Hometown homage: Ely's bear pair named Eli, Ellie

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Eli and Ellie. The Duluth News Tribune reports that those names have been given to a pair of black bear cubs, born to an Internet audience on Jan. 12.

The names became official with the close of online voting at midnight Saturday, said Lynn Rogers, founder of the North American Bear Center. The center is located outside Ely.

People around the world follow the bears online. There’s a high-definition “den cam” to allow viewers to watch mother Lily and her new twins.

Lily became famous in 2010 when a camera installed in her den recorded the birth and early development of her first cub, Hope. In 2011, Lily gave birth on camera to twin cubs, Faith and Jason. Last year, Lily's sister Jewel gave birth to cubs Fern and Herbie.

The Bear Center is in the midst of a $1.25 million expansion that is expected to be completed by May 2014. The project is still about $650,000 short of needed funds, Rogers said.

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