Guest Editorial: America: Where do we go from here?

by Micah Larson
Two roads diverged into a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Our modern America is much like that traveler in the Robert Frost poem. We, as citizens of this free nation, have a decision to make. Wisely-made decisions can transform our country’s future for years to come. It is also a decision that carries with it grave implications.


Editorial: Free speech exists at meetings of the Ely school board as well

We would advise the Ely school board to tread lightly on revisions to its public forum rules. What we have seen so far is concerning, limiting and pushes the limits of First Amendment rights.
Nobody should have to worry about criminal charges or a police citation when addressing their concerns to their elected officials. Yet, that is exactly what could happen if the school board adopts this ill advised policy.
Let’s look at what our Congressman, Pete Stauber had to say just recently on this issue.
Amid a crazy push by the National School Board Association which it has since retracted, to label parents who speak out as “domestic terrorists,” Stauber rightly responded. He introduced a resolution aimed at protecting the rights of those who speak at school board meetings.


This is the fifth Zup’s grocery store in Ely to open its doors

There will be a new Zup’s grocery store opening to the public on Wednesday and by our count, it looks like this will be the fifth one.
In the Echo archives we found information that the first Zupancich Brothers Store opened in Ely in 1916. “Grandpa” John Zupancich started the first store on the southeast corner of Sheridan between Third Avenue East.
The store carried meat and produce but also dry goods, shoes, fabrics and even hardware. Over the years there would be two major additions as the business expanded. John specialized in a variety of sausages and over time he eliminated the dry goods and focused on meat, produce and groceries.
By 1929 many changes were made. Gone were the colorful livery barns which lined the alley behind the store. Deliveries were made by horse and wagon. The store was fully modernized and the meat department enlarged for improved sausage making equipment.


EDITORIAL: Alarming enrollment drop at Ely schools

School officials, whether they are administrators or board members, haven’t had it easy the last year-and-a-half.
The Covid-19 pandemic has turned public education upside down, with not one, not two, but now three school years disrupted.
For far too long, the jobs of principals, superintendents and board members and the issues they normally work with have taken a backseat to all things Covid.
Distance and hybrid learning. Quarantines and contact tracing. Mask mandates and vaccination clinics. This isn’t what they signed up for when entering the realm of public education.
While this week’s school board meeting in Ely shows that the district still has much to do when it comes to Covid-19 and finding a path toward easing a district mask mandate and regaining public confidence and trust, there was another giant sized elephant in the room.


Censored speech isn’t free

A free, uninhibited exchange of ideas is vital in any democracy.
Indeed, it’s been a staple of our country throughout its long, nearly 250-year history.
And it hasn’t just worked at the national level, nor purely in government.
Surely the halls of Congress or the Minnesota State Legislature, the council chambers at Ely’s City Hall, and grassroots meetings held by local townships have all been better off because of rigorous debate.
Issues rise up, people discuss them, and governing bodies come to decisions that any of us are free to support or oppose.
It works that way in newspapers as well.
Readers often tell us, and we wholeheartedly agree, that letters to the editor and a lively exchange on our editorial page not only make for interesting reading, but get us to think.
And even challenge conventional wisdom or the decrees of government.


Ely Echo Guest Editorial: Why we need a community forum

by Brian J. Allfrey,
Executive Director, Utah Press Association
I am not sure what I expected our country to look like in 2021, but I certainly did not expect it to be so fractured and so bogged down in hate. My oldest son was a year old on September 11, 2001. The wave of patriotism following that day gave me hope for the America that my kids would inherit.


Editorial: School must live up to promises, establish plan to end mask mandate

Amid an uprising if not a revolt - one that led to the most contentious and crowded school board meeting in recent history - Ely school officials have pledged repeatedly that a controversial mask mandate is only temporary.
Consider these words: first, a letter to parents a day after the forced masking rule was announced and with public backlash already growing.
Ely school administrators wrote “ We are hopeful this is a speed bump along the path towards a more normal 2021-2022 school year.”
Five days later, at the first meeting of the fall of Ely’s Safe Learning Plan Advisory Council, superintendent Erik Erie said ‘Nobody wants to be wearing a mask. The big question is what is it going to take to change?” He went on to suggest possible “incremental” changes in the mandate.


EDITORAL: District doesn’t live in a bubble

School districts have a habit of living in a bubble and that just doesn’t work once decisions are questioned and the public starts looking for answers.
The Ely school district has discovered this by getting a failing grade in public relations in multiple areas.
The first problem was a communications disaster when the district dropped a bombshell decision on the Friday before the new school year began. With an open house the night before and people seemingly happy with wearing masks if they so chose to, suddenly that was no longer acceptable. A must wear a mask policy was instituted without discussion, debate or school board participation.
The reaction was swift and severe. A petition was started to protest the required mask decision and quickly grew to over 300 names. This was PR SNAFU number one.


LETTER:…what happened that was so drastic it had to be changed so quickly?

Dear Ely Public School Superintendent, Administration and Board members:
I am writing to express my thoughts and concerns regarding your recent decision to mandate masks in our schools. I’ve also attached a letter from the Ely Community Voice, requesting that our petition be placed on the September 13, 2021 school board meeting agenda. (See below)


Letter: …These foundations should start funding where they could benefit humanity

Will they finally make a difference?
Scientists have found that although forest fires do not release a significant amount of Acid Rain, they do create a significant amount of mercury into the environment. California, Oregon, and Washington wildfires contribute greater amounts due to the trade winds and climate.
These non-profit anti-mining so-called environmentalists from Northern Minnesota should invest time and funds to the National Science Foundation, to help educate and to come up with solid solutions instead of playing politics for only upholding an agenda for selfishness of their own private needs. Along with one-sided big box newspapers who will not inform its readers about these non-profits who are in violation of their non-profit status.
It would be for the greater collaboration of these anti-mining non-profits to promote education and work with the great mining industry of Northern Minnesota.


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