The Bemidji Regional Airport was awarded an $187,797 federal grant for its airport terminal building expansion, it was announced Thursday. The grant was one of nine worth a total of $1.8 million to airports in the 7th Congressional District. Also, $1 million in grants was announced for seven 8th District airports. The Bemidji Regional Airport is expanding and renovating its airport terminal building using mostly federal funds.
A massive oil spill in Michigan has Minnesota lawmakers asking that the pipeline owner, Enbridge Energy Partners Ltd., be investigated that similar leaks don't happen here. A ruptured 5-foot section of pipeline spilled more than 1 million gallons of crude oil, by Environmental Protection Agency estimates, into the Kalamazoo River.
Building communities, whether here or overseas, is an ongoing goal of Rotary International, says Roly Turner, Rotary District 5580 district governor. "In District 5580 it's the clubs that identify the need in their own community, and they develop projects to meet the needs there," Turner said Tuesday. "And they form partnerships in the developing world ... to meet the needs of those communities." Turner of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, was in Bemidji to meet with both the Bemidji Rotary Club and the Bemidji Sunrise Rotary Club.
House 4A Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, is being challenged for his push for a second term in Tuesday's DFL primary. Mark Thorson, a Bemidji contractor, hasn't said much about Persell in his campaign but rather presented a platform in opposition to the Republican agenda. Persell, an environmental scientist for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, has basically ignored Thorson and also set his sights on Republican opponent Bemidji Mayor Richard Lehmann for the Nov. 2 general election. The House 4A DFL challenge is the only local state House or Senate local race on Tuesday's primary ballot.
That he finishes third among three DFL candidates in the gubernatorial polls doesn't bother Matt Entenza. "These polls actually have less than no relevance," Entenza, the former DFL House minority leader, said in an interview on Thursday. "This is going to be a low turnout primary; this is about narrow targeting." DFL primary voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to vote for DFL-endorsed House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton or Entenza.
The full Beltrami Regional Airport Authority will be asked to approve a $375,000 property tax levy for 2011, a 2.2 percent hike over this year. That doesn't include a new debt service levy of $92,420 that will provide upfront money for a $1.33 million terminal construction bond issue, to be repaid at year's end by airport Passenger Facility Charges. The Airport Authority - short two members -- met Wednesday evening. The full authority will vote on a levy for 2011 on Aug.
Beltrami County plans to lobby hard next session to ensure that state payment-in-lieu-of property taxes isn't cut. "This is an important issue to Beltrami County," County Commissioner Joe Vene said Tuesday during a briefing on PILT, a payment from the state that recognizes services given to public lands.
Beltrami County is expected to receive $2.1 million from the state of Minnesota in compensation for state nontaxable lands. That money could soon go away, as the state faces a $5.4 billion and growing state budget deficit in the next biennium. Beltrami County commissioners at their work session Tuesday will discuss the state program, payment-in-lieu-of property taxes, The 4 p.m. discussion at the County Administrative Building, 701 Minnesota Ave., will be preceded by a 3 p.m.
Mark Thorson, saying he believes he is the most conservative in the race, wants to give voters a choice in the House 4A DFL primary. "I've been focused on the Republican Party, and that's what I'm running against on Aug. 10, and that's what the people will decide," Thorson said. First he must win the DFL primary against Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji. The Nov. 2 opponent is Republican Richard Lehmann, Bemidji's major who faces no opposition in the Aug. 10 primary. "I don't view it as going against, but as offering another choice," Thorson said.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto works behind the scenes with local governments to do their jobs efficiently. Former State Auditor Pat Anderson calls a lot of news conferences and proclaims herself as a "watchdog" over local government spending. That's the difference between the two state auditor candidates in this fall's election -- plain and simple. At least, that's Otto's assessment as she seeks a second term this fall. "I enjoy my job; I'm being attacked for doing my job," Otto said in an interview earlier this week while in Bemidji.