News

Fri
06
May

Strike averted at Ely nursing home

Just hours before they were to go on strike, licensed practical nurses at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital and Nursing Home reached an agreement on a new contract.<BR><BR>The 11 LPNs voted late Tuesday to accept what hospital officials termed “a final offer,” averting what would have been the first work stoppage in the history of the local hospital.<BR><BR>According to hospital administrator John Fossum, the deal calls for annual wage increases of 2.5, 2.5 and two percent over a three-year term that runs from 2005-2008, as well as a two percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2004.<BR><BR>That’s exactly what the hospital had offered days before, when union leaders, who were seeking wage hikes of five percent retroactive to 2003 and an option to renegotiate in 2006, filed a strike notice.<BR><BR>But rather than walk off the job, union members decided - after a day of talks with hospital representatives and a state mediator - to accept the

Mon
02
May

Buchner takes keys at Sir G’s

One of Ely’s most popular eating establishments is in new hands.<BR><BR>Jim Buchner took over as owner of Sir G’s Italian Restaurant earlier this month, purchasing the business from longtime proprietor Barb Weisinger.<BR><BR>Located on the 500 block of East Sheridan Street, Sir G’s has been a staple of Ely’s dining scene for four decades.<BR><BR>The business is perhaps known best for its variety of pizzas and Italian dishes, and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.<BR><BR>“The core menu is going to stay the same,” said Buchner, who plans to be an active owner/operator. “The customers are going to find the same meals they had before. The pizzas are going to stay the same...

Mon
02
May

Coldwell Banker is starting Babbitt office soon

In May, 2004 Jan and Gary Erchul of Coldwell Banker 1st Ely Realty purchased the former Gossip Bench building and moved right in the center of Ely's business district. <BR><BR>This month they will be opening an office in Babbitt, at 23 Central Boulevard, to better serve the Babbitt-Embarrass area. The office there will be staffed full time by Jim Smith, Gary Erchul, Lori Schulze and Jennifer McLaughlin. The phone number will be 218-827-8300. <BR><BR>Jan Erchul began her real estate career 25 years ago with Duane Krause of D. Krause and Associates. In 1994 Jan and Gary purchased Ely Realty from Jack Garske. <BR><BR> In May 2004, Ely Realty became affiliated with Coldwell Banker. The benefit of going from an independent company and joining the Coldwell Banker franchise is now they have a connection with the 3,400 Coldwell Banker offices throughout the United States. Coldwell Banker is America's largest full service real estate company.

Mon
02
May

Nursing home workers could strike Wednesday

Licensed practical nurses at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital and Nursing Home have filed an intent to strike and could walk off the job as soon as Wednesday.<BR><BR>The union representing 11 LPNs, who work exclusively in the nursing home, filed the strike notice last week and EBCH officials are making contingency plans for what would be the first work stoppage in the history of the local hospital.<BR><BR>“We hope it doesn’t happen,” EBCH Administrator John Fossum said Wednesday, during a meeting with some nursing home residents and family members. “But we intend to staff the facility. We intend to operate.

Fri
29
Apr

Sharon Geiger is official winner of Ely Echo’s Ice Out Contest after inadvertent mix-up

Here’s a clue: One shouldn’t try to pack and move a business during ice out.<BR><BR>Here’s why: First I forgot to write anything about the Shagawa Lake Ice Out Contest ending with the disappearance of ice. This took place on Sunday, April 17 at 1:46 p.m. as reported by the staff at Grand Ely Lodge’s Antlers Lounge, official judges.<BR><BR>However, it wasn’t until hours beyond the Echo’s Thursday night deadline, days later, that I remembered I had forgotten to announce it in the Echo. As it happened, Nick and Tom were still slaving away at the new 15 East Chapman Street offices and answered my call.<BR><BR>What happened next is an embarrassment. I had looked through the entries of week one and two and had found no entries for April 17.<BR><BR>In week three there was one entry for the date: April 17 at 2:30 p.m., Lorraine Korpi, Ely.<BR><BR>Week four’s entries were a different matter.

Mon
25
Apr

City search comes up empty

Back to the drawing board.<BR><BR>That was the consensus of the Ely City Council Tuesday, when they decided not to select either of the two remaining finalists for the vacant city clerk-treasurer position and opted instead to readvertise for applicants.<BR><BR>Three days earlier, finalists Walter Salo of Chisholm and Connie Kittlesen of Baxter interviewed for the job, but the council decided against offering either one of them the city’s top adminsitrative post.<BR><BR>“I didn’t feel very comfortable,” said council member Mark Zupec.

Sun
24
Apr

Group explores ambulance change

Local officials say they’re going to take a closer look at projections that show the Ely area may be better off financially by moving to a stand-alone ambulance service.<BR><BR>Estimates released April 16, during the second meeting of an area ambulance task force, revealed that an ownership change could result in a net savings of as much as $100,000, largely because of Medicare regulations.<BR><BR>Leaders at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital, which owns and operates the service, have pushed for changes in which the hospital would turn ownership over to local governments, but continue to run the service as it is through a contract agreement.<BR><BR>But before they’ll recommend any changes to the current service, representatives of area governments say they want a thorough analysis of the numbers. <BR><BR>“I’d like to see the first two years (of financial projections) and a budget,” said Morse Supervisor Len Cersine.

Sat
23
Apr

Trezona Trail Celebration group to plant on Arbor Day

Interest in beautifying the Trezona Trail with plantings of trees and shrubs to honor and celebrate lives is growing; the group to date has received contributions from 37 individuals or families. Last Thursday, in observance of Earth Day and this Thursday, April 28, in observance of Arbor Day, a total of 10 trees and shrubs will be planted.<BR><BR>Two Armur Cherries were planted south of the Trail opposite Irresistible Ink on Miners Drive. One is to honor Judy Myers, who moved with her family last summer to <BR><BR>Indiana, and her contributions to Ely from members of the Ely Chapter of P.E.O., an international organization supporting education for women.

Sat
23
Apr

Sam Cook to speak at annual ‘Smile’ event

Noted outdoor writer, columnist, author and former Ely Echo reporter Sam Cook is scheduled to be the guest speaker at this year’s “Smile, You’re in Ely” dinner.<BR><BR>The 14th annual event, sponsored by the Ely Chamber of Commerce, is set for 5 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Grand Ely Lodge.<BR><BR>Festivities begin with a social, from 5 to 5:30 p.m., followed by a half-hour update on Chamber activities. Dinner is set for 6 p.m., with Cook slated to begin an hour later.<BR><BR>Cook, who worked for the Echo during the 1970s, is an outdoor writer and columnist for the Duluth News-Tribune and has landed several journalism awards.

Mon
18
Apr

Ely school budget rollbacks begin

Two Ely teachers are feeling the impact of the local school district’s budget crisis.<BR><BR>Monday, school board members approved reductions to two high school teaching positions - the first in a series of budget cuts for 2004-2005.<BR><BR>Industrial arts teacher Rob Simonich and science instructor Todd Hohenstein will go from full-time to .71 time next fall, due to continued declines in enrollment.<BR><BR>“(The reductions) are necessary at this point because we don’t have the students to generate full-time positions,” said superintendent Tom Bruels.<BR><BR>And further cuts in teaching staff are likely to follow next year and beyond Bruels said, as a drop in student population hits the high school.<BR><BR>K-12 enrollment at Ely has dipped from 921 students in 1995 to 645 this year, and the district projects another 22-student decrease for 2005-2006.<BR><BR>Combined with rising expenses and skyrocketing health i

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