Burnout competition leads to $12,000 in scholarships for Ely H.S. graduates

Ely high school graduates are blessed with some very generous donors who give out tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships every year.
There were $83,000 from local scholarship providers and $44,000 from regional scholarship providers given out on Wednesday night. Ely’s 45 graduates were able to apply for more than one scholarship to help them once they move on to a university or trade school.
For six fortunate students, there was a very significant scholarship that rewards those who will more than likely be mechanics or work in one of the many other trade professions.
Last fall another Jake Forsman Memorial Burnout Competition and Car Show was held in front of the Ely city hall. The event was again a success and through the hard work of a large group of volunteers, monies were raised for scholarships.


Editorial: Business owners will need leeway, unique ideas to survive coronasummer

It’s far too early to determine the impact the coronavirus will have on Ely’s economy - except to say it is widespread and severe.
Some businesses have been shuttered for weeks while others have had to adjust on the fly to a new and hopefully very temporary reality.
One would be hard-pressed to find any business in the Ely area that hasn’t been hurt in one way or another by several weeks of stay-at-home shutdown.
We fear the worst may be yet to come, with the coronavirus continuing to hover like an ominous storm cloud over Ely, which relies so heavily on visitor traffic from May through September in order to survive.
Cash registers don’t ring when the sidewalks are empty, events are called off and travel is restricted or merely discouraged. The ripple effects are disastrous: fewer jobs and business owners struggling to keep their doors open.


EDITORIAL: Pandemic even complicates the BWCA motor permit system

The coronavirus pandemic has yet another victim, people who have motor permits for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
Info from the Forest Service on this issue shows it’s going to be tricky for permit holders this year. The main problem will be what day you can go.
Motor permits are for a seven day period with the user picking what day they want to enter the BWCA. This year, however, the USFS is encouraging users to pick what day to go a week ahead of time.
We all know the ability of weather forecasters when it comes to telling us if it’s going to rain tomorrow but a week from tomorrow? Your odds may be better with lottery tickets.
Here’s what we know:
“Ideally, day use motor permit holders can select their desired entry day to enter the Wilderness prior to this seven day timeframe, receive and print the automatically generated confirmation email seven days out from the permit week and be set to enter the Wilderness.”


Why Americans should support newspapers during COVID-19

Newspapers in the United States have traveled rough seas to the First Amendment freedoms we enjoy today. From the colonial Stamp Act through wartime censorship to today, when thousands of newspapers were slammed with the public health emergency known as COVID-19, people who work for newspapers have never had completely smooth sailing.
Now most of the businesses that advertise with us are shut down. The pipeline to make our payroll shut down with them. People are restlessly waiting in their locked-down homes for us to bring the news nonetheless.
Across the country, journalists and the thousands of people it takes to let them do their work — from publishers to ad sales people to printers — are figuring out ways to keep the news coming.
A disheartening chord is sounding here and there across America’s mournful song about this tragic era: why should Americans still support newspapers?


EDITORIAL: Blueberry decision seemed rushed

A decision by the Ely Chamber of Commerce board of directors to cancel this year’s Blueberry/Art Festival seemed rushed and could have been delayed.
The announcement came over 100 days from the July 24 start of the three day event, Ely’s largest tourist attraction each year. Thousands of people flood the community and businesses cite that weekend as being the one that pays the bills and helps keep them afloat through the rough winters we have here.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a worldwide impact, no doubt, and has been devastating in Ely economically but not medically. Through a stroke of luck, social distancing or the grace of God, our hospital has not been overrun or our clinic taxed to provide services.


Echo Editorial: Major broadband project for rural Ely needs help to complete funding package

A revised broadband project that would provide much-needed service to rural Ely residents in the Town of Morse has hit a funding snag.
The project now seeks to use cutting edge wireless technology to provide up to 200Mbps service to customers within line-of-sight of towers and repeater sites. Customers without line-of-sight may be eligible for service up to 25Mbps.
Currently these residences and businesses have to choose between nearly non-existent speeds from Frontier or gamble on satellite connections.
Isaac Olson of Treehouse Broadband, LLC gave an update to the Morse board Tuesday, describing how the point-to-point and point-to-multipoint wireless broadband system would serve over 300 locations in the Burntside Lake, Little Long Lake and Wolf Lake areas.
The $600,000 project would include two 100 foot towers along with repeater sites and at customer homes and businesses Treehouse would install 18-inch receiver dishes and indoor WiFi coverage.


Letter: ..people step-up and show a can-do attitude

In these most trying times for all of us, I have seen many people step-up and show a can-do attitude.
City of Ely staff have kept our community going despite the new challenges of each of their duties.
I am very proud of all of them, but today, I want to publicly acknowledge the way Casey Velchef has ensured the smoothest possible operation of the City’s virtual meetings.
A month ago, I am not sure anyone would have even considered what we are doing today.
Seeing the way things had to change, Harold Langowski, Casey Velchef, Jim Robbins and Mauro Caruso got together and came up with a system to allow this.
All over our world, people adapt in ways we never fathomed they would need to. I salute all of you. Hang in there.
I look forward to the day we can say: “Wow, those were crazy times – I’m so proud of the way we worked together to get through it. What a great community we have!”
May God bless you all.


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?”


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.


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.


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