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Council OKs Upstream TV request

BEMIDJI —Upstream TV will soon have new equipment.

The Bemidji City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve almost $20,000 worth of new equipment for the nonprofit public access station. Representatives from Upstream went before the city’s Public Affairs Committee on April 15, where the committee recommended the council approve the request.

The equipment request included a new camera, editing computers, microphones and a tripod.

The money will come out of public education government fees, or PEG fees, which make up a small portion of cable customers’ bills.

“The equipment that they’re asking for is going to allow them to do the work of being a public access station better,” said Ward 3 Councilor Ron Johnson, who sits on the Public Affairs Committee.

Upstream went on the air Jan. 1, 2012, and broadcasts almost exclusively locally created programs. Members there create five hours worth of original local content weekly, according to a memo provided to the council.

Mike Bredon, Upstream’s executive director, told the council the equipment will help them solve many of their technical issues. He said they’re working to create a program guide for the station to let people know when programs are airing.

“That is our primary goal,” Bredon said.

Housing Project

The council also unanimously approved a request from the Headwaters Regional Development Commission to use $45,000 worth of program income funds for a project aimed at demolishing dilapidated homes and creating a lot for a new home.

According to a memo from Aaron Chirpich, development director at the HRDC, once the homes have been demolished, the HRDC will find a qualified partner to build a new home for low- to moderate-income families. That builder would likely be Habitat for Humanity.

In other business

The council held a closed-door meeting to discuss pending litigation with Bemidji Township over its annexation agreement.

City attorney Al Felix said the council received an update from its representation in the issue, Twin Cities-based attorney Jim Thomson, and the council gave feedback. “We’ll see if there’s something to be reported in the future,” Felix said. “But that’s the report to be made as a result of the meeting you just had.”

The council also awarded a construction bid to Knife River Construction for $632,441.68 for the city’s state aid paving project. Portions of 15th Street Northwest, Roosevelt Road, Pioneer Street Southeast and Industrial Park Drive will be repaved before Sept. 1 using mostly state funds. 

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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