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Steven Anthony Tekautz, 42, of Owatonna, dies

Steven Anthony Tekautz, 42, of Owatonna, formerly of Hastings and Silver Bay, passed away suddenly on January 7, 2019.
He was born Sept. 28, 1976 to Anthony and Gail (Ebert) Tekautz.
Steve is dearly missed, by his wife, Kelly of Owatonna; children, Cayce and Alex of Owatonna; parents Anthony and Gail, Chisholm, MN; Sisters, Tara Tyo of Brimson, MN, Tracey (John) Fenske of Ely, MN; nieces and nephews, Travis, Jenny, Dylan, Ryan and countless friends.
Some of Steve’s ashes will be spread at the places he loved best, the cabin at White Iron Lake and the hunting shack. Burial will be in the family plot in the Ely Cemetery. A celebration of Steve’s life will take place at the cabin early this upcoming summer, when the fish are biting. For more information or to leave an online condolence message go to


Joretta Pollock, 87, of Ely, dies

Joretta Pollock, 87, of Ely, passed away on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at Carefree Assisted Living in Ely. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.


Charles "Cherla" Merhar, 80, dies

Charles John Merhar, aka Charlie or Cherla, born January 18, 1938, passed away peacefully on January 8, 2019 with family at his side, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 80. The “voice” of Ace Hardware could always be heard greeting his customers with “How can I help you?”
He graduated from Ely High School in 1956 where he was an accomplished athlete in both baseball and football. He worked with his father at Ace Hardware and apprenticed to become a licensed plumber and well installer. His civic life included serving on the Ely Volunteer Fire Department for over 20 years, the Ely Jaycees and was a supporter of Ducks Unlimited. He married his High School sweetheart, Judy Mahoney in 1961 and built their home on White Iron Lake in 1962 where they remained for over 40 years. Judy and Cherla took over successful management of Merhar Ace Hardware in 1992 until when management passed to Mark and Chris Merhar being the 4th generation to own the business.


Tom Rukavina, an Iron Range political icon, dies

Tom Rukavina, an Iron Range political icon who represented the Ely area on the St. Louis County Board the last four years, died Monday in Minneapolis after a brief battle with leukemia. He was 68.

While standing less than five-and-a-half feet tall, Rukavina was remembered Monday as a political giant who pulled no punches.

The Virginia native represented his hometown in the Minnesota legislature for 26 years, and was known for his acerbic wit and passionate support for his constituents and northeastern Minnesota.

"Minnesota and the Iron Range have lost a true champion for workers,” U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a statement released a new hours after Rukvaina's death. “Tom Rukavina understood the dignity of hard work, and was a force for Iron Range workers and their families. He spent nearly three decades in elected office on the Range fighting for miners and bringing good-paying union jobs to the region.”


For Fun Run, 19s are wild; 19th annual snowmobile event and fundraiser all set for Jan. 19, 2019

by Tom Coombe -


ATV trails get IRRRB grants

A major infusion of IRRRB funds will help build ATV trails in northeast Minnesota.
The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board had budgeted $3 million for trails projects but that amount had to be increased to $3.4 million to fund all of the approved projects.
Governor Mark Dayton signed off on the budget increase and 11 projects were approved.
Included in those were $2.3 million for ATV trails in Ely, Crane Lake and the Quad Cities.
The breakdown for those projects is as follows:
• Voyageur Country ATV club: Vermilion River Bridge: $1,176,400
• Prospector Loop: trails connecting cities, including 11 bridges: $972,600
• Quad Cities ATV Club, trail design/development/town connectors: $166,900


Hospital project worth a look

Over the course of the next several weeks NFL teams, not including the Vikings, will play down to a Super Bowl champion. The playoffs figure to be a long winding road to Atlanta and we’re intrigued by another winding road that could lead to significant investment in our community.
A $24 million project that could reshape how health care is provided in the future has been unveiled in last week’s Ely Echo. The project includes a major expansion for the hospital as well as the additional of another project that has been looking for a home.
The Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital’s Super Bowl is years away and it’s clear this project is not yet at the opening kick off. But hospital officials are being proactive and community minded in their drive to improve both the hospital and Ely.
It remains to be seen what will come of this project but it seems Ely-Bloomenson is on the right track by promoting itself and striving to enhance existing services and add new ones.


Frontier Communications has failed to provide adequate or reliable service, according to Minnesota Commerce Department investigation

Frontier Communications has failed to provide adequate, reliable phone and internet service to its Minnesota customers, according to an investigation by the Minnesota Commerce Department.

The investigative report was filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Friday, January 4, 2019.

The report recommends that Frontier be required to refund or credit customers for service outages and unauthorized charges; add staffing to improve customer service; and increase investments in infrastructure and equipment.

The investigation focused on the service quality, customer service and billing practices of Frontier Communications of Minnesota, Inc., and its affiliate, Citizens Telecommunications of Minnesota, LLC.

Together, they provide landline phone service to nearly 100,000 Minnesota households and businesses, as well as internet service, in parts of northeastern Minnesota, southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area.


Ya won’t hear it from me

Ya won’t hear it from me.
A half hour of thoughts, just occurred to me, in no less then three minutes of his appalled conversation.
He looks at our truck and he is aghast. He is stunned. The words fly out of his mouth. “What did you do to that truck, where have you been, what in heaven’s name is wrong with you? You can hardly see the windshield.
Now me, I’m smiling inside.
So, I try to explain that we just got off the road. We were in the boreal forest. We went Christmas camping. We drove on roads that four-wheel drive was invented for.
Why you buy truck tires with heavy deep-digging tread. Why you carry a tow strap and a scoop snow shovel and why, when we found the dad with his kid stuck - scared, pick-up truck-stuck, because the dad knew someone else might not go down that road for a few days - and we got them out.
Well, that’s why our truck looks like it just came back from some arctic exploration and we love it.


Doris Marian (Saari) Slogar, 89, dies

Doris Marian (Saari) Slogar, 89, passed away December 9, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. Doris was born in Ely, Minnesota to Levi J. and Hulda E. Saari on December 21, 1928. She spent her childhood, teen years and a portion of her adult years in Ely. She graduated from Ely High School. After a short career with the Federal Government as a stenographer with the Treasury Department, she fell in love with Lawrence A. “Larry” Slogar and they married on May 29, 1948. Doris became a homemaker, and together they raised their three daughters, first in Ely when the girls were young, and then in Florida when the family moved there in 1960. Doris was very involved with Larry in the family’s home-building business, Lakewood Park, in Daytona Beach, Florida. She enjoyed baking, going to the beach, movies, reading, board games and spending time with her family. Doris is predeceased by her husband, Larry; her parents, Levi J. and Hulda E.


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