Opinions/Editorials

Fri
03
Apr

Editorial: Phone meetings require new skills

All of us are learning to do things differently under new rules due to the coronavirus pandemic. One area that is requiring new skills is for elected officials to hold telephone meetings.
As media we’ve participated in many phone meetings over the years and along the way we’ve picked up some helpful tips that can make a meeting run more smoothly.
When everyone is sitting in the same room there are plenty of visual cues. Body language, eye contact or even a raised hand. That person wants to speak to the issue at hand.
But meeting over the phone the visual portion is lost and the person running the meeting has to have new skills and deploy them.
Here’s some tips we’d like to offer:
1. Make sure everyone who joins the call announces themselves. Have one person ask, “Who just joined?”

Fri
27
Mar

Letter: ...The gang of five comments are appalling and do not reflect traditional Ely values

Dear Editor,
As a long-time Ely resident, born and raised in the bustling metropolis of Winton and participating in the economy of Ely, I strenuously object to the use of racist terminology directed at the mayor by race baiters Betty Firth and Peta Barrett and racist comments directed by Steve Piragis toward another former Elyite.
I also object to the gang of five (Peta Barrett, Betty Firth, Carol Orban, Steve Piragis, and Becky Rom) use of the term boycott and boycott claims which no one said but them.
The gang of five and the organizations they represent have not addressed their own harmful behavior and salacious use of racist comments.
They could have resolved this controversy with a sincere apology and a simple common-sense resolution stating they would never again use racist or derogatory terms directed at any Ely citizens, past or present.

Fri
27
Mar

Letter: ....Call, or ask your neighbor from six feet away, how you can help each other

My Ely area neighbors..
These trying time we find ourselves in are just beginning. We up here are rightfully thought of as a friendly caring community. This time of crisis, which will last for quite a while it appears, is going to give us a chance to prove those thoughts.
It’s been brought to my attention of hoarding of products, and people coming from outside the area to shop at our stores for necessities. The Star Tribune published an article on Saturday March 21st mentioning this phenomenon. I don’t know whether to be proud or worried if people are coming up north to “avoid” the coming catastrophe.
I think my main concern is the thought whether from up here, visiting or in between, hoarding food, toilet paper, and any other product is blatantly wrong.
All the reputable news outlets on both sides of the political aisle have stated food isn’t going to run out. I actually saw a website to calculate how long a roll of toilet paper will last.

Fri
20
Mar

LETTER: ...there is plenty of ore for more than 20 years

Dear Editor:
I attended the showing of the documentary by Save the Boundary Waters at Vermilion Community College. It was full of testimonies from people about how much they love the B.W.C.A. and their fear of it being destroyed. I have paddled and fished in the B.W.C.A. for over 60 years and enjoy it as much as anyone. I’m genuinely grateful to be able to live in such a wonderful area. However, I’m not fearful of it being destroyed by the proposed Twin Metals underground mine.
From my experiences in the B.W.C.A. and knowledge of the direction of water flow, I’m confident that less than 10% of the watershed could possibly be affected by presumed acid mine drainage. None of the area from Basswood Falls all the way to the Gunflint could not possibly be affected. Neither could any of the area south of Crooked Lake be affected.

Fri
13
Mar

Ely Echo Editorial: Anti-mining study’s sky is falling conclusions cater to fear, speculation

A study championed by copper-nickel mining opponents and detailed a couple of weeks ago before Ely’s Tuesday Group makes the case that despite the addition of several hundred new jobs, the Twin Metals Minnesota project would ultimately hurt - and not help - our local economy.
In the long run, we were told, the region would be better served by maintaining its current economic model.
There were charts and data to support this conclusion, although even the study - conducted by a Harvard professor - shows that the Twin Metals would provide an initial boost to the economy.
That boost would last anywhere from two-to-11 years, we were told, but from that point on any gains as a result of the Twin Metals project would be offset by “negative impacts on recreation industries and in-migration” to the study area - which went far beyond Ely to include all of St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties.

Fri
13
Mar

LETTER: ...find it hard to believe they can’t find a lousy 150 square feet in the park

Dear Editor,

Fri
06
Mar

The sad state of ethnic diversity - Where have you gone St. Urho?

No one growing up in the last generation in Ely would have ever dreamed it could happen. The vanishing of St. Urho’s Day as one of the area’s most honored celebrations.
Held this year on March 13, the day before St. Patrick’s Day, the celebration of St. Urho is sadly turning into something of a footnote, with the exception of our friends down Highway 1 in Finland.
In Ely, Mill’s Clothing Store, under the proprietorship of the late Bill Mills (a Finn with an anglicized name) featured the day. Restaurants were decorated green and purple and featured Finnish foods such as kola mojakka.

Fri
28
Feb

LETTER:...You paddle your canoes on the surface of the border lakes, but have no idea how deep the water is and what five generations of families have done to keep it clean.

Dear Editor:
An Indian Story:
The words that are used to cause maximum impact are many.
Several of them remain taboo in public so there will be no caustic idiom here, but I can demo an excellent example. It’s the “F” bomb. The “F” bomb is used in everyday language today and as a result, it’s lost its tough back-stiffening punch that it had 50 years ago.
Today it’s not unusual to hear school kids nonchalantly drop the F-bomb without a thought. It’s been overplayed in pop culture and it’s lost much of its impact if not its social disdain. That’s what happens when a word is overexposed.

Fri
21
Feb

Let’s not use the R word

Several people spoke at the end of the Ely city council meeting Tuesday night. They didn’t like the mayor’s position on mining and comments he had made.
That’s fine and thankfully in this country people can come forward and make their opinions known. What’s not fine and should be considered unacceptable is to throw around a word with a strong, hurtful meaning.
A couple of the speakers accused the mayor of racism when he discussed not supporting Fortune Bay after the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe came out in support of a bill that would stop copper-nickel mining before it has started in our area.
On a national stage we have heard Democrats use the word racism too often and too broadly. We believe this is the same situation. Was the mayor racist in his comments? No. Is criticizing a group of people for a differing opinion racism? No.
Let’s be clear. This was not at all about race and was all about mining. To suggest otherwise is nonsense.

Fri
14
Feb

LETTER: ...we were just as determined to come together as a community

Letter to the Editor:
The Ely Winter Festival very much appreciates the support of the community, the visitors to Ely, and most especially the amazing artists who fill our park with gigantic pieces of art.
You may have heard that on the first night of the International Snow Sculpting Symposium, most of our sculptures were vandalized with spray paint, which was easily shaved off. A few sculptures had pieces knocked off. Most disappointing was destruction of a sculpture that students from the high school and college had been working on with the mentoring of the some of our local professional carvers and the college art instructor. The vandal also vandalized many of the Amateur Blocks, and our brand new warming tent. The Ely Police Department is investigating.

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