Hospital project worth a look

Over the course of the next several weeks NFL teams, not including the Vikings, will play down to a Super Bowl champion. The playoffs figure to be a long winding road to Atlanta and we’re intrigued by another winding road that could lead to significant investment in our community.
A $24 million project that could reshape how health care is provided in the future has been unveiled in last week’s Ely Echo. The project includes a major expansion for the hospital as well as the additional of another project that has been looking for a home.
The Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital’s Super Bowl is years away and it’s clear this project is not yet at the opening kick off. But hospital officials are being proactive and community minded in their drive to improve both the hospital and Ely.
It remains to be seen what will come of this project but it seems Ely-Bloomenson is on the right track by promoting itself and striving to enhance existing services and add new ones.


Tragedy on White Iron Lake

A couple riding on a snowmobile ended up in the waters of White Iron Lake. They didn’t make it out. But the story doesn’t end there. Our local first responders spent many hours searching over the Christmas holiday when they should have been home. The tragedy was felt by many.
If you’ve never broken through the ice and had to get yourself out of the water, consider yourself lucky. If you ever do find yourself in that position and are able to get out, consider yourself blessed.
We will likely never know exactly what happened that day. Some accidents are like that. Was it avoidable? Did the weather play a factor? Were there mechanical issues? We can play the what if game forever and in the end two people lost their lives. A tragedy.


Heikki Lunta is alive and well in 2018

Some very old Old Timers have declared that once upon a time, maybe in the ’40s, there was a winter in which thick ice and heavy snow did not appear until close to Christmas; but as Old Timers know, Old Timers’ memories are woefully inadequate.
We had an early start with snow on the ground through deer season but a couple warm days knocked that back and now we have just enough snow for a White Christmas.
Which is probably why there’s been some consternation among members of the Ely Nordic Association, the local organization dedicated to cross country skiing, not to mention the snowmobilers and ice anglers, and those persons engaged in the winter recreation industry - resorts, motels, dog mushers, guides, clothing stores, sport shops, live bait dealers, restaurants, gas stations - who have all been looking at the lack of snow with growing apprehension.


Broadband needs to move forward

There has been an extensive study. There are numerous examples of below par service. The Lake Connections debacle has compounded the problems. What is needed is a clear plan to move forward with improving internet access in the Ely area.
We’ve sat in numerous meetings, listened to experts and put enough information on enough flip charts to start several dozen campfires. But smoke signals won’t solve the problem.
People who live in the Ely area shouldn’t be treated as second class citizens because they don’t live in a metropolitan area. We have the same needs to be able to access the internet without waiting 10 minutes to download a small PDF file.
There needs to be an equality in Minnesota for broadband access. But there isn’t today. We’re not the only area that is struggling but we certainly can make a case for needed improvements.


Developing a more effective flu vaccine

by Senator Amy Klobuchar -


... there was no need for the study initiated by Tidwell in 2014

I write in response to Tom Tidwell, former U.S. Forest Service chief’s commentary, “Industrial mining must be kept away from the Boundary Waters.”


Stauber starts off on right foot

When Pete Stauber announced he was going to run for Rep. Rick Nolan’s seat in Congress, he did so on the front steps of the Ely City Hall.
It was back in July and after starting in his hometown of Hermantown, Stauber came to Ely.
“I drove up here because Ely and the Iron Range matter,” Stauber said.
The question that day was would Stauber matter in a race that heavily favored the incumbent with a well-financed Republican likely to jump back in for another run.
All of that changed when Nolan announced he wasn’t running, followed by Stewart Mills. Instead of running on a prayer, Stauber became the front runner.
On Monday he returned to Ely as U.S. Representative-Elect Pete Stauber and participated in a legislative meeting with area elected officials. He was the only federal official to show up.
Is this a sign Ely will have as good of a relationship with our new Republican House member as we did with Democrat Nolan? We sure hope so.


Wolf management is a disaster

The federal government has made a mess of trying to manage gray wolves. From a botched attempt to delist them from protection under the Endangered Species Act to the debacles at Isle Royale, this has been one screw up after another.
Those hoping for common sense cheered when they read the Republicans who still control the House passed a bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states. That bill is dead on arrival in the Senate.
But the passage of the bill in the House shows the frustration in how the Fish and Wildlife Service has been able to beat back repeated court challenges. The feds attempt to delist and return management to the state and the wolf groups fire up their lawyers and get a friendly judge in Washington to stop the delisting.


Use your voice, take advantage of your right, and get out and vote

Minnesotans, particularly on the Iron Range and especially in the Ely area, don’t need much prodding to exercise their right and vote.
Turnout approaches 90 percent in some parts of our area during presidential election years and even an off-year, midterm election - such as the one coming up next week - always brings a healthy majority of local residents to the polls.
We’re hopeful that polling places are again among the busiest places in town on Tuesday and that turnout is even bigger than normal.
What the heck? Why not see if we can even approach the turnout of a presidential election?
While the race for the Oval Office isn’t on the ballot this time, and while Ely area elections are much quieter than usual, there are a bevy of races that have a big impact on all of us.
Whether you live in St. Louis or Lake County, contested county commissioner races are on the ballot.


Nolan: Stage is set to advance our restore Democracy revolution

Now more than ever, our Nation’s future depends on overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, so we can finally put a stop to the billions of dollars in secret, dark money corporations and special interests are permitted to spend for terrible, false, and negative TV ads.
These messages, which begin months before Election Day, go on ad nauseum – discouraging good people from running for office, denigrating the candidates, driving down voter turnout, and causing Americans to lose faith in their leaders and the integrity of our public policymaking process.


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