News

Sun
01
Aug

Cliffs, Steelworkers announce tentative labor agreement

Cleveland-Cliffs announced Wednesday that tentative contract settlements have been reached with the United Steelworkers union, representing approximately 2,000 hourly employees at its four managed iron ore mines in Minnesota and Michigan. <BR><BR>Contracts at Hibbing Taconite and United Taconite in Northern Minnesota, and Empire and Tilden Mines in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are set to expire on August 1.<BR><BR>Company officials said no details of the settlements would be released publicly until union members have ratified the contracts.<BR><BR>John S. Brinzo, Cliffs' chairman and chief executive officer, said, “We are pleased that tentative settlements have been reached. These were difficult negotiations but together we have achieved labor agreements that are fair to our employees, while allowing the Company to maintain a competitive position within our industry.

Sun
01
Aug

A picture perfect weekend

The best Blueberry/Art Festival ever?<BR><BR>Considering the event’s 24-year history and it’s traditionally large crowds, the 2004 event had to be very special to earn that description.<BR><BR>But that’s just what festival organizer Rita Grose had to say last week, after she had a few days to wind down from the three-day frenzy at Whiteside Park.<BR><BR>“This was absolutely the best as far as quality goes, and as far as attendance goes,” said Grose, who coordinates the event for the Ely Chamber of Commerce.

Sun
01
Aug

Building the economy with technology

Growing the local economy with technology-based jobs has long been a priority for Ely area leaders.<BR><BR>But turning those hopes and plans into action and specific results has proven to be a formidable challenge.<BR><BR>That’s why the Ely Area Joint Powers Board enlisted the services of John Powers, a Duluth consultant and community planner, to devise a strategy for making the knowledge-based technology sector a vital component of the local economy.<BR><BR>After months of research, Powers presented the first draft of his strategy at Wednesday’s Joint Powers session.<BR><BR>The 23-page document details the keys to success for knowledge-based business, steps needed to foster growth in the Ely area, and a plan for using both existing talent and businesses and attracting entrepreneurs from outside the area.<BR><BR>“There already are strong aspects of it here,” Powers said of the knowledge-based technology industry.

Sat
31
Jul

World Press journalists coming to Ely this week

Nine foreign journalists will spend this weekend in Ely as part of the annual World Press Institute fellows’ tour.<BR><BR>The journalists meet with major political leaders and nationally-noted economists, and see America’s largest cities’ media outlets during a four-month visit to the country.<BR><BR>And, just as they have for the past 12 years, the journalists will also make Ely - and the Ely Echo - part of their visit.<BR><BR>The journalists will spend three nights in homes of area families and individuals and meet the public Sunday (10:30 a.m.

Tue
27
Jul

Fire danger is high in NE Minnesota

After three weeks without rain northeastern Minnesota is primed for wildfire. Fourth of July weekend was the last rainfall in the area. Hot weather and lower humidities have elevated fire danger over the past week.<BR><BR>Another indication of fire conditions is the Wildland Fire Use fire currently burning in Voyageurs National Park. It was caused by lightning and is currently at just over 450 acres. Information on that fire can be found at www.nps.gov.voya.<BR><BR>This time of the year severe weather has the potential to cause multiple starts in dry conditions. <BR><BR>Those planning trips to northeastern Minnesota are asked to be mindful of the fire conditions and take extra care making sure campfires are out cold.<BR><BR>August 9 marks the 60th birthday of Smokey Bear, the icon of fire prevention.

Mon
26
Jul

Carry Pat Milan’s ‘Ski E-Z” or ‘Ely-Z’ chairs with you and you can sit anywhere

While vacationing and skiing in France, sitting on a slope, sitting on the ground, sitting in the snow, the thought occurred to Pat Milan, by the seat of his pants, “there must be a better way than sitting in the snow, on the ground, on the side of the slope.” <BR><BR>Sometimes people take their skis and shove them into the snow and put the ski poles across the bindings and sit on the poles, but that’s not very comfortable. <BR><BR>Pat thought there must be a better way and that’s when he started working on a chair design using skis and poles. He designed the comfortable chair while he was living in Switzerland. When he was back in the States he began searching for a manufacturer. <BR><BR>He would have liked to have his chair manufactured in the United States but it was not cost effective so he went with a manufacturer overseas.

Mon
26
Jul

Gerzin picked to be fire chief

Ely’s Gerzin family has had a long association with the city’s volunteer fire department.<BR><BR>The late Louis Gerzin was the fire chief from 1958-1976.

Mon
26
Jul

Election slate filled

A late entry by incumbent Paul Kess completed the lineup for Ely’s fall elections.<BR><BR>Kess, a city council member since 1995, entered the race before Monday’s filing deadline and is the eighth and final candidate for three council positions.<BR><BR>He joins fellow council members Jerome Debeltz and Mark Zupec in the race. They will be challenged by Louis Kotzian, Robin Mathews, Charles Novak, Pat Osaben and David Schmidt.<BR><BR>The Sept. 14 primary will whittle the field of eight down to six, and the top three vote-getters in the Nov.

Mon
26
Jul

No surprises among 6A entries

Filings for state office closed last week and all of the announced candidates in the hotly-contested Minnesota House 6A race have formally entered the race.<BR><BR>Incumbent David Dill (DFL-Crane Lake) faces a primary challenge from party-endorsed Bill Hansen of Tofte.<BR><BR>The winner of the Sept. 14 primary moves on to face Republican Marty Breaker of Ely.<BR><BR>All three candidates have officially joined the contest by filing with the Minnesota Secretary of State.<BR><BR>Dill is seeking his second term in office after winning the race to succeed Tom Bakk, who was elected to the State Senate, in 2002.

Fri
23
Jul

Another crowded start

Whiteside Park was filled with vendors and visitors.<BR><BR>Parking spaces were filled for blocks around the park and Ely even had some traffic jams.<BR><BR>A typical Friday afternoon in Ely?<BR><BR>That's hardly the case 51 weeks out of the year, but when that Friday is the opening day of Blueberry/Art Festival, it’s no surprise.<BR><BR>The 24th annual festival kicked off Friday under sunny skies, with comfortable temperatures and in traditional fashion, with crowds filling the park well before the official noon start-up.<BR><BR>By the end of the weekend, more than 45,000 people were expected to pass through the park for the arts and crafts show.<BR><BR>A steady stream of cars filed into Ely Friday morning, and license plates from around the country were spotted near Whiteside.<BR><BR>The festival attracts quite a mix - from former Ely residents returning home for the weekend to tourists who ma

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