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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Cheer: Area graduates looking forward

Graduation from college is both a jumping off point and a time to take a deep breath and consider options. As a three-college town, Bemidji always celebrates graduations in a big way. With Bemidji State University, Northwest Technical College and Oak Hills Christian College, the weekend was a gala time. Although many graduates don't exactly know what their next move might be, all can look back at their major academic accomplishments.

Cheer: DNR director

Welcome to Lori Dowling, the new director for the Bemidji-based Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Dowling serves the 23 counties in northwestern Minnesota to maintain successful forests, clean waters, plentiful wildlife and outdoor recreation. Her mission to engage youth in outdoor activities is especially important in a director.

Jeer: Black mark

A Muslim group is asking the FBI to investigate a vandalism incident in Rochester, Minn., as a possible hate crime. It was disappointing to learn that vandals spray-painted a swastika and the letters "KKK" on the home of a Somali family sometime overnight Wednesday. The family left Somalia in 1996 and moved to Rochester in 2004. Family members say they've been the target of what they think are other hate crimes, including a broken car window and knife marks in their mailbox. Their house was also shot with a paintball gun. This is a country with a majority of residents who are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Prejudice against newcomers is nothing new, but it's a black mark for our land of opportunity.

Cheer: Parks protected

The Beltrami County Board voted last week to manage timber harvest in county parks differently from logging in the other 98 percent of county-owned forests. Keeping buffer strips along trails and promoting diversity of forest species will improve the parks for recreational purposes. The tradeoff for the economic losses from stumpage fees could be offset indirectly by the increase in park usage by visitors to the area.