News

Fri
11
Nov

Westlins host AFS student Kaosu Takasi

Dennis and Kathy Westlin with sons Jake and Sam are enjoying a school year with foreign exchange student Kaosu Takasi from Japan. He’s like another brother, another son or as Kaosu adds jokingly - another pet. <BR><BR>Jake saw a film in Frank Ivancich’s history class promoting the AFS program. Jake thought it would be nice to have a foreign exchange student or someone of another culture live with them. And since he’d already been to Europe, he thought Japan would be a good choice. <BR><BR>The Westlins called Ely’s AFS coordinator Gordy Jacobson and filled out the applications for a Japanese student, or a student from Thailand as a back up choice. They were happy to receive Kaosu from Nagoya, a Japanese city of over 2,117,000 people. <BR><BR>It takes some time to become comfortable in new surroundings but Kaosu is slowly adjusting to his new family.

Sat
05
Nov

Improvements made at Hidden Valley

The Ely area has already had its first dustings of snow and more is sure to follow.<BR><BR>That means it won’t be long before Hidden Valley is a hub of activity, serving as the home base for youth and high school ski programs and doubling as a popular recreation spot for cross country skiers from Ely and outside the area.<BR><BR>The start of the ski season will also mark the culmination of months of effort by the Ely Nordic Association, a community nonprofit that has taken on management duties at Hidden Valley.<BR><BR>This winter, skiers are sure to notice the completion of two projects taken on by ENA this year.<BR><BR>Lights have been installed on about one kilometer of the approximately 10-kilometer trail system at Hidden Valley, and a new septic system is in place.<BR><BR>“We‘re really excited about (the developments),” said Deb Sussex, president of an organization that includes approximately 90 paid members.

Sat
05
Nov

Wanted: public opinion on CC

The facility is aging and deteriorating, the list of repairs is long and the price tag is steep.<BR><BR>Those seem to be the only certainties about the proposed Community Center renovations, and as city council members wrestle with the massive project and equally massive expense, they’re turning to the public for guidance.<BR><BR>At the urging of council member Chuck Novak, the city will hold at least three public hearings - the first of which has been slated for December - to talk about the project.<BR><BR>With council members divided over putting city funds into the project, and amid calls for a possible voter referendum on the issue next year, citizens will soon have the opportunity to weigh in.<BR><BR>“I think we have to engage the public,” said Novak “It’s got a lot of sentimental value to me and a lot of other people, but the dollars are just scary.”<BR><BR>The city has already secured a $100,000 Community Development

Sat
05
Nov

School issues go to local voters

Tuesday’s decisions by local voters may go a long way in determining both the immediate and long-term future of the Ely School District.<BR><BR>Four of the six seats on the Ely School Board are at stake, and the district’s financial fortunes take center stage as well with an excess levy referendum.<BR><BR>If approved, property taxes will increase and the district will receive more than $240,000 in additional operating revenue, which school officials say they need to combat growing budget deficits.<BR><BR>Turnout is almost certain to be a factor in both the school board contest and the levy decision.<BR><BR>The last three school board contests - all in odd-numbered years - have had large fluctuations in turnout.<BR><BR>Just 502 voters, only 14 percent of the district’s electorate, participated in a 2003 race that included four candidates and a successful write-in campaign by current board member Keith Turner.<BR><BR

Sat
05
Nov

PLAs sought for city projects

Ely city officials will consider a request that they require union labor on upcoming city projects.<BR><BR>Members of several Iron Range labor groups attended Tuesday’s city council meeting, requesting that the city follow the lead of St. Louis County, which is looking at a resolution that would mandate project labor agreements for county developments.<BR><BR>“We really believe it’s a good tool to get local labor on job sites,” said Gordon Smith, an organizer with a regional painters union. “They’re the people in the community who are supporting the community... A PLA helps a lot to ensure that local labor is used on projects.”<BR><BR>With major projects on the horizon, including the joint public works garage and a possible housing development and Community Center renovations, now is the time to make sure that union labor is hired, according to council member Mark Zupec.<BR><BR>“We’re looking at $20 million in projects,” said Zupec.

Sat
29
Oct

Some progress, but no settlement

Barring a last-minute change of heart, the Ely School District and the local faculty union won’t have a contract agreement prior to the Nov. 8 excess levy referendum.<BR><BR>Tuesday’s negotiating session ended without a deal and with health insurance coverage looming as the primary stumbling block.<BR><BR>School board members will meet Tuesday to discuss strategy and the sides aren’t set to meet again until Nov.

Sat
29
Oct

Foreign exchange student Nanna Knudsen looks forward to Ely’s winter and senior year privileges

Polly and Rick Anderson always wanted six children. Up until a couple years ago they’ve had four girls and it’s been that way for a while. <BR><BR>Then as of last year they had their fifth girl and this year their sixth girl. (Will they quit at six?) <BR><BR>These last two ‘daughters’ came about from the AFS program, having Ely’s last year’s 49th foreign exchange student Carlotta from Italy, who spent half the school year at the Andersons. <BR><BR>It went so well that they applied for another student and received one of this year’s three foreign exchange students. (The other two AFS students are Kaus from Japan, and Alti from Finland. They will be featured later in the Echo.) <BR><BR>After sorting through many biographies and trying to figure out who would fit in best with their family, the Andersons chose Nanna Roland Knudsen from Denmark and offered their home and family to her.

Sat
29
Oct

Foreign exchange student Nanna Knudsen looks forward to Ely’s winter and senior year privileges

Polly and Rick Anderson always wanted six children. Up until a couple years ago they’ve had four girls and it’s been that way for a while. <BR><BR>Then as of last year they had their fifth girl and this year their sixth girl. (Will they quit at six?) <BR><BR>These last two ‘daughters’ came about from the AFS program, having Ely’s last year’s 49th foreign exchange student Carlotta from Italy, who spent half the school year at the Andersons. <BR><BR>It went so well that they applied for another student and received one of this year’s three foreign exchange students. (The other two AFS students are Kaus from Japan, and Alti from Finland. They will be featured later in the Echo.) <BR><BR>After sorting through many biographies and trying to figure out who would fit in best with their family, the Andersons chose Nanna Roland Knudsen from Denmark and offered their home and family to her.

Sat
29
Oct

School board hopefuls share views

They’ll fight to maintain independence and local control but they’re concerned about declines in enrollment and ongoing budget woes.<BR><BR>Ely School Board candidates who took part in Wednesday’s public forum offered their views on a wide assortment of issues, agreeing more often than not.<BR><BR>Four of the six hopefuls in the Nov. 8 vote took part in the event. Incumbent Peggy York-Jesme along with Bill Erzar, Bill Rauch and Candy Sorensen addressed a crowd of about 40 people at the Senior Center. Ray Marsnik, the other current office holder in the race, as well as former board member Walt Gessler were unable to attend.<BR><BR>Those who participated were united on several fronts, particularly support for the Nov. 8 operating levy referendum and the continued independence of the Ely district.<BR><BR>Enrollment has dropped by about one-third over the last decade.

Sat
29
Oct

Fiber lines to every house in Ely?

A proposal to bring fiber optic lines to every home and business within the city limits was pitched at a study session last week.<BR><BR>With the Ely city council and Ely Utilities Commission meeting in a joint session, Dick Nordvold of Iron Range Resources presented the plan, “Fiber to the Premises.”<BR><BR>Following the meeting, Nordvold described how the proposal is being modeled after the Utah “Utopia” project that Ely council member Chuck Novak went to look at along with other Range officials.<BR><BR>“Fiber optic cable provides really a future proof technology for ultra high speed broadband connectivity,” said Nordvold. “Up here we’re dealing with 56k modems in some places and the world itself is going to fiber or ultra high speed bandwidth.”<BR><BR>Nordvold said the United States has fallen to 16th place in the deployment of broadband internet connections.

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