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Newspaper Archive of
The Ely Echo
Ely, Minnesota
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July 20, 2019     The Ely Echo
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July 20, 2019
 

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(UH-UUJW ‘Vl(ll Section 1 Tom Coombe An Ely property owner will be fined $400 per week until he completes repairs ordered by the city. After dealing with the issue for nearly three years, council members added some teeth to their demand that Brian Sherwood com— ply with the city’s blight ordinance. A citation was formally issued last month regarding the condition‘of the structure at 21 West Shagawa Road, and council members voted 6-0 Tuesday, with Al Fors— man absent, to issue the fines as allowed by law. “Somewhere along the line something has to be done,” said mayor Chuck Novak. “This has consumed probably more council time than any other issue over ra period of many years and at a cost to the city and to us. Look at what we’re spending on staff time, the building official’s time.” According to a July 11 report issued by building official Doug Whitney, Sher- wood has failed to comply with four part of the citation issued in June. “The biggest item left to be completed is the front porch,” said Whitney. “It’s still in a state of disrepair with the floor rotted out.” Whitney’s report, which included photographs, also noted that SherWood has not yet made the roofing structure code compliant, and that work on the side porch was only partially done. The property owner also failed to obtain building permits prior to repairing a. detached garage. “I think we even said we’d waive the permits,” said Novak. “How much more are we going to do, folks?” Whitney said the blight “creates an unreasonable danger to public health, safe- ty and welfare (and) portions of the building remain unfit and hazard to the neighbor- hood.” E‘Si ECHO/ Page 3 Council levies fine over blight Sherwood, who has ap- peared before the council several times in the last two- and-a-half years to request extensions, was not present at Tuesday’s meeting. Council members, mean- while, pressed for a reso— lution. Council member Paul Kess said the fines, which are $100 per week for each item not completed, “will get his attention,” and perhaps lead to “negotiation to get some of this work finally completed.” Council member Heidi Omerza likened the situation to a parent dealing with a child who has not cleaned his room. “Until you do something extreme and get somebody’s attention, nothing will hap- pen,” said Omerza. Sherwood was first or- dered to complete the work by December, 2016, with the council later granting an extension to May, 2017 for the removal of a dilapidated garage, and the removal or repair of both the front and back porch. Blight citations give ,the city authority to take action, including potential demoli— tion of some of the structures on the property. Novak has challenged council members to move forward this year on the Sherwood property. “We owe it to our citi- zens, especially those who live in that same neighbor- hood,” he said. In other business, the council: -\Appointed Rita Koch to the tree board. Approved a $10,000 rehabilitation loan for James and Ronda Reed. - Authorized a resolution to initiate the vacation of a portion of Power Street, located in the Chandler area, and scheduled an Aug. 20 public hearing on the same issue. DNR believes the West Nile virus is impacting Minnesota loon population A recent uptick in reports of dead locus and test results indicate an impact from West Nile virus (WNV), accord- ing to nongame wildlife staff at the Minnesota Depart- ment of Natural Resources. The Veterinary Diagnos— tic Laboratory at the Univer- sity of Minnesota confirmed WNV as the cause of death in two of three dead loons from northeastern Minneso— ta earlier this month. Wild- life staff are receiving a small but noticeable increase in calls from people finding dead Icons in northeastern City gets by Tom Coombe , The city of Ely got a clean bill of financial health this week. Results of the most recent financial audit are in and the city is on firm financial ground, according to Greg ‘ Knutson, who oversaw the audit prepared by Virginia accounting firm Walker, Giroux and Hahne. “I want to tip my hat to the city, this was a very positive audit,” said Knut- son, who spoke at Tuesday’s regular council meeting. While overall fund bal- ances went down, .in part because of the completion Minnesota this summer. WNV was first confirmed in Minnesota in 2002 and was documented as a cause of loon mortality in Minne- sota as early as 2005. It is not uncommon for people, animals and birds to be ex— posed to WNV through mos— quito bites. Most people and animals successfully fight off the virus and develop an- tibodies against future infec— tion. Some birds, like loons, crows and other corvids, are especially susceptible to the infection. Researchers are attempting to discover the- clean bill of several capital project last year, the city’s general fund improved its position. The city ended 2018 with a general fund balance of over $3.1 million. That’s about $145,000 more than what was in re- serve 12 months earlier, and still far more than the 50 percent of annual general fund expenditures the city strives to keep in reserve. Half of Ely’s 2018 general fund expenditures equals about $1,890,000, Knutson said, and the actual total leaves a better than $1 mil- lion cushion. “You are maintaining rates of infection among ruffed grouse. Loons can die from a va— riety of illnesses and injuries and individual bird deaths are a normal occurrence and not cause for alarm. “When we start seeing multiple birds dying on a single lake, we want to know about it so we can start track— ing the information and de- termine'when further testing is warranted,” said nongame wildlife specialist Gaea Cro- zier. “While there isn’t a way to treat the West Nile virus infection, knowing the cause can help us rule out other, preventable causes of mortality.” Lake homeowners and other lake users who observe two or more dead Icons on a single lake with no obvious injury or cause of death are asked to contact the DNR. Individual bird carcasses can be disposed of by burial or in the trash. There is no ‘evidence people can contract WNV from infected birds, but gloves or a plastic bag are recommended when handling any dead animal. offinancial health ' yourde balance per your policy in a positive way and that amount has actu- ally grown,” said Knutson. “That helps for cash flow purposes and other planning purposes.” ' The city’s overall net po— sition improved to roughly $22.8 million, and 2018 was busy on- the capital projects front, with nearly $4 million in work completed.” “A lot of capital projects were done, and they were funded either by previous fund balance or bond pro- ceeds,” said Knutson. Council members were beaming about the results and hailed the effiorts of'city staff. ' Mayor Chuck Novak singled out clerk-treasurer Harold Langowski, assistant treasurer Dan Smith, deputy clerk Casey Velcheff and ac- counting clerk Katie Richards. ' “I think they do a pretty dang good job at it and I want to give kudos to them,” said Novak. Council member Heidi Omerza agreed and added “this is by far and away ‘one of the better audits we’ve had since I’ve been on the council. I appreciate our current staff that put us in this position.” SATURDAY JULY 20 2019 Wilchddds LAN D COM PAN Y #4439 « James Street Home Contemporary twist on , bungalow charm stayed true in the entire remodel of this 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. Attached 2 stall garage. Home sits on a . large corner lot within easy walking distance to , many city amenities. 365-3665 $139,900 ‘ 1325 East Sheridan Street E; WANTED 0 Carryouts and cashiers. M 0 AM stock clerks three \ days a week. Stocking \ shelves four hours each m” mm day Monday, Wednesday and Friday if available.‘ Contact Jim at 365-3188. Meet at the Beer Garden during Blueberry Fest! Friday 8: Saturday, July 26 8:: 27 4:00 p.m. -. 6:00 p.m. 424 E Sheridan 5?. infoézupnortheom zupnorflmom Ely: 365-8322 Andrea Zupancich, Broker Jan Erchul, Assoc. 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