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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.
You could walk by the building across from the Radisson and feel the presses running at night. The plant up on the hill started with one press line and then a second one was added. Multiple shifts of press operators cranked out pages for papers across northeast Minnesota.
On Wednesday afternoon, Forum announced that plant would be closed on April 2. After that date the Echo, North Country Saver and Babbitt Weekly will be printed at a Forum plant in Brainerd.
While all of this has been going on, the little printing plant that could has survived in Cook. Every week papers like the Cook News-Herald and the Tower News come off the four-unit Goss press in the back of the building. The only limitation that plant has is they basically print in black ink only. They can add a spot color, but process color photos aren’t an option.
Years ago the Echo looked at buying a press that could print in color and provide printing services for newspapers in northeast Minnesota. We purchased some land on the east end of town with the thought that one day we would become a central printing plant.
But we couldn’t make the numbers work and that land is now the home of Subway and by this fall Zup’s Food Market. Maybe one day the technology will change and we can again print the Echo right here in Ely.
Until that happens it’s Duluth for now and Brainerd after April 1. No fooling!

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