News

Fri
04
Feb

Sixth-grader is Ely’s “Mayor for a Day”

by Tom Coombe
All Kylee Zobitz was missing was a gavel.
Wednesday, the Ely sixth-grader reigned as the community’s honorary mayor and the night before she was hailed by the current mayor and city council being named a winner in a statewide contest.
From among nearly 300 entrants, Zobitz was one of three selected as winners in the League of Minnesota Cities’ ninth annual Mayor for a Day Essay Contest.
At Tuesday night’s city council session, with family members, friends and classmates looking on, Zobitz got a key to the city from current mayor Roger Skraba, who also read a proclamation naming the Ely student an honorary mayor.
Zobitz turned in a winning essay in a contest that was open to fourth, fifth and sixth-graders from across the state.
Entrants were asked to pen their ideas for improving city services, and Zobitz offered a plan to mix day care centers with nursing homes.

Fri
28
Jan

Twin Metals loses leases

by Tom Coombe
Twin Metals Minnesota’s plans for a copper-nickel mine near Ely were dealt a devastating blow Wednesday, when the Biden Administration canceled two minerals leases needed for the project.
The decision is the latest setback for the company, which has spent more than a decade developing plans for an underground mine, several miles south of Ely, that could bring hundreds of new jobs to the area, yet faced fierce opposition from environmental interests.
In a statement released shortly after the decision, Twin Metals indicated it would press forward and take legal action.

Fri
21
Jan

Winter Festival plans now in place

The countdown continues and Ely’s major winter celebration is nearly here.
The 2022 Ely Winter Festival runs from Feb. 3-13 with numerous activities to fill your schedules.
Organizers say the board and volunteers have been busy putting all the final details together and are excited for the event to begin.
By the end of January, the EWF brochure will be available at local businesses.
More festival information can be found on the event’s website at www.elywinterfestival.com. It will include additional details about events and Covid-19 updates.
In a news release that was issued this week, festival organizers said “We are ready to bring you some time-honored favorite events: the Snow Sculpting Symposium, Ely ArtWalk, snowshoe hikes with the Listening Point Foundation and the Great Nordic Beardfest.”

Fri
21
Jan

School cuts quarantine time in half

by Tom Coombe
The Ely School District has followed the lead of federal and state health officials and has reduced the required quarantine period for those who test positive for Covid-19.
Students and staff will now be allowed to return to school five days after showing symptoms or testing positive, following action by the school board at an emergency meeting on Tuesday.
The board’s decision cut the isolation period in half, going from 10 days down to five, and it allowed 30 students to return to school the following day rather than remain isolated from the campus.
The shorter five-day period was endorsed by the federal Centers for Disease Control earlier in the year, and the Minnesota Department of Health signed on in support Jan. 12.
Superintendent Erik Erie said he consulted with local health care professionals, who were also in support.

Fri
14
Jan

Proposal to develop Longbranch pitched to area joint powers board

At the Joint Powers legislative meeting, Winton mayor Kathy Brandau said the Longbranch was sold by the Rod and Gun Club to two Twin Cites men, Mike Brown and Bob Gerken.
“They have a plan in place, a three phase plan that is going to bring economic development to the city of Winton,” said Brandau. She said the city will assist in the redevelopment.
Brown told the audience at the Dec. 20 meeting of the plans for the property on the end of Fall Lake.
“The Travail collective consists of three owners, James Winberg, Bob Berken and myself,” said Brown. “We’ve been in business for about 11 years. We started on a shoestring budget in the city of Robbinsdale and never looked back.”
He said they chose Robbinsdale since it reminded them as a small town and that it is difficult to run a restaurant in Minneapolis. They now own and operate three restaurants.

Fri
14
Jan

Promoting Ely in many ways

by Tom Coombe
Via both conventional and unconventional means, the Ely Area Tourism Bureau has a simple purpose: promoting the Ely area as a destination.
Through television and marketing, social media and a revamped website, blogs and video-logs, the entity funded by the area’s lodging tax is both modernizing and elevating its work.
Cindy Smyka, who heads the Tourism Bureau, offered a glimpse into the entity’s work during a presentation to the Tuesday Group earlier this month.
“We all work regularly to create what you unfortunately don’t get to see all that often,” said Smyka. “Marketing to you would be preaching to the choir. You’re already here. You’re in agreement that Ely is an amazing place.”
Smyka described a diversified approach, which has included more social media presence and a website (www.ely.org) that has been revised and includes tools that allow the bureau to track interest in the area.

Fri
07
Jan

Fire damages Ely rental home in bitter cold temps

by Nick Wognum
The Ely fire department battled a rental house fire in the middle of the night and had to fight bitter cold temperatures as well.
A female sleeping on the second level woke up with smoke in the air and escaped unharmed with her dog.
Ely fire chief Dave Marshall said they were paged just before midnight Wednesday night to a structure fire at 319 East Camp St. with smoke and flames visible on the second story.
“When we got there smoke was showing on all four side in the eaves. We sent an interior crew in but the visibility was really limited on the second floor.
“Eventually we gained access to the attic and sprayed water but we had to open the gable end toward Zup’s old store with the ladder truck. That cleared everything out,” said Marshall.
Battling the fire was made more difficult by the house having additions off the side.

Fri
07
Jan

Fall Lake board discusses road realignment

by Nancy McReady
A special Fall Lake Township meeting was held Monday evening to discuss realignment of Ernie’s Road. Seven citizens were in attendance, including the property owners who would be impacted by the options discussed.
Properties involved include parcels owned by Warren Johnson, Dave Johnson, Ed Seliskar, Ernie Seliskar, township land and Lake County land.
Currently, Locust Road is a platted road but has never been opened. This is an option to the east. This would be a straight road with a 66-foot right-of-way. Warren Johnson said using Locust would give him access to his property but upgrading the present Ernie’s Road would be the least expensive.
Fall Lake supervisors will contact Dave Johnson who was unable to attend the meeting for his opinion on the options discussed. Then the board will contact Lake County to get their approval.
The regular Fall Lake Township held on Tuesday had five citizens present.

Fri
31
Dec

Final act of kindness leaves lasting impact

by Quinn Gorham KBJR-TV
Greg Mosher, a resident of Ely, helped usher two residents out of a burning home last Wednesday, just days before he passed away.
Mosher was walking his dog with his family when he saw smoke coming out of a nearby stranger’s house, so he rushed over to alert the homeowners.
Inside, Lynn DeNio and her sister Jean thought they had fully put out a small kitchen fire that had happened just a few hours prior.
“Somebody came knocking on our door to tell us your house is on fire and please get out. It was my nap time, I was just getting ready to go to sleep,” said DeNio.
The fire department responded and put out the fire before it caused extensive structural damage.
In the aftermath of the flames, DeNio decided to post on Facebook about her experience and the mystery man who saved her life, hoping to identify him.

Fri
31
Dec

Mining resolution debated

by Tom Coombe
Representatives of local governments have come out yet again in support of the Twin Metals Minnesota copper-nickel mining project and against efforts that could derail those plans, but not without controversy.
The Dec. 20 meeting of the Community Economic Development Joint Powers Board included a last-minute resolution that mirrored many that have already been passed by area governing bodies.
This one, which opposed the Biden Administration’s efforts to seek a 20-year moratorium on mining on national forest land near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, failed to gain formal approval when it was passed by only four of five voting members.
Tom Omerza, who represents the school district on the Joint Powers Board, abstained and said the late nature of the resolution - which was not part of the agenda prepared prior to the meeting - offered little time for consideration.

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