Ely shows up to support Twin Metals mining leases

Wow! Last week we asked people to show up for the Twin Metals listening session at Washington Auditorium. Over 800 people did just that and the vast majority were in favor of the U.S. Forest Service renewing the leases.
There were some great speeches, some lousy speeches, some jeering, some laughing and some heartfelt moments. It was a chance for the people to have their say and boy did they.
Prior to the event there was a pre-event gathering at Whiteside Park; a mining supporter rally at the park; a unified walk to the school and the listening session at Washington Auditorium.
More than one old timer remarked how the event in the park felt like the Labor Day picnics of years gone by, although they were often held at Semers Park. Yet here was a community bonding together, from young to old, from everyday worker to elected official.


Hoping for a big turnout as the circus comes to town

Thanks to local, state and federal legislators, the U.S. Forest Service will hold a listening session in Ely on Tuesday over the Twin Metals Minnesota leases.
We’re hoping for a big turnout at Washington Auditorium. Here’s some reasons why you should attend.
We’ve had historic meetings like this in Ely in the past, filled with emotion and focused on federal rules and regulations. This time the attack comes from Ely and is centered on a company that has put jobs and dollars into our local economy.
Becky Rom and her followers have focused on stopping mining projects including PolyMet which is now moving ahead with permits to mine copper and nickel just west of Babbitt. Rom’s pleas fell on deaf ears in St. Paul and she has not been able to sway elected officials at the local, state and federal level who represent this area.


Land exchange twists and turns now includes taking private land off tax rolls

The long-running debate on how to compensate the state of Minnesota for lands locked inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area has taken another bizzare twist. This time thousands of acres of private property would be removed from the tax rolls.
At a meeting of county commissioners from Lake, Cook and St. Louis counties on Wednesday, were briefed on a proposal from the DNR, Forest Service and the Conservation Fund to buy private lands owned by Potlatch outside the BWCA and exchange them for Minnesota School Trust lands inside the BWCA.
In the end there would be MORE land outside the BWCA under public ownership. There would be FEWER dollars coming to Lake, Cook and St. Louis counties.
This proposal was met with disgust from Cook County commissioner Garry Gamble, St. Louis County Commissioner Tom Rukavina and Lake County commissioners Rich Sve and Rick Goutermont.


Forest Service remarks are shameful

Trying to get a fair shake from the federal government is getting tougher and tougher, especially when the U.S. Forest Service is involved.
A news release on federal leases for Twin Metals Minnesota was sent out by the U.S. Forest Service’s Milwaukee office. The tone of the news release sounded like something from the Sierra Club.
“The Forest Service is deeply concerned by the location of the leases within the same watershed as the BWCAW, and by the inherent risks associated with potential copper, nickel and other sulfide mining operations within that watershed.”
Deeply concerned? Sulfide mining? Holy smokes! This is the agency charged with being neutral on this issue? Whoever wrote this news release ought to be fired on the spot and a public apology immediately issued.
Let’s take a step back and look at some irrefutable facts.


...apparent plan to deny leases to Twin Metals

Dear Editor:
In response to the US Forest Service’s apparent plan to deny leases to Twin Metals, I believe that the Forest Service official(s) are not even interested in doing the scientific review of the technological and remediation processes that would be involved in analyzing the project.
It appears that the Forest Service is again only listening to deep pocket environmental groups and the Governor who seems to be beholden to those eekillogical groups while those of us who were born here, have lived here and worked here for all of our lives, and taken care of the land and water here, don’t get much say in most of these matters.
It seems these groups are opposed to almost every industrial and transportation project in and around Ely and NE Minnesota.


Rukavina is right on bridge issue, St. Louis County creating a nightmare

Tom Rukavina was never the tallest legislator and he might be the shortest county commissioner in Minnesota but he’s always stood up for what is right. This time Tommy knows St. Louis County is in the wrong and he’s tried his best to fix it.
We were the first to announce the county will close Highway 21 from July 5 to October 10 to install a new bridge. A 10 mile detour will be in place during that 14 week time period. The impact is tremendous.
Rukavina has done his homework. The daily impact includes 50 people in Babbitt going to Ely for employment (many of them work at the hospital or clinic), 65 workers going from Ely to Babbitt to work at Northshore Mining plus over 40 children during the school year.


Lack of common sense leads to another black eye for Forest Service

For 38 years people in Ely have had to swallow a bitter pill. Finally feeling their stomachs settle down, the Forest Service dumps fuel on the fire again. Nope, not an intentionally set fire that got away, this time it was giving a group of disabled veterans a BWCA ticket.
Each year groups of disabled veterans come to Ely and stay at Veterans on the Lake. Located on Fall Lake, it’s a two portage haul to get to Basswood. With some help, there are disabled veterans who can make the arduous trip.
These disabled veterans have a tough enough time just getting in and out of the boat. They served our country and came out worse than when they went in.
The decision to go to a group size of nine with four boats wasn’t popular in the first place. Heck, the BWCA act in 1978 wasn’t a highlight for many people. But we have always hoped there would be a modicum of common sense along the way.


Honoring our fallen heroes, respecting our veterans

by Senator Amy Klobuchar


Thinking ahead to Memorial Day? How about supporting the Ely Area Veterans Memorial?

In nine days we’ll make our way up to the Ely Cemetery and note the passing of our veterans during the Memorial Day service. It’s a time honored tradition and certainly more patriotic than just having a barbecue. But what if you wanted to do more?
We would suggest you consider making a donation to the Ely Area Veterans Memorial Project.
Slated to be built next to the Trezona Trail at the entrance to the Ely Business Park, the memorial has quickly become a source of pride in the community. Groups and organizations, along with a number of individuals, have made donations to the project.
With a total budget of around $80,000, the project has blossomed from a more basic beginning. We think it could be even more.
We’ve heard from veterans who want to see the project go at an even grander scale. The only thing that limits the possibility is funding.


Smith aiming for governor’s seat

The race for the next governor of the state of Minnesota hasn’t officially started with the election two years away, but we may have a new governor before we go to the polls in 2018.
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been everywhere this past year and has the news releases to prove it. She has taken an office that was vying for a Ms. Irrelevant award and got her name out into the public eye.
Reporter Doug Grow noted this in a recent story in MinnPost.
“Minnesota’s never had a lieutenant governor like Tina Smith. She’s been televised going underground to check a sewage system in Dennison; catching a walleye on Lake Vermilion; touring factories and farmyards from one end of the state to the other; and — perhaps most importantly — constantly meeting with (and in photographs with) her boss, Gov. Mark Dayton.”


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