Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor:
My heartfelt thank you to my family, friends, and neighbors for the calls, visits, and help during our Winton frozen water main problems. Our City Council and Destin did a wonderful job of coordinating the repair issues and keeping us informed.
Much gratitude to the Low Impact crew who worked long, hard hours in freezing temperatures. Thank You to Northland and Zup’s for providing us with hundreds of gallons of drinking water. Much appreciation to the friends, family and services from Ely and the surrounding townships and areas who pitched in to help in whatever way they could. If I’ve neglected to mention anyone/anything, my apologies.
What a blessing to live here.
Marvel Prahl
Winton, MN


As COVID wanes, there’s only one goal: Back to normal, and soon

It won’t be long, March to be exact, and we’ll be a full year into the nightmare known as COVID-19.
Yet the looming 12-month anniversary comes with some of the most promising news yet that the nightmare is nearing its end.
Across the board, locally, within St. Louis County and the entire state, the numbers as they relate to COVID are rapidly improving - and we agree with a prominent legislator who this week predicted that the end is near.
The cause for optimism? Actually, there are many.
Let’s start with vaccinations, with more and more Minnesotans getting their COVID shots each day, particularly in the 65-plus demographic that is most susceptible to dire COVID circumstances.
And overall, about 700,000 Minnesotans have already received one dose of vaccine. Even a modest goal of 20,000 shots per day would bring that number to 2.2 million by May 1.
As vaccinations go up, the COVID numbers are ramping down, and not marginally.


EDITORIAL : Here we go again for newspaper printing

Not that many years ago the Ely Echo was printed right here in Ely, Minnesota. At 2 East Sheridan Street to be exact. We had a two-unit Goss press that could print eight page sections in black ink.
We bought rolls of newspaper by the truckload and soy ink by the 55 gallon drum. But times changed and we had to change as well. The press was sold and we sent our pages to International Falls to be printed.
Then we switched to Hibbing where a plant was installed in the old chopsticks factory. Other papers printed there as well after the presses in Virginia, Hibbing and Chisholm were shuttered.
That only lasted so long as well. The Hibbing plant was shut down and a new plant was installed in Duluth near the airport. This plant replaced the massive presses at the Duluth News-Tribune offices in downtown Duluth.


EDITORIAL Let the kids play with or without masks

We’ve reached a point in this pandemic where the end is now in sight. Numbers are dropping like a rock other than vaccination numbers which are climbing higher and higher.
Hearing a girls basketball game this week was postponed due to several players on the visiting team not wearing masks just doesn’t make sense.
The Littlefork-Big Falls girls basketball team has six players that have mask exemptions. They received those exemptions from medical doctors and this is allowed for under the guidelines of the Minnesota State High School League, the governing body for sports.
But Ely’s school administration decided the risk was too great and the game may or may not be played in March. This is depressing for fans, for the coaches and especially for the players.
Mason Imhof, the Littlefork-Big Falls athletic director is also the girls basketball coach. He sent a letter explaining the situation, that included the following:


LETTER:…if it seems to good to be true

Dear Editor:
The St. Louis County Sheriff’s office would like to remind everyone to be cautious with unknown callers and emails requesting money or personal information.
With stimulus money being given to citizens, we are seeing an up swing in scam phone calls and emails.
These scammers are preying upon unknowing and trusting individuals seeking personal information and making requests of them.
Some examples of these scams are asking individuals to purchase gift cards on the promise to put money into their accounts, fix a computer problem, social security issue, or to avoid incarceration.
Others go as far as posing as a family member who is in jail and needing assistance with bail money. If you do not recognize the phone number do not answer it and please do not share or furnish any information to them over the phone or via email. If it seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.


Even amid pandemic, winter tourism vital to local economy

It may have taken awhile, but a couple of chilly evenings and early-mornings this week were a not so subtle reminder that we’re in the heart of winter here in the Ely area.
The sights and sounds of fish houses, snowmobiles and dog teams on local lakes and trails are another sure sign, along with a report that at least one local lodging establishment was busy enough to put out a “no vacancy” sign last weekend.
In a typical year, a three-day holiday weekend, not to mention the trout opener, would be signal enough to expect hordes of visitors to enjoy what Ely has to offer, and to offer a much needed jolt to an otherwise stagnant economic time.
Make no mistake about it, dog teams, snowmobiles and ice fishing are a much-needed pick-me-up for local businesses in the dead of an Ely winter.


Letter: …democracy is the freedom of speech

Letter to the editor:
Before I start, please know that I do not condone or support the violent events at our Capitol on January 6th.
The single most important ideal in our democracy is the freedom of speech. The reaction of big-tech and the media since the events of January 6 are a direct attack on that principle. 75 million Americans voted for President Trump and are deeply concerned that our democracy is under attack. Google, Apple, Amazon and other corporation’s attacks and shutdowns of social media platforms only confirms the threat to our civil liberties.


EDITORIAL: City transition went smoothly

Tuesday night the Ely city council was faced with a unique dilemma. The person elected turned down the mayoral position and the council needed to appoint someone. With one objection, former mayor Chuck Novak was reinstated.
This could have dragged out for some time or become contentious but it didn’t. Even council member Heidi Omerza’s opposition was prefaced by saying there was “value” in having Novak be the mayor. She added that his loss in the November election “gave us clear direction.”
But none of the other five council members agreed with her and Novak was appointed on a 5-1 vote.
Novak will serve at least through April, perhaps into August, or even another two years if he decides to enter - and wins - a special mayoral election authorized earlier in the evening by the council.


EDITORIAL: Data says it all: Walz’s November restrictions need immediate end

From the onset of the COVD-19 pandemic, Gov. Tim Walz has pledged to use data and science to drive the response by his administration.
Walz has cited data when “adjusting the dials” to ease restrictions or add them during the course of the last several months, including his mid-November “dial back” edict that closed restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, paused youth sports and even set regulations on private gatherings.
Now after several weeks, the data has spoken and it’s long past time for Walz to move the dials again and roll back all of the restrictions he put in place several weeks ago.
While we’ve questioned and taken issue with much of Walz’s response to the pandemic, particularly the impact it has had on businesses and schools in Minnesota, there’s no doubt that November was the state’s darkest month when it came to COVID-19.


EDITORIAL: Wrapping up 2020 at the Echo

This is the final edition of the Ely Echo for 2020. And like many, we’re glad to be putting this year behind us.
The Echo is one of a rare breed of newspapers that is still family owned, with a storefront and a hardworking staff that finds a way to pay the bills in an ever changing economy.
When the pandemic hit there were some worrisome nights not knowing what would happen when our stores were forced to close and people told to stay home. Would businesses continue to advertise? Would people still subscribe to their hometown newspaper?
Nine months later the answer to both questions is yes. Our thanks to the business owners who advertised throughout and to our subscribers who send us checks oftentimes with nice notes attached.
Like many businesses we did take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program which helped to alleviate lost revenues. Some sections of our business never recovered to pre-pandemic levels. But other areas did well.


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