials to stations outside their affiliate base.
Channel 2.1 is COZI TV which is NBC’s national multicast network that delivers a 24-hour line-up of TV’s all-time best shows and pop culture favorites, featuring a prime-time block of recent comedy hits. COZI TV’s iconic sitcoms include The Office, Frasier, Will & Grace and The Nanny. Among the network’s many beloved dramas and action series are Columbo, Murder, She Wrote, Little House on the Prairie and many more.
Please visit the Libby Video Club booth at Nordicfest September 13-15, 2019. There will be a door prize drawing for a TV antenna.
www.libbyvideoclub.comLibby Video Club
CARD’s free asbestos screening now includes autoimmune testing (posted 8/20/19)
The Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) Clinic, located in Libby, Montana, is implementing a new component to the screening program for asbestos related diseases, called an ANA test. The new testing will affect anyone participating in the CARD Screening program beginning on or after Sept. 1, 2019.
ANA stands for antinuclear antibodies or autoantibodies. These antibodies form in the blood when the body mistakes its own cells and tissues as foreign material and starts fighting against itself. A positive ANA test indicates that these autoantibodies are present, but it does not necessarily mean that an autoimmune disease is present or that therapy is needed. ANAs are typically positive in people with diseases like systemic lupus or scleroderma, and research collaborations with the CARD Clinic have found that positive ANA results are correlated with Libby amphibole asbestos exposure. Research also suggests that positive ANA tests may occur more often in people who have a potentially painful form of the Libby lung disease, called Lamellar Pleural Thickening.
For those participating in asbestos health screening in Libby, ANA testing will be done using a small amount of blood drawn from your arm. The blood draw will be done at the hospital when you go for your asbestos screening single view chest x-ray. This ANA test will tell us whether you have any autoantibodies and will give us an idea of how many. If your test is positive, CARD Clinic staff will talk to you about an individualized patient plan. If it is negative, your test results will simply become a baseline for your healthcare team to monitor in the future.
The decision to add ANA testing to CARD’s grant-funded screening program was based on results of research done over the past 15 years on autoimmune diseases and Libby amphibole asbestos exposure. Funding was approved by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
"Adding ANA testing to the screening program has the potential to help many people and it is a direct result of our community’s willingness to participate in research," said Tracy McNew, Administrative and Research Director at CARD. "The CARD Clinic would like to thank the community for their continued support of and participation in our ongoing research programs. This addition is an example of how research leads to meaningful results." When detected early, many treatments are available for autoimmune diseases that can lead to improved quality of life and health outcomes. Furthermore, early detection of these antibodies may lead to improved management of asbestos related diseases as well.
For more information on the CARD Clinic’s asbestos health screening program, please call 406-293-9274 or visit the CARD website www.libbyasbestos.org.
EPA to hold public meeting on proposed changes to Libby Groundwater cleanup Sept. 10 (posted 8/20/19)
Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a proposed plan to amend the Record of Decision for the Upper Aquifer (OU2). A 30-day public comment period on the plan runs from August 19 to September 18, 2019.
There will be a public meeting in Libby on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 to learn about the plan, the cleanup objectives, and to submit public comments. The meeting will be in the Ponderosa Room, 952 E. Spruce St.
EPA issued the Proposed Plan to Amend the Record of Decision for the Upper Aquifer (OU2) at the Libby Groundwater site on August 19, 2019. A 30-day public comment period on the plan runs from August 19 to September 18, 2019.
At the public meeting on September 10, 2019, EPA will have representatives on hand to explain details of the proposed changes. It’s a chance for locals to learn about the plan and the groundwater and cleanup objectives. There will be handouts, posters, and a formal presentation with an opportunity to provide comments to the Agency on the proposed plan.
The Libby Groundwater Proposed Plan and supporting documents are available at: www.epa.gov/superfund/libby-groundwater
or Lincoln County Health Department, 418 Mineral Ave, Libby, Montana,
or EPA Records Office, Baucus Federal Building, 10 W. 15th Street, Helena, Montana
Contacts for more information:
Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S. EPA, Region 8
Remedial Project Manager
U.S. EPA, Region 8
CARD Foundation donates over $24K to new parking lot (posted 8/12/19)
(L-R) LeRoy Thom, Jason Williams, Jon Roberts, Jamie Rosling, Donna Williams, Brad Black, Tracy McNew, Erica Hartley, and Joe Miller pose with the $24,381.94 check donated to the CARD Clinic by the CARD Foundation. The money was raised during this year's Big Sky Bash and it will be used to help fund the clinic's new parking lot. Photo courtesy CARD.
Center for Asbestos Related Disease
The Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) Foundation, located in Libby, Montana, recently donated $24,381.94 to the CARD Clinic to help fund a much-needed new parking lot. According to Tracy McNew, Administrative Director at CARD, the clinic needs a new parking lot for safety's sake. The current parking lot is dangerously sloped causing a hazard for patients especially during the winter time with snow and ice. Also, it does not offer any accessible parking for those with disabilities, and it is too small to accommodate the number of patients seen at the clinic on a daily basis.
According to Donna Williams, President of the CARD Foundation board, "The CARD Foundation is very thankful for the public's support of our annual Big Sky Bash, and we are pleased to be able to give this large donation to the clinic for their parking lot." The CARD Foundation received grant money from the Lincoln County Community Foundation and donated an automatic door opener earlier this year to make the CARD Clinic more accessible for patients with disabilities. The new parking lot will further improve access for the disabled and fix basement flooding problems as well.
Dr. Brad Black started the CARD clinic way back in 2003. At first CARD operated with four staff members in a temporary trailer. They eventually bought a building, and later added on to update and accommodate growth. They bought the lot next door to their building about five year ago, and now, finally, after 16 years, they'll have a parking lot big enough to accommodate their growing patient population and 23 person staff.
"It's a relief to finally be able to put in a new parking lot that will make accessing CARD much easier and safer for our patients. We sincerely thank the Foundation volunteers for their efforts and support," said Dr. Black.
Although the parking lot project will cost over $210,000, this donation will help the nonprofit clinic significantly. The new parking lot will double the number of spaces, level the grade, include handicapped parking spots, and improve water drainage. Construction is anticipated to begin in October.
For more information about supporting the project please contact the CARD Foundation by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FWP proposes to improve fisheries habitat on Therriault Creek near Eureka (posted 8/12/19)
Comments accepted until Sept. 10, 2019
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a proposal to restore riparian vegetation and improve fisheries habitat on Therriault Creek near Eureka in Lincoln County.
The proposed work on private land along Therriault Creek is located approximately 1.75 miles upstream from the confluence with the Tobacco River. The project would continue previous work on Therriault Creek and would increase woody vegetation cover along the stream, increase fisheries habitat diversity, and reduce the risk of bank erosion. The proposed work would enhance vegetation along about 1,000 feet of the 9,100 feet of stream that was previously restored.
FWP proposes three bioengineering treatments that would support the development of riparian woody vegetation. These techniques include stripping dense non-native pasture grasses and replanting with willows, slightly lowering inside stream banks and replanting with willows, and the installation of woody debris and willow cuttings along the stream bank.
FWP would fund the completion of this project with funding received from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). BPA previously completed an environmental impact statement that analyzed the effects of similar projects that can be found online at https://www.bpa.gov/efw/Analysis/NEPADocuments/Pages/Watershed-Management.aspx.
Comments will be accepted until 11:59 p.m., Sept. 10, 2019.
Public comments can be submitted to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Attention: Jim Dunnigan, 385 Fish Hatchery Road, Libby, MT 59923, or e-mail to email@example.com.
Libby Chronic Wasting Disease detection (posted 8/3/19)
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Incident Command Team Update
Aug. 2, 2019
Through Aug. 1, samples from five white-tailed deer in the Libby area have tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The first detection, which occurred in late May inside city limits, marked the first time that CWD was found west of the Continental Divide in the wild.
As of Aug. 1, samples from 62 animals (57 white-tailed, four mule deer, one moose) in and around Libby have been submitted for CWD testing. Of those, 45 were collected from road-killed incidents. Results are pending for 28 samples.
Incident Response Plan
FWP has established the Libby CWD Management Zone, which encompasses roughly 10 miles around the detection sites. Within this Management Zone, the goal is to identify the prevalence and distribution of CWD. To do that, FWP is working closely with the City of Libby and Lincoln County to develop a CWD Response Plan, which will involve sampling deer in this area. Since the initial detection occurred, FWP has been working with the City of Libby, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Department of Transportation and the Lincoln County Landfill to collect symptomatic deer or road-killed deer for sampling.
Following the guidelines in the Montana CWD Management Plan, FWP works to keep prevalence low where CWD exists and prevent its spread by increasing harvest where possible, targeted removal in areas around detections, and minimizing large groupings of deer.
On July 15, the Libby City Council approved a resolution authorizing Libby City Police, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, and Montana FWP personnel to harvest and collect for sampling deer from public property for the purposes of testing for CWD. This testing will help FWP identify the prevalence and distribution of CWD in the area. FWP will begin collecting and sampling deer using clover traps this fall.
FWP is finalizing details of a Special CWD hunt in the Libby area this fall. FWP will sell 600 white-tailed deer antlerless B licenses in the Libby CWD Management Zone, which includes portions of Hunting Districts 100, 103, and 104. The hunt will occur at the same time as the archery and general hunting season and follow the same regulations for dates and weapon restrictions (i.e. you must use archery equipment during the archery season).
The Special CWD B licenses will go on sale at 8 a.m., Aug. 19, 2019. Additional details are forthcoming.
All deer, elk and moose harvested within the Libby CWD Management Zone, including any harvested with a general license and/or a Libby Special CWD Hunt B license, must be submitted for sampling. A map of the CWD Management Zone will be available online, at FWP Region 1 headquarters or by request (contact Dillon Tabish at 751-4564 or Dillon.Tabish@mt.gov).
During archery (Sept. 7-Oct. 20), youth, deer only (Oct. 17-18) and moose season (Sept. 15 until start of general deer and elk season), hunters who successfully harvest an animal are required to bring the head to the FWP Libby Office, 385 Fish Hatchery Rd. A collection site will be set up for hunters to self-report and submit the head for testing.
Starting Oct. 26 and remaining throughout general deer and elk season, all animals can be checked at the new FWP collection station (Montana Department of Transportation shop site on US Highway 2, mile marker 35). The collection station will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. through one hour after sunset. Hunters who quarter or bone out their animal in the field must bring the head to the collection station. Samples from the head will be submitted for testing.
The Canoe Gulch game check station is only open on weekends during the general season. Hunters are only required to stop at the collection station if they successfully harvested an animal. All hunters, with or without game, must still stop at the Canoe Gulch check station if they encounter it.
FWP, the Libby Police Department and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office are responding to reports of deer that appear sick and removing the animals for sampling. For people in the Libby area who see a deer that appears to be sick, please call (406) 291-6539 or Lincoln County Dispatch and leave a message with your name, number, the location of the animal and the time you saw it.
FWP held its latest public meeting in Libby on Aug. 2. The next information meeting is Aug. 16 at noon in the Ponderosa Room at Libby City Hall, 952 Spruce St. Additional meetings are being scheduled in Libby, Kalispell, Trout Creek, Eureka, and Polson.
CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. If left unmanaged so that a large percentage of a deer or elk herd becomes infected, CWD could cause significant population declines in the decades to come.
There is no known transmission of CWD to humans or other animals, including pets or livestock. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that hunters harvesting a deer, elk, or moose from an area where CWD is known to be present have their animal tested for CWD prior to consuming the meat, and to not consume the meat if the animal tests positive.
CWD has been in Montana since at least 2017. These prions are found throughout bodily tissues and secretions and are shed into the environment before and after death. When other animals encounter the prions, either from infected animals (contacting saliva/feces) or from contaminated environments (eating grass on infected soil), they can be infected. FWP has campaigned across the state informing residents to dump carcasses at proper landfills to avoid releasing CWD into the ground on public or private property.
For accurate, up-to-date information, please visit the FWP website (fwp.mt.gov/cwd) or FWP Region 1 Facebook page (facebook.com/MontanaFWP.R1). For more information, contact FWP Information Officer Dillon Tabish at (406) 751-4564 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Two Grizzly Bears moved into Cabinet Mountains (posted 8/1/19)
To help recover population and improve genetic diversity
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and its partners moved two grizzly bears into the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem in Lincoln County as part of an augmentation program designed to recover the bear population and improve its genetic diversity.
FWP, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, captured the bears in the Whitefish Range. The first bear, a sub-adult female weighing 94 pounds, was released July 13 in the Spar Lake area on the Kootenai National Forest south of Troy. The second bear, a sub-adult male weighing 194 pounds, was released July 16 in the same area.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leads the research and monitoring in the ecosystem in collaboration with FWP, Idaho Fish and Game, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Idaho Panhandle National Forest, Kootenai National Forest, and Lolo National Forest.
The Cabinet-Yaak Augmentation Program began in 1990 in an effort to save the population and boost genetic diversity. In 1988, biologists estimated fewer than 15 grizzly bears remained in the Cabinet-Yaak. The primary objectives of the program are to bolster reproduction through the addition of female bears, and overall genetic diversity through the addition of female and male bears. Twenty-two bears have now been added in the Cabinet Mountains since the program’s inception.
All bears moved through the augmentation program have no history of conflicts with people and were moved in the summer to take advantage of developing food supplies in the form of huckleberries. Initial augmentation consisted of females but in recent years males have also been added.
The current population of grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak is estimated at 55-60 individuals with approximately half of these in the Cabinet Mountains and half in the Yaak River area. The population is growing at approximately 1-2 percent per year.
The Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, one of six designated recovery zones for grizzly bears in the lower 48 states, is located in northwest Montana and northeast Idaho. Blocks of contiguous habitat extend into British Columbia, making this an international population. The recovery zone includes portions of the Kootenai, Idaho Panhandle, and Lolo National Forests (including one wilderness area). The Kootenai River bisects the ecosystem, with the Cabinet Mountains to the south and the Yaak River drainage to the north.
For FWP’s latest grizzly bear management report on the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, visit fwp.mt.gov/regions/r1 and select under "Region 1 Wildlife Information."
Three additional deer suspected positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Libby (posted 7/7/19)
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Samples from three additional white-tailed deer in the Libby area are suspected to be positive for chronic wasting disease.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks was notified of the suspect samples on July 3. The Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado identified the samples to be suspected of CWD infection and will run second tests for confirmation.
The new results mark the latest detections of CWD in white-tailed deer in the Libby area. The initial detection, which occurred in late May inside city limits, marked the first time that CWD was detected west of the Continental Divide in the wild. The second positive detection was collected near the first sample site.
Of the three latest samples, one was a white-tailed buck that was road-killed and collected inside city limits; another was a symptomatic white-tailed doe collected inside city limits; and the third was a symptomatic white-tailed doe collected on Kootenai River Road near mile marker 1.
From late May through July 3, FWP has submitted 29 samples of white-tailed and mule deer for CWD testing. Two are confirmed positive and three are suspected to be positive. The positive detections have only involved white-tailed deer. CWD was not detected in 18 samples and results are pending for six. Sample results typically arrive within 10-14 days of submission.
How Is Libby, Troy, Yaak’s Real Estate Market in 2019? (posted 4/11/19)
Guest article by Alice L. Hayes, Loveless Realty
1/1/2019 – 03/31/2019 Current Real Estate figures were:
SALES & PENDINGS:
22 Residential SALES: 14 in Libby; 8 in Troy; 0 in Yaak
14 Land SALES: 9 in Libby; 4 in Troy; 1 in Yaak
0 Commercial/Multi-Family SALES: 0 in Libby; 0 in Troy
20 Residential PENDING: 14 in Libby; 4 in Troy; 2 in Yaak
3 Land PENDING: 2 in Libby; 1 in Troy
0 Commercial/M-Family PENDING:
84 Residential ACTIVES: 30 in Libby; 48 in Troy; 6 Yaak
174 Land ACTIVES: 98 in Libby; 69 in Troy; 7 in Yaak
20 Comm/Multi-Fam ACTIVE: 15 in Libby; 3 in Troy; 2 in Yaak
2018 was a very busy year. We were able to help many people move to their new home, move out of their old home, sell their land, buy new land, or even move to a new town. But, there have been others who are still looking to sell their home or land or looking to buy that ‘just right home’ or ‘perfect piece of land’. We trust 2019 will be their year.
Our Inventory of homes is in Short supply and we are looking for more options to offer buyers. If you’ve ‘toyed’ with the idea of selling –we would enjoy visiting with you about how we can help. What were the price ranges of SOLDS so far this spring?
10K - $150,000 = 17 Sales
151K - $250,000 = 2 Sales
251K - $500,000 = 3 Sales
501K - $800,000 = 0 Sales
801K - $1,500,000 = 0
Information obtained from Montana Regional MLS (MRMLS)
5 Sweet Tax Deductions When Selling a Home: Did You Take Them All?
1. Selling costs: Good news! These deductions are still allowed under the new tax law as long as they are directly tied to the sale of the home and a married couple—or a single taxpayer—lived in the home for at least two out of the five years preceding the sale. Another caveat: The home must be a principal residence and not an investment property. "You can deduct any costs associated with selling the home—including legal fees, escrow fees, advertising costs, and real estate agent commissions," says Joshua Zimmelman, president of Westwood Tax and Consulting in Rockville Center, NY. This could also include home staging fees, according to Thomas J. Williams, a tax accountant who operates Your Small Biz Accountant in Kissimmee, FL. Just remember that you can’t deduct these costs in the same way as, say, mortgage interest. Instead, you subtract them from the sales price of your home, which in turn positively affects your capital gains tax.
2. Home improvements and repairs: Score again. The new tax law left this deduction as well. If you renovated a few rooms to make your home more marketable (and so you can fetch a higher sale price), now you can deduct those upgrade costs as well. This includes painting the house or repairing the roof or water heater. But there’s a catch, and it all boils down to timing. "If you needed to make home improvements in order to sell your home, you can deduct those expenses as selling costs as long as they were made within 90 days of the closing," says Zimmelman.
3. Property taxes: This deduction is still allowed, but your total deductions are capped at $10,000, Zimmelman says. If you were dutifully paying your property taxes up to the point when you sold your home, you can deduct the amount you paid in property taxes this year up to $10,000.
4. Mortgage interest: As with property taxes, you can deduct the interest on your mortgage for the portion of the year you owned your home. However, the rules have changed slightly from last year. Just remember that under the new tax code, new homeowners (and home sellers) can deduct the interest on up to only $750,000 of mortgage debt, though homeowners who got their mortgage before Dec. 15, 2017, can continue deducting up to the original amount up to $1 million, according to Zimmelman.
Note that the mortgage interest and property taxes are itemized deductions. This means that for it to work in your favor, all of your itemized deductions need to be greater than the new standard deduction, which the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubled to $12,200 for individuals, $18,350 for heads of household, and $24,400 for married couples filing jointly (for comparison, it used to be $12,700 for married couples filing jointly).
5. But what's up with capital gains tax for sellers? Lawmakers tried to change the capital gains rule, but it managed to survive—so it’s still one home sellers can use. It isn't technically a deduction (it's an exclusion), but you’re still going to like it.
As a reminder, capital gains are your profits from selling your home—whatever cash is left after paying off your expenses, plus any outstanding mortgage debt. And yes, these profits are taxed as income. But here's the good news: You can exclude up to $250,000 of the capital gains from the sale if you’re single, and $500,000 if married. The only big catch is you must have lived in your home at least two of the past five years.
However, look for the rules of this exemption to possibly change in a future tax bill. Ralph DiBugnara, president of Home Qualified and vice president at Residential Home Funding, says lawmakers might push to change this so that homeowners would have to live in the property for five of the past eight years, instead of two out of five.
(Information obtained from Realtor.com)
Interest Rates are DOWN— NOW Could be a Great Time to Purchase
As of 03/31/2019 Conforming & FHA Loans:
30- Year Fixed; Interest = 4.29%; APR= 4.36%
15- Year Fixed; Interest = 3.75 %; APR= 3.87%
Rare Caribou sightings reported in Northwest Montana (posted 11/5/18)
Stock photo courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Montana FWP working with wildlife biologists in British Columbia
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional staff have received reports of a rare sight in northwest Montana.
Residents have recently documented sightings of woodland caribou near the U.S.-Canada border. The multiple sightings include the potential for a bull and a cow in separate locations.
Caribou, members of the deer family, are native to northwest Montana but have almost completely disappeared from the contiguous United States over the last half century.
Woodland caribou herds once stretched from central British Columbia to Idaho, Montana and Washington. The decline in population is largely attributed to high mortality linked to habitat fragmentation, alteration, loss of old growth forest, and subsequent predation impacts. Woodland caribou are now protected in the United States and British Columbia.
Caribou have been known to roam from the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges in southern B.C into Montana, Idaho and Washington but the occurrences have become increasingly rare.
Caribou are similar in size to mule deer but have different coloration, large round hooves and unique antlers. Even cow caribou can have visible small antlers.
"There are three weeks left of big-game hunting season in Montana. Hunters are reminded to be sure of their target and beyond," said Neil Anderson, FWP Region 1 wildlife manager.
After confirming reports of the recent sightings, Montana FWP contacted wildlife biologists in British Columbia and informed them of the sightings. FWP will continue to work closely with partners in British Columbia on the conservation of the species.
Libby, Most Charming Small Town in Montana (posted 8/14/18)
Charming Libby, Montana
According to Reader's Digest
Reader’s Digest posted a story under the Travel section of their website on "The Most Charming Small Town in Every State." Libby was selected as the Most Charming Small Town for Montana. "You’ll find the heart of America in these small-town gems lost in time. Add them to your must-visit list now," said author Lyn Mettler.
"Set in view of the Cabinet Mountain Range and yet another part of Montana’s fantastic outdoors, Libby, which is located on the northwest side of the state, Libby is surrounded by lakes, fishing, hiking trails, camping, and endless scenic drives. For a local’s experience, get a taste of Montana on tap at Cabinet Mountain Brewing Company and enjoy a meal at The Black Board Bistro with a locally-sourced seasonal menu."
Click on this link for their complete list of Most Charming Towns:
lies in the northwest corner of Montana and is nestled in a valley carved by the
Kootenai River on the flank of the majestic Cabinet Mountain Range and Wilderness
about 2,800 people live within Libby proper. The main industries are lumber and
wood products, mining, tourism and recreation. The movies "The River Wild" and
"Always" were filmed here. Contact the Libby
Chamber of Commerce for brochures, info on lodging and events, general area
information, and contact information for local businesses and services.
When the weather warms and the mountain
snows melt away, the Kootenai National Forest comes alive with over 2.2
million acres of public land as a playground. Mountain trails and lakes
open up, beautiful wildflowers come in bloom, and wildlife have their young.
Libby is the basecamp for the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area, 90-mile
long Lake Koocanusa, the Northwest Peaks Scenic Area, and the Ten Lakes
Scenic Area. There is good access to most of the Forest and plenty of room
to get away from it all!
Winter in Montana means snow, and lots
of it! For those who love to play in the deep powder, the Libby area offers tremendous
winter fun. Turner Mountain Ski Area, located
just 22 miles from Libby, offers challenging downhill skiing with a beautiful
view. Their slogan is "steep, deep and cheap", and Turner definitely
lives up to that. It's still fairly undiscovered, so you can escape the crowds
and get the cheapest lift tickets around. For those who love snowmobiling,
there are hundreds of miles of backcountry roads to sled on in the Kootenai National
Forest. Cross-country skiers and ice fishermen also can find solitude on a lake
and miles of quiet forest trails to enjoy the outdoors. Those who are a bit on
the wild and crazy side will love the antics of the Libby Polar Bear Club.
Members take winter-time "swims" in frigid Libby Creek every Sunday
from October to April. Plungers have ranged in age from 3 to 61. As long as the
ice can be broken on the creek, if it has formed, the group will take their plunge,
no matter the temperature.
These people must be
Polar Bear Club