School’s out for summer but board has plenty of homework

Students at ISD 696 had their final day in class yesterday and 32 will walk the stage tonight. For the Ely school board, there’s plenty of homework to be done after the last locker is emptied.
The district has been looking at hiring a new superintendent but has gone back to the drawing board after finding the first top four candidates not too appealing.
Struggling with process the board was unable to come to terms with giving one of the candidates who didn’t make the grade on paper a chance to interview. A 3-3 vote threw that plan out the window.
So, we’re back to the beginning and looking for applicants for a part-time job without full benefits for the top job at the Ely school district.


Ely’s 2019 Memorial Day speech by James Kuehl

Giving the Memorial Day speech was Commander James Kuehl.


Paying tribute on Memorial Day

by Senator Amy Klobuchar
Each Memorial Day, Americans across the country honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, and work to ensure that the price they paid to defend our security and preserve our way of life is never taken for granted. It’s been said that a nation that forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.
It’s also a time for us to consider what more we can do to treat the families of the fallen with the dignity they deserve.
Of course, one of the most important ways that we can pay tribute to the fallen is by ensuring they are given burials worthy of their sacrifice. Like Virginia, Minnesota resident Dante Tini—who was just 19 years old when he was killed during Pearl Harbor while serving as a radioman on the U.S.S. Oklahoma. He had been preparing to come home for the holidays prior to that fateful day.
But 80 years later, his family, friends and community are still waiting for his remains to return home.


Why the federal government renewed Twin Metals Minnesota mineral leases

by Assistant Secretary for Land
and Minerals Management Joe Balash
At the dawn of the twentieth century, tens of thousands of people arrived and settled in the Iron Range across northern Minnesota. They came from Scandinavia, Austria-Hungary, Italy, England, and dozens of other places of origin. These new Minnesotans mined the ore, for which the region was named, and built their communities. By 1920, their population had swelled to over 100,000 and comprised 85 percent of the workforce in the mines. When the rise of National Socialism threatened the western world, output from these mines fed the production of the tanks, ships, and airplanes that won World War II.
A century later, we find ourselves in a world where copper is essential to our efficient use of electricity and the transmission of information. Once again, northern Minnesota may play a key role in supplying the raw materials that are needed for solar panels, electric vehicles, and smartphones.


LETTER: ...we need our own supply pipeline with unrestricted access to all critical materials and metals

Dear Editor:
Fifty-nine years ago, Francis Gary Powers was piloting a U-2 spy plane over Russia and taking pictures of something the CIA found interesting. Until that day, the U-2 had a stellar record of never being intercepted or shot down. That was about to change.
The Russian bear had built a new surface to air missile that could go high enough and fast enough to overtake the U-2 and knock it out of the sky- and that’s just what happened. The cold war was raging and the Bear was making hay over the spying incident to his advantage. Eventually, the two countries swapped spies and life went on, but the US had its nose bloodied, been embarrassed and needed to improve their odds of surviving in the skies over Russia.


The benefits of shopping local, from city hall to local residents

Another Ely business is slated to close, one of the two dollar stores, to go along with the Ely Bowling Alley. Jobs are lost and the area suffers financially.
At city hall this past week the council was smart enough to shop local when buying a vehicle for the police department. Those dollars will help keep Mike Motors in Ely.
We only wish the council had that in mind when they decided to send money to Tower to have the city legals published. Those dollars are gone and this local newspaper suffers. With the loss of Shopko, it’s been a double whammy for a small business trying to make payroll and as an added bonus, the first half of property taxes this week.
Business owners know every time someone goes out of town for a product or even a medical procedure, those dollars go away and don’t come back. We’d like to see the law changed where cities and school districts have to hire local employees, but that’s another issue.


School needs to tap the brakes on superintendent search, building project

There was a special Ely school board meeting on Monday that brought a reason to tap the brakes on two major initiatives, hiring a new superintendent and pursuing a major building project. The reason? Millions of dollars for collaborating with neighboring school districts such as 2142, the sprawling St. Louis County district that includes schools in Babbitt and Tower.
A law pushed by Sen. Tom Bakk makes millions of dollars available to districts who work to share services, personnel and even facilities.
Ely hasn’t been able to get a seat at the table, until now. On Monday it was made clear that the taxpayers of Ely could get the IRRRB to foot a good portion of the bill for a major building project.


David Wigdahl named winner of Chamber’s Jackpine Bob Cary Community Spirit Award

WINNER of the Ely Chamber of Commerce’s Jackpine Bob Cary Community Spirit Award was David Wigdahl. He received the award at the annual Smile, You’re In Ely dinner Tuesday at Grand Ely Lodge. Photos by Nick Wognum

Positivity at Smile, You’re in Ely


Flood help no matter where

We are fortunate to live where major rivers don’t threaten our community. We may not have a Sandbag Central but we do have people impacted by an overabundance of water.
When the city storm sewer system froze and backed up a couple weeks ago, two places were hit hard. A resident near the freeze up on Third Avenue East had 6,000 gallons of water fill her basement.
A Go Fund Me site was quickly set up to help her with expenses. The community responded with financial contributions and the goal was quickly met and exceeded.
On the other end of the freeze-up the water went into Sir G’s Restaurant and sand bags were used to keep more water from coming in.
Now volunteers are working with the restaurant’s owners to help with repairs to the floor. This is another example of community members stepping forward to help a friend in need.


Shopko announcement hurts Ely

Ely suffered another blow to the local economy when Shopko announced all stores would close in June. While this is an example of corporate mismanagement and the impact of Amazon, losing a major business hurts Ely.
First and foremost we will have employees who will be out of a job. Efforts are underway by Up North Jobs to help these people find employment when the paychecks stop. There are jobs that will be available at the time of year, but not many that are year-round.
Our tourism economy provides jobs for people during the summer months but when restaurants, resorts and stores close in the fall, those jobs disappear.
The impact even hits us at the Ely Echo. We have been inserting Shopko flyers in our paper for years and had inserts scheduled out into May. Not only will we lose that business going forward, we’re likely going to be out $3,000 in bills the company now claims it will not pay.


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