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Blake Hempstead

BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

It seems as though every time I open up a newspaper, I read about John Fitzpatrick and his disdain for Rick Tabish.

Another article hit the Leader last Friday as Fitzpatrick sued Anaconda-Deer Lodge County for not producing documents to his liking ... pertaining to Rick Tabish and his slag project.

Is anyone else just sick and tired of Fitzpatrick? Can’t he be content in his retirement instead of becoming the angry old man keeping kids off his big, beautiful lawn - a lawn that's nowhere near Anaconda's east yards?

Last week, Mr. Tabish donated coats, hats, gloves and boots to upwards of 170 Anaconda children via the Backpack Program. That's in addition to the $5,000 he gave to the Backpack Program for food baskets during the holidays and another $3,000 to Lincoln Elementary, Fred Moodry Intermediate and Anaconda Junior-Senior High School in November.

Mr. Tabish isn't from Anaconda, he's just trying to do business here. In doing so he’s already made an enormously positive impact on our schools and children. Fitzpatrick claims he lives in Deer Lodge County at Georgetown Lake although he spends most of his time at his Helena home, where he's doing everything he can to keep Mr. Tabish from growing his business here.

Tabish plans to reprocess the mountains of slag east of Anaconda while, in turn, putting that hill back to work for the first time in over 40 years. Fitzpatrick is hell bent to not see that happen. He's voiced his negative opinions to commissioners, to local papers and has been in regular contact with Montana's Department of Environmental Quality.

Why? Why is it not in our best interest to put people back to work profiting on the mountains of slag? Why does Fitzpatrick not want industry to return to Anaconda? Is it a personal vendetta?

Mr. Tabish comes to Southwest Montana and puts people to work. Just ask Butte. His company FX Solutions Inc. is the construction management contractor for a Bitcoin mining operation there. In over a year he’s created dozens of good-paying jobs, tens of millions of dollars in local investment and the largest Bitcoin datacenter in Montana. Fitzpatrick fought a similar site moving to Anaconda saying it wasn't financially solvent. Fact: Butte’s Bitcoin operation continues to grow despite the trading value being far below what it was 12-15 months ago.

Tabish is making an impact here as an employer and a generous businessman too. He’s done more than his share trying to extend the olive branch, employing locals and giving to our schools.

As a fervent supporter of Anaconda schools and athletics, I remember every time Fitzpatrick has stood in front of our trustees or commissioners trying to strike down Mr. Tabish and his plans by grandstanding, as he learned from his many years on the legislative floor lobbying for NorthWestern Energy.

So all that's left now is to ask ourselves this…

What has John Fitzpatrick ever done for Anaconda?

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Blake Hempstead of Anaconda is owner of Copperhead Country Media and former general manager of KANA 580 AM radio.

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