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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Cheer: Celebration of excellence

The Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce recognized businesses and individuals that have enhanced the community during the seventh annual Awards of Excellence ceremony last Thursday. Kirk Malkowski is Ambassador of the Year, and MedSave Family Pharmacy, Northwoods Landscaping and Recreation, Urban Essence and SevenDays Design were honored for entrepreneurship and healthy workplaces. In addition, the Chamber honored 21 businesses and their employees for giving at least 2 percent of their pre-tax earnings to charity. And Joe Lueken, who came to Bemidji from South Dakota in 1966 to manage a grocery store for his brother, and then bought the business outright, was honored with the Charlie Naylor Lifetime Achievement Award. Now he owns two supermarkets in Bemidji and passes his entrepreneurial ethics down to his associates.

Cheer: Fishery learning

Northern Elementary School fifth-graders' direct lesson in biology also added to the sport fishing plenty as they raised and release fingerling brown trout in the Clearwater River Friday. The students in Jeff Wade's class managed and watched more then 200 little fish hatch and grow to release size as a classroom exercise.

Jeer: Stolen drugs

People addicted to prescription drugs will go to great lengths to get their fixes. That is the case even in hospitals where health care staff members have access to and knowledge of prescription medications. In perhaps the most dramatic recent case, a nurse anesthetist in Minneapolis was accused of taking most of the painkiller intended for a patient undergoing kidney stone surgery in November. A criminal complaint said the nurse told the patient to "man up" as he endured the worst pain. Hospital workers have stolen them by replacing a patient's prescription with ibuprofen, siphoning medication from IV bags, taking leftovers meant for the trash, falsifying patient records and forging prescriptions. This is a shameful situation, especially because patients have to trust care givers with their well being and even their lives.

Cheer: Cancer survey

The American Cancer Society has chosen Bemidji as one of the Relay For Life sites to take part in a nationwide experiment. Healthy people between the ages of 30 and 65 can help cancer elimination research by signing up for a long-term study of their health. The American Cancer Society is aiming to enroll 500,000 people in the Cancer Prevention Study-3 to respond to questionnaires every few years for 20-30 years. Enrolling would be a simple way to move cancer prevention research forward and take part in a historic study.