News

Fri
05
Jun

City cancels July 4 parade

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s July 4 parade, which typically draws thousands of people, has been formally cancelled.
But in the wake of that decision, plans are quickly evolving for an alternative, independently-run parade, procession or patriotic demonstration on Independence Day.
Council members addressed the issue briefly at Tuesday’s regular meeting, acknowledging a recent decision by the city’s July 4 committee to pull the plug because of the coronavirus crisis.
“I would offer this, we’ve got some rules out of St. Paul that we must adhere to,” said mayor Chuck Novak.
Novak indicated that he’s also inclined to support the recommendation of the committee, which opted to join many other communities across the state in cancelling parades this year. On the Iron Range, it is believed that only Eveleth is moving forward with its parade.
“I’m not in any mood to override them,” said Novak. “I think I’m going to respect the committee.”

Fri
29
May

Resolution against Walz’s executive orders unveiled

by Nick Wognum
An Ely city council resolution opposing Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders that have shut down numerous Ely businesses was discussed Tuesday night.
Council member Al Forsman drafted the resolution and originally requested a special meeting so it could be passed quickly.
Now it will be on the agenda for Tuesday’s regular meeting, although the final language is likely to change from what was presented.
The resolution currently includes:
“That the City Council supports the choice of all residents to continue to stay at home or the choice to move about freely within the City and to support the economy of Ely while maintaining behaviors to preserve the health and safety of all residents;
“That the City Council encourages all citizens to follow Minnesota Department of Health and CDC guidelines for social distancing and general conduct while out in public;

Fri
29
May

For a unique group, it’s a unique ending

by Tom Coombe
Who could have ever predicted this?
A school year that started in Ely like any other has ended amid a worldwide pandemic that has kept students away from campus for more than two months.
The members of the Ely Memorial High School Class of 2020 will reconvene on campus tonight, with undeniably the most unconventional commencement in school history.
Instead of walking across the stage at Washington Auditorium, each of Ely’s 45 seniors will walk alone across a temporary platform in the arena parking lot, picking up the diploma that certifies their graduation.
The drive-up graduation is the best school officials can do, given the circumstances and statewide restrictions on mass gatherings.
Principal Megan Anderson acknowledged this week that “even graduation itself is a tough adjustment, and we’re trying to make the best out of a crummy situation.”

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.

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