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Motion one: Eliminate monetary contributions to Habitat for Humanity, Bemidji Senior Center and Beltrami Humane Society. Moratorium would be continued. Vote: 3-4. Councilors Nancy Erickson and Roger Hellquist and Mayor Richard Lehmann voted in favor; Councilors Jerry Downs, Ron Johnson, Onen Markeson and Barb Meuers were opposed. Motion two: Keep moratorium in place as the city works to develop a possible list of criteria that would be used to screen nonprofit groups that would request a contribution from a fund that would be generated from liquor store profits.
Wendell Rodney Blue, the suspect accused of stealing and subsequently rolling a Good Samaritan's car earlier this year, has pleaded guilty to charges associated with the incident. Blue, 36, of Redby, has pleaded guilty to felony theft of a motor vehicle; gross misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to testing; and misdemeanor failing to stop following an accident involving injury or death.
Just as the last batch of snow was finally melting away, the Bemidji area was pummeled with another snowstorm Thursday night. The Bemidji area received about 8 inches of snow between Thursday evening and Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, N.D. Park Rapids got 7 inches while Red Lake Falls received just 1.5 inches.
Slick roadways contributed to a crash Thursday night involving a Beltrami County Sheriff's deputy. The crash was the culmination of a 15-mile high-speed pursuit that started with a Bemidji Police traffic stop at Beltrami Avenue Northwest and Fifth Street Northwest. According to a police report, the suspect driver, later identified as a 17-year-old boy, became uncooperative during the 7:22 p.m.
Two events are planned this spring to help "green up" the city. Bemidji GreenUp is hosting a 1,000-tree giveaway this month and also plans to simultaneously plant 150 trees May 17 in celebration of Minnesota's sesquicentennial. "Both are exciting projects," said Nancy Erickson, a Bemidji city councilor and member of Bemidji GreenUp. Free seedlings will be available to city residents the afternoon of April 24 and all day Arbor Day, April 25, at Bemidji City Hall. Those who do not live within the city's limits are encouraged to stop by and see if there are trees available.
An upcoming council meeting dedicated to a discussion about the city's moratorium on contributions to nonprofit organizations seems to be coming at a good time. The Boys & Girls Club last month asked the city for a $10,000 donation toward operations expenses. And on Monday, the Bemidji Senior Center asked for a contribution, but didn't specify an amount. "Even a thousand bucks a year would help us," said Ann Daley, representing the Senior Center. During her presentation to the City Council on Monday, Daley said the Senior Center is projecting $72,000 in revenue for 2008 and $85,000 in expe
Among notable action taken at the Bemidji City Council meeting Monday: Bemidji Senior Center Ann Daly with the Senior Center made a presentation to the City Council and asked councilors to consider a monetary donation to help defer operating costs at the Senior Center. ACTION: Not action was taken. Mayor Richard Lehmann told Daly that the council was set to discuss its moratorium on donations to nonprofits during its Monday work session. K-A Walleye Classic Bob Fitzgerald, representing the Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic, outlined plans for the June 14 event.
The Bemidji City Council debated the cost of the events center Monday as the project lost the support of Nancy Erickson. Erickson read a statement in which she said the events center was placing her personal integrity and level of public trust in jeopardy. "The events center project has become a financial nightmare," she said.
The celebration began moments after Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the bonding bill. "This is a great day for Bemidji," said Bemidji City Councilor Ron Johnson. "This is a great thing for the city of Bemidji and Bemidji State University." While trimming more than $200 million from the Legislature's bonding bill, Pawlenty kept in place $20 million for Bemidji's events center.
While the environmental enhancements caused by utility improvements along Birchmont Drive are certainly noteworthy, City Attorney Al Felix said the project is really about the residents. "You can't forget this is a people issue," he said. He reminded the council that it allowed for a system under which township residents who will be annexed into the city could still approach the City Council with petitions in favor of local projects. A sewer and water extension project was initiated after residents presented a petition to the Bemidji City Council in February 2005.