by Tom Coombe
One of Ely’s newest winter events keeps on growing.
Get set for The Great Nordic Beardfest, now in its third year and slated for Feb. 3-4 at the Boathouse Brewpub.
Local residents, and some beard club members from as far away as Winnipeg and the Twin Cities, are growing their beards or prepping their mustaches to look just right for the “End of the Road Beard and Mustache Championships,” which take place the second evening.
The festivities start at 7 p.m. each day with Friday’s events more for fun and the competition slated for Saturday.
Since its inception in 2015, when the event filled the Boathouse to capacity and then some, the Beardfest has taken off.
“The feedback is really good,” said organizer Shaun Chosa. “I see it as a growing event. We’re ready to add a third day and two more events. We’ll see how it goes this year.”
The Department of Natural Resources plans to hold a sale of state-owned metallic mineral leases for sites in northern Minnesota.
The DNR invites public input on the areas under consideration, which include sites in Beltrami, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods and St Louis counties, totaling about 195,324 acres.
A notice was published in the EQB Monitor and State Register Monday, Jan. 30, and is available on the DNR’s website.
This will be the state’s 35th metallic minerals lease sale and the second using a new process designed to increase transparency, provide better access to information and afford an opportunity for public input.
by Tom Coombe
A steering committee made the first steps Monday in the development of a long-range strategic plan for the Ely School District.
School board members joined administrators, staff and community representatives in the first of a series of meetings with consultant Ralph Brauer, who will facilitate the several-month process.
While the end result figures to be a road map for the district as it moves toward the future, the opening meeting marked the start of the process, including the identification of issues facing the district and areas of strength.
Roughly 20 committee members first worked within four separate groups on both components, then collectively, with Brauer’s aid, refined their list.
Committee members identified these areas as key issues:
• Facilities, including the age of district buildings and infrastructure;
Tribal Chairwoman Cathy Chavers gave an inspirational speech that touted the success stories of 2016 and reminded those in attendance that they all need to do their part to ensure the long-term success of the Bois Forte Band.
“There are many unknowns in our future as a tribe,” said Chavers during Thursday’s State of the Band, which was held in The Woodlands Ballroom at Fortune Bay Resort Casino.
“But by working together, building partnerships and collaborating…we will go down our new path together.”
That path includes having the Reservation Tribal Government (RTG) staff working closely with management at Fortune Bay so that both entities do what they can to work streamline services and come up with new ways of doing business together.
Just a day earlier, Chavers headed up a meeting with Fortune Bay management and the RTG staff to brainstorm ideas on accomplishing the aforementioned goals
Brady Forsberg gave a salute to VFW Commander Mike Pope. Winners included Kelly Noble’s class: (l-r): first place Charlee Nielsen, second place Selam Houle, third Sarah Meyer 4th Elena Freking. Tiffany Davis’ class were first place Brady Forsberg, second place (not pictured) Oren Solum, third place Avery Brandau, honorable mention Jace Myers, Brooklyn Sherman, Naomi Archer. Winners in Susan Ferguson’s class: first place Wyatt Devine, second place Brenna Hegfors, third place Jordyn Borchert. Photo by Tom Coombe.
ACCEPTING a check for $1,000 from the Ely Kiwanis for the elementary playground project were students and principal Ann Oelke. Pictured are (front l-r): Miriam Messerschmidt, Brooklyn Sherman, Kamryn Beno; (middle) Emory Hohenstein, Lucy Oelke, Roger Pekuri of Kiwanis, Wyatt Devine, Chezne Nickolson, Audrey Kallberg, Elena Freking; (back) Brielle Lindland, Carmen Nelson, Destany Burks, Esther Anderson, BJ Kobierski of Kiwanis, Max Cochran, Tatm Gubrud and Oelke. The Kiwanis Club hopes to make another donation next year. Photo by Nick Wognum.
DONATIONS - Shopko manager Rick Kalinowski presented checks of $250 to Lisa Porthan of Northwoods Partners, $250 to Robyn Bertelsen of Well Being Development and $1,500 to Washington Elementary principal Ann Oelke for the playground project. Through grants, the Shopko Foundation promotes the health an education of Shopko teammates and customers. Photo by Tom Coombe.
by Tom Coombe
For the second time in as many weeks, a local government entity named the Ely Echo as its official newspaper.
Ely City Council members decided Tuesday that meeting minutes and public notices would continue to appear in Ely’s only locally-owned publication.
The city joined the Ely School District, which acted eight days earlier, in designating the Echo as its official publication.
The Echo is also the official newspaper of Morse Township, Fall Lake Township and the City of Winton.
Unlike previous years, when council members had to choose between the Echo and the Tower-based Timberjay, only the Echo bid for the city’s 2017 publishing contract.
That’s because it was the only publication eligible to do so. The Timberjay, which no longer has an office in Ely, did not meet the legal requirement to apply to be the official city publication.
by Tom Coombe
An Ely police officer will avoid jail time, but could lose his job, after striking a plea agreement in court and admitting to an illegal sexual relationship with an underage girl.
Just before a jury trial was to begin, Jason Carlson pleaded guilty Tuesday to misconduct by a public official, a gross misdemeanor, while a felony third-degree sexual conduct charge was dismissed.
Later that same day, Ely council members placed the 11-year veteran of the police force on unpaid leave, the initial step in a process that could lead to the termination of his employment.
Carlson, 38, will be sentenced Feb. 24 on the misconduct charge, but terms of the plea agreement, reached in front of Judge Gary Pagliacetti at District Court in Virginia, call for no jail time, with probation and possible fines instead.
About an hour after a jury panel was sent home, Carlson appeared in court to enter a plea.