A positive vision of Ely’s future

The last paragraph of the Ely Echo's editorial of June 8, 2013, asks “What are you for?” That is an eminently reasonable question. We have repeatedly described in print, in public hearings, and in conversation, what we are for. We are pleased to gather many of our thoughts here, in one place.

We are for a strong, sustainable economy that is not subject to the whims of international metals markets and job-killing mining automation. We are for healthy communities and for water that does not threaten health—of bugs, fish, or people. We are for population growth and economic growth in Ely and the surrounding area. We support a strong, relentless campaign by Ely leaders in business and government to attract new enterprises and new people. We support a concerted effort to inform the world about the water, air, forested landscape, and energetic community that make Ely such an attractive place to live, to raise children, to work, and to do business. We are for continued growth in Ely’s tourism businesses; as Bill Forsberg reported recently, Ely area lodging tax receipts have been climbing steadily, with few exceptions, since 2000. We are for taking advantage of the repeated recognition of the BWCAW as one of the world’s most desirable outdoor destinations. We are for strong, well-funded schools. We are for the Farmer's Market, Tuesday Night Live, the Fourth of July Parade, the Blueberry Festival, hockey and Nordic ski team fund-raising activities, and the myriad other community events that make Ely strong.

We also are for a community that values people from the Ely area who have worked for years or decades to build and sustain businesses and to employ people; that values people who moved here and started sustainable businesses that provide employment and economic activity; that values people who have invested substantial portions of their savings, time, and energy in buying or building vacation and retirement homes here; that values people who grew up in Ely and moved away to Duluth, to Minneapolis, or to Europe, but who came back here to retire; that values people who moved here to work or to retire and who spend their money in local businesses, and who serve the schools, the athletic programs, the Food Bank, the Resource Center, and the arts programs. We are for an organized approach to providing support for start-up businesses and for assisting existing businesses to grow. We are for the kind of hard work and attitude and thoughtfulness reflected in the June 7 editorial in the Timberjay about Mary Mathews and the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund. We are for objective study of the real costs and real benefits of sulfide-ore mining; the Skurla study from UMD cautioned that policy makers need to be careful: “Policy recommendations should be based on the ‘big picture’ of total impact, and a cost-benefit analysis would be needed to assess the environmental, social, and governmental impacts of ferrous and non-ferrous mining in the State.”

We are for politicians who will listen to and represent all their constituents—not just those with big checkbooks and cynical promises of riches with no acknowledgment of poison and destruction.

We are for spirited, respectful public discussion about these values and about the best way to continue to move the Ely area forward.

Nancy Piragis

Becky Rom

Susan Schurke

Nan Snyder

Reid Carron

Steve Piragis

Paul Schurke

Gerry Snyder

Ely, Minn.

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5 comments on this item

Just look at that pathetic list of packsackers.

Unfortunately, a paragraph from the above letter was somehow misplaced. Luckily, I was able to find it.

We are for seasonal workers, paid near minimum wage and given hours to prevent us from being considered full time employees so that we cannot receive insurance, vacation or other benefits. We are for those same employees getting layed off every fall and being able to collect minimum unemployment benefits.

Your Welcome!

Bingo Stevo! Piragis, who parachuted into Ely with the idea he was going to re-invent the community in his own vision, owns the Chocolate Moose Cafe on the West side of town, closes the thing down in the Fall. All the old timers in Ely are wanting a place to have coffee in the morning year round, but the Chocolate Moose effectively took away enough business from Vertin's (a long time cafe in Ely) by taking away precious dollars in the summer, depleting Vertin's from enough cash flow to survive. Does Piragis care? Heck no.

Packsackers. What's the long time definition up here? They are people that come into the community of many generations old residents and impose their will on the status quo. They refuse to assimilate into the community. Instead, they create divisions, just like that propaganda office they opened on Sheridan Street. Now Bob and Lil Cary came to Ely from Chicago. They instantly assimilated into the local culture and were adopted as though they had been here forever. Same with Frank and Betty Salerno, who also came from Chicago, and blended in and actually became some of the strongest advocates for our way of life up here.

The authors of the LTE are unwanted packsackers and the sooner they go away, the better off we all will be. Timberjay editor, please take note, and try to shed your packsacker status by joining us, not fighting us on multiple use. You'll sell more papers that way and get more advertisers too.

Bonfire ... I continue to applaud your use of this alter ego to help show the frailties of presuming common sense and rational dissertation might enter this arena. Love the use of your "packsacker" label ... I can just feel the uderstanding and compassion!

Well done as usual Mr. B.

Your letter is a clear and reasonably stated response to the challenge raised by the Ely Echo editorial. Very well done.

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