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Chuck Stombaugh is challenging incumbent Ron Johnson for the Ward 3 seat on the Bemidji City Council. Johnson has served eight years as the Ward 3 representative and is seeking another term, he said, because there still are many important issues facing the city, including annexation, airport expansion and the south shore redevelopment. "I felt I needed to run again," he said. "We are right in the middle of a lot of big things." Johnson is a strong supporter of the events center project. Stombaugh, conversely, is opposed.
Two first-time candidates are seeking the Ward 1 seat on the Bemidji City Council. Rachelle Houle and Kevin Waldhausen survived the primary election and are now the final two Ward 1 candidates. Both were encouraged to run by friends. "I couldn't stop thinking about it," Houle said. "I wanted to make sure I could be effective before I decided to run," said Waldhausen, who is endorsed by outgoing Ward 1 Councilor Onen Markeson. The two agree on several issues - that downtown should be revitalized and that affordable housing is needed for the city, including housing for the homeless. But it
The mayor's race, more so than any other, will come down to the events center. Current Ward 5 Councilor Nancy Erickson is challenging Mayor Richard Lehmann. It was her desire to halt the events center project that led Erickson to decide to run for mayor. "I believe the mayor is leading us in the wrong direction," Erickson said. For Lehmann - who has been mayor for the last eight years and a councilor for six years before that - he hopes to see the events center come to fruition during another term as mayor. "People really see this as a positive for the community," he said. Erickson, the
Nancy Erickson had decided not to seek re-election.
Two aspects were new in the mayoral candidates' sixth debate Tuesday night. First, they were instructed to avoid the events center issue; and, secondly, they were given an opportunity to rebut their opponent's answers. The forum was sponsored by the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Chamber Chairman Mike Beard. Mayor Richard Lehmann and challenger Nancy Erickson, the current Ward 5 councilor, covered many topics during the debate, ranging from the city budget to the proposed Bemidji Area School levy (which they both supported). In describing his vision for the future of Bemidj
A candidate forum on Tuesday posed this question: Could Bemidji City Council candidates debate the issues facing the city without mentioning the events center? The short answer is no; the events center crept into candidates' answers a few times and candidates danced around the topic while addressing one question about conflict resolution. But, for the most part, the forum, sponsored by the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, stuck to non-events center issues. The forum was moderated by Chamber chairman Mike Beard.
Greg Negard and Rodney Witt are vying for the Ward 5 seat on the Bemidji City Council. It is the first time for both of them in seeking public office. The two have similar viewpoints about the future of the city, and particularly Ward 5. Negard cites his big issues as economic development, having a strong downtown with good-paying jobs, parks and trails, housing for the homeless, roads and infrastructure, collaboration with the county and annexation issues. "These are exciting times for Bemidji," he said.
A 79-year-old Park Rapids man died from injuries he suffered in a car accident Saturday. Thomas Murphy Smith, 79, of rural Park Rapids, was airlifted to Innovis Hospital in Fargo, N.D., and later died, according to a press release from the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office. Smith was driving a 1993 Dodge Dakota pickup truck east on Hubbard County Road 15 at about noon when he failed to stop for a stop sign at the intersection with Hubbard County Road 6, the press release said.
The Cass County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's help in locating a missing Remer man. Wilfred Ronald Kolden, 64, has not been seen since Oct. 16, according to a Cass County press release. Kolden, who suffers from bipolar disorder, is a white male, 5-foot-5, 180 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes, according to the press release. Kolden drives a 1996 light tan Dodge extended-cab pickup with a matching fiberglass topper.
The Bemidji City Council has taken a preliminary step toward consideration of a new road reconstruction plan. City staff has proposed that the city take on a $1 million bond and pay it off over three years. After paying off the bond in 2011, levy limits would expire. Then, the city would continue funding road improvements through the general tax levy. "The bottom line is ... we simply need some dollars from someplace so we can take care of the streets in the city," said City Manager John Chattin. City Engineer Craig Gray reported that Bemidji has 81 miles of streets.