News

Sun
26
Feb

Public forum to be held on smoking ban

While several Ely City Council members appear to be waiting for St. Louis County to decide the issue for them, there will be public forum on a smoking ban.<BR><BR>On Tuesday night council members set a date of March 20 for the forum which will be held at the Senior Center at 6 p.m. <BR><BR>Ban proponent Joe Bianco admitted the issue could be moot by then if the county board approves a resolution limiting smoking in public places including restaurants.<BR><BR>However, the county board decided Tuesday to let the state legislature make the decision on the issue. <BR><BR>Bianco pressured the council to make a decision based on facts instead of by consensus. <BR><BR>“This is an issue that deals with data and we did make that data available in an open session for the community,” said Bianco, a local doctor with St. Mary’s Duluth Clinic.

Sat
25
Feb

School falling into operating debt

If current projections hold true, undesignated school reserves will fall from nearly $1.2 million in 2002 to a negative balance of $211,000 later this year, sending the Ely district into statutory operating debt.<BR><BR>A budget that will finish anywhere from $500,000 to $600,000 in the red this year will eat away the remaining $385,000 in the district’s rainy day fund (see box) - and then some - and seems likely to prompt both state SOD designation, which takes effect once reserve funds run a negative balance of at least 2.5 percent of general fund expenditures, as well as another push for an excess levy referendum.<BR><BR>School board budget and finance committee received the latest dismal financial news Tuesday from superintendent Tom Bruels.<BR><BR>“It’s not the end of the line, but it’s not where you want to be given a choice,” said Bruels.<BR><BR>Bruels said there’s a chance that this year’s deficit won’t be quite as large as ant

Sat
25
Feb

EADA lands $50,000 grant

A fledgling effort to develop homegrown innovation just got a $50,000 boost.<BR><BR>That’s the amount of money headed to the Ely Area Development Association by way of the Blandin Foundation to develop Project Firefly, an effort aimed at creating economic development by advancing the efforts of local innovators and manufacturers.<BR><BR>“This is to find out what we can build out locally and what we could grow out locally,” EADA Director Pat Henderson said Wednesday.<BR><BR>Grant funds are earmarked for three areas:<BR><BR>• Determining the Ely area’s metal manufacturing and machining capability and capacity;<BR><BR>• Determining regional metal manufacturing needs that match area machining capacity;<BR><BR>• Coordinating initial planning for a job shop and prototype development shop.<BR><BR>The grant stems from initial efforts by Henderson, who reached out to budding inventors and ‘garage-shop’ innova

Sat
25
Feb

Fight against meth moves forward

Methamphetamine still has a strong hold in Ely.<BR><BR>That was the sentiment Wednesday at a public forum that drew more than 200 people to Washington Auditorium and included presentations by police and physicians, as well as a trained drug dog that could soon be added to the Ely police force.<BR><BR>The formation of a local community action team, which has sponsored a pair of public forums on meth use, has raised awareness in Ely about a highly-addictive drug that authorities say is connected to more-and-more crime.<BR><BR>Meth use has taken off in the last decade and presenters agreed it continues to be a problem in Ely and the surrounding area.<BR><BR>But John Saw, Ely’s new assistant police chief, said that awareness and publicity - as well as the arrests and convictions of those involved in dealing meth - are making an impact.

Tue
21
Feb

Ely Echo classifieds

FOR SALE: Crutches, adjustable kids and adult size. $10 each. 827-8228.<BR><BR>2/18, 25<BR><BR>HELP WANTED: The Ely Echo mail room has openings for help part-time weekdays. Call Sue at 365-3141, extension 24.<BR><BR>FOR SALE: Arctic Cat Pantera, 600cc EFI liquid cooled, remote start, elec. start, reverse, mirrors, removeable 2 up seat/cargo rack. Book: $5,000. Asking $3,800. 365-5757 or 343-0329. 2/18, 25<BR><BR>FOR SALE: Kids rollerblades, size 6. $10. 827-8228. 2/18, 25<BR><BR>FOR SALE: World class pedigree AKC German Shepherd puppies. 4 males, 1<BR><BR>female. $500 and up. 218-827-3795. 2/18, 25<BR><BR>WORKING ON TAXES? Copies at the Echo cost just 10¢ a page. 15 E. Chapman.<BR><BR>FOR SALE: Montero limited edition ’01, heated leather seats, pwr moonroof,<BR><BR>129,000 mi, book $10,900. Sell for $9,900. Nce! 218-753-7574.

Sun
19
Feb

Passing lanes added to ‘169’ project

State transportation officials sided with Ely area representatives and have agreed to include the construction of passing lanes in the nearly $25 million Highway 169 Project.<BR><BR>Passing lanes, which were sought by several local members of a ‘169’ citizens task force, will be part of major reconstruction initiatives in the Eagles Nest Lake area, as well as the ‘13 Hills’ stretch between Tower and the Black Bear Cafe.<BR><BR>About $18.4 million in federal transportation money as well as state matching funds will be used to improve safety on the major thoroughfare leading into and out of Ely, but work isn’t expected to begin until 2011, at the earliest.<BR><BR>The Minnesota Department of Transportation met with task force members in early-December to identify project priorities. MnDOT’s plan for the highway, which was released Feb.

Sat
18
Feb

Bruels, district agree on contract

It took five months, several meetings, countless hours and a few tense moments before Ely teachers and school board members reached agreement on a new contract.<BR><BR>Negotiations between the school district and superintendent Tom Bruels weren’t anywhere near as long and acrimonious. A deal was struck Monday night in less than 20 minutes.<BR><BR>Bruels and the board’s negotiating committee came to a tentative agreement on a three-year contract, a pact which calls for no salary increase until the final year, and one without many of the benefits received by district teachers.<BR><BR>“It was an offer we couldn’t refuse,” said board member Peggy York-Jesme, who heads the district’s negotiating committee.

Sat
18
Feb

USFS, CWCS lose “chain of lakes” appeal; BWCA motor permit levels to be recalculated

A three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the U.S. Forest Service and Ely-based Conservationists With Common Sense on the chain of lakes issue. <BR><BR>The court ordered the Forest Service to redetermine the number of motorboat permits on the lake chains. <BR><BR>The court said the Forest Service’s recalculation of motor boat quotas on three chains of lakes and towboat quotas was “arbitrary and capricious.“<BR><BR>The Friends of the Boundary Waters along with the Sierra Club and other groups sued the Forest Service, won at the District Court level and declared victory last week. <BR><BR>“The court’s opinion shows there is no record of motor boat use to justify the excessive increase of quotas by the Forest Service.

Sat
18
Feb

Ely Nordic skiers to compete at state meet

Cold weather forced the postponement of the state high school Nordic ski meet, which was scheduled for Friday at Giants Ridge near Biwabik.<BR><BR>Forecasted highs of 10-below and wind-chill readings as low as 40-below prompted meet organizers to delay the event until Tuesday, when it will begin at 11 a.m.<BR><BR>Five Ely Timberwolves are scheduled to participate.<BR><BR>Section triple-crown winner Adam Shultz was one of two Ely boys to qualify. Joining the standout senior at the state event is junior Nick Peterson.<BR><BR>Ellen Anderson finished second in the section pursuit race at Giants Ridge Feb.

Sat
11
Feb

Ice candles brighten park

Frank Fifo had been observing Whiteside Park all 12 years of the Voyageur Winter Festival with its beautiful snow sculptures. <BR><BR>As spectacular as the sculptures may be, Fifo was beginning to think the park looked a little boring, like there needed to be something a little new, a little different, a little more life…something more festive about the park. He approached the snow sculpture committee and offered his idea of ice candles and volunteered to make them himself. <BR><BR>And so for the last three years the park has had a nice little extra sparkle about it starting at dusk when Frank and sometimes his wife Retta joins him to light the many ice candles. The twinkle pulls the attention into the park and perks it up a bit. <BR><BR>The wind is a huge factor in lighting the candles and it didn’t cooperate Friday night, the opening night of the festival.

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