Columnists

Sat
05
Jan

Letters from Ely - An essay on gravity

An Essay on Gravity<BR><BR>"Dad, look out for the . . . !! "<BR><BR>We'd offered to take O.C. and a friend sledding. But it seemed unfair for the two of them to be having all the fun. So Jane and I decided to give it a go, even though neither of us had ever sat in a plastic sled before. <BR><BR>On her first attempt, Jane slid halfway down the hill, flipped over and wrenched her shoulder. Game over. Her face pale, she trudged back to the top, looked at me and said, "That's not how I remember it . . ." <BR><BR>My turn next. I took a short test run from halfway down the hill. Whoa. Compared to the metal-runner, Radio Flyer sleds I'd used as a child, these new plastic sleds were evil, wicked fast. Ah, stop worrying, I scolded myself. Embrace the speed - you're still a young man!

Sat
29
Dec

From the miscellaneous drawer - Prejudice

There's an odd thing about prejudice that's consistent in history. Prejudice has to be taught. It's passed down in families, in schools and in societies. Adults vow to children that what they speak is truth and must be accepted without questioning. <BR><BR>Prejudice generates fear and closes the minds of individuals against communication, against compromise.<BR><BR>Simply put, prejudice is hatred. And not all hatred has to do with the color of skin or what religion someone believes.<BR><BR>For some it is the inability to hear a viewpoint which is different from their own. The end result of maintaining a mind which has slammed shut is boiling prejudice in a pot with hatred and fear. <BR><BR>That hot, lethal mixture is dished up to children as the one and only truth and it's just as destructive as identifying someone using racial or ethnic slurs.<BR><BR>We all have opinions. We all have leanings.

Sat
22
Dec

From the miscellaneous drawer - Altering the environment

There's a lot I don't understand about home financing. Yes, I have a mortgage and will have the home paid off when I am in my 90s. <BR><BR>Over the past 10 years I have made many improvements: a deep drilled well, new septic, new windows in the barn, soffits and new roofing, new carpets, exterior repainted, bathroom remodeled, updated light fixtures. <BR><BR>Oh, yes. I added a large screen porch. It reminds me of the prow of a ship. It makes being outside in the summer liveable.<BR><BR>Except last summer.<BR><BR>The summer edged into existence with a horrid smell at the front door. It was rank and the memory alone still makes my nose wrinkle and my throat close. <BR><BR>I sprayed sweet smelling stuff. I emptied every gardening pot and pan, looked (what I thought was) everywhere. By mid-summer the odor had mostly disappeared but something had appeared. A woodchuck.

Sat
08
Dec

Letters from Ely - The child in us

The Child Won't Leave<BR><BR>In a very grown up way, I told my wife I needed a 4WD Jeep Wrangler for my next car. I needed it for reasons of safety. She didn't want me getting stuck on a mountain pass on one of my frequent trips to California, did she? C'mon, honey - let's be ADULT about this . . . <BR><BR>And now that it's ordered I want bigger tires and rims with those really-bad chrome inserts and, and a big bass woofer for the radio . . . and local trails with some wicked gnarly scary jumps. <BR><BR>We went out to eat last night. I promised myself I'd only have roast turkey and currant salad, and would pass on the dessert. Instead, I ordered the Moo Shoo pork, Kung Pao chicken and a side of chow mien. And when they brought the dessert tray, WELL . . . .

Sat
01
Dec

Marking 30 years

What a roller coaster! What a year 1977 was to purchase the Ely Echo! <BR><BR> By the time 1977 ended the four month steel strike was over. <BR><BR>A year later the Ely Echo was being boycotted for being too soft on the changes that were being considered for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. <BR><BR>Environmentalism was sweeping the country and editorially we suggested that local expectations of the impending legislation should include the reality that more restrictions were sure to come. And although we were threatened physically we were not hung in effigy in parades which was a sort of mark in our favor.<BR><BR>There were two weekly newspapers in town at the time - the Ely Miner and the Ely Echo. At our five year mark to the Miner's plus 75, we were up against some tough competition.

Sat
24
Nov

From the miscellaneous drawer - 30 years

Thirty years ago in the Ely Echo of November 23, 1977, it was reported that there had been a total of 10 inches of snow which fell during the week. <BR><BR>The Echo's Horseradish Recipe Champ was declared - Marcia Kauppi of Virginia was the winner.<BR><BR>Helen Bachar filed for a recount in the votes which placed her at 819 to Bob Columbo's 820 for Ely City Council.<BR><BR>The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board planned to raze two old buildings on Finn Hill.<BR><BR>The Lake County Search and Rescue Squad of mostly volunteers located two hunters who had been lost in the area. Two weeks before that they had recovered the body of a canoeist from Basswood Lake.<BR><BR>Groundbreaking was held for the 40 new apartments next to Sibley Manor to be known as the Dr. J.P. Grahek Apartments.<BR><BR>Reporter Doug Smith was leaving the Echo and starting a job at the International-Fall Daily Journal.

Sat
17
Nov

Words from a burning heart - Thankful

This week marks a lot to be thankful for. Ely always finds its way near the top of my list. This small town where we live and breathe, where we work and where our hearts lie. It is a small town where differences are more marked than a larger city where you can more easily blend into the crowd and melt into, the sometimes welcome, oblivion.<BR><BR>When good things happen they are perhaps more applauded here in the tight community. When the unfortunate is brought to light or thrust into the spotlight it seems to reflect poorly on the growing community for longer than is perhaps normal. When it snows, everyone knows, when the fish are biting there are more lines in the water. When all the colors of the rainbow grace the horizon and the amorous tinges of purple, green and white paint the cold skies of winter, the traffic increases, cameras come out and the phones begin to ring.<BR><BR>It doesn't take long for word to pass around.

Sat
10
Nov

From the miscellaneous drawer - Feeding the monster

Oh, Great Green Monster, you have finally left me. I do not sorrow to see you go. <BR><BR>When first we met you were distant from me yet close enough to swallow the innards of a garage room left abandoned so long ago. Dutifully you accepted each morsel - from decayed mice with their droppings to an abandoned seat for mortal folks. And so much more.<BR><BR>Four humans (including one who is smaller, younger, more tolerant of old hauntings) filled you until you could hold no more and we left our offerings alongside you for others to pick at.<BR><BR>As you moved closer, your presence could be seen from my front window and was an ever-present reminder of your rapacity. Feeding you became a goal and when I alone could not accomplish all that needed to be done, others - good friends - came forth to soil their hands and bend their backs to sate you. <BR><BR>And this went on for three long weeks.

Sat
03
Nov

From the miscellaneous drawer - There's a problem

Not everything, not every problem can be solved. At some point in later life (if not before) you come to the conclusion that this is true.<BR><BR>There are a myriad of problems in life, in lives, in living.<BR><BR>There's a problem of respect for other people's property. How that changed or when it changed from the idyllic past is unknown. And when you remember the aggression shown historically by ego-maniacal leaders out to conquer the world, you wonder if ever there was a norm of respect for the property of others. <BR><BR>There was a time in Ely that if you had the attention of the grandmothers and great grandmothers to solve a problem, it would be done. Young junior would be taken by the ear lobe by a grey-haired, apron-wearing grannie and made to put things right. If something was stolen, it was swiftly returned. If something was damaged, it was repaired by the wrong-doer.

Mon
29
Oct

From the miscellaneous drawer - Proud

Let's talk a bit about newspapers and the U.S. Mail. Once a year newspapers which enter the Post Office as Second Class Mail are required to publish their Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation. You'll find the Echo's statement under this column.<BR><BR>One interesting number is the one which indicates total paid subscribers. The Echo's number is 3,768 and the nearest competition is 1,190 in Ely or 3,635 if three editions are added together. So for yet another year the Ely Echo is the largest paid circulation weekly newspaper in the Arrowhead outside of Duluth.<BR><BR>And I'm proud of that.<BR><BR>Another proud fact is that the Ely Echo is locally owned by members of one family - mine. We work here, we live here and we pay taxes here - on our homes and on the building we own at 15 East Chapman Street. Our employees own homes here and many have been with us for over 20 years.

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