BREAKING NEWS: Two year temporary mining ban has wrong ending date

by Nick Wognum and Tom Coombe -

The publication of a rule to ban mining in portions of the Superior National Forest for two years contains a major typo.

The notice in the January 19 Federal Register lists an end date of January 17, 2017 instead of the intended 2019.

Here is the language as printed:

"For a period until January 21, 2017, subject to valid existing rights, the National Forest System lands described in this notice will be temporarily segregated from the United States mineral and geothermal leasing laws, unless the application is denied or canceled or the withdrawal is approved prior to that date."

Last year, the Forest Service held public forums both in Duluth and Ely to take comment on the potential renewal of exploratory mining leases.


Sponholz family wins Medallion Hunt and $250

The Sponholz family found the Northwoods Medallion on Feb. 10, following clues which led to the Ely Water Tower. As part of the 2017 Ely Winter Festival, the Ely Chamber of Commerce Merchant Committee hosted the first annual Ely Northwoods Medallion Hunt.
The Sponholz family followed a total of ten clues starting Feb. 2, with the final clue posted Feb. 11. They won $250 in Chamber Bucks. There were also chances to win in a drawing for four prizes ranging from $25 to $100 Chamber Bucks.


Ely council race: Kess, Debeltz, Callen

by Tom Coombe -

It's back to work for Paul Kess and Jerome Debeltz. For Ryan Callen, the third time was the charm.

Kess, Debeltz and Callen were the top vote-getters Tuesday in Ely's city council race. All won four-year terms.

Kess won a second term in his second stint on the council, leading a six-candidate field with 1,024 votes. Right behind was Debeltz, who has served continuously since first winning election in 1993. The dean of Ely's council got 882 votes and was the runner-up.

Grabbing the third and final spot was Callen, who won a seat on the council after two previous unsuccessful tries and gained 796 votes. He edged out Angela Campbell, who came up just short in her third try at city office in four years and garnered 709 votes.

Lagging behind were former council member Mark Zupec with 663 votes, and first-time candidate Rachel Rae Colber, who picked up 398 votes.


Omerza, Pointer, Mann win school board seats

Two first-time candidates and an incumbent emerged from a six-way race and won seats on the Ely School Board Tuesday night.

Tom Omerza led the field and captured 1,817 votes with all but a fraction of the ballots in and counted. Omerza, a local bank branch president and longtime youth sports volunteer, joined James Pointer and Heidi Mann in winning four-year terms.

Pointer, who was appointed to the board to fill a vacant seat in 2015, won 1,146 votes to take second and Mann, a mother of two school-aged sons who recently moved to the area, was next with 1,019 votes.

Mann held off former superintendent Alexis Leitgeb, who sought to join the board a year after she left the district under a cloud of controversy. Leitgeb had 907 votes while Geoff Galaski and Zach Walen lagged behind.

Scott Kellerman, who was running unopposed, won a two-year seat on the board.


Ely area rides Trump Train

As Donald Trump approached the doorstep of the presidency late Tuesday night, Ely area voters also gave the outspoken Republican nominee their support.

Trump carried precincts in Ely, Winton, Morse, Fall Lake and Babbitt, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton.

In Ely, Trump downed Clinton 925-799. He had a 38-vote (358-320) edge in Morse and a 33-vote margin (192-159) at Fall Lake. WInton voters gave Trump a 50-27 edge and Babbitt awarded Trump a 479-319 victory.

The results marked a dramatic shift in local sentiment. Democrats have traditionally carried area precincts in presidential races, and all but Fall Lake went for President Obama four years ago.

Minnesota remained too close to call as of about 11:30 pm, although Clinton held a six percentage point lead, 48-42, with about two-thirds of the state's polling places reporting.


Twin Metals files federal lawsuit

On September 12, 2016, Twin Metals Minnesota filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minnesota to affirm and protect its long-standing federal mineral rights in the Iron Range region of Northeast Minnesota. Twin Metals is in the early stages of developing a proposal for a modern, environmentally responsible, underground copper-nickel mining project in the region, which would provide hundreds of jobs for generations of Minnesotans. Below are the basic facts about Twin Metals’ federal lawsuit:


SATURDAY UPDATE: Foss Lake fire now said to be 440 acres

Fire photo by Robert Underwood©

A community meeting on the Foss Lake Fire was held Friday night at Vermilion Community College’s Fine Arts Theater

The USFS prescribed burn started Thursday, May 19 in the Foss Lake area. On Friday it was to be turned over to the Minnesota Incident Command System (MNICS) Type II Team.

The fire’s location is 10 miles west of Ely, MN, in St. Louis County, one mile west of the southwestern edge of Burntside Lake, north of Foss Lake, and south of Crab Lake. The fire is burning north within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).


Hwy. 21 to close to replace bridge

by Nick Wognum


Helen Kuehlman, 8/28/1932 – 12/29/2015, A life remembered

Helen Kuehlman
8/28/1932 – 12/29/2015
A life remembered
On Tuesday, Dec 29 at 9:10 a.m. Helen left her suffering on this earth and went to be with God for all eternity. Helen didn’t need much and asked for less. Her life seemed to revolve around “What can I do for others.”
Helen was a role model for young and old alike. Never did she issue a harsh word and had a love and understanding for everyone she met.


Conservation Officer weekly report December 21

District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports most of time was spent following up on cases from deer hunting and trapping seasons. Ice conditions remain poor on Rainy Lake and Lake Kabetogama; people have been patient so far and are reminded not to push their luck as moderate temperatures have not been conducive to making ice. A report of a deer falling through the ice on Rainy Lake was successfully rescued with the help of the Int’l Falls Fire Department. A few more snowmobiles have been observed with recent snow fall.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Ray) reports monitoring angling, small game, and snowmobile activities throughout the area. For most of the snowmobilers, these were the first rides of the season. Few trails are open and grooming parties have been seen on the trail system. The ice conditions on area lakes still remain poor. Time was also spent on ongoing investigations and nuisance animal complaints.


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