Forest Service to hold meetings on commercial activities

The Superior National Forest is examining the use of recreational commercial services provided on the Forest. To fully understand all the issues, the Forest will seek information from the public, special use permittees, partners, tribes, and others who use or have knowledge about recreational commercial services on the Forest, who recreate on the Forest, or who have other relevant concerns regarding recreation and recreational commercial uses offered on the Forest.
The Forest Service is working to strike a balance between rural economic development and the effects of recreational commercial services across the Forest. Our goal is to ensure future generations will continue to enjoy these national treasures. Recreational commercial services provide opportunities for visitors to recreate on the Forest by employing the expertise and equipment provided by an outfitter-guide service.


School survey coming soon

by Tom Coombe
Will Ely area residents support a property tax increase to pay for a major improvement project on the school campus?
That’s a question that could be answered, at least partially, later this fall.
As soon as next month, a survey commissioned by the district - and assembled by a firm that specializes in school-related issues - will arrive in mailboxes throughout the district.
School board members will get their first look at the survey later this month, and tentative plans call for it to be sent to residents in September with an Oct. 7 deadline for return.
Outgoing superintendent Kevin Abrahamson went over the timeline with school board members Monday, during a brief regular monthly meeting.


Patient declines helicopter ride after rescue in BWCA

Residents in the Fernberg Road area may have heard a low-flying helicopter in the wee hours of Wednesday night. It turns out the medical helicopter left without a patient.
The St. Louis and Lake County Rescue Squads responded to a call Wednesday night of an unresponsive 42 year-old male, on whom, CPR had been started by others on the scene. The party was near Basswood Falls on Basswood Lake
The St. Louis County Rescue Squad was able to reach LaTourell’s, the Prairie Portage operator, who agreed to open the portage.
Along with a Lake County sheriff’s deputy and a paramedic from the Morse-Fall Lake fire department and first responders, the rescuers went in the dark from Moose Lake around 11:45 p.m.


Changes at Ely Community Health Center include new dental clinic starting in September, home health care

Changes and new offerings are being made at the Ely Community Health Center.
Executive director Jon Erickson announced the changes on Wednesday.
“We have moved the date of the clinic to change from Monday evenings at 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. to Thursday evenings for the same times.
“We will be opening a new dental clinic focusing on fluoride varnish treatment in September. The dental clinic will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month,” said Erickson.
He said the dental clinic will focus initially on fluoride varnish treatment especially for the elderly, because medications can damage the dental, and children as well as those who can not afford dental care because of any number of finance reasons.
“The fluoride varnish treatment is an economical way to treat sensitivity in both adults and children and provides an additional tool that protects the teeth from cavities and sensitivity.


Bang-up biz for blueberry

by Tom Coombe
How do you top a Blueberry/Art Festival that may have been one of the busiest ever?
Put even more people in town.
That was the report from officials at the Ely Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors Ely’s signature event of the summer.
Thousands of people, just how many nobody really knows, crammed into Whiteside Park last weekend for the three-day arts and crafts spectacular, now in its 39th year.
Anecdotal reports and those from festival vendors suggest that business was at an all-time high.
“The Blueberry Festival just seems to keep growing,” said Ellen Cashman, who organizes the event for the Chamber.
Festival hours were adjusted and the park opened at 10 a.m. rather than noon on July 26, the opening day, triggering a swarm of people that never seemed to subside.


Ely council talks trash

by Tom Coombe
Ely council members are pondering changes to the city’s sanitation contract, including a competitive bid process for residential service and allowing commercial property owners the opportunity to contract with whom they choose.
But those ideas generated pushback Tuesday night, both from the incumbent provider and some business owners who spoke at the monthly study session.
Council members took no action Tuesday, but some went on record in support of changes that would strip exclusivity from the current contractor - G Men Environmental Services - and perhaps create separate contracts for residential and business service.
“I think competition has a time and place, and this is the time,” said council member Paul Kess. “Having an exclusive contract now for 10 years, I think we’ve gotten away from any sense of responsibility to the taxpayer. It’s time to rebid that to see if there are any other haulers who can complete.”


Girl bitten by bear near Ely

Echo file photo

The Minnesota DNR is reporting a 16 year-old girl was bitten by a black bear near White Iron Lake on June 22. The bear was later shot and killed by a DNR law enforcement officer.
The incident occurred around 4:30 p.m. on Monday, July 22 when the girl was jogging on a path near White Iron Lake. The victim was taken to Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital for minor injuries where she was treated and later released.
The bear was shot at a garbage bin located near to where the girl was bitten. The bear's DNR is being tested to see if it was the same bear that attacked the girl.
DNR officials have published a notice to those living in the area:
· It is possible that the bear who bit the jogger may still be in the vicinity. Be
vigilant, especially when alone, and be wary of bears that seem unafraid of you.
· The fact that the bear charged the jogger from behind indicates its habituation to
humans. This is not normal behavior for a bear.


Girl Scout group rescued from BWCA

A group of Girl Scouts were rescued from Knife Lake in the BWCA after feeling the effects of a lightning strike.
The St. Louis County Rescue Squad was dispatched after reports of a group of six girls age 15-18 and their leaders from Chicago, IL reported “they might have experienced ground current” after a nearby lightning strike.
The event occurred Friday night after a strong storm passed through the Ely area and even attracted the attention of Gov. Tim Walz who tweeted, “A group of very brave Girl Scouts need your prayers tonight. They’re waiting out dangerous conditions and potential injuries in BWCA, while search & rescue teams try to locate them. Our first responders train for this. We're going to do everything we can to bring them home safe.”


Festival weekend arrives

by Tom Coombe
Wind chimes made their own music and interrupted the silence Thursday at Ely’s Whiteside Park.
As many of the roughly 280 vendors in town for the Blueberry/Art Festival set up shop, the artistry of Bob Hendricks provided more than background noise.
The Forest Lake vendor, who with his wife Lana operates Silverfish ‘N’ Things, has been coming to Ely and the community’s signature event of the summer for about a decade.
Many things keep him coming back.
“We have a lot of return vendors we’ve made friends with,” Hendricks said Thursday, as the park slowly transformed into a tent city for the weekend festival. “It’s kind of fun to all get together. We all do shows but we don’t all do the same shows. It’s fun to run into people you haven’t seen for a year.”


Taste of Slovenia Aug. 3

The Ely chapter Slovenian Union of America “Taste of Slovenia” will be held Saturday, Aug. 3 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
A $10 admission will cover 12 tastings. Slovenian food, music and selected items will be on display.
A free Taste of Slovenia Polka Party will follow at Amici’s Event Center that evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The party is free and open to all, food included.
The cultural event is sponsored by Ely Community Resource and the Northland Foundation.


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