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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

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opinion Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Wolf meeting a good step

Managing Minnesota's gray wolf population poses several issues, and a public meeting in Bemidji Saturday was a good step in figuring out a smart, thoughtful approach to a fall hunting season.

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With about 3,000 gray wolves in Minnesota, the state's Department of Natural Resources proposes allowing hunters and trappers to harvest 400 of the animals, recently removed from the endangered species list.

The meeting, spearheaded by Sen. John Carlson, R-Bemidji, drew numerous area residents interested in the state's gray wolf management.

A state lottery makes sense for those interested in a gray wolf hunting season, currently proposed to start in late November and going until the quota is met. Dan Stark, a large carnivore specialist with the DNR, says research indicates a higher harvest quota, but a conservative approach for the state's first gray wolf hunt would allow a unique season.

The state has taken a measured approach to bear hunting, and a similar approach will make gray wolf hunting better. A measured and closely monitored system, along with citizen input and research, will allow for better management.

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Compromising

The Bemidji School District and the teachers' union reached a tentative agreement after 13 negotiation sessions, including the final two with a mediator.

The extended process, while not ideal, led to a settlement being hailed by both sides as a fair and reasonable.

We have yet to learn the details, but lead negotiators for the Bemidji Education Association say they're satisfied because the contract includes benefits for veteran and younger teachers alike while providing some help with health insurance. More than 80 percent of teachers agreed in a vote.

Once the school board approves the contract, likely Thursday, negotiators can turn attention to contracts for other district employees and staff. Let's hope the same spirit of compromise works well during those talks.

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Watch priorities

A proposed $975 million stadium for the Minnesota Vikings will keep state lawmakers busy this legislative session as details are hammered out.

While leaders have come to terms in concept, there's likely to be plenty of wrangling over the details for an issue that has grabbed most of the headlines coming out of St. Paul this year.

Keeping the Vikings in the state should be a priority, but lawmakers need to make sure one of their most important jobs - improving the lives of families and children - remains at the forefront of their work.

Fair and equitable school funding formulas are critical to districts outside the seven-county metropolitan area. When financial resources are stretched too thin, it puts rural Minnesota districts at a disadvantage. Our young people deserve a quality education and opportunities. Investing in education and young people is paramount to a vibrant future.

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