Thanks to Tommy Rukavina, the Fourth District was well served

We’ve had a very good county commissioner manning the post for our area for the past three and a half years. We were very disappointed to hear Tommy Rukavina will not be able to run in this fall’s election.
Health must come first for all of us, even elected officials. All kidding aside, our best wishes, thoughts and prayers are with Tommy, one of the toughest politicians we know. He’s never backed down to a fight before and he won’t now.
On the front page of this week’s paper, Rukavina is pictured with the first winners of the St. Louis County mineral royalties scholarships at Vermilion Community College. It’s only fitting he’s in the photo, if it weren’t for Tommy, this would have never happened.
We sat down with Rukavina a week ago, to talk about his health, his past accomplishments and what kind of legacy he will leave on the Iron Range.


Progress in Ely is often two steps forward and three steps back

The Ely Echo’s annual Progress Edition is a great example of people believing in our area’s future and stepping up to the plate to make this a better place to work and live.
Yet, even with 21 pages of stories, photos and advertising there are some disturbing trends happening here.
This year all indications point to three restaurants not re-opening. Three. Plus Ely’s oldest outfitting business closed its doors and had its assets auctioned off. How many jobs were lost for the summer? If our tourism economy is doing so well, how can this be?
For one, we don’t know how our tourism economy is doing because there isn’t an accurate way to measure it. Even those who point to the Ely area lodging tax know this is a flawed report.
The lodging tax income is derived as a percentage of what was charged. This isn’t a reflection of the number of rooms rented or the number of heads in beds.


Letter to Editor: ... not doing something is not an option when it comes to forging ahead

Dear Editor:
A large number of mining supporters recently attended a presentation at the Senior Center by Steve Saari, sponsored by Up North Jobs, who presented information and data regarding copper-nickel mining and why copper-nickel mining would be in the best interest of the United States. First, the environmental controls would be far more strict than in any other country currently mining copper-nickel.
China’s mining standards, the current leader in the mining of copper in the world, does not have the strict standards that have been established within the state of Minnesota and the U.S. This should concern all citizens within Northern Minnesota because it is more detrimental to the earth’s environmental condition and “global warming.” It also would put the United States in a compromised position due to the reliance of imports from communist China.


Study will help find out how many County jobs absconded to Duluth

How many St. Louis County jobs have been relocated to Duluth? How are our tax dollars being appropriated regionally? If a renewed push to answer these two questions comes to fruition, then it will be worth all the fighting to find out the truth.
Now joined by elected officials across the Iron Range, St. Louis County commissioner Tom Rukavina is no longer standing alone. He’s joined by fellow commissioner Mike Jugovich, and a unanimous vote by the 18-member elected officials on the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools.
We’re surprised St. Louis County commissioner Keith Nelson of Virginia has continued to throw up road blocks on this study and that he continues to side with the Duluth commissioners. Maybe he’s afraid of what the truth will reveal.
Ely and Virginia are perfect examples of how the county has been consolidating jobs in Duluth, taking families and school kids out of communities in the north half of the county.


Public best served by full menu of news

by Jim Pumarlo
Strike up a conversation about press rights, and many individuals likely conjure a picture of editors and reporters demanding access to top-secret data from government officials. No doubt, that occurs more often than most people would like to believe.
The reality, however, is that your newspaper’s push for access to government meetings and public data at local, state and federal levels is simple. We want to deliver information that affects our readers’ everyday lives, and do so in a timely fashion.
Reminding citizens and public officials about the public’s right of access to government information is the focus of “Sunshine Week: It’s Your Right to Know,” March 11-17. At its foundation, Sunshine Week underscores preserving the free flow of information for an open, effective and accountable government.
Consider these examples:


What does America mean to you?

The fifth grade students at Washington Elementary participated in a writing contest on Americanism sponsored by the Ely American Legion Post 248 Auxiliary.
The winners’ essays are listed below. Congratulations to these students for telling us a little bit about what America means to them.


new technology which means it can only get less expensive as it becomes more efficient

Dear Editor:
A closer look at our new neighbor:
I recently read a letter suggesting that “another argument should be brought forth that dealt with science and common sense” when referencing Antofagasta Mining.
Antofagasta is the owner of Twin Metals Mining near Ely. I would like to think that a letter based on honesty, facts and logic might be a better place to start.
The author used some pretty caustic language to depict Antofagasta mining as “a water-polluting, water-depleting, corrupt corporation responsible for severe environmental damage in Chile”. She highlighted the fact that the port city of Antofagasta, Chile’s copper mining hub, is a cancer capital in the country; it is, but not because of Antofagasta mining. Here are the facts.


Nolan was a Congressman for Ely

Ely is only one of many, many communities in the state’s cavernous Eighth U.S. House District, but it had a true friend in Rick Nolan.
Nolan’s surprising announcement that he would retire at the end of the year, rather than seek a fourth term in a second Congressional stint, sent political shockwaves across the state and reverberated in the Ely area as well.
While just one dot on a spacious map that extends from International Falls and Grand Marais to the north and east to Brainerd and the Twin Cities suburbs to the south, Ely seemed to have captured the attention of its Congressman.
Nolan didn’t just campaign here once every two years.
He, as a Congressman should, fought for the community for causes large and small and made frequent visits.


Broadband project important because service in Ely is poor

If your internet service is like watching paint dry, there’s some good news that came out of a meeting on Tuesday.
Here’s what we’ve learned:
• Your neighbors feel the same way. Internet service in Ely is bad. Survey results found more than 90 percent of people are not satisfied with their internet connectivity.
• This is a big deal. The survey said 93 percent of the people who responded feel internet access is very important to them.
• Businesses are in the same boat. Not only does their internet service at home stink, what they have at work isn’t much better.
• Hope is on the way. Two pilot projects, one with fiber to businesses and the other using 80-foot towers to broadcast signals across Shagawa and Burntside lakes could be a big step in the right direction.
How long it will take to start improving a bad situation is unknown. But with the study results in, there is a progress, something we haven’t been able to say for quite some time.


Political caucuses need to go the way of the dinosaur

Bye, bye Walter Mondale’s pie,
Drove a Subaru down the Fernberg & the antis are high.
The good old miners are drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this will be the day the DFL dies …


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