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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Speak up on ideas for Bemidji parks

A small gathering of interested citizens met last week to discuss options for redesigning the Lake Bemidji waterfront parks near downtown.

There were several terrific suggestions to "show off Bemidji" while providing amenities for residents and visitors. Among the suggestions were playground space, a splash pad and bandshell.

Other suggestions include seating, Wi-Fi, an ice skating rink, bike racks and cultural/interpretive signs and art. Each suggestion has merit and could provide value to our parks.

The redevelopment of Paul Bunyan Park, Library Park and a south shore park to replace Nymore Beach is envisioned to establish a continuous park system along the waterfront.

Public participation in future meetings is paramount for creating functional, dynamic and unique gathering spaces for park users.


Better health

The health rankings of Minnesota counties shows there's a lot of work to be done in the north woods.

Both Beltrami and Cass counties are among the worst in the state when it comes to health indicators and everyone has a stake.

Public health officials are aggressively working to improve health conditions by developing partnerships, educating citizens to make healthy decisions and establishing programs to improve quality of life.

Sustainable, long-term improvement requires prevention, rather than treatment, of health-related issues. In simple terms, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


Working together

After several months as Bemidji's police chief, Mike Mastin said open positions within the department have been filled.

And now he can more readily focus on police operations and initiatives rather than personnel.

His goals, as part of a three-year strategic plan, aims to lower crime rates, improve "clearing" crimes through arrests or satisfactory dispositions, and focusing on quality of life issues.

To reach these goals, though, it takes community participation.

Mastin wants to hire a community service officer to address quality of life issues and enforcing local ordinances to reduce complaints about animals at large, peace disturbances and loud vehicles.

It's a worthy goal that if achieved, would foster collaboration between the community and police to address the city's nuisance issues.