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Pioneer Cheers & Jeers for March 26

Vocalmotive does its hometown proud

Folks around the Bemidji area have long known how wonderful the show choir program is at Bemidji High School. Now the rest of the country is finding out.

Congratulations to Vocalmotive, the school’s top show choir, for being named grand champion Saturday at the Chicago region of the Show Choir National Championship Series in Waukegan, Ill.

The victory sends director Chris Fettig and Vocalmotive to nationals in Chicago April 26-27.

Competing against choirs from around the country, the 70-member group dazzled the judges and the audience with a stellar performance.

Vocalmotive also won awards for best show design, best band, best stage crew and best male performance (by David DeKrey).

Truly amazing

We applaud the forward thinking of Bemidjian Amber Neumann, who has formed the monthly “Amazing Women” program, which brings together women of all ages and all walks of life to share stories and celebrate their accomplishments. Neumann calls it an “anti-group,” but it is indeed so much more than just a social event. This kind of idea sharing and inspiration can only lead to better things for our community, as new and seasoned leaders emerge.

Bird-brained plan

We agree that Gov. Mark Dayton’s so-called “snowbird tax” could drive away long-term visitors to Minnesota, which would defeat the purpose of trying to raise millions in revenue. The governor is right to look at innovative ways of raising revenue, but this is one that should be rejected. Under current law, only those who live in Minnesota for more than six months of the year must pay state income taxes. Changing the law would generate $15 million a year, according to the state’s Department of Revenue.

Dayton argues that people who spend the winter in warmer climates use the same services everyone else pays for and should be required to pay their fair share. The governor’s proposal would require them to pay a prorated portion of their income taxes in Minnesota. If Dayton’s proposal to tax people who spend more than 60 days in Minnesota but less than the six months which trigger residency, people will find somewhere else to vacation.

Joking matter

Former Bemidji High School hockey player Ryan Winkler, now a Twin Cities area state representative, admits his idea of introducing a bill that would pay the University of Minnesota $800,000 every year it agrees to play the University of North Dakota in men’s hockey is a joke. But he wants to bring attention to the issue. Both teams are leaving the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for separate new hockey conferences, and Winkler wants the heated rivalry to continue.

We’ve already lamented the new alignment as good for the “big boys” but bad for college hockey. But what’s done is done, and now it’s up to each school to decide who they want to play.