Why are you working on my brand new road?

It’s a scene playing out throughout the county. Roads that were resurfaced last year, now have work crews on them again. Why is that? It may not be the reason you think.
Based on the comments we’re hearing, some people assume we’re fixing a problem from the original project. That is incorrect. We’re chip sealing, which is the finishing touch that preserves and protects the pavement. It’s a technique we’ve been using for several years, following extensive research about its cost effectiveness and ability to extend the life of the road, and provide a smooth and safer ride.
In recent weeks, we’ve received numerous questions and some concerns about chip sealing. Here are the facts about this process.


Easy to find culture in Ely

We may be living at the end of the road but the opportunities here are not typical of a small town.
One week ago one of the top selling mystery authors in this country made a trip to Ely. William Kent Krueger spoke at the Ely Public Library on a Thursday night.
The room was overflowing with fans and Krueger didn’t disappoint. His fervent presentation was filled with funny stories and connections to his fans living in 55731.
Krueger’s known for his Cork O’Connor novels, based in the fictional town of Aurora, Minnesota. It must be fictional because there’s a Native American owned casino that O’Connor had to investigate in one novel. He was just the man for the job, being part Ojibwe and part Irish.
The rich history of northern Minnesota is mined by Krueger who uses the duality of O’Connor to help tell his stories from multiple viewpoints.


If your cause is just…

The mining debate in Ely is far from over. Despite a bizarre headline declaring a truce in Ely, there are strong feelings on both sides. We saw this at the Twin Metals listening session at Washington Auditorium, we read about it on our letters to the editor pages.
To have a spirited debate is what this country is all about, the freedom to disagree is one of our greatest freedoms.
Having a long-running discussion over an issue can often lead to one side resorting to unreasonable tactics. That’s when it’s time to stop and reassess.
This past weekend at the Blueberry Art Festival, a booth from the Save the Boundary Waters group appears to have crossed the line. A petition against mining was apparently not bringing in enough people. In order to get more names, prizes were being given away. Sign the petition and you were entered into the drawing for the prizes.


...they are interfering with the national security of this country

This mining controversy has been going on for about three years now. This is just like the environmentalists of the state of Oregon, trying to shut down the lumber industry of this state. From pounding nails and metal object in the trees to be logged, causing injury to the loggers, but the loggers persisted, finally the protestors started climbing trees, daring the loggers to cut the tree.
Some protestors got injured, some got killed, soon the protesting stopped and Oregon’s lumber industry goes humming along, supplying America with lumber.
I’ve been living in Ely for 88 years. I’ve seen the good times and also the bad. When the Pioneer “B” shaft quit mining, the economy slowed down. This mine provided Ely’s workers with good wages and a good living for 69 years.


Storm tested our mettle and taught us a few things as well

The damage from the July 21 straight line winds ranged all across the Ely area. Two lives were lost and countless homes, vehicles and properties were damaged. Some places have been changed for generations.
The National Weather Service tells us this was a massive bow echo thunderstorm with wind speeds in the Ely area clocked from 53 to 62 miles per hour. Those speeds could be higher than what was recorded but power was lost to some recording stations, including the Ely airport.
If you were awake around 3 a.m. you heard what sounded like a freight train and what looked like steady lightning. Throw in downpours of rain and plenty of thunder and many people were in their basements or at least away from windows.


Ely shows up to support Twin Metals mining leases

Wow! Last week we asked people to show up for the Twin Metals listening session at Washington Auditorium. Over 800 people did just that and the vast majority were in favor of the U.S. Forest Service renewing the leases.
There were some great speeches, some lousy speeches, some jeering, some laughing and some heartfelt moments. It was a chance for the people to have their say and boy did they.
Prior to the event there was a pre-event gathering at Whiteside Park; a mining supporter rally at the park; a unified walk to the school and the listening session at Washington Auditorium.
More than one old timer remarked how the event in the park felt like the Labor Day picnics of years gone by, although they were often held at Semers Park. Yet here was a community bonding together, from young to old, from everyday worker to elected official.


Hoping for a big turnout as the circus comes to town

Thanks to local, state and federal legislators, the U.S. Forest Service will hold a listening session in Ely on Tuesday over the Twin Metals Minnesota leases.
We’re hoping for a big turnout at Washington Auditorium. Here’s some reasons why you should attend.
We’ve had historic meetings like this in Ely in the past, filled with emotion and focused on federal rules and regulations. This time the attack comes from Ely and is centered on a company that has put jobs and dollars into our local economy.
Becky Rom and her followers have focused on stopping mining projects including PolyMet which is now moving ahead with permits to mine copper and nickel just west of Babbitt. Rom’s pleas fell on deaf ears in St. Paul and she has not been able to sway elected officials at the local, state and federal level who represent this area.


Land exchange twists and turns now includes taking private land off tax rolls

The long-running debate on how to compensate the state of Minnesota for lands locked inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area has taken another bizzare twist. This time thousands of acres of private property would be removed from the tax rolls.
At a meeting of county commissioners from Lake, Cook and St. Louis counties on Wednesday, were briefed on a proposal from the DNR, Forest Service and the Conservation Fund to buy private lands owned by Potlatch outside the BWCA and exchange them for Minnesota School Trust lands inside the BWCA.
In the end there would be MORE land outside the BWCA under public ownership. There would be FEWER dollars coming to Lake, Cook and St. Louis counties.
This proposal was met with disgust from Cook County commissioner Garry Gamble, St. Louis County Commissioner Tom Rukavina and Lake County commissioners Rich Sve and Rick Goutermont.


Forest Service remarks are shameful

Trying to get a fair shake from the federal government is getting tougher and tougher, especially when the U.S. Forest Service is involved.
A news release on federal leases for Twin Metals Minnesota was sent out by the U.S. Forest Service’s Milwaukee office. The tone of the news release sounded like something from the Sierra Club.
“The Forest Service is deeply concerned by the location of the leases within the same watershed as the BWCAW, and by the inherent risks associated with potential copper, nickel and other sulfide mining operations within that watershed.”
Deeply concerned? Sulfide mining? Holy smokes! This is the agency charged with being neutral on this issue? Whoever wrote this news release ought to be fired on the spot and a public apology immediately issued.
Let’s take a step back and look at some irrefutable facts.


...apparent plan to deny leases to Twin Metals

Dear Editor:
In response to the US Forest Service’s apparent plan to deny leases to Twin Metals, I believe that the Forest Service official(s) are not even interested in doing the scientific review of the technological and remediation processes that would be involved in analyzing the project.
It appears that the Forest Service is again only listening to deep pocket environmental groups and the Governor who seems to be beholden to those eekillogical groups while those of us who were born here, have lived here and worked here for all of our lives, and taken care of the land and water here, don’t get much say in most of these matters.
It seems these groups are opposed to almost every industrial and transportation project in and around Ely and NE Minnesota.


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