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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Cheer: Science Center notes anniversary

The Headwaters Science Center, just a gleam in the eyes of visionaries in 1992, opened its doors as the only hands-on science center between Winnipeg, Manitoba, and St. Paul, Minn., in 1994. Using the old downtown JCPenney department store building, the center has hosted thousands of school groups, launched after-school classes and inspired those curious about science for 15 years. Laddie Elwell, who worked for the Science Museum of Minnesota, initiated the concept of a northern Minnesota equivalent when she saw busloads of students arriving in St. Paul after hours-long rides to enjoy a short time at exhibits. She said she knew more greater Minnesota science centers should be available, and with the core group's efforts, made the Headwaters Science Center happen. The board of directors is now seeking state and grant financing to build a new and expanded center on land ceded by the city of Bemidji on the shores of the Mississippi River.

Cheer: Band support

Professional trumpet player Sean Jones mentored Bemidji State University students last week and supported a concert benefiting the Bemidji Concert Series. Del Lyren, professor of brass at BSU, has drawn many national and international musicians to Bemidji for specialties with the Bemidji Concert Series and extra seminars for students and the public. Bemidji's music scene has been greatly enriched by the outreach.

Jeer: Farm loss

Beltrami County farming, following a national trend, decreased by 10 percent between 2002 and 2007. The Census of Agriculture taken every five years showed that the number of farms went from 746 in 2002 to 674 in 2007. Although the market value produced by the remaining farms increased by 21 percent over the five-year period, the concern remains that nations must be food-production self-sufficient. Countries that control their food supply are countries that prosper. Beltrami County must remain viable in food production.

Cheer: Outdoor seminar

The Bemidji High School environmental science class' experience with bears up close and personal is a gift afforded to few students. The collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and BHS teacher Kristina VanWilgen-Hammitt has given a wonderful opportunity for "labs" in which youngsters see the real world of native animal research. Last week's adventure bringing three yearling cubs and their mother out of their hibernation den was an opportunity none of the witnesses will ever forget. Such enrichment shows the extra efforts of teachers and quality of Bemidji's education system.