Lincoln County Coverage

Feb 12, 2013 11:57 AM by KPAX News Staff

Libby economy suffers another blow

LIBBY - It looks like Libby's brief hope of well-paying jobs at Stinger Welding is vanishing in a cloud of financial problems and management uncertainty.

The Western News is reporting that Stinger employees have already been told their jobs will end soon, perhaps in as little as two or three weeks as the company moves to shut down its short-lived effort to move some operations to Northwest Montana.

Stinger Welding first launched its plans to move a portion of its business of fabricating steel bridge components four years ago and Flathead Valley Community College expanded its programs to train new welders to meet the expected demand for workers.

But lawsuits developed last Fall between the company, the Port Authority and the Kootenai River Development Council as financial problems mounted. Another major setback happened in December when Stinger CEO Carl Douglas was killed when his plane crashed on a flight to Libby.

The Western News reports the MCA Financial Group of Phoenix is reviewing the company's assets, just a few weeks after the firm went into receivership.

"It's really kind of depressing news. We were really hoping Stinger would be able to make it, keep going and expand. Hopefully one of these days it does recover, and maybe the company does get back to expanding and get back up in our area," Lincoln County Commissioner Tony Berget said on Monday.

Berget tells us that if there is a bright lining, it is that his office has already been contacted by several groups that are looking to acquire the Stinger Welding building for their business.

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