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.”


Good news for Ely area: Prospector Loop ATV project moves ahead in St. Paul

Just before he threw a shovel of dirt at the VCC housing project groundbreaking, Senator Tom Bakk brought some good news from St. Paul: the Prospector Loop ATV trail project made it into the Senate bonding bill.
With the support of area communities, the Prospector Loop would create an ATV trail system that would connect Ely, Babbitt, Embarrass and Tower with the Lake Vermilion/Soudan Underground Mine and the Bear Head state parks. In addition, the trail system will connect to the Lake County trail system for over 250 miles of riding opportunities.
Bakk worked with Senator Leroy Stumpf who has Polaris and Arctic Cat in his district, helping to build the ATVs that now outnumber snowmobiles in Minnesota.


Jump starting the STOP Act with hopes of ending dialing for dollars

by Congressman Rick Nolan


DNR delay looks very suspicious

Well maybe, just maybe, the DNR has had second thoughts on managing our area for moose over deer. Or maybe it’s a delay tactic.
A news release came out Thursday saying the agency has decided to wait until 2017 to implement northeast deer permit area changes.
We’ve been very strong in our position editorially that the DNR is failing to utilize science in this issue.
The idea of drastically reducing deer numbers will make the moose population magically rebound is right up there with Jack and the bean stalk.
But that is exactly what the DNR has been pushing to do. The changes in the permit areas up here was just a tool to wipe out deer in where there are still moose. Period.
Pushing back the plan a year may just be a delay to avoid the public opposition that has been growing like wildfire not just up here but around the state as well.


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