Columnists

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.

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.

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