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Ely council bones up on ‘dogs in park’ issue

Keith Vandervort
Posted 1/17/18

ELY – City Council members here almost opened up a big can of worms Tuesday night when considering, and ultimately granting, a request by the Harvest Moon Festival organizers to host a special …

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Ely council bones up on ‘dogs in park’ issue

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ELY – City Council members here almost opened up a big can of worms Tuesday night when considering, and ultimately granting, a request by the Harvest Moon Festival organizers to host a special stunt dog show.

The wording of the request was for allowing “dogs in the park” on Sept. 7-9.

The enforcement of the “no dogs in the parks” ordinance may lack teeth, but Council member Al Forsman wasn’t about to allow the wording of the request to go unnoticed.

The request under the new business portion of the agenda read, “Request from the Ely Chamber of Commerce to allow the Stunt Dog Productions to perform in Whiteside Park over Harvest Moon Sept. 7-9, 2018 and to allow dogs in the park on these days.”

The motion to grant the request was made by Jerome Debeltz and supported by Dan Forsman.

“Is this to allow dogs within the entire park on these days?” asked Al Forsman,

Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski quickly added, “I think this is just for dogs that are performing.”

Mayor Chuck Novak picked up on Forsman’s concern and noted that the request was not stated to allow just the performing dog show. “It says, to allow stunt dog performers and to allow dogs in the park.”

Langowski maintained that the request from Ellen Cashman was for the event itself for permission to just have the performance dogs in the park. “This does bring up a bigger question on allowing dogs in the park, as Mr. Forsman pointed out last week, during the Farmers Markets we have had the same question come up,” he said.

According to Langowski, one area of the park was designated during the Farmers Markets events on Tuesday evenings to allow people to bring their dogs so somebody could watch them during the event. “They are still testing the waters with that,” he said.

Council member Heidi Omerza, who serves on the Parks and Recreation Committee, said the committee will be reviewing the Farmers Market dog policy in the next couple of months. “We are looking at all aspects of the Farmers Market,” she said. “It has been a very good relationship. Dogs in the park has been something they have struggled with. They know it is an issue and they want to solve it.”

Omerza maintained that she is not in favor of allowing dogs in the park.

“Unless I misunderstood, the (Harvest Moon) request is just for the stunt dog shows,” Langowski said.

Al Forsman was agreeable to amending the original motion to just allow the stunt dogs in the park during the fall festival. The motion carried unanimously with the members present.

Other business

In other business, the city council took the following action:

•Presented a Key to the City to Jodi Martin for her 20-plus years of serving as organizer for the city’s annual Fourth of July parade;

•Approved a request from the Police Chief to attend the Police Chiefs Conference in Duluth, April 22-25;

•OK’d a recommendation from the Telecommunications Advisory Board to purchase a hard drive and wireless microphone for the new hand-held camera for an amount not to exceed $3,000;

•Approved a grant application to IRRRB for $450,000 for 17th Avenue work, and $170,000 for infrastructure and survey work for the Rural Living development;

•Rescheduled meetings next month because of the state caucuses being held on Tuesday, Feb. 6.City Council regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7, to be preceded by a EUC rate schedule public hearing at 5 p.m. and a Jake Forsman Burnout event public hearing at 5:30 p.m.;

•Approved a request for in-kind services for the Ely Winter Festival;

•Approved the lone 2018 legal newspaper bid to the Ely Echo.

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