News

Mon
20
Sep

Enrollment tumbles again

The good news for Ely school officials is that student enrollment didn’t drop as much as expected.<BR><BR>That’s the silver lining in an otherwise stormy cloud that continues to hang over the local district.<BR><BR>First day enrollment totals, reviewed last week by Ely School Board members, show the district with 645 students in grades K-12.<BR><BR>That’s a 37-student drop from last fall (see chart), and a whopping 30 percent decline since 1995, when enrollment was 921.<BR><BR>And projections show that enrollment will sink even further - perhaps by as many as 100 students - over the next four years..<BR><BR>Continued declines are expected as high school classes ranging from 52-74 students are replaced by incoming kindergarten groups with as few as 33 students.<BR><BR>And with each student generating $5,000 or more in state aid, the declines are almost certain to cause further budget strain in the Ely district.&l

Mon
20
Sep

Winton to address blight and mobile homes

Big issues for the City of Winton appear to be blight and mobile home regulation.<BR><BR>The city’s comprehensive land use plan will attempt to address those and other issues identified in resident surveys, steering committee recommendations and at an open house held Wednesday.<BR><BR>The City of Winton has been working with the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission to put forth a comprehensive land use plan. The goal of this plan is to provide Winton guidelines and enforcement clout in guiding future development or redevelopment within the city limits.<BR><BR>A community survey was distributed in March, 2003 to 90 residents of which 39 responded.

Mon
20
Sep

Skraba first in close mayoral primary

The race for Ely's top elected position is shaping up to be a close one.<BR><BR>Again.<BR><BR>Two years ago, Frank Salerno was elected mayor over council member Jerome Debeltz in a contest that was decided by just 22 votes, and voters in this year's mayoral primary were evenly divided between the incumbent and challenger Roger Skraba.<BR><BR>Skraba, a former council member and state legislative candidate, eked out a narrow victory over Salerno in Tuesday's balloting, finishing first in a three-way primary with 618 votes.

Mon
20
Sep

Ely area key to Dill rout

Overwhelming support in the Ely area helped State Rep. David Dill turn back the challenge of Bill Hansen in Tuesday’s Minnesota House 6A DFL primary.<BR><BR>Dill scored a convincing victory - winning nearly 60 percent of the vote and outpolling Hansen 6,214 to 4,261 - thanks in large part to big margins in Ely and surrounding communities.<BR><BR>Ely voters backed Dill with more than 75 percent of the vote (934-307), while both Morse (318-149) and Fall Lake (166-78) went for the incumbent by better than two-to-one margins.<BR><BR>It was even more lopsided in Winton (48-9) and Babbitt (365-69).<BR><BR>Dill’s substantial victory in the Ely area - considered a battleground by both campaigns - ended Hansen’s hopes for an upset.<BR><BR>“It was disappointing because I thought we’d do better in Ely,” said Hansen. “I was hoping for closer to 50-50, or at least 40-60.

Mon
20
Sep

New specialty cheese shop opens on Chapman

The new Chapman Street Market, specialty cheese shop with bread, crackers and meats, has opened and will add more specialty items as time, tastes and needs develop. <BR><BR>Co-owners Cathy Mindel and Grant Young want to keep the market interesting. They are planning a daily lunch special with a menu that will change every day or every other day. Since they opened August 27, they are still getting a feel of what customers want, starting with cheese and meats, breads, teas, and olive oils and they’ll see where it goes from here. The cheeses they sell are not sold elsewhere in Ely, and the closest other specialty cheese shop is the Northern Waters Smoke House in Duluth. <BR><BR>Cathy and Grant bought Northern Aire Lodge in 1996 and operated it for seven years. Cathy used to ask her friends to bring up some cheese and crusty bread when they’d come to visit.

Wed
15
Sep

Skraba first in close mayoral primary

The race for Ely’s top elected position is shaping up to be a close one. Again. <BR><BR>Two years ago, Frank Salerno was elected mayor over council member Jerome Debeltz in a contest that was decided by just 22 votes, and voters in this year’s mayoral primary were evenly divided between the incumbent and challenger Roger Skraba. <BR><BR>Skraba, a former council member and state legislative candidate, eked out a narrow victory over Salerno in Tuesday’s balloting, finishing first in a three-way primary with 618 votes. Salerno was right behind at 605. <BR><BR>Mark Haarman, who did not actively campaign and withdrew from the race two days before the election, lagged behind with 71 votes. <BR><BR>The primary sets up a general election battle between Salerno, who has served three separate stints as mayor and has 15 years of city council experience, and Skraba, who served on the council from 1996-2003.

Wed
15
Sep

Primary election results are in

Mon
13
Sep

Hospital seeks more shareholders

Shortly after assuming her new job as public relations director at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital, Mary Zupancich made a startling discovery.<BR><BR>Conversations with many community remembers revealed that a large number of people - most under the age of 50 - didn’t realize that the hospital was community-based and owned by member shareholders.<BR><BR>“A lot of people think Ely-Bloomenson and the clinic are together (as one entity),” Zupancich said last week.<BR><BR>Zupancich and hospital officials are out to change that public perception, and at the same time they hope to raise operating capital and develop a new generation of community hospital investors.<BR><BR>Over the weekend, EBCH launched a one-month drive aimed at bringing new shareholders on board.<BR><BR>For a $100 contribution, the same amount required when the hospital opened nearly 50 years ago, individuals or businesses will acquire a share of the hospital

Mon
13
Sep

Council votes to stay in joint garage project

At least for now, the city of Ely is part of a $7 million plan to put public works operations of four entities - St. Louis County, Ely, Lake County and Morse Township - under one roof.<BR><BR>City council members voted 5-2 Tuesday, with Butch Pecha and Mike Hillman opposed, to commit $112,000 in city funding for the design portion of the joint public works garage project.<BR><BR>It will be several months before the council makes a final commitment to the project - which would include almost $2.8 million in city expenditures over a 15-year period - but Tuesday’s vote was pivotal, according to project supporters.<BR><BR>St.

Mon
13
Sep

Council tables proposal to buy theater building

Move over, Gone With The Wind.<BR><BR>The Saga of the Ely Theatre Building has lasted longer than any marathon motion picture, and the months-long controversy took another strange turn.<BR><BR>Days after city officials and building owner Gary Quigley reached agreement on a process through which the city could acquire the aging structure, city council members abruptly tabled the proposal.<BR><BR>The deal spelled out two options, one in which the city would buy the building for $145,000 and another in which the sale price would be set at $125,000, but council members decided against attorney Larry Klun’s recommendation to hold a special meeting to discuss the proposal.<BR><BR>“I don’t see any reason to explore either one of these options,” said council member Paul Kess.<BR><BR>The rest of the council followed suit, unanimously approving the motion to table.<BR><BR>Council member Mike Hillman said the issue could b

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