Opinions/Editorials

Mon
27
Oct

First flu shot ever: Not so bad

by Nick Wognum
There was a bit of peer pressure when I sat in a room with Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital health care professionals last week to do a story on the hospital giving free flu shots.
“Have you had your flu shot yet?” I was asked.
“Nope, never,” I replied.
Wrong answer.
After failing to come up with a good reason, I could tell the time had come after 47 years to give in and get a flu shot.
The giver was nurse Heidi Artisensi. That made things easier right there. I’ve always found health care to be a lot easier when the person who’s providing it is kind and caring.
First I had to fill out a form listing my name, address, date of birth and answer four questions.
1. Are you sick today? No. But even if I was I could still get the shot. Lose-lose or win-win depending on how you look at it.

Mon
20
Oct

MN Design Team’s visit to Ely: Big picture ideas but some missing

The visit of the Minnesota Design Team generated a good amount of interest in the community. Congratulations to those who put the event together. And while the ideas that came out of this charrette may be a bit pie in the sky, there were clearly some things missing.
At first glance it may very well be that those who participated throughout the two-day event were more of a non-motorized, anti-mining crowd. If that’s the case, then the recommendations should stand.
But we’ve heard there were a number of people who felt the process and outcome did not reflect the input provided.
The Design Team took input through several different channels, including presentations by community members Friday morning, lunch sessions that afternoon and community input that evening.

Mon
13
Oct

Sertich is right, tourism and mining can co-exist and Ely is living proof

At a forum on mining last week there was a question asked on how some people can think  tourism and mining are on equal economic footing.
Fielding the question was IRRRB commissioner Tony Sertich, a former legislator who knows how to answer questions with a politically correct answer.
The question came from a pro-mining group and was directed at those who say tourism and mining cannot co-exist.
Sertich pointed out that in northeast Minnesota, the two industries have co-existed for the past 130 years. He admitted there has been tension but there is an opportunity to strike balance.
Sertich used Ely as an example where mining and tourism have existed. “It’s not always the most pleasant conversations to have,” Sertich admitted and then wondered if waiters are instructed not to talk about mining, logging, BWCA and now wolves and bears.
“They can talk politics and religion, those are the easy topics,” said Sertich.

Mon
06
Oct

Forest Service could save money, continue to educate BWCA users

The U.S. Forest Service is looking for ways to save money and we would endorse a solution that would have area outfitters and resorts issue all BWCA permits.
Currently the 20,000 or so permits issued in the Ely area are nearly divided equally between the Kawishiwi District office and the cooperators (a term for outfitters and resorts who issue BWCA permits).
If you’ve ever reserved a permit through the online system, you know that picking it up at the Kawishiwi District office may or may not be convenient.
The hours there have been reduced over the years in an effort to reduce the district’s budget. So how about eliminating writing out permits there altogether? We think it makes sense.

Sun
28
Sep

If you’re looking for a barometer on Ely’s prosperity, look in the stands

The opinion pages in the Ely Echo have been lively with plenty of back and forth on how Ely is doing and in what direction it should go. With that in mind, there was a grounding of sorts during the Ely High School pep rally on the football field Tuesday morning.
This is a traditional event at EHS with the dance line performing, various relay races between the top four grades, the tug of war competition and the crowning of the king and queen.
As the festivities were getting underway, a picture was tweeted out by the Echo showing the stands which looked fairly empty.
“In my day these stands were full,” was the instant Twitter reply from an EHS graduate.
It was about to get worse. The photo was taken with the dance line and the 10 members of the royal court on the field.
Once the games started and more kids came down onto the field, the stands could have been reduced to one section with room to spare, including the parents who had come to watch.

Sun
07
Sep

With 30,000 Minnesota jobs at risk…

by Wayne E. Brandt, Executive Vice President of Minnesota Forest Industries and Minnesota Timber Producers Association
If you contracted a disease that had a 99 percent mortality rate every winter, what would you rather have experts do: immediately find a treatment for it, or remodel where you might reside next summer, even though it’s unlikely you’d still be alive?
If you think there’s just one logical choice, be glad you’re not a Northern Long-Eared Bat.
These bats now die in great numbers every winter, and there’s no disagreement about how and where: from a disease discovered in caves only as recently as 2006. But rather than focusing on disease prevention and treatment, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks to make ill-conceived changes to the bats’ summertime habitat as part of a proposal to list the Northern Long-Eared Bat as an endangered species.

Thu
04
Sep

Connecting communities

Plans for the Prospectors Loop ATV trail continue to advance. A trail connecting Babbitt, Ely, Embarrass, Soudan, Tower, and state parks in the area will bring riders from outside the area and will provide another activity opportunity for visitors and seasonal residents already here.
But the trail may do more than that. It may trigger those who wish to optimize the East Range’s tourism industry. We’re for that -- a diverse job base here certainly should include tourism.
Tourism does best in areas where many offerings attract and retain visitors. Our area has many, but are they marketed as a package? Instead of thinking of four communities, what would an area tourism marketing campaign look like?
Imagine a cooperative, coordinated tourism marketing thrust that attracted visitors (and don’t forget seasonal residents -- the longer they’re here and the more they do, the more dollars get spent here) to the East Range’s offerings.

Sun
24
Aug

Returning Ely to its mining roots

Ely’s mining history would awaken from a 47-year slumber under Twin Metals Minnesota’s $2.7 billion copper-nickel mining project that would create 850 jobs in the region.
There is no argument the minerals that lie below the Spruce Road will one day be mined and used for everything from cell phones to medical instruments to windmills. The only question is when this will happen.
Determining the when is like trying to win the lottery - there are many factors involved. Here are some of them:
1. Financial. Duluth Metals is now running the show at Twin Metals with a 60 percent ownership. Antofagasta, the big dog, has dropped down to a 40 percent stake and payment obligation. Can Duluth Metals pull together a financing plan to survive short term, and then a giant plan to build a $2.7 billion mining operation? Or is there another major player waiting to step in?

Sun
17
Aug

Foreign journalists visit make Ely unique

An event Monday is a perfect example of what makes Ely a unique place to live.
Nine journalists from around the world will gather here to talk about a host of issues during a public forum that starts at 9 a.m.
Part of the World Press Institute Fellows Program, Ely’s stop is right at the beginning of a two-month tour of the United States.
Other stops include Minneapolis, MN; Washington, D.C.; New York City, NY; Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; San Francisco Bay, CA, Seattle, WA and Chicago, IL.
As you can plainly see, Ely fits right in.
This year’s journalists come from Australia, Bulgaria, Denmark, India, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa and Venezuela.
The Ely Echo is proud to sponsor Monday’s event. Our editor, Tom Coombe, will moderate the discussion which can range from U.S. culture to war in the Middle East to how cell phones have changed the way people see the world around them.

Tue
12
Aug

A story seldom told indeed

The thousands of people who visit the BWCA and Quetico are largely oblivious to the history that made those areas what they are today. A program at VCC Wednesday night shone some light on that history that continues to grow dimmer and dimmer.
Larry Thomforde along with his sons Eric and Steve did a fine job of telling the story of the creation of the Quetico-Superior. They used Newell Searle’s book as a basis but added plenty of additional info along the way.
To simplify, the area from Ely to International Falls could have taken a much different path. There was a plan put together by a man named Edward Backus who saw the flow of water from Basswood to Lake of the Woods as golden electricity.

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