News

Fri
03
Jul

March (parade) on the 4th

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s first Patriotic March highlights an unconventional Independence Day celebration town.
Both the official July 4 parade and festivities in Whiteside Park were casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, but the march, set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, has the look of a traditional parade.
It will use the traditional parade route as well as an additional five blocks to allow people to spread out.
Earlier in the day, people should look to the sky as another Ely Fourth staple - a military plane flyover - is in the works.
Retired Air Force pilot and Ely American Legion post commander Steve Saari announced Wednesday that “the 148th Fighter Wing from Duluth will salute the celebration of our independence on the Fourth of July with a 2 ship Block 50 F-16 flyover from east to west down Sheridan Street.”
The flyover is scheduled to take place some time between 11:15 and 11:25 a.m. on Saturday.

Tue
30
Jun

BLM will prepare EIS on Twin Metals project

Twin Metals Minnesota announced it has received the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Notice of Intent to scope and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Twin Metals’ proposed copper-nickel-cobalt-platinum group metals mine in northeast Minnesota.
The BLM notice formally initiates the scoping and environmental review process at the federal level under the National Environmental Policy Act, which will allow for a thorough analysis of the potential impacts and benefits of Twin Metals’ proposed project.
Multiple federal agencies and tribal governments will be engaged in the process, and the public will have several opportunities to participate through comment periods.
A parallel environmental review process will be led by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The BLM determined Twin Metals’ proposal to be complete in late May after the company responded to comments from federal agencies on its initial mine plan submittal.

Fri
26
Jun

Harvest Moon still on…for now

by Tom Coombe
Despite a recommendation that it be cancelled, Ely’s Harvest Moon Festival is still on as scheduled in early-September.
The Ely Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the annual event,plans to wait until July 28 before deciding the fate of the popular arts and crafts show held in Whiteside Park.
But the Chamber’s board will weigh a recommendation from the organization’s events and promotions committee, which recommended on May 26 that the Harvest Moon Festival, slated for Sept. 11-13, be cancelled.
Brian Forsberg, chairman of the Chamber’s board of directors, stressed Thursday that no final decision has been made.
“This has not yet been discussed at the board level,” said Forsberg. “At this point, the ‘go or no go’ date is July 28. The board as far as I know would not make any decision until that time.”

Tue
23
Jun

Fire destroys another home

by Tom Coombe
For the second time this month, an Ely home went up in flames and was destroyed by fire.
Tuesday afternoon, fire crews arrived at 131 East Conan Street to find the structure completely ablaze.
Nobody was injured in a home that belonged to Scott Matschiner, according to Ely Fire Chief Tom Erchull.
One dog inside the home was able to escape while another is believed to have perished in the blaze.
The home was damaged extensively and is considered a total loss, while two adjacent homes had moderate damage and another had damage to its siding.
The devastation could have been even worse, according to Erchull.
“That’s why we had Morse (Fire Department) go down to Central Avenue,” said Erchull. “That easily could have been the whole block when the houses are three feet apart. I thought it was going to be the whole block.”

Fri
19
Jun

July 4 march set in Ely

by Tom Coombe
It may not be an official parade, but a Fourth of July event in Ely is shaping up to be perhaps the next-best thing.
Using the traditional parade route as well as an additional five blocks to allow people to spread out, Ely will have a “Patriotic March” on Saturday, July 4.
Starting at 1 p.m., the march figures to look much like traditional Independence Day parades in Ely, complete with the Ely Honor Guard, fire trucks, floats, bikes and a plethora of groceries and goodies distributed by Zup’s Food Market.
“We thought it was important for Ely to have this,” said Nick Wognum, one of several members of the Ely Patriotic Club, which formed this month and is organizing the event. “Whether or not you call it a parade doesn’t matter. It’s the chance to express our First Amendment rights and gather on the Fourth of July in a patriotic way, like we always have in Ely.”

Fri
19
Jun

VCC on track to reopen in fall

by Tom Coombe
A virtual ghost town for nearly three months, Vermilion Community College will come back to life later this summer.
The 2020-21 school year is set to begin on time in late-August, with classes being held in-person and students residing in on-campus housing.
School leaders made that official this week with a letter to incoming students indicating a return to “business as usual” - with some new safety enhancements - amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our current plan is to be open,” provost Shawn Bina said Wednesday. “The governor can change it on us if something happens further with the pandemic, but we do plan to be open while following CDC and Department of Health guidelines.”
Student housing will operate at reduced capacity because of the pandemic, and buffets will go by the wayside in the cafeteria in favor of entirely plated meals.

Fri
19
Jun

New Zup's store in Cook opens

RIBBON CUTTING was held Tuesday by Zupancich family members for the new Zup’s store in Cook following a fire in November of 2018. Pictured are Ed Zupancich, Marge Zupancich, Paul Zupancich, Jim Zupancich Sr., Pat Zupancich, Steve Zupancich, Jim Zupancich Jr. and Matt Zupancich.

Fri
12
Jun

An Ely march for solidarity

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s Peaceful March in Solidarity lived up to its title.
About 250 people filled the sidewalks on several blocks and marched from Central Avenue to Whiteside Park Saturday afternoon.
The peaceful gathering was led and organized by Ian Lah, a 2012 Ely High School graduate who recently returned to his hometown.
Lah said Wednesday he felt called to do something here to support the Black Lives Matter movement and was overwhelmed by the results.
“I just figured there’d be like 30 people, maybe 50 people, but people kept showing up,” said Lah. “I was at the park and I turned around and saw so many people I thought ‘wow, that’s a lot of people.’ I was so proud to see my community, my family, my friends show up and be able to voice their opinions and thoughts and use the march to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all the marches happening.”

Fri
12
Jun

Parade plans head to council

by Tom Coombe
A citizens group will ask the Ely city council to provide traffic control for a July 4 parade.
The preferred route would start at Fourth Avenue East and use Harvey and Sheridan Streets but an additional eight blocks would be added to allow for social distancing of those who come to watch. The parade would end at 16th Avenue East.
If MnDOT doesn’t approve of using Sheridan, the parade could follow Pattison from Fourth to Second Avenue East up to Harvey and down to 16th Avenue.
Parade viewers will be asked to not set out chairs ahead of time to better allow people to spread out.
Due to the late start, organizers expect a shorter than usual parade but the event figures to resemble previous July parades in Ely.
The Ely Honor Guard has offered to lead the parade and the Ely Klown Band has offered to provide live music. Kids would be encouraged to decorate their bicycles and be part of the event.

Fri
05
Jun

Ely home burns in fire

by Tom Coombe
An Ely house was destroyed by fire Thursday afternoon.
Shortly after noon, fire crews were dispatched to the Central Avenue home owned by Paul Starkovich.
Thick smoke billowed out of the top of the structure and the rear erupted in flames.
Starkovich was inside at the time with a friend and two dogs and all were able to escape the home, located across the avenue from the Ely Area Credit Union, near the intersection of Central and West Chapman Street.
Starkovich was taken to Ely-Bloomenson Community hospital and later released.
The home appeared to be a total loss.
The Ely fire department responded to the blaze within minutes and fire crews were still on the scene several hours later.
The cause of the fire was not clear, as of deadline.
Tom Erchull, Ely’s fire chief, was still on the scene at the time of the Echo’s deadline and not immediately available for comment.

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