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The final leg of Debra Davis' journey into public life happened in the spring of 1998. As a high school librarian, she left work one Friday as a man and returned the following week as herself, a woman. "The man (was) never to be seen again - if he ever existed," Davis said. Davis, a librarian at Southwest High School in Minneapolis, is transgender male to female, which means she was born a male but identifies herself as female.
The city of Bemidji has learned that it will receive $1.2 million to expand its industrial park by about 68 acres. The money, in the form of a federal grant, will go to the city of Bemidji and the Bemidji Development Corporation, which owns the land. "It's a big deal," said Charlie Naylor, the president of Bemidji Development Corporation.
Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, acknowledged on Tuesday that the lack of a regional events center in northern Minnesota could work to Bemidji's advantage. Hausman, the chair of the House Capital Investment Committee, was in town along with other committee members as they reviewed Bemidji's regional events center proposal.
Every year the Blandin Foundation board of trustees visits a different part of Minnesota for the annual retreat. Thanks to board member Jim Bensen, former Bemidji State University president and "Bemidji Leads!" chair, the Blandin Foundation came to Bemidji this week for its first time. The Blandin Foundation's mission is to strengthen rural Minnesota.
Nancy Erickson's patience is running out. "I'm losing my zest here," City Councilor Erickson said during Monday's meeting. The Bemidji City Council for weeks has been told to expect, at the least, a statement from Bemidji State University President Jon Quistgaard regarding BSU's intentions concerning the proposed Bemidji events center before legislators visit the city to consider its bonding request. Members of the Capital Investment Finance committee in the House of Representatives arrive this afternoon to hear Bemidji's proposal and tour the site of the proposed facility. And Quistgaard
While driving along Becida Road, you're in Schmitt territory. John and Christine Schmitt came to the area in the late 1800s. They purchased 137 acres of land and homesteaded in 1898. Their grandson, Charles Schmitt Jr., said it was quite possibly the first farm on the Mississippi. Not only is the house still standing, but it still is being lived in - now by John and Christine's great-great-great--grandson Ryan Martin, whose two children represent the sixth generation to use the home. John and Christine were German, but they met in Wahpeton, N.D., after coming over separately from Europe.
The Bemidji City Council on Monday again will discuss the events center. During each regular council meeting the council receives updates from the Headwaters Regional Development Commission on its work regarding the events center. Additionally on Monday, the City Council is expected to name a committee that will meet with Bemidji State University regarding negotiations. The City Council is currently supporting a $50 million facility, which would include an events center that also would house BSU hockey.
Every emergency preparedness drill offers the opportunity to learn something new, according to officials who attended Thursday's training exercise. "One of the biggest problems that always exists during any real disaster or real crisis event is communication," said Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp. During Thursday's mock disaster, officials realized they had a communication problem during the initial briefing, he said.
About 15 people attended a meeting on Thursday to discuss their hopes for the future of the Bemidji Public Library. Ideas ranged from increasing the selection of books on tape and CD to starting a mentoring program to help children improve their reading skills. And, being open on Sundays. Library consultant Mark Ranum was tapped by the Kitchigami Regional Library System board to facilitate public meetings and compile surveys gauging the public's desires for the future of its libraries.
Bemidji is welcoming fall with a few new businesses, expansion of an existing business and the relocation of another. City Planner Curt Oakes on Tuesday provided updates on several construction projects in the city. -- Thinking Arby's? You'll have to wait a few more months, but the fast-food chain is set to soon open an Arby's Restaurant in Bemidji. Oakes said a permit was issued to Arby's last week and the company broke ground for the restaurant on Monday. Arby's will be located on Paul Bunyan Drive Northwest across from the Bemidji Chrysler Center.