Opinions/Editorials

Fri
22
Jan

Even amid pandemic, winter tourism vital to local economy

It may have taken awhile, but a couple of chilly evenings and early-mornings this week were a not so subtle reminder that we’re in the heart of winter here in the Ely area.
The sights and sounds of fish houses, snowmobiles and dog teams on local lakes and trails are another sure sign, along with a report that at least one local lodging establishment was busy enough to put out a “no vacancy” sign last weekend.
In a typical year, a three-day holiday weekend, not to mention the trout opener, would be signal enough to expect hordes of visitors to enjoy what Ely has to offer, and to offer a much needed jolt to an otherwise stagnant economic time.
Make no mistake about it, dog teams, snowmobiles and ice fishing are a much-needed pick-me-up for local businesses in the dead of an Ely winter.

Fri
15
Jan

Letter: …democracy is the freedom of speech

Letter to the editor:
Before I start, please know that I do not condone or support the violent events at our Capitol on January 6th.
The single most important ideal in our democracy is the freedom of speech. The reaction of big-tech and the media since the events of January 6 are a direct attack on that principle. 75 million Americans voted for President Trump and are deeply concerned that our democracy is under attack. Google, Apple, Amazon and other corporation’s attacks and shutdowns of social media platforms only confirms the threat to our civil liberties.

Fri
08
Jan

EDITORIAL: City transition went smoothly

Tuesday night the Ely city council was faced with a unique dilemma. The person elected turned down the mayoral position and the council needed to appoint someone. With one objection, former mayor Chuck Novak was reinstated.
This could have dragged out for some time or become contentious but it didn’t. Even council member Heidi Omerza’s opposition was prefaced by saying there was “value” in having Novak be the mayor. She added that his loss in the November election “gave us clear direction.”
But none of the other five council members agreed with her and Novak was appointed on a 5-1 vote.
Novak will serve at least through April, perhaps into August, or even another two years if he decides to enter - and wins - a special mayoral election authorized earlier in the evening by the council.

Fri
01
Jan

EDITORIAL: Data says it all: Walz’s November restrictions need immediate end

From the onset of the COVD-19 pandemic, Gov. Tim Walz has pledged to use data and science to drive the response by his administration.
Walz has cited data when “adjusting the dials” to ease restrictions or add them during the course of the last several months, including his mid-November “dial back” edict that closed restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, paused youth sports and even set regulations on private gatherings.
Now after several weeks, the data has spoken and it’s long past time for Walz to move the dials again and roll back all of the restrictions he put in place several weeks ago.
While we’ve questioned and taken issue with much of Walz’s response to the pandemic, particularly the impact it has had on businesses and schools in Minnesota, there’s no doubt that November was the state’s darkest month when it came to COVID-19.

Fri
25
Dec

EDITORIAL: Wrapping up 2020 at the Echo

This is the final edition of the Ely Echo for 2020. And like many, we’re glad to be putting this year behind us.
The Echo is one of a rare breed of newspapers that is still family owned, with a storefront and a hardworking staff that finds a way to pay the bills in an ever changing economy.
When the pandemic hit there were some worrisome nights not knowing what would happen when our stores were forced to close and people told to stay home. Would businesses continue to advertise? Would people still subscribe to their hometown newspaper?
Nine months later the answer to both questions is yes. Our thanks to the business owners who advertised throughout and to our subscribers who send us checks oftentimes with nice notes attached.
Like many businesses we did take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program which helped to alleviate lost revenues. Some sections of our business never recovered to pre-pandemic levels. But other areas did well.

Fri
18
Dec

EDITORIAL: Bakk continues to blast Walz

Minnesota state Senator Tom Bakk has made one thing clear, he’s not too happy with Governor Tim Walz.
That unhappiness may or may not have contributed to Bakk leaving the DFL but it does reflect outstate Minnesota’s disdain for how the governor has handled the pandemic.
Speaking to the Star-Tribune, Bakk said, “It was a colossal mistake to shut the entire state down” last spring, when the virus was not yet much in evidence in greater Minnesota, Bakk said. “Leaving the big-box stores open while Main Street was closed? It was like he panicked.”
We agree with Bakk on this and would like Rep. Rob Ecklund to pay attention as well. Walz has alienated small business owners and caused economic damage that may lead some to close their doors forever. All the while leaving Walmart, Target and Menard’s to continue serving customers.

Fri
11
Dec

LETTER: … with some of the greatest achievements man has accomplished

Dear Editor,
This undoubtedly will go down in history to be one of the most unusual years in history.
We have experienced hero’s play their parts with selflessness and kindness for their fellow man.
We have joined in unity and prevailed to feed our hungry.
We have rallied with full and open hearts for our beloved workers who take care of our human needs and who keep this great country running smooth.
We have experienced all the emotions that have been all so defined and yet stand steadfast and share relief with our family and friends.
Like sports, tests and jobs there will always be an end goal to achieve, with the great feeling that we’ve done our best and those accomplishments will take us forward to a New Year with some of the greatest achievements man has accomplished.
These people of the United States will always be the front runners for caring, kindness and giving to our small little world - earth that we live on.

Fri
04
Dec

EDITORIAL City took good steps with short-term rental ordinance

Good things come to those who wait.
Well that might be a bit dramatic given the topic, but city officials in Ely can rightly be proud of the work that led to approval Tuesday of a short-term rental ordinance.
The vote this week was the culmination of roughly two years of research, investigation and discussion of the issue.
One local official often jokes about things progressing “at the speed of government,” and that was clearly the case here as the city moved tediously to come up with a plan that best serves Ely.
But there was no pressing need to jump the gun and rush to come up with a half-baked solution or plan. At first glance, it looks like the city got this one right.
There’s no doubt that market demands have changed the landscape of lodging across the country.
Websites such as airbnb.com and vrbo.com have taken off, giving visitors to urban areas and rural communities the option to rent private homes or apartments.

Fri
27
Nov

Editorial: Survey says: Parents want their kids learning in a classroom

The results of the survey were staggering. Make no doubt about it, parents want to see their kids in school learning, even during a global pandemic.
We believe the Ely school district needs to make every effort to get kids back in class as soon as possible. Seems simple doesn’t it? But it’s not as easy as it seems.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that we have a lot to learn about COVID-19. The impact and spread of the disease is something that seems to be changing on a regular basis.
What that leaves us with is numbers, hard data being made available to the public. Those numbers tell us that children from zero to 18 are the least impacted by the virus.
Some states, including Minnesota, believe lockdowns are the solution instead of targeting those most vulnerable. This virus is a menace for those 65 and older, especially those living in long term care facilities where two-thirds of the deaths in Minnesota have occurred.

Fri
20
Nov

LETTER: …thank the Timberwolves football team

Dear Editor,
We would like to publicly thank the Ely Timberwolves football team for helping the Ely Community Resource, Ely Community Health Center and Range Mental Health Center move all the equipment and furniture into the new offices in the American Fraternal Union building on Fourth Avenue East.
It is heartwarming to see these young men involved in a service project that benefits this community. Thank you team and coach for donating two hours of your busy weekend to this project. We really appreciate you.
Thank you from all of us,
Board of Directors of Ely Community Resource
The staff of Ely Range Mental Health
The staff of Ely Community Health Center

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