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Banner donated to City Hall

Bemidji City Hall has a new addition, thanks to Kathy Kippley.

Kippley has donated a long, red-and-black banner to City Hall. The banner is about eight feet long and has "Bemidji" sewn lengthwise on it. Atop the banner is an emblem featuring the waterfront's Paul and Babe.

The banner was hung in the Council Chambers on Nov. 19.

"We feel so honored to have found a home for the Bemidji banner in the City Council Chambers," Kippley said in a write-up about the project.

Kippley explained that Hope House, which serves people with mental illness by assisting them to learn skills to live independently in the community, annually sends some members to the mental health rally at the State Capitol in St. Paul.

While there, Kippley said participants noticed that people from other towns had banners.

"We decided we would like to make one showing that Bemidji supports mental health," she said.

Kippley and a friend, who did not wish to be identified, decided to create a Bemidji banner. Together, the chose the pattern, colors and the Paul-and-Babe emblem, which came from a T-shirt purchased from Morell's Chippewa Trading Post.

Kippley used her knowledge of quilting to attach the lettering and the Paul and Babe emblem. The quilt also is tied.

"It is our hope that displaying the beautiful banner will help fight mental health stigma," Kippley said. Members of Hope House have a long-term and persistent mental illness and many times there is an association between bad things and mental illness."

Kippley and her friend said they were appreciative of the activities and support groups offered through Hope House, including a pre-employment skills class and a coping with trauma group. Both receive ongoing help from a psychologist, psychiatrist and community mental health practitioners.

"These services help us stay stable so we can live decent and empowering lives in the community by the grace of God," they said.