Breaking News

Fri
09
Dec

Culprit(s) sought for anti-mining graffiti on downtown buildings

ON THE EAST SIDE of the NAPA Auto Parts building (former Jugoslav Home), this anti-mining message was spray painted sometime Friday night, Dec. 2. There was also broken glass and some type of red liquid below the graffiti on the sidewalk along First Avenue East between Chapman and Sheridan Street. At least two other buildings were defaced the same night. The Frandsen Bank building on the corner of First Avenue East and Sheridan Street had a similar anti-mining message while the term “F%#! Mining” was spray painted onto the front of the former Jakich Bar building on Sheridan Street. Ely Police are investigating the incidents but had made no arrests as of Thursday. Persons will information should contact the Ely Police Department at 218-226-5477. A reward has been offered for leading to the arrest.

Fri
09
Dec

During annual stop in Ely, legislators look toward ’17

AT GRAND ELY LODGE were St. Louis County Commissioner Tom Rukavina, Ely mayor Chuck Novak, State Sen. Tom Bakk and State Rep. Rob Ecklund for the annual area legislative meeting. Photo by Nick Wognum.

by Tom Coombe
State Sen. Tom Bakk will have a new role when Minnesota lawmakers convene in 2017.
The Cook area DFLer will continue to lead Democrats in the Senate, but this time around he will be part of the minority, rather than the majority.
A new landscape in St. Paul was one of many topics addressed by Bakk, as well as State Rep. Rob Ecklund (D - International Falls), when they spoke Monday at the annual legislative session hosted by the Ely Area Community Economic Development Joint Powers Board.
Both mixes the political realities of being part of the minority party - the House as well as the Senate will be controlled by Republicans in 2017 - with a bit of hope.
“I have a decent relationship with the (House) speaker, and the incoming majority leader is a Virginia Blue Devil,” said Bakk. “Paul Gazelka grew up in Britt.”
Bakk said the very first thing Gazelka told him after the election was “Tom, remember I am an Iron Ranger.”

Fri
09
Dec

Ely’s Christmas Choir Concert welcomed by full house

FULL STAGE and a full house at Washington Auditorium Sunday, Dec. 4 for the Ely Christmas Choir concert. Photo by Eric Sherman.

This week Echo columnist Charles D. Novak shares his view in “Native son: LET THE ELY HOLIDAY SEASON BEGIN!”

Isn't it time YOU subscribed to Ely’s only locally-owned newspaper - The Ely Echo - on newsstands today.

Thu
08
Dec

In Ely, levy up, taxes down

by Tom Coombe
Property tax statements for 2017 are out and many Ely residents, and business owners, are seeing relief.
Taxes are going down for many property owners next year, even though both the city of Ely and St. Louis County project tax levy increases.
“Most people I’ve spoken to are receiving small or larger reductions in property taxes for next year,” mayor Chuck Novak said Tuesday, when Ely council members convened a brief truth in taxation session.
In Ely, where the city is set to collect 2.75 percent more in local property taxes than it did in 2016, there’s no signficant hit to property owners.
That’s in part because of an increase in the city’s overall tax base, as well as an approximately $16 million in taxable property value within the city limits.
Because of real estate sales in the city, county assessors reduced taxable market values on most Ely properties by 10 percent.

Wed
07
Dec

William Francis LeBeau, formerly of Ely, dies

William Francis LeBeau
June 21, 1924 - October 26, 2016
Bill LeBeau of Windsor, Colorado passed away at the age of 92 on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. Bill was born in Ely Minnesota on June 21, 1924 to Elias and Ruth LeBeau. Bill grew up on Conan Street and graduated from Ely Memorial High School in 1942. After High School he proudly served our country as a United States Merchant Marine aboard oceangoing merchant ships in service to the United States during World War II.
Bill was married in 1950 and graduated from St. Cloud State Teachers College in 1951 going on to achieve his Masters of Arts in December 1958 from the University of Minnesota. His life’s work was teaching 6th grade in the Minneapolis Public School system for 30 plus years.

Wed
07
Dec

LCP members to benefit from $2.5 million Capital Credit retirement

Lake Country Power members will see a capital “credit” on their electric bills this month, just in time for Christmas. Lake Country Power’s board of directors authorized a retirement of $2.5 million in capital credits. Capital credits are the core of co-op membership.
“We are not-for-profit, but we are required by our lender, the federal government, to make a margin, and maintain safe, reliable electric service for member-owners,” said General Manager Greg Randa. “Our goal is to provide member-owners with electricity at a price that is as close to cost as possible. Over time co-op margins are returned to members in the form of capital credits.”
Of the $2.5 million, a member’s general retirement amount will result from one, or all of the following calculations:
The oldest years represent more than $1.47 million of the overall total being retired:

Tue
06
Dec

First Amendment applies to everyone including elected officials

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
We take the First Amendment pretty seriously in the newspaper business in Ely, Minnesota. When a city council member was harshly criticized for posting a meme on a Facebook closed group for some reason it stoked a fire storm.
Let’s back up. What’s a meme? Here’s Google’s interpretation: “A humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.”
The meme so upsetting to some was a picture of Dr. Kevorkian that read, “Do you suffer from Trump acceptance rejection disorder (tard)? Ask you doctor if suicide is right for you.”

Mon
05
Dec

Boys boast returning talent

by Tom Coombe
With the core of a 20-win team returning, the Ely Timberwolves have high hopes for the new season.
The high school boys basketball team opens the 2016-17 campaign Saturday at Two Harbors, the first step in an effort to take the next step in Section 7A.
Ely’s season was cut short early last winter in a 42-41 playoff heartbreaker, but the Wolves return several key players from a team that went 20-7.
“We hope to be competitive with everyone on our schedule and we also hope that we are playing our best basketball in March,” said Tom McDonald, who has been head coach at Ely since 1990.
McDonald will guide an athletic Wolves team that boasts experience, quickness and an ability to rack up points in a hurry.
Junior Carter Gaulke is Ely’s top returning scorer and a potent three-point shooting threat.

Mon
05
Dec

Deer harvest up 44%, bucks up 21%

The final Tower area deer tally is in and although the numbers are preliminary, the harvest is definitely on the way back up after a series of poor years.
In north St. Louis and Lake counties, deer registration is up 44% compared to 2015.
“The deer herd has again demonstrated its ability to rebound from severe winters, similar to the late 1990’s, given conservative antlerless harvest, good habitat and mild winters,” said DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch.
Seven out of nine permit areas showed registration increases, one permit area (BWCA) showed a decline and one had no change (Isabella).
“Three factors drove increased hunter success: a young, growing deer population, antlerless deer permit availability, most permit areas were bucks only in 2015, and October-like weather conducive to stand hunting success,” said Rusch.

Mon
05
Dec

Annual meeting, annual check-up for Ely-Bloomenson Monday at hospital

by Tom Coombe
It’s time for what serves as an annual check-up of sorts for the area’s leading healthcare institution.
Monday night, shareholders in Ely’s Health and Hospital Foundation will gather to elect two new board members and get a series of reports on the health of Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital.
The annual meeting convenes at 7 p.m. in the hospital’s lower-level meeting room.
Earlier this week, hospital administrator John Fossum provided a sneak preview of what to expect, indicating that recently-completed financial reports “paint a mixed picture.”
A year ago, EBCH posted a roughly $250,000 operating profit on roughly $16.4 million in total revenues, but the hospital continues to face a series of financial challenges.
Those include continued uncertainties in the health insurance system, Medicare reimbursements that at times fail to cover costs, and competition from other hospitals.

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