Steve Giorgi
Executive Director
Phone: 218-780-8877
Email: SGiorgi@ramsmn.org

Image "Hull Rust" by Amy Flanigan

RAMS hearing 1940

Scheuring Speed Sports Aurora, MN photo by Paul Pluswick

Commissioner Mark Phillips 2015 Annual RAMS Meeting Vice President Jim Fisher /Director Steve Giorgi

Kawishiwi Falls - Ely MN photo by Adrian Koski 2016

Cuyuna

Tower Airport photo by Adrian Koski

Moon over Queen City photo created by Matt Herberg

RAMS delegation with Senator Klobuchar

2016 Press conference on US Forest Service - Virginia, MN

Mayor Novak Ely Whiteside Park

Pioneer Mine Ely MN photo by Adrian Koski

NEWEST CORPORATE MEMBERS TO JOIN RAMS:

Twin Metals MN and MN Power, two companies with strong ties to northern Minnesota, have decided to become Corporate members of the Range Association of Municipalities & Schools.  Corporate members often are vendors or companies that work hand in hand with our public sector members and MN Power is certainly that.  Twin Metals has been a wonderful addition to the Ely community and the region and RAMS has been working hand in hand with both of these companies in the fight to have the US Forest Service renew leases for the Twin Metals project.  RAMS is delighted to add these two new members to our growing list of membership.  On behalf of the board, I thank you for joining our ranks.  “ONE RANGE – ONE VOICE “ 

Fostering economic development across Minnesota’s Iron Range

One Range… One Voice

Ensuring the voices of our Range cities, townships, and schools will be heard on the issues of economic enhancement and quality of life.

Serving Cities, Townships and Schools since 1939.

The Range Association of Municipalities & Schools (RAMS) was created in 1939 by the joining together of the Range Civic Association and the Range Municipalities Committee to promote legislation beneficial to its membership.
The main function of RAMS is to monitor proposed State and Federal legislation and determine how it may affect Association member units of government. The Range Association of Municipalities & Schools (RAMS) works closely with the Iron Range Delegation, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) , and area economic development entities to further community development and quality of life for all member units.


Virginia School Board Director

Kim Stokes, Virginia School Board

Message From the Board

Someone recently asked me why I chose to live on the Iron Range. It was a thought-provoking question for me, given my determination after high school to leave for the big lights and big city, vowing never to return to the Range or marry a Ranger. Little did I know that a few years later I would I end up back home with a new job, AND married to that Ranger I met while working in the Twin Cities. Turns out it was a good decision.

It was a good decision to live here and raise a family because of what the Iron Range has to offer.

Shared values ~ Range values.

Range values are the kind of values our grandparents brought with them from “the old country” – Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Germany, and Finland to name a few. They had a vision for a better life not only for themselves, but for the grandchildren they hoped to meet someday. They were risk takers who knew the value of hard work, determination, and perseverance. Their emphasis on education and belief in good citizenship are trademarks still with us on the Range.

We know the importance of family and Sunday dinners after church, the joy of a polka mass, and the value of education and hard work.

We know that voting is both a right and a privilege – and we vote in higher numbers than nearly anywhere else in the country.

Rangers aren’t shy about telling you exactly how they feel – sometimes whether you asked them or not. They tell it like it is. No hidden agendas.

We understand that we need to stick together to make things happen and that community service is required of us to give back a little of what we were given already.

Rangers help other Rangers.

We experienced the generosity of Rangers first hand after we had a house fire. And every weekend on the Range there are numerous fundraisers and benefits community members organize for others in need. This kind of help from Rangers isn’t confined geographically to the Range. For nearly three decades, transplanted Rangers in the Twin Cities have raised thousands of scholarship dollars for Iron Range students, and most recently, $12,000 for the Buddy Backpack program in our schools via the annual RangerSpiel in St. Paul. Once a Ranger, always a Ranger.

Recreational opportunities abound!

We live where we play! Right outside our doors we can hike-bike-walk-ski-swim-snowshoe-fish-camp-hunt. Northern lights dance in our skies on summer evenings and we enjoy them after a good hot sauna and while relaxing around a campfire. What’s not to like?

We face some economic challenges these days. And we will meet those challenges with our hard work, determination and perseverance. RAMS is one vehicle where we can and will speak as One Range. One Voice.

 

 

Message From Director

A NEW PERSPECTIVE FOR THE RANGE…

“You are thinking about the Range wrong if you’re looking at just one particular small town and what that town has. You really need to think of the Range… kind of like light as both a particle and a wave – the Range is both rural and not. Each little town is actually more like a neighborhood in this big city. Each is actually part of an economy and a political system that is bigger.” (Aaron Brown, Minnesota Brown)

Aaron Brown is an author, teacher and maintains a blog where he comments and offers his perspective on happenings on the Iron Range.  As a lifelong Ranger, he is qualified in his heritage and family roots to do so.  The quote above  was in response to an interview conducted by three students from Macalester College who were doing a study and analysis of how the Iron Range mining based economy compared to other mineral based economic regions found in the United States.   (see the study here: https://resilientrange.wordpress.com/)

While the study does not provide a single magic solution to the Range and the possible change to our economic base, it does provide some interesting perspective on how other mineral based regions rebuilt their economies after the mining diminished or stopped completely.  In my analysis, the study concludes that it is the people of the Range who will step up and produce change in our communities, lifestyles and economy.  We just have to step up and support that change and accept that it will come as a trickle, not a tidewater with one or two major new projects locating on the Range.  Five jobs, here, ten there, then 25 to 50 jobs, all add up to more and more families that are able to stay on the Range, and provide for their families and continue to enjoy our access to great wilderness, lakes, streams and forests.

Having worked with the IRRRB and Allete on numerous "Recharge the Range" events, I truly believe that if the Range is to shift its' economic base from mining to other more stable sources, it will start with the recognition by our residents and our local elected officials that we are better served as a region if we accept that our communities are not an island to itself, but as Mr. Brown describes it, "like a neighborhood in a big city".  Not every community needs to try and provide every amenity people may want as those amenities can be found in a nearby community within a very reasonable time frame. Other than the inconvenience experienced daily by commuters between Eveleth and Virginia due to the new highway 53 bridge construction, commutes from town to town are predictable in time unlike the commutes of metro communities who sit in traffic jams each and every day.

RAMS (Range Association of Municipalities and Schools) founded in 1939 by some very progressive and forward thinking local elected officials has as its primary purpose a platform that includes the following:
(1) Promote the economic development and general welfare of the municipalities and school districts within the Iron Range area of Northeastern Minnesota
(2) Provide collaborative problem solving efforts between and among cities and school districts, the State, the Legislature, and private interest which demand area-wide coordination and cooperation.
(3) Enhance the quality of life in northeastern Minnesota by promoting efficient and progressive service delivery for our residents.

RAMS has begun hosting meetings with Iron Range mayors as a result of a conversation that took place at one of the "Recharge the Range" events for local officials.  These meetings provide a forum where the top elected official of our communities have an opportunity to discuss issues of local and regional importance and to share experiences with one another.  I believe that these meetings will lead to more formal discussions on collaboration, cooperation, sharing of services and providing more economical and efficient services to Range residents, home owners and businesses.

RAMS  and the board of directors are proponents for a more diversified economy, but we also support mining and exploration of minerals as there is a wealth of minerals found in the area we live in.  To me, the Range is a "mining center of excellence", and we need to promote the future of mining and tap into minerals heretofore that were not found to be profitable to mine.  (the recent surge in gold exploration as an example) We need to be vigilant in watching over those from outside our region who would prefer the Range to remain a weekend playground and a nice place to visit.  We are the stewards of our own backyards.  We will make certain that any new developments follow and meet all environmental standards or exceed those standards before they can start up.

Communities need to foster and develop space where entrepreneurs can gather and share ideas and learn from experienced engineers, scientists and business people on how to succeed with their ideas.  Focusing energy on recruiting our younger generations to be "at the table" when discussing issues of importance is something else we must do a better job at.  We need fresh eyes, fresh perspectives and fresh thinking to make change happen in our region and sometimes that requires those currently in leadership positions to actually seek out those millennials and get them engaged in decision making.  We can do a better job of collaboration within our communities by having regular conversations with between our city councils, school boards, county officials and other social agencies.  Pooling our resources and creating a common synergy can only result in a better place to live for everyone on the Range.  RAMS will do all that it can to facilitate conversations, promote positive change for future generations of proud and strong Iron Rangers.  "ONE RANGE - ONE VOICE"   is the RAMS motto, and it has proven to work time and time again.



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