Weather Forecast


Faces of the shutdown: Howie Zetah

Contractors who need electrical inspections to complete building projects are stuck during the state government shutdown. Callers to the main local electrical inspector, Mark Smythe, hear a series of rings and then dead line. Howie Zetah said Smythe usually completes an inspection within 24 hours of being notified the building is ready.

"The electrical inspection is the only statewide inspection that's enforced," said Howie Zetah, owner of Zetah Construction in Bemidji and a director for the Headwaters Builders Association and State Builders Association. He said the state shutdown also means postponing the July State Builders Association meeting.

Contractors also must send blueprints to the state for plumbing approval for city or commercial buildings.

"The last thing we need to do is inhibit our growth, what growth there is," Zetah said.

The Bemidji City Council is scheduled to pass emergency ordinances Monday to allow for electrical and plumbing plan reviews by city employees. These measures would allow construction to progress.