Editorial: As Covid lingers, vaccination best defense

There’s a feeling of deja vu in Ely, and not in a good way.
For a second straight year, November has meant more than deer camps and Thanksgiving in the 55731 zip code. Joining those late-fall staples, both last year and again in 2021, has been a sudden and substantial increase in positive cases of Covid-19.
A virus that appeared to be on the ropes if not on its way down for the count this summer has fought back and connected with more than a few punches in recent weeks.
Case counts have spiked in town and at the school, our hospital has admitted Covid patients and a death has sent shockwaves while driving home the point that the virus is no hoax. Odds are by now you know family members, coworkers, friends or neighbors, probably many of them, who have felt the impact of Covid-19.
Yet this November is clearly not same as 2020.


EDITORIAL: This holiday season, think local for shopping, gift-giving

The last week of deer season, bone-chilling winds and now the approach of Thanksgiving are three sure reminders that winter is nearly here.
Those also remind us that Christmas is on the way and it’s time to compile our lists and make a few wishes of our own when it comes to holiday gifts.
As we ponder what to get for our kids or our spouse, parents, nephews and nieces and whomever else on our respective “nice” lists, let’s be sure to also consider who might also need our support this season - our local business community.
Let’s face it - many haven’t had an easy couple of years.
The world changed in March, 2020, and in many ways it has not yet returned to what it was before Covid-19 reared its ugly head.
Nearly all of our businesses faced shutdowns and restrictions early in the pandemic, and while many have reaped the benefits of a pair of busy summers in Ely, many have also dealt with cancelled events and other obstacles along the way.


Editorial: Saving our history has a cost

For over 100 years the Pioneer Mine site has been a part of Ely’s history. But time is a cruel partner to buildings, even those on the National Register of Historic Places. Instead of giving up, a group of volunteers is pushing forward with a plan to save one of the remaining buildings.
The Ely Arts and Heritage Center board is charged with overseeing the use of the Pioneer Mine buildings and works with the Heritage Preservation Commission to find funding for projects.
What the EAHC did a month ago was a bit out of the ordinary. The Captains Dry building, built in 1910, has been left out in the cold when it came to repairs and maintenance over the years and it was becoming clear that without some immediate work it could go the way of the now torn down Engine House.


Letter: …I would also like to encourage people to donate to The Purple Canoe’s, The Longest Day fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association

Dear Editor,

I want to extend my gratitude for you running the article “Paddling with
Purpose…” in your August 28, 2021 Echo. I was born and raised a
612’er but found Ely in the late 70’s. I met Frank “Ozzie” Wattunen
in Minneapolis around that same time. He told co-workers and I that he was
in the process of building a log cabin on family property on Fall Lake. A
simple curiosity led me this way again and I was hooked on the woods and
water. We married on the shores of Fall Lake in 1984 so I guess you could
say I was hooked on him too!


Guest Editorial: America: Where do we go from here?

by Micah Larson
Two roads diverged into a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Our modern America is much like that traveler in the Robert Frost poem. We, as citizens of this free nation, have a decision to make. Wisely-made decisions can transform our country’s future for years to come. It is also a decision that carries with it grave implications.


Editorial: Free speech exists at meetings of the Ely school board as well

We would advise the Ely school board to tread lightly on revisions to its public forum rules. What we have seen so far is concerning, limiting and pushes the limits of First Amendment rights.
Nobody should have to worry about criminal charges or a police citation when addressing their concerns to their elected officials. Yet, that is exactly what could happen if the school board adopts this ill advised policy.
Let’s look at what our Congressman, Pete Stauber had to say just recently on this issue.
Amid a crazy push by the National School Board Association which it has since retracted, to label parents who speak out as “domestic terrorists,” Stauber rightly responded. He introduced a resolution aimed at protecting the rights of those who speak at school board meetings.


This is the fifth Zup’s grocery store in Ely to open its doors

There will be a new Zup’s grocery store opening to the public on Wednesday and by our count, it looks like this will be the fifth one.
In the Echo archives we found information that the first Zupancich Brothers Store opened in Ely in 1916. “Grandpa” John Zupancich started the first store on the southeast corner of Sheridan between Third Avenue East.
The store carried meat and produce but also dry goods, shoes, fabrics and even hardware. Over the years there would be two major additions as the business expanded. John specialized in a variety of sausages and over time he eliminated the dry goods and focused on meat, produce and groceries.
By 1929 many changes were made. Gone were the colorful livery barns which lined the alley behind the store. Deliveries were made by horse and wagon. The store was fully modernized and the meat department enlarged for improved sausage making equipment.


EDITORIAL: Alarming enrollment drop at Ely schools

School officials, whether they are administrators or board members, haven’t had it easy the last year-and-a-half.
The Covid-19 pandemic has turned public education upside down, with not one, not two, but now three school years disrupted.
For far too long, the jobs of principals, superintendents and board members and the issues they normally work with have taken a backseat to all things Covid.
Distance and hybrid learning. Quarantines and contact tracing. Mask mandates and vaccination clinics. This isn’t what they signed up for when entering the realm of public education.
While this week’s school board meeting in Ely shows that the district still has much to do when it comes to Covid-19 and finding a path toward easing a district mask mandate and regaining public confidence and trust, there was another giant sized elephant in the room.


Censored speech isn’t free

A free, uninhibited exchange of ideas is vital in any democracy.
Indeed, it’s been a staple of our country throughout its long, nearly 250-year history.
And it hasn’t just worked at the national level, nor purely in government.
Surely the halls of Congress or the Minnesota State Legislature, the council chambers at Ely’s City Hall, and grassroots meetings held by local townships have all been better off because of rigorous debate.
Issues rise up, people discuss them, and governing bodies come to decisions that any of us are free to support or oppose.
It works that way in newspapers as well.
Readers often tell us, and we wholeheartedly agree, that letters to the editor and a lively exchange on our editorial page not only make for interesting reading, but get us to think.
And even challenge conventional wisdom or the decrees of government.


Ely Echo Guest Editorial: Why we need a community forum

by Brian J. Allfrey,
Executive Director, Utah Press Association
I am not sure what I expected our country to look like in 2021, but I certainly did not expect it to be so fractured and so bogged down in hate. My oldest son was a year old on September 11, 2001. The wave of patriotism following that day gave me hope for the America that my kids would inherit.


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