News

Fri
04
Oct

Ely man injured in rollover

The Minnesota State Patrol reported an Ely man was injured in a rollover on Highway 169.
David Roy Kess, 75, of Ely was driving a Ford Fusion traveling south on 169 Highway near Highway 1 in Tower on Sept. 26 at 5:10 p.m.
The State Patrol reported the vehicle hit the shoulder and over corrected, rolled over, and came to rest in the ditch.
Kess, who was wearing a seat belt, was diagnosed with non-life threatening injuries and taken to Essentia Virginia.
Responding to the call were the St Louis County Sheriff and Tower Fire /EMS.

Fri
27
Sep

School OKs gym ceiling fix

by Tom Coombe
The main gymnasium at Ely Memorial High School will be closed for as long as four more weeks while repairs are made to the ceiling.
At a special meeting Monday, school board members authorized a $63,000 project to install plywood over the plaster ceiling,
The decision came in the wake of a Sept. 6 incident in which more than 70 pounds of plaster fell, after school hours and when the gymnasium was unoccupied.
The gymnasium has been closed ever since, displacing physical education classes as well as the high school volleyball team, which has been playing home games and practicing at Vermilion Community College the last three weeks.
That’s expected to continue until late-October, given a project timeline pegged at four weeks.
Crews from Max Gray Construction, which was tabbed by school officials for the project, are expected to begin work Monday.

Fri
20
Sep

Teck American making roads in Babbitt for future copper-nickel mine

by Nick Wognum
The Babbitt city council heard a presentation Tuesday from a mining company doing exploration work in the area.
Blake Borgeson of Teck American said the company has been in Babbitt since 2007 working on a copper-nickel deposit.
Borgeson said Teck is working on a project within the Babbitt city limits.
Project geologist Dan Foley and Lisa Weidemann, environment and community affairs manager, addressed the council as well.
Weidemann said the company is looking to develop a mine south of the Northshore Mine and east of the PolyMet deposit.
“A lot of the work we’ve been doing this year has just been secure, long-term access to our site,” said Weidemann. “Part of that is a road project. We submitted all of our permits and it looks like we are going to get approval to do some road improvements.”
She said the roadwork is south of Forest Service Road 112, the Skibo Road.

Wed
18
Sep

Ely man dies working on tree after storm

An Ely man died while working on a downed tree in Eagles Nest Township.
Hans Smith, 55, died while working on a tree that had fallen on a house near Eagles Nest Lake the evening of the storm on Sept. 17.
According to the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office, deputies were dispatched to a medical due to a fall at the above residence. Smith had been on the roof removing a downed tree for the property owner and lost his footing falling approximately 20 feet from the roof and onto a propane tank on the ground.
Smith was unconscious and first responders on scene attempted life saving efforts. Smith died at the scene due to his injuries. The cause and nature of the incident appears to be accidental. No foul play is suspected.
Smith owned Beartooth Tree Service and specialized in safely removing problem trees.

Mon
16
Sep

School survey on the way

by Tom Coombe
Ely area residents will soon have the chance to weigh in on a series of proposed improvements on the school campus.
This week, a survey commissioned by the district is set to arrive in mailboxes around the area.
It’s part of an effort to gauge public opinion and sentiment before school board members settle on the size of a potential facilities project that almost certainly would require voter approval and property tax increases.
School officials have looked at options ranging from as little as $5.8 million to in excess of $17 million, but they’ve been reluctant to proceed until they get a better handle on public opinion.
That’s why they contracted with School Perceptions, a firm with an extensive history of successfully predicting the outcome of school referendums.
School Perceptions has promised to determine the “tax tolerance” of area residents.

Fri
13
Sep

Falling plaster closes school gym

by Nick Wognum
The main gymnasium at Ely Memorial High School remains closed and school officials are scrambling for options after more than 70 pounds of plaster fell from the ceiling.
Physical education classes have been displaced while the high school volleyball team has had to find a new venue for practices and games. It’s not yet clear when the gym will reopen.
The plaster apparently fell around 6 p.m. Sept. 6, on a Friday evening when no students were present.
Tim Leeson, the district’s facilities director, told school board members that there was still “dust in the air” when the collapse was discovered by a school custodian on the south end of the gymnasium, on the side closest to the main entrance.
Both a contractor and an engineer were on campus this week to assess the situation and explore repair options.

Fri
13
Sep

Public meeting held on Level 3 sex offender

by Nick Wognum
Over 30 people turned out for a community notification meeting Monday in Ely following the move of a registered sex offender to the community.
Many of the people in the audience live west of Central Avenue.
The offender, Michael John Nord, 41, has moved to the 200 block of West Harvey Street in Ely.
Nord, who served his sentence and was released in March, 2016, has a history of sexual contact with known adult females, according to the release. The investigating agency was the U.S. Army.
He gained access at a bar where he mixed a chemical into their drinks rendering them vulnerable. Contact included penetration.
Brad VanderVegt, the community notification coordinator for the state Department of Corrections, along with Ely police officer George Burger addressed the crowd.
In a question and answer session at the end of the meeting, it was asked if Nord is allowed in bars.

Fri
06
Sep

In Ely, Smith sides with mining foes

by Tom Coombe
During a visit to Ely Tuesday that included meetings with those both for and against the Twin Metals Minnesota project, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D) sided with opponents on a key issue.
Smith criticized the Trump Administration’s decision to halt a two-year study that could have led to a 20-year ban on mining on more than 235,000 acres of national forest land in northeastern Minnesota.
It was a decision that delighted mining advocates and angered those opposed to the proposed copper-nickel mining venture near Ely, and Smith pulled no punches during an afternoon press briefing at Vermilion Community College.
“I think the Trump Administration made a mistake when they stopped that study,” said Smith.
Smith did not directly address a question about her position on another pivotal Trump Administration decision: one that reversed an Obama Administration edict and reinstated federal mineral leases held by Twin Metals.

Thu
05
Sep

Public meeting set on sex offender

A community notification meeting will be held Monday in Ely following the move of a registered sex offender to the community.
The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall.
In accordance with state law, the Ely Police Department will release information regarding Michael John Nord, a Level III sex offender subject to public notification.
According to a news release, Nord, 41, has moved to the 200 block of West Harvey Street in Ely.
Nord, who served his sentence and was released in March, 2016, has a history of sexual contact with known adult females, according to the release. The investigating agency was the U.S. Army.
He gained access at a bar where he mixed a chemical into their drinks rendering them vulnerable. Contact included penetration.
Representatives of both the Ely Police Department and Minnesota Department of Corrections will attend the public meeting and be available to provide information related to public safety.

Sat
31
Aug

Cameras and signs to be posted along Trezona Trail in Ely to warn users about recent wolf attack

Cameras and signs will soon be posted along the Trezona Trail in Ely to warn users of the trail about recent wolf encounters in the area. On Thursday, Aug. 15, a dog out for a run with its owner was attacked by a wolf at about 8:30 p.m. A report was made to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by the dog’s owner, detailing his encounter with the wolf near the Shagawa Lake boat landing.

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