Merry Christmas from D.C.: Loggers finally catch a break

Local loggers and truckers will benefit from a provision passed in a transportation bill recently signed into law.
With the help of Rep. Rick Nolan, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, logging trucks will no longer have to drive city streets in Duluth instead of I-35.
For Ely logger Elroy Kuehl, driving a semi truck full of logs down London Road and Superior Street never made sense. These streets were made for cars, not logging trucks.
So Kuehl went from logger to advocate, starting with Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack who rode with Kuehl in a caravan through Duluth in 2012 to bring publicity to the issue. For some reason the late Rep. Jim Oberstar wasn’t interested.
Unfortunately Cravaack wasn’t in office long enough to make it happen in 2012. It took three more years of lobbying before a common sense solution was passed.


...chasing sustainable fuel unicorns

Dear Editor:
Everywhere I listen and look now, there are ads put out by the government telling parents to bring their kids to the woods. I think they finally figured out what I’ve known for about eight years now. Trouble is - it’s too little, too late.
During the “staycation” times of this administration’s tenure, we have lost an entire generation of kids interested in nothing but their electronic babysitters. Instead of improving the economy and then playing with climate change, they spent borrowed money on foolish things that they called “sustainable” which later collapsed into a pile of more debt for us all.


Future of steel industry in USA directly linked to survival of Range

When he spoke in Ely Dec. 3, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk gave the group an insider’s look at what ails the Iron Range and in turn Minnesota.
The future of the iron mining industry took center stage and Bakk pulled no punches. “There’s no way to save (the mining industry) unless they save it in Washington, D.C.,” said Bakk.
Whether this country moves forward with a steel industry is the real question at hand. There are a handful of states that are on the verge of trying to handle a knockout punch. Minnesota is at the front of the line.
Without a steel industry, it will be nearly impossible for the Iron Range to produce and sell taconite pellets in the future. Without a steel industry, our country will become dependent on other countries at a level never seen before in history.


The VFW reflects on the attack that tested America’s resolve

This National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, the VFW reflects on the event that changed the course of history and altered America’s destiny.
The attack on Pearl Harbor 74 years ago left more than 3,500 men and women dead or wounded and tested America’s resolve like never before. But when the dust settled on one of America’s darkest days, a reinvigorated and tenacious nation awoke determined to defend our freedom and way of life no matter the cost.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke with prophetic words when he later remarked, “No matter how long it may take us to overcome … the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.”
The incredible odds we faced in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor served to bolster the indomitable spirit of our nation – carrying us through to the ultimate victory against the Axis powers, just as President Roosevelt had predicted.


Special session needed in St. Paul, major action needed in Washington

The news of Northshore Mining idling their operations in Babbitt and Silver Bay on Dec. 1 was a direct hit to the area’s economy. What’s needed now is a combined approach from state and federal elected officials to solve what could turn into a major downturn for the Ely area.
We support Gov. Dayton calling a special session to extend unemployment benefits for taconite mine employees. There are likely to be 1,000 families that will be directly affected, and once the benefits run out they will be forced to make some tough decisions.
The last thing our area needs is to see families pack up and leave. Our schools can’t take it, our businesses can’t take it and we can’t take it.
There’s some game playing going on with what is to be discussed in a special session. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and Dayton have discussed including narrowing Minnesota’sracial disparities in the special session agenda.


Ely businesses ready for you to shop locally so check them out first

Why should we, our friends, our neighbors, and our fellow employees shop locally?
Good question!
Businesses in the Ely area have the products you need at competitive prices and you are supporting your community by shopping locally.
We’re very fortunate to have a wide variety of shops offering merchandise that ranges from your everyday needs to items you just can’t find anywhere else.
So if you’ve got your shopping list and you’ve checked it twice, be sure to take a look around here in town first.
If you’re shopping for the younger crowd, we’ve got stores that have unique games, toys and clothing that will fit any size and age.
Got someone on your list that needs good winter clothing and footwear? Ely has several stores that can provide you with the warmth you want your gift to carry with it.


Remembering our Veterans

by U.S. Senator Al Franken, November 2015

Each year, my Senate office holds a poetry contest for Minnesota students so that they can write about the “veteran in their lives.” Often they write about a parent or another close friend or relative who has left home for extended periods to serve our nation in the armed forces.

As I read the winning entries, I’m always struck by the descriptions of the great sacrifice our service members and their families must make so that our freedoms are protected. One winner expressed her appreciation this way: The ones who had loved/The ones who had laughed/The one who died/Helping you to survive/They will never be forgotten. In so many of these poems, you can see the admiration the students have for the people they write about, leaving little doubt about the deep impression the experience has had on their lives.


Ely rallies around three high school teams playing in state tournaments

On the front page of last week’s Ely Echo there were two stories that appeared to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. One was on how proposed copper-nickel mining has created division in the community. The other was on Ely High School sending three teams (football, boys cross country and girls cross country) to the state tournament level.
From the excitement around town this week, it appears the community has come together to support a group of student athletes who have defied the odds and launched Ely into the state spotlight.
Ely Memorial is far from the largest school in the state, in fact we’re on the small side. Our football team competes in the 9-man division. The reason for the 9-man division? To help schools who don’t have a large enough student body to field competitive 11-man teams.


... let the process continue based on facts and science rather than opinion, sensationalism, and misrepresentations

Dear Editor:

A group of copper mining opponents spent over an hour Tuesday night presenting at the Ely City Council study session. The fourteen speakers went over the amount of time they had expected, and a planned Power Point presentation was eliminated and then the podium was vacated.

Mayor Novak asked if there were any questions and I chose not to ask the number of questions I had. Not sure if it was a desire to make it home in time to watch game one of the World Series or fear that my questions would turn the evening into a long drawn-out debate involving everybody in the council chambers.

I still would like to hear the answers to these questions. Maybe this is not the right forum to ask them, but at least the group gets a whole week to respond.


DeLorean needed to decipher the Governor’s decision on PolyMet

After over 10 years of permitting battles, it appears the final decision from the state of Minnesota is near. Following thousands of public comments, reams of data and projections and public meetings attended by the busload, it all seemingly comes down to one man’s decision.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has announced he will make two mine visits before he issues his decision on whether the PolyMet project is approved by the state.
Dayton will go to a mine site in South Dakota on Oct. 27 that was recommended by project opponents. The Gilt Edge Mine near Lead, SD is a former open pit operation that, according to the EPA, has about 150 million gallons of acidic heavy-metal-laden water in three open pits and millions of cubic yards of acid-generating waste rock.


Subscribe to RSS - Opinions/Editorials