Do you wish you had a place where your thoughts could appear in a column on a regular basis? If not every week, then every other week?

Are you a high school student, young mother, father or wizened old grandmother or grandfather?

I’d like to hear from you! I’m not looking for political commentary, just personal insight into how you view the world around you. This isn’t a paying job - the reward is in seeing your thoughts in print, perhaps having people recognize you. That’s how I got started at the Ely Echo - writing a column about women and adding insight on how people cook and sharing their recipes.

If you like to write, you’ll have ideas of your own. Give me a call and send me some samples to: thepub@elyecho.com

Let’s talk. Anne Swenson, publisher


Life skills still needed

When students first enter the Independent School District 696 as a kindergarten student, they are taught skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
Simple things like keeping your hands to yourself, learning how to stand in line and being sure to flush are all skills that will stay with you throughout life.
We’d like to think every child is taught these skills at home but we’re not naive. More and more parenting skills are being transferred from the home to the classroom.
Unless we want to shoulder the problem of having graduates not ready to be productive members of society, maybe it’s time to take another look at what we expect from school districts.
At the grocery store this week, a young woman was purchasing a ready made sandwich with food stamps. The elderly woman running the till could only think, “Why doesn’t she buy a loaf of bread and some lunch meat? It would be much cheaper!”


New school year breeds optimism at ISD 696

Tuesday marks a new beginning in Ely - a ceremonial turning of the page.
Summer vacation comes to an end and a new school year begins as for the first time since 2006, more than 600 kids are expected to walk through the doors at either Washington Elementary or Memorial HIgh School.
While enrollment remains a far cry of what it was even 20 years ago, student population totals are going in the right direction and that alone is a reason to celebrate.
Much more needs to be done to grow the local economy, bring more well-paying job and make the community a more viable place to support a family, but the uptick in enrollment is a good sign.
The campus has a new look this year with the installation of a brand-new playground for the elementary school.
The playground was badly needed, and the community support in construction earlier this week was fitting, as it was a true community effort to get this project to the finish line.


Rediscovered 2012 EIS shows FS changing rules

If an EIS study showed in 2012 that mining exploration should be allowed in the Superior National Forest, why is the U.S. Forest Service going through another similar EIS five years later?
That’s the question raised this past week by Up North Jobs as the final comment period ends on withdrawing 234,328 acres of federal land from mineral exploration.
According to documents filed by Up North Jobs, a meeting was held in Duluth in November of 2006 with mining company representatives and the Superior National Forest supervisor.
On the table were requests by mining companies to be issued prospecting permits for copper, nickel, platinum and related minerals in the Superior National Forest.


Ads + Subscribers = News

Your Ely Echo newspaper is a business just like any other. Revenue generated from advertising and subscriptions pays for all the news we generate week in and week out.
In short, we need your help!
Newspapers across the state of Minnesota having been going all out during National Newspaper Week to remind people of the importance of newspapers in their lives. Right here in Ely we decided not to give up our front page to make that point, it’s far too valuable for us to do that.
You may be a subscriber already, either digitally or through the Post Office. You may be reading this after purchasing the Echo from one of our retail locations. Or you could be visiting a friend or relative and be reading their copy of this week’s Ely Echo.
What we would love to see is more people like you, people who read their hometown newspaper. We know if we do our job well, you will make sure to get a copy delivered to your home 52 weeks a year.


Supporting a Free Press

by Senator Amy Klobuchar -


Editorial: Now what?

The final hearing ended with a thud Tuesday night in Virginia. The Forest Service struggled to find speakers at the 150-minute public hearing in Goodman Auditorium. A number had left due to the heat, others likely because they had heard the same testimony in previous hearings.
So now what? The comment period on whether Twin Metals Minnesota should be allowed to continue exploring for copper and nickel on federal leased land ends on August 11. With over 50,000 comments to sort through, it will likely take the agency up to two years to come out with its decision.
Setting aside the ridiculousness of not allowing exploration that’s similar to well drilling, the politics at play here are overwhelming. In the last days of the Obama administration, the Friends of the Boundary Waters and others were able to get through this withdrawal of federal leases. Suspicious at best, perhaps as one mayor termed it, illegal.


Things we can learn from 1957

Members of Ely’s Class of 1957 will be in town this weekend to celebrate their 60 year reunion. The Echo was chosen to print their reunion booklet and thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, a very nice publication was put together.
There were 135 members of the class, a far cry from the 37 seniors who walked the stage this year at Ely Memorial. But the class of 1957 grew up in a much different time.
When they graduated the Pioneer Mine was still in operation with trains hauling loads of iron ore out of Ely. Float planes brought tourists into multiple resorts on Basswood Lake. Mining and tourism existed simultaneously and without the controversy that exists today.
For the class of 1957, their graduation speaker was Franklin Stevens of Oliver Iron Mining Company. Stevens spoke to an audience made up of Kluns, Seligas, Smrekars, Zupancichs, Chelesniks, Hautalas, Olsons, Porthans, Pucels, Skalas, Bubashs and many more familiar names.


In the age of fake news, making up facts is now part of the anti-mining rhetoric

The anti-mining crowd must be getting nervous. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) has put together legislation to help get the PolyMet land exchange with the Forest Service completed soon. And, he’s still pushing for the feds to renew the leases for Twin Metals Minnesota.
In Ely on a barnstorming tour, Nolan accompanied Republican Representatives Gosar, Emmer and Westerman to get a first-hand look at what Twin Metals is proposing for a copper-nickel mine south of Ely.
Back in DC, the four congressmen sent a letter signed by a total of 26 members of Congress to urge the secretaries of the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture to rescind the federal land withdrawal proposal and renew Twin Metals’ federal leases.
In response, one of the copycat groups sent a letter urging members not to sign the letter and providing their own so-called “facts” about the mining issue in Ely.


Ely’s Bataan Death March survivors recognized

PRESENTER Dave Merhar called it “one of the best presentations I have ever done.” Five of the seven Bataan families from Ely were present at the Patriotic Choir concert on July 2. “Most had never met so we had kind of a cry/love fest after. Amazing that 75 years later emotions can be so raw.” Pictured above are members of five of the seven Bataan Death March survivor families including Gary and Jeanie Nappa, Art and Jean Tome, Joe and Sandy Folio, Cindy Tuomala Dieter, Tera Myers with Zander Ellis and Lita Ellis, Arliss Taylor. Photo by Pam Roberts.


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