Newspaper Archive of
The Ely Echo
Ely, Minnesota
February 23, 2019     The Ely Echo
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February 23, 2019

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Section 1 THE ELY ECHO/Page 6 SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2019 The Ely city council backed itself into a corner by begging a Tower newspaper to bid on printing the city legals. Despite our best attempts to bail them out of their initial mistake, five members of the council plodded ahead like lambs to the slaughter. What this issue is really about is who is serving the community as a business and who is operating out of a residence. The Ely Echo meets all of the legal qualification as an official newspaper. We have a known office of issue at 15 East Chapman Street. Our employees come to work there, our customers stop in to place ads, renew their sub- scriptions, have photos made or order printing products. Twice a year we send a check to St. Louis County to pay our commercial property taxes. We support numerous organizations and events, because people know where to find us and they know we'll do our best to help them out. We ran a photo of what our competition claims to be an office. It is a house on Bound- ary Street. We did receive a complaint saying that running a picture of someone's house could make them uncomfortable. That's our point, it's not an office, it's a home. Which, by the way, didn't even have a home occupation permit at the time the bid was sub- mitted. That location is not listed on the letter- head, it is not listed in the paper's U.S. Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation. Actually under complete Mail- ing Address of Known Office of Publication is listed 414 Main Street, Tower, MN 55790. They admitted they were not a legal newspa- per in the eyes of the State of Minnesota at the time of the bid opening. The council was told this. Their reaction? Dead silence. A task force was appointed by the mayor after the Feb. 5 council meeting to look into this issue. After the council meeting the Echo asked to be notified of when the task force was going to meet so we could be in attendance. There was not notification, the meeting was never posted and the results were never shared with us. This is either intentional or sloppy. We received no communication from the mayor, clerk, council or city attorney since the Feb. 5 meeting. , ; Council meetings have been turned into de rubber stamping of non-public decisions with no discussion and zero debate We now know several city officials contacted the Tower newspaper urging them to submit a bid. Think about that. Local appointed and/or elected officials went out of town to a business that does not pay taxes here and urged them to bid on a city contract. But as taxpayers, both residential and commercial in the city of Ely, we would like to know which city officials contacted an out of town business on this issue. Are there other Ely businesses who do work for the city who should be worried about the same retribution? There hasbeen unrefuted evidence that the Tower newspaper did not meet the legal requirements to be a legal newspaper when it submitted a bid. The [rnberjay was not listed as a legal newspaper with the Secretary of State as require by state statute at ti e time the bid was submitted and voted on, The Timberjay now claims a house is an of- fice yet at the time the bid was submitted there was not a home occupation permit. The owner of the:hous came to city hall after the vote to apply for a permit. To blindly ignore this fact is more than troubling. It raised the question, is the Timberjay now exempt from the laws of timely reporting and is the city administration and council condoning this disrespect of the law? One council member has suggested to us that the city could include a "value determina- tion" that would factor in what the city is getting in return. By including the number of subscrib- ers, the decision would be an easy one. We have over three times as many subscribers in Ely and twice the newsstand sales. The councii was tasked with making the right decision and yet ignored the facts in order to fit the conclusion they wanted to reach. It's wrong, plain and simple. Fiscal responsibility is the reasotl we've heard from some council members. We re- minded them there are many ways to be fiscally responsible, including working with a local busi- ness that supports your community and pays property taxes here. If the council wants to be more fiscally responsible, why did the members vote to hire a guy from Hibbing at over $100 and hour and pay him close to $50,000 a year for economic development? They didn't ask for bids or even requests for proposals. How do they know there isn't some- one from our community who would do this job better and cheaper than $114 an hour? They don't. Fiscally responsible? Hardly. The council and administration back them- selves into a corner. City officials made calls and practically begged the Timberjay to bid. To vote for the Echo's bid would have been going against the calls they made to the Tower business. The council's action hurt a local business that pays $2,000 in commercial property taxes here. Our employees pay city property taxes on five parcels here totaling over $5,000 every year. The Echo has 10 full and part time em- ployees who live and work in Ely. Our employees have children who attend the ElySchool District. We volunteer here, we shop here, we live here. The council's action hurts a local business, it hurts local families and it's wrong. More people subscribe to the Echo, a lot more. There's a good reason for that, we work h best product we can week n and k :ut, 52 weeks a year The paper from Td ' bhiy puts out 51 issues year. Another reason not to send city taxpayer dollars out of town. We are more than happy to compete on a level playing field. But that's not what we have here. Our general manager spoke twice before the city council and asked for questions. Si- lence. Discussion by the council? None. This is government conducted behind closed doors. We would like to thank the many people in Ely who have stopped in or called our office to show their concern for the legals staying in a local newspaper. To hear from so many people is truly heartwarming. We work hard every week to put out an Ely newspaper. Not that we don't care about other communities, but our office and our heart is in Ely. It's where we live, it's where we work, it's where our kids go to school. We vote here, we pay our taxes here, we have an office that's open at least five days a week and sometimes seven. Our hope is the council learns from this mis- take and takes action to make sure it doesn't happen again. We believe the PUblic is best Served by an open government that supports. local businesses that are best suited to serve the taxpayers. From the miscellaneous drawer Forty years ago, there were two Ely at that time had two lumber Ely newspapers and both were owned yards, three car dealerships, three by wome i otumNa Childers hardware stores, four grocery stores, the show at the Ely Miner in the 100 a JCPenney and Sears and VVards block of East Chapman Street and I Catalog stores. There was some had the help of the men and women controversy at times and a mining at.2 East Sheridan Street. Though we strike occurred, but all in all respect, were competitors, you might even common sense and fairness reigned. say we were friends. The words "You MUST" actually Friends come to an understanding meant just that and a local newspaper of each other's actions and in that had to have an office in place prior to way, a respect. We had lunch together bidding on city legals. Anything else at Silver Rapids not long before she departed the newspaper world. Back then there was a larger group of Iron Range publishers who got together a few times a year for dinner. As a novice to the industry, it was a learning time for me. I stopped to chat with Phyllis and Jim Burgess at the Tower News, got advice from Veda Ponikvar of the Chisholm paper, the Asbachs at MDN and bought half ton rolls of pa- per for our printing press from Cook News Herald which shared its supply. would be lies and subject to perjury. You can read the January and Advisory Board Member for Ely February city minutes on the elyecho. Arts & Heritage Center, aka Ely com website and come to your own Greenstone Public Art - my mece conclusions. Ingrid Swenson ( shown with her , husband Andrew Wilson of Tate In the Ely Echo for Feb. 19, 1979, Britain - also on the Ely, MN Advisory 40 years ago, the headlines were: Board) shortly after Ingrid Swenson, Senator Boschwitz visits Ely, director of PEER UK received the meets with students, citizens; Queen's Birthday Honours Award Robert Gawboy was named 2018 and shook hands with Prince Citizen of the Northland; Charles at the palace. The couple Alvin Warpula wins fishing was recently in Ely visiting family and contest, enjoying Ely winter sports! Letters "begged" the Tower business to bid Mayor Novak; have swayed this decision City council votes 5-1 to and begging another to bid send legal printing contract is dirty politics! You and the to Tower-based Timberjay council should be ashamed newspaper. Echo GM Nick of yourselves and once again Wognum points to prob- should reverse the the deci- lemS with bid but council sion due to all of my items plods head. City officials listed previously. "begged" the Tower business It brings up another ques- to bid. Angela Campbell tion; what is the city hiding votes no, Kess absent. Echo from citizens of Ely? This employs 10 in Ely." is more then a disappoint- This is unbelievable; I'm ment for current and past convinced that this was a residents! political decision rather then Chuck, I'm curious why a practical and wise one. The Echo is not the city Mayor, you didn't answer newspaper? It is a outright the question in my last email; dirty shame ! I would appre- what is the circulation of ciate answers to my ques- both papers in Ely? As I tions; all of them; and I'm understand The Echo has sure that fine citizens would ten employees in Ely; how appreciate honest forthright many does The Timberjay answers as well! have? Does the Timberjay I think that the Mayor have a office or operation in and Council should rethink Ely; NO!!. things and not rush tO judge- I know that costs couldn't ment to satisfy political agen- be a issue since The Timber- das of a few! jay has no operation in Ely The Echo is free to pub- and their circulation is much lish this memo per my per- less therefore they should mission. NOT have been considered Larry Musich as the City Newspaper. The Former Elyite now living politic rati s of rful exp rEt '1orthose kids Dear Editor joined the orchestra on stage. Thank you, thank you It mfist have been a won- to the Mesabi SymphOny derful experience for those Orchestra for giving us a kids. The stage was full. And wonderful afternoon on Sat- what sound! urday. The orchestra's music It seemed like the acous- director Benjamin Nilles tics in the Washington Au- chose six short, lively, me- ditorium were designed for lodic pieces, classical music. Many of us recognized It's fun to see Ely musi- the melodies. After inter- cians up there, andthanks to mission, the Virginia High Peter Kess for his perennial School Orchestra and the tech expertise. Mesabi Chamber Ensemble Carol Orban : kids were so excited to see the process Tom, see the process and be a part before the day and the of it. It was well and kindly idea get away from me, I written. Thanks for sharing wanted to reach out and say this with the community! thank you for the wonderful John Meyer coverage of the past school Ely Washington Elemen- board meeting. The elemen- tary tary kids were so excited to 4th Grade SO many people working together Dear Editor, this festival without so many Theboard ofthe ElyWin- people working together. ter Festival wants to thank Nobody does winter better the many people who helped than Ely! make the 2019 Festival a The Ely Winter Festival wonderful ten days! Thanks is funded in part by grants go out to our volunteers, from the Arrowhead Re- our generous sponsors, the gional Arts Council (thanks snow sculptors, the restau- to a legislative appropriation rants who gave our carvers from the Arts and Cultural meal tickets, the Chamber Heritage Fund) and the Don- of Commerce, the City of ald G. Gardner Humanities Ely, the Ely ArtWalk, the Ely Trust. Folk School, and the people The Ely Winter Festival who put on the huge variety Board of events. We couldn't mount days of (un)heafing before surgery Dear Editor: tic. If Karen and brother are RE: Home on the Range going south on 8th, that truck 'Ouch' should've stopped (right?) Enjoyed this article as I do and waited for them. The way all of Karen Hamilton's writ- she writes it, she makes the ing (especially about horses), reader believe she didn't have This snowmobile excur- the right-of-way. Was this sion ending in an accident is uncontrolled in 1995? That cringe-worthy. (Reminded would explain it, I guess. me of breaking my collar- And, Karen? Having to bone and 3 back ribs in be opened up and have a rod a motorcycle crash.) One screwed into your collar bone thing bothers me about the hurts much more than the story and that's the crash days of (un)healing before intersection. I see 8th and surgery was determined. Pattison as a controlled one Trust me. (now, anyway) which is stop Anne Koskinen signs for the east-west traf- Ely