EDITORIAL : No help, no housing: Ely faces some monster challenges during busy summer

Right now it’s hard to determine what’s harder to find in Ely: an available, affordable place to live, or a table at a local restaurant at 6 p.m. just about any night of the week.
Both are in scarce, scarce supply, as anyone looking to eat out or for a place to live can attest.
Both are also interrelated, and an obvious hindrance to Ely’s efforts to get back on its feet, return to normal and get economic development moving again in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pademic.
Let’s start with the positives. It’s great to see Ely bustling with activity again.
Last summer was busy even in spite of the pandemic and our town welcomed summer residents and thousands of visitors, some who found Ely for the first time as they opted for shorter trips or were looking for a new spot once Canada closed its borders.
Yet even before a crazy busy Memorial Day weekend in the Ely area, it was obvious that 2021 would be even more hectic on Sheridan Street.


To those that say that we are in a time when there are no heroes – they just don’t know where to look

by David Merhar, Colonel (Ret) U.S. Army
If we look to the answer as to why for so many years we achieved so much, and prospered as no other people on Earth, it was because here in the USA we unleashed the energy and genius of our men and women to a greater extent than any other time in our history. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than on any other place on earth.
The price of this freedom at times has been high, but we have NEVER been unwilling to pay that price. To those that say that we are in a time when there are no heroes – they just don’t know where to look. Just visit any military cemetery with the rows upon rows of simple white markers bearing crosses of Stars of David, to see first hand the fraction of the price that has been paid for our freedom.


… thousands of trucks and rail cars – both which put off far greater carbon emissions than a pipeline

A few months ago, I wrote a letter clarifying the planned pause on the Line 3 pipeline project and how it was important to protect our roads and environment as we transition from spring to summer. Now, as construction is about to start back up, I wanted to clear up another misconception being spread by pipeline opponents.
These protesters, many who are from out of state, continue to spout off about how the Line 3 pipeline is bad for our environment and that the new pipeline will be responsible for a massive amount of carbon emissions.
Both of these lines are flat out false.
First, under the Obama and Biden Administration, replacing the pipeline that was built more than 60 years ago was deemed necessary because of the risks it poses to our environment if not addressed. The replacement is actually to increase environmental protections across Northern Minnesota.


…Services will be held at the Ely Cemetery, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Editor, Ely Echo,
Memorial Day Services sponsored by the VFW Post 2717 and American Legion Post 248 and American Legion Auxiliary are set for Monday, May 31, 2021.
As in the past, the services will be held at the Ely Cemetery, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The entire program will be broadcast by WELY at 94.5 FM.
The featured speaker this year will be David Merhar, Colonel (Ret), U. S. Army.
The Bob Niskala Family, accompanied by the Ely Area Scouts and American Legion Auxiliary will place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Ely Area Scouts have helped in the placing of flags on the graves of the veterans buried in the cemetery.
If others would like to assist the Scouts, the placing of flags will begin about 9:00 a.m. on the Saturday before Memorial Day, May 29, 2021.
Gerald Tyler, Adjutant
American Legion Post 248


LETTER: …kudos…for being the only Vermilion CC team that managed to compete this year

Ely Echo Editor:
Congrats to Coach Tom Coombe, his coaching staff and the Ironmen Baseball team for qualifying for this week’s NJCAA Region baseball tournament in St. Cloud.
I hope the college and baseball fans of Ely and beyond are proud of this accomplishment as you also should be.
First of all, kudos to you for being the only Vermilion CC team that managed to compete this year and represent Vermilion Community College during this difficult past year. Congrats for navigating your way through the COVID Protocols and playing and competing at a high level and representing your college proudly.
You have worked your way through a very adverse year and deserve any recognition that comes your way individually or as a team.
Best of luck in St. Cloud this weekend, enjoy the experience and take it as far as possible!
Mike Turnbull
Fall Lake, MN
Proud VCC Baseball Alum


Editorial: Better late than never, Walz finally sees the light

Thursday’s announcement that the state’s COVID-19 restrictions would soon come to an end was certainly welcome, albeit overdue.
For months, whether it’s been restrictions in schools, regulations on businesses, rules related to gatherings, or edicts related to masking - Gov. Tim Walz and his administration have overreached and overreacted.
But not even Walz, or those among his ranks who seemed bent on government rule, could look past the science, the improving data, the political heat and one other key point - the consent of the governed.
Today, there are more than 2.6 million Minnesotans vaccinated against COVID and the numbers keep growing by the day.
Cases in Minnesota are nowhere near where they were in November. They’re about 80 percent down as a matter of fact.
Hospitalizations and deaths have also plummeted and those most susceptible to the virus’s most negative effects have largely been vaccinated.


LETTER: …the attitude of the writing just makes me want to close the book

Dear Editor:
The entirety of this assigned book discussion has been led by those outside of the classroom. As one student who has read the book, I can assure you that Mr. Davis, Mrs. Mann, and the English class are on the same page (pun intended).
I’ll outline the basic premise of the book for those reading these exchanges without any context. “I’m Still Here; Black Dignity for a World Made for Whiteness” is a personal memoir from author Austin Channing Brown. She recounts a myriad of experiences in which she feels marginalized, discriminated against, or just downright frustrated. She juxtaposes these personal struggles against great family history or personal triumphs.
Based on a letter to the editor in last week’s issue, the individual suggests that there is absolutely no hate speech towards white people. I’ll provide a few examples of the clearly anti-white rhetoric:


Progress happened during a pandemic

We’re proud to roll out the first of two special sections in what we call the Ely Echo Progress Edition. Normally we put it all together in one week but after not having one in 2020 due to the pandemic, there was too much to do in just one week.
The fact there were that many stories is a testament to the willpower and fortitude of the small businesses owners in our community. Faced with government shutdowns, partial bailouts, loss of business and numerous restrictions, our local businesses have for the most part not just survived but thrived.
Some had to find new ways to deliver goods and services to their customers due to the coronavirus pandemic. They did just that.
Restaurants and bars were truly the hardest hit by the continual government shutdowns. We have concerns that all will be able to reopen, but we’re pulling for them. And, St. Louis County just came out with a special grant program for restaurants.


Fighting for our local papers

by Senator Amy Klobuchar
On May 7th of last year, the Hastings Star Gazette printed its last issue. The paper’s first issue as The Hastings Independent was published in 1857, a year before Minnesota gained statehood.
Generations relied on papers like this for local news—they told you who was born and who died, whose daughter just broke the county record for the 400-meter freestyle, whose Holstein won a surprise ribbon at the State Fair, and how your local leaders voted.
My dad was a Minnesota newspaper columnist and sports reporter. Even though he worked his way up the ranks to interview everyone from Mike Ditka to Ronald Reagan to Ginger Rogers, he was always, as his managing editor put it, “a champion of those on the outside.”
But today, newspapers of all sizes are struggling and closing.


LETTER: …maybe Mike’s letter opened the door

I commend Mike Banovetz on his letter to the editor in last week’s Echo. The letter criticized Terry Peterson’s previous letter to the editor, yet thanked Terry for his service in the Marines. Mike gave Steve Piragis, an opponent in the copper-nickel mining issue, credit where credit is due. And, in his statement, “We want the same thing, to protect the BWCA for future generations to enjoy,” Mike found common ground for those of us with strong opposing opinions about the prospect of copper-nickel mining in this area.
It’s this kind of approach, starting from a place of agreement and acknowledging the positive aspects of opponents, that promotes civil discourse and can lead to solutions that most can live with. Maybe Mike’s letter opened the door.
Rich Floyd


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