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Summer vacation in Bemidji exceeded expectations

I write to express my extreme contentment following my summer vacation in Bemidji. I am grateful to be able to return each July or August for my escape from the demands of a fast-paced and often stressful life.

From my very first days here, I encountered renewed community amenities that reflect positively on the energy and effort of city leaders and local business owners. Beautiful flowers and artwork on the sidewalks, tasteful well-designed buildings such as the Courthouse and American Indian Resource Center, new bank buildings and park facilities all make a trip to town pleasurable. The public spaces offered by the new high school, and soon the BREC, rival that of any metropolitan area. New additions to both the hospital and MeritCare Clinic offer top-notch medical care to those I care about. The surrounding senior housing offers an attractive alternative to single-family living.

This attention to facilities lends an air of sophistication to Bemidji. Indoor activities are fabulous, but let's not forget the outdoor joys to be found. With dear friends and family I experienced thrilling days on surrounding lakes and rivers; canoeing, boating, fishing, and swimming. Peaceful bike rides and walks through the many state park trails added to my nurture with nature.

During my stay there always was something exciting going on. The many cultural events -- band, symphony, and choir concerts, local plays -- were all outstanding. I can't express my gratitude for all the dedicated artists who display their talents at Art in the Park each year. The annual county fair and many 4-H contributors provide hours of entertainment. I was also thrilled to be able to purchase fine fresh local produce, meat, bread, and sweet honey from the thriving farmers market three days a week.

Thank you my Bemidji friends one and all for a vacation which exceeded my expectations in every regard. I will return often to stay as long as I can.

Teresa Santee

Alexandria, Va.