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The Bemidji events center took another step toward reality as the House Capital Investment Bill was released on Monday, including $20 million in bonding funds for the project. The events center also was in the bonding bill approved last week by the Senate Capital Investment Committee, which allotted the full $22 million toward the events center as requested. "We got $22 million in the Senate and $20 million in the House," said Rep. Frank Moe, DFL-Bemidji. "We're so close.
The reconstruction of Bemidji Avenue is planned to not affect perennial waterfront events, according to City Engineer Craig Gray. Bemidji Avenue/Highway 197 will be reconstructed this summer from Third Street to 23rd Street.
They don't call them heroes for nothing. James Scarborough, 65, of Bemidji, appeared to suffer a heart attack Monday afternoon while driving his 1995 white Plymouth Voyager in downtown Bemidji, according to a Bemidji police report. His van was seen at about 4 p.m. rolling toward the four-way stop at Fifth Street Northwest and Beltrami Avenue Northwest when it suddenly accelerated and struck a pick-up truck and a parked passenger car, the report said.
A 1997 Mercury Sable that was reported stolen was found Sunday evening after the driver apparently lost control and rolled the vehicle on State Highway 89. According to the State Patrol out of Thief River Falls, the occupants of the vehicle fled the scene on foot. The vehicle had apparently lost control on the ice, went off the road and rolled. The State Patrol and Beltrami County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene of the rollover at 7:33 p.m. Sunday. The vehicle had been reported stolen at 5:36 p.m. Sunday, according to a police report.
The Bemidji City Council will hold three public hearings Monday in relation to three proposed street vacations. The City Council will meet at 7 p.m.
Curt Oakes did his job so well he no longer has one. Oakes, the Bemidji city planner, played a key role in the development of the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board, which has essentially led to the elimination of the city planner position, a job Oakes has held for the last 16 years. "I've really enjoyed it here," Oakes said.
Bemidji State University students are making their mark at the Capitol. Today, BSU Student Senate President Cody Nelson will travel to St. Paul to hand-deliver 5,000 letters, written and signed by BSU students, in support of the proposed events center.
The events center needs a hotel partner, city officials said Monday. City Manager John Chattin said there is interest, citing several calls he has received from hotel and motel developers inquiring about the project. But the city has not, to date, had a plan in place on how to move toward negotiating an agreement. "We need to establish a process to deal with this," Chattin said during Monday's work session. The city already is working with Wayzata-based Conventions, Sports and Leisure for a study on the projected cost for operations and maintenance of the facility.
In order to accommodate an October 2010 opening for Bemidji State University hockey, the Bemidji City Council will need to consider some options regarding the construction timeline for the events center. Architect Paul Richards from Widseth, Smith, Nolting presented the council with a timeline for the events center project and overall south shore redevelopment during a work session Monday night. The events center will require 24 months for construction, he said.
As Mayor Richard Lehmann touted the cooperative effort in supporting the events center, a dozen students from Bemidji State University were down in St.