Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers
Accessibility is at the core of the issue
For months, there's been a swirling controversy about the on-street bike rack in downtown Bemidji.
Will it stay or will it go?
During the past two summers, the rack, which doubles as a piece of art, has been placed in front of The Cabin Coffeehouse and Café.
A single parking spot has touched off a flurry of comments in letters to the Pioneer, coffee conversations and Facebook posts. It's pitted some downtown tenants against each other.
The rack controversy isn't simply about one parking spot on a publicly owned street. It carries meaning to both supporters and opponents.
It also exposes the reality that the city and Downtown Development Authority can improve accessibility for the elderly, disabled and recreational traffic. The issue won't go away until there's a more global solution than whether a bike rack should be placed within a single parking space. It's time to put on the thinking caps and make decisions based on vision and leadership.
Congratulations to the more than 1,000 students who graduated with degrees last week from Bemidji State University, Northwest Technical College and Oak Hills Christian College.
Graduating from college serves as one of life's rites of passages.
It offers a chance to celebrate a major achievement. But it also comes with a renewed responsibility to self and community.
Jim Benson, former president of BSU, summed it up in his commencement speech, invoking the wisdom of Albert Einstein.
He urged graduates to give back to their communities, aspire to worthwhile accomplishments and make the surrounding world a better place.
"We need to realize that we need each other," Benson said. "You are giving now. Keep on giving because it will be the most rewarding part of your life."
Red Lake police officers made an important arrest last week, nabbing Jason Lee King nearly 10 weeks after he escaped custody during transport to Sanford Bemidji Medical Center.
King, a suspect in a Bemidji robbery late last year, eluded authorities for more than two months, in part because he changed his appearance.
In fact, officers weren't able to easily identify King after his arrest, which followed a high-speed pursuit, because the suspect significantly changed his appearance.
Officers, though, did their legwork, and now King faces federal charges stemming from the initial robbery arrest.