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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ely updates its emergency response plan

Catie Clark
Posted 4/3/24

ELY- Ely Police Patrol Officer Bradley Roy presented Ely’s new online interactive evacuation map during the April 2 meeting of the city council here. He also presented Ely’s portion of …

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Ely updates its emergency response plan


ELY- Ely Police Patrol Officer Bradley Roy presented Ely’s new online interactive evacuation map during the April 2 meeting of the city council here. He also presented Ely’s portion of the St. Louis County’s updated “mitigation action plan,” which was unveiled formally at a press conference in Duluth on Wednesday afternoon.
The evacuation map went live on the city’s website under the emergency management link after the press conference.
“Residents will be able to click on where they live on the map,” Roy explained, “and will be able to see at a glance if their neighborhood should prepare to evacuate or needs to evacuate immediately in case of a wildfire.”
Roy noted that the city has multiple ways to inform residents of an evacuation, including phone calling, using the Northland Alert system, and going from door-to-door. The Northland Alert system will text those who register for the service in the event of city alerts. The sign-up link is also on the city’s emergency preparedness page.
St. Louis County has identified Ely as a “high risk wildland urban interface area,” a designation that allows the city to receive funding and resources to develop public safety tools like fire evacuation plans.
A U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Community Wildfire Defense Grant awarded to the county funded Ely’s map and contribution to the county’s hazards mitigation action plan.
In other business, the council:
• Heard from Mayor Heidi Omerza, who said she wants to revive Ely’s Volunteer of the Year award, stating that she was open to suggestions as to how to do so, hoping to have something in place for council approval by early summer.
• Approved the April 9 housing and redevelopment authority meeting, set for 10 a.m. at the Pioneer Apartments, as a special council meeting. The designation allows any council members who choose to attend to do so legally under Minnesota’s Open Meeting Law. The meeting will include a discussion on the recent progress of the city’s proposed workforce housing project.
• Approved a recommendation from the park and recreation board to redraw the basketball and pickleball lines on the recreation center courts.
• Approved a recommendation from park and recreation board that the city council direct the city’s staff to investigate opportunities with local joint powers organizations to help fund a feasibility study for a “joint recreation type facility.”
• Heard the report from the board of adjustment that it approved a variance requested by All Phase Construction for 255 W. Camp St., Parcel No. 030-0500-00050. The variance will allow a zero-foot setback on both the rear and corner side yards for the construction of a building for vehicles and equipment.
• Approved the mid-term appointment of Ely resident Joseph Prioreschi to the open P&Z seat formerly occupied by Banovetz, with a term expiring on Jan. 31, 2025.
• Approved the recommendation from the sanitation committee to renew the existing commercial waste disposal contract with GMen for an additional 4 years. The contract is not exclusive, and businesses have the liberty to hire with other firms for waste disposal, and other waste firms or free to apply for license to operate in Ely.
• Approved the recommendation from the sanitation committee to approve Spring Clean Up Days for April 26-27.
• Approved the recommendation from the Ely Utilities Commission to purchase a polymer pump for $3,840 for the waste water treatment facility (WWTF).
• Approved a recommendation from EUC to hire Water Conservation Services for a full water system survey for $3,750. Previous surveys commissioned by the city have been effective at discovering leaks in the city’s water system, reported Forsman.
• Approved a recommendation from EUC for the variable frequency drive manufactured by Qualus for $1,972.
• Approved a recommendation from EUC to sell scrap metal, pipe fittings and valves to Bob Koschak for $300.
• Approved a recommendation from EUC to pay off January EUC bills for $494,423.
• Approved a recommendation from EUC to pay Mick Shusta $850 for Operator-A and additional consulting services.
• Heard a report from Fire Chief David Marshall that one of the departments two fire calls since the last city council meeting involved a carbon monoxide incident, where a carbon monoxide alarm alerted the occupants to leave the building. The fire department did need to ventilate the structure. Marshall used this to remind everyone to have a CO detector in their home or business and to make sure it is in working order.
• Heard the report of Police Chief Chad Houde that most of the department now had their canoes, and that the department’s most recent hire, Christian Debrey, would receive his hiring incentive canoe soon. Houde added, as snow fell outside the city council chamber windows, “hopefully with this warm weather he’ll be able to use it.”
• Heard the report from Ely Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski that the local board of appeal and equalization meeting for Ely will be on April 11, from 5-6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.
• Approved city and EUC claims for payment for April 2 totaling $181,037.
• Approved a partial pay estimate for the East End Development Project for $23,589 from Low Impact Excavators.
• Approved the payment of Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH) invoice No.462635 for $11,797 for work on the Prospector ATV Trail.
• Approved the appointment of Ely resident Catherine Helm-Clark to the open seat on the Donald Gardner Trust. G. Gardner Humanities Trust with a term expiring on Jan. 31, 2027.
• Approved a temporary liquor license for the Ely Folk School for May 8 at Semer’s Park Beach for their spring bonfire event.
• Approved Resolution 2024-014 supporting the grant application to the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources for the Grant-In-Aid Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Assistance Program for trail maintenance.