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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Cheer: Program can give Bemidji students edge

We're excited to see the progress of Students First, an innovative program designed to give young people in our community the tools they need for successful lives. While it launches early next year, important behind-the-scenes work, including hiring Bemidji native Lara Gerhardson as coordinator, is nearly complete. The program is designed to complement what students learn at home and the classroom by pairing them with coaches.

Cheer: Fighting hunger

It's heart-warming to see students take the lead in helping fight hunger in our community, where the need continues to grow. This past week, school-aged children helped fill boxes for the 20th annual Stuff-a-Truck food drive, which aimed to garner 20,000 pounds of food to help area families through the holidays.

Jeer: Poverty levels

It's discouraging to see the rising number of Minnesota children living in poverty. Last week, the U.S. Census reported the number jumped to 180,000 children in 2010, about 18,000 more than the previous year. While among the lowest rates in the country, numbers dehumanize the real-life impact poverty has on our communities and downplay the need to make improvements in feeding the hungry.

Jeer:?Disservice to fans

Lawmakers who continue to drag their feet on finding a solution to build a Vikings football stadium are doing a disservice to their fans and the state. While stadium bill authors Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, and Gov. Mark Dayton have pressed for legislators to find a compromise, a special session appears out of the question. Now a bill for the upcoming session may be in jeopardy, along with the future of team in Minnesota.

Cheer: Viable plans

It's encouraging to see two quality hotel proposals on the table to further develop Bemidji's South Shore development next to the Sanford Center. Officials said two hotels - Country Inn & Suites and Cambria Suites are viable and offer restaurant components. A review committee must look weigh the proposals, but both would offer an attractive complement to the area.