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Matthew Markovich, 88, of Ely

Matthew (Matt) George Markovich passed away January 13, 2021 at his home in Ely. Matt was born in Ely on June 21, 1932 to his parents Matthew and Ann Markovich. Matt graduated from Ely Memorial High School then went to work on the ore boats on the Great Lakes. He proudly served our country in the Navy on the aircraft carrier the “Princeton”. He then moved back to Ely and worked at Reserve Mining until retirement.
Matt married Mary Erickson on November 29, 1969 at Grace Lutheran Church in Ely.
Matt is survived by his Nephews Michael (Becky) Trancheff, Blaine and White Iron; and Patrick (Ellen) Trancheff, Lake Vermilion; Great Nephew Brian (Elina) Trancheff and Great Nieces Megan (Dan) Salisbury, Kirsten Trancheff and Laura Trancheff; Great-Great Nephews Calvin, Max and Jonah Salisbury and Great-Great Nieces Ella and Millie Trancheff plus his Special Furry Friend Tundra who would be seen driving around with Matt.


Bob “Nisky” Niskala, 68, of Ely

Robert William “Nisky” Niskala of Ely, MN was unexpectedly taken from us on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at the age of 68. He was born in Winton,  MN on April 5, 1952 to Russell Niskala and Shirley (Ranta) Niskala. He graduated from Ely Memorial High School in 1970 and then enlisted into the United States Marine Corps at the age of 18, where he proudly served as a machine gunner in the Vietnam War. His service to our country went on to inspire his passion for all things military.
After returning to Ely from the service, Bob received his millwright apprenticeship at US Steel in Virgina, MN. He then moved on to work at Reserve Mining for a short time. With the opening of Inland Steel Mine in Virgina, Bob began the greater part of his career, and retired from there after thirty-plus years.


Stephen Anthony Rebrovich, age 77

Stephen Anthony Rebrovich, age 77, passed away peacefully at his home in Newman Lake, WA on January 2, 2021 with his family by his side.
He was born August 26, 1943 in Biwabik, MN. He was raised in Babbitt, MN. He married Marjorie Dallmann on November 20, 1965 and they were married two days short of 50 years.
He was a journeyman electrician at Reserve Mining Company (Babbitt, MN) retiring in 1986 and Sonoco Fibre Drum (Pittsburg, CA) in 1994.
He was an avid camper. He loved walleye fishing with his wife and grandchildren and was very good at it.
He is preceded in death by his wife Marge, parents Steve and Josephine, sister Charlotte and brother Randy. He is survived by his children: Bruce Kochevar of Mt. Iron, MN, Connie Boulet (Troy) of Lewiston, ID and Shelly Buckholz (Darin) of Goodyear, AZ; six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
His celebration of life will be held at a future date.


James “Jim” Negri

James “Jim” Negri
Age 80, of Fridley area
Passed away 12/29/2020
James Alfin Negri, born June 15, 1940 in Hibbing, Minnesota, to parents, Felix B. Negri and Doris Carlson Negri (both are deceased).
He is survived by two Sisters, Phyllis (The late Dick Jarvi) Negri Jarvi, of Hibbing, and Dee (Tom Stilinovich) Negri Stilinovich, of Eagle, Idaho; six Nephews and one Niece. Jim was never married and had no children.
His early education was spent at Brooklyn Elementary, North Hibbing Junior High School, and graduated from Ely High School in 1959, after the family moved in 1956 to Babbitt, MN.
Jim enlisted in the US Air Force on July 14, 1959. He trained at warehouse/supply/inventory in Texas. Jim was sent to Europe after training, and he was stationed at bases in France, Germany, and the Netherlands. He was Airman E-4. Jim received an honorable discharge on January 15, 1963.


From the miscellaneous drawer

A new beginning.
Not just for me, for all of us. It’s a time to reconsider our lives.
In old age, I might be beyond change.
But what could you do at age 10, reach out to new neighbors, start a safety class for bicyclists? I did.
Children don’t have to be silent and passive. Encourage them to consider a bigger, bolder future.
What can you do at age 20?
Get involved with the political scene - run for office or volunteer to be part of a committee.
You are not too young or old for getting better acquainted with laws that affects all people.
Or maybe your interest is elsewhere- a park or parade, arts or history.
Travel is another option and it can be done alone and chosen on the spot. I did.
What about age 30?
Get a job you like, plan ahead for your company’s and personal future.
Be open to new things, new challenges.
What can you do at age 40?


Hook and Bullet Club

Having two short weeks at the Echo is not a lot of fun. We had to have our products sent to Duluth for printing a day earlier due to Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
But getting back to back three day weekends was worth it in the end. Over Christmas we had Jacob and Kyah and granddaughter Kinlee home, the best present anyone could ask for.
Kinlee kept us all entertained especially helping Megan hand out gifts on Christmas morning. She can read names and was always a bit more excited when she saw her name written on a present.
She likes puzzles and books and spent a lot of time with an old train set Mary had dug out of storage in the basement.
This was just a plastic track with train cars that connected together along with a tunnel to drive through. Dad Jacob put his engineering skills to work with various track layouts that would test Kinlee’s driving skills as she pushed the train around the track.


Fun Run event shifts into park

by Tom Coombe
One of the area’s biggest winter events won’t happen this year.
Organizers of the Fun Run pulled the plug this week, after holding out hope that gathering limits would be eased in order to hold an event that in recent years has attracted more than 1,000 participants and several hundred people to an evening wrap-up party at Fortune Bay Resort and Casino.
Usually held in late-January, plans for the 2021 event shifted to late-February and even into March, but organizers said Thursday that they ran out of time.
“We need two months of planning to pull all of this off and we just don’t know if the governor’s restrictions will be lifted in time even if we did try to have it in mid-March,” said Fun Run co-chair Jim Zupancich.
Proceeds from the Fun Run support area snowmobile trails, but the event has evolved in its two decades and now serves as one of the top family-fun events of the winter for the Ely, Babbitt and Tower communities.


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.


McDonald elected vice-chair

by Tom Coombe
A divided St. Louis County Board put two Iron Range commissioners - including one from Ely - in leadership positions.
Breaking from tradition, the board opted against rotating the chair position and re-elected Chisholm commissioner Mike Jugovich on Tuesday.
Commissioner Paul McDonald of Ely, meanwhile, was selected vice-chair.
The votes came with some acrimony, and with outspoken Virginia area commissioner Keith Nelson creating controversy when he called Duluth - the county’s largest city - a “cesspool.”
For years, the board’s chair position went back and forth between the Range and the Duluth area.
But Hermantown commissioner Keith Musolf, who was in line to take the gavel, cited personal reasons for declining and suggested Jugovich get another year at the helm, pointing to disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Ely Igloo Club gets trails, lakes ready for snowmobiling

A VOLUNTEER with the Ely Igloo Snowmobile Club cuts a downed tree on the Tomahawk Trail. The Igloo Club is responsible for clearing, brushing, grooming and maintaining the Tomahawk Trail which runs from Ely to the North Shore Trail. The Tomahawk connects to the David Dill Taconite Trail in Ely as well as to the Taconite Spur from Babbitt and the Yukon Trail from Two Harbors. Another connection allows riders to reach Finland. Photo by Mike Banovetz.


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