News

Sun
06
Mar

Clerk-treasurer-administrator?

As the search for a new city clerk-treasurer continues, a city committee is working on a parallel track to streamline Ely’s administrative structure.<BR><BR>A task force has already been successful on one front: convincing the city council to give the clerk-treasurer supervisory authority over city department heads.<BR><BR>And discussion at last Monday’s meeting centered on further changes that would add the title of city administrator to the clerk-treasurer position.<BR><BR>Task force members said they were looking for the new clerk-treasurer to serve as the city’s chief operating officer and serve as a buffer of sorts between the department heads and the council.<BR><BR>“The big thing is the chain of command,” said council and task force member Jerome Debeltz. “Now, everybody is running in different directions.

Sat
05
Mar

Ely vet takes second in Beargrease

An Ely veterinarian took second place in her first John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.<BR><BR>Jennifer Deye finished the 400 mile course just 40 minutes behind winner Mark Black.<BR><BR>Deye, 24, works at the Ely Vet Clinic, starting their in May of 2004 after graduating from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.<BR><BR>Deye is engaged to Blake Freking who won the 2004 Beargrease. <BR><BR>“I’ve been racing since I was eight years old,” said Deye. “I’ve been racing springs and mid-distance races for 16 years.” <BR><BR>Deye had competed in the 150 mile Beargrease short race twice, finiching fourth in 2003 and 12th last year. <BR><BR>This year she took a young team of dogs since Freking was racing the older team in Alaska.

Fri
04
Mar

Echo’s annual Ice Out Contest begins now

In what had to be the oddest occurrence since the Ely Echo’s Ice Out Contest began, Grand Ely Lodge’s dock was socked in with ice until Tuesday, April 27 at 4:41 p.m.<BR><BR>The prior weekend brought winds from the north which cleared Shagawa Lake fairly well in the east to west direction. What happened, though, was a fluke. The ice piled up on the south shore of the lake, pushed by northern winds. The result was that Grand Ely Lodge’s dock was wedged with ice and a boat could not leave to go to the opposite shore.<BR><BR>Finally on Tuesday the wind shifted to come from the west and the official judges at Grand Ely Lodge watched the shoreline expectantly until late afternoon’s ice opening.<BR><BR>Almost hitting the time on the nose was winner 4:30 p.m., Karson Otness, Bemidji, MN. Karson received $100 in Grand Ely Lodge dollars. Next closest was 4:18 p.m. from Helen Tjaden, Babbitt. She was followed by the 4 p.m.

Sun
27
Feb

EUC moves toward late fee

After months of debate, city officials appear to have settled on a method to penalize those who don’t pay their utility bills on time.<BR><BR>Those owing the Ely Utilities Commission at least $100 and at least 30 days in arrears would be subject to a $20 monthly late fee, under terms of an ordinance being considered by the council.<BR><BR>Discussion Tuesday, when the council and EUC held their quarterly study session, revealed overall support for the plan, which would replace the EUC’s current policy of charging six percent annual interest on overdue bills.<BR><BR>“For 2,000 of our customers, it’s never a problem,” said EUC General Manager Terry Jackson.<BR><BR>The proposal, Jackson said, is instead targeted at the estimated 60-100 customers who are habitually late with their utility payments.<BR><BR>The EUC estimates that it costs about $1,200 and 35 hours of employee work time each month to collect late payments.<BR>

Sun
27
Feb

Garage project pushed back

The proposed joint public works garage won’t be built this year, but the project remains very much alive.<BR><BR>A plan to seek bids this spring and start construction this summer has been shelved by St. Louis County in order to allow the other major participant - the city of Ely - more time to secure funding.<BR><BR>City and county officials are optimistic that Ely could receive as much as $1 million in federal transportation funding to offset part of the city’s $2.6 million share.<BR><BR>“We have a real good feel from Washington, from Congressman (Jim) Oberstar’s office that Ely will be able to get $1 million for the project,” county commissioner Mike Forsman said last week. “That’s not a loan, but flat out grant money.

Sun
27
Feb

First Equity to hold open house at Ely office Thursday

First Equity Mortgage will be holding an open house on Thursday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the new office located in the lower level of the Ely Bowling Center on Camp Street.<BR><BR>Kerry and Tammy Perushek will be on hand to discuss the mortgage options offered by First Equity.<BR><BR>The Ely office, which is operated by the Perusheks, is the third for the Hibbing-based company<BR><BR>“We opened in September of 2004 after remodeling the lower level of the Bowling Center into offices,” said Kerry Perushek.<BR><BR>He said their interest in a mortgage company grew out of running into problems with traditional bank mortgages when they were putting up a new house.

Sun
27
Feb

Hannah jo Simone Ski Trail dedicated

Six Girl Scouts from troop 1306 found one way of dealing with the loss of friend, class mate, fellow Girl Scout and ski team member Hannah Jo Simone who died in a car accident in the summer of 2003. The girls put their interests together and decided on a ski trail as a lasting tribute to Hannah and a fitting memory in her name. The 3.2 kilometer ‘Golden Hannah Jo Trail’ is an extension to the exsisting seven kilometer trail making a 10 k loop at Hidden Valley. The girls completed the requirements for earning the Gold Award which is the highest award possible for Girl Scouts, and they did it for Hannah.

Mon
21
Feb

Council skirts state Open Meeting Law, then apologizes

The Ely City Council has publicly apologized for violating the Minnesota Open Meeting Law, but members said the violation was “an unintentional mistake.”<BR><BR>At issue was a Tuesday night closed session - held at the conclusion of the council’s regular meeting - called to discuss the status of labor negotiations.<BR><BR>Negotiation strategy sessions are one of several permitted exceptions to the Open Meeting Law, but two aspects of last week’s meeting were in conflict with the law.<BR><BR>The council failed to tape record the session, and it appears - according to a news release issued by city attorney Larry Klun - that council discussion extended to issues beyond the scope of the closed meeting.<BR><BR>Discussion behind closed doors was supposed to be limited to upcoming negotiations with the local AFSCME union.<BR><BR>City officials and AFSCME are currently at odds over how custodial work will be done at the city-owned

Mon
21
Feb

17 apply for clerk-treasurer position

An extended search has yielded more applicants for the city of Ely’s top administrative post.<BR><BR>Ely has 17 contenders for its vacant clerk-treasurer position, according to deputy clerk Patti Wellvang, after an application period that ended Feb.

Mon
21
Feb

Ambulance group to look at options

Is it broke?<BR><BR>And if it is, how best do you fix it?<BR><BR>Those seemed to be the prevailing questions Feb.

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