Election aftermath: split decision ensures more of the same

Election Day has come and gone and we’re thrilled to see the extraordinary interest in the Ely area - where turnout was through the roof - and across the state and nation.
But those looking for some clarity, and a break from the political divide that exists seemingly everywhere, figure to be in for disappointment.
Voters delivered what at best could be called a split verdict Tuesday night.
Across the nation, Democrats took over the U.S. House as expected but Republicans gained seats in the U.S. Senate.
The House losses were typical for a president’s party during his first midterm and clearly not at a level suffered by recent presidents including Obama (2010) and Clinton (1994).
In Minnesota, it was more of a victory for Democrats as the party continued their winning streak in statewide elections, with crushing victories in both the governor and two U.S. Senate races, and a sweep that puts the DFL in charge of the State House.


Bad week for Radinovich, but will Stauber blow it with e-mail coverup?

Few if any candidates for Congress in Minnesota, or anywhere in the country for that matter, had a worse week that Joe Radinovich.
In a span of a few days, the DFL nominee in Minnesota’s Eighth House District lost his campaign manager, over $1 million in critical advertising support and fell behind by a whopping 15 points - if a poll commissioned by the New York Times is accurate.
One doesn’t need to be a soothsayer to see which way the wind is blowing in what, by all accounts, had figured to be very close race.
Stauber, the Republican nominee, seems well on his way to succeeding Rick Nolan in Congress.
Some national observers have shifted their ranking of the race from the toss-up to lean Republican category.
And even if the Times poll is off, as some have suggested, Stauber seems to have ample breathing room to roll to victory on Nov. 6.


Lesser-known broadband policy leaves rural areas out

by Johnathan Hladik, policy director
Center for Rural Affairs


Keeping peace and civility in mind as we publicly debate

This past week the national stage was filled with debate over whether or not to confirm a new Supreme Court justice. Here in Ely folks are talking about the future of the Community Center building.
Having civil discussion on the issues of the day is a right guaranteed by our Constitution. And while we respect each person’s opinion, it is a civil discussion that can be lacking at times.
In Washington where politicians will say nearly anything to stay in office, we’ve come to expect a level of party loyalty that leaves common courtesy and common sense back in the cloakroom. Is it surprising? No. Both sides have dug in so deeply they can no longer see the sky. They just see more dirt they can throw.
We’d like to see Ely stay away from the rhetoric going on in DC. But last week there were comments made in a public meeting that didn’t make us proud. What needs to happen is to focus on the “what” instead of the “who.”


BWCA online reservation system is doomed to fail

The U.S. Forest Service may end up being responsible for damaging several Ely area businesses and upsetting a large section of BWCA motorboat permit users.
A letter sent out last week from the Duluth office reaffirms the decision to do away with the permit lottery for motor entry points.
This includes:
Day Use Motor Entry Points:
• D Fall Lake, Newton, Pipestone & Beyond
• F Moose Lake to Newfound & Sucker Lakes
• G Moose Lake to Prairie Portage to Basswood
Overnight Paddle & Overnight Motor Entry Points:
• 24 Fall Lake
• 25 Moose Lake
The Forest Service believes an online permit reservation system will work better. But for individual users and businesses who rely on the scarce motor permits, this is a recipe for disaster.


Fewer students magnifies need for jobs, and an attractive campus

It’s not time to push the panic button or set off any alarms, but news from the Ely School District this week should give all community leaders cause for concern.
For the first time in a few years, enrollment has declined in the local schools and there are fewer students sitting at the desks or walking the hallways in the school buildings.
How many less? The district took a roughly five percent hit, with K-12 enrollment of 565 a noticeable drop from the 596 reported this time last year.
A tiny kindergarten class, with fewer than 30 students, is the source of much of the decline.
But the bottom line is that nearly all of the impressive gains the district has made since 2015 were wiped out in one year.
That’s concerning on several fronts.
First of all, the loss of 30 students creates a hole in the district budget, probably to the tune of about $300,000.


Trump delivers on promise to cancel mineral withdrawal

President Donald Trump came through on a promise to cancel a mineral withdrawal for northeast Minnesota instituted by his predecessor.
With 234,000 acres returned to mining exploration and development, Trump may have added to his support in the Eighth Congressional District.
Trump won the Eighth in 2016 and has followed through on requests from local groups and politicians to undo a wrong. Remember, the Eighth went to Democrat Rick Nolan, a shocking win considering the circumstances.
Yet, not surprisingly, Nolan agreed with Trump on this issue:


Hunting’s new problems: West Nile virus and CWD

Hunters in Minnesota have already got enough problems. Now there are two more to worry about, West Nile and CWD.
For hunters wondering what happened to the grouse population, West Nile may be the culprit. Scientists have already documented how crows and blue jays can be devastated by West Nile, they don’t know if grouse suffer the same ending.
The DNR released information on a study Thursday that asks grouse hunters to collect information to determine the impact West Nile Disease is having on the grouse population.
“West Nile virus is carried by infected mosquitoes. Not all people or animals bitten by an infected mosquito will contract West Nile virus. There have been no documented cases of people contracting West Nile virus from consuming properly cooked meat. Although the virus has been present in Minnesota for quite some time, a study in Pennsylvania indicated the virus could impact ruffed grouse populations when combined with habitat stresses.”


Election by the parties gets overruled by the people

The rules governing a primary election are written by and for the two major political parties. It’s their way of picking who will represent each party in the general election. At least, in theory.
For the DFL, that doesn’t always work out so well. While the DFL held a state endorsing convention to give voters an “endorsed” candidate, that endorsement can be of little or no use.
Case in point. The governor’s race. The party loyalists decided they wanted someone more liberal than who was presented to them as the front runner, Tim Walz. So they picked Erin Murphy.
Walz even teamed up with Rebecca Otto to try to persuade the convention to go with no endorsement. That didn’t work. Party operatives pushed for an endorsement and got the liberal candidate they wanted, Murphy, endorsed.
This was a disaster. Voters flatly rejected Murphy and Walz became the DFL candidate on the ballot in November for governor.


Fighting fires, fighting cancer

by Senator Amy Klobuchar -


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