Breaking News

Fri
11
Oct

Ronald Lee Ferdig, 70, of Babbitt

Ronald Lee Ferdig went to the Lord peacefully at home with his family by his side, October 11th, 2019 after a 5-year battle with cancer. Ron was born January 3rd, 1949 in Bemidji MN to Leo & Blanche Ferdig. He graduated from Tower MN in 1968 and went on to work for Reserve Mining, LTV Steel, and retiring from Inland Steel.
He loved Ice-fishing, Wood-working, driving his Monte Carlo ‘SS’, cracking jokes, and listening to old country music. Ron is survived by his wife of almost 50 years, Deborah, his son Chad (Sherry) Ferdig, his daughter Kristina (Brian) Baumann, Grandchildren, Tyler, Derek, Trevor, Bryce, Great-Grandchild, Nathan Ronald, Sister, Mary Lou (Ron) Waldo, Twin brother Donald (Dorothy) Ferdig, Brother Steve (Kim) Ferdig, Sister-in-law Caroline Ferdig and numerous nieces & nephews. He also leaves behind his beloved dog Shadow, who was always by his side. He was preceded in death by his parents, & his brother Dale.

Fri
11
Oct

Trash contract extended

by Tom Coombe
Ely may yet give business owners a choice when it comes to garbage pickup, but not for at least another year.
That was the offshoot of action at a special council meeting Tuesday night, when members agreed to terms of a negotiated deal with the current garbage contractor - G Men Environmental Services.
Facing a Nov. 1 deadline, the council agreed on a 6-0 vote, with member Heidi Omerza absent, to extend the G Men’s residential contract for four years and commercial contract for one.
The “bifurcated contract,” appears to meet the concerns of several council members, who openly called for the city to seek bids from other vendors who may provide commercial garbage pickup.
“It gives us a year to delve into what we really want and what the consequences are,” said council member Al Forsman. “I think it gives us time to evaluate our stance.”

Thu
10
Oct

School surveys due Monday

by Tom Coombe
Time is running out to take part in a survey that could shape the size and scope of a proposed school facilities project.
A survey commissioned by the district is underway and area residents have until Monday, Oct. 14 to complete it.
Survey were mailed last month to homes across the district, and anyone who has misplaced theirs or did not receive one may contact the Ely district’s general office - at 365-6166 - to receive another.
The survey assembled by School Perceptions, a firm with a very strong track record in gaging community opinion on school referendums, also has safeguards to prevent participants from completing more than one.
The survey is part of an effort to gauge public opinion and sentiment before school board members settle on the size of a potential facilities project that almost certainly would require voter approval and property tax increases.

Thu
10
Oct

Fighting back against vaping

by Tom Coombe
The numbers are daunting and school officials including Ely High School Principal Megan Anderson say that vaping among teens is an “epidemic.”
Anderson provided firsthand evidence Monday during a public forum at the high school on the use of e-cigarettes, what’s commonly known as vaping.
The principal held a “vape” - the size of computer flash drive - that she found in a parking lot on campus while bringing her elementary-aged children to school.
“This is it,” Anderson told an audience of about 20 people in the high school media center. “This is the battle we have right now. These are pretty concealable, pretty small, pretty scary.”
Beyond the anecdotal tales this week were a plethora of numbers, all showing the use of e-cigarettes on the rise, and data noting the health risks associated with their use.

Thu
10
Oct

Gary Blauert, 76, of Babbitt

Gary Blauert died peacefully October 9, 2019, surrounded by his family after a three-year battle with complications of a blood disease. Gary Herman Blauert was born on October 8, 1943, to Herman and Arlene Blauert in Grand Rapids, MN. The Blauert family, with sister Linda and brother Jimmy, lived in Bovey, MN, throughout Gary’s childhood. Gary graduated from Greenway High School in 1961 and then attended Itasca Community College. Gary moved from the Iron Range to Minneapolis to work at Burma Shave for three years. With the persuasion of his friends, Gary moved to Bemidji to attend BSU in which he earned his elementary teaching degree in one and a half years. While looking for work, Gary was an Itasca County Deputy Sheriff. Gary eventually moved to Babbitt in 1968 to begin his teaching career at F. A. Emanuelson Elementary School. It was here that his talents and skills taught the youth of Babbitt-at that time a thriving taconite town.

Tue
08
Oct

Margaret Jean (Peg) Asplund, age 93

Margaret Jean (Peg) Asplund, age 93, departed this world from Solvay Hospice House in Duluth on Saturday, October 5, into the awaiting, loving arms of her Lord and Savior. Peg was born to Leo T. and Mary Alice Coons of Hibbing on June 13, 1926. Peg married the love of her life, Arthur F. Asplund, on June 13, 1947. They had two children, a son, Thomas Asplund of Babbitt and a daughter, Carol Jean (Alan) Stewart of Minnetonka. In 1955, Peg and Art moved to Babbitt to begin a life-long adventure with their family. Peg worked at Hibbing High School during the first five years of their marriage and then became a Homemaker when they moved to Babbitt.
Peg’s life revolved around her family, Woodland Presbyterian Church, and many dear friends. She was involved in Cub Scouts, Brownies, Presbyterian Women, Church Circles, Bible Study, Church Bazaars and Community Outreach programs. She was a Church Elder.

Tue
08
Oct

Who’ll pick up the trash? Divided Ely council rejects G Men renewal, will open up process

by Tom Coombe
By a narrow majority, Ely council members want to give consumers a choice when it comes to trash pickup in town.
They rejected, on a 4-3 vote, a proposal Tuesday to renew the contract held by the incumbent provider - G Men Environmental Services.
The city will instead develop licensing processes to allow for two service providers, a move that has some urgency given a contract with the G Men that expires at the end of the month.
Council members also requested that the G Men extend their current contract through June 30, 2020.
The council was clearly divided over the issue, which has festered for several months.
Council member Heidi Omerza blasted the decision and predicted it would result in higher rates paid by Ely residents, while some wondered if the move may at least temporarily force residents to seek other options - including hauling garbage to the landfill south of town.

Tue
08
Oct

James J. Mehle Sr., 76,

James J. Mehle Sr., 76, of Hibbing passed away surrounded by family on Thursday, August 22, 2019 at Fairview Range Medical Center. He was born on December 18, 1942 to John and Frances (Mikolich) Mehle in Ely. He was a 1961 graduate of the Ely Memorial High School. After graduating, Jim served in the U.S. Army as Sergeant and was once stationed in Germany. While on leave, he had the opportunity to visit relatives and the ancestral family home of his grandfather, Johan, in Slovenia. Jim had a 33-year career with Eveleth Taconite and retired in 1998. Jim was united in marriage to Donna Mehle on May 9, 1999.

Fri
04
Oct

Caroline Marie Anderson “Big Ma”, 88, Ely,

Caroline Marie Anderson “Big Ma”, 88, Ely, passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 3, 2019, at the Boundary Waters Care Center surrounded by her loving family.
Caroline was born on March 12, 1931, in Ely, Minnesota to Joseph and Ethel Klobuchar. She later graduated from Virginia High School in 1949.
She married William Andrew Anderson of Ely on November 19, 1949, in Ely, Minnesota.
Caroline was a stay at home mother until the youngest of their 11 children entered the Ely School District. She then worked for the school district in a variety of positions, including the lunchroom, a custodial position in the former JFK school building and a secretary to the high school counselor before retiring in the early 1990s. She especially enjoyed the secretarial job as she forged many great friendships with the students and took great pleasure in seeing the success they would later enjoy.

Fri
04
Oct

Preserving Ely’s past is important

The stories of Ely’s past came alive Monday afternoon.
It’s been over 50 years since the Pioneer Mine closed, but one could almost hear the echoes of days gone by as Serafine Rolando, John Seliga and Bill Erzar told stories, showed off exhibits and shared their passion for our community’s rich history.
Their audience was elected officials and political aides, and their appeal was genuine and matter-of-fact.
Money, a lot of it, is needed to preserve the historic mine site.
Much has already been done over the last two decades, with the preservation of the Miner’s Dry building providing a venue for public and cultural events, and a window to Ely’s mining past.
The headframe and shaft house rehabilitation were also welcomed and visitors, from around the region and far beyond, stop each year for tours, to look at the exhibits and hear some of the tales of Ely’s last operating mine.

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