From the miscellaneous drawer

by Anne Swenson

It’s always good to learn something. This week it was study time with the Associated Press Stylebook. That’s the reference we use to arbitrate all sorts of grammar ideas, from punctuation to use of titles.<BR><BR>You have to be a bit nerdy to find the study of ellipsis interesting. It’s a bit embarrassing to learn you have been using them wrong. Shades of Colonel McCormick of the Chicago Tribune - I had been condensing by taking out spaces, much as he did by changing words such as through to the simpler “thru.” It saves space on a newspaper page and space costs big money.<BR><BR>It wasn’t space which was being conserved when Echo editor Bob Cary started writing “Front Page Editorials” in the 1970s. It was because publisher Miles Aakhus wanted his editorial space (Milestones, it was called) untouched by anyone except himself. It was only after I later started working in the office that I discovered how dangerous that might be.<BR><BR>This week however, in 1975, Joe’s Marine was opening on Chapman Street and the Post Office was getting a face lift, or at least that’s what the Echo reported. A year later the news was about the Hubachek log cabin becoming the new home of the Ely Chamber of Commerce.<BR><BR>And while Aakhus, a vocal, proselytizing member of Alcoholics Anonymous, was writing about the Ely Citizens Patrol finding kids ages nine to 15 drinking booze and how booze led to drug use, Cary was staking out his own space on the front page to write about S.E.W.E.R.<BR><BR>It was a transition time for Ely. Although the last mine in Ely had closed on April 1, 1967, there were 500-600 miners in the 1970s who continued to live in Ely and commute to other area mines. A mine bus picked up the men in Ely for the shifts in Babbitt. And Ely’s economy then depended on these well-paying jobs and the benefits it brought to their families.<BR><BR>But it was the result of the many years of tourism which brought people like my family to the area. And we brought the baggage of an urban setting. What we couldn’t succeed in changing or creating in the cities we left behind - open spaces, clean air, a nature-indulgent landscape - we still had on our minds when we arrived. What we didn’t recognize was the balance of civilization which had existed here for hundreds of years. <BR><BR>In 1965 when U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman and President Lyndon Johnson’s daughter Lynda Bird took a three-day canoe trip in the Boundary Waters, the Minneapolis Tribune wrote that Lynda Bird “was delighted to know that the Boundary Waters existed as a refuge from urban ugliness.”<BR><BR>The local Boundary Waters Resource Committee however during their stay protested against Freeman’s decision to extend restrictions on logging and the use of motorized transport in portions of the BWCA. The BWRC staged a 45-minute parade to this end and privately spoke disparagingly about the special comforts arranged for the Johnson/Freeman canoe trip.<BR><BR>In 1976 the Twin Cities area was concerned about a growing problem with rats. An extermination program was undertaken. This prompted Cary’s front page editorial. He urged readers to “Unite to Save Endangered Wildlife in Twin Cities.” The S.E.W.E.R. acronym stood for “Save Everyone’s Wild Endangered Rats.”<BR><BR>It took a bit longer, but I was beginning to understand the difference between urban environmentalists and the realistic viewpoint of rural life, preservation and guardianship. <BR><BR>Urban environmentalists wanted to leave the city environment to save the environments they wanted to visit. Rural folk stayed in their environment to enjoy and preserve it.<BR><BR>I had written my first column for the Echo and discovered how impassable the cabin road was the first week in April, 1976. <BR><BR>The Gift Corner on Chapman Street was celebrating its 10th Anniversary. The Newcomers Club announced its new officers. Mary Zaccagnini was elected president, Kathleen Naylor was vice president and Claire Pastika was secretary/treasurer.