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DNR reminds Minnesotans to not import live crayfish for dining or bait

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding Minnesotans that it is illegal to import any species of live crayfish into the state. Some people import live crayfish for dining, for aquariums or for fishing bait, without realizing Minnesota is one of at least nine states that prohibit live crayfish imports.
“Some nonnative crayfish pose serious risks to Minnesota fish, wildlife and infrastructure,” said, Chelsey Blanke, DNR aquatic invasive species analyst. “They can destroy aquatic plant beds, displace native species, compete with fish for prey and cause major declines in amphibian, invertebrate and waterfowl populations.” Once introduced, invasive species of crayfish are extremely difficult to remove because they burrow into shorelines, which can also be damaging to nearby infrastructure.
Minnesotans have been doing a good job of keeping the highly destructive red swamp crayfish out of state waters.


Regular Meeting Ely City Council – City Hall, Council Chambers March 02, 2021

Regular Meeting Ely City Council – City Hall, Council Chambers
March 02, 2021

The regular City Council Meeting on March 2, 2021 was called to order by Mayor Novak at 5:30pm.

2. PRESENT: Council members A.Forsman, Kess, Omerza, Callen, Campbell via Zoom, and Mayor Novak
Absent: Council Member Debeltz

Kess/Omerza moved to approve the minutes from the February 16, 2021 Regular Council Meeting and the February 11, 2021 Special Council Meeting. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Debeltz Absent.

A. Additions 7.B Ely Drop and Shop – Kristen Krings, Casey Moravitz, and Jennifer Cole
Addition A was added without objection.

Mayor Novak discussed some Legislative topics.


Back to distance for Memorial students

It’s back to distance learning for students at Ely’s Memorial building following a rise in the number of positive Covid tests.
Superintendent Erik Erie confirmed the change on Thursday afternoon.
“The students in the Memorial building will be moving to distance learning starting tomorrow,” said Erie. “They will return on April 6.”
This affects only students in the Memorial building.
“Washington Elementary will be in person as they are now,” said Erie.
He said the change follows more students testing positive for coronavirus.
“The reason is the case count has risen dramatically even in the last day. It went from three at the end of the day yesterday, it had been one, it’s gone up to eight today and we expect possibly some more.
“And the number of groups already in quarantine because of the cases probably necessitates this move.
Erie said the decision was made after discussions with St. Louis County Public Health.


Marjorie Katherine Ojala

Marjorie Katherine Ojala passed away March 12, 2021 at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely Minnesota.
She was born February 19, 1928 in Ely to parents Paul & Katherine (Kosnitch) Preblich.
Marge retired from the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency. She enjoyed spending time in her garden, with family, friends and especially her grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
Marge married Marvin Nelson in 1955, and Roy Ojala in 1979.
She is survived by sisters Florie (Donald) Maroney and Rosie (Gale) Maroney, grandson Garry Nelson and granddaughter Cherish Jarvi, great-granddaughters Haven & Braelynn Chavers, and many nieces and nephews.
She is proceeded in death by her parents, husbands, and children Gary & Dale Nelson, brother Paul Preblich, sisters, Mildred (Alfred) Mock, Katherine (Roy) Carlson, Lorraine (Laverne) Phelps, Mary Jane Larkin & Helen Preblich.


James T. Hart, 91, of Ely

JAMES T. HART, 91, Ely
The world lost a great man - our dad, grandpa and great grandpa, Jim Hart. He lived life to the fullest, most notably canoeing, kayaking and biking into his 80’s and skiing into his 90’s. With help from family, friends, and neighbors, he lived on his own until his final days at his cabin under the towering pines in Eagles Nest Township. Jim loved his place in the Piney Woods, and especially his large family of ten children, 24 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren. We all loved him too, and will miss him. He passed away in Ely, Minnesota on Monday, March 15, 2021 at the Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital.


Marjorie K. Ojala, 93, of Ely

Marjorie K. Ojala, 93, of Ely, passed away Friday, March 12, 2021 at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. Funeral arrangements by Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.


School project displaces classes

by Tom Coombe
The next steps in Ely’s nearly $20 million school improvement project have come with a shocking development for school officials, staff and students: the Industrial Arts Building must be vacant by April 1.
Earlier talk of a mid-May timeline was upended by a bombshell, which superintendent Erik Erie described as a “shocker to all of us,” that became public at Monday’s school board meeting.
The shocker has created a mad scramble of sorts as school officials look to move industrial arts and music classes to a new location on campus, with Happy Days Preschool in search of a new home as well.
School board chairman Ray Marsnik voiced concerns about the impact on the district’s industrial arts classes while a former board member - James Pointer - went before his former colleagues Monday and argued without success that the district take a different approach.


Great American Outdoors Act monies coming to Kawishwi District to fund multiple projects

The Superior National Forest announced that as part of the Great American Outdoors Act four local projects have been selected for fiscal year 2021.
The selected projects will be the first round of improvements to address deferred maintenance on the Forest while improving visitors’ experience.
“The resources we have here at the Superior attract visitors from across the nation and our local communities. We want to provide a quality experience people will remember,”said Aaron Kania, Kawishiwi District Ranger.
“Upgrading and repairing these facilities, trails and campground amenities through Great American Outdoors Act funds will allow us to do just that and better handle increasing visitation.”
The Great American Outdoors Act responds to the growing $5.9 billion backlog of deferred maintenance on national forest and grasslands, which includes $3.7 billion for roads and bridges and $1.5 billion for visitor centers, campgrounds and other facilities.


Hook and Bullet Club

From the perspective of a four-year old there can’t be too many slides at a park. Mary and I took our granddaughter Kinlee to both playgrounds on Saturday while her parents were out snowmobiling on the North Shore.
We went to the school playground first and Kinlee was bound and determined to try every slide, no matter what the obstacle was to get to the top. In the old days, there was just a steep ladder and a metal slide for kids. Today there are slides with a rope climb to get to the top.
Kinlee has no fear. Heights? Forget about it. She’s fearless which can leave grandma and grandpa fretting she would tumble and we would have to explain a trip to the emergency room. Instead there were tons of smiles and giggles, and not just from the four year-old.
At the school Kinlee liked the units that ran on a rail and she could ride back and forth with the help of a push. And, of course, the slides.


EDITORIAL: The sad state of ethnic diversity

No one growing up in the last generation in Ely would have ever dreamed it could happen. The vanishing of St. Urho’s Day as one of the area’s most honored celebrations.
Restaurants were decorated green and purple and featured Finnish foods such as kola mojakka.
In dozens of homes, Finns gathered for more or less solemn observances. For years, the arbiters of Finnish culture and Urho lore were Lorene and Ben Mauser. Lorene by birth, Ben by marriage. Why green and purple? Because St. Urho became known as the cleric who drove the grasshoppers out of Finland and saved the grape crops for wine. Aha, one might say, but is this not a takeoff on St. Patrick, the Irish saint who reportedly drove the snakes out of Ireland? In a sense, yes; but that is not the only connection.


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