Columnists

Sun
25
Feb

Native Son: The good old days in Ely

Simply put, Ely is a great place to live especially if you are retired.
I was sitting in my living room window watching them turn blocks of ice into fantastic sculptures for the Winter Carnival at Whiteside Park. The ECHO had a full page of pictures showing these beautiful creations. My favorites were Guardian of the North, Summer Sift and From Ear to Ear.
We also have a Blueberry Festival, Harvest Moon Festival along with some toe tapping parades.

Fri
23
Feb

Native son: The good old days in Ely

Simply put, Ely is a great place to live especially if you are retired.
I was sitting in my living room window watching them turn blocks of ice into fantastic sculptures for the Winter Carnival at Whiteside Park. The ECHO had a full page of pictures showing these beautiful creations. My favorites were Guardian of the North, Summer Sift and From Ear to Ear.
We also have a Blueberry Festival, Harvest Moon Festival along with some toe tapping parades.

Sun
18
Feb

East of Ely - Five stages of being lost in the woods

Many of us have been lost and obviously survived. But how many are familiar with a web article floating around that relates Kubler-Ross’s five stages of death to the experience? I read this recently and decided to test it out by recalling a day where I totally lost my way in the woods east of Ely.
I’ll begin by relaying one of the most dangerous things you can do in the border lakes region. It seems harmless yet the action nearly rendered me dead. So here it goes.
Never, ever try to locate a secret trout lake while portaging a canoe. Though carrying a canoe over time-trodden portages can be a no-brainer, trying to blaze a trail with a canoe is the same as having a blindfold over your eyes. Don’t try it unless you have some other person leading the way. Back to the five stages.
1. Depression. Stage one set in as soon as I realized I wasn’t going to reel in any fat brook trout that day. I’d have to agree with the article on that.

Fri
09
Feb

A lesson from the lunatic fringe

My appreciation of the people I meet began on the main drag of Braddock, Pennsylvania just a few blocks from the slag-spewing furnaces of the US Steel Works. My father had grown up on these streets and unlike most of his peers he went on to enjoy the benefits of the GI Bill after serving in the US Marines. Whenever we visited his old neighborhood, he’d always spend time reminiscing with childhood friends who often stood around an oil drum with a bonfire lit inside.
This drove my mother nuts. Something about my dad conversing with a bunch of bums (in her opinion) ignited her disgust. Pacing in my grandparent’s apartment above the street. Eventually she’d send me to retrieve him.

Mon
05
Feb

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick wognum - Moose, bear and wolves

While it may be too cold this weekend to spend much time outdoors, here’s a couple of things to gnaw on as you’re staring out the window.
Dave Mech, the world renowned wolf researcher, has released another study. This time he and his co-authors looked at the correlation in the moose and wolf populations, according to a story in the Duluth News-Tribune.
Here’s what they found. As the number of moose plummeted in northeast Minnesota, the number of wolves increased. Fewer moose, more wolves.
Mech looked at the survival rate of moose calves, something the DNR has failed to account for and at times ignored in studying moose populations.
The study reports a correlation between moose calves and wolf numbers. More calves survive when there are fewer wolves.
What’s the takeaway? The DNR should pay much more attention to the wolf population if they want the moose population to recover.

Sat
27
Jan

From the miscellaneous drawer - The Grippe of 1904

Current television news lately has reported on young people who have died in the current influenza outbreak. If that media had been extant over 100 years ago, I imagine that this could have been a news flash of APRIL 15, 1904, PONCA CITY, OK, Elora Grace (Gelvin) Standard, 34, mother of six, died of the grippe (influenza) six days after the death of her husband, Alva A. Standard, 41, (April 9, 1904). On April 7, 1904, Elora gave birth to her sixth child.
Although farm neighbors considered adopting them or placing the children on the orphan train, the six children, ages 12, 10, 7, 5, 2 and eight days, remain on the family farm.
They are being cared for by their Illinois grandparents: Martha, age 60, and her husband, James R. Gelvin, 79.
The crops were harvested and on August 5, 1904 the Standard farm: 3 horses, 12 cattle, 4 hogs, farm equipment, chickens, household furniture including an organ was sold at auction.

Fri
19
Jan

From the miscellaneous drawer - Consider the elderly

Starting with 2010, every 10 years the US population has grown or will grow in its over-65 age population by at least three percent. By 2030 that percentage of population will be at 19.3 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Although I understand that some toddlers have chomped on the attractively colored Tide Detergent Pods, I’m wondering where the adults were and what they were thinking and why these detergents weren’t safely placed out of reach of youngsters. Yes, I know slip-ups can happen and we all feel terrible when a child’s life is affected or lost.
Somehow, though, in the need for children’s safety, the safety of the elderly is being compromised and forgotten.
I keep a pair of pliers by my bedside to open medicine bottles and get a firm grip on any immovable object.
How many elderly have punctured themselves trying to open a heavily plastic-encased product?

Fri
12
Jan

East of Ely - Up hill both ways

Last week the Echo’s publisher, Anne Swenson emailed me and asked if I had kept diaries of my experiences. Afterwards, I pulled out my oldest journal from 1975 that detailed a three-week trek into the border country.
I was surprised by the clarity of my early writing, as I detailed day after day of paddling and portaging.
Meeting others along the way, I asked them to write down their names and addresses, so I would remember them over the passing years. As I re-read this list the other day, I recalled the impact those brief encounters had had on my life.

Fri
05
Jan

Ely and Ski Jumping had a rich history here, starting in 1923

by Anne Swenson -

Sun
31
Dec

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Cribbage?

Cribbage is a great two person card game. Louie Palcher taught me to play years ago and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to pass his knowledge down to the younger generations.
Of course it was hard to focus when I was playing with Louie. We’d take a break from playing in the kitchen and wander over to the porch.
From there we could look out over Burntside Lake on a nice summer day. There’d be some piano music playing from a cassette and soon one of us would be drifting off for an afternoon nap.
Back in the kitchen Louie would be taking the apple potica he made that morning out of the oven. That was another distraction, the delicious smell of the apples and cinnamon baking.
Louie was patient and I was eager to learn. There were many, many games before he decided I should know better and stole points I forgot to count.

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