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Jay Allen Lutgen, 20, of Bemidji, has pleaded guilty via an Alford Plea to third-degree criminal sexual conduct by force or coercion, a serious felony. The charge was amended from first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a victim under the age of 13, also a serious felony.
Environmental work The City Council considered an agreement with Widseth Smith Nolting in which WSN would continue investigating a former oil tank leak site in the railroad corridor downtown.
The Bemidji City Council unanimously voted on Monday to expand the city's industrial park. The industrial park is proposed to expand south of Carr Lake Road Southeast and east of the North Central Door property, adding 68 acres to the Bemidji Industrial Park and create 38 industrial-use lots. The project will include construction of sanitary sewer, water main and roads. The industrial park, which was originally developed in 1974, currently contains more than 175 acres and houses 48 businesses, which employ more than 1,100 people.
The Bemidji City Council will want to be equipped with the best information possible in preparation for making decisions regarding development along the south shore of Lake Bemidji, said City Attorney Al Felix on Monday. Because of that, he urged the council to retain a consultant who would provide the city with estimates about the value of the land involved in the redevelopment. Gary Battuello of Ramsland and Vigen out of Duluth, Minn., has capped his costs at $6,500 to provide valuation estimates to the city, according to council documents.
The Bemidji City Council on Monday is expected to consider authorizing plans to expand the city's industrial park. The industrial park expansion plans would add 68 acres to the Bemidji Industrial Park and would include construction of sanitary sewer, water main and roads, according to a staff report from City Engineer Craig Gray. The estimated total cost is $2.7 million, Gray reported. The city and Bemidji Development Corporation obtained a $1.2 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
A resident asserted on Thursday that seven minutes to get through the detour to downtown Bemidji was "unacceptable." Gary Bientz was among about 25 people who attended a weekly public information meeting about Bemidji Avenue roadwork Thursday morning at Bemidji City Hall. He said the city and Minnesota Department of Transportation have done little to improve the flow of traffic, asking why officers with the Bemidji Police Department were not stationed at the intersection to monitor and ticket illegal driving habits.
Forward planning is paying off for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Potential archeological findings recently were uncovered during roadwork and utility improvements along Bemidji Avenue North, according to Todd Vonasek, resident engineer with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. But, MnDOT had planned for such a possibility and earlier had retained an archeological consultant, who was on site when the items were recovered. Thanks to strong support from Bemidji State University, it was quickly determined that the items recovered were not human remains, Vonasek said during
The main suspect in a November drive-by shooting has been sentenced. Jesus Thomas Ali, 21, of St. Paul, was sentenced Tuesday for his role in a Nov. 30 drive-by shooting at an occupied residence on the 19800 block of Plantation Road Southeast. Ali was convicted and sentenced for two felony charges stemming from the November incident.
After a nine-month absence, Rita Albrecht will return to City Hall. Albrecht left her position as assistant city planner in August to join the Headwaters Regional Development Commission as a development specialist. But she is now going to rejoin city staff as Bemidji's community development director and will be responsible for providing professional planning and development services to the city. "It will be nice to have her back on board," Mayor Richard Lehmann said.
While his co-workers packed for their big move into the city's new Public Works Facility, City Engineer Brian Freeberg was packing up for retirement. After two stints with the city of Bemidji, Freeberg retires today as the city's engineer. "I'll miss it," he said simply. When former City Engineer Mike Metso resigned in 2001, Freeberg joined the city as its interim city engineer.