Columnists

Fri
01
Jul

An ocean away - Elyites get together on American airbase in Iraq

Hello from Balad Air Base, Iraq, located approximately 40 miles north of Baghdad along the banks of the Tigris River, in the heart of the Sunni Triangle. <BR><BR>I am deployed with my wife SMSgt Kris Saari and Senior Airman Silas Simone, another former Elyite. We are here helping fight the Global War on Terrorism, helping the Iraqi people, and specifically flying Close Air Support missions for the US Marines/US Army and Iraqi Security Forces. <BR><BR>Unless you are here, you wouldn’t realize the positive difference our Armed Forces have made and are making for the Iraqi people. We are helping to weed out the insurgents, protect the national infrastructure like power lines, oil pipelines, water storage, etc. We are helping to train the new Iraqi Army, Air Force, Security Police, rebuild schools, hospitals, etc. It is an extremely difficult task and will take a lot of time and will.

Fri
24
Jun

An airman’s letters from Iraq

Now that summer is in full swing, I hope everyone is finding time to enjoy themselves and really appreciate the good weather. I understand there has been a lot of rain recently. Tiffany didn't bother to tell me, but the Red River near our home in North Dakota is only about 10 feet short of the record crest we had in 1997 that devastated the town.<BR><BR>Not surprising, to check the latest in the Echo online and find that fishing is picking up. I am sure by now the walleyes have turned over from minnows to leeches, and tails of the 12 pound monster taken not too long ago are abound.<BR><BR>Good to see Kurt Mattila out and about with his son getting things together for some family fun. Kurt has always been one to really put effort into having a good time. I haven’t seen him or talked to him in a long time, but I'm glad that I can still recognize a few familiar faces and names. <BR><BR>I hope everyone enjoyed Memorial Day weekend.

Sun
19
Jun

Slice of life - No sun in Ely?

Dear Slice of Life Lady, <BR><BR>I am 6 years old. Some of my friends and say there is no sun in Ely. Mama says, “If you see it mentioned in The Echo, it’s so.” But I have not seen the sun for a long time. Please tell me the truth: Is there sun in Ely?<BR><BR>Dear Joshua, <BR><BR>Your friends are wrong. They have been affected by the cynicism of a technical age. They do not believe except what they see on the Weather Channel. Their little minds think nothing can be which is not seen on a monitor screen. <BR><BR>All minds, Joshua, whether they be in the little heads of big people or the big heads of little people, are little. In this great northwoods of ours, we are mere insects, wood ticks, in so far as our imagination.

Sat
11
Jun

In the front row

In high school sports, reaching a state tournament or state meet is the pinnacle of success.<BR><BR>So to say it’s been a successful 2004-2005 for Ely athletes Jenna Klein, Casey Sovil and Carolyn Freeman would be an understatement.<BR><BR>The Timberwolves ran the table, so to speak, in athletic competition this year, reaching state competition in all three seasons.<BR><BR>All three were part of the Wolves’ Section 7A high school girls cross country team.<BR><BR>They traded their running shoes for skis and poles in the winter, forming a solid nucleus on the Ely Nordic ski team that finished third in the state and captured another section championship.<BR><BR>And even though school has been out for more than a week, the Ely trio remained immersed in high school competition heading into this weekend, when they take part in the state Class A girls track meet.<BR><BR>Klein, Sovil and Freeman formed three-fourths of

Sun
05
Jun

Baby Boomer echoes

Most Boomer kids grew up in houses with porches. Your house might have sported one in the front and the back too. We took them for granted back then.<BR><BR>Porches served a lot of purposes and provided some history too.<BR><BR>Seems to me most houses in Ely, while we were growing up, had open porches - meaning no windows, open to the elements, with a few steps leading to the main doors of the house.<BR><BR>Kids liked porches. They were probably your first playground of sorts. Boomer Moms or Grandmas put the kids on one of the porches knowing it was a safe haven to play – a place still close to her checking eye without worry that the kids might venture into the street or wander into other neighbors’ territory.<BR><BR>A kid could occupy a lot of time on the porch.

Sun
29
May

Column: In the font row

If the Ely Timberwolves have anything to say about it, the prize for whatever team lands the second seed in the Section 7AA high school baseball playoffs will be an early exit from postseason play.<BR><BR>Ely, despite a subpar regular season that has included 11 losses in 15 games, looms as a very difficult opponent for the second-seeded club when the tournament opens Wednesday at four sites around the section.<BR><BR>The Timberwolves are seeded seventh among eight teams in the north subsection, but they may have the most dominant pitcher among the squads in senior lefty Tim Scott.<BR><BR>Scott is the probable starter for the Wolves in the playoff opener, and he’s been nothing short of dominant in recent outings, including a May 16 no-hitter against Mesabi East and a one-hit, 15-strikeout performance three days earlier against Duluth Marshall, one of several possible contenders for the second seed.<BR><BR>Seeding was set to be determin

Sat
21
May

Words from a burning heart

Fishing opener is always an interesting day of the year for me. I’m always full of anxious anticipation. Got my license, got my rods and reels ready to go. A couple of new lure models that I’ve carved and painted over the winter are thrown into my tackle box. The night before is spent tossing and turning in my bed dreaming of getting up at just the right time and catching my limit before the sun comes up.<BR><BR>The actual morning of opener has usually dawned absent of the sun. Since we’ve moved to Ely, I’ve witnessed rain, fog, more rain, snow, ice still on, more rain, rain-filled clouds, in short - white caps and wind blown despair. And then more of the same.<BR><BR>Opener is tough fishing. That’s what I’ve learned. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun. It only makes next year’s dream of quick success under the sun even larger. It also doesn’t mean you won’t catch fish. You might just get wet doing it. It will take longer.

Sat
14
May

Around town

After living across the alley from the Frank Pengal family since 1958, you’d think you would know a lot about your neighbors, but it was only in the past couple of weeks I discovered that Frank has been and still is a wood carver, and a very good one, for the past 20 years. It was not a little bird who told me, but another neighbor, Denece Socknat, who clued me in. And, so a story was born!<BR><BR>Frank, a very quiet, modest, unassuming individual is the main reason I didn’t know anything about his talent. He doesn’t brag about his work, and he didn’t learn his craft at Reserve Mining Co. where he worked in plant protection for 30 years. <BR><BR>When I asked where he learned to carve, he responded, “I liked to work with wood, so I bought some books on the subject and learned to carve.” (I don’t know of very many people who could read a book, then carve a bird, a figure or a canoe.) He discovered that he enjoyed carving so much, he just kept doing it.

Sat
07
May

From The Desk of the Old Timer

It is a Navy tradition that battleships be named for states, cruisers for cities, and submarines for fish. It will probably be a long time before we get a cruiser named “The Ely,’ but we had a navy ship that came close. Oilers, those craft that haul fuel around for the Navy’s fighting ships, are named after rivers with Indian names. Oiler No. 146 was named the USS Kawishiwi, after the river in our backyard. <BR><BR>Nobody ever heard of any spectacular battle mission starring an oiler, but they are very necessary to the success of every task force that goes into combat. They are also somewhat of a hazardous craft on which to serve in that they are simply a huge, motorized tank of flammable material. If they take a hit in the hold, it is one big Fourth of July explosion and goodbye!<BR><BR>For the record, the Kawishiwi was 655 feet long, 86 feet across the beam and drew 35 feet of water when fully loaded.

Mon
02
May

Around town

by Irene Grahek<BR><BR>AH...spring has sprung...(hope it lasts) and soon fishing season begins. Fisherpeople will be arriving in a few short weeks, visiting our many beautiful lakes. Most Ely natives (and those of us who are grandfathered in) know where the fishing lakes are and what lakes to fish, but most of these lakes had different names early on in Ely’s history.<BR><BR>I have in my possession a most significant four volume set of “Historical Sketches of the Quetico Superior National Forest” written by J. Wesley White, retired from the U.S. Forest Service in 1965, who had 33 years of federal service. He spent 20 of those years as a key staff officer in the Superior National Forest and wrote his findings primarily for greater appreciation of Forest Service employees. My appreciation goes to the late Judge Shammy Somrock, a close friend of J.

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