News

Fri
30
Aug

Journalists open window to the world

JOURNALISTS from around the world and their Ely hosts posed in front of the Chamber of Commerce before leaving town. Photo by Nick Wognum.

by Tom Coombe

Tue
27
Aug

Forest Service to burn near Basswood and Crab lakes

Superior National Forest managers plan to conduct some prescribed fires in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) on the LaCroix, Kawishiwi and Gunflint Ranger Districts. Depending on the fuels and weather conditions, the prescribed fire units will be burned starting as early as September 3, 2019 and before the end of October, 2019.

Fri
23
Aug

Twin Metals, labor unite

by Tom Coombe
If Twin Metals Minnesota is permitted to develop a copper-nickel mine near Ely, it will be built with union labor.
That was the backdrop for a celebration Wednesday, as labor and company officials formally signed a project labor agreement at a ceremony that attracted about 100 people.
Dignitaries, elected officials and project supporters were on hand to hail a link between labor and industry - one that could lead to several million hours of work in the construction of Twin Metals’ proposed mining operation south of the city limits.
“This is about jobs that form the middle class,” said State Sen. David Tomassoni (D-Chisholm). “And it’s happening in Ely, Minnesota. That’s a really big deal.”

Mon
19
Aug

Anti-mining meeting in Ely raises stir

by Tom Coombe
An unannounced meeting in Ely, where anti-mining advocates showed up en masse to share their concerns with representatives of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, appears to have raised more questions than it answered.
About 100 people gathered in the theater at Vermilion Community College Monday and - according to a published report - railed against proposed copper-nickel mining projects and were critical of Klobuchar for not taking a hard stance in opposition.
The meeting was not publicized and was apparently organized in secret, although another publication was notified of the session.
Klobuchar aides Ida Rukavina and Brian Werner attended, and the Klobuchar office have since claimed surprise over the nature of the meeting.
“We were surprised,” said Ben Hill, a spokesperson for Klobuchar. “We weren’t trying to be sneaky. We were under the impression there would be no press there. There was confusion about what the meeting was.”

Fri
16
Aug

Forest Service to hold meetings on commercial activities

The Superior National Forest is examining the use of recreational commercial services provided on the Forest. To fully understand all the issues, the Forest will seek information from the public, special use permittees, partners, tribes, and others who use or have knowledge about recreational commercial services on the Forest, who recreate on the Forest, or who have other relevant concerns regarding recreation and recreational commercial uses offered on the Forest.
The Forest Service is working to strike a balance between rural economic development and the effects of recreational commercial services across the Forest. Our goal is to ensure future generations will continue to enjoy these national treasures. Recreational commercial services provide opportunities for visitors to recreate on the Forest by employing the expertise and equipment provided by an outfitter-guide service.

Fri
16
Aug

School survey coming soon

by Tom Coombe
Will Ely area residents support a property tax increase to pay for a major improvement project on the school campus?
That’s a question that could be answered, at least partially, later this fall.
As soon as next month, a survey commissioned by the district - and assembled by a firm that specializes in school-related issues - will arrive in mailboxes throughout the district.
School board members will get their first look at the survey later this month, and tentative plans call for it to be sent to residents in September with an Oct. 7 deadline for return.
Outgoing superintendent Kevin Abrahamson went over the timeline with school board members Monday, during a brief regular monthly meeting.

Fri
09
Aug

Patient declines helicopter ride after rescue in BWCA

Residents in the Fernberg Road area may have heard a low-flying helicopter in the wee hours of Wednesday night. It turns out the medical helicopter left without a patient.
The St. Louis and Lake County Rescue Squads responded to a call Wednesday night of an unresponsive 42 year-old male, on whom, CPR had been started by others on the scene. The party was near Basswood Falls on Basswood Lake
The St. Louis County Rescue Squad was able to reach LaTourell’s, the Prairie Portage operator, who agreed to open the portage.
Along with a Lake County sheriff’s deputy and a paramedic from the Morse-Fall Lake fire department and first responders, the rescuers went in the dark from Moose Lake around 11:45 p.m.

Tue
06
Aug

Changes at Ely Community Health Center include new dental clinic starting in September, home health care

Changes and new offerings are being made at the Ely Community Health Center.
Executive director Jon Erickson announced the changes on Wednesday.
“We have moved the date of the clinic to change from Monday evenings at 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. to Thursday evenings for the same times.
“We will be opening a new dental clinic focusing on fluoride varnish treatment in September. The dental clinic will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month,” said Erickson.
He said the dental clinic will focus initially on fluoride varnish treatment especially for the elderly, because medications can damage the dental, and children as well as those who can not afford dental care because of any number of finance reasons.
“The fluoride varnish treatment is an economical way to treat sensitivity in both adults and children and provides an additional tool that protects the teeth from cavities and sensitivity.

Fri
02
Aug

Bang-up biz for blueberry

by Tom Coombe
How do you top a Blueberry/Art Festival that may have been one of the busiest ever?
Put even more people in town.
That was the report from officials at the Ely Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors Ely’s signature event of the summer.
Thousands of people, just how many nobody really knows, crammed into Whiteside Park last weekend for the three-day arts and crafts spectacular, now in its 39th year.
Anecdotal reports and those from festival vendors suggest that business was at an all-time high.
“The Blueberry Festival just seems to keep growing,” said Ellen Cashman, who organizes the event for the Chamber.
Festival hours were adjusted and the park opened at 10 a.m. rather than noon on July 26, the opening day, triggering a swarm of people that never seemed to subside.

Fri
02
Aug

Ely council talks trash

by Tom Coombe
Ely council members are pondering changes to the city’s sanitation contract, including a competitive bid process for residential service and allowing commercial property owners the opportunity to contract with whom they choose.
But those ideas generated pushback Tuesday night, both from the incumbent provider and some business owners who spoke at the monthly study session.
Council members took no action Tuesday, but some went on record in support of changes that would strip exclusivity from the current contractor - G Men Environmental Services - and perhaps create separate contracts for residential and business service.
“I think competition has a time and place, and this is the time,” said council member Paul Kess. “Having an exclusive contract now for 10 years, I think we’ve gotten away from any sense of responsibility to the taxpayer. It’s time to rebid that to see if there are any other haulers who can complete.”

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