EDITORIAL: Lights are back on for HS sports

The lights are back on at Ely School Stadium. When the coronavirus pandemic hit this past spring, students were sent home to distance learn. All sports were canceled. The lights went dark.
In an effort to lighten the spirits of athletes and fans, baseball and football fields across the state were illuminated once a week for 20 minutes and 20 seconds as a tribute during the spring months.
The Echo editor was stationed at the baseball field, the publisher at the football stadium at 20:20 military time. When the clock struck 8:20 the levers were thrown and the lights went on.
This past Wednesday night there was a different scene at the football stadium. The lights were on and despite rain and snow at times, there were players on the field and fans in the stands.


Letter: …they just increase their budget

Dear Editor:
“More bang for the buck” regarding the $20 million facilities project on the Ely school campus is great news.
Due to lower interest rates this will result in a $2.3 million savings according to the Ely School Board.
Now, we all know how government projects work. There are no real savings, they just increase their budget so they can spend the excess monies.
So be it, now there are no more excuses not to build a new track and field facility.
Joe Folio
Ely, MN


Letter: …Which is it Walz? Stay home or travel

Dear Editor:
Supreme Leader Walz is at it again. He puts our students at risk of the dangers of this pandemic by touring schools throughout our state – potentially bringing Covid19 to communities that do not currently have a problem with it. Then, he poses in a group of nine people mocking those that have been staying home and avoiding large groups.
This should not be surprising. This is the same hypocrite that sends MDH nurses from one side of the state to survey nursing homes on the opposite side of the state.
Which is it Walz? Stay Home or travel freely? Avoid groups or gather wherever you feel? Is there some sort of immunity that the state employees have that prevents them from spreading this disease? Is it not possible for state employees to be asymptomatic?
Al Forsman
Ely, MN


EDITORIAL: ATV trails: The dawn of a new era in Ely’s tourism economy

The future is finally here for Ely’s tourism economy as ATV trails were filled with riders for a state convention this past weekend.
The Prospector Alliance has been working to build trails to connect Ely, Babbitt, Tower and Embarrass for seven years. A lot of hard work is about to pay off for area businesses.
ATV Minnesota held its annual Ride and Rally in the four communities and attracted nearly 200 riders on Friday for a VIP ride from Embarrass to Tower. Politicians including U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, Minnesota state Senator Tom Bakk and Minnesota state Rep. Kurt Daudt, Rob Ecklund and Dave Lislegard were on hand and joined by local officials as well.
On Saturday, over 340 riders left on 12 different rides from seven locations, traveling between the four communities as well as south toward the North Shore. You can do that with over 250 miles of trails.


EDITORIAL: Eight years of wasted government spending over catching minnows

If you’re looking for wasteful government spending, check out the story of the feds spending eight years to charge three Ely people from crossing an invisible line to harvest minnows.
In a case that dates back to 2012 and where one of the key figures has since passed away, the feds charged Bob LaTourell Jr. and his twin sisters Mindy and Missy with violating an act that was passed 120 years ago.
The only good thing to come out of this debacle is that our old friend Jim Maki was an innocent man - something he would have gladly told you if he was still here today.
What is missing from this case is the evidence. There were 1,300 dozen ciscoes (that’s 15,600 minnows by our math) that were confiscated in a raid at the Great Outdoors bait shop.
Despite the best efforts of Ely’s Jeff Anderson, who worked for Congressman Rick Nolan at the time, the ciscoes were never returned. All of this headache and heartache over minnows.


EDITORIAL Mayors’ endorsement puts Range in limelight

It’s not everyday that Ely and Babbitt make national news.
But the communities had their few days in the spotlight this week, and it wasn’t even because of copper-nickel mining.
Instead, the strangest of political seasons had the cameras of a major cable news outlet focused on Ely.
In a matter of two hours Wednesday, both Ely Mayor Chuck Novak and Babbitt Mayor Andrea Zupancich were interviewed on the Fox News Channel, with Zupancich getting a segment on the top-rated program hosted by personality Tucker Carlson.
The topic? The presidential election and the respective mayors’ endorsement of President Donald Trump.
Mayors and other elected officials often take a stand in regional, statewide and national political races.
Candidates for the State House and Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate often showcase the endorsements of regional officials as a means of showing support.


Guest Editorial: Dane: Loggers want to build families where they were raised

(Wednesday night during the Republican National Convention, Minnesota’s Scott Dane, the Executive Director of the Associated Contract Loggers and Truckers of Minnesota gave a nationally televised speech printed below).
I’m Scott Dane, I represent loggers and truckers in Minnesota. But I also represent a way of life.
Logging’s been a part of the great American story from the beginning. In fact if you go to the Capital Rotunda and look up, you can see loggers on one of the panels, New England settlers carving out a new world from the wilderness.
But logging is the most dangerous job in the country but we embrace that risk because we know America was built by strong people building things together.


Letter to the Editor:...cooperators have included trash bags when packing food

Letter to the Editor:
A few suggestions for the United States Forest Service.
For a number of weeks now there have been reports of people finding garbage on many campsites in the BWCAW. It is my opinion that although there are probably many reasons for this, I think there are two that stand out.
1. For the last 30 years or more the USFS has emphasized the importance of personal contact when it comes to issuing permits. This has always been their reasoning for making all parties pick their permit up in person at a Forest Service location, or at one of the many cooperators.
In the past the percentage of parties picking up their permit has been about 50% at the USFS and 50% at one of the cooperators. When issuing a permit the USFS, or one of the many cooperators has an opportunity to make sure the party is familiar with all of the regulations, and are shown the Forest Service video - “Leave No Trace,” if they haven’t already seen it.


EDITORIAL: A project people could support

In the end it really wasn’t that close. Voters in the Ely school district tallied two to one in favor of a $10 million school bond referendum.
The positive vote last week allows the district to start on a $20 million project that will change the look and feel of the school campus. But there were times when the project appeared doomed.
There was a change of superintendents during the planning process and a massive change in what the project was to include. Throw in a pandemic that only allowed for one meeting where the public could ask questions face to face and you have a project that made it through despite the obstacles.


Editorial: A “yes” vote for Ely’s kids, future

Amid the strangest of circumstances, Ely area voters will head to the polls Tuesday and determine the fate of a $10 million school bond referendum.
This, obviously, wasn’t the backdrop envisioned by Ely school officials early in the year as they put together a package to take to district residents for long-awaited, and long-needed, improvements to the campus.
But the coronavirus pandemic and its impact are clearly beyond the control of the school district and we’d best be served to consider the referendum - and the nearly $20 million project itself - beyond the absurdities of today.
Much has been written in this newspaper, in news stories and editorials dating back years, as well as more recently in flyers and documents put together both by the district and a “vote yes” advocacy committee, about the district’s facility needs.


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