News https://www.elyecho.com/ en Homeowner dies in house fire https://www.elyecho.com/homeowner-dies-house-fire <span property="schema:name">Homeowner dies in house fire</span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img property="schema:image" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/articles/Morse%20Fall%20Lake%20Fire%20Truck%20logo.jpg" alt="Ely Echo - Staff Photo" /> </div> <span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" about="/user/22" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Publisher</span></span> <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2024-02-26T08:37:38+00:00">Mon, 02/26/2024 - 09:37</span> <div class="simpleads-reference-field" data-entity-type="node" data-field-name="field_in_content_ad" data-entity-id="20258" data-rotation-type="refresh" data-impressions="true"></div> <div property="schema:text" class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The Morse-Fall Lake Fire Department battled a structure fire Sunday afternoon where the homeowner perished in the blaze on the 1400 block of Grant McMahan Boulevard.</p> <p>It was reported to 911 that the sole, elderly homeowner was believed to still be inside. </p> <p>Fire chief Ted Krueger said he was informed the homeowner was possibly in the bedroom but entry through the front of the home was not an option due to the intensity of the flames.</p> <p>"When we arrived on scene there was smoke coming from all of the vents and the center of the building was fully involved," said Krueger. "We had water on the fire and we breached an outside wall and sent three people in, but the firefighters hit heavy fire inside and had to retreat." </p> <p>After getting the fire under control, firefighters located a deceased victim inside the residence. </p> <p>Krueger said the fire is under investigation but that it appeared the origin was in the location of a wood fireplace. </p> <p>Water was transported to the fire from the river on Highway 88, located next to the property.</p> <p>Krueger thanked his mutual aid agencies for their quick response.</p> <p>"Ely had 16 people there, Babbitt came with six and we had 18," said Krueger.</p> <p>Also helping with traffic and other issues were the St. Louis County and Lake County sheriff's departments, U.S. Border Patrol, DNR Conservation Officers along with the Ely Area Ambulance Service. </p> <p>Victim identification is pending further investigation by the State Fire Marshals Officer, Midwest Medical Examiners Office and the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office. </p> <p>The cause of the fire has been determined to be accidental and started near the fireplace inside the residence.  The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office is currently working on gathering medical and dental records to make an identification of the victim.  The name of the victim is being withheld until identification can be made.  </p> <p> </p> </div> <span class="post-categories red" ><a 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class="social-sharing-buttons__button" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <svg width=20px height=20px style=border-radius:5px;> <use href="/modules/better_social_sharing_buttons/assets/dist/sprites/social-icons--square.svg#email" /> </svg> </a> <!-- Copy link share button --> <!-- Print share button --> <a href="javascript:window.print()" rel="" id="printlink"> <svg width=20px height=20px style=border-radius:5px;> <use href="/modules/better_social_sharing_buttons/assets/dist/sprites/social-icons--square.svg#print" /> </svg> </a> </div> Mon, 26 Feb 2024 08:37:38 +0000 Publisher 20258 at https://www.elyecho.com Caucus night on Tuesday https://www.elyecho.com/caucus-night-tuesday <span property="schema:name">Caucus night on Tuesday </span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img property="schema:image" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/articles/Caucus%20hands%20up.jpg" alt="Ely Echo - Staff Photo " /> <blockquote class="image-field-caption">Democrats at the 2022 caucuses raise their hands in support of an issue. </blockquote> </div> <span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" about="/user/22" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Publisher</span></span> <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2024-02-25T15:37:37+00:00">Sun, 02/25/2024 - 16:37</span> <div class="simpleads-reference-field" data-entity-type="node" data-field-name="field_in_content_ad" data-entity-id="20257" data-rotation-type="refresh" data-impressions="true"></div> <div property="schema:text" class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>Republicans Democrats, to both convene in-person at Vermilion</strong></p> <p><b><i>by Tom Coombe</i></b></p> <p>One of the first major events of an active year on the political front takes place this week.</p> <p>Grassrots politics takes center stage in Ely, as well as across the state, with precinct caucuses.</p> <p>Both major parties will gather in-person this year for their respective events at the Vermilion campus of Minnesota North college.</p> <p>Gatherings for both Democrats and Republicans begin at 6:30 p.m. with registration for their respective events, with caucuses to convene at approximately 7 p.m.</p> <p>Local caucus events mark the start of the political process including the initiatives that will make up the platforms of both major parties, and the selection of candidates for offices including the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and the Minnesota House of Representatives.</p> <p>Democrats who reside in Ely, Winton and townships including Morse and Unorganized 22 and 24 will gather in the theater, while those from Fall Lake have a separate caucus - also at Vermilion.</p> <p>Republicans are slated to convene in a lecture hall at Vermilion, with those from St. Louis County and Fall Lake caucusing together.</p> <p>The caucuses were impacted by the Covid pandemic two years ago, with only Republicans meeting in person while Democrats held a “contactless” caucus.</p> <p>Even prior to the pandemic, caucus gatherings in Ely have generally been sparsely attended. One exception came in 2016 when the presidential race attracted hundreds who took part in straw polls.</p> <p>By contrast in 2020, only 27 Republicans turned out from the entire  Ely area and the city of Ely DFL gathering attracted just 29 participants.</p> <p>The grassroots events mark the start of an election year with attendees eligible to advance on as delegates to party nominating conventions at the district and state levels, and to submit resolutions for consideration for their respective party platforms.</p> <p>The Democrat gathering in Ely is the next step prior to a county unit convention, which will also be held in Ely, at Vermilion, March 23.</p> <p>Democrats sent a press release in advance of their events, which included locations for other caucuses in the region.</p> <p>Those are:</p> <p>• Babbitt Senior Center, 71 South Drive, Babbitt, (Babbitt Precinct and Unorganized Precinct 9);</p> <p>• Cook Community Center, 510 Gopher Drive, Cook, (Beatty, Camp 5, Cook, Crane Lake, Field, Leiding, Linden Grove, Orr, Owens, Portage, Willow Valley Precincts and Unorganized precincts 11,12,13,19,21.) Southeast Koochiching Precinct, Koochiching County, will also meet at the Cook Community Center;</p> <p>• Embarrass Town Hall, 7503 Lavender Rd, Embarrass, (Kugler Precinct, Waasa Precinct, Unorganized Precinct 20);</p> <p>• Greenwood Township Offices, 3000 County Road 77, Tower, (Greenwood Precinct);</p> <p>• Hoyt Lakes Arena, 102 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Hoyt Lakes, (Hoyt Lakes Precinct, Unorganized Precinct 6);</p> <p>• Kabetogama Town Hall, 9707 Gamma Road, Kabetogama,(Kabetogama Precinct);</p> <p>• Vermilion Country School, 1 Enterprise Dr, Tower, (Breitung, Eagles Nest, Tower Precincts);</p> <p>• Vermilion Lake Town Hall, 5937 Wahlsten Road, Tower, MN (Vermilion Lake Precinct).</p> </div> <span class="post-categories red" ><a href="/news" hreflang="en">News</a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-type field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">featured</div> <div class="field__item">slider</div> </div> <div class="field 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width=20px height=20px style=border-radius:5px;> <use href="/modules/better_social_sharing_buttons/assets/dist/sprites/social-icons--square.svg#print" /> </svg> </a> </div> Sun, 25 Feb 2024 15:37:37 +0000 Publisher 20257 at https://www.elyecho.com Businesses struggle during mild winter https://www.elyecho.com/businesses-struggle-during-mild-winter <span property="schema:name">Businesses struggle during mild winter</span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img property="schema:image" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/articles/DSC05546.jpg" alt="" /> <blockquote class="image-field-caption">Area snowmobile trails have no snow, haven't been groomed this winter without white gold that normally paves a trail of winter tourism to Ely. </blockquote> </div> <span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" about="/user/22" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Publisher</span></span> <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2024-02-25T15:35:06+00:00">Sun, 02/25/2024 - 16:35</span> <div class="simpleads-reference-field" data-entity-type="node" data-field-name="field_in_content_ad" data-entity-id="20256" data-rotation-type="refresh" data-impressions="true"></div> <div property="schema:text" class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><b><i>by Parker Loew</i></b></p> <p>Above-average temperatures and the lack of ice and snow have kept many tourists and recreationists from visiting Ely this winter.</p> <p>Though many businesses have tried to evolve to adopt new streams of income to make up for the lack of winter tourists, most have lost significant revenue.</p> <p>“I don’t think we have seen over ten snowmobiles come to fuel up,” said Lisa Licari, manager at Clark Gas Station on the east side of town. “Last year, there were a lot of snowmobilers, and we had tons of business. This year, they have stayed home.”</p> <p>Ely is usually a snowmobile destination in the wintertime, and many businesses have built their business model around a steady inflow of snowmobilers throughout the winter.</p> <p>“Snowmobilers are huge for us. Dogsledding too,” said Mary Zupancich, manager of the Grand Ely Lodge. “Revenues each week, day after day, have been dropping significantly because there is no snow for people to enjoy these winter activities, so they don’t come to Ely.”</p> <p>With the mild winter, the Grand Ely Lodge has tried many different techniques to get people to stay at the lodge, one of which is offering specials and discounts.</p> <p>“You can’t predict what mother nature is going to do, unfortunately, but we have been offering big discount specials, ‘buy two, get one free’ type thing, just to get heads in beds,” said Zupancich.</p> <p>Another source of income the Grand Ely Lodge looks to in the wintertime, which has helped this year, is hosting conventions and larger gatherings, but those only help so much.</p> <p>Zupancich estimated they lost around 10-15% of traffic from last winter, one that was historically snowy.</p> <p>“Last year, I would come in to work on a Saturday afternoon at two o’clock and there would be 50 to 60 sleds. One time I counted over 100,” said Bob Hendrickson, food and beverage manager at the Grand Ely Lodge. “This year, the most I saw was 15.”</p> <p>Hendrickson said while the number of people staying in the lodge is noticeably less than in past years, food sales haven’t been impacted as much because of how few places in town are open during the winter, leaving the Grand Ely Lodge as one of the go-to places in town to grab food.</p> <p>Eva Sebesta. executive director at Ely Chamber of Commerce, reiterated how the restaurants that have stayed open in Ely this winter have still had a decent amount of business because of how few are left, and because of one of the main restaurants in Babbitt closing.</p> <p>“With the Junction closing over in Babbitt, a lot of their winter business has shifted over into our area,” said Sebesta.</p> <p>While food sales may be stable, alcohol sales are a completely different story.</p> <p>“It’s been alcohol, beer, and wine sales that have taken the biggest hits from the lack of snowmobile groups,” Hendrickson said.</p> <p>Another go-to spot in town to grab drinks, and usually a snowmobiler’s haven, Samz Place, said while the lack of snowmobilers has been noticeable, they have adapted.</p> <p>“Typically, in the wintertime, we thrive off the snowmobiler business. I’ve seen maybe five all year, but our sales haven’t gone down weirdly enough,” said Sarah Nyman, manager at Samz Place.</p> <p>Nyman has tried to get creative with marketing to make up for the lack of inflow and traffic from snowmobilers.</p> <p>“We’ve done a lot of specials and tried to get creative to get the locals to come back out because this winter, the town has died, and it’s been rough. Hopefully, it brings a better summer,” she said. “Come stop in at Samz Place and grab a drink.”</p> <p>The lack of snow hasn’t been the only factor keeping tourists from Ely, as the warm temperature has created a thinner-than-usual ice pack on the area lakes.</p> <p>“We’ve got about half as much ice as we typically do,” said owner of Arrowhead Outdoors Steven Renneberg. “We should have at least like two feet on the lake trout lakes and probably 30 inches on all the other lakes in the area. Right now we’re anywhere from eight to maybe 16 inches on most lakes.”</p> <p>Even though the ice is thin on some lakes, Renneberg hasn’t heard of anyone going through the ice and said people have been good about not driving or going where they shouldn’t.</p> <p>He also said that while the ice pack is lower than usual in Ely, it is still much better than most places in the Midwest, which has brought many who reside in iceless areas to northern Minnesota to fish.</p> <p>“People are coming here because we have ice, a lot of places don’t,” said Renneberg. “They are coming from as far away as Ohio and even Indiana just because we have some ice on our lakes.”</p> <p>Renneberg said people who have traveled here for fishing this year have typically been rewarded, as the fishing has been pretty good.</p> <p>“People are catching some large northern pike out on Basswood and some really big lake trout on many different lakes,” he said.</p> <p>The influx of people from other regions of the Midwest hasn’t completely made up for the small ice pack, however, and Renneberg said business is down around 10% from last year.</p> <p>Tim Barton, trip guide outfitting manager at Piragis Northwoods Outfitting, said they have sent out around half as many winter camping trips as they have in the past few years.</p> <p>“It’s not completely dead, but it’s way down compared to usual,” said Barton.</p> <p>Piragis offers winter camping as more of a service than a money-making endeavor, but they are passionate about sending people out during the winter to experience the BWCA.</p> <p>“Ice travel has actually been pretty good lately. We have been seeing a lot of people go out with boot spikes, which work the best in these conditions,” said Barton.</p> <p>Barton said he hopes this year is a fluke and next year will be a more normal winter.</p> <p>“I’m hoping it’s just a blip, and we’ll come right back next year,” he said.</p> </div> <span class="post-categories red" ><a href="/news" hreflang="en">News</a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-type field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">featured</div> <div class="field__item">slider</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-post-format field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__item">standard</div> <div style="display: none"><svg aria-hidden="true" style="position: absolute; width: 0; height: 0; overflow: hidden;" version="1.1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"> <defs> <symbol id="copy" viewBox="0 0 64 64"> <path fill="#2b6a94" style="fill: var(--color1, 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raffle https://www.elyecho.com/all-class-ramps-10000-fundraiser-raffle <span property="schema:name">All Class ramps up with $10,000 fundraiser raffle</span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img property="schema:image" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/articles/Ely%20All%20Class%20Reunion%3A%20Rock%20The%20park%20Fundraiser.jpg" alt="" /> </div> <span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" about="/user/22" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Publisher</span></span> <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2024-02-23T17:05:47+00:00">Fri, 02/23/2024 - 18:05</span> <div class="simpleads-reference-field" data-entity-type="node" data-field-name="field_in_content_ad" data-entity-id="20254" data-rotation-type="refresh" data-impressions="true"></div> <div property="schema:text" class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><b><i>by Nick Wognum</i></b></p> <p>Ely’s All Class Reunion is getting close to happening and now there’s a fundraiser to go along with it.</p> <p>Committee members are selling 300 tickets for a $10,000 grand prize along with a second prize of $2,000 and three more $1,000 prizes.</p> <p>Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased from committee members or at Zup’s Food Market in Ely.</p> <p>“I think these tickets are going to go fast,” said Jim Zupancich. “Plus buying a ticket gets you in the Patriotic Sponsor 300 Club so you or your business will be recognized for your contribution.”</p> <p>Proceeds will help fund activities happening during the All Class Reunion Week. Winners will be drawn on April 15.</p> <p>Reunion planning is coming along nicely, according to committee chair Ann Johnson.</p> <p>“Registration has started and for $25 you get in to the two Rock the Park events, the All Class Mixer, the Variety Show and you get a swag bag,” said Johnson.</p> <p>“We encourage everyone to register if you are participating in any of the events happening this week. This will help in coordinating more events, space and food for the week. Also, it will help you connect with other classmates who are attending.”</p> <p>Coming up next is the March 1 deadline to nominate Ely athletes who graduated between 1980 and 2009 for the Hall of Fame.</p> <p>Johnson said the schedule has really started to fill up from July 29-July 6.</p> <p>“There’s a full day of Mining Heritage events on Monday at the Pioneer Mine with All Class Mixer hosted by the Ely Echo that night. Come and meet classmates and enjoy live music at the Miner’s Dry.</p> <p>“There’s also an alumni golf tournament and if you would like to join a team, contact Rob Wilmunen. We’re doing boat tours on Sunday and if you’d like to be part of that contact Brian Johnson.”</p> <p>There will be day at school tours and the Variety Show are set as well for Wednesday.</p> <p>“We have some fun skits we’re working on. We have Dave Anderson who will be the emcee. We’re looking for choir, poms, cheerleading and band member alumni.  Anyone interested in the Variety Show can send us an email,” said Pam Turnbull.</p> <p>Additional activities are still being worked on but the schedule of events (see box) has been filling up.</p> <p>Johnson said volunteers are always needed.</p> <p>“We will need volunteers for the events during the week. People can email us <a href="mailto:elyallclass2024@gmail.com">elyallclass2024@gmail.com</a> or check our website at ElyAllClassReunion.com. Clothing will be available as well through pre-orders, we are working on proofs for that as well.”</p> <p>Johnson said if people are interested in doing individual class reunions to contact the committee so they can be publicized to classmates.</p> <p>Tom Coombe said there will be an alumni baseball game on Friday “as well as other activities we’re working on.”</p> </div> <span class="post-categories red" ><a href="/news" hreflang="en">News</a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-type field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">featured</div> <div class="field__item">slider</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-post-format field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__item">standard</div> <div style="display: none"><svg aria-hidden="true" style="position: absolute; width: 0; height: 0; overflow: hidden;" version="1.1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"> <defs> <symbol 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https://www.elyecho.com/city-may-ease-cc-parking-snag <span property="schema:name">City may ease CC parking snag</span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img property="schema:image" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/articles/Ford%20building%20CC%20parking%20hotel_3912.jpg" alt="" /> </div> <span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" about="/user/22" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Publisher</span></span> <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2024-02-17T05:50:05+00:00">Sat, 02/17/2024 - 06:50</span> <div class="simpleads-reference-field" data-entity-type="node" data-field-name="field_in_content_ad" data-entity-id="20239" data-rotation-type="refresh" data-impressions="true"></div> <div property="schema:text" class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><b><i>by Tom Coombe</i></b></p> <p>Ely city officials are working on a concept that would add badly-needed parking for the hotel being developed at the old Community Center building.</p> <p>On Monday, the city’s project committee discussed the concept, which would involve utilizing the old Ford garage property on East Conan Street for additional parking.</p> <p>When council members addressed the matter Feb. 6, city clerk-treasurer and operations director Harold Langowski hinted “there will be a very feasible solution.”</p> <p>The garage building has been vacant for many years and is in private ownership, but the city may get involved in the project in an effort that would clear the property and create parking spaces for the proposed 18-room hotel at the historic landmark about a block away.</p> <p>“It is only a concept currently,” Langowski said Thursday. “I spoke with Matt (Stupnik) about leasing space if we are able to accommodate parking in the vicinity. I believe this would solve the off street parking issue and also remove a blighted structure.”</p> <p>Stupnik bought the Community Center in 2022 and is moving forward with a $3.4 million project that would turn the landmark into a hotel, but he’s struggling to find property for needed parking.</p> <p>To date, Stupnik has been unable to reach agreement with any adjacent property owners for the purchase of land that could be turned into off-street parking.</p> <p>Discussion at a recent planning and zoning commission turned to other ideas, including the possible use of the city-owned lot adjacent to the Ely Senior Center. That idea has been met with opposition, however, from Senior Center leaders.</p> <p>The city previously sold the building, which is on the National Historic Register of Historic Places, to the K America Foundation, which announced plans for a Korean cultural center.</p> <p>That agreement, struck in 2018, fell apart and the city regained ownership and put the building back on the market, with Stupnik stepping forward in 2022.</p> <p>He plans an expensive overhaul of the Community Center, which has been vacant for nearly a decade, and turn it into a boutique hotel.</p> <p>Decades ago, the Community Center served as an Ely hotspot, housing not only the library and offices but a kitchen, cafeteria and auditorium that were used for numerous community events,</p> <p>It has been vacant since 2014, when the city closed the building after moving the library to a new facility across the street from City Hall.</p> <p>Efforts to repurpose the building have stalled and the building needs extensive renovations and repairs, estimated at $2.75 million in a 2014 study.</p> <p>The city commissioned a reuse study that can be found on the city’s website, and ideas have run the gamut, from using the building for its original purposes to perhaps turning it into rental housing, a hotel or community garden.</p> </div> <span class="post-categories red" ><a href="/news" hreflang="en">News</a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-type field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">featured</div> <div class="field__item">slider</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-post-format field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__item">standard</div> <div style="display: none"><svg aria-hidden="true" style="position: absolute; width: 0; height: 0; overflow: hidden;" version="1.1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"> <defs> <symbol id="copy" viewBox="0 0 64 64"> <path fill="#2b6a94" style="fill: 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https://www.elyecho.com/packages-keep-piling-zups <span property="schema:name">Packages keep piling up at Zup’s </span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img property="schema:image" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/articles/packages%20at%20zups.jpg" alt="Ely Echo - Staff Photo" /> </div> <span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" about="/user/22" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Publisher</span></span> <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2024-02-17T05:45:59+00:00">Sat, 02/17/2024 - 06:45</span> <div class="simpleads-reference-field" data-entity-type="node" data-field-name="field_in_content_ad" data-entity-id="20238" data-rotation-type="refresh" data-impressions="true"></div> <div property="schema:text" class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><b><i>by Parker Loew</i></b></p> <p>A pile of boxes inside Zup’s Liquor Store has accumulated as people have repeatedly left the wrong type of packages at the designated UPS drop-off station.</p> <p>Zup’s only accepts UPS Ground packages, but packages intended for USPS, FedEx, and UPS international and air are being left in the entryway of the liquor store.</p> <p>“This has been going on for a long time,” said Judy Meagher, an employee at Zup’s Liquor Store. “People drop off their USPS and FedEx packages here that UPS can’t do anything with.”</p> <p>Meagher sometimes generously brings the incorrect packages to the correct places in town, such as USPS boxes or FedEx drop-off spots, but she often doesn’t have time, and sometimes there are packages USPS and FedEx don’t accept.</p> <p>“Some of these packages have been here awhile. I don’t know what to do with them because they are labeled incorrectly. Some are meant to be brought to an actual UPS or FedEx store, which we don’t have in town,” she said.</p> <p>Zup’s applied for a USPS drop-off box at their store around two and a half years ago, but nothing has come of the request as of yet.</p> <p>“We applied for a USPS mailbox in front of this store before we started construction on the store,” said store manager Jimmy Zupancich.</p> <p>Zupancich told the USPS he was willing to even go and pick up the USPS box and install it himself.</p> <p>“I think when you’re working with the government, it takes two to three years before things start happening, so hopefully something happens soon,” he said. “I told them I could just go move one in town over here, but they said you can’t do that because it’s a federal offense.”</p> <p>In the meantime, Zupan-cich and Meagher ask people to please bring packages to the correct drop-off locations in town.</p> <p>There is currently a shopping cart full of USPS, FedEx, and UPS air and international packages sitting in the entryway of Zup’s Liquor Store.</p> <p>If you think one of these packages may be yours, please pick it up and deliver it to the correct drop-off location.</p> <p>Packages that sit in Zup’s Liquor Store for more than 30 days are considered abandoned packages, and the store can do with them as they please.</p> </div> <span class="post-categories red" ><a href="/news" hreflang="en">News</a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-type field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">featured</div> <div class="field__item">slider</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-post-format field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__item">standard</div> <div style="display: none"><svg aria-hidden="true" style="position: absolute; width: 0; height: 0; overflow: hidden;" version="1.1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"> <defs> <symbol id="copy" viewBox="0 0 64 64"> <path 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https://www.elyecho.com/pulsar-launches-jetstream <span property="schema:name">Pulsar launches Jetstream</span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img property="schema:image" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/articles/Pulsar%20Helium%20drilling%202024.jpg" alt="Ely Echo - Staff Photo" /> </div> <span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" about="/user/22" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Publisher</span></span> <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2024-02-09T21:34:59+00:00">Fri, 02/09/2024 - 22:34</span> <div class="simpleads-reference-field" data-entity-type="node" data-field-name="field_in_content_ad" data-entity-id="20223" data-rotation-type="refresh" data-impressions="true"></div> <div property="schema:text" class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><b><i>by Nick Wognum</i></b></p> <p>The drilling of Pulsar Helium’s Jetstream #1 appraisal well at the Topaz helium project off Dunka River Road near Babbitt is now underway.</p> <p>And while perhaps not in the plans, the jetstream from a passing jet crossed behind the drill rig Monday morning. The name Jetstream comes from the “jet engine” sound heard when the deposit was accidentally tapped in 2011.</p> <p>Company officials were genuinely excited to share information on the new drilling operation, which has a budget of $1.3-$1.6 million.</p> <p>The tour group started at the Babbitt city hall where geologist Phil Larson used a piece of core from the 2011 copper-nickel exploration drill hole to show how the rocks above the helium deposit are keeping the gas from escaping.</p> <p>“The plate-shaped crystals are all stacked and it’s the perfect cap rock for sealing in gas,” said Larson.</p> <p>He said the composition of rock at the site often holds platinum and palladium in thin layers. “That’s why we were poking around in here in 2011,” said Larson. “What we’ve been able to reconstruct from other drilling in that area is the gas reservoir appears to be at the very base of this sill. There was something down there no one was expecting.”</p> <p>What was found was a helium deposit that registered at 10.5%, a concentration 10 times higher than other places.</p> <p>When the 2011 drilling operation hit the gas pocket, the air screamed “like a jet engine” out of the hole at speeds greater than 100 miles per hour. This continued unabated for five days until the hole could be capped.</p> <p>Pulsar Helium is now drilling a much larger hole, with the proper equipment for a gas deposit, to determine more information about the exact concentration and hopefully just how much is trapped underground.</p> <p>Larson said while helium is grabbing the headlines, there was also 75% carbon dioxide in the deposit, which has a value as well. He said Minnesota currently imports all of the carbon dioxide it needs.</p> <p>“If we can either replicate or improve upon the 10.5% find in 2011 than in the United States and even worldwide, this would be huge,” said Marc Farrington of Pulsar. “Then it will be crucial that we can be here and develop this. We’ve done a lot of thinking and planning for this.”</p> <p>Farrington said the drilling should reach the deposit in about two weeks.</p> <p>The appraisal borehole will be drilled to a depth of 686m (2,250 ft) with a contingency in place to extend to 762m (2,500 ft).</p> <p>A mass spectrometer is on site, providing gas composition every 100 seconds, with gas samples to be collected when zones of helium gas response are encountered.</p> <p>Drilling the appraisal borehole is the first step in what Pulsar Helium hopes to be a successful helium mine.</p> <p>The natural gas pocket Pulsar will drill into tested for 10.5% helium back when it was discovered accidentally by a copper-nickel exploration company in 2011.</p> <p>Larson said in order to take a sample he fashioned a collection device with materials from a local hardware store including a kitchen funnel, vinyl tubing, duct tape and a five gallon container with water in it.</p> <p>“We assumed it wasn’t explosive but we didn’t have the proper apparatus for collecting the gas,” said Larson. “So I cobbled something together so we could send a sample to a lab.”</p> <p>The first thought was to look for methane but there was no sign of it, according to Larson.</p> <p>After samples were taken, the hole was finally filled and capped. And for 13 years it stayed untouched.</p> <p>But Larson, who was working for Duluth Metals at the time (a predecessor of Twin Metals), took the information to a Canadian mining conference in 2017 where he eventually hooked up with Pulsar officials.</p> <p>A Minnesota company was created to begin the process of acquiring the land in the area. Keewaydin Resources was the name given to this company, which loosely translates to the north wind in Ojibwe, according to Larson.</p> <p>The site is located around 12 miles east of Babbitt off the Dunka River Road.</p> <p>The new drill hole is within 50 feet of the original discovery hole. This time, though, instead of a hole 2.75 inches in diameter, the main hole will be seven inches wide.</p> <p>On Monday, a drill rig 90 feet tall had already drilled 90 feet down where it hit bedrock. The initial section was sealed off to keep out any water.</p> <p>Thomas Abraham-James, the president and CEO of Pulsar, said the speed of drilling will increase the deeper they go since the drill uses gravity.</p> <p>The well being drilled would be retained and used for production should the results be positive.</p> <p>“Once we know the size of the deposit we can then get into the economic scenarios,” said Abraham-James.</p> <p>“The objective we have, the whole purpose of this, is when the original discovery was made they were able to take samples and find it was extraordinarily helium-rich at 10.5%,” said Abraham-James. “But all of the testing hasn’t been done. What we’re doing is to replicate that discovery and do all the testing and to go beyond it and see what is there.”</p> <p>Abraham-James said there may be additional stacked reservoirs as well.</p> <p>Once the test results are known a feasibility study will be done to determine if a plant can be built.</p> <p>Just how much permitting will be required is still unknown. Company officials said Monday they are currently working under permits from Lake County and regulations from the state Department of Health. Any chemicals on site are food grade including corn starch.</p> <p>“There will be no side drilling, no fracking, no chemicals going down the hole, just good old conventional drilling,” said Abraham-James.</p> <p>Officials from Capstone Drilling said there is equipment on site to close off the hole if anything unexpected is encountered.</p> <p>Farrington said the company wants to be as transparent as possible.</p> <p>“We are an open book. It’s really important to inform the locals,” said Farrington. “We want to reach out to people and be as transparent as we can be.”</p> <p>A town hall will be held in mid to late March in Babbitt to go over the test results.</p> <p>He said Pulsar is two to three weeks away from knowing the flow rate and the grade of the deposit.</p> <p>“If things go well here it’s a good thing for the locals, great for the state and even for the U.S.A. But unless people know about it, it’s going to be hard for people to understand what this is all about,” said Farrington.</p> <p>He said the Greenhouse Gas Protocols are being followed as well.</p> <p>“This is a low impact site,” said Farrington. “We are actively working, if we get into production, of hitting are carbon neutrality targets ASAP. That’s almost as important as finding something here.”</p> <p>There may yet be legislation or rule making passed to regulate helium mining in the state.</p> <p>Abraham-James pointed out they are working on private land but said the company has been working with the DNR for years.</p> <p>“We put an application in with the state for their lands, but it’s been hurry up and wait,” said Abraham-James. He said so far they have only had to work with Lake County and the Department of Health.</p> <p>According to the Duluth News-Tribune, the DNR is working with other state agencies to determine which existing rules and regulations are applicable to helium gas extraction.</p> <p>“To date, we have determined that the Minnesota Department of Health has borehole safety regulations and groundwater protections established in law, but these are not specific to gas production wells,” the DNR said in a statement to the News Tribune. “Similarly, there are no specific requirements for DNR permits or mandatory environmental review categories that apply to Helium gas extraction at this time.</p> <p>“The DNR is considering options for creating a regulatory structure for nonpetroleum gas extraction, including helium and green fuels such as hydrogen,” the DNR continued. “Through this effort, our goal would be to ensure that proper protections are in place for natural resources and human health, and also ensure that a fair royalty structure benefiting Minnesota schools and communities is in place for any proposed extraction of these gases from state lands.”</p> <p>Should the test results come back as hoped for, the company hopes to be in production in 18 to 24 months with 20 employees working on the site. Abraham-James said when built the site would resemble a warehouse with the helium capture equipment inside and trucks used to transport the product off site.</p> <p>Helium is used in MRI machines, in making semiconductor chips found in phones, TVs, computers, tablets as well as welding, fiber optics, airbags and microscopes.</p> </div> <span class="post-categories red" ><a href="/news" hreflang="en">News</a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-type field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">featured</div> <div class="field__item">slider</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-post-format field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__item">standard</div> <div style="display: none"><svg aria-hidden="true" style="position: absolute; width: 0; height: 0; overflow: hidden;" version="1.1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"> <defs> <symbol id="copy" viewBox="0 0 64 64"> <path 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https://www.elyecho.com/prospector-atv-club-wins-national-award <span property="schema:name">Prospector ATV Club wins national award</span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img property="schema:image" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/articles/Beaver%20River%20Bridge.jpg" alt="Ely Echo - Staff Photo" /> <blockquote class="image-field-caption">A POPULAR STOP on the Prospector ATV Trail system is the Beaver River Bridge, located north of Babbitt and halfway between Ely and Tower. The 1,000 foot long structure was completed in December of 2022. </blockquote> </div> <span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" about="/user/22" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Publisher</span></span> <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2024-02-09T21:30:30+00:00">Fri, 02/09/2024 - 22:30</span> <div class="simpleads-reference-field" data-entity-type="node" data-field-name="field_in_content_ad" data-entity-id="20222" data-rotation-type="refresh" data-impressions="true"></div> <div property="schema:text" class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The Prospector ATV Club has received a national award for the Beaver River Bridge project which was partially funded by the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).</p> <p>The Coalition for Recreational Trails chose Prospector as winner of the CRT’s Annual Achievement Award for outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program funds in the Multiple-Use Management and Corridor Sharing category.</p> <p>The award will be presented on March 6 in Washington, D.C. at a special awards ceremony followed by a reception on Capitol Hill.</p> <p>“We were very excited to receive this national award,” said club president Nick Wognum. “From the permitting to engineering to construction plus the large group of volunteers who assisted as well, this was truly a team effort.”</p> <p>The Beaver River Bridge Project received $150,000 of Recreational Trail Program (RTP) funding, which was awarded to the city of Ely. The city worked closely with the Prospectors Alliance ATV Club to create an important recreational trail link.</p> <p>Rep. Pete Stauber (R) thanked the club for the work it has done to build a 250-mile ATV trail system.</p> <p>“I want to congratulate the Prospector ATV Club on receiving the Annual Achievement Award through the Recreational Trails Program. This award is testament of the great work this group of dedicated individuals performs annually to maintain our trails and preserve multiple use of our land. I have had the privilege of riding with the Prospector ATV Club in the past, so I have seen firsthand their commitment to serving as responsible stewards of our land and know that their efforts will allow future generations of Minnesotans to enjoy their favorite outdoor pastimes for years to come. Northern Minnesota is a better place thanks to the Prospector ATV Club,” said Stauber.</p> <p>For over 40 years, the only trail connection through this area was a snowmobile trail.</p> <p>An all-season connection simply did not exist. The RTP provided the catalyst for securing additional funding, which created a connection between Ely, the David Dill/Taconite State Trail and the city of Babbitt.</p> <p>“Minnesotans love the outdoors, and the Prospectors Alliance ATV Club of Ely earning this National Award demonstrates their strong commitment to the community through the improvement of their trail system,” said U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D). “Whether it’s by an ATV, snowmobile or mountain bike, these trails boost the local tourism economy while safeguarding our wetlands. This award is a testament to what can be done when local leaders work together.”</p> <p>U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar expressed her support for federal ATV trail funding.</p> <p>“Congratulations to the Prospector ATV Club for this well-deserved recognition and for your successful work to make the Prospectors Trail a unique destination for ATV users, cyclists, and hikers,” said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. “I know riding ATVs through our pristine trails is a traditional part of Minnesotans’ outdoor recreation, and I worked with Senator Risch to pass bipartisan legislation to maintain strong funding for the Recreational Trails Program. I’ll continue working to ensure Minnesota receives the resources needed to protect and improve our trails.”</p> <p>SEH Engineering provided the environmental, design and construction management for the $2.1 million project.</p> <p>“It was exciting working with the Prospector ATV Club to develop a unique bridge system that crosses the Beaver River and surrounding wetland complex,” said project manager Jason Chopp of SEH.</p> <p>In addition to the federal Recreational Trails Program monies, the IRRRB and the state ATV dedicated fund helped pay for the elevated bridge and boardwalk.</p> <p>“This was truly a community effort. Northland Construction did an excellent job as the contractor but the local snowmobile clubs from Ely, Babbitt and Lake Vermilion as well as members of the Prospectors and Babbitt clubs spent many hours and many weeks completing this project and making it the best it can be. We had volunteers helping from as far away as the Cities but certainly the main workforce were the local members. We could not have completed this project without the many volunteers and the support at the federal, state and local levels,” said Prospector Trail Administrator Ron Potter.</p> </div> <span class="post-categories red" ><a href="/news" hreflang="en">News</a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-type field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">featured</div> <div class="field__item">slider</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-post-format field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__item">standard</div> <div style="display: none"><svg aria-hidden="true" style="position: absolute; width: 0; height: 0; overflow: hidden;" version="1.1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"> <defs> <symbol id="copy" viewBox="0 0 64 64"> <path fill="#2b6a94" style="fill: var(--color1, #2b6a94)" d="M0 0h64v64h-64z"></path> <path fill="#fff" style="fill: var(--color2, #fff)" d="M44.039 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https://www.elyecho.com/babbitt-council-opposes-new-state-flag <span property="schema:name">Babbitt council opposes new state flag</span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img property="schema:image" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/articles/State%20flags.jpg" alt="" /> </div> <span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" about="/user/22" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Publisher</span></span> <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2024-02-09T21:26:54+00:00">Fri, 02/09/2024 - 22:26</span> <div class="simpleads-reference-field" data-entity-type="node" data-field-name="field_in_content_ad" data-entity-id="20221" data-rotation-type="refresh" data-impressions="true"></div> <div property="schema:text" class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><b><i>by Parker Loew</i></b></p> <p>On Tuesday the Babbitt city council voted to send a letter to state legislators opposing the change to the Minnesota state flag.</p> <p>Council member Joseph White brought this before the council saying he believes it is time to take a stand.</p> <p>“I’m tired of people trying to erase our history,” said White. “I have pride in our state flag, and it’s time we stop with this nonsense.”</p> <p>The DFL-controlled legislature authorized the State Emblems Redesign Commission to choose new official state symbols.</p> <p>Proponents of the new flag said the old flag, which depicts a Native American man riding a horse on land being cultivated by a white man, represents the displacement of the indigenous people of Minnesota.</p> <p>Over the last few years, there has been a movement in America to get rid of things that might offend or trigger someone, even if it represents a factual historic account.</p> <p>“A lot of the people that we’ve erased, these national treasures we have and everything, no one’s even alive that was a part of that,” White said. “We’re destroying our history, one state at a time. We weren’t perfect, but deleting this isn’t changing our past.</p> <p>While White personally didn’t like replacing the old state flag with a new one, he had also heard from many constituents unhappy with the change.</p> <p>“The Metro does not represent Minnesota,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a committee created in the city that decides<br />  </p> </div> <span class="post-categories red" ><a href="/news" hreflang="en">News</a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-type field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">featured</div> <div class="field__item">slider</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-post-format field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__item">standard</div> <div style="display: none"><svg aria-hidden="true" style="position: absolute; width: 0; height: 0; overflow: hidden;" version="1.1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"> <defs> <symbol id="copy" viewBox="0 0 64 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https://www.elyecho.com/city-backs-wolf-center-request <span property="schema:name">City backs Wolf Center request </span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img property="schema:image" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/articles/IWC%20kids%20looking%20_4898.jpg" alt="Ely Echo - Staff Photo " /> </div> <span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" about="/user/22" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Publisher</span></span> <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2024-02-09T21:18:39+00:00">Fri, 02/09/2024 - 22:18</span> <div class="simpleads-reference-field" data-entity-type="node" data-field-name="field_in_content_ad" data-entity-id="20218" data-rotation-type="refresh" data-impressions="true"></div> <div property="schema:text" class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><b>Museum looks for $2.1 million from state for facility improvements</b></p> <p><b><i>by Tom Coombe</i></b></p> <p>Officials at the International Wolf Center have been patient - and persistent - in a bid to make long-sought improvements at the museum just outside of Ely.</p> <p>They’ve lined up support from area legislators and the city council got on board Tuesday, endorsing the IWC’s request for $2.1 million in state funds.</p> <p>One of the area’s major attractions, the IWC has come up empty the last several years in bids for money to replace a failing roof and make other major infrastructure repairs.</p> <p>Grant Spickelmier, the IWC’s executive director, told council members this week that the organization is “retooling our ask.”</p> <p>“It’s a little bit more (than previously requested),” Spickelmier explained. “It’s now $2.1 million after we looked back at our numbers and looked at inflation for construction costs.”</p> <p>Funding could come from a state bonding bill or legislation advanced through the State Senate’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee, where it has the backing of State Sen. Grant Hauschild (D).</p> <p>In the Minnesota House of Representatives, State Rep. Roger Skraba (R) of Ely is lending his support.</p> <p>Spickelmier said “our roof has been in failure, with major leaking and ice dam issues, and there are other significant issues, with the HVAC system and boilers going down. It happens when you have 30-year-old infrastructure.”</p> <p>Council members went on record in support of the IWC request without dissent, passing a motion on a 6-0 vote with Paul Kess absent.</p> <p>“I think you explained how important it is to our community and our state,” said council member Al Forsman. “It’s hard not to get behind.”</p> <p>Spickelmier’s request followed a presentation by Krista Woerheide, interpretive center director at the Ely facility.</p> <p>Woerheide said “2023 was a big year for the Wolf Center,” describing strong attendance and “a lot of improvements to our facility that keep our visitors coming and keep them coming to our town.”</p> <p>It included a new Arctic wolf ecosystem exhibit.</p> <p>“We work pretty hard so that things are updated and new so visitors who are coming for an annual visit have something to see,” said Woerheide.</p> <p>The IWC continues to offer educational programming to schools across the state and beyond, generating publicity about the facility and for Ely and even attracting some visitors.</p> <p>Woerheide described a student who took part in a center online educational program “who was so excited about it he and his family made the trek to Ely, stayed for a week and visited the Wolf Center.”</p> <p>The IWC has made improvements in accessibility, even making iPads available to check out during visits and offering numerous videos with American Sign Language.</p> <p>New cameras have improved security and include three that are broadcast to the public, showing off ambassador wolves to those who tune in and have been featured on Twin Cities television stations.</p> <p>The IWC is also making efforts to expand its outreach into the Ely community, partnering with the Ely School District and sponsoring the purchase of shot clocks that were installed in both the high school gymnasium and in the gymnasium housed in the new addition to the school campus.</p> <p>“We were very happy to be part of that with our local school,” 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