April 1, 2010


Ely, Minn. and Forest Service Sign Deal with Private Funding Source

ELY, MINNESOTA — Ely, Minn announces today it has, in conjunction with the Forest Service, signed a multi-year deal for naming rights to the legendary Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The new corporate sponsor will be Minnesota-based International Dairy Queen, Inc. (IDQ).

The Boundary Waters region, on the US-Canada border between Ontario and Minnesota, is a popular destination for campers, as well as canoe and fishing enthusiasts, and those looking for natural scenery and relaxation.

As of today, the region will be officially known as the International Dairy Queen Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, or IDQBWCAW.

“We have been fielding offers for years, turning down everyone from AARP to the ASPCA. But this year, we had to make a difficult decision,” says Roger Skraba, Ely Mayor. “Beautiful unspoiled wilderness doesn’t pay for itself. And who doesn’t have fond memories of a Dilly Bar? It’s a win-win. This will usher in an era of great corporate, tourism and environmental partnerships.”

“We were looking for a way to promote the 25h birthday of our signature Blizzard Treat, as well as a unique tribute to International Dairy Queen in this, our 70th year,” says Michael Keller, Chief Brand Officer for IDQ. “When we thought about it, this made perfect sense. Ely has blizzards, we have Blizzards. They’re international, we’re international. They have a guy named Buster who hangs out at one of the local bars. We have a treat called the Buster Bar. It’s sort of serendipitous, actually.”

The public is being invited to weigh in with comments at www.ely.org.

October 2, 2009

Rio wins the Olympic bid. Ely loses in first or final round - no one's talking.

Congratulations go out to Rio. We gave it our best shot, but came up short. Guess the pristine million acres of wilderness surrounding this beautiful little town will be preserved for a few more generations. I don't think anyone up here has the energy to go through this mind-boggling, heartbreaking process again!

Thanks to all of you who supported us. Please come visit us anyway. Any time of the year. There's plenty of lodging and always lots to do - as long as a few million of you don't all come at once.

Remember, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is on everyone's list of "Places You Must Visit In Your Lifetime." And the best way is through the town of Ely, Minnesota.

Thanks also to all the IOC members who voted for us in their hearts, even if that didn't translate to a finger pressing a button on a computer. You know who you are, and so do we.

All IOC members receive special discounts on lodging for the next 365 days. (Check in at the Chamber of Commerce Office - 1600 East Sheridan)

We'll try to post more after we step back, have a few beers at the Ely Steakhouse and get some well-deserved sleep.

September 29, 2009

President Obama to travel to Copenhagen

So the President has changed his mind and will now be going to Copenhagen to help Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Games. The question here is, what if he sees support waning for Chicago? I have to believe that Rio might have the upper hand right now - it has tremendous support from its residents and many world leaders. Plus, the lure of bringing the Olympics to South America for the first time is huge.

If he sees Chicago losing support and realizes it's not going to happen, will he throw his support behind Ely and try to bring the Games to the US regardless of location? Or will he fight to the end, even if it's a losing cause?

As I recall, Minnesota went pretty strongly for Obama in 2008. He might want to keep that in mind. Of course, having our Governor out there speaking ill of the President doesn't help our cause, but Pawlenty has never come out strongly in support of our effort and he clearly isn't a Range guy, so we have to hope Obama looks past that and can buy into our vision of the first in-ground Olympic Stadium, the first Olympic Village Tent City and all that when his beloved Chicago starts to bite the dust.

The decision comes early Friday morning - this week! - keep your fingers crossed.

In the Ely area this Thursday? Come help us celebrate!

We're rallying for our Olympic bid this Thursday in Whiteside Park. Here are the official details from the Olympic Organizing Committee:

Residents of Ely, MN and city officials are expected to turn out in force for a city- wide rally to cheer for their unofficial bid for the 2016 Summer Games at Whiteside Park on Thursday, October 1, from 4-6 PM. This community rally supporting Ely’s bid is sponsored jointly by the Ely Chamber of Commerce and the City of Ely and will center at the Park’s Pavilion area. The official selection of the site for the 2016 Olympics will be announced from Copenhagen, Denmark the morning of Friday, October 2.

The Summer Games Mascot, Buzzy the Mosquito, chosen in a contest sponsored by Ely Greenstone Public Art, will make a first public appearance. Come join in the fun and excitement that has been building since April 1 for Ely’s unusual Summer Games campaign. In the event of rain, the event will be cancelled; snow ill only slow things down a bit. Ely will be celebrating “Sport” and all athletes, young and old. Please wear 2016 “gear” or Olympic or athletic team uniforms or clothing in the spirit of the Games.

Music will fill the park during the rally, starting with The Ely Memorial High School Band marching into the park in their new uniforms. The newly formed “Largemouth Brass” group will perform rousing rally music and the Ely Pipes and Drums will add an international flair to the lighting of Ely’s symbolic torch. Rob Mattson, guitar and bass, John Ely, steel guitar, dobro & bass, and Bill Bulinski, guitar, well-known local and national performers, have formed 5-Oh!, and will perform from 5-6 PM. They provide a variety of background instrumental music, including pop, country, swing, surf and Hawaiian music, to name a few.

Ely High School Dance Team, directed by Nichole Boitz, will demonstrate new fall routines. Hamburger and hot dog sales, with head chef Frank Ivancich, benefit the Senior Class Washington, D.C. trip. Kids’ activities, sponsored by the Washington Elementary PTO and Ely Young Life, include the “Moon Walk”. The Ely Track Club will have water for sale and Piragis Northwoods Company and Grand Ely Lodge will provide prizes. The Ely DQ Grill and Chill will offer coupons for a free Twist Dilly Bar to kids in games or wearing team or Olympic gear and Ely Northland Market and Zup’s will provide fixins’ for free S’mores for kids at 5:00 PM following the torch lighting.

Other community organizations and non-profits are invited to participate with activities, games or booths and share the spirit of the Games. Please call Muffin Nelson at 235-1912 or Barbara Lyke at 365-6565 if you’d like to be a part of this celebration.

We hope to see you there!

September 15, 2009

Chicago residents not on board with bid. It's Ely's time.

Only 47% of Chicagoans support the city’s Olympic bid. That’s what a recent Chicago Tribune poll revealed earlier this month. That could spell trouble for Chicago’s chances in Copenhagen on October 2 when IOC officials are expected to announce their choice for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

While that may spell bad news for Chicago, it might be just the opening Ely needs to sneak in the back door and capture the crown. We don’t need a formal poll to tell us what we already know: Ely and all its residents are ready to step up and take this on. We’ve got architects lined up for the major projects. We’ve got food caterers salivating at the chance to introduce Iron Range delicacies to the rest of the world. We’ve even found enough ping pong tables and paddles in peoples’ basements to provide our spectacular table tennis facility (admittedly, still on the drawing board) with all the equipment the world’s top players could ever need – not to mention a few Ely teens who think they could push some of these heavily trained Chinese players to the limit. (Have they ever played Polish Ping Pong rules, by the way?)

Yes folks, while the US would totally benefit by having the 2016 Summer Games come to Chicago – and if it happens, we’d love to host a couple of the events (dock dogs and competitive fishing are still at the top of our list) – up here in Ely we think our dark-horse status just got a bit brighter.

What is it with those Chicago residents anyway? Where’s their civic pride? That’s one thing we don’t lack up here on the edge of the Boundary Waters!