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Thu
05
Mar

Regina Elizabeth Johnson, age 94 of Ely

Regina Elizabeth Johnson, age 94 of Ely passed away peacefully at Carefree Assisted Living in Ely on Friday, February 28, 2020. She was born February 8, 1926 in Virginia, Minnesota, the daughter of Swedish immigrant parents Ernest and Anna (Nordstrom) Johnson. She was a graduate of Virginia High School and attended the University of Minnesota where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Home Economics. After teaching in southern Minnesota and North St. Paul, she began teaching at Ely Memorial High School in 1951. Regina retired in 1984 after a total of 37 years in Education. A highlight of her time in Ely included working with the University of Minnesota School of Architecture to re-design and update the Ely high school Home Economics department. It became a state of the art facility and a model for other high schools to follow. Regina worked with many student organizations supporting and mentoring hundreds of students during her career in education.

Thu
05
Mar

Thor Nordwall, 98

Thor H. Nordwall, age 98, passed away peacefully on March 4. 2020.
Born on April 7, 1921 in Sweden, Thor emigrated to St. Paul with his mother when he was four, to join his father who had come two years earlier. Thor’s life was long and full of adventure and good times with family and friends. He grew up in St. 1 Paul and joined the Army in 1942, serving in Europe during WWII, most notably as part of a group which set up a communications network for the troops during the U.S. invasion at Normandy, in June, 1944.

Mon
02
Mar

Guong Nguyen (Becky Kess)

Guong Nguyen (Becky Kess), who was born in Tay Ninh on February 4, 1949, passed away Saturday, February 29, 2020, at the Virginia Care Center. Guong, also known as Becky Kess liked to travel to Vietnam in the winter months where the sun was warmer. She always waited for the blueberries to ripen in July.
Becky’s summers were filled with flowers decorating the front porch and for 18 years she was Becky at Becky’s Oriental Foods. Her daughter Kim is now operating the business. Guong is survived by her husband, Donald Kess, two daughters: Kim (Steve) Elliott of Rice Lake, MN, Kim (Mark) Anderson of Eveleth, MN; ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Services are pending.
Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

Mon
02
Mar

Ethel M.(Seliga) Sjoberg, age 89

SJOBERG (Seliga), Ethel M., age 89 passed away on Friday, February 28 at Guardian Angels Care Center, Elk River.
Born on October 20, 1930 in Ely to Steve and Anna Seliga. Ethel was the last surviving of 12 children. She was a longtime Secretary to the Superintendent of Schools in District 696. Ethel is survived by son, Robert of Ramsey, MN; daughters, Cindy Johnson of Lino Lakes, MN, and Shelley (Todd) Baumgartner of Little Falls, MN; granddaughters, Janna (Isaac) Thoma and Kallie Baumgartner (fiancé Kyle Gapinski);​ grandsons, Joel and Mark Johnson; great grandchildren, Quinn, Lillian and Dannica; many relatives and good friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Roy Sjoberg in 1982. Per her wishes, private services. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Alzheimer’s Foundation. www.cremationsocietyofmn.com

Mon
02
Mar

Roger D. Week, 67, of Babbitt

Roger D. Week, 67, of Babbitt passed away Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth.
Roger was born on September 4, 1952 in Bemidji, MN to Knute and Agnes (Hanson) Week and grew up in Blackduck, MN. where he graduated from high school. He worked for Reserve Mining Company, Erie Mining Company and as a mechanic for Wright county in Buffalo, MN.
He was the Mayor of Babbitt and worked as a Street Supervisor for the city. He also served six years in the Minnesota National Guard and the Army reserve.
Roger loved hunting, motorcycle riding and spending time with family and friends. He was a charter member of the Iron Cross Motorcycle Club. He served as a snowmobile instructor and a firearms instructor for the State of Minnesota, and received a certificate from Gov. Rudy Perpich for this wonderful accomplishment.

Fri
28
Feb

Marcella Gardiepy, 90, of Ely

Marcella Caroline Gardiepy, 90, of Ely, passed away on Friday, February 28, 2020 at Carefree Assisted Living in Ely.
She was born on December 1, 1929 to Steve and Anna Grahek. She was raised in Ely and graduated from Ely Memorial High School.
She married Miles on September 25th, 1954 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.
She was preceded in death by her husband Miles on July 16, 2016; her parents; her brothers Ted and Albert and three sisters, Dorothy in infancy, Ann Stefanich and Mary Grahek; sisters-in-law Josephine Grahek, Donna Grahek, Angie Grahek and brother-in-law Joe Stefanich.
Marcella is survived by her children: Maryellen Gardiepy of Naples Florida, Thomas Gardiepy of Naples Florida and Judy Rupp of Phoenix Arizona, (2) grandchildren Amanda and Ashley Rupp also of Phoenix; brother Rudy of Virginia, MN and several nieces and nephews.
A service will be held at a later date.

Fri
28
Feb

Ambulance will add extra staffing in attempt to cover additional transports

by Nick Wognum
The Ely Area Ambulance Service will put an additional two people on duty 12 hours a day in order to help cover missed transports.
The announcement came at an ambulance joint powers board meeting in Winton on Wednesday.
The second crew would work from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day and take people from Ely to Duluth or other medical facilities.
The ambulance service has been criticized for not being able to provide transports which has led to patients waiting up to 10 hours for a transport to Duluth.
The joint powers board helps to fund the ambulance through annual contributions based on population.
The towns of Morse and Fall Lake and the cities of Ely and Winton make up the ambulance joint powers board.
Board chair Kathy Brandau said the board could put a levy on property tax statements to help fund ambulance operations.

Fri
28
Feb

City eyes $9.3 million sewer plant project

by Tom Coombe
Ely city officials are moving ahead with a better than $9 million project at the wastewater treatment plant.
A public hearing held Wednesday offered more details about a project that has been in the works for years.
And despite the hefty price tag, current estimates show the project would not significantly impact utility rates.
Harold Langowski, the city’s operations director and clerk/treasurer, said that a combination of grant funds and retiring debt will minimize the hit to Ely residents and business owners.
Langowski told city council members that the project could result in a rate increase of as little as $1 a month over 20 years.
That’s because the city is in line to receive as much as $7 million in state grant funding for the project, with about $2.2 million in low-interest loans also part of the equation.
But Langowski said current debt payments of over $165,000 per year will be retired next year.

Fri
28
Feb

From the miscellaneous drawer by Anne Swenson

As we get older, the things you take for granted growing up begin to cast doubt on everyday living. One thing I find cheery are office visits from old friends such as Gary Niskala. He says he plans to keep working another nine years in the airplane industry.
* * *
Some folks are still sending in their renewal payment with their likes in the Echo noted. When you live away from your Ely grandchildren as the Whytes do, your favorite is “seeing my grandchildren in different activities.”
The Native Son is a popular column, and it’s a shame that health issues have kept Charlie Novak from writing.
Other favorites worthy of mention by readers are: Sports and school news, Editorial Page, Progress edition Trout Whisperer, Miscellaneous Drawer and the O’Clock interviews.
* * *

Fri
28
Feb

LETTER:...You paddle your canoes on the surface of the border lakes, but have no idea how deep the water is and what five generations of families have done to keep it clean.

Dear Editor:
An Indian Story:
The words that are used to cause maximum impact are many.
Several of them remain taboo in public so there will be no caustic idiom here, but I can demo an excellent example. It’s the “F” bomb. The “F” bomb is used in everyday language today and as a result, it’s lost its tough back-stiffening punch that it had 50 years ago.
Today it’s not unusual to hear school kids nonchalantly drop the F-bomb without a thought. It’s been overplayed in pop culture and it’s lost much of its impact if not its social disdain. That’s what happens when a word is overexposed.

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