Goodbye winter! The ice is out (finally) and summer is on its way (finally)

White Iron Beach Resort

The news arrived Tuesday and it was welcome: finally, Shagawa Lake was open.
But the winner of the Ely Echo’s annual Ice Out contest wasn’t the only one happy.
Those planning to wet a line this weekend or counting on the arrival of visiting anglers were joined by others with smiles on their faces.
After a long, cold and snow-filled winter, and an April that had a never-ending combination of more cold, and more snow, the open waters were more than just a sign that spring hard arrived.
It was much more symbolic than that.
We’d like to think it was a sign of better things to come.
Winter seemed to hang on for dear life in the Ely area, and even the most optimistic among us were beaten down in April.
Even those who love winter have to admit that enough was enough.
An open Shagawa Lake, and the sunny skies and warm temperatures that have finally arrived in Ely, are the portent of things to come.


EDITORIAL: WELY has risen like Phoenix before, unknown if there’s a way to do it again

The rumor of the radio station closing had been in the wind for awhile now. We had inquired if it was available and took a hard look at whether or not we could turn it around.
Then the announcement came out on Wednesday, “Barring an 11th-hour deal being struck for someone to buy WELY - End of the Road Radio, the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa will close the station on June 1, 2022.”
The first thought that came to mind was Ely should send a massive thank you note to the Band for all they did to keep it open. For 17 years the bills were paid, paychecks were cashed and the airwaves were filled with a signal from downtown Ely. But after $1.7 million in expenditures, the Band made the decision they rightly could have made years ago and announced the closure.


Letter:…projects are only a few of the potential economic boom that could occur

To the Editor,
The latest blow to northeastern Minnesota (Twin Metals) should come as no surprise. It’s the most recent in a string of decisions by metro elites to strangle and starve out economic success for northeastern Minnesota’s people.
Let’s just look at the history of job creating projects that have been stifled by outside influences:
Twin Metals, which was going to generate $2 billion in economic activity and employ 750 people, was stopped in a bureaucratic process, when leases were suddenly and unexplainably stopped outside a state and federal buffer zone.
In the near future, the Huber wood products will continue its environmental review process, which has already experienced roadblocks by metro area legislators introducing a bill to stop the project. This project will generate an estimated $400 million, and employ 150 hardworking northern Minnesotans - if it can make it through the regulatory process.


LETTER: …with continuing to use Ely to solicit money for a do nothing campaign

To the Editor,
Will this time in history be an awakening? Will we continue to rely on a global economy without a back up plan? I would hope not.
With the latest petroleum issues that will drive inflation to all time highs and a possible recession, I wonder how the environmentalists feel about their efforts to stop drilling, pipelines, power lines, manufacturing, mining, logging, bridge building, highways, on and on.
We should be independent using our own resources so we can have security and move forward into the 21st century.
The recent decisions made, not by an educated evaluation, but only by a political agenda, to put the Twin Metals project on hold along with the moratorium of these 234,000 acres for 20 years is absurd.


EDITORIAL: Governor’s race comes to Ely with Jensen in town on Monday night

Might Minnesota’s next governor be in town on Monday?
Well Republican front-runner Scott Jensen plans to be here, for an evening (6 p.m.) appearance at the Ely Senior Center.
It’s clearly far too early to say that Jensen should be measuring the drapes in the governor’s mansion.
There’s no guarantee yet that it will be Jensen opposing DFL incumbent Tim Walz in November.
Nonetheless, it was Jensen who dominated the straw poll when Republicans convened for precinct caucuses during the winter, and it’s Jensen who - among numerous Republican hopefuls - has captured the most buzz and attention so far.
Of all the candidates seeking to unseat Walz, Jensen has been most visible and most persistent in opposing and criticizing the governor’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
No doubt that was front and center when rank-and-file Republicans picked Jensen over several other contenders.


Editorial: Since winter won’t let go, let’s jump on board and support Kids Fishing Derby

With another snow storm this week reminding us winter isn’t over, this is the perfect time to think about summer. And what’s more summer than fishing in the Ely area? Now for the best part, how about we all pitch in and support the Northwoods Kids Fishing Derby.
This event will have up 40 kids ages 6-14 out at Veterans on the Lake on Saturday, June 11.
Each participant will receive a free rod and reel, T-Shirt, bandana, and a fishing derby bling bag filled with goodies.
Four components are planned to the event.
Not only will each youth go fishing, but will also take part in a skills section with casting and knot tying, an art component using frozen fish and paint focusing on area macroinvertebrates.
Prizes will be given for fish caught - biggest, smallest and both.


Editorial: An emotional bill signing in St. Paul

When there’s a bill signed in St. Paul there usually aren’t many tears shed. This past week there was good reason to need a Kleenex.
Ely’s second senator was on hand as Gov. Tim Walz signed legislation that will provide $20 million in grants for ALS research and $5 million ALS caregiving.
The disease is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the Hall of Fame baseball player who died of ALS. The effort was led by Senator David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) who was diagnosed with ALS last year.
Using a computer aided speaking device, Tomassoni used his eyes to pick out the words he wanted to say. ALS has robbed Tomassoni of his ability to walk or talk after being diagnosed in June of last year.


Letter to the editor: …this event is fully supported

Letter to the Editor:
I won’t waste my time directing this letter to Ms. Rolando, it’s obvious she listens solely to respond and has no intention of trying to understand. Much of the misinformation in her letter was answered or explained at the P&Z meeting. She chose to hear what she wanted to hear – whether it was said or not. Let me correct some errors for your readers. The people of Ely deserve the truth.
Let’s get this clear to start; Jake was not doing burnouts when he died. Burnouts did not at all factor into the accident that night. It’s been nearly six years since we lost my son. Hearing people continue to share false rumors about him still cuts deeply.


Editorial: Departing Bakk speaks the truth

State Senator Tom Bakk won’t be on the ballot this year but he’s making his mark in St. Paul now. In addition to carrying his bills, Bakk also has everything Sen. Dave Tomassoni was working on before ALS sapped his body.
In a Senate hearing last week, Bakk unloaded on issues the DFL doesn’t have an answer for. Likely one of the reasons Bakk left the party and became an Independent. After what he said this week, we’re going to miss his leadership and his representation of NE Minnesota.
Here’s a portion of his speech:
“I just want to remind everybody, and I don’t know what’s wrong in our country, but there’s something wrong. Maybe it’s our educational system, maybe it’s us as parents but we’ve just become so disconnected as a society from the land. Everything that sustains life is either grown or mined. That’s it, it’s that simple.


Editorial: Remembering Anne Swenson

by Lisa Vidal
Word came on Wednesday afternoon that long-time publisher and owner of the Ely Echo, Anne Swenson, had passed away peacefully. I had known that her time was coming to an end, but I was still unprepared for the flood of emotions that came next after her passing.
I was fresh out of vo-tech when I was hired at the Echo back in the spring of 1999. The Echo had been my first real job and right away I got the impression that Anne was a tougher-than-nails boss. I’d have to say that those first few years working for the Echo were rough. I recall having quite a few conversations with my dad expressing my frustrations about her and he would explain to me what being a business owner is like and that I should “stick it out - things would get better.” Wouldn’t you know he was right. And I’m glad I listened to him.
Over the 20 plus years I had known her, I felt her tougher-than-nails demeanor soften.


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