When we moved the Ely Echo business operation from 2 East Sheridan Street to 15 East Chapman Street in 2005 we went from a nine room, two-story space plus basement to a one level five room compact unit.
Since we’ve been here, the 14 four-drawer filing cabinets have held documents dating back to 1972 when the Echo began.
Installing some new printing equipment recently meant consolidating once again materials we deem important to the newspaper and to our customers.
But it’s easy to get distracted... and my desk has become a repository for items once thought lost.
Other items, such as our vast collection of photo proof sheets in notebooks are now organized by date on a back room shelf. If only that remained as easy as technology changed and we moved from black and white negatives developed in our own lab to color prints and now digital color.
We’re shifting gears in Ely.
Lake cabins are being closed up, yards are being checked for last minute clean up and warm jackets are being found after having been stowed away.
We’re hunkering down for winter.
If you’re new to town, this is a good time to join up and join in with any of the 100 or so clubs and organizations around the area. There’s at least one group and probably more which should fit anyone’s interests.
Like the outdoors? There are clubs with the focus on cross country skiing, snowmobiling and three-wheeling on ATVs. They meet throughout the year, work on trails and share a lot of camaraderie.
Some groups and others stay on the quieter side sewing quilts and other projects. All hands are welcome.
There are Scouts - Boys and Girls - for restless kids.
Church groups and activities for those interested are available and new faces are always welcome.
The part of my job that is most enjoyable is keeping track of subscriptions for subscribers. While names don’t pop into my head as quickly to match with faces that stop by the office, faces remain familiar generally.
And sometimes, too, bits of information, mostly from the past: where someone worked or lived, and other trivia like family connections emerge.
After all, the 40+ years living here has created a treasure trove of memories.
In my spare time, before a different treasure trove is totally lost, I’m trying to link up my mother’s family past with that of her family history from the 1800s.
That is a lot easier than trying to link up my dad’s family past. For one thing, I don’t read nor understand Norwegian.
Why is any of this important to me? It gives me a sense of stability in what appears to be an unstable world.
Trail cameras were the order of the day last Saturday for me and Millie, Megan’s golden retriever puppy.
We got out to the shack and spent the day in the woods. The temperature was just about right with just a touch of fall in the air.
In the back of the wheeler went our necessities for the day. A chainsaw, gas, oil, salt/mineral blocks, a pack with extra batteries and SD cards and an extra jacket.
Millie rode either on my lap or at my feet. She likes the wheeler but the chainsaw is another story. When I fired up the Stihl the first time she ran back to the wheeler and sat up on the seat. That was fine with me, one less thing to worry about it.
In May I had put a trail camera on a sapling on the edge of a beaver pond. I aimed the camera at the dam and hoped I would get to see what crossed from one side to the other.
I like my job.
I started this job as publisher in the fall of 1977 and there was a lot to learn. In addition to learning Ely area family names, there was the matter of learning the roads and byways of journalism.
Then came offset presses, computers and the internet.
Now there is as another monstrous machine in my viewing and listening space. It’s for printing life-size and over-size posters. We’re still exploring its potential uses. Our customers already are availing themselves of the new printing product.
Answering the phone remains interesting to me too.
“What was the Ely newspaper in 1946? I called several places in Ely and they didn’t know,” an inquirer asked.
That’s an easy one. It was just the Ely Miner then. The Ely Iron Home and Ely Times which preceded the Miner had both ended by 1902. The Ely Miner ceased publication in 1986.
World Press Institute friends gathered this week - some from the days of Pidge Slabodnik Hodowonic in 1991 when world headlines included: Cease-fire ends Persian Gulf War; China accepts nuclear nonproliferation treaty; Boris Yeltsin becomes first freely elected president of Russian Republic.
While in Ely, the 1991 news revolved around lesser things...
Wall phones and portable bag phones kept us in touch with each other and the world was so far away - on television news reports and in daily newspapers.
With computers accessing the burgeoning internet we knew our lives were changing. We could not yet perceive how much our times and the world would change.
What we were to see in the years following was that those leaps forward in technology were to be succeeded shortly with ever more leaps forward in technology and the unrecognized constant would remain - paper.
When I step up on a new beaver dam, it reminds me of a very old one, that when I was about seven years old, I first discovered.
My grandfather would take me to what in life has turned out to be without question my favorite place to catch brook trout, and part of being able to go with him was this. He had a law; you do what I say, or you aint going with, which I adhered to as often as possible.
I directly recall disobeying him only twice in life. The first was over the eating of green apples. It was strictly forbidden, but one day he wasn’t home when I knocked on his door so, on a late September afternoon, I picked a couple of the green fruit and ate them which he never knew about, but I still feel bad for to this day.
The other time I didn’t adhere to his rule was on the brookie creek I so dearly now cherish.