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.


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.
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.


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?


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.


Home on the Range - TRADITION

It was tradition, every summer a trip into the “B-Dub” with Dad. Just me, my two younger brothers and our Dad.
These trips were a highlight of our summer, but one year, Dad wasn’t thinking the trip would happen. His back was bad, but we insisted we were capable. At 12, I knew I could carry a fairly heavy pack, and if we had to make a few trips each portage, so be it. Barett, being 8 that summer could carry a small pack and help with a cooler. Ben was 9, but he wanted to carry the canoe. A 19 foot Alumacraft, none of this lightweight fiberglass. He knew he could, and showed Dad one weekend, picked it up, carried it, bobbing along the alley behind dad’s “compartment” as he called his small apartment. Dad was convinced, and the planning commenced.
We had a great trip, the fishing was lousy, but we didn’t care. We got our trip, that’s what mattered.


East of Ely – Legends of the Loon

One of the native tales of the Northern Diver, aka the Common Loon, is a story about a blind elder, who is abandoned by his wife during a caribou hunt. Seeing the old man thrashing about, a loon swims up and takes pity, offering the man a way to regain his sight. The loon tells him to hold onto its back, and after two deep dives into the restorative waters the elder regains his ability to see. In reward, he bestows his shell necklace to the loon, and this is how loons got rings around their necks.
Since native allegories often fall outside the realm of western norms of story telling, there are a few things I’d like to point out about the poignancy of this tale. But rather than interpret the particulars of the tale, I’ll try to show how they fit into the lives of the people in the lake country.


East of Ely – Not a question of if, but when…

Padilla Creek Fire area from old fire tower site on Lookout Road, Oct., 2017


East of Ely – On the Trail to a Remote Mountain

Rookie Overlook on the Fernberg Trail. Photo by David Krikorian


East of Ely – Happy Anniversary BWCA – “W”

Last week in Ely, I saw a young girl wearing a T-shirt that read “BWCA 1964.” That was the year congress passed the Wilderness Act, which was eventually enforced with the passing of the Bill 81-ICA or the BWCAW Act signed by President Carter on October 21, 1978. Funny how the maneuvering that led to the bill’s signing that year foreshadowed today’s congressional freak show.
Some say the late State Rep. Willard Munger drew first blood in 1977 when he stated, “The BWCA lands belongs to all of the people of the United States. In the end, national interests must supersede local concerns.” I admit that I was one of those superseding outsiders back then, as I had no understanding of what had caused some folks from Ely to hang environmentalist effigies off the back of a pickup truck.


Column: Friendship According to Facebook

Friendship According to Facebook
Oh look! I’m having a friendversary today. How thoughtful of Facebook to remember that special day three years ago when “Blanche” and I officially became friends on their site. Now…who’s Blanche again?
You understand. The average Facebook user has 338 friends, and many have far more than that. How can we possibly know them all? Facebook brings to mind that old adage, “There are no strangers here, only friends you have not met yet.”
The saying is credited to the poet William Butler Yeats, who, as you know, was a big fan of Facebook. Unfortunately, he died in 1939, just as it was really taking off.


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