County board comes to Ely

by Tom Coombe
Before getting down to their regular business, St. Louis County commissioners heard from the public and acknowledged their hosts on Tuesday morning.
The Morse Town Hall was the venue as the county board held its first in-person meeting in over a year.
All but one of the seven commissioners attended as only Duluth’s Frank Jewell was absent.
Commissioner Paul McDonald of Ely made note of the township’s rich history and its contribution to the county’s bottom line.
“Morse Township is a very significant contributor to our tax base here in St. Louis County,” said McDonald.
Board members also heard from two local residents.
Jim Woods of Ely asked that the county seek bids from area funeral homes for the transport of dead bodies to Midwest Medical Center, when people pass away at home.
According to Woods, residents are more comfortable with local funeral homes providing this service.
Meanwhile, Ely’s Mike Banovetz voiced his displeasure at three Duluth commissioners who wrote, on county letterhead, to the Bureau of Land Management and the Secretary of the Interior about mining-related issues in northeastern Minnesota
The commissioners’ position was at odds with the county board’s narrow support for proposed copper-nickel mining projects.
“I thought it was very dishonest of them to use the letterhead of the county to send that letter,” said Banovetz. “To me, it’s unacceptable. Those commissioners don’t represent me.”