Public best served by full menu of news

by Jim Pumarlo
Strike up a conversation about press rights, and many individuals likely conjure a picture of editors and reporters demanding access to top-secret data from government officials. No doubt, that occurs more often than most people would like to believe.
The reality, however, is that your newspaper’s push for access to government meetings and public data at local, state and federal levels is simple. We want to deliver information that affects our readers’ everyday lives, and do so in a timely fashion.
Reminding citizens and public officials about the public’s right of access to government information is the focus of “Sunshine Week: It’s Your Right to Know,” March 11-17. At its foundation, Sunshine Week underscores preserving the free flow of information for an open, effective and accountable government.
Consider these examples:


What does America mean to you?

The fifth grade students at Washington Elementary participated in a writing contest on Americanism sponsored by the Ely American Legion Post 248 Auxiliary.
The winners’ essays are listed below. Congratulations to these students for telling us a little bit about what America means to them.


new technology which means it can only get less expensive as it becomes more efficient

Dear Editor:
A closer look at our new neighbor:
I recently read a letter suggesting that “another argument should be brought forth that dealt with science and common sense” when referencing Antofagasta Mining.
Antofagasta is the owner of Twin Metals Mining near Ely. I would like to think that a letter based on honesty, facts and logic might be a better place to start.
The author used some pretty caustic language to depict Antofagasta mining as “a water-polluting, water-depleting, corrupt corporation responsible for severe environmental damage in Chile”. She highlighted the fact that the port city of Antofagasta, Chile’s copper mining hub, is a cancer capital in the country; it is, but not because of Antofagasta mining. Here are the facts.


Nolan was a Congressman for Ely

Ely is only one of many, many communities in the state’s cavernous Eighth U.S. House District, but it had a true friend in Rick Nolan.
Nolan’s surprising announcement that he would retire at the end of the year, rather than seek a fourth term in a second Congressional stint, sent political shockwaves across the state and reverberated in the Ely area as well.
While just one dot on a spacious map that extends from International Falls and Grand Marais to the north and east to Brainerd and the Twin Cities suburbs to the south, Ely seemed to have captured the attention of its Congressman.
Nolan didn’t just campaign here once every two years.
He, as a Congressman should, fought for the community for causes large and small and made frequent visits.


Broadband project important because service in Ely is poor

If your internet service is like watching paint dry, there’s some good news that came out of a meeting on Tuesday.
Here’s what we’ve learned:
• Your neighbors feel the same way. Internet service in Ely is bad. Survey results found more than 90 percent of people are not satisfied with their internet connectivity.
• This is a big deal. The survey said 93 percent of the people who responded feel internet access is very important to them.
• Businesses are in the same boat. Not only does their internet service at home stink, what they have at work isn’t much better.
• Hope is on the way. Two pilot projects, one with fiber to businesses and the other using 80-foot towers to broadcast signals across Shagawa and Burntside lakes could be a big step in the right direction.
How long it will take to start improving a bad situation is unknown. But with the study results in, there is a progress, something we haven’t been able to say for quite some time.


Political caucuses need to go the way of the dinosaur

Bye, bye Walter Mondale’s pie,
Drove a Subaru down the Fernberg & the antis are high.
The good old miners are drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this will be the day the DFL dies …


... Prior to being ordained the BWCA”W”, the Superior National Forrest contained nearly forty resorts, motorized boat and fly-in fishing camps, a railroad and other roads for vehicular travel... the portage itself was a railroad bed

Dear Editor:
In recent weeks I’ve read numerous articles claiming the BWCA as being an “untouched” wilderness. Betty McCollum was one of these individuals; she’s a little light on the area’s history. Her Wikipedia site indicates she has accomplished much in her half-life and that she has a stellar education.
So why does she miss the mark so often when discussing mining issues. When reading her talking points you realize quickly that she’s being coached. She clones everyone else’s talking points. So I have to wonder, who is it that has her ear, whose voice does she hear and who is it that will eventually become her Rasputin.
According to Webster, a true wilderness is a location that has been unscathed by human interaction. The BWCA is not a true wilderness; it’s a wilderness by decree.


Two major events and Ely is represented at each one

At the State of the Union and the Super Bowl, two of the biggest events in the United States, Ely played a role. Not too many other small towns across America could have such claims to fame.
As President Donald Trump was giving his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, sitting in the gallery was Ely city council member Dan Forsman.
Minnesota U.S. House member Tom Emmer invited Forsman to be his special guest at the joint session of Congress, an honor of a lifetime to be sure.
Emmer chose Forsman after reading the much-publicized New York Times magazine article that focused on the copper-nickel mining controversy in the Ely area.
Forsman, a worker at a taconite mine, was the focus of caustic remarks in the story made by anti-mining activist and Ely area resident Becky Rom. Those comments backfired on Rom and likely helped get Forsman one of the toughest tickets in the country.


IRRRB sends money Ely’s way, table now set for more grants

The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board had a full plate during a meeting held Wednesday in Eveleth. The board carved out two projects for Ely and during the discussion on two others, it appears more could be heading this way.
The two projects include an often discussed infrastructure project and the chance to bring over 20 jobs to Ely.
The 17th Avenue project looked to be stuck in the mud just a month ago, but the IRRRB gave the go ahead for $450,000 in grant funding for the project. Couple that with an anticipated $750,000 in state funding and a $400,000 match from the city, the nearly $1.6 million project is set to go
The second project has been moved to Ely after originating in Babbitt.
Rural Living Environments, which operates similar facilities in Babbitt, will build a $500,000 structure at a location adjacent to the Grahek and Sibley apartments.


Ely schools shouldn’t play second fiddle

Across the Range right now several school districts are in the midst of major building projects that will prepare them to meet the needs of teaching students into the future. Why shouldn’t the students at Ely schools have the same opportunities?
Major projects at Mt. Iron, Mesabi East and Grand Rapids have been moved forward and are either under construction or about to be. Ely could join that group with a project that would replace our lost gymnasium space and connect the Washington, Memorial and perhaps even the Industrial Arts buildings.
With the Ely Regional Community Complex making the decision to move elsewhere, the door is open for the school district to put together its own plan.
Just what is or isn’t in that plan can be determined along the way. What’s needed now is the direction from the school board and administration to set the wheels in motion as well as being true advocates.


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