Columnists

Fri
19
Oct

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Company

Open a sandwich bag in the woods and you’re bound to have company. We had two Canadian jays join us in second.
My buddy Jim Ronn named them Larry and Bob and they were more than happy to share our sandwiches.
Jim’s daughter Kaitlyn had joined us for a day of working on deer stands and wanted to see if the jays would pick a piece of bread out of her hand.
She put a cloth glove on to be assured we met all safety standards and plopped down on a log.
Larry and Bob decided this was better than hunting for the pieces of bread we had been throwing in their direction.
Kaitlyn held out her hand and in came the camp robbers. I’ve heard them called gray jays, Canada jays and whiskey jack but camp robber seems to be the most appropriate.
The first jay stopped just short of Kaitlyn’s hand and checked out the situation, hopping ever closer. Kaitlyn held her ground and looked out of the corner of her eye.

Sun
14
Oct

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

Time in the woods during the fall is food for the soul. No matter if you’re swinging a brush saw in the rain or righting a deer stand that tumbled in a summer windstorm.
Having a day off to sight in rifles turned into a change of plans with rain again falling in the Ely area.
Deciding not to give in, I fired up the brush saw to re-open some of our trails by the shack. Since I didn’t have Megan’s golden retrievers Millie and Maverick with me, this seemed like a good plan. At least there would be no three-legged dogs when I was done.
The tag elders grow like weeds and in my mind that’s what they are. You cut them and they grow back. Rinse and repeat.
By the time I had run through two tanks of gas, hit 15 rocks and was soaked to the bone, it was time to call it a day. But it was a day away from work, spent out in the woods.
On Saturday I headed to my buddy Rob Wilmunen’s shack to help him return an elevated stand to its original location.

Sun
07
Oct

From the miscellaneous drawer - Baskets ready?

Over the past weekend, there were visits from family and friends. It’s the end of the summer season, leaves have turned to bright colors and the snowbirds, both avian and human are on their way to winter grounds.
Some will be back for Thanksgiving or Christmas visits and here’s a suggestion to make those and all visits even more memorable at your house: Keep a small basket by the front door.
As visitors arrive, explain the necessity to deposit therein all electronic devices, especially ubiquitous flat screen phones. Homeowners’ phones should go in too.
Why?
Here’s something to think about: You’re with family or friends that you don’t see often and the conversation is interesting. You’re conversing, exchanging information. Then one supposed listener takes out a phone and starts tapping it, fiddling with it, stops paying attention, perhaps even walking away from the group.
How does the person speaking or part of the group sense the situation?

Sat
29
Sep

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum -ATV rides

Next week is October and fall is fast upon us. We’ve spent the past few weekends on ATV rides in the great outdoors.
This past weekend Mary and I took part in the ATV Minnesota annual Ride and Rally in Willow River, MN. This is just down the road from Moose Lake, not far from Sturgeon Lake.
The event was held in a renovated barn, giving it a country-type feel. We took part in the VIP Ride on Friday and even brought an elected official with us, Ely school board member Rochelle Sjoberg.
She and her husband John toughed it out, riding two up on a regular ATV while Mary and I were in our side by side on a chilly morning.
The day warmed up, we had a cookout type lunch in the woods and we put another 48 miles on by the end of the day.
Saturday was the main day of the rally so we put some miles on. We were joined by Ron and Kristin Potter along with Neil and Terri Olson from Ely, plus Crane Lakers Bruce Beste, Traci Bak and Tom Baumchen.

Sat
22
Sep

From the miscellaneous drawer - R-e-s-p-e-c-t

The Emmys for 2018 winners list was announced and I had not seen even one of these programs. Guess I don’t watch as much TV as I thought, even before the DISH fracas in Duluth.
* * *
Now here’s food for thought:
“Within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history,” said Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau. “By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.7 million under the age of 18.” https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2018/cb18-41-population-p...
I think the elderly have generally earned this thought, but I noted in Aretha Franklin’s passing, her song Respect has the words: “I’m about to give you all of my money, And all I’m askin’ in return, honey, Is to give me my propers...”

Sun
16
Sep

Native son: Let’s talk

Aretha Franklin is dead at the age of 76. I saw her perform in San Francisco when I lived there. Her show was scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. but she didn’t come on stage until well after midnight. No excuses were given for the delay.
She sang her heart out until three in the morning. There wasn’t a sleepy eye in the theater. It was one of the most memorable performances I have ever seen. Her voice had a range for all kinds of music including opera. May she rest in peace.
I had three more churches to review in my series of visiting all the churches in Ely. Unfortunately Laurie who drove me to all these religious services and I both had medical issues which prevented us from completing this mission. I would like to say the ten we attended were absolutely wonderful and uplifting experiences.

Fri
14
Sep

From the miscellaneous drawer - Dish fails

Did anything happen in the world since 7:10 Sunday morning?
Did the political scene explode? Did friends try to get in touch with me?
I don’t know. The Internet has failed me and oh so many other rural residents.
After un-pluggimg and re-plugging and re-starting the computer seven times or more - abracadabra = at 11:17 a.m., Internet returned. And that’s typical. It will be out two or more times during the day and each time the un-s and re-s will be re-done.
If only Dish television provided hope such as that.
I phoned Dish at 888-742-0239 after talking to Frontier where the bundle (Internet plus television programming)cost is $158.68 of which $100.29 goes to Dish.
Why do I use Dish? Because it used to be more reliable than older methods.
What channels do I normally use? ABC, PBS, CBS and NBC out of Duluth.

Sat
08
Sep

Medicare, Dish news and Hemingway

Interesting short week.
The US Government sent a letter to 38,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Minnesota stating that their Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans were canceled for 2019.
Due to a communications mix-up, residents of 21 Minnesota counties, including St. Louis, Cook and Lake were told their plans would not be honored for 2019.
NOT TRUE.
Blue Cross belatedly send out a letter which stated: “Rest assured, your Blue Cross plan will continue to cover you in 2019.”
So, one less thing to worry about.
* * *
Then there’s the DISH problem with Duluth area stations.
In a rural area, after rooftop antennas then came massive dish receivers weighing down the garage. DISH seemed like a good answer with its mini-dish on the house, despite the wavering reception during winds and storms due to trees.
But last week, a contract disagreement between KBJR (6) for NBC and KBJR (3) for CBS, and DISH, made them disappear from view.

Fri
07
Sep

Native son: The New Ely

I am now into my third year since moving back to Ely. I returned to my hometown on May 11, 2015. By this time my mother was in Memory Care suffering from Dementia and I wanted to be there for her. She passed away on August 3, 2017 the day after my 76th birthday.
A few people asked if I planned to stay in Ely or was I going to move back to Minneapolis. I was already comfortable being back in my hometown and had no intentions of going anywhere else. My life began here in 1941 and will end here. I’m already walking distance from my cemetery plot and I would never think of giving up the fresh air of Ely and delicious drinking water!
I never came back thinking Ely would be the same as when I left in 1962. Everything changes.
Thanks to the Ott Family downtown Ely looks great with all the remodeled stores. All they need now are new businesses and buying customers but can this happen when there is no major industry in the city?

Sat
01
Sep

From the miscellaneous drawer - Make a difference

Sitting at the front desk in the Echo office, answering the phone and taking care of subscriptions is the biggest part of my job. What is enjoyable are the people who slip into the chair beside my desk at times and chat.
This summer a number of subscribers have stopped by to talk about the changing newspaper operations in their hometowns around the U.S. There has been a trend of large corporations taking over newspapers and the local touches have too often disappeared. And people miss the local news.
Occasionally I get a phone call wherein people ask me or the Echo to intercede in a local issue or event, to do something about what they deem to be unfair or plain wrong. That’s not an easy thing to do.

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