News

Mon
26
Jul

Gerzin picked to be fire chief

Ely’s Gerzin family has had a long association with the city’s volunteer fire department.<BR><BR>The late Louis Gerzin was the fire chief from 1958-1976.

Mon
26
Jul

Election slate filled

A late entry by incumbent Paul Kess completed the lineup for Ely’s fall elections.<BR><BR>Kess, a city council member since 1995, entered the race before Monday’s filing deadline and is the eighth and final candidate for three council positions.<BR><BR>He joins fellow council members Jerome Debeltz and Mark Zupec in the race. They will be challenged by Louis Kotzian, Robin Mathews, Charles Novak, Pat Osaben and David Schmidt.<BR><BR>The Sept. 14 primary will whittle the field of eight down to six, and the top three vote-getters in the Nov.

Mon
26
Jul

No surprises among 6A entries

Filings for state office closed last week and all of the announced candidates in the hotly-contested Minnesota House 6A race have formally entered the race.<BR><BR>Incumbent David Dill (DFL-Crane Lake) faces a primary challenge from party-endorsed Bill Hansen of Tofte.<BR><BR>The winner of the Sept. 14 primary moves on to face Republican Marty Breaker of Ely.<BR><BR>All three candidates have officially joined the contest by filing with the Minnesota Secretary of State.<BR><BR>Dill is seeking his second term in office after winning the race to succeed Tom Bakk, who was elected to the State Senate, in 2002.

Fri
23
Jul

Another crowded start

Whiteside Park was filled with vendors and visitors.<BR><BR>Parking spaces were filled for blocks around the park and Ely even had some traffic jams.<BR><BR>A typical Friday afternoon in Ely?<BR><BR>That's hardly the case 51 weeks out of the year, but when that Friday is the opening day of Blueberry/Art Festival, it’s no surprise.<BR><BR>The 24th annual festival kicked off Friday under sunny skies, with comfortable temperatures and in traditional fashion, with crowds filling the park well before the official noon start-up.<BR><BR>By the end of the weekend, more than 45,000 people were expected to pass through the park for the arts and crafts show.<BR><BR>A steady stream of cars filed into Ely Friday morning, and license plates from around the country were spotted near Whiteside.<BR><BR>The festival attracts quite a mix - from former Ely residents returning home for the weekend to tourists who ma

Wed
21
Jul

NBC’s “Today” show to feature five minutes of Ely on Thursday

The Ely area is set to be featured on national television Thursday.<BR><BR>A crew from NBC’s “Today” show was in town recently, taping several Ely-related features.<BR><BR>Correspondent Peter Greenberg led a team that went to Hegman Lake with local canoe outfitter Steve Piragis.<BR><BR>Later in the day, segments were taped with Ely sled dog musher and outfitter Paul Schurke and canoemaker Joe Seliga.<BR><BR>“Today” airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on local NBC affiliate KBJR (Channel 6).

Mon
19
Jul

Blueberry festival starts Friday at Whiteside Park

It won’t be too hard to find something new at this year’s Blueberry/Art Festival.<BR><BR>More than 40,000 people are expected for the 24th annual event, which starts Friday at Whiteside Park.<BR><BR>And while the scene will almost certainly be similar: a park overflowing with visitors for the three-day arts and craft show, the scenery will have quite a few changes.<BR><BR>Over 40 new exhibitors are in the lineup, which includes 221 exhibitors filling 264 booth spaces, and 26 food booths.<BR><BR>“We think our quality is just excellent this year,” said Rita Grose, who organizes the festival for the Ely Chamber of Commerce.

Mon
19
Jul

Taking the 60 mile DQ Challenge

With a distance of about 60 miles, including 10 miles of portaging, Will Barnett, Mike Shelby, and Greg Scudder, staff members of the Northern Tier Somers Boy Scout Base broke the DQ Challenge record. <BR><BR>What’s the challenge... and what’s the reward? These young men woke up at 4 a.m. and were in their canoe by 4:45, shoving off on Moose Lake heading to the Dairy Queen. <BR><BR>We have to consider much of this by ‘rods,’ a measurement of 16 1/2 feet per rod or 320 rods to a mile. Start paddling on Moose Lake then portage 200 rods to Tofte Lake, canoe across that, then portage 220 rods to Ojiway Lake, paddle across that, then a little bitty roller portage into Triangle Lake (paddle), then 190 rods into the Kawisiwi River which connects to Farm Lake (pad-d-d-dle), go north toward Fall Lake, go under the bridge and around the power dam, which flows into the Shagawa River and paddle on until you reach County 88 and get out here.

Mon
19
Jul

Two days left to file for city elections

Primary elections for both mayor and city council are assured after a flurry of filings last week at City Hall.<BR><BR>When the Echo went to press, three candidates had entered Ely’s mayoral race and seven people had joined the contest for three council positions.<BR><BR>That ensures that Ely will hold a primary, to be conducted in conjunction with the Sept.

Mon
19
Jul

State Auditor releases results of investigation of city of Orr and Dill; no illegal activity found

State Auditor Pat Anderson released a letter outlining the results of an investigation into allegations made against former Orr city administrator and current state Representative David Dill. <BR><BR>While the review began with allegations about Representative Dill, it resulted in greater concerns about how the city of Orr conducted its business. <BR><BR>“Our review did not find illegal activity on the part of Representative David Dill or the City of Orr. We did find some minor legal compliance issues and a general pattern of lax financial oversight in the city,” wrote Anderson.<BR><BR>“I was real happy to have the audit report come out,” said Dill. “We cooperated fully, all of the entities I worked for over the years provided the information the state auditor requested.<BR><BR>“I’m glad no conflict of interest was found as had been alleged,” said Dill.

Mon
19
Jul

Echo Trail road project starts soon

A pre-construction meeting Thursday should hammer out the timeline for a major road project on the Echo Trail.<BR><BR>The St. Louis County Board has approved KGM’s bid of $2,605,627 to rebuild 2.6 miles of road.<BR><BR>The project will start at the Bass Lake parking lot and then veer north from the current roadway, ending approximately one-half mile past Passi Road.<BR><BR>“It’s all going to be rebuilt,” said county engineer Earl Wilkins. “This will be brand-spankin’ new construction.” <BR><BR>The new section will match the existing work done from Highway 88 to the Bass Lake parking lot. The road will have two 12-foot driving lanes and six-foot shoulders. <BR><BR>“Essentially the road will look like the first portion we did,” said Wilkins. <BR><BR>Eighty percent of the project funding comes the federal government with the county coming up with the remainder.

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