News

Fri
02
Oct

More bang for the buck

by Tom Coombe
A nearly $20 million facilities project on the Ely school campus continues to take shape, with updated drawings and some welcome news for district taxpayers - including principal and interest costs that will be nearly $2.3 million less than earlier estimates.
An update at Monday’s school board study session revealed new drawings of a structure that will link the Washington and Memorial buildings and include a new gymnasium, cafeteria, commons space, classrooms and office areas.
Meanwhile, the bond sale linked to a $10 million, voter-approved referendum has been completed with “significantly lower interest rates than projected,” according to district financial advisors.
The district will pay 1.3998 percent on the debt, far below intial projection os of 3.24
“It’s great news for the district and great news for the taxpayers,” said Jodie Zesbaugh, senior municipal adivsor for Twin Cities-based Ehlers Public Finance Advisors.

Tue
29
Sep

Free COVID-19 testing event offered in Ely next week

The Minnesota Department of Health and St. Louis County Public Health are partnering to offer free COVID-19 tests in Ely. The one-day, drive-thru testing event will be held at the St. Louis County/Ely Public Works Facility, 2210 East Sheridan Street in Ely, on Tuesday, October 6, noon to 6 p.m.

Anyone who wants to be tested is encouraged to come, even if they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19. No insurance or identification is needed.

While the testing is being done in Ely, residents from all surrounding communities, including in Lake County, are welcome and encouraged to be tested.

For convenience, people are encouraged to pre-register. This will give them a specific time slot and minimize time waiting in line. People can register online at primarybio.com/r/saintlouis. There also is a link to register at stlouiscountymn.gov/COVID19.

Fri
25
Sep

Trump gives a shout out to Winton mayor

by Nick Wognum
U.S. President Donald Trump took time from a campaign rally speech in Bemidji on Sept. 11 to recognize Winton Mayor Kathy Brandau.
Also recognized were Babbitt Mayor Andrea Zupanich, Auorora Mayor Chris Vreeland and Virginia Mayor Larry Cuffe.
Trump cited the mayors who endorsed Trump “in the Iron Range area” and asked Cuffe why he did so.
“Because you’re the best candidate we could ever hope for” Trump said Cuffe replied. “That’s cool man, thank you,” said Trump.
“Andrea Zupancich, where’s Andrea?” Trump said, struggling a bit with the pronunciation. “Thank you very much, that’s really nice.”
Trump also thanked Vreeland and then turned to the mayor of Winton.
“Kathy Brandau. Kathy Brandau, thank you Kathy. I hope you’re having a good time tonight, we’re not going to let you down, you know that,” said Trump.
Brandau said the whole event was something she won’t forget.

Fri
25
Sep

Board hopefuls share opinions

by Nick Wognum
Four candidates for three Ely School Board positions found plenty of common ground Tuesday night.
A candidates’ forum, held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, featured no fireworks and a few technical glitches, with sketchy rural internet service often disrupting responses delivered by candidate Darren Visser.
One of three first-time candidates, Visser joined fellow political newcomers Rachel Brophy and Hollee Coombe and incumbent Tom Omerza at the event sponsored by Ely’s Rotary Club and the local branch of the American Association of University Women.
The candidates took turns answering questions in the 90-minute event, and all four voices consistent support for district teaching staff and providing further opportunities for students.

Fri
18
Sep

School moves to hybrid model

by Tom Coombe
The Ely School District is moving to a hybrid model of education for students in grades 6-12, starting next week.
The decision by school administrators came Thursday, amid rising COVID-19 case numbers in Greater St. Louis County and the Ely area.
It means middle and high school students will attend classes in-person two days per week and receive distance learning for three, but children in grades K-5 will continue daily in-person learning.
Ely will shift gears after just two weeks of classes in the wake of data that put the district above the threshold to consider a move to hybrid learning, but in conflict with a recommendation from St. Louis County Public Health to continue in-person learning for at least another week.
“I think the administration as a whole is supportive of going to a hybrid model,” superintendent Erik Erie said Thursday, during a meeting of the Ely Safe Learning Plan Advisory Council.

Fri
18
Sep

Piragis growing across street

by Tom Coombe
An Ely business has a major expansion in the works - one that will add new jobs and change the landscape of the western edge of the community’s business district.
Piragis Northwoods Company is moving its outlet store across the street to a brand-new structure that will be located next to Northern Grounds. on three city lots.
But before a project estimated at $400,000 to $500,000 moves forward, the building that most recently was home to Looney’s Northwoods Emporium will have to be demolished.
Ely city officials cleared the way for that step Tuesday, authorizing an application for demolition funds from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.
Owner Steve Piragis briefed city projects committee members about the plans Monday and his daughter Elli addressed the city council Tuesday, when the grant request was approved unanimously.
Job growth is part of the plan, according to Steve Piragis.

Tue
15
Sep

Ely death attributed to COVID

by Tom Coombe

At least one resident of an Ely assisted living facility has died from COVID-19, and four deaths were reported there over the weekend.

A news release issued Tuesday by Carefree Living reported “with a heavy heart, four resident deaths within our community."

The news release did not identify COVID-19 as a cause of death, but an obituary notice indicated that the death of one of the residents, an 83-year-old woman from Ely, was attributed to the virus.

Local health officials indicated last week that there has been “an outbreak" of COVID-19 cases as the Ely assisted living facility, involving both residents and at least one staff member. Since Aug. 27, the cumulative count of COVID-19 cases within the Ely 55731 zip coded climbed from nine to 21, with several cases attributed to Carefree.

Sat
12
Sep

ATVers invade Prospector Trail

Ready or not, ATV riders will invade the Ely area this coming weekend as part of ATV Minnesota’s Fall Ride and Rally.
The Prospector ATV Club is hosting this year’s event that had to be toned down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We had to scale back for this year’s event but next year we will be hosting again so we’ll get a chance to really put on a show,” said
Prospector ATV Club president Nick Wognum.
The event kicks off Friday with a pancake breakfast outside at Timber Hall with a VIP ride from Embarrass to Tower to following including an outdoor catered lunch from Fortune Bay Resort and Casino.
Later on Friday the city of Ely will hold a ribbon cutting at the Ely Trailhead Project starting at 4 p.m. On Saturday there’s a 12-pack of rides for ATV riders to choose from as they head
out on the trails.

Sat
12
Sep

COVID cases climbing in Ely

by Tom Coombe
After steering clear for several months, COVID-19 is making its presence felt in the Ely area with a sizable jump in new cases, including 12 in the last two weeks.
The latest statistics re- leased by the Minnesota Department of Health and St. Louis County show that 21 residents of the 55731 zip code have tested positive for the coronavirus since March.
But that number was just nine as of Aug. 27, and classified at “five or less” the week before.
Those numbers have since been on the rise, in
part because of cases linked to the Carefree Living as- sisted living facility near the hospital.
“We have an outbreak at Carefree,” Ely physician Joe Bianco said Tuesday.
But Bianco added that the growth in cases “is not just CareFree. There are other cases with other stories behind them.”
Merle Sampson, who owns the CareFree facil- ity, said last week that a staff member and two resi- dents had tested positive for COVID-19.

Fri
04
Sep

Students return to school on Tuesday

BACK TO SCHOOL - New kindergarten teacher Kara Kahle was getting ready for students to return to class at Washington Elementary. Students have been out of classrooms since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most students will be back in class on Tuesday, kindergarten students start on Wednesday.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - News