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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Job fair addresses area’s needs

Thursday’s Bemidji Regional Job Fair attracted about 40 local and regional employers and provided an opportunity for job seekers to explore their options. But it also pointed out a challenge for northwestern Minnesota: the need to teach the skills needed for available jobs.

“What we’re trying to do here is fill the gap,” said Dave Hengel, executive director of Greater Bemidji. That organization, along with the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, the state Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program, sponsored the job fair.

Economic development and educational leaders in the community are aware of training needs, and are working to provide solutions.

Still taking its toll

Area residents are being warned about the potential ice, wind and snow damage that could take place this winter in the wake of the July 2 windstorm that devastated the Bemidji area.

While many of the thousands of downed trees have been cleaned up, there are still some damaged trees standing. The public is urged to call their power company if they notice downed or damaged trees that could fall on a power line.

The downed trees could be a danger past the winter months, expecially if conditions stay as dry as they were this summer and fall. That means the next threat could be wild fires.

Jacks do us proud

Congratulations to Bemidji High School swimmers Steph Frey and Lexie Hendricks for their performances at the state meet last weekend. Frey finished second in two events and Hendricks topped the consolation field to take ninth place in her final event.

Meanwhile, the Lumberjacks football team finished a stellar season in the state semifinals Saturday night at the Metrodome. They lost to a powerful Totino-Grace squad to fall one game short of a repeat trip to the finals. But they should be proud of their achievements.

‘Oliver!’ rocks

Another reminder of the area’s wonderful arts scene was the Bemidji Community Theater and Paul Bunyan Playhouse’s performance of “Oliver!” which wound up Sunday at the Chief Theater. This musical rendition of “Oliver Twist,” the story by Charles Dickens, directed by Mary-Knox Johnson with Karen Bradley and Wayne Hoff as musical directors, rocked the stage.