Echo named city’s official publication

by Tom Coombe
The Ely Echo will once again serve as Ely’s official newspaper.
The only locally-owned and operated newspaper and the only one to maintain an office in Ely has been designated, for the second straight year, to be the publication in which the city prints meeting minutes, public notices and other announcements.
Tuesday’s council meeting was brief and the Echo was picked without discussion and with a unanimous vote.
The Echo was the only publication eligible to bid for the legal publishing contract, given a recent move by the Tower-based Timberjay to no longer print a separate Ely edition.
Two years ago, the council picked the Timberjay to serve as legal publication, in a move that generated controversy and several weeks of debate.
The Echo increased its publishing rates this year, in bids that were due in late-January.
After slashing its bid for meeting minutes to $1.94 per column inch in 2020, the Echo raised the rate to $3.50 this year, but publisher Nick Wognum told council members the price remains more than 70 percent below the publication’s regular rate for legal advertising.
For display advertising, the city will pay $7 per column inch this year.
The Echo, which has been in existence since 1974, owns a downtown building and has maintained an office presence in Ely’s business district since its inception.
Wognum cited the Echo’s local roots in his pitch to the city, saying “We’re proud to call Ely our home. It’s where we live, pay taxes, send our kids to school and volunteer to make our community a better place to live.”
The decision related to legal publishing came at a council session that lasted less than an hour, as members breezed through a light agenda.
In other business, the council:
• Approved plans to hold department head performance reviews in March.
• Authorized police chief Chad Houde to attend a state police chiefs’ conference in October.
• Approved the use of Semers Park for The Wolf, a bike race previously known as the Heck Epic, allowing participants to spend the night at the city-owned park provided that COVID protocols are followed.
• Proceeded with plans to seek bids for the Hidden Valley mountain bike trail construction, with bid opening slated for later this month.
• Approved the WolfTrack Classic’s request that the recycling area be closed on Sunday, Feb. 21, to ensure the safety of dog teams and volunteers involved in the annual sled dog event, which has start and finish areas at the softball complex next to the recycling area.
Harold Langowski, city clerk/treasurer and operations director, said the city will work on several fronts to notify the public of the temporary closure.
• Approved the low bid of the G Men of $11,900 for the demolition of a structure at 274 North Fifth Avenue East.