Opinions/Editorials

Fri
31
Mar

Sadly Ely’s faltering economy is not an April Fool’s Joke

Fifty years ago today the Pioneer Mine stopped producing iron ore in Ely, Minnesota. Our economy has been on a downhill slide ever since.

At the time studies were done on the impact the closure would have on Ely. There were hopes of recovery but there were no hopes of reopening.

After 41 million long tons of iron ore was pulled from the ground to build our country and defend her in two world wars, the Pioneer was put to rest.

Ely was once declared to become the future metropolis of the Vermilion Range. But the process used to make steel no longer needed the oxygen rich ore mined here for 80 years.

We have a proud history of mining here. We still have plenty of people who live here and work at either North Shore or one of the mines in Mt. Iron, Virginia or Hibbing. We have people who work in related industries that provide services or materials to the taconite mines.

Sun
26
Mar

... This is not an indicator of a healthy employment situation for the iron range small towns and cities

Dear Editor;
Mining is not an issue of love and cares for the BWCA, we all love and care for the BWCA!
I will acknowledge with the anti-mining obstructionists and one speaker in particular at the Forest Service listening session at the DECC on March 16 who contend the economy in Ely and towns nearby is an economy built on the strength of the BWCA as an economic wealth builder.
After the speaker was done self-aggrandizing and bloviating about his business, he did elucidate the robustness of the Ely economy ,saying the city is growing and healthy and new businesses were coming in constantly. We know this must be true because we heard the same speech before.

Sat
18
Mar

Scare tactics don’t stand up

Atikokan is a township in the Rainy River District in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. The population was 2,753 as of the 2016 census.
According web sources, “Through the years Atikokan has seen many industries come and go, but one thing remains is their fighting spirit. They continue to succeed in bringing business to the small community.”
I’ve never been to Atikokan, but each week I read the Atikokan Progress newspaper. It was because of its owner/publisher Mike McKinnon that the Echo’s email edition was started. Setting it up was the easiest way to trade newspapers across the border.

Sun
12
Mar

The sad state of ethnic diversity

No one growing up in the last generation in Ely would have ever dreamed it could happen. The vanishing of St. Urho’s Day as one of the area’s most honored celebrations.
In Ely, Mill’s Clothing Store, under the proprietorship of the late Bill Mills (a Finn with an anglicized name) featured the day. Restaurants were decorated green and purple and featured Finnish foods such as kola mojakka.
In dozens of homes, Finns gathered for more or less solemn observances. For years, the arbiters of Finnish culture and Urho lore were Lorene and Ben Mauser. Lorene by birth, Ben by marriage. Why green and purple? Because St. Urho became known as the cleric who drove the grasshoppers out of Finland and saved the grape crops for wine. Aha, one might say, but is this not a takeoff on St. Patrick, the Irish saint who reportedly drove the snakes out of the Ireland? In a sense, yes; but that is not the only connection.

Fri
03
Mar

Oh the things you can see on a February Saturday morning in Ely

A belated March 2 Happy Birthday to the legendary Dr. Seuss!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go...”

~ Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Ely was a bustling place to be a week ago. Although the dog sled races had to be cancelled due to a lack of snow, there were still so many places to go.

If you start your Saturday by turning on polka music to get your feet tapping, then that is a time when you won’t be napping.

This past Saturday was a Saturday like that.

For 50 years the Pioneer Mine has been silent yet on this day there was plenty of commotion. The Pink Ribbon Riders with their colorful snowmobiles were ready to be in motion.

Sun
26
Feb

This all seems so familiar…

There’s a saying that goes like this: You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
Another attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of northeast Minnesota will be seen for what it is: bunk. This past week another group against mining popped up. But it’s by and large the same people who are in multiple other anti-mining groups.
The new Boundary Waters Business Coalition fits right in with other groups since it’s membership base looks just like “Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness” or “Save the Boundary Waters” or “Sportsmen For the Boundary Waters.”
In fact, the membership form has this statement at the bottom: “This form was created inside of Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness.” The email address listed is for Sportsmen For the Boundary Waters.

Sat
18
Feb

Newspapers, always under scrutiny, provide freedom of speech to readers too

Newspapers. The industry has been under scrutiny for some years.

Probably each of us has an idea of what our personal favorite newspaper should be. There’s always the question of whether we need to approve of every item in our personal newspaper or if we would be bored not knowing what our neighbors or opposites think.

There’s the quick gut reaction found in social media - Facebook, Twitter, and other sources, but they are not the permanent mark of a letter to the editor of a newspaper. This newspaper.
This newspaper is part of the record of the United States. It becomes a part of the Library of Congress Copyright Office.

When a letter to the Echo office is submitted by email or in print, what happens to it?

Almost always it gets printed.

The publisher readies it for the paper and then it is shown to the Editor, General Manager and also to other staff members of the Ely Echo.

Sat
04
Feb

Nolan represents the 8th District well, McCollum fails in trying to rule from afar

Intra-party fighting for the DFL pitted Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan against Twin Cities-based Betty McCollum this past week. In the end, Nolan shows how he did the near impossible, win as a Democrat in the Eighth where Republican Donald Trump came out victorious as well.
How did Nolan do it? By listening to the people who live here. Nolan knows the support for mining is strong in northeast Minnesota. That’s why people like McCollum have to resort to back-door political moves instead of decisions based in science and determined by laws.
This past week McCollum attacked Nolan for his attempts to right a wrong created in the waning days of the Obama administration.

Mon
30
Jan

Welcome to Iron County, Minnesota

An idea proposed 20 years ago may make more sense today: To break off the northern half of St. Louis County to create Iron County.
The division on the St. Louis County board was clearly visible this past week when the Duluth commissioners helped shoot down Tom Rukavina’s resolution opposing the federal government’s attempt to stop mining here.
Setting aside the politics and focusing on the financial impact, the potential of the county (not to mention Duluth as well) losing millions of dollars in mining royalties should have EVERY county commissioner beyond concerned.
Let’s take a look at the resolution without all the whereas parts:

Sun
22
Jan

Winter events kick into high gear with the Fun Run on January 28

Twenty years ago there was a snowmobile parade right down Sheridan Street. The machines were lined up off Third Avenue and headed west, turning on Central Avenue. The Weather Channel even filmed what turned out to be the largest snowmobile parade at the time.
That parade was in celebration of the second year of the Arctic Blast, an event started by area leaders that continues today as the Fun Run.
Still snowmobile based but open to anyone who would like to participate, the Fun Run is the start of the winter event season. The Ely Winter Festival follows on its heels with events like the Snow Sculpture Symposium and Beard Fest. There’s also the WolfTrack Classic dog sled race.

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