Ely’s oldest WWII veteran honored with Quilt of Valor

by Nick Wognum
Calvin Herrala was born 98 years ago in Ely’s Tanner Hospital. On Aug. 4 he was recognized for his World War II service with a Quilt of Valor.
He was one of a number of veterans saluted by the Ely Baseball Association at an opening night program in conjunction with the start of the Minnesota Junior Legion Baseball Division II State Tournament.
Herrala grew up in Ely and would graduate from high school in 1942. According to his daughter, Jennifer Herrala Webb, Calvin came home one day in the spring of 1943 and found a postcard telling him to report to Fort Snelling.
“He had applied to a program the year before where he could go right into the Army through an educational program,” said Webb.
Calvin Herrala entered the service in April of 1943.
On May 22, 2010, Webb contacted her dad, Calvin Herrala, and asked him to again tell the story of how “he won World War II.”


A trend toward cooler conditions may apply to August

by CBS 3 meteorologist Dave Anderson
A lot of Ely and Babbitt people have roots in Slovenia. Slovenia is literally exploding from the heat this summer. Forest fires aggravated by a heatwave are setting off unexploded munitions from World War One battles between the Austrians and Italians.
The front line between battles of cold versus warm air is marked off by the polar jet stream. This summer, the warm side of the border has covered the southern U.S. and crested like a wave into Europe as well. Those zones have had a heatwave. Here in the Upper Midwest, we’ve been on the cool side of the jet stream border for the most part discounting a couple of trips into the 90’s this season.


Window into Yesterday - When gas was $.29 a gallon

Most of us older than sixty-five can remember when gasoline cost much, much less than today. Like maybe even $4.00 or more per gallon. That $.29 back in 1964 would be worth about $3.00 today. Back in 1964 young people were, however, probably earning $1.00 an hour waitressing, bussing tables, or pumping gas.
Cruising the main street was a favorite activity - particularly on weekends. There were many more tragic car accidents back then too. A favorite trip in the family car was down to Central Garage to see the wrecked cars. John Koschak, who owned the garage, always had stories to tell about the wrecks and other stories as well. He stayed open late, working in his office. Other gas stations closed early in the evening but one could almost always depend on John to be open for a late night purchase. A more chatty man could not be found.


How many toes do you see?

By Bill Teftt. Photography by Ken Hupila of Snotty Moose Studio
June 1
The thought was “it’s the time of year for most migratory birds to have returned for the summer breeding season” and “Connecticut warblers have been very difficult to find in recent years.” The strategy was “let’s get out early in the habitat that we have known them to live in and use our ears to scout for any singing males.”
Some of our avian neighbors are only here in small numbers and live in neighborhoods suitable for them. Our small group of local naturalists met at an area with mature black spruce wetlands south of the South Kawishiwi River, and we spent the early morning walking some old forest logging roads in the Superior National Forest to explore the edge of wetlands. Several expected species of summer songbirds were heard singing but no Connecticut warblers.


50 years and counting

by Tom Coombe
For a half-century, the Ely Echo has delivered news of Ely, served the community and become a historical record of sorts.
Some of that history was shared Wednesday by publisher Nick Wognum, who spoke at the latest installment of the Ely History Night series at Vermilion Community College, sponsored by the Ely-Winton Historical Society.
The first edition of the Echo, which sold on the newsstands for 15 cents, was printed in October, 1972 and included a story about the legendary Dorothy Molter and another about a man who suffered a heart attack after rescuing a group of nuns from a capsized boat on White Iron Lake.
Another article was about the Ely Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement of proposed copper-nickel mining in the region.
“That was in the first edition of the Ely Echo, and a story we’re still dealing with today,” said Wognum.


Pank Aches Swimming and Kisting on the 4th

In the 50s and 60s in Ely on Independence Day there’d be organized contests with meaningful prizes in Whiteside Park for us kids. I can still see Joe Folio shinnying up a greased pole to claim the 20 dollar note (or was it a 100?) at the top. Joe cleverly covered his hands, pants legs, and chest with sand to provide the winning friction. The finale to that incident, his arriving home and sneaking his garb into the hamper, has never been revealed. Glenn Lindroos and I won the three-legged race prize -- but we cheated. We practiced for weeks before and secured our legs together with two straps, one at our ankles and the other just above our knees. With this Olympic gear and training we developed a coordinated lope that was unbeatable. Too bad college athletic departments didn’t award scholarships for three-legged racing.
Of course in those days there was a large parade in Ely. And there still is -- a tradition that I hope continues.


Northwoods Pride – An Agenda Looking Forward

Look around at our community and what do you see. Where are the boundaries of what you see as community? What is the geographical distance to the edge of your community? Is the community you recognize a social community, an ecological community, or both included in one?
Community is a group of common interests. With that in mind, the describing the characteristics of our community becomes complicated. History, beliefs, current needs, future interests and potential, available resources, leadership, social framework, environmental conditions etc. factor into the evolution, stability, and potential of communities to be sustainable. Any or all of these are important factors. Looking at your perception of your community, what do you see as its strengths?


Miscellaneous Musings by FunGirlDi

by Diana Mavetz Petrich
Many of us have a favorite time of year where we love everything about that treasured time, season, month, or holiday. We have our reasons of why we like that time which may be influenced by the weather, nature, sports, or hobbies. Mine is June.
June is my birthday month, and I just celebrated my 61st. Every year that passes is, of course, a celebration, but I am also stunned that I don’t feel older and keep waiting to grow up or start to feel like an adult. Maybe, at this point, it may never happen.
I haven’t written my column for a few months as I was engaged in a legal fiasco for the past four years. I’m happy to say it is in the rear view mirror and the relief is joyous. There are so many things wrong with the legal system in this country. My summation of the entire ordeal was we were forced to participate in a game of legal extortion. It’s over and I am grateful.


Rants from the Relic

Have you ever heard the word “tump?” It’s used as a verb in parts of the country where I’ve lived -- a portmanteau combining “tip” and “dump.” “We canoed down the Waxa-Woo-Much River last weekend and tumped over in the rapids -- you know, the one just downstream of that tavern south of Kudzu Holler.”
The first time I heard it, the meaning was obvious from its sound and the context. I thought it was quaint and descriptive -- a cute neologism.
Tump. When I first heard it, I thought of similar word that, as far as I know, is unique to Ely. It may have been unique to the time when I grew up in our mining town. I don’t know if it’s still used. But, let’s return to the days of radio dramas, to six-volt car systems, to walking home for lunch on school days, riding our bikes to Germik’s Creek to catch brook trout, getting kicked out of the State Theater by Mrs Swanson for giggling too much, and to squeezing the little red pill to turn the lard into oleo.


Northwoods Pride – Starts and Grows

I was born in 1947 and spent my childhood and school years living less that a small-town block from the banks of the St. Joseph River in Michigan. The river, the town, my family, and the people were and are an integral part of who I am today. Next month I will return to Michigan to connect as one of the older community members of my family, the town, the river, and the people.
Next month, the river will provide my paddle connection from its headwaters to my hometown and on to my brother’s family before reaching Lake Michigan. I have lived in many watersheds and explored the rivers there during my life before living the past 45 years of my life in Ely. Exploring St. Joseph River is connecting to over 200 plus miles of its natural history and cultural history.


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