Bemidji Day efforts don’t go unnoticed
Each year dozens of Bemidji-area officials and community leaders climb aboard a chartered bus and travel to St. Paul to visit with state lawmakers.
The Bemidji Day at the Capitol serves several important functions.
It shows unity and community pride for an important northern Minnesota city – a dynamic and growing hub that is playing a larger role in the region’s leading industries, including health care, retail, commercial and tourism.
The efforts don’t go unnoticed.
Dozens of people clad in plaid arrive to meet with Gov. Mark Dayton and key lawmakers.
It’s also more than pomp and stance. The lobbying efforts and personal connections during the annual trip go a long way in the decision-making process.
Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce President Lori Paris said the trips to the Capitol keeps Bemidji at the top of legislators’ minds. She provided specific examples, including extending the half-cent sales tax to Sanford Center costs and bonding money for Lakeland Public Television’s new facility.
An experienced contingent, with focused and meaningful discussions, helps position the Bemidji area for the future. This will be important moving forward as lawmakers decide issues with far-reaching implications for Greater Minnesota.
As competition for state dollars increases and influence becomes increasingly more important, it’s good to see Bemidji already have a significant voice at the table.
Road crews crucial
After this past weekend’s major storm, which again brought a foot or more of snow to the area, it definitely looks like winter in the Northland.
The season started slow, particularly for those who enjoy the outdoors in the wintertime, but Mother Nature has made it up to us during the past month.
With several snow storms in recent weeks, road crews have worked tirelessly to clear routes for motorists. Their work is crucial to safe traveling conditions, including emergency responders.
Respect their work and make it easier by following advice from the Minnesota Department of Transportation:
-- In extreme conditions, do not travel unless absolutely necessary in extreme conditions.
-- Give yourself more time to arrive at your destination and be patient while traveling.
-- Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud.
Remember, travel warnings by state and federal officials are issued for safety reasons.
Bridging the divide
The United Way of the Bemidji Area and PCs for People collaborated last week to connect computers with low-income families.
It’s a worthy program that aims to bridge the digital divide within our community.
Moving forward, it’s important for people of all ages, income levels and demographics to access technology. Refurbishment programs like the one last week – which provided 100 computers and accessories to those in need – help to open the door of possibilities.