Columnists

Fri
22
Sep

Fish sticks

What is going on? Every time I turn on the news there’s another disaster—a hurricane, an earthquake, a senate vote. There’s only one thing to do: Stop turning on the news.
I’m joking! As citizens, it behooves us to stay informed. It’s the responsible thing to do. Besides, if we bury our heads in the sand, we leave our backsides vulnerable.
When there’s chaos all around, I feel it’s my duty as a professional columnist to be the voice of reason. So let me take this opportunity to utter a few well-chosen words of wisdom: Help! Somebody, do something!
Kidding again! Because of course, I am somebody and so are you. So as usual, it’s up to us. Somehow we must muddle through together. And naturally, that brings me to the subject of fish sticks.

Mon
18
Sep

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Moose mama

Trail cameras can provide a look at the woods most people may never see. That includes me. Throughout the fall I try to spend nearly every weekend in the woods, usually out at our hunting shack. But I miss more than I see.
Over the years I’ve been able to acquire some trail cameras that can be strapped to a tree and take pictures when movement is sensed. Not that many years ago the cameras used film but today it’s all digital. I don’t have any cameras that can take pictures and send them to my cell phone but last year I added one that can capture video and sound.
The camera I put out furthest from the shack is the toughest to get to. After a very bumpy ride, there’s a rough trail down to a beaver dam and then along a dam to one of the few trees still standing.
Since it’s tough to get to, that camera doesn’t get checked too often. As long as the batteries are good, it will continue to take pictures.

Fri
08
Sep

From the miscellaneous drawer -Newbies

We were newbies to Ely. It was the mid-1940s and the war had ended.
We headed north from the Chicago area to pick up my sister who was working for the summer at the YMCA camp on Burntside Lake.
Gas rationing had been lifted and we drove up two lane roads behind military convoys through Wisconsin to Ely.
Ely itself was bustling with logging trucks, trains loaded with iron ore, bars and stores lined the streets and people bustled everywhere.
Dad started to build our cabin on Cedar Lake in the mid-1950s and I came up to help finish the stone fireplace that dominated the living room. Needing some supplies, he asked me to go to the hardware store on Chapman Street.
Where’s that, I asked having only been acquainted with Sheridan, the main drag through town.
He set me straight about the bank, gas station, department store and other businesses also available on Chapman.

Mon
04
Sep

From the miscellaneous drawer - Looking back on 40 years

Looking back 40 years places me in recall of the dramatic change which was about to occur in my life in 1977.
Still in the early stages, the Echo staff was considering the purchase of the Ely Echo from Miles Aakhus. When the purchase didn’t work out as a group effort, it was me alone taking the economic plunge.
The Ely area was in a state of flux. There was a lengthy strike on at Reserve Mining in Babbitt where several hundred Elyites worked and the city which had been buzzing along was beginning to show signs of change.
Gibson’s (on Chapman Street) was changing its name to Pamida. The Echo issue of 8/31/1977 held two full pages of store items. Bobby John’s ran a half page ad for the college bound woman. Martinetto Drug had a half page ad for vitamins. JCPenney had a half page ad for its store on Chapman Street. Lampert Building Center had a half page ad on bathrooms.

Fri
01
Sep

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Summer is over

And then summer was over.
This is Labor Day weekend, the official end of summer fun. If you’re like me, the best is yet to come. Bring on fall!
Our summer drew to a close with a flurry of activity. We transported our youngest, Evan, to college two weekends ago.
We packed two vehicles to the hilt with enough stuff to fill a dorm room and made the trek to Bemidji State University.
Hiding in the parking lot when we got there was our oldest, Jacob. Remembering how many times Evan helped him move, Jake drove over from Moorhead and surprised Evan. Freshman nerves were replaced by a big smile.
The vehicles were emptied and Evan’s half of the dorm room filled up quickly. It was a good thing he lofted his bed to give him some extra room. Dorm rooms haven’t gotten any bigger since I was in Griggs Hall at UMD 32 years ago.
We took in a student-parent orientation program at the football stadium and even met Faith Hensrud, the president of BSU.

Mon
28
Aug

He's not in the photo, Steve writes

In a note from Steve Kapsch I found out that at least one of the men identified in the Sandemar photo and article last week was wrong. Here’s what Steve wrote:
“I enjoyed your piece on Sandemar, which was, indeed, a gathering place for Elyites, including my dad and my uncle Matty and Swanson’s often illustrious guests. Swanson’s name came up so often in household conversation when I was a kid that he was something of a “mythical character” because it was like I knew him well, but I didn’t know him at all and never met him.
Anyway, uncle Matty was there at Sandemar often but he’s not in the photo.
The man whispering to Johnnie Bucca isn’t Matty but I don’t know who he is. (Johnnie looks like he’s either getting ready for Roaring Stony Days, or RSD is over and he’s decided he likes the look!).

Sat
19
Aug

From the miscellaneous drawer - The charm of Burntside Lake

VISITING AT SANDEMAR in July, 1946 were dignitaries and friends of Otto Swanson. Shown are, l-r: Lawrence Smith, Tony Struna?, John Buccowich, Matty Kapsch, Swedish Ambassador (Erik Boheman?), Otto Swanson and Minnesota Governor Luther Youngdahl. Photo courtesy of Larry Smith

Sun
13
Aug

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Methodists celebrate

Our little church had a big celebration last Sunday. The Ely United Methodist Church celebrated its 125th year with a full service and a special dinner.
“The Little Church With A Big Heart” is located in the oldest church building in Ely, started in 1892 and completed in 1895. The land was donated by the Oliver Mining Company.
In 1907, famed Ely mine captain Charles Trezona made a sizeable donation so the church could have actual pews. He played a key role in the church’s development. And, he lived just down the street.
Like other churches in Ely, during the Great Depression there was a good chance the doors would be closed forever. If it wasn’t for the women beginning to make pasties to help meet church expenses, that just might have happened.
Eighty years later pasties are still made by a team of volunteers (both men and women) and those funds help keep the doors open.

Sat
05
Aug

Native Son - Bookworm #4

by Charles D Novak
The floor around the recliner in my living room looks like a small library. Here are some of my reviews of recently read books.
WINTER IS COMING by Garry Kasparov - subtitled “Why Valdimir Putin Must Be Stopped.” The Russian author, now living for safety reasons in the United States, spent twenty years as the world’s #1 chess player. In 2005 he retired from professional chess to lead the pro-democracy opposition against Putin.

Sun
30
Jul

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Up on Basswood

Running out of time to get boats, motors, gear and everything else together for a trip to Basswood Lake, it was time to call for help.
“LaTourell’s,” said Bob when he answered the phone. Just the guy to talk to.
A few minutes later we were set for our trip into the BWCA on a sunny Sunday a few weeks back.
Five of us unloaded our gear on the shores of Moose Lake into the two boats Bob had set up for us. Evan and Nella were in Bandit One while Mary, Megan and I would be in Bandit Two.
From one LaTourell to another was what happened when we wove between the islands and made our way from Moose up to Prairie Portage on the international border.
Mindy backed the trailer into the lake with the Chevy pickup and hopped out to chat for a minute. We talked fishing and life in general but she’s got to keep the traffic moving so we rode along the portage down past the old cabin to Basswood Lake.

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