Opinions/Editorials

Sun
15
Jun

Trails like Mesabi and Prospectors Loop expand Ely’s economic reach

There are two major trail projects which will reach Ely in the near future, the Mesabi Trail for biking and the Prospectors Loop for ATVs. Each will provide these benefits: people who live here will ride them and people will come here just to ride them.
We see these projects as a desperately needed addition to our current recreational opportunities. If we were going to nominate failures from changes in the BWCA over the years, the lack of new opportunities outside the Boundary Waters would be high on the list.
The rules and regulations in place in the BWCA do more to restrict people from coming to Ely than any of us cares to admit.    Some may not like that statement but our current economic decline has causes, whether we agree with them or not.
So what can we do about it? We can make improvements outside the BWCA to make Ely a better place to live and visit. These trail projects are great examples.

Sun
08
Jun

Pioneer Mine video: Crossing over from black and white to digital

LEARNING about the geology of the Ely area from Twin Metals Minnesota geologist Aaron Magnuson were Ely third grade students Ronan Littler, Sydney Durkin, Jacob Cochran, Taylor Gibney and Erron Anderson during a field trip on May 29. In addition to learning about the different minerals found here, students were able to handle core samples and take a tour of the company’s core shed building.
Photo by Nick Wognum.

Sat
31
May

Looking back through Ernie Pyle’s eyes 70 years ago to D-Day, June 6, 1944: A long thin line of personal anguish

by Ernie Pyle, Courtesy of the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum and the Scripps Howard Foundation
NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 17, 1944 – In a preceding column we told about the D-day wreckage among our machines of war that were expended in taking one of the Normandy beaches.
But there is another and more human litter. It extends in a thin little line, just like a high-water mark, for miles along the beach. This is the strewn personal gear, gear that will never be needed again, of those who fought and died to give us our entrance into Europe.
Here in a jumbled row for mile on mile are soldiers’ packs. Here are socks and shoe polish, sewing kits, diaries, Bibles and hand grenades. Here are the latest letters from home, with the address on each one neatly razored out – one of the security precautions enforced before the boys embarked.

Fri
23
May

Somebody asked for a PEIS, nobody will admit it, yet we know the truth

This past week city councils in Ely, Babbitt and Aurora passed resolutions in opposition to a proposed PEIS in the Superior National Forest. We’re sure this was done with the best of intentions, but the further we dig into this the stranger it gets.
To start with, a PEIS is a programmatic environmental impact statement. From what we can gather, instead of looking at one proposed mining project, the USFS would look at all projects and see what the impact would be.
The PEIS has been called a “stealth attack” on the future of mining in northeastern Minnesota. Those looking to support mining see this as a delay in getting projects underway and a duplication of other EIS already completed or in the works.
Understandably, this has a lot of folks very upset including Rep. Rick Nolan, the Iron Range delegation, industry groups and mining businesses.

Sun
18
May

No thanks to MnDOT, accidents continue to wreak havoc on 169

ELY ECHO EDITORIAL

Fri
09
May

Who ever is causing the delays ought to come up with the dollars

 Dear Editor:
 I just got back from another bad accident on Highway 169 in our 5-mile project area. Three injuries, severity I’m not positive...All had been taken to Ely Bloomenson Hospital when I got there.
At least three ambulances (Ely and two Tower), 3 wrecker trucks (Bob’s Amoco & 2 Armory Shell), at least 3 St Louis County Sheriffs, 2 MHP, and 1 Breitung sheriff on scene, as well as several other First Responders.
Accident occurred between Mud Creek Road and Armstrong corner, approx. MP 273.2 Involved vehicles: Ford F-150 towing about 20 ft Travel Trailer southbound toward Tower, Ford Focus northbound to Ely. (1 injured here) Not positive on what happened. Focus gone to Bob’s when I arrived. F-150 and Trailer down 40 foot steep ravine on Armstrong Lake side. (2 injured in this vehicle)

Sun
04
May

Sending the wrong message is costly

There are two cases of economic development gone wrong in Ely. The first you likely are aware of, the second was disheartening to hear and unfortunately sad but true.
Steger Mukluks would like to expand in the Ely Business Park. But the company and the Ely city council have not been able to come to an agreement on the price of the lot.
One of the last remaining manufacturers in the area, Steger has carved out a successful niche in the outdoor footwear business. A month ago the company ran quarter-page ads looking for help. Sales are up and there’s not enough room at the inn.
So a local company goes back to the city council looking to acquire the land it thought it was on the road to purchasing. But instead of welcoming the opportunity to proceed with open arms, the council refuses to sell the land.
Hanging in the balance are jobs, additional tax revenues and the chance to have an expanding business retain its Ely presence.

Sun
27
Apr

Another delay for a safer 169

Last week MnDOT silently announced another delay in the reconstruction of Highway 169 in the Eagles Nest area. After this move, we’re wondering if we will ever see this project become reality.
We’ve gone 20 years so far with local leaders pushing for a safer highway. With their pleas falling on deaf ears, representatives from Ely went to Washington D.C. and found a sympathetic ear in then-Congressman Jim Oberstar.
He was able to procure $20 million for the project with hopes the project could see the light of day by the end of the decade. We’re now looking at the third decade coming to a close as this project MAY finally see the light of day.
What was supposed to be built in 2016 has now been pushed back to 2017. That means we’ve got another 1,000+ days of driving an unsafe highway in poor condition that is extremely susceptible to black ice during certain times of the year.

Sat
19
Apr

Progress in tough economic times

An Ely business owner looked out his front door, thought for a moment and said, “You must be having a tough time finding stories for your Progress Edition.”
You’ll find our yearly look at progress in this week’s Ely Echo. It’s far from our largest edition, in fact it might be one of the smallest. But we looked hard, knocked on doors, made phone calls and asked for businesses to let us know if they made improvements, added employees or changed ownership.
We put together 16 pages with stories and photos, not bad for a time when we could nearly write as many stories about businesses and jobs lost.
When you think about that, it makes those who are featured this year a bit more special.  It’s one thing to invest when times are good, it’s a lot tougher when times are tough.

Sun
30
Mar

Historic 1965 BWCAW Joseph Perko land exchange threatened

Dear Editor:
The concept of setting aside a large block of road less land in northeast Minnesota as public property for wilderness recreation dates back to the early 1900s when writers, scholars, and others first begin to discuss exploitation of natural resources and coined the word conservation as it applied to timber, game and other material uses of the land.
The campaign to accomplish the feat of setting aside an area we now know as the Quetico Superior canoe country was one that eventually reached every major level of government, the courts, individuals and organizations throughout the nation and presidents of the United States.

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