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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Cheer: A step in the right direction

We're pleasantly surprised to hear Minnesota is looking at an $876 million state budget surplus after last week's forecast by auditors. It's a step in the right direction, but state lawmakers and officials must use it as a stepping stone for a permanent solution while restoring funding for education and other important programs and services. And don't forget the pains of this past summer's state government shutdown.

Jeer: Bad decision

The bad choices by a few reckless people puts a strain on law enforcement, evident by last week's report of gunfire in Turtle River and ensuing high-speed chase. The suspects' actions prompted a 12-hour manhunt and put residents on high alert.

Cheer: Quick response

It didn't take long, once Bemidji firefighters received the call, to come to the aid of fishermen stuck on an ice block floating Friday in Upper Red Lake. While the incident serves as a reminder to monitor ice conditions and quickly changing weather conditions, it also showcases the response and dedication of area rescue workers. Also responding to the ice rescue were Kelliher First Responders, Blackduck Ambulance, U.S. Border Patrol, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Beltrami County Sheriff's Office and firefighters from Kelliher, Red Lake, Ponemah and Blackduck.

Jeer: Not enough

Beltrami County commissioners voted to provide $15,000 to the Joint Economic Development Commission after discussing a request for $50,000. The county's contribution amounts to less than 34 cents per resident, a small price to pay for attracting employers and jobs to the region. Before approving the money, commissioners took a verbal swipe at the City of Bemidji's contribution and questioned the JEDC's direction, but it's clear to us: without funding and cooperation, there is little chance for a change in economic climate.

Cheer: Good talks

Healthy discussions are under way to provide focus for a new community health center, aimed at serving uninsured and underinsured people in the area. A forum last week drew more than 50 people who want to help shape the center's mission, a good starting point for a service important to our region's vitality.