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Editorial: Bakk adds another wrinkle to suddenly competitive Senate and House campaigns

For the most part, elections for state legislature in our neck of the woods are usually drab, cut-and-dried affairs.
Barring the contest for the occasional open seat, our House and Senate races were generally decided before a vote was ever cast.
For decades, names such as Battaglia and Johnson, and more recently Bakk, Dill and Ecklund have cruised to victory and by most accounts have represented the region well in St. Paul.
Republican opposition to these entrenched Democrats has generally been token and ultimately futile.
But the political winds? They are a changing on the Iron Range.
Look no further than Bakk, a tried-and-true Democrat who during his nearly three decades in St. Paul grew more detached from his party.
It came as no real surprise at the time that Bakk, not long after the 2020 election announced that he would leave the DFL party, become an Independent and caucus with Republicans


Putting the home into Homecoming

by Tom Coombe. Echo Editor
The hallways at Ely Memorial High School are much emptier now than when Doug Luthanen graduated in 1967.
Same goes for when Virgie Ivancich finished at the top of her class in the 1950s or when future mayor Ed Steklasa was valedictorian of the Class of 1962.
The graduating classes now are half the size, sometimes smaller, than they were when Sue Becker, then known as Sue Palo, was part of some of Ely’s outstanding girls sports teams in the early-1980s.
When Larry Mischke started teaching, they put three classes inside the Memorial Building instead of the seven housed there today. Tom Wetzel joined Ely’s faculty not long after and Bob Braff coached an outstanding volleyball team, one led by a hitter named Connie Mavetz, that reached the District 27 finals in 1987.


Fall Homecoming celebrated at Ely High

Fall Homecoming took place this past week at Ely Memorial High School.
A pep rally was held on the football field with the band playing in the stands, the king and queen being crowned and class versus class games on the field.
Ely High School seniors Lily Tedrick, Madison Rohr, Phoebe Helms and Rachel Coughlin watched as Frank Ivancich crowned Madison Rohr as the Fall Homecoming Queen.
Ben Cavalier, Jason Kerntz, Ambrose Richter and Blake Braun-Walsh watched as Kerntz was crowned the Fall Homecoming King last week. Placing the crown was Autumn Boedeker.


VCC falters in upset bid

by Tom Coombe
The Vermilion Ironhawks’ bid for a big upset got off to an impressive start on Tuesday night.
But the momentum didn’t last as first-place Itasca settled in after a first-set hiccup and recovered to defeat the community college volleyball team in four.
The Vikings rallied to win 19-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-11 in Northern Division action at the Vermilion gymnasium.
Vermilion, which fell to 5-9 on the season and 4-7 in division contests, was looking to knock off a Vikings team that shares the Northern lead with Northland at 8-2.
It looked promising after the first set and even well into the third, when Vermilion led 13-12 and had the Vikings on their heels.
Itasca, however, rebounded and dominated the rest of the match.
“I’d love to see the energy we had in set one continue for an entire match,” said Vermilion Head Coach Aaron Bender.


St. Louis County Board votes to prohibit new cervid farms to combat Chronic Wasting Disease

The St. Louis County Board has voted to prohibit new cervid farms in the county in an effort to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). The unanimous vote updates the county’s zoning ordinance to allow existing cervid farms to continue to operate, though prohibits expansion of those existing farms.
The county had been operating under a one-year temporary moratorium, which would have expired at the end of this month. During the past year, the Planning Commission considered options ranging from a complete ban, to doing nothing, or requiring a conditional use permit for new cervid farms.
“We realized our emphasis needed to be to do what we can where we can,” said Planning Director Matt Johnson. “Now we’ll focus on educating the public about testing and helping stakeholders who are looking for a cure.”


Cisco, whitefish sport netting to open on northern lakes

Recreational netting for cisco, also referred to as tullibee, and whitefish is open this fall on designated lakes.
Whitefish and cisco sport netting is open to Minnesota residents only. About 700 Minnesotans participate each year.
Netting schedules are based on expected water temperatures.
As the water temperature cools, game fish head to deeper water while cisco and whitefish come to shallow water for fall spawning.
The DNR allows netting when there is little chance that fish other than cisco and whitefish will be caught. Game fish incidentally taken in nets must be returned to the water immediately.
Complete regulations, including designated lakes, netting schedules and requirements related to use of gear and invasive species, are available on the DNR website (


Regular Meeting Ely City Council – City Hall, Council Chambers September 20, 2022

Regular Meeting Ely City Council – City Hall,
Council Chambers
September 20, 2022 – Minutes

The regular meeting of the Ely City Council was called to order by Mayor Skraba at 5:32pm in the Council Chambers.
PRESENT: Council members A.Forsman, Kess, Debeltz, Omerza, Callen, Campbell, and Mayor Skraba

Debeltz/Omerza moved to approve the minutes from the September 6, 2022 Regular Council Meeting. Motion Carried Unanimously.


City of Ely Public Notices

Pioneer Road Closure

Pioneer Road will be closed on Monday, October 10th from the Sandy Point Boat Landing to 18th Ave North in Spaulding from 8am until 4pm for Private Utility Work on Magie Drive.

Residents to the west of 800 Block of Pioneer Road should access their properties from the Grand Ely Lodge side of Pioneer Road and residents to the east of the 800 Block of Pioneer Road should access their properties from Grant McMahan Blvd.

Ely Echo
October 8, 2022

Planning & Zoning
Administrator Position


Caroll June Erdman (Gustrud)

Caroll June Erdman (Gustrud) was born on June 23, 1930 in Minot, ND and died October 3, 2022 in Roseville, MN. She is preceded in death by parents, Oscar and Vanita (Hansen) Gustrud; husband, Lowell B. Erdman; sons-in-law, Duane Heacock, Joel Stangeland, and Gary Arbuckle; and great-granddaughter, Gracelyn Jahnke.


H. Arden Siebert

H. Arden Siebert passed away quietly on September 30, 2022 with his loving wife Darlene by his side.
He was born on Mary 27, 1938 in Aurora, IL. He drove truck in Illinois for 17 years. He moved to Ely in 1976 and worked for the Ely School District 696 for 24 years in maintenance, retiring in 2000.
He is survived by his loving wife Darlene, his children: Ron (Shara) of Duluth, Shari (John) Conley of IL, Lisa (Tina) of IL, Tom (Lisa) of Illinois, Carolyn (John) Schiltz of Ely; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren and one brother. He is also survived by four step children,m Kenneth, Kelly, Patty and Christopher.
He was preceded in death by his parents, eight siblings and a daughter, Lori.
Per his wishes there will be no services.
Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home.


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