News

Fri
04
Jun

Dergantz gives back to his hometown

by Nick Wognum
When an Ely area veteran passes away, his or her spouse receives a folded flag in a handmade wooden box.
Those boxes are made by Elyite Donald Dergantz who now lives in Illinois. For the past 10 years he has supplied flag boxes for Ely.
“I made one for Donna Niskala,” said Dergantz, 87, who was at the Ely Cemetery Monday for Memorial Day Services. “I make regular boxes and custom boxes.”
He also makes boxes for the American Legion Post in Crete, Illinois.
He and his daughter Stephanie Johnson drove 13 hours to be at the ceremony. It’s a trip he knows well.
“I’ve been coming up here for the last 20-some years for Memorial Day,” said Dergantz, who is a 1952 graduate of Ely Memorial High School.
He was drafted in 1954 and served two years in the Military Police. His first assignment was at West Point.

Fri
04
Jun

Class of ’21 goes out on a high note

by Tom Coombe
Their final 15 months as high school students were like no other graduating class in the storied century-plus existence of Ely Memorial High School.
Yet their last act will be strikingly, if not refreshingly, “normal.”
That’s the backstory as the graduating class of 2021 gathers Saturday night for their commencement ceremonies.
They won’t walk across the stage at Washington Auditorium, which is unavailable because of the ongoing school construction and renovation project, but the group will instead gather at the baseball stadium - Veterans Memorial Field - for a ceremony slated to begin at 7 p.m.
Graduation is outdoors for a second consecutive year in Ely, but while the class of 2020 had to take part in a drive-in graduation in the arena parking lot, this year’s event is much more traditional in nature - save for a new venue.

Fri
28
May

Fire burns iconic Burntside boathouse

by Nick Wognum
An iconic boathouse on Burntside Lake along with two cabins burned early Sunday morning. The large four stall boathouse had a deck on top and was located on what is known as Waters Island.
The fire started at a ground level transformer from a power line that runs under the lake. The property owners attempted to douse the flames with fire extinguishers but to no avail.
Two of the island residents were treated and released by Ely Area Ambulance which was at the staging area at Burntside Lodge.
With a strong wind from the east, the fire rapidly progressed to the boathouse and cabins.
Morse-Fall Lake fire chief Ted Krueger said the initial page was for a transformer fire but once they could see the flames additional pages went out to the Ely and Babbitt fire departments.
“We responded with our fire boat and we paged Ely for manpower and Babbitt for their fire boat and manpower,” said Krueger.

Fri
28
May

Prom held at Ely Memorial

Grand March 2021

1. Brynn Vollom (Senior Class President) ------------------------- Brock LaTourell (Senior Class Secretary)

2. Grace Erickson (Senior Class Treasurer) -------------------- Maggie Renner (Senior Class Vice President)

3. Lauren Olson (Junior Class President) ----------------------------------------------------------------Rollie Seppala

4. Madison Rohr --------------------------------------------------------Harry Simons (Junior Class Vice President)

5. Annikka Mattson (Junior Class Treasurer) ----------------------------------------------------- Zachary Robbins

6. Abbie Rehbein (Junior Class Secretary)------------------------------------------------------------Cameron Kienitz

7. Raven Sainio --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jakson Hegman

Fri
21
May

Crews continue to fight Bezhik Fire

Crews continued to battle a wildfire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Thursday which they estimate to be up to 950 acres in size.
So far four structures have been lost, three outbuildings and one cabin.
The lightning caused fire was believed to be 30 percent contained and had been tracking northward toward the Moose Loop off the Echo Trail.
Rain moderated the Bezhik Lake Fire area earlier in the day and were trying to redirect the edge as it neared cabins and lake homes. Residents and nearby campers had left the area.
U.S. Forest Service officials said the fire reached the southwest edge of the Moose Loop Forest Road (Forest Road 464).
The fire did exit the BWCAW near the south end of Forest 464 (Moose Loop) on May 18 and impacted private property in the area.
The Forest Service did not specify how many structures were lost in the fire.

Fri
21
May

An end of an era in Ely

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s oldest business will soon no longer be in business.
The J.D. Mills Company, a clothing store that has outfitted generations of Elyites and has been in the Mills family for three generations, will close its doors July 31 and after a 120-year run.
A changing retail landscape, an opportunity to retire and an offer for the Sheridan Street building the store calls home, made for a perfect storm - and current owner John Mills made the decision to close.
The store will liquidate its inventory and be open for just over two more months.
Standing next to a vintage cash register that has been a mainstay at the store, Mills said Wednesday that the timing was right.

Fri
14
May

Fire torches garage in Ely

by Nick Wognum
The Ely fire department was called in Tuesday after a car caught fire in a garage off of West Chapman Street.
Fire chief Dave Marshall said the fire started when a person attempted to start the MG car and it caught on fire.
“The car had engine trouble and maybe a fuel leak so when he started it there was a fire under the hood. He tried to put it out and then he made the correct decision to call 911,” said Marshall.
The garage at 223 West Chapman had a tornado of flames coming from it when firefighters arrived around 3:30 p.m.
“We hit the fire hard from the alley starting with the Hummer and then switched to Engine One. Later we brought in the city Public Works Department excavator to demolish the garage because it was a safety hazard,” said Marshall.
Also on scene were the Ely Police Department, Babbitt Fire Department, St. Louis County Sheriff’s officers and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Fri
14
May

Summer Art Camp returns in 2021

Doors open at Ely’s Historic Miners Dry on Monday, June 7 at 8:45 a.m. for the Ely Arts & Heritage Center’s annual three-day Summer Children’s Art Camp. Begun by volunteers at Whiteside Park in 1998, Art Camp moved to Semer’s Park and found a permanent home at the Miners Dry in 2008. The Dry is located just below the Pioneer Mine Headframe on N. Pioneer Road, at 105 Miners Lake Landing Road.
Camp will be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, June 7, 8, and 9 from 9:00 AM un-til Noon at a cost of $50. Summer visitors are welcome to register and attend.
Applications were sent home with Washington Elementary students this week and are also available at the Ely Echo.

Fri
07
May

Door open for Twin Metals?

by Tom Coombe
The Biden Administration has not yet decided if it will take action related to the Twin Metals Minnesota copper-nickel mining project near Ely, according to a report filed late Wednesday by an international news service.
Reuters reported on a White House briefing and comments made by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, suggesting that the administration is looking to strike a balance between job growth and vehement, persistent opposition from project opponents.
“There are no final decisions being made on this,” Vilsack said.
Supporters of the Twin Metals project, which promises hundreds of new, high-paying mining jobs should it come to fruition, have feared the new administration would reverse action taken by the Trump Administration and stop Twin Metals in its tracks.

Fri
07
May

Ely’s Historic State Theater comes back to life, Greenstone Cinema added

Rebuild. Restore. Renovate. Renew. Refresh. Re-open.
In recent months, all of these terms have been true for Ely’s Historic State Theater.
After a 12-year hiatus, the State Theater opened its doors for movies last June, but that was only the beginning.
A new pop-up cafe has opened in the theater’s concessions area, and soon to follow was the Greenstone Cinema, a second movie screening room being built in the adjacent building that once housed Salerno Land Sales.
Over Memorial Day weekend, from May 28-31, the second screening room will open with a variety of activities, tours and events still to be determined
New seats went in last week, with the screen, new projector and sound system to follow.
“It is truly a beautiful theater and all thanks to the community stepping up and saying with their dollars and their support that they want an open theater in town,” said David Wigdahl, who chairs the EHST Board of Directors.

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