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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Community members gather this Thursday to denounce racial crimes and discuss how citizens can embrace diversity.

The 5 p.m. rally is planned for the courtyard at Beltrami County Courthouse.

We applaud efforts to peacefully assemble, in events like the one planned, to generate awareness, education and acceptance. Divergent views and backgrounds are important to our community and its development.

But there also comes a great deal of responsibility in holding such events, particularly in connection with last month's cross burning report.

The planned event comes following last week's arrest of two men accused of building the cross and setting it aflame in the yard of a Bemidji area family.

Our justice system calls for the accused to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The timing of the rally, announced after the arrests, raises challenges for the judicial system in providing the defendants with a fair trial.

Ideally, a community event would have been held before the arrests. Let's hope the rally focuses on issues, and not the people involved.


Keeping kids safe

The effort to keep children safe, particularly while they're in motor vehicles, is a high priority for the Bemidji Police Department.

Officers often see drivers who fail to properly secure children in car seat restraints.

For some drivers, it's a matter of education. Yet, for others, it's a matter of access.

Proper education and equipment is necessary to protect our most vulnerable citizens.

That's why the police department has planned a car seat give-away event June 23 for low-income families in the area.

Safety doesn't just happen. Each of us has the responsibility to protect our passengers by making sure they are properly restrained.


Journey of faith

Bemidji native Harlan Hegna is on a journey of a lifetime.

The 27-year-old filmmaker, who lives in Los Angeles but returns frequently to his hometown, is using his talents to explore some of life's most intriguing questions.

His latest project, a documentary titled "Finding Faith," explores his own rediscovery of faith by looking at Christianity through the eyes of others.

Hegna is currently backpacking through the Middle East, where he's lending his filmmaking talent to help tell others' stories while finding out more about his own beliefs by tackling contemporary issues.