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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

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Cheer: Pen pal project links generations

Throughout the 2010-2011 school year, 60 students at Northern Elementary School have honed their skills by writing letters to senior citizens, who, of course, write back. This exchange is a delight for both elder and younger folks. Everyone likes to receive mail. Some have expressed concern than in this age of texting, Twitter and Facebook, actually writing by hand thoughtful messages is a lost art. For the children and elders to connect in a meaningful way is a boon to all involved.

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Cheer: Students shine

The Bemidji Concert Series gave Bemidji High School and Bemidji State University students a rare opportunity last week when they practiced and performed with Grammy-winning jazz musician Jeff Coffin. Derek Wickum's BHS Jazz Band and Steven Konecne's BSU Jazz Band prepared for many hours to play with Coffin. Del Lyren, chairman of the BSU Department of Music, has made a wise move in changing the direction of the Bemidji Concert Series to focus more on student clinics and performances.

Jeer: Shoplifting gangs

Stores have always had shoplifters. But not always like this. Gangs of professional shoplifters, organized into theft rings, have become a growing menace for U.S. retailers. Roaming from store to store, they steal large quantities of easy-to-sell items, such as baby formula and video games. The marketplace is often online, where stolen items are sold to consumers. Just as legitimate buying and selling online keeps growing, so do the organized rings that traffic in stolen goods. Now, traditional retailers, including Minnesota-based giants Target and Supervalu, are seeking tougher laws that match the scale of the crime.

Cheer: Tobacco free

Minnesota went smoke free indoors in 2007, and Bemidji State University went along with the edict. But students continued to stand outside smoking and throwing their cigarette butts on the grass. Congratulations to the Student Association Senate for calling for guidelines prohibiting smoking on the BSU campus and the administration for putting the act into writing.

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