Columnists

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.

Fri
02
Jul

From the miscellaneous drawer

Have you ever traveled and not known in advance where you were going to eat or sleep that night?
Life is an adventure if you choose it. Traveling with friends or alone, we sometimes stayed in new, strange places without prior reservations.
That’s adventuring without care. It reinforces the feeling of freedom. On cruises or escorted trips this may not be possible. At least there’s some native human contact.
Traveling by bicycle in Canada as a young teenager, there were several challenges, one being speed and losing control on a curve, and crashing.
A train from Vienna to Rome by way of Cortina d’Ampezo allowed me to see talented friends at the Vienna Opera, friends of my brother’s in the ski and Olympic place of fun.
But I don’t recommend long bus rides. So little choice in any area but it was a way to get from California to Chicago.

Fri
25
Jun

Hook and Bullet Club

We spent a good part of last weekend in Babbitt for Peter Mitchell days and there’s one thing that kept coming back to me: How can we do this in Ely?
It’s amazing what Babbitt is able to pull off each year. Even without a carnival, this was one of their best years.
The list of events is impressive, starting with the Walleye Whamma fishing contest and continuing the next weekend with the main events.
They had kids races, a 5K run, a classic car show, live bands both nights, a rover radar run, free watermelon feed, sawdust pile giveaways and a whole bunch of tournaments (kickball, volleyball, bocce ball, holey boards, etc.).
The holey board thing cracks me up. It’s similar to the popular cornhole or bags game but you toss large washers instead. Must be the impact of the taconite mine not too far away.

Thu
17
Jun

Miscellaneous Musings by FunGirlDi

In recent years, home decorating has adopted a new habit that I personally don’t much care for. Paintings and photo art seem to have taken a back seat to wall signs with ornate, whimsical, calligraphed words like, “Family,” “Gather,” “Welcome,” etc.
Personally, I think the adage of a picture saying a thousand words stands true. When I have gone into model homes or boutiques, I chuckle when a plaque on the wall tells me to “Have a nice day,” or “Kiss the Cook.” I immediately think, “Stop telling me what to do.” Also, my secretarial training goes into overdrive as I automatically spellcheck the signs hanging on the walls.
Last year when the pandemic hit and everyone was on lockdown, there was a meme that popped up on Facebook made courtesy of a wall art sign. I thought it was one of the funniest posts I saw during a most stressful time in our world. I included a copy of it with this column.

Fri
04
Jun

From the miscellaneous drawer

As a house is being dissected and disemboweled, one finds many unmarked treasures. Where did they come from? Why was I keeping them?
If they were important enough to keep, why weren’t the photos identified with real names? If I was the one taking the picture, why did I scribble such lousy names on them?
“Sixth grade bums” doesn’t identify my best friends of the time.
Perhaps what stirred the pot of memory was being invited to my Thornton High School reunion. I’ve been to one previous reunion. Since there were over 5,000 kids in the school and over 1,000 in my class,
A lot of distancing was the norm. Aside from a few friends in my circle, the ones I enjoyed seeing the most at the reunion were the remnants of the grade school class. It had less that 30 kids and was integrated.
High school consisted of maybe 10 communities and breaches weren’t sought.
So I replied to the reunion booster that I would not be coming.

Fri
28
May

June may try to be warm but dry

The best paying job I ever had was janitor at the Voyageurs Visitor Center from May to September 1984. That gig paid $13.65 an hour. My current job didn’t match that until just a few years ago.
The Visitor Center (now the Wolf Center) also paid in fun. It was fun to keep an eye on the wood duck house they had on display out the observation window where people now watch wolves. The front of the house had been replaced by plexiglass so people could see the duck nest inside. But, some enterprising red squirrel took over the place and turned it into an apartment with a picture window.
One night, squirrely spent a good chunk of time sitting on top of the house while excitedly preening. Then it hopped down and bounced tail up into the forest as if it was heading to a hot date. It never came back. I hope it was off that night to move in with another squirrel rather than ending up dinner for a predator.

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