Columnists

Thu
16
Sep

From the miscellaneous drawer

CONTINUING THE SAGA. Part two
The spring of 1976 my byline began appearing regularly in the Ely Echo. Miles Aakhus was the owner and publisher then and he had encouraged me to change from volunteering a column to working part-time and learning the business. I joined a staff which then included editor Bob Cary, reporter Doug Smith and advertising salesman Sam Cook.
On the staff side were bookkeeper Millie Simonick, and advertising layout persons Pat Harri and Lorene Mauser.
My first assignments were to create a “women’s page” and write feature stories.
There were two newspapers in town then - the Ely Miner and the five-year-old Ely Echo. The papers were as different as night and day. The Miner followed the tradition of noting who was visiting in town and who was entertaining luncheon guests.

Thu
09
Sep

From the miscellaneous drawer

If you’re a long time subscriber and reader you may be aware that I’ve always loved expressing myself by writing.
The Echo has given me THE LOVE OF A LIFETIME.
The way most newspapers are run these days is with an eye to the bottom line. Newspaper decisions are based on that limiting fact.
From the first I denied being able to cope with the public side of the newspaper. That was alright, the editor Bob Cary said he’d take care of it, be the spokesperson for the paper. His two days a week on the job were his commitment.
Our commitment to each other was that we would stay with the Echo as long as we were having fun.

Fri
03
Sep

September may cool but the clouds may stay closed

Two thirds of 2021 are over and it has indeed been a pretty warm year. We are 2.5 degrees over the normal mean temperature. Seven of the eight months so far have been warmer than normal. Only one, February, was bitterly cold.
Rain equivalent totals for the year have been way down. So far, precip is about 5.6 inches less than normal. Only March and April ran a rain surplus. The other six months have fueled the drought that affects us now.
For September, we’ll get 50% relief. Long range forecasters think the heatwave will break. But, the drought will continue. It is thought we will average one degree below normal for September’s temperature. The thought unfortunately also feels rain will be at least two inches shy of normal.

Fri
20
Aug

From the miscellaneous drawer by Anne Swenson

Recently one of my mentors died. Since I didn’t grow up in this area, I relied on several people to inform me and tell me of the background and people of the area.
Mentor Pete Davis was special. A former World War II survivor, he and his wife, Mary had lived in Duluth while he worked for Minnesota Power, and they retired to Eagles Nest 3.
It’s been so many years ago that my memory has dimmed. What pricked at it was the famous quote about Ely and its many bars and taverns. A religious well known evangelist was quoted as saying: “The only difference between Ely and Hell is that Ely has a train running through it.”

Fri
13
Aug

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

My wife and I have been to many concerts over the years but we’ve never taken in a Christian rock concert. That changed Aug. 5 at Duluth’s Bayfront Park.
First, the venue is great for an outdoor concert. Located right on the waterfront and next to the DECC, Bayfront has become a premier outdoor concert facility.
Being outdoors, the only problem is the weather. We found that out on a wet Thursday night.
Remember, we’re in a drought and rain showers have been few and far between. That wasn’t the case between 6-7 p.m. Aug. 5.
We were able to go in early for a question and answer session put on by For King and Country lead singers Joel & Luke Smallbone. But that’s when the rain came barreling in from the west and soaking the crowd at Bayfront.
We brought umbrellas which did help but rain can be persistent and it didn’t take long to get soaked.

Fri
06
Aug

Update from Ely Public Schools Superintendent Erik Erie

A great deal of progress has been made on the 21st Century Learning Facilities Project. Buildings have been removed and footings are going in for the new building. Some renovations to the existing buildings are also underway so that we can use those spaces when school opens this fall.
Some of those classroom spaces will be temporary as we manage through this building project. In the end, we will have a 21st Century Learning environment to educate our students, thanks to the community that has supported this project with their tax dollars. Some of our district residents may qualify for a property tax refund, so I encourage you to got to the Minnesota Department of Revenue site:
https://www.revenue.state.mn.us/property-tax-refund

Fri
30
Jul

The heat will likely stay on for August along with dry conditions

Back in the day, I did pretty well in the science classes offered by Ely teachers like Miss McLeod, Miss Tornquist, Mr. Wetzel, Mr. Mischke and Mr. Anderson. Despite the best efforts of teachers like Mr. Anderson and Mr. Lunceford, I did pretty bad in math classes. However, I did pretty well in college at statistics.
So, a few weeks ago, I was prowling online for information about Duluth’s hottest day in recorded history. I found a list of the hottest temperature recorded in Duluth for each year back to 1918. The info is spotty for the teens, 20s, 30s and 40s but complete for 1950 to today.
Using my ancient statistics skills, I factored those annual highs together to come up with an average high temperature per decade. Here they are from coolest to warmest: The 1990s averaged 89.4. The 1950s averaged 89.8. The 2000s averaged 90.4 The 1970s and 2010s averaged 90.9. The 1980s were warmest with an average annual high temperature of 91.3.

Fri
23
Jul

From the miscellaneous drawer

Feeling guilty.
After 60 years of working, with only a few detours or escapes, I’m now retired.
Seventy years ago when my family got their first television, there were limits on tv watching.
As years passed , when I had no access, I didn’t miss it. Even radios were banned from foreigners in post war Italy.
I’m filling my time now with PBS and other popular shows.
In Illinois, a long time ago, life was more normal for a stay-at-home mom of two kids. I mowed and gardened as people do.
A phone call changed that when a neighbor called and offered to help me since I was “dying” of cancer. The word was wrong. In an attempt to improve myself before the operation, I had been “dieting.”
Young school buddies got the word wrong.
In Winton there was a garden plot at the back if the house. Among other things I grew cucumbers. Neighbor Huxley Pelkola gave me lessons in how to make dill pickles.
They were yummy.

Fri
16
Jul

From the miscellaneous drawer

Among the reminders of friends is a wood plaque on my wall. It says: “Old friends take a long time to create.”
It was given to me by a friend. I was reminded of her with the notice that soon she would be 76, if she had not died at 75 or 74.
An accomplished piano player, she had played in Alaskan clubs and my music room. But she hadn’t always been easy to find in Ely.
She chased mind goblins until her life slowed down.
More recently I’ve heard from an artist friend, Stephan Krasemen from Canada. We caught up on the changes in our lives as we age.
Quick notes have come from Bob Columbo in Brazil, and Kent Worley.
My biggest and best surprise was from artist and cartoonist Bill Baron in Taos, New Mexico. We were friends in an Illinois high school long ago.
He had just refound an old poem of mine entitled “Each Time.”
I hankered after the post-war Paris, the world of Sylvia Beach, James Joyce and Rue de I’Odeon.

Fri
09
Jul

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

Our home is a bit quieter tonight. For the first time in 15 years there isn’t a Yorkie living here.
Her final day was a tough day made only easier by the great folks at the Ely Vet Clinic. We knew this day would come but it arrived quicker than we thought.
None of that was on our minds 15 years ago when we drove to Rochester to look at purchasing a Yorkie puppy. Megan had picked her out and we took her to a vet there on a Saturday afternoon.
The vet was honest and said there was a chance this wasn’t a purebred but at the same time there weren’t any red flags on the puppy’s health. This made Megan a happy camper and we brought Morgan home.
For the next 15 years there were times I wondered who was the owner and who was the pet. Morgan did what she wanted when she wanted. Independent to a fault, she seemed to relish the times I would take an empty garbage bag and head for the back door.

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