News

Mon
17
Jan

School facing budget blues again

Dwindling reserves and declining enrollment are likely to force another round of budget cuts in the Ely School District.<BR><BR>Monday, school board members approved a resolution authorizing administrators to recommend reductions for the 2005-2006 school year.<BR><BR>It’s too early to estimate how much will be cut from the district budget or even the size of the anticipated shortfall, superintendent Tom Bruels said last week.<BR><BR>But enrollment could tumble by as many as 25 students, reducing revenue by as much as $150,000, and a 2004-2005 budget gap that was solved partly by using $300,000 in reserves has already taken a large chunk of the district’s ‘rainy day’ funds.<BR><BR>That may make the next budget cycle all the more difficult, according to Bruels.<BR><BR>The district has consolidated administration, reduced staff and cut programs over the decade, as enrollment has declined from over 900 students in 1995 to 645 t

Mon
17
Jan

B-r-r-r-r!!! Bitter cold puts Ely in deep freeze

Winter seemed to arrive right on time in Ely, and since December the area has been bombarded with snow and had at least the usual complement of subzero temperatures.<BR><BR>But that was just an appetizer.<BR><BR>The main course arrived late last week, with an Arctic-express of cold air that plunged temperatures well below zero, created bitterly-cold wind chill conditions and led to a barrage of school closings and event cancellations.<BR><BR>Local temperatures fell to 25-below zero Friday morning, combining with biting winds to create wind-chill readings to about 40-below.

Mon
17
Jan

Celebrating 50 years of family ownership

“Bowl For Your Health”<BR><BR>Do you remember where you saw those famous words?<BR><BR>Think back to those cold winter days, the ones when we ran out of things to do or the weather for skating, sledding and skiing became too harsh.<BR><BR>Where could a boomer kid burn off some excess energy?<BR><BR>Head on down to the Ely Bowling Center for some indoor exercise and if you demonstrated some dexterity and drive, bowling was a sport that passed more than time, but gave you an almost life-long activity. <BR><BR>Who filled our need? <BR><BR>John R. and Leona (Pecha) Perushek, better known to the community as Pecksy and Lee.<BR><BR>This columnist had the chance to visit with the Perusheks recently.

Mon
10
Jan

Garage project to be trimmed

With the latest estimates showing the project more than $700,000 over budget, city and county officials are scrambling to cut costs of the proposed joint public works garage.<BR><BR>Representatives of Ely, St. Louis County and Lake County met with project architects Thursday and identified several options that would lower the price tag, now estimated at $7,576,976.<BR><BR>That’s $727,603 more than initially projected, and unacceptable, according to St. Louis County public works official Dave Skelton.

Sun
09
Jan

New council organizes for ’05

The Ely City Council welcomed two new members and addressed a series of housekeeping items during their first meeting of 2005.<BR><BR>New mayor Roger Skraba and council member Chuck Novak were sworn in just prior to Tuesday’s session at City Hall, and Skraba presided over a 70-minute session that had little in the way of pressing business, but many organizational items for the new year.<BR><BR>One of the group’s first orders of business was to push regular meeting times back an hour.<BR><BR>Starting Jan. 18, council meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. rather than the previous meeting time of 5:30 p.m.

Thu
06
Jan

Township filing period closes Tuesday

Time is running out for local township residents who wish to run in their upcoming elections.<BR><BR>The filing period for the Mar. 8 balloting closes Tuesday.<BR><BR>Voters in Morse, Fall Lake and Eagles Nest townships will fill seats on their respective town boards.<BR><BR>In Morse, the seat held by supervisor Jack Willis is up for grabs, but no one had filed for the race as of late last week, according to town clerk Nick Wognum.<BR><BR>Wognum said that one resident - Bob Berrini - has asked for an affidavit of candidacy.<BR><BR>Meanwhile, Willis said last week that he hadn’t yet decided whether to seek another three-year term.<BR><BR>Filings must be completed with Wognum by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Sun
02
Jan

Ely’s exchange students adjusting to cold weather and small town life

Reasons for becoming a foreign exchange student or hosting a student can be as similar or different as Christmas… <BR><BR>Rafaela Cavalcante, who is called Rafa (pronounced Hafa) and Carlotta Rodino are Ely’s 2004-2005 Foreign Exchange Students. They have had similar adjustments to leaving home, missing families, learning a new language, coming to a small town from large cities, but THE COLD temperature is a biggy. <BR><BR>Rafaela and Carlotta have become good friends, sharing many of the same adjustments and joys of being in a different country, culture and climate. <BR><BR>Rafaela is from the capital city of Fortaleza, Brazil, where it is summertime all year long, 82-85 degrees, to a place where cold seems to always be getting colder.

Sun
02
Jan

Snow Ball fills winter dance card

The social event of the winter has a new name and a new sponsor.<BR><BR>The Mukluk Ball - one of the staple events of Ely’s Voyageur Winter Festival - won’t take place this year.<BR><BR>But music fans and those looking to dance won’t be left out in the cold.<BR><BR>In its place is the first Snow Ball, set for Saturday, Feb. 5 (from 7 p.m. to midnight) at the Community Center.<BR><BR>National blues artist Renee Austin and Minnesota-based Paul Mayasich will both perform at the event, which will serve as a fundraiser for the Boundary Waters Blues Festival.<BR><BR>After Steger Designs opted against continuing the Mukluk Ball during the 2005 Winter Festival, committee members turned to the BWBF and organizer Mike Jankovec.<BR><BR>“Patti (Steger) did a great job with the Mukluk Ball, and I want to make sure I don’t drop the ball,” Jankovec said last week.

Sun
02
Jan

Council preps for busy 2005

City council members looked back at the past year and ahead to the new one during their final gathering of 2004.<BR><BR>Tuesday’s study session included several year-end reports from department heads, a comprehensive breakdown of city projects and one overriding across-the-board theme: that Ely needs much more money if it is to complete its array of projects and maintain services.<BR><BR>Ken Hegman, Ely’s public works superintendent, said his department is scraping by with aging equipment, while city engineers John Jamnick and Harold Langowski of Hibbing firm RLK Kuusisto are looking for funding sources to advance a long list of projects.<BR><BR>And Roger Hunter, the city’s assistant police chief, said that law enforcement doesn’t have the resources it needs to handle the problem of methamphetamine use in Ely.<BR><BR>Outgoing mayor Frank Salerno presided over the meeting but both mayor-elect Roger Skraba and incoming council member Chu

Sun
02
Jan

Fun Run ready to go on January 29

The fourth annual Fun Run snowmobile event is set to go for Jan. 29 in Ely, Babbitt and Tower. <BR><BR>The event is open to all and benefits snowmobile trails in and around the three communities. <BR><BR>Last year over 700 people participated, raising $15,000 for the trail system. <BR><BR>“There will be lots of prizes again,” said event organizer Jim Zupancich. “We gave away over 200 prizes last year and I expect we’ll have that many again this year.” <BR><BR>While snowmobilers benefit from the trail improvements made from the event proceeds, many who participate each year are not riders. <BR><BR>“We’ve been saying each year that you can easily participate in this event even if you don’t own a snowmobile so how much snow we have doesn’t matter,” said Zupancich.

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