News

Fri
22
May

A Memorial Day Tribute…

by Diana Mavetz Petrich
A day to say thank you, but it doesn’t seem like enough.
Several years ago, while cleaning out my parent’s basement with my sister Janice, I came across a letter addressed to my mother from my Dad’s older sister Mary Mavetz Rudnick Lobe. She asked if my mother wanted the January 15, 1945 copy of Life Magazine with Johnny’s (my father’s) picture in it. I had never heard anything about this before. I took the letter upstairs and asked my mother what Mary was talking about.

Fri
22
May

Drive-up graduation in Ely

by Tom Coombe
Ely will follow the lead of numerous other school districts across the state and will hold a drive-up commencement ceremony.
Memorial High School’s Class of 2020 will gather separately, each in a vehicle with family members, for the May 30 event set for 7 p.m. in the parking lot of the Ely Arena. It will be followed by a graduation parade through town.
School administrators finalized plans this week for the event, after discussions that included engagement with many in the 45-member graduating class.
Students have been out of school since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, and restrictions on large gatherings shelved the traditional commencement ceremony at Washington Auditorium.

Fri
15
May

Mike Motors to close

Ely will lose its only car dealership, another apparent casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
Owned by Hilligoss family, Mike Motors has been part of the community for over 75 years other than a stint in 2009 when it was closed.
Ten full-time jobs will be lost. Mike Motors has employed as many as 14 people in the past year before having to downsize.
The store is owned by Cindy Hilligoss of Hibbing, who took over ownership following the death of her husband Don Hilligoss in August of 2017.
The Hilligoss family owned the dealership in 1998 through 2004 and then repurchased the dealership in 2009 to keep the business going after the 2008 recession.
“It’s a bummer,” said Ely mayor Chuck Novak. “I attribute this to the workings of a car dealerships and the requirements forced on them are costly. The cars are maintenance free for quite a while which takes away from revenue in shops and margins aren’t there anymore.

Fri
15
May

Memorial Day ceremony is on

by Tom Coombe
It won’t look quite like it usually does, but Ely will have its annual Memorial Day ceremony in the city’s cemetery.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on large gatherings, the ceremony will go on as scheduled on May 25 - but in a modified format.
Representatives of local veterans organizations announced their plans Wednesday.
“I think it’s even more important during these times that we don’t forget about this stuff,” said Steve Saari, vice commander of Ely American Legion Post 248.
Organizers have implemented several changes in response to the pandemic, most notably curtailing the program that usually takes place on a portable stage in the cemetery.
The ceremony will still originate from the cemetery, starting at 10:30 a.m., and people are invited to drive there, park, and roll their windows down.

Mon
11
May

Ely has first publicly confirmed case of coronavirus

by Tom Coombe
Ely has its first publicly confirmed case of coronavirus.
The Ely DQ Grill and Chill closed temporarily for deep cleaning and all of its employees were tested Monday, after the owner of the Ely business was notified the night before that one of his employees was confirmed to have COVID-19.
The victim, who has not been identified, had not worked a shift since May 4 and is under self-quarantine and “on the mend” at home, owner Paul Ivancich said Tuesday.
Ivancich also confirmed that day that he and all 14 of his remaining employees tested negative for coronavirus.
After receiving word of the confirmed case, Ivancich notified all of his employees and tests were conducted with the cooperation of Essentia Health and Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital.

Fri
08
May

Surgeries resuming at hospital

by Tom Coombe
After a nearly two-month hiatus, elective surgeries will resume at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital.
Hospital officials have announced plans to resume procedures that had been curtailed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Jodi Martin, marketing and communications team leader at EBCH, said the hospital will start the process over the next several days.
“As coordinating schedules with providers and patients can take some time, we can expect to start slowly, and be working back to full capacity within two-to-three weeks,” said Martin.
Surgeries deemed “time-sensitive” will be given top priority, and those who had a surgery scheduled prior to the shutdown, and have not yet been contacted by EBCH, should call the hospital’s surgery department at 365-8724.
Over the last three years EBCH has worked to bolster surgical procedures in an effort to build revenue at the hospital, an independent, locally-operated facility.

Mon
04
May

BWCA open to day use only through May 17

The coronavirus has struck again, this time it’s the U.S. Forest Service that will only allow day use in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area through May 17.
For people with overnight BWCA permits, they are out of luck including those who planned to camp on Basswood for this weekend’s Minnesota fishing opener.
“All overnight reservations (motor, paddle, hiking) through May 17 are no longer valid and are cancelled. Permit holders will receive a full refund including reservation fee. If a visitor wants to go into the BWCAW with a motorboat for the day, they will need to reserve a day use motor permit. Self-issue day paddle permits are also available to fish for the day,” wrote Suzanne Hirsch, acting public affairs specialist for the Superior National Forest.
The Park Service has followed suit and will not allow tent camping and overnight houseboat mooring permits at Voyageurs National Park.

Fri
01
May

Houde named Ely's next police chief

by Tom Coombe

After six rounds of balloting, the Ely City Council finally reached a majority and picked Chad Houde to be the city's next police chief.

A 15-year-veteran of Ely's police force, Houde was selected over Ely officer Adam Borchert on a 4-3 vote in the sixth and final round. Ely police sergeant George Burger, who led after the first round of balloting with three votes but did not gain a majority, was eliminated after the fifth round while Virginia police lieutenant John Swenson fell from contention earlier in the public balloting process held late Friday afternoon, after interviews at City Hall with all four finalists.

Council members Paul Kess, Heidi Omerza, Al Forsman and Angela Campbell picked Houde in the last round, while Borchert was supported by council members Ryan Callen, Jerome Debeltz and mayor Chuck Novak.

Fri
01
May

ELY AREA BUSINESSES SALUTE THE CLASS OF 2020

Ely Memorial Class of 2020 has lost numerous events and opportunities due to the coronavirus pandemic. This week Ely area businesses salute the Class of 2020!

Fri
01
May

Graduation at the ballpark?

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s historic baseball stadium has hosted countless tournaments and even a wedding. If all goes as planned, a high school graduation ceremony could soon be added to that list.
Amid a pandemic that has closed schools since mid-March, officials in the Ely district are exploring options that would allow the high school graduating class of 2020 to return to campus for an unconventional commencement.
“My hope is we’ll still have a May 30 graduation,” principal Megan Anderson told school board members Monday night.
The next day, Anderson confirmed that plans are in the works for a ceremony that would take place at Veterans Memorial Field - the baseball stadium located on the school campus.

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