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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Cheer: Polar Daze events show our resolve

From the Polar Plunge to the Taste of Northern Minnesota to the Make-Your-Own Sled Races, Berrrmidji Polar Daze highlight the love affair North Country folks have with winter, and the snowier and colder the better. The 30- to 40-below deep freeze let up for this year's Polar Daze in the traditional January warm up -- thaw is not applicable here, with highs in the plus 20s. Runners sprinted off, plungers jumped in Lake Bemidji and good times flourished at the waterfront. Can the post winter season be far around the yearly cycle? Well, yes it can. But spring is coming in about four months. And then there's fishing opener.

Cheer: Curling Capital

Bemidji's Cassie Potter rink made it to the Olympic Trials last week in one of the seven national curling qualifiers. The Pete Fenson rink of 2006 Olympic Bronze Medal fame could qualify with a win in the Challenge Round Jan. 28. Also in the nationals are Bemidji's Sarah Lehman and Natalie Nicholson. Keep sweeping, curlers. We're anxious to watch you in Vancouver next year.

Jeer: Food scare

Scrape that peanut butter off the toast; in fact, better ditch the toast, too. Another food safety scare has emerged involving cookies, ice cream and all other products that contain peanut butter, until authorities can learn more about a deadly outbreak of salmonella poisoning that has sickened about 470 people in 43 states, including 35 in Minnesota, and apparently caused the deaths of at least six people. The outbreak has initiated product recalls and a congressional inquiry into reform of food safety laws. Safe food is a hallmark of a civilized society. Let's scrutinize peanut processors and get peanut butter back in the clear.

Cheer: Bus baron

For more than 10 years, Greg Liedl, Bemidji School District transportation coordinator, has managed a network of school bus routes covering a geographical area the size of a small eastern state. He sees that children get to school on time and get home when the day is over in orderly and safe transport. Liedl was honored for his service last week by the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association as the 2008 Transportation Administrator of the Year. Congratulations, Greg Liedl, for your dedication to Bemidji students. Keep those buses rolling.