Columnists

Sun
18
Jun

At the beginning of the road - Aging parents

Many of you have had the need to help your parents deal with their increasing infirmities from aging. It is a bittersweet task to acknowledge that time and nature are not the friends of those in their twilight years. Two people I knew in Ely recently died rather sudden deaths. They did not linger trapped in a wheel chair, but then they died years earlier than what those government statisticians claim is our due. <BR><BR>It is natural to fight aging. I always enjoyed the crusty old woman played by Judi Dench in the movie Chocolat. She refused to go to a nursing home as her daughter demanded. Knowing her time was near she threw a party and enjoyed herself too much. That night she died in her chair. I wish we all had that option, but dying comes in so many colors. <BR><BR>The last two weekends I had to drive down to the Twin Cities to see my mother who had landed in a nursing home after taking a fall in a parking lot.

Sun
11
Jun

Letters from Ely - Drive time

As usual, I’d left the leaving for far too late. In order to honor previously-made work commitments, I would now have to compress 35 hours of driving into a 48 hour period. <BR><BR>Crossing into Nebraska at 2 a.m., fighting sleep and tiring of the compact disks I had with me, I turned on the radio. At this hour and in this state, the only available choices were country music or evangelical fire-and-brimstone. I listened to country music for a while, long enough to confirm that heartbreak, hard times and drinkin’ were still the driving economic force in that genre. <BR><BR>Tiring of this, I pushed the “Seek” button and landed on an evangelical station. An emotional preacher was telling an apparently large auditorium audience about the many horrors of social liberalism, women’s rights, workers’ unions, Muslims and other racial or religious minorities. In short, it was a half-hour hate fest.

Sat
03
Jun

Around town Small town trivia

Did you know?...The name “Ely Echo” was given to a Finnish male choir which was organized about 1892-93 by the late Emil Bjorkman. The choir was called “Elyn Kaiku,” which means Ely Echo in Finn, and just goes to show you, there are a lot of people with good taste!<BR><BR>Did you know...WXLT was the first radio station in Ely, owned and operated by Charles Ingersoll. Those call letters were the same letters used by a radio station in Alaska where he had worked during WWII.<BR><BR>Did you know?...There are about 50 realtors in Ely? With about 100 (estimated) homes for sale, that gives each realtor two sales a piece. (Guess I’ll stick with my day job.)<BR><BR>Did you know? ...It’s better to turn your car engine off while parking for a short time. Consumer Report says idling uses more gas than restarting.

Sat
27
May

Just An Avid Reader

I read quite a bit. Newspapers, magazines of all kinds, articles on the internet - but most of all, books. And though currently I read mysteries more than anything (a romance novel now and then), they range from one end of the spectrum to the other. Political mysteries. Spy thriller mysteries. Culinary mysteries. <BR><BR>Some are more difficult than others - you really have to pay attention, remember the cast of characters, watch for the details, acronyms, etc. Although they’re certainly good reads, it takes some effort to keep everything straight in your mind. But sometimes, I just want a fun read, quick and easy. <BR><BR>This is the case in Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity series. Lori Shepherd is an American living in the English countryside. Through the series she has met and married her husband Bill; had twin sons Rob and Will; made a number of unique friends in England; inherited millions and discovered a supernatural secret.

Mon
22
May

From the miscellaneous drawer

By May 21, 1975 the Echo reward fund in the Goedderz murder case had climbed to $1,300, but, at least on the surface, local concerns were more directed toward the region’s economic future. <BR><BR>According to the front page Echo news, time had run out on copper-nickel mining hopes. Ely snowmobilers were protesting along Sheridan Street about the closure of 19 trails that had been in use. Trails included the one which led to Dorothy Molter’s home on Knife Lake in the Boundary Waters. Friends in the area rode their snowmobiles in the winter to bring Dorothy her mail and they helped to cut ice for summer use.<BR><BR>At Ely Memorial $26,985 for swimming pool improvements was approved.

Sun
14
May

In the front row - Baseball teammates

Former Ely American Legion baseball teammates Tim Scott and Josh Mathson are on different but parallel routes in their collegiate baseball careers.<BR><BR>Scott, a 2005 Ely graduate who walked on at NCAA Division I Nebraska, was redshirted by the Cornhuskers this year and will get his first chance to compete at a higher level this summer as a member of the Parkville Sluggers - a Kansas City-based wood bat league team.<BR><BR>Mathson, the Embarrass native who is Minnesota high school baseball’s all-time home run king, is completing his sophomore year at Iowa Central - a Division II junior college powerhouse - and is considering accepting a scholarship offer from Georgia College and State University, the top-ranked NCAA Division II program in the country.<BR><BR>Together Scott and Mathson helped power Ely’s Legion squad to a 28-2 record and a second-place Division II state tournament in 2004, and after Mathson graduated, Scott went 10-1 on the mound

Mon
08
May

From The Desk of the Old Timer

There are people who follow part of the scripture every day. That part in John:15 in which the Lord says: “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”<BR><BR>This is what policemen and firemen do every day they put on their uniforms. They lay their lives on the line for the rest of us. It is what our military people do every day. Lay their lives on the line for the rest of us. We recognize that it takes a certain amount of character to do this. Our natural inclination is to watch out for ourselves<BR><BR>Lying on a bed in Ely Bloomenson Hospital last week while two pints of blood were being injected into my left arm gave me time to ponder this matter. The thought struck me that in a very real sense, whoever it was who donated that blood being dripped into my veins was doing exactly the same thing.

Sun
30
Apr

From the miscellaneous drawer - A nomadic journalist

In the April 30, 1975 Ely Echo, Bob Cary, who had been a recent outfitter, wrote about US Forest Service cooperators. The resorters and outfitters learned that the $245,000 new Prairie Portage Dam was expected to be completed that year and there would be a detour for the motorized (Jeep) portage. Permits were back to 10 people per campsite.<BR><BR>The Timberwolves Rifle Club had taken first place at the NRA Junior Rifle Sectionals in Minneapolis. Team members were Wendy, Anderson, Robert Maki, Brian Kopperud and Jerry Skubic.<BR><BR>In April 28, 1976’s Ely Echo, tourist operators were protesting the permit system which had started in 1967 but was, they believed, creating misleading information. Operators said that people often quit their trip early and did not go where they had declared they were going in the Boundary Waters. <BR><BR>It was estimated that 350 people attended the USDA Duluth hearing on snowmobiles in the BWCA.

Sat
22
Apr

In the front row - VCC basketball

Hoping to climb in the Northern Division after a pair of sub-par seasons, the Vermilion Ironwomen have bagged two key recruits - including one from Ely- that could give the community college basketball team a tremendous boost.<BR><BR>Kylee Seboe, a 6-0 center from Barnum who helped the Bombers to a fourth-place finish in the State Class A Tournament, and Ely senior Kelsey Ivancich have both committed to attend Vermilion in 2006-2007.<BR><BR>Both figure to make immediate contributions to a Vermilion program that picked up just one win this winter and struggled a year ago as well.<BR><BR>Seboe and Ivancich both bring something different to the floor for the Ironwomen.<BR><BR>An all-area and all-state tournament player, Seboe should provide a strong presence in the paint, something Vermilion lacked this year.<BR><BR>“She’ll bring a lot of athleticism and experience from a good high school program like Barnum,” said Vermilion H

Fri
14
Apr

Letters from Ely - A Good Hard Slap

A Good Hard Slap<BR><BR>Across the Midwest, the small farms have disappeared. Most of those 180- and 360-acre plots that supported individual families for generations have been sold off to five- or 10,000 acre corporate farms. <BR><BR>Remember those pretty farm homes with their red barns, silos and tire swings? They’re mostly gone, replaced by huge tractors moving in tandem across an empty landscape. <BR><BR>The small towns where the farm kids went to school are quiet now, the schools are empty, the stores are closed and the streets are left to crumble. <BR><BR>A few people, most of them retired farmers, still remain. They choose to live their last years near the land they loved for so long, even though the young people have all left.

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