Columnists

Sun
14
May

In the front row - Baseball teammates

Former Ely American Legion baseball teammates Tim Scott and Josh Mathson are on different but parallel routes in their collegiate baseball careers.<BR><BR>Scott, a 2005 Ely graduate who walked on at NCAA Division I Nebraska, was redshirted by the Cornhuskers this year and will get his first chance to compete at a higher level this summer as a member of the Parkville Sluggers - a Kansas City-based wood bat league team.<BR><BR>Mathson, the Embarrass native who is Minnesota high school baseball’s all-time home run king, is completing his sophomore year at Iowa Central - a Division II junior college powerhouse - and is considering accepting a scholarship offer from Georgia College and State University, the top-ranked NCAA Division II program in the country.<BR><BR>Together Scott and Mathson helped power Ely’s Legion squad to a 28-2 record and a second-place Division II state tournament in 2004, and after Mathson graduated, Scott went 10-1 on the mound

Mon
08
May

From The Desk of the Old Timer

There are people who follow part of the scripture every day. That part in John:15 in which the Lord says: “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”<BR><BR>This is what policemen and firemen do every day they put on their uniforms. They lay their lives on the line for the rest of us. It is what our military people do every day. Lay their lives on the line for the rest of us. We recognize that it takes a certain amount of character to do this. Our natural inclination is to watch out for ourselves<BR><BR>Lying on a bed in Ely Bloomenson Hospital last week while two pints of blood were being injected into my left arm gave me time to ponder this matter. The thought struck me that in a very real sense, whoever it was who donated that blood being dripped into my veins was doing exactly the same thing.

Sun
30
Apr

From the miscellaneous drawer - A nomadic journalist

In the April 30, 1975 Ely Echo, Bob Cary, who had been a recent outfitter, wrote about US Forest Service cooperators. The resorters and outfitters learned that the $245,000 new Prairie Portage Dam was expected to be completed that year and there would be a detour for the motorized (Jeep) portage. Permits were back to 10 people per campsite.<BR><BR>The Timberwolves Rifle Club had taken first place at the NRA Junior Rifle Sectionals in Minneapolis. Team members were Wendy, Anderson, Robert Maki, Brian Kopperud and Jerry Skubic.<BR><BR>In April 28, 1976’s Ely Echo, tourist operators were protesting the permit system which had started in 1967 but was, they believed, creating misleading information. Operators said that people often quit their trip early and did not go where they had declared they were going in the Boundary Waters. <BR><BR>It was estimated that 350 people attended the USDA Duluth hearing on snowmobiles in the BWCA.

Sat
22
Apr

In the front row - VCC basketball

Hoping to climb in the Northern Division after a pair of sub-par seasons, the Vermilion Ironwomen have bagged two key recruits - including one from Ely- that could give the community college basketball team a tremendous boost.<BR><BR>Kylee Seboe, a 6-0 center from Barnum who helped the Bombers to a fourth-place finish in the State Class A Tournament, and Ely senior Kelsey Ivancich have both committed to attend Vermilion in 2006-2007.<BR><BR>Both figure to make immediate contributions to a Vermilion program that picked up just one win this winter and struggled a year ago as well.<BR><BR>Seboe and Ivancich both bring something different to the floor for the Ironwomen.<BR><BR>An all-area and all-state tournament player, Seboe should provide a strong presence in the paint, something Vermilion lacked this year.<BR><BR>“She’ll bring a lot of athleticism and experience from a good high school program like Barnum,” said Vermilion H

Fri
14
Apr

Letters from Ely - A Good Hard Slap

A Good Hard Slap<BR><BR>Across the Midwest, the small farms have disappeared. Most of those 180- and 360-acre plots that supported individual families for generations have been sold off to five- or 10,000 acre corporate farms. <BR><BR>Remember those pretty farm homes with their red barns, silos and tire swings? They’re mostly gone, replaced by huge tractors moving in tandem across an empty landscape. <BR><BR>The small towns where the farm kids went to school are quiet now, the schools are empty, the stores are closed and the streets are left to crumble. <BR><BR>A few people, most of them retired farmers, still remain. They choose to live their last years near the land they loved for so long, even though the young people have all left.

Sun
09
Apr

From the miscellaneous drawer

It’s always good to learn something. This week it was study time with the Associated Press Stylebook. That’s the reference we use to arbitrate all sorts of grammar ideas, from punctuation to use of titles.<BR><BR>You have to be a bit nerdy to find the study of ellipsis interesting. It’s a bit embarrassing to learn you have been using them wrong. Shades of Colonel McCormick of the Chicago Tribune - I had been condensing by taking out spaces, much as he did by changing words such as through to the simpler “thru.” It saves space on a newspaper page and space costs big money.<BR><BR>It wasn’t space which was being conserved when Echo editor Bob Cary started writing “Front Page Editorials” in the 1970s. It was because publisher Miles Aakhus wanted his editorial space (Milestones, it was called) untouched by anyone except himself.

Fri
31
Mar

From the miscellaneous drawer Winton

In 1976 we lived at the bend in Shagawa River in Winton. It was a whole new experience for us. We had been suburbanites most of our lives in the Chicago area. Being an Ely suburbanite was different, as if three miles was a world away.<BR><BR>The river was a treasure, season by season. We learned the stories of the river - the child who drowned, the White Bridge on the Ely side and the Red Bridge on the Fernberg side. The old fire house which was set above the river although only the pilings remained. <BR><BR>The river belonged to everyone. There were skating parties in the winter, river skipping on snowmobiles in the spring, cannonball dives off rickety boards in the summer and duck hunters shooting on brisk mornings in the fall. Sometimes people floated down the river on inner tubes, starting at the rapids near County 88. <BR><BR>Winton was the perfect place for us. The neighbors were warm and supportive.

Sun
26
Mar

From the miscellaneous drawer

So my secret’s about to be out. I’ve been with the Echo for 30 of my soon-to-be 70 years. The amazing thing is that I’ve enjoyed or been challenged by almost every one of those years. <BR><BR>I wouldn’t say that about the early part of my working life.<BR><BR>I’ve worked since childhood. When there was a war going on, my brother and I were dad’s in-house labor force for preparing a metal part for manufacture. <BR><BR>During my teenage years there was office work in the factory in Indiana. That was followed by being a waitress at a Maid-Rite in Iowa during college years, a summer camp counselor in Michigan, a nanny and store clerk in California, a couple stints with Mafia-owned record shops in Illinois and later becoming a book buyer <BR><BR>When not working I went to schools or classes in Iowa, Illinois, California and Minnesota.

Mon
20
Mar

From the miscellaneous drawer or the publisher's desk

In 1975 Ely’s big news was that Gibson (now Pamida) was moving to Chapman Street, the Echo was moving from 429 to 2 East Sheridan, the Ely Area Credit Union was moving into a new building at 35 East Chapman, Bill Rom was retiring from Canoe Country Outfitters, a dead body had been found in a car, snowmobiles were being banned in the Boundary Waters and Lincoln School was closing.<BR><BR>A far smaller matter is that it was the first time that articles I wrote appeared in the Ely Echo. Those articles were about Winton Sawmill Days and America’s Bicentennial, local projects at the time.<BR><BR>I wasn’t being paid by the Echo. I brought in the articles hoping that publisher Miles Aakhus would allow them to be printed. And that’s how I met Miles.

Sat
11
Mar

In the front row - Farewells

by Tom Coombe<BR><BR>Echo editor<BR><BR>Some say you’ve made it when all it takes is your first name to be instantly recognized.<BR><BR>In Minnesota, Kirby Puckett had that kind of acclaim. The 10-year-old Little Leaguer or 70-year-old grandma couldn’t identify the Twins’ backup catcher or their late-inning lefty reliever if their lives depended on it, but in the 1980s and 1990s, everyone knew that the Twins revolved around Kirby, the World Series hero, hitter extraordinaire, defensive whiz and future Hall of Famer.<BR><BR>And in Ely sports lore, say the name George and just one person pops to mind. George Marsnik was a splendid athlete in his own right and a coach who was able to mold men of character and championship teams, both at the same time.<BR><BR>Both are gone now, but certainly not forgotten.<BR><BR>Much has already been written and will continue to be written about Kirby, and deservedly so.

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