Columnists

Sun
21
Oct

From the miscellaneous drawer - Where'd they go?

When November rolls around in the Ely area there's a mass exodus, A-Z, of people. Although it's true that of the people from Accokeek or Annapolis (MD), Annandale or Apple Valley (MN) on to Xenia (OH), Yuma (AZ) or Zephyrhills (FL), some may have come and gone earlier this summer, but many fair weather folks set Nov. 1 as their departure goal.<BR><BR>Just how does that exodus affect the rest of us? Well, mostly it weakens the economy. It means that grocery stores need fewer cases of canned tomatoes or sides of beef. And restaurants are aware that there will be a 100 or so fewer people coming out to lunch or dinner. For hardware stores there is less demand for fancy electric tools or plumbing supplies. <BR><BR>These businesses have less buying power in the markets which supply them and year-round residents sometimes have fewer choices for their needs.

Sat
13
Oct

Around town - Guess who?

Family birthdays, anniversaries and reunions do bring to mind the adventurous years of life growing up in the Grahek Household. One often wonders how we all made it with everyone still intact.<BR><BR>My most recent memory attack came with the birthday celebration of second child Jim. He and Sputnik were born the same year, maybe that should have been a warning!<BR><BR>His climbing instincts for heights began when he climbed out of his crib, found some interesting medication on top of a chest of drawers and drank it down. This medication contained a sedative so he promptly fell asleep. <BR><BR>A call to the poison center and a trip to the hospital followed with the advice that he may be asleep for 12 to 24 hours. Well, guess they didn't know the Grahek resilience, because after a few hours, the hospital called.

Tue
09
Oct

From the miscellaneous drawer - The barn

Fabulous weather! Each day of late it's been in the 50s and 60s and with the help of a very good friend, barn chores have been getting done.<BR><BR>It was over 20 years ago when the first few items were deposited in what came to be known in the family as "the barn." It isn't exactly a barn, but the storage area above the two-car garage on the road near the front of the house.<BR><BR>It took four of us to clear out most of the garage itself one late afternoon. Mouse debris was swept up and the dumpster was full.<BR><BR>Upstairs in the barn we're on the third loaded dumpster and expect to fill it one more time before the dumpster is moved to the house proper.<BR><BR>The barn was a special case. When the children were young it was a play area and some of those remnants remained.<BR><BR>When the Echo needed more storage space, boxes and boxes of materials joined the family collection of other castoffs.

Sat
06
Oct

Letter from Ely - Trezona Trail

There is no escape. In every shop, grocery store and coffee shop I entered yesterday, the conversation eventually turned toward the BWCA shooting incident. And the reaction - anger and disgust - is both clear and unanimous. <BR><BR>At one store employees were talking about the wisdom - or folly - of subcontracting to or accepting vending services from anyone who would continue to employ the alleged assailants, and how doing so could affect their business. I hadn't thought of that angle, but certainly agreed with the owner when he said, "You know, there is a code of conduct here. It's always been here. In Ely, we help people. We don't shoot at them." <BR><BR>This reaction - this rare anger, passion and outspoken emotion from good quiet folk - well, it's everywhere you look. It's a thing to see . . . and it confirmed the main reason that Jane and I purchased a home here rather than somewhere else.

Sat
29
Sep

In the front row - Football

As the high school football season enters its second half, this much appears certain in Section 7A:<BR><BR>&#149; Cook County, 4-0 with a series of impressive wins and maybe the section's best back in Tait Sande, is the favorite and has the inside track on the top seed;<BR><BR>&#149; Winless Onamia, blown out four weeks in a row and held to negative yardage by the Ely Timberwolves, will almost certainly be seeded last in the eight-team section tournament;<BR><BR>&#149; The Ely Timberwolves are among a host of teams in the middle, and could make a run toward the top with a strong second half.<BR><BR>With three home games in the final four weeks and matchups against Cook County and Barnum already completed, Ely (2-2) appears to have a good shot to at least gain a top-four position and a home playoff game.<BR><BR>If the Wolves run the table, they'll probably be seeded second and get two home games.<BR&

Sat
22
Sep

From the miscellaneous drawer - Changes

It's difficult to write this week and for a simple reason. This column has been reflecting on the changes that were being wrought in the Ely area 30 years ago. <BR><BR>As a family we took a ride north on the Cloquet Line toward the Range River in 1977. That had been an easy entry point to the Boundary Waters and we wanted to see what the excitement over proposed changes on the federal level was about.<BR><BR>It all looked the same. There were no painted lines across the trees any more than there were buoys across Basswood Lake marking that boundary line.<BR><BR>Three million acres with 445,000 acres of surface water is what makes up the Superior National Forest.

Sat
15
Sep

From the miscellaneous drawer - Where's Pam?

It was on my drive from Winton to Ely in the spring of 1978 that I noticed two people cleaning up the roadside. I stopped to take their photo and find out something about them. The young woman was Pam Boutelle (Elletuob) Roberts and with her was her young nephew Brent Roberts.<BR><BR>Pam mentioned that she also liked to take photographs and soon thereafter she joined the Echo staff, working in the darkroom and taking photos for the newspaper. <BR><BR>When our pressman quit, it was Pam and I working together who ran the Echo's newspaper presses. When things went well we would do a little square dance in celebration to the sound of the presses churning out the issue.<BR><BR>When computers came in for the staff to use, Pam struggled with the new technology as we all did.

Sat
08
Sep

Fishing the world over

In English, the words "to go fishing" translate to: "dul ag iascaireacht" or "ag iascach" in the Irish version. That's one reason a lot of Irish people immigrated to America - it's easier to just say "I'm going fishing." <BR><BR>So let's say your wife is mad at you because you stayed out too late last night and you are second generation Norwegian. You may mumble under your breath "Fiske, Fiske, Fiske." <BR><BR>Instead of going to visit your one legged aunt who's got one foot in the grave, you just wanted to go fish.<BR><BR>It's your wife's aunt but you think, "Maybe she'd like fish for her 104th birthday party. Fish is soft, easy to chew and tastes great. Fish is brain food. It's good for prevention of Alzheimer's." <BR><BR>One look at your bride and you let go of the unspoken fish praises.

Sat
01
Sep

From the miscellaneous drawer - Woodchucks

The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as the woodchuck, land beaver, or whistlepig, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots.<BR><BR>You never know what your cat or dog will bring home. Years ago we had both kinds of domestic pets. The tiny cat was a better hunter than her big brother. She cleared squirrels away from the neighborhood and triumphantly brought home a dead rabbit which outsized her. <BR><BR>But it was the dog in 1978 which brought home a very young live woodchuck. Since our children were young, the woodchuck became a summer project. It was pampered and fed, used the litter box and was generally a fairly acceptable pet. His temper only occasionally got out of hand and earned him a return to his carrying box.<BR><BR>In the photo you can see the small critter which was named "Chuckles" being held by our young son.

Mon
27
Aug

Letters from Ely - Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?

On August 15, anxious customers began to jam the phone lines and website of Countrywide Bank and crowded its branch offices to pull out their savings, because of concerns about the financial problems of the mortgage lender that owns the bank.<BR><BR>The next day, Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest home-loan company in the nation, sought to assure depositors and the financial industry that both it and its bank were fiscally stable. And federal regulators said they "weren't alarmed" by the volume of withdrawals from the bank. <BR><BR>It's all eerily reminiscent of what my grandparents must have seen and heard during that hot summer of 1929. That young couple believed their local banker when he told them everything would be fine. They stayed away from the lines of people in front of that Farmers' State Bank in Swea City, Iowa.

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