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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Cheer: A new look for Chief Bemidji

A selection committee has picked three finalists to create a permanent statue of Chief Bemidji in Library Park. The three finalists - Steven Whyte of Carmel, Calif., Gareth Curtiss of Olympia, Wash., and Ann LaRose of Tucson, Ariz. - will provide models and drawings to illustrate what their final product would look like. All three artists have experience with bronze sculpture work, a medium that will provide a detailed, realistic statue.

Cheer: Saving pets

Saving animals and uniting them with loving families and homes has been the mission for the nonprofit Whipstaff Ranch and Rescue of Solway. The organization, believed to be the only all-species shelter in Minnesota, hosted an adoption event Saturday in Bemidji to bring willing people in touch with neglected animals. Stay tuned for more area events to help unite pets with families.

Jeer: Quick departure

Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch resigned last week, one day before news leaked about an inappropriate relationship with a Senate staff member. It's a blow to the Republicans. And it's disappointing Koch, who plans to retain her legislative seat, provide only vague reasons for her resignation by saying, "It is time to move on to other opportunities." The next day, other members of her party were left to defend the allegations of the relationship and how the party would fill the leadership void..

Cheer: The music man

Thousands of Bemidji students have learned music under the leadership of Chris Fettig, who tirelessly works to enrich students' lives through the arts. His hard work, and dedication, to our young people is impressive. And while the trophy case is full of awards, the Bemidji schools music director's passion and influence speaks volumes about his more than two decades of teaching.

Cheer: Solid ground

The selection of Roger Swanson as executive director of the Sanford Center last week brings stability and direction to the venue. Swanson, who had served as interim director since mid-October, came to Bemidji in the summer to fill in when the Sanford Center's director of sales and marketing resigned. He then assumed the interim director role after Bob LeBarron resigned from the post. Swanson brings experience and proven results to the leadership position.