Fall events keep Ely rolling

The calendar has turned to late-September and October will be here within days.
A hectic summer in Ely has come to a close - one in which visitors yet again came to town by the thousands to enjoy what our area has to offer.
But it’s not over yet..
Summer is clearly not the only time to enjoy Ely and not the only time that the community serves as a venue for a major event.
Take this weekend and next as Exhibits A and B.
First is this weekend’s Ely Marathon followed up by one of the community’s most unique happenings - the Jake Forsman Memorial Car Show and Burnout Competition.
Both have carved their own niche and attract their own followings, but make no mistake - both are major happenings in our town.
In its brief history, the Ely Marathon has taken off.
What started as a concept has turned into a weekend of late-September fun.


Letter: …For us mining guys, we can only hope that our side gets a fair shake in the courts and that our lawyers prove to be every bit as clever as you.

Letter to the editor:
My Response to Becky Rom:
In the last few months, Becky Rom, has penned numerous letters to the Ely Echo that, at first blush, use questionable data and accusations. Based on her reoccurring playlist of talking points, I have comments and questions for Becky. Change your strategy, you’ve become too predictable.
You fixate on the phrase “sulfide-ore mining.” Literally, you mention it everywhere. Are you actually telegraphing your consent that “oxide-ore mining” is an acceptable method of mining?
Here’s a fact that never rolls off your pen or your lips; that TMM has less than 2% sulfide in its porphyry, and that PolyMet has only .8 of 1% sulphide. Truthfully, the sulfur issue regarding these two mines shouldn’t even be getting an honorable mention.


Letter: …come out and line the routes and cheer

To the Editor:
I’ve run or skied over a hundred citizen races over the years, mostly marathon length, mostly in the middle or back of the pack. And I can testify to the huge lift that comes from the cheering spectators and musical entertainment groups along the course.
They give encouragement to keep going while distracting from focusing on the pain. But I can’t run anymore. So that’s why I’ll again be playing my tuba for all the runners during the 5K Glow Run (Friday evening, Sept. 23) and toward the end of the 8,390 Rod Ely Marathon & Half-Marathon (Saturday, Sept. 24).
I also know that participants return year after year to such events if they’ve had a good time, were well treated, and enjoyed a party atmosphere.
So, come out and line the routes and cheer; then make your way to the Whiteside Park finish line parties and cheer some more.


Editorial: Obituaries - a window into a lifetime

Obituaries are a window into a person’s lifetime and every time we read one we learn something new. This week is no exception.
One of the “obits” on page four is for Mary Jokela who back in 1943 was 19-year-old Mary Tonkovich. With World War II raging on, Mary was called upon to be a spotter for the U.S. Forest Service in Ely.
Near the old city dump, she would climb up the stairs to the top of a fire lookout tower to keep a keen eye out for smoke.
“The towerman is the key figure in the vigilance of the timber stands, with lookout points located in strategic places throughout the Superior National Forest,” the Duluth Herald wrote.
Mary would go on to work in the accounting department of the Oliver Iron Mining Company in Ely for three years. She later married Harold Jokela and had a son, Duane, who shared some photos of his mother in the fire tower.


Three economic needs in Ely: Workforce, housing and childcare

Politicians like to say they will work to bring jobs to the Ely area. But what if jobs aren’t what we need right now?
There has been discussion at the Ely Chamber of Commerce about three problems currently facing businesses: workforce, housing and childcare shortages.
“All three are tied tightly together, each issue being as important as the others. Working together with both local, regional, and state organizations and agencies can aid with finding solutions. The solutions to these critical issues will come from multiple directions using some very creative ideas,” a recent Chamber newsletter stated.
This really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. We know there are enough workers to fill jobs in Ely, especially in the service industry. Businesses close early or don’t even open some days because they don’t have enough employees. That’s a workforce problem.


Letter: …Without hesitation, she said she would meet me at the Ely Vet Clinic. Words cannot begin to express my appreciation for her.

Dear editor,
I need to share something that happened this week for a couple of reasons…
I took Benny and Milo for “rides” on Monday evening to run a few errands. Both of my dogs love car rides so they both come with me almost everywhere.
I had a pack of Orbit gum (the one that fits in your cup holder) that had dropped on my car’s floor but I didn’t think anything of it.
I left the dogs in the car for a few minutes and came back to notice ALL of the gum was gone from the container.
I did a quick Google search to see if gum was bad for dogs and my heart immediately sunk and panic ensued when I read that most sugar-free gum contains xylitol and a single piece can be fatal to dogs within an hour of ingestion.
I immediately called my vet’s office which was closed but there was a recording that told me to call the emergency vet (in Duluth).


Ely Echo Editorial: First test passed with flying colors, now the work begins for local mayors

Races for the state legislature often don’t generate a lot of attention. Sure, locally they do but if you’re looking for the latest polls in a primary, you’re going to have to look further up the ballots.
Both Ely mayor Roger Skraba and Babbitt mayor Andrea Zupancich were confident going into Tuesday’s primary election. But until the votes were tabulated, anything was possible for the two Republicans.
By 11 p.m. it was apparent Skraba would go on to challenge Rep. Rob Ecklund and Zupancich would face Democrat Grant Hauschild to replace retiring Sen. Tom Bakk.
First hurdle down, the biggest one yet to go. There is a lot on the line for the Ely area which could have local representation in St. Paul for the first time. In the past decades it’s been Cook, Orr, International Falls and Two Harbors that have enjoyed one of their residents voting in St. Paul.


Echo Editorial: The community will miss P.I.

We’ve got some big shoes to fill in Ely with the loss of what many are calling a “pillar of the community.” We couldn’t agree more.
Paul Ivancich passed away this week after a valiant battle with cancer. If you knew P.I. then you know he used his positive outlook to battle a deadly opponent. It was that ability to see the good in any situation that made him one of our community’s greatest assets.
Paulie did so many things in his 59 years on Earth, including working at the Echo for a stretch. This was back in the early 1980s when high school sports hadn’t gone through consolidations and rivalries existed across the Range.
There would be nights he and a photographer would drive to Virginia to see the Blue Devils battle Eveleth in basketball, then stop in Babbitt for a high school hockey game against Ely before arriving back in town to catch the fourth quarter of another basketball game.


Winning triple play of events bring crowds, stretch Ely’s capacity

Buckle up.
That’s all we can say to Ely area residents, business owners and those who work at any retail, restaurant or other public-facing establishment.
The next week-to-10 days will be one exceedingly busy, at-times crazy ride.
This weekend’s Blueberry/Art Festival, followed in short order by the Division II Junior Legion State Baseball Tournament and the Ely Watercross event make for a trifecta that will fill the town, fill cash registers and stretch local capacity in every way.
By the thousands, people are descending into town. First for the Blueberry/Art Festival, which after both Covid and severe thunderstorm-related interruptions figures to run at full speed this weekend.
Whiteside Park will have its usual throngs of people and the ongoing construction project at the school has taken away parking spots and mean a long walk for those who will have to leave their vehicles many blocks away.


If Ely were to get a new business…

If Ely were to get a new business, what should it be? A Facebook post by Elizabeth Thunstrom on What’s Up Ely this past week quickly generated over 140 responses.
Being Facebook, there were comments from comedians and would be comedians but there were also thoughtful hopes and wishes.
Our unscientific look at this far from scientific poll revealed some commonalities.
Food: Greek restaurant, authentic Mexican, drive through burritos, McDonald’s, bringing back A&W and even a business that just served soup but many varieties including chili. Sushi was listed several times including “Drive through Live Bait and Sushi.”
Clothing: “A clothing store, middle priced for quality,” was one post. Another said a fleet store with clothing for work, semi-casual, scrubs and seasonal. Our favorite was: “Some place to buy socks and underpants.”


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