Letter:…sign up to be a volunteer driver for the program

Dear Editor:
Become a valuable member of the VA Health Care System and Disabled American Veterans Volunteer Transportation Team!
Because so many sick and disabled Veterans lack transportation to and from VA medical facilities for needed treatment, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) operates a nationwide transportation network to meet this need.
It is with great pleasure to announce that rides are now available in Northeastern Minnesota for our veterans. This is a vital and extremely beneficial service to our veterans who have served our country.
All DAV drivers are required to be registered Minneapolis VA Volunteer Drivers. Volunteer drivers must have a state driver’s license, a clean driving record, personal auto insurance, no current health or mental issues and must be able to complete a physical and a background check.
In addition to the pleasure of serving Veterans, it’s a great way to enjoy conversations with Veterans and make new friends.


Letter: …Ely Senior Center in need of repairs

Dear Editor:
Ely Senior Citizens are looking for help to repair and upgrade their building.
The Ely Senior Center is a very old building and is in need of repairs and an upgrading. The Ely Senior Citizens have owned the building for 40 years. We are a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization serving all Ely area citizens.
The windows are 40 years old and leak badly. The electrical and kitchen need new equipment and brought up to code.
Monday through Friday Ely area citizens are served meals prepared in the kitchen by AEOA. Carryout meals are also provided daily and delivered by an AEOA bus to Ely Seniors. We also provide transportation by AEOA bus to appoint-ments and businesses.
The center also serves as the home of Oasis International a religious group that conducts services each Sunday morning.


Ambulance problems too common

Two area ambulance services are struggling with one crucial component: having enough employees to respond to calls.
In Babbitt the problem falls in the daytime hours when many of the ambulance personnel are working, either at Northshore Mine or another 9-5 job.
The Babbitt city council has temporarily authorized sending an on duty police officer to respond to calls so there is someone to drive the ambulance. Since the Babbitt ambulance covers from Embarrass to Highway 1 and up to the Blueberry Road, much of the area is outside the coverage of the Babbitt police department.
Options to solve the problem include creating a full-time position to work the daytime hours and insure there is someone available to respond. The cost could be as high as $82,000 a year.
In Ely, the problem lies with low wages for standby workers. The Ely Area Ambulance Service currently rents a house for employees to stay at since half of them don’t live here.


...and he never took my money

Dear Editor:
I just finished reading the November 9th edition of the Echo.
It truly warms my heart to see all the Veterans recognition stories and ads.
I was an Ely resident when I joined the Navy on July 1, 1982.
At that time our country still had the bad taste of the Vietnam Conflict in its collective mouth.
It wasn’t “cool” to be in the military. Except in Ely. Every time I came home on leave to visit my parents, I would make my rounds.
I always stopped at Zaverl’s to see Gary. Prior to my enlisting, he and I had many a discussion about joining the Navy as I was deciding exactly what to do with my life.
Gary ALWAYS had a cold beer waiting for me when I was in town. On the house!!
I’d stop by to get a hair cut with Jerry the Barber, and he never took my money. After all, he was a Navy Vet himself.
I haven’t lived in Ely for over 37 years, but now spend my summers there and still consider Ely my hometown.


Paying Tribute to Our Veterans

On the 11th day, of the 11th month, we pay a special tribute to our veterans—honoring those who served in every war since our nation was founded. Whether it was the beaches of Normandy, the hills of Korea, the mountains of Afghanistan, the deserts of Iraq, or right here at home—these extraordinary men and women all heard the call of duty and answered it.

When our service members signed up to serve there wasn’t a waiting line, and when they come home there shouldn’t be a waiting line for the benefits they’ve earned. That’s why we’ve worked across the aisle to modernize the G.I. Bill benefits for our troops, strengthen funding for veterans’ health care, improve mental health care for our soldiers, and ensure that our VA system provides shorter waits and better care. Our veterans deserve to be treated with the dignity befitting their sacrifice and that also means making sure they have a safe and affordable home.


...you captured that in all aspects

Dear Editor,
I would like to thank the Ely Echo for the excellent coverage you did on the 3rd Annual Jake Forsman Memorial Car Show and Burnout Competition.
The editorial, the article, and especially the photos on page 12 illustrate very well that this event is about so much more than cars. Most importantly, it is about family and community.
You captured that in all aspects of your coverage.
Thank you!
Al Forsman and the extended Forsman family


Letter: ...so much hate in this world today

Dear Editor
So, I have been hearing lately so much about the environment and how folks are so worried about our children and grand children not having a clean, beautiful world to grow up in.
Well, I hate to break it to those people, there is so much hate in our world today that our kids don’t have a chance on this planet. What they have to look forward to is hate, crime, high anxiety, and wanting everything given to them. They have the internet to teach them (and that’s not a good thing) and young teachers who are coming out of colleges to teach them their views to the kids and not how to think for themselves, be independent and have values, faith, self worth and not be judged and called names for having those values and opinions.


Letter to the Editor: ...disabled veterans…will not continue to be denied access to the BWCA

Dear Forest Supervisor Cummings:
Three years ago the United States Forest Service initiated a study required under a settlement with Wilderness Watch and stopped issuing commercial permits on the Superior National Forest.
Consequently, the Forest Service recently held an open house in Ely at the Vermilion Community College to talk to the public about recreational commercial services provided on the Superior National Forest.
Attendees were asked to provide information about which types of recreational commercial services they use, where they use those services on the Forest, and which additional recreational services they believe the Forest Service should encourage and permit. Attendees were also encouraged to provide the Forest Service with written and oral comments.


Ely Echo Editorial: Let’s give disabled people and all veterans a free BWCAW pass

A letter printed in this week’s Ely Echo points out the problems with the permit system for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Forest Service’s lack of helping disabled people experience the area.
There are some good points that were made and we believe the Forest Service has again ran afoul of the law and been too worried about creating an artificial wilderness than making sure people can actually go there.
We’ve said before in this space that with fewer and fewer people going to the BWCA that all options should be looked at to put more heads in tents if you will.
One way to do that would be to help our disabled people along with our veterans. The best way to help them? Give them a free pass. No permit, no lottery, no hassle. Just go.
These people have a hard enough time in the case of those with disabilities and for our veterans, we know they’ve earned the right to visit the very places they vowed and/or fought to defend.


Bridge a bonus for new ATV trail section

With over $3 million in construction for ATV trails in the Ely, Babbitt, Tower and Embarrass area, there will be new sights to be seen. This past weekend one of those sights was an old one.
For snowmobilers the pictures of the bridge over the Kawishiwi River in this week’s Echo are familiar, albeit without the snow and ice.
For ATVers, this was a new experience as the bridge previously wasn’t part of a summer trail system. Seven months out of the year the bridge sat unused. That has now changed.
The Prospector Loop ATV Trail system opened the section from South Farm to Spruce Road and beyond, including the Kawishiwi River bridge.
Days after it opened, the bridge was the scene for a photo of the 100+ people who were part of a benefit ride for Special Olympics Minnesota.


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