News

Sun
02
Jan

A look back at Ely area events during 2004

JANUARY<BR><BR>• Boden Shae Ensign was the first baby born in Ely this year. He was born at 6:40 a.m., Jan. 1, and weighed seven pounds, seven ounces.<BR><BR>• Mark Lindgren was sworn in as Ely’s new postmaster.<BR><BR>• The Ely Chamber of Commerce contracted with a Twin Cities marketing firm - Olson and Company - to promote tourism in the Ely area.<BR><BR>• Two Ely businesses - KMR Designs and Erica’s Bakery - closed.<BR><BR>• The Minnesota Twins received a warm reception in Ely when their winter caravan stopped here. A group including manager Ron Gardenhire, third baseman Corey Koskie and Twins legend Tony Oliva spoke at a school assembly and appeared at a lunch event that drew over 200 people.<BR><BR>• A public meeting showed there was plenty of interest - but no consensus -about plans to renovate Highway 1.

Sun
26
Dec

Babbitt, Ely leaders talk cooperation

Ely area leaders have extended the invitation and now it’s up to the Babbitt City Council to decide whether the city will join a regional joint powers group.<BR><BR>Council members mulled the invitation - which carries an annual membership fee of about $15,000 for community and economic development services - during a Dec.

Sun
26
Dec

City posts clerk-treasurer position

Ely is looking for a clerk-treasurer, but whoever gets the job seems likely to add more duties and responsibility.<BR><BR>The city council endorsed the recommendation of a five-person task force and voted unanimously Tuesday to post the job immediately.<BR><BR>But seeking applicants and bringing someone on board to fill the city’s top administrative post is just the first part of a two-phase proposal.<BR><BR>The second half calls for continued study of possible changes to the city’s administrative structure with an eye on making the clerk-treasurer a city administrator or city manager.<BR><BR>During brief discussion last week, council member Butch Pecha said he wanted to make sure that those changes are explored - and not discarded - after a hire is made.<BR><BR>“We did hire our last two clerks with the promise that we’ll move on to something more,” said Pecha.<BR><BR>Council member Mark Zupec, part of the task

Sun
26
Dec

EUC member to produce city handbook

Despite some city council resistance, it appears that a member of the Ely Utilities Commission will be paid to develop an employee handbook.<BR><BR>The council voted 5-2 Tuesday - with members Mark Zupec and Mike Hillman opposed - to hire EUC member Christine Hartman for the job.<BR><BR>She will be paid $5,000 for the project.<BR><BR>Hartman works as a consultant and has developed policy manuals for other organizations, including Vermilion Community College, but her credentials weren’t the source of council debate over the project.<BR><BR>Instead, both Zupec and Hillman said they were concerned that the move could raise charges of conflict of interest, since Hartman serves on a city commission and the city never sought proposals for the project.<BR><BR>It’s legal to bypass requests for proposals or bids when seeking professional services, according to a legal opinion issued by city attorney Larry Klun.<BR><BR>Kl

Sun
26
Dec

Twins confirm engagement

Several inches of snow had fallen, the temperature was barely above zero and Elyites could be forgiven if baseball was the furthest thing from their minds on a weekday afternoon in mid-January earlier this year.<BR><BR>But when the Minnesota Twins brought their winter caravan to Ely on just such a day, they were greeted by more than 200 area residents at a noon luncheon and a packed house of excited Ely school students at Washington Auditorium.<BR><BR>That kind of enthusiasm ensured that the Twins would return to Ely for their 2005 winter tour of the upper Midwest.<BR><BR>Earlier this month, the Twins locked up plans for their Ely visit, set for Tuesday, Jan.

Mon
20
Dec

Board discusses future enrollment

The Ely School Board did its best to look at future enrollment numbers and hope for increases, but not much will change. <BR><BR>There is the possibility of a larger kindergarten class next year with a potential 54 kids in the four-year-old age class. <BR><BR>This year’s kindergarten enrollment stands at 39. <BR><BR>Superintendent and elementary principal Tom Bruels warned the board that numbers can change rapidly.<BR><BR>“In the fall of 2001 we had 49 in the four-year-olds and we only had 33 enroll in the fall of 2002,” said Bruels.

Mon
20
Dec

‘169’ work hinges on federal funding

Barring an influx of federal funds, major safety improvements to Highway 169 between Ely and Soudan won’t take place anytime soon, if at all.<BR><BR>That was the word Monday from state transportation officials, who outlined long-range plans for state highway repairs during a meeting at Virginia.<BR><BR>A proposed $28 million reconstruction of 169 between Ely and Soudan - sought by a regional task force that convened four years ago - isn’t included in the list of projects advanced by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.<BR><BR>The only major work scheduled for that section of the highway is the construction of several passing lanes, a $5.5 million project scheduled between 2015 and 2023.<BR><BR>Task force members were openly disappointed with the plan.<BR><BR>“It doesn’t look very encouraging,” said Bill Erzar, vice-chair of the task force.

Sun
19
Dec

Pets to benefit in Food Shelf give out this week

Bud Mattson, head of the Ely Area Food Shelf found quite a surprise waiting for him outside of the Food Shelf doorway. <BR><BR>There were bags and bags of food to be brought in and stacked on the shelves. While stacking he found that the bags were full of dog and cat food and thought there must be a mistake. The bags were taken over to the Ely Vet Clinic. <BR><BR>But the bags were planned to be for the Food Shelf and were brought back to the place where they started. <BR><BR>Bud met with Contented Critter founders Fay and Walter Peters several days later. The Peters are responsible for the Christmas food bags that have been prepared for dogs, senior dogs, puppies, kittens and cats. <BR><BR>Anyone who qualifies for a food basket qualifies for a bag for an animal. Each bag contains at least three toys, treats, food, dry food, canned food or pouch food.

Sun
19
Dec

Hire now, make changes later

Ely appears to be on a fast track to fill its vacant city clerk-treasurer position.<BR><BR>The job would be posted this week and someone could be hired by February under terms of a plan going before the city council Tuesday night.<BR><BR>A five-member task force - formed to develop a process for filling the city’s top administrative post - is unanimously behind a two-part plan formulated last week.<BR><BR>The first half calls for seeking applicants and hiring a clerk-treasurer to replace John Tourville, who resigned last month.<BR><BR>In the meantime, the task force will continue to explore potential changes to the city’s administrative structure, perhaps making the clerk-treasurer a city administrator or city manager.<BR><BR>“Let’s hire with the understanding that (the position) is evolving,” said council member Mike Hillman.

Mon
13
Dec

Reunion committee distributes proceeds

Thanks in large part to proceeds from last summer’s Ely Memorial High School All-Class Reunion, wireless internet connections are coming to the high school.<BR><BR>The school district is set to utilize wireless technology to bring the worldwide web to teachers and students, and the $15,000 project got a sizeable boost when the reunion committee earmarked $8,000 for the initiative from profits reaped during the reunion held from June 30-July 5.<BR><BR>The reunion committee doled out more than $13,000 in profits from the event for various projects, causes and groups.<BR><BR>In addition to the wireless internet project, the reunion committee got behind the school’s comprehensive arts planning program (CAPP) with a $2,500 donation for the refurbishing of up to three murals located at the high school.<BR><BR>The reunion funds will be paried with matching funds and done by Jim Horn.<BR><BR>Other reunion committee distributions in

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