From the miscellaneous drawer

by Anne Swenson

By May 21, 1975 the Echo reward fund in the Goedderz murder case had climbed to $1,300, but, at least on the surface, local concerns were more directed toward the region’s economic future. <BR><BR>According to the front page Echo news, time had run out on copper-nickel mining hopes. Ely snowmobilers were protesting along Sheridan Street about the closure of 19 trails that had been in use. Trails included the one which led to Dorothy Molter’s home on Knife Lake in the Boundary Waters. Friends in the area rode their snowmobiles in the winter to bring Dorothy her mail and they helped to cut ice for summer use.<BR><BR>At Ely Memorial $26,985 for swimming pool improvements was approved. Bowling champs were announced: Vicky Kaplan, Toni Phelps, Marge Skube, Jean McDougall and Helen Doran.<BR><BR>On May 19, 1976 in the Echo, the school year was wrapping up with honors for patrol girls: Mary Jane Yadlosky, Lynn Franks, Audrea Bibeau, Pam Seiler, Theresa Jamnick, Nancy Koski and Patti Holets.<BR><BR>Ely outfitters were seeking a return to 1975 rules on permit station status after the Forest Service’s six month flip-flop on rules. Tosh James got a 9 1/2 lb. walleye in Birch Lake on opener. And Miss Ely candidates were: Cindy Braun, Nina Garni, Dawn Dougherty, Faye Urbas, Sue Weir, Cathy Grahek, Sandy Anderson, Doreen Baker, Joan Folz and Cindy Shober.<BR><BR>Then as now, the Ely area was preparing for Memorial Day and the influx of visitors for the summer season.<BR><BR>Businesses which had a flat retail winter, then as now, were hoping that new store items would entice shoppers into spending and resurrecting for one more year the hopes of the owners to survive, or better yet, to finally show a profit at year’s end.<BR><BR>Echo publisher Miles Aakhus was dealing with his own demons in the mid-1970s. As the downtown businesses faced changing economic times, so did the newspaper. Some family health problems also added to his stress.<BR><BR>Miles worried that the newspaper reminders about the unsolved murder would put him at risk. He placed a hand gun in his desk at work and confided to Bob Cary about his fears. <BR><BR>Cary said he was more concerned about Miles’ volatility and possible mishap with the gun than he was about Miles being a target. It was typical Miles. Always verging on the theatrical, he edged his reactions with extra layers of importance - a bit of padding and putty to flesh out the news. And the phone was the stage prop to enable his reactions and opinions to be heard throughout the office while providing a mantle of his importance.<BR><BR>Miles had begun talking to me about taking a job at the Echo in 1976. Ladies pages, he said would be my assignment. Create recipes and stories which women would find of special interest, he said. That women might be interested in something other than recipes or “feel good” stories he doubted. <BR><BR>It was the time for me to begin to find my voice. My youngest child was heading to first grade and I began to think about holding down a job and juggling family needs. I hadn’t worked away from the home in 10 years.<BR><BR>