Native son: What a night

On Saturday March 2, one of our coldest bone chilling nights, St John’s University Men’s Chorus arrived in Ely and gave a performance which I don’t think anyone who was there will ever forget! Twenty three male voices in perfect harmony with each other singing spiritual and popular music in the great hall of St Anthony’s Church.
The Chorus was founded in 1948 by Father James Kelly. The present director is Axel Theimer and I had the great pleasure of meeting him when I arrived at the church. He had just finished rehearsing his group before they went downstairs to change into their performance attire.
In 1960 the chorus at that time made their first of many trips to Europe. They also perform frequently for state and regional music conventions for which they have received numerous prizes and awards.


Hook and bullet club - Snowmobiling

TRAIL STOP - Evan Wognum, Nella Foy, Mary Wognum, Bev Groteboer, Brad Pearse, Steve Groteboer and Kelsey Pearse take a break along the trail system in the Crane Lake to Ash River area.


From the miscellaneous drawer - When words meant something

Forty years ago, there were two Ely newspapers and both were owned by women. Columbia Childers ran the show at the Ely Miner in the 100 block of East Chapman Street and I had the help of the men and women at 2 East Sheridan Street. Though we were competitors, you might even say we were friends.
Friends come to an understanding of each other’s actions and in that way, a respect. We had lunch together at Silver Rapids not long before she departed the newspaper world.
Back then there was a larger group of Iron Range publishers who got together a few times a year for dinner. As a novice to the industry, it was a learning time for me.
I stopped to chat with Phyllis and Jim Burgess at the Tower News, got advice from Veda Ponikvar of the Chisholm paper, the Asbachs at MDN and bought half ton rolls of paper for our printing press from Cook News Herald which shared its supply.


From the miscellaneous drawer - welcome to the Echo office

There’s a whole new language to learn in almost any business or new venture. It took me a while to get the hang of the picas and points of newspapers and printing.

Oddly enough, the City of Ely never specified a type size for display advertising nor did they direct any complaint or request to us about ad print size. No discussion was initiated by the city to make the Echo aware of any dissatisfaction on its part. That seems odd unless this is all politically motivated.

The Echo’s legal type size at 7 point Times, came in at 84 lca. Since that was quite readable, it saved the city money, Whereas an lca (lower case alphabet) of 90 would take up more space when printed.

In the 1970-’80s there were two newspaper offices in Ely - The Ely Miner and the Ely Echo. One or the other was subsidizing the city with below cost rates for printing.


Native son - SCAM, act one

My column on January 19 was about scams. Well folks, guess what? On Saturday February 9 while I was checking one of my accounts on the Internet this loud beeping sound came out of my computer. My screen froze and a voice said “do not turn off your computer. This is Microsoft and we believe a number of your functions are not giving you maximum results. We are going to take over your computer and correct this problem.” The cursor disappeared from my screen and the voice continued telling me and showing me different screens with all kinds of different configurations which I couldn’t understand.


From the miscellaneous drawer - Going postal

For many years there wasn’t Postal delivery to homes where I lived as a child. Six blocks away there was a one story brick building with Postal boxes inside. Mother pulled me on a sled or wagon and my older siblings walked there. We also picked up the mail for elderly residents in our neighborhood.
These days the US Postal Service is in financial trouble. According to its Nov. 24, 2018 report: There was an overall volume decline of 3.2 billion pieces and a net loss of $3.9 billion. Its only good news was in its Shipping and Packages business, where revenue increased $2.0 billion, or 10.1 percent.
A lot of the loss, it is said, is because people rarely write personal letters as once was done.
I so much treasured letters, that I still have a large box of personal letters I have received since I was a child. Mostly they are ones from family members. Fewer yet from good friends. The trouble is, although I plan to drop a line to someone, I put it off.


Native son: All the news fit to print

The cost of a “forever” postage stamp went up on January 27 from fifty cents to fifty five cents. In 1918 the Postal Service lost $3.9 billion dollars. It’s kind of a grey area about who runs our postal service. At one time it was the government that made all the rules and regulations.
For the past twelve years it has been hemorrhaging cash. Trump puts the blame on Amazon saying they are not paying their fair share by offering “free delivery” on their merchandize. This is debatable. People using emails instead of writing letters may have something to do with this. So far this year I’ve written only one letter and have received two in return. I’m still old fashioned and sent seventeen Christmas cards. Twenty years ago it was thirty or more cards. I am keeping in touch electronically like the majority of people are doing.


From the miscellaneous drawer - Friends

Friends, good friends, are rare. As children we tend to expect that we will have the same friends throughout life. For a very lucky few, that happens.
Mostly, our lives tend to lead us away from the past and from places we’ve called home along the way of life. And there comes a time when we wonder about those past friends... have they passed?
Even if they have, they remain indelibly in one’s mind, nourished by memories and impromptu reminders.
In many ways, family members are supposed to remain friends through time, but that doesn’t always work out as egos, slights, and different paths separate us from those who were once a big part of our lives. Can those hostilities be resolved? Probably not if all parties are not willing to succumb to heart felt apologies.
Life goes on. With each setback one picks up the pieces of one’s life and hopefully finds new purpose. You gotta keep on, keeping on.


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

Father Brandon Moravitz gives a blessing to Ida Rukavina, daughter of the late Tom Rukavina during funeral services Saturday morning at Holy Spirit Church in Virginia. Former State Representative Tom Rukavina passed away Jan. 7. Photo by Mark Sauer, Mesabi Daily News.


Home on the Range - Memories may vary

Disclaimer: Memories may vary…
“Oh yeah, they’ve been in a trailer, had a rope around their necks, and they’re weaned.” None of the preceding statements were true, and dad was there that day to load them up, take them away from their mamas, and castrate them while they had them caught.
Two yearling bulls, now steers, loaded in a borrowed trailer to be brought to the pasture at my grandparent’s house, the summer I was 12. In my few short years of walking this earth, I had never felt closer to being a cowgirl, or at least a farmer.
The one steer managed to throw himself around so much in the trailer that he was on his back for most of the ride. Dad pulled into the pasture, threw the trailer door open and got out of the way. They were soon grazing.
Not long afterwards, maybe a day or two, after they healed up a bit, the steers decided they didn’t care to be fenced in. They went for a stroll. Down grandma and grandpa’s driveway. Then down Highway 21.


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