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Pioneer Cheers & Jeers

Officials right to remove pets from home

The removal of 107 dogs and two cats from two rural Bemidji homes last week raised numerous questions, including several about human and animal welfare. Sheriff's deputies, acting on a tip, visited the homes to find an appalling scene, where an estimated 50 dogs were living in one home. Further investigation found more than twice that number, an environmental hazard and a situation compounded by the dog owners' grief. The case involves numerous agencies and issues, which will take time to sort out, but officials appear to be taking the appropriate and necessary steps to benefit both the people and animals involved.


Diligent work

Law enforcement's sweep of suspects tied to the Native Mob gang, believed to be responsible for brutal and senseless acts of violence throughout Minnesota, shows a highly structured criminal network, much of it being controlled by prison inmates. Before the sweep, officials locked down the state's prison system to aid in arresting suspects tied to a gang with influence from the Twin Cities to reservations in a four-state region. It takes diligence and resources to fight crime at the gang level. It's a dangerous job for local, state and federal officers, and we all have a stake in combating crime.


Keep an open mind

With the closing of the Bemidji Pamida store next month, it is a good time to look at honoring the American Indian remains on the property, which is privately owned by a New Jersey businessman. A 1988 addition to the store uncovered skeletal remains at the site, where excavators found more than 12,000 artifacts, including arrowhead projectiles and pottery shards estimated to be between 500 and more than 7,000 years old. The Headwaters Science Center has expressed interest in moving to the site. It would be wise for talks between the interested parties - the property owner, American Indians and Science Center leaders - to take an open-minded, collaborative approach to consider what could or should be done at the property.


Tracking calls

A website now gives Bemidji and Beltrami County residents more details about crime and law enforcement activity on a grand scale. The website allows users to drill down into data for their neighborhoods, sign up for alerts and access information to help make better decisions. Police Chief Mike Mastin says it makes his department's operations more open to the public and provide an avenue for residents to be engaged in their community. The website is a terrific step forward in giving a transparent view of law enforcement's work.