News

Sat
23
Jul

School race set

Two incumbents, a former board member and three new entrants to school district politics will form the field for this fall’s Ely School Board race.<BR><BR>A two-week filing period ended Tuesday with contested races for three four-year terms, and a two-person battle for a two-year seat on the board.<BR><BR>Board chairperson Ray Marsnik and member Peggy York-Jesme are both seeking re-election for four-year terms, while a third incumbent, Steve Park, did not enter the race.<BR><BR>Marsnik and York-Jesme will be joined on the ballot by former board member Walt Gessler - who was narrowly defeated two years ago by write-in candidate Keith Turner - and first-time candidate Candy Sorensen.<BR><BR>And in the race to fill the remaining two years of the term belonging to Rudy Semeja, who moved from the district and resigned earlier this summer, Bill Rauch will square off against Bill Erzar.<BR><BR>No primary is needed this year.

Fri
22
Jul

Couple weds on air, broadcast on local radio

On a cruise ship hundreds of miles out into the ocean, BreAnna Ahmad from Minneapolis and Albert Khasky from Arizona, happened upon true love. Less than a year later, the couple dedicated their lives to one another, on air to hundreds of listeners. <BR><BR>On Friday, July 15, at 8:30 a.m., WELY hosted the matrimonial vows on the deck of its Ely radio station and gave a live interview with the couple shortly after the ceremony. Not your traditional matrimonial site, the newlyweds gave the story of what events transpired to lure them to the Chapman Street location. <BR><BR>“It was all my mom’s doing. I told her that we would come up to Ely and get married wherever and this was her plan,” explains BreAnna. “My mom called Mike, the DJ at WELY to ask him if he had any location suggestions and he suggested this!” BreAnna excitedly went on to tell the story of how she and her husband met.

Fri
22
Jul

Ely set for 25th Blueberry fest

From humble beginnings has come an event of monster proportions.<BR><BR>That’s the state of Ely’s Blueberry/Art Festival as it enters its 25th year.

Sat
16
Jul

Ambulance talks on hold until fall

It’s summer vacation for most of an Ely area ambulance task force, but a few members are doing some homework before the full group convenes again this fall.<BR><BR>Leaders decided to delay formal action in the comprehensive study of the ambulance service until September, but in the meantime, representatives of Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital as well as a subgroup from the full task force are crunching numbers and developing financial scenarios associated with a stand-alone ambulance service.<BR><BR>A move away from the current hospital-owned and operated system toward one involving government ownership were at the heart of two task force meetings, held in late-winter and early-spring.<BR><BR>Hospital representatives have pushed for the change, citing consistent financial losses due to Medicare billing regulations and flashing projections that show the area would benefit financially by switching to a stand-alone model in which the governments wou

Sat
16
Jul

Skate park, snowmobile trail in line for county recreation grant monies

Two grant applications submitted from the Ely area are in the running for a portion of the $700,000 worth of recreation funding soon to be awarded by St. Louis County.<BR><BR>The county board gave initial approval to 40 requests last week. The funding comes from the county Outdoor Recreation Project Fund. <BR><BR>The fund is made up of revenue from sales of land, gravel and timber on county tax-forfeit lands.

Fri
15
Jul

Forest Service shows off $3.5 million Fall Lake Campground renovation

Kawishiwi District Ranger Mark Van Every beamed as he thanked those responsible for the $3.5 million in renovations to the Fall Lake Campground.<BR><BR>He had every right to be proud.<BR><BR>The new facility is now completely modern, more accommodating to today’s users and built to last. Even better - it came in at the budgeted amount.<BR><BR>“Fifty years from now, my hope is that folks will be coming here and enjoying the facilities you see today,” said Van Every. <BR><BR>District engineer Roger Pekuri said there were seven different contracts for the project with a number of local contractors. <BR><BR>“We stretched every nickel we could to get as much done as we could,” said Pekuri. “We lived within our budget.

Sat
09
Jul

Lake County Engineer recommends Joint Public Works Facility

Special guests attending the regular Fall Lake Township meeting were Lake County Commissioner Clair Nelson and Highway Engineer Al Goodman. <BR><BR> Even though the Lake County board of commissioners has not made a definite decision to climb on board the proposed joint public works facility which would house regional government entities road maintenance, Al Goodman made a good case for Lake County’s participation. <BR><BR> Lake County has been involved with the preliminary planning of the facility, contributing $12,000 thus far. <BR><BR>“When Lake County was first approached about this project,” said Nelson, “we said we’d look at the project but we weren’t very interested at this time, other than for the salt storage.” <BR><BR>Lake County’s salt storage site near the Fall Lake Township town hall is not sufficient for the county’s needs. A new salt storage building would cost the county about $40,000.

Sat
09
Jul

Foundation may be part of CC fund drive

Ely city officials are looking anywhere and everywhere for money to renovate the Community Center.<BR><BR>And while the regional head of a Minnesota organization didn’t deliver a check Tuesday night, she may have provided another tool for the city to use in its quest to maintain the aging facility.<BR><BR>City council members discussed establishing a foundation specifically earmarked for the CC building with Jennifer Hoffman, northern Minnesota’s gift planner for the Minnesota Community Foundation.<BR><BR>Starting at a price tag of more than $4 million for a full overhaul of the building and at least $1 million just to stabilize the facility, city officials say that a foundation - in which monies are endowed and only the interest is used each year - won’t fund the entire project.<BR><BR>But mayor Roger Skraba and council member Mark Zupec both support establishing a fund to provide long-term repairs to the building.<BR><BR>

Sat
09
Jul

Oberstar meets with city, county officials on Fourth of July

Prior to shaking hands in Ely’s Fourth of July parade, Rep. Jim Oberstar took time to meet with city and county officials.<BR><BR>Meeting at Journey’s End Cafe, the Congressman discussed the funding for the Highway 169 project as well as for the joint public works facility.<BR><BR>In attendance were state Rep. David Dill, Ely mayor Roger Skraba, St. Louis County commissioner Mike Forsman, council members Chuck Novak, Mike Hillman, Mark Zupec and Jerome Debeltz along with Bill Erzar of the Highway 169 Task Force and Oberstar aide Pete Makowski.<BR><BR>Oberstar explained the current status of the federal highway bill. It has been passed by both the Senate and House and is now in conference committee.

Sat
02
Jul

Local school board filings get underway

At least two incumbents are likely to be on the ballot when area voters fill four Ely School Board positions this fall.<BR><BR>Board chairperson Ray Marsnik and member Peggy York-Jesme both indicated last week that they’d seek re-election.<BR><BR>A third incumbent, Steve Park, could not be reached for comment while the fourth board seat up for grabs is the position recently vacated by Rudy Semeja, who resigned because of a move outside the district.<BR><BR>Filings for all four seats open Tuesday at the district’s general office, located inside the Memorial High School building, although there will be two separate elections.<BR><BR>Those vying to fill Semeja’s seat will file for election to a two-year term.<BR><BR>Meanwhile, the seats of Marsnik, York-Jesme and Park are up together, with the top three vote-getters in November winning four-year terms on the board.<BR><BR>A primary will be triggered if at least sev

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