Does the school need a rec complex and/or vice versa?

There are two camps forming over the proposed Ely community recreation complex. Those who want it to be located on school grounds and those who want it anywhere but there.
The school board has been asking for details on how the district would be impacted. Details are still coming in but there’s plenty of unanswered questions.
As one critic said, “It’s easy to build it, but who will pay for the operation and maintenance for the next 20 years?”
While that answer is still drifting in the fog, we do have some information to share on the value the complex could bring to the district.
Athletic Director Tom Coombe (also an Ely Echo employee) provided information to the joint school board/ERCC subcommittee.
Here are some of the points he raised:


Loggers’ lawsuit should name governor, legislature as well

One of the legs is about to be kicked out of the three legged stool of taconite, timber and tourism.
Following a late-night move by the Minnesota state legislature and a signature by Gov. Mark Dayton, the state’s wood chipping operations were sold to the lobbyist-driven Xcel Energy.
This was back room politics pure and simple now covered up by altruistic sound bites on how the deal will save money for Xcel’s customers. Hogwash.
The company was in a world of hurt in 1994 when it was trying to find a way to dispose of nuclear waste that no one wanted.
A deal was reached where Xcel could store spent nuclear fuel casks at its Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Station in Red Wing in exchange for a plan to use biomass to generate electricity. Bad was exchanged for good, nuclear waste for logging jobs and clean renewable energy.


Nolan walking the fine line in DC

Washington D.C. can’t be a fun place to be these days. With accounts of sexual harassment or worse coming out of the woodwork seemingly every day, even Minnesota’s Al Franken was found to have made some stupid decisions (along with an incriminating photo).
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) hasn’t had to worry about that so far but he has to be worried about an upcoming vote on mining.
Nolan has used his former image when he was in office 40 years ago when he supported the BWCAW act to pacify at times the anti-mining movement.
Nolan uses his current pro-mining stances to keep getting re-elected from an increasingly changing base in northeast Minnesota.
But now those two images are going to be blurred together. Nolan is going to have to draw a line on whether he’s for or against a bill put forth by U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN).
Emmer introduced the MINER (Minnesota’s Economic Rights) Act and it’s going to come up for a vote in the full House.


Hunting connects the generations

This week our Sports section includes a story on five female hunters getting their deer. We’ve always known women hunters were better than men - they’re certainly better at catching fish in our experience.
But what caught our attention was the generation to generation sharing of being out in the great outdoors. Hunting is much more than killing an animal. Look at the time spent hunting and the harvest is a small portion.
To see dads spending time with daughters and sons in the deer stand gives us hope for the future. It’s very likely these dads played the other role when they were young. Now they are doing as their father, mother or perhaps grandparent taught them. Patience, respect and safety in the woods are the key to success.


A Veterans Day Message from the VFW

A Veterans Day Message from the VFW

The debt owed to our nation’s defenders is ever-present
Reprinted from Veterans of Foreign Wars

For generations, the men and women of America’s Armed Forces have demonstrated their willingness to put country before self; patriots who serve for the greater good and who don’t seek glory or recognition or personal gain. On Nov. 11, Veterans Day, our nation honors the contributions of the nearly 22 million veterans living today, and all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of liberty and justice.

History has provided us with extraordinary examples of their selfless deeds. They’ve brought hope, faith and liberty to millions of people around the world. The true number of people who have benefitted cannot be calculated and the number of erected memorials or speeches delivered doesn’t begin to represent the true scope of service our nations’ veterans have provided.


Burnout competition a welcome addition to Ely’s growing event lineup

If Ely is anything it is unique.
What town our size has the diversity of events and attractions that we do?
An abundance of lakes for fishing, boating, canoeing and ice fishing. Ample trails for snowmobiles, ATVs, biking, dogsledding and hiking.
Wildlife museums on both edges of town and another museum devoted to the city’s mining history.
A quaint downtown with attractive shops and stores, many featuring Ely-made products and gear.
Not to mention events, festivals, baseball tournaments and even a marathon.
Last weekend we welcomed another event to Ely’s lineup, and we hope it sticks around for a long, long time.
The Jake Forsman Memorial Burnout Competition and Car Show was just what Ely needed to liven up an off-season, October weekend.
With 80 car show entrants and hundreds of spectators, downtown Ely was abuzz on Saturday, even with less than ideal weather conditions.


An apology that doesn’t hold water

A story in the New York Times Magazine has greatly damaged the anti-mining movement. Comments made by Becky Rom and Reid Carron created a firestorm of opposition from both political parties and filled the in-boxes of journalists across the state. Statements were sent left and right, leaving Rom and Carron looking the fools.
What was said was written by a New York Times reporter who apparently didn’t feel he needed to protect the two leaders of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. We are left with the firm impression that not only is this how these two talk but how they feel.
Rom said of Ely city council member Dan Forsman, who was the focus of the story, “Danny Forsman drives to the mine in his truck, comes home and watches TV, and he doesn’t know this world exists.”


Rukavina’s still battling for school kids

The smallest guy left at the table hasn’t given up on doing what’s right for the school kids in Minnesota, but it appears St. Louis County Commissioner is the last man standing.
Former State Rep. Tom Rukavina isn’t one to back down from a fight. He’s known for his combative nature and knowledge of the issues that affect northeast Minnesota.
The potential land swap of state lands within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area actually impacts the entire state. But the crickets are sounding from St. Paul and other elected officials.
Rukavina is concerned the county board may have given too much when a resolution was passed to approve a hybrid proposal that includes a land swap and purchase procedure.


Freedom to think looms large; It’s National Newspaper Week

With National Newspaper Week approaching - October 1-7, these are my relevant thoughts to note:
When you grow up with newspapers at home, you become aware of policies and attitudes.
When you grow up with a father who was a Republican and a mother who was a Democrat, you grow up with two newspapers coming into the house: Chicago Tribune for Dad, Chicago Daily News for Mom.
To do so in the ’40s and ’50s ensured that I could read and hear two sides and gain some insight into why, no matter what, one or the other side was not always right or wrong.

Nowadays television news channels can be used in much the same way. Some excel in local and national news better than others to keep one aware of events. Switching channels helps to gain varying perspectives and understanding.
Current issues, both national and local are much the same. If one thinks through any issue and allows reason to seep in beyond the rhetoric, the results can be surprising.


If you had a million dollars, would you spend it on faster internet?

Faster internet can be just a pipe dream for people who live outside the Ely city limits. Speeds as slow as dial-up are all too common meaning services like Netflix and Hulu are not even a possibility.
Pointing fingers at Frontier and Midcontinent for not better servicing Ely’s rural areas has not led to any solutions. There were high hopes for Lake Connections to fill the gap, but that system is in turmoil right now.
So, we’re back to local governments stepping in to provide the infrastructure needed. If you’re a local taxpayer, be it in a city or township, should your elected officials spend tax dollars on bringing faster internet to your house?
Increasingly that answer is becoming: yes.
Even a township supervisor said he was tired of snail’s pace internet that he was making a leap of faith in hopes that Lake Connections could hook him up.


Subscribe to RSS - Opinions/Editorials