When the flag comes marching by, the 4th of July crowd in Ely roars

There was a moment on the 4th of July in Ely, Minnesota when it felt very special to be a United States citizen.
Independence Day is marked by many things in our country, from parades to picnics and from parties to fireworks. There’s more red, white and blue than you can shake a stick at.
This year we celebrated our 238th year since we declared our independence from Great Britain in 1776.
The thirteen American colonies had already been at war with King George III and the British for over a year. And when ink was put to paper, these famous words would fill history books from then on:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
In order to obtain and retain those rights, blood was shed in the Revolutionary War and shed again in too many wars over the next 238 years.


Do the math, administration costs at ISD 696 are too high

With the loss of yet another member of the administrative staff at the Ely school district, the board has an opportunity to right a ship that has too many at the top.
Principal Dan Bettin, who by all accounts did an admirable job as the high school principal  this past year, has resigned. That means once a new principal is chosen, it will be the sixth at EHS since 2008.
To make matters worse, beyond having a revolving door for administrative positions, the bottom line is there are just too many of them. The icing on the cake: legal costs have skyrocketed as well.
The school board will meet Monday night and look at options for an administrative configuration for the upcoming school year.
After operating with as few as 1.5 full-time administrators with similar enrollment levels several years ago, that number has since grown back to three with the hire of a full-time superintendent and two principals.


LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ... it’s time Minnesota starts charging the parties being rescued

Dear Editor,
Nothing has now become more apparent here in the surrounding areas of the BWCA, than the need to charge those who use emergency rescue operations. The taxpayers are footing the bill for rescues that are becoming a way of life for people that are ill prepared and believe their cell phone will save them.  In the case of the Boy Scouts, a satellite phone.
This year alone off the Fernberg area of the Superior National Forest and BWCA, the taxpayers rescued a family lost on the Secret Blackstone Trail. Their foot gear going over ice and snow amounted to tennis shoes in freezing temps, and the fact they decided to hike the trail with two school age kids as the sun was going down. Wet feet are now an emergency?  I call it stupidity.


Rescuers are to be thanked, but there’s a cost for every response

Headlines were made when eight canoeists had to be rescued from the BWCA. With our thanks to all of those involved in this being a happy ending, there needs to be a word of caution.
This is a slippery slope when we send helicopters, airplanes and boats when somebody calls in to say their canoe tipped over. There must be a degree of responsibility for each and every person who makes it their choice to go on a canoe trip.
If you end up in the water, get yourself out and dry off. Make a fire, pitch a tent, do what’s needed. Locate the rest of your group and believe that they have done the same thing. Basically, don’t panic.
Hindsight in this case is 20/20 or better. But what can we learn from it?
We know there is a cost for each rescue. Taxpayers often are left to foot the bill, an unfair disadvantage to living next to federal wilderness area. And don’t forget that every pilot, boat operator and their passengers are being put at risk as well.


Trails like Mesabi and Prospectors Loop expand Ely’s economic reach

There are two major trail projects which will reach Ely in the near future, the Mesabi Trail for biking and the Prospectors Loop for ATVs. Each will provide these benefits: people who live here will ride them and people will come here just to ride them.
We see these projects as a desperately needed addition to our current recreational opportunities. If we were going to nominate failures from changes in the BWCA over the years, the lack of new opportunities outside the Boundary Waters would be high on the list.
The rules and regulations in place in the BWCA do more to restrict people from coming to Ely than any of us cares to admit.    Some may not like that statement but our current economic decline has causes, whether we agree with them or not.
So what can we do about it? We can make improvements outside the BWCA to make Ely a better place to live and visit. These trail projects are great examples.


Pioneer Mine video: Crossing over from black and white to digital

LEARNING about the geology of the Ely area from Twin Metals Minnesota geologist Aaron Magnuson were Ely third grade students Ronan Littler, Sydney Durkin, Jacob Cochran, Taylor Gibney and Erron Anderson during a field trip on May 29. In addition to learning about the different minerals found here, students were able to handle core samples and take a tour of the company’s core shed building.
Photo by Nick Wognum.


Looking back through Ernie Pyle’s eyes 70 years ago to D-Day, June 6, 1944: A long thin line of personal anguish

by Ernie Pyle, Courtesy of the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum and the Scripps Howard Foundation
NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 17, 1944 – In a preceding column we told about the D-day wreckage among our machines of war that were expended in taking one of the Normandy beaches.
But there is another and more human litter. It extends in a thin little line, just like a high-water mark, for miles along the beach. This is the strewn personal gear, gear that will never be needed again, of those who fought and died to give us our entrance into Europe.
Here in a jumbled row for mile on mile are soldiers’ packs. Here are socks and shoe polish, sewing kits, diaries, Bibles and hand grenades. Here are the latest letters from home, with the address on each one neatly razored out – one of the security precautions enforced before the boys embarked.


Somebody asked for a PEIS, nobody will admit it, yet we know the truth

This past week city councils in Ely, Babbitt and Aurora passed resolutions in opposition to a proposed PEIS in the Superior National Forest. We’re sure this was done with the best of intentions, but the further we dig into this the stranger it gets.
To start with, a PEIS is a programmatic environmental impact statement. From what we can gather, instead of looking at one proposed mining project, the USFS would look at all projects and see what the impact would be.
The PEIS has been called a “stealth attack” on the future of mining in northeastern Minnesota. Those looking to support mining see this as a delay in getting projects underway and a duplication of other EIS already completed or in the works.
Understandably, this has a lot of folks very upset including Rep. Rick Nolan, the Iron Range delegation, industry groups and mining businesses.


No thanks to MnDOT, accidents continue to wreak havoc on 169



Who ever is causing the delays ought to come up with the dollars

 Dear Editor:
 I just got back from another bad accident on Highway 169 in our 5-mile project area. Three injuries, severity I’m not positive...All had been taken to Ely Bloomenson Hospital when I got there.
At least three ambulances (Ely and two Tower), 3 wrecker trucks (Bob’s Amoco & 2 Armory Shell), at least 3 St Louis County Sheriffs, 2 MHP, and 1 Breitung sheriff on scene, as well as several other First Responders.
Accident occurred between Mud Creek Road and Armstrong corner, approx. MP 273.2 Involved vehicles: Ford F-150 towing about 20 ft Travel Trailer southbound toward Tower, Ford Focus northbound to Ely. (1 injured here) Not positive on what happened. Focus gone to Bob’s when I arrived. F-150 and Trailer down 40 foot steep ravine on Armstrong Lake side. (2 injured in this vehicle)


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