On mining, rhetoric says one thing but votes and surveys say another

The holiday season is upon us and we hope all of our readers had a happy Thanksgiving - and we wish all of you a season of warmth and good tidings.
Conversations at family holiday gatherings often turn to the news of the day, but it’s easy to understand if families try and steer clear of politics over their turkey and pumpkin pie. In Ely, it’s understandable to add copper-nickel mining to the do not discuss list, for fear of a food fight. Nobody wants to see grandma or a visiting aunt or uncle hit with an errant drumstick, after all.
But conventional wisdom and a lot of rhetoric from the anti-mining crowd, aided sometimes by gullible or left-leaning media outlets, looks to be misguided or just plain wrong when it comes to sentiment about mining in our neck of the woods.


In the end, council made the right and reasonable call on Pillow Rock

For a community of 3,500 people, Ely sure knows how to make news.
We seriously doubt there’s another community our size anywhere in Minnesota that attracts as much state or even nationwide attention as we do.
Some of the reasons are obvious. Ely’s proximity to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, nationally-known attractions such as the International Wolf Center and North American Bear Center, the vast recognition and acclaim as a tourism destination and outdoor hub, and certainly the ongoing and never-ending debate over copper-nickel mining are among the bevy of reasons Ely makes it into The New York Times, on the TODAY Show, or any of numerous other major media outlets.
Small towns across the state, from Eveleth to East Grand Forks, Barnum to Breckenridge, don’t get this type of publicity.


Trump Train rides through Ely

This week’s headline atop the front page - An election night for the ages - speaks volumes.
Shock waves continue to reverberate around the globe and throughout the United States in the midst of Donald Trump’s stunning victory in the presidential race.
It was a triumph that may know no match in American electoral history.
Indeed, even as the returns began pouring in on Tuesday night, and the raw vote total clearly signalled a Trump upset, many of the TV talking heads were rattling off talking points fueled by faulty pre-election poling as well as Election Day exit polls.
It was as if the pundits were trying to talk themselves into believing Clinton was heading toward a decisive win when the evidence clearly showed the opposite. They were expressing one narrative while the voters were delivering a thunderous and divergent message - one that took hours to recognize.


Vote yes on Tuesday for the school and our future

Finally, and safe to say thankfully, the finish line is in sight and the end to a tumultuous and far too long election season will come to an end on Tuesday.
We’re sure, and like always, Ely area residents will sift through the rhetoric and take a look at the mud-splashed candidates, at least at the national and Congressional levels, and make their own decisions behind the curtain. A growing number of residents, about 250 in the city of Ely alone, have already taken advantage of the early voting option.
As is our tradition, we don’t endorse candidates for president or the U.S. House, or for mayor or school board for that matter, on this page. We trust our readers to look at the facts, explore the issues and personalities and make a decision that best reflects their own interests.


A life lost so young hits the community right in the heart

The Ely community was in mourning on Thursday after a car crash resulted in the loss of one of our young people.
Jacob Forsman, 21, died when he exited the vehicle and came into contact with a live electrical wire, according to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department.
The accident occurred just outside of town on a sharp corner on Hwy. 21 near Moss Ridge Road.
We’ve had our share of car accidents and lives lost over the years. Each one brings with it hurt and heartache, feelings of loss and sorrow. We struggle with these as we think of the life taken too soon and the pain felt by family and loved ones.
We feel that pain as well. In a small town we have connections to those directly affected. It may be as a friend, a co-worker, a classmate, a city council member or a friendly face. It still hurts.


Locally, the upcoming forums are an important voter resource

Watch all three presidential debates? Congratulations and our sympathies. Instead of listening to candidates duck questions and ignore moderators, how about a refreshing change of pace? Check out two candidate forums for Ely city council and school board.
This week the six people on the ballot for three seats on the city council will be at the VCC theater on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Candidates Jerome Debeltz, Paul Kess, Angela Campbell, Ryan Callen, Rachel Colber and Mark Zupec will give opening and closing statements with questions inbetween.
The event, sponsored by the Ely chapter of the American Association of University Women and Ely’s Rotary Club, is the only time the candidates will be at a public forum.
Similarily, school board candidates James Pointer, Alexis Leitgeb, Tom Omerza, Zach Walen, Heidi Mann and Geoff Galaski are invited to a forum on Nov. 3, also at VCC and at 7 p.m.


Perilous trip ends safely, thanks to Packsack’s Gene Ott

Note: Taking a trip into the Boundary Waters recently were: the writer’s son Jason and his wife, a nephew and his fiance’, and in the third canoe - Judy and her brother, Randy.


Politics finds Ely, thankfully without presidential candidates

The Nov. 8 election is still weeks away but a candidate from one of the higher profile races made a campaign stop in Ely.
Republican Stewart Mills is again trying to beat Democrat Rick Nolan for the Eighth District House seat.
Mills was in Ely briefly on Wednesday and stopped in the Ely Echo office on Chapman Street. We expect to see Nolan soon, as he’s been a more frequent visitor to Ely.
This race is attracting plenty of “outside” money with 99.9 percent not going to newspapers. Yet newspapers are exactly where politicians turn to get their message out.
Now into a second election campaign,we’re still waiting to see a political ad from Stewart Mills. At this point we’ve probably got a better chance to get one from Mills Fleet Farm.
Nolan did advertise with the Ely Echo and other Range newspapers in 2014. That could very well have been the difference in his win over Mills.


Fall colors light up Ely area

A floatplane ride Monday morning was a great way to take in the totality of the fall colors in the Ely area.
Stan Skelton taxied away from the dock on Shagawa Lake and banked to the right as he cranked up the engine. Moments later the floats lifted off the water and we were with the birds.
The morning sun lit up the fall colors with bright yellows and oranges leading the way. Our plentiful evergreens provided the perfect contrast to the view from above.
Just being in Ely this time of year is a blessing. The bugs are gone, the temperatures are just right and Mother Nature is putting on her annual autumn show. Plus, the fishing has been red hot as of late, an added bonus to be sure.
Sure enough by the end of the week, snow was in the forecast but not enough to worry about it. More of a reminder that fall will fly by fast so we better get out and enjoy it.


Help may be on the way if your internet is turtle slow

If watching Netflix isn’t an option and downloading a one megabyte file takes forever, there may be some good news crawling your way.
Last week the city of Ely announced a joint effort to bring broadband to our neck of the woods. We’ve waited long enough for a private company to step up and provide high speed internet. It’s time to move forward.
In Ely your choices are basically cable or phone for internet. Cable is only available within the city limits and does not offer broadband. The phone options extend farther but the speed drops off dramatically. If you live more than two miles from town, your internet speed is on pace with a turtle.
The city along with the Town of Morse, the school district and VCC have already provided letters of support. The area joint powers board has signed on as well.


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