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Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. After driving three-plus hours and dealing with slower-than-usual customs, Winnipeg-based Dragon Power again finished second at the Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival. But this time it wasn't the team in green that got away, but the squad clad in orange. Peak Freaks, of Peak Performance, paddled away with the championship trophy and gold medals on Saturday. The team won the grande finale with a time of 2:29:03. Team captain Jon Laakso was modestly celebrating the victory after the race.
How excited are last year's champions about the prospect of defending their dragon boat title today? "Ecstatic," said Mitch Rautio, the captain of the defending champion Wooly Irishmen, which is returning about 90 percent of last year's team. So far this week the Wooly Irishmen have practiced twice, he said. "Everyone seemed to re-member what they're doing," he said. "We seemed to get in synch again.
As this year's Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival arrives, the waterfront already has been full of entertainment and spectators. Not to mention the members of the 63 teams competing in the dragon boat races. Each team has between 17 and 21 participants. Also in each boat is a steerer, who stands in the back of the boat and helps keep it on track. Dave Gustafson is one of the returning steerers for this year's festival.
Former Bemidji city manager David Minke has been named one of six finalists for the city manager position in Moorhead. Minke, who worked for the city of Bemidji since 2002, resigned on March 29, 2006, and accepted a position as assistant town manager in Castle Rock, Colo. "At this point in my career, having the experience of working in a dynamic and growing organization is exciting," Minke told the Pioneer last March. Castle Rock has a population of almost 40,000. According to Minke, the city expected to grow by 5,000 residents by 2010.
The Bemidji Area Joint Powers Board on Wednesday voted unanimously to suspend the conditional use permit issued to Mike Schulke, the owner of Bemidji Iron & Recycling. While the CUP is suspended, Schulke will be allowed to move material out of the property located on Bemidji Road Northeast and Sumac Road Northeast, but will not be allowed to move material in. The CUP for Schulke previously was approved with 12 conditions by the Northern Township board on Feb.
Will Bemidji soon see development on the south side of Lake Bemidji? The final plat of Voyager Crossing last week received the OK from the Joint Planning Commission. But, it must also be approved by the Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board, which is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Aug. 8 at Northern Township Town Hall. The final plat is very similar to the preliminary plat that was approved in September 2004 by the Bemidji City Council. ShoreQuest, the property owner, would like to divide about 74 acres into 42 commercial parcels and three outlots.
Michael Johnson ran into his mother's room screaming. "Mom! Mom! Wake up! The house is on fire!" Michael, 27, slept in his own bedroom down the hall and around the corner from where his mother, Eileen Johnson, shared a bedroom with his sister, Anne-Marie, and niece, Gabriella Dominguez. Michael ran into their room at about 6:30 a.m.
When Jim Allen first set up his concession stand at Beltrami County Fair in 1983, the six fry bread stands were all lined up next to one another in a row. "But I made it, and I'm still here," Allen said. Big Al's Fry Bread and Macho Tacos is the longest-running consecutive vendor at the Beltrami County Fair. "We haven't missed a year," said Allen, who lives between Cass Lake and Becida. When Big Al's first joined the fair, it was 1983 and the fair was still being held near where the Target store now stands. Allen's primary business comes from auctions, at which he serves lunch and snacks
The Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Commission on Thursday voted to recommend approval on the final plat for Voyager Crossing, the property formerly known as ShoreQuest. The vote was 10-1, with Planning Commissioner Richard Slinkman casting the dissenting vote. "It's just another step in moving forward," said developer John Zacher following the meeting. The land is on the southeast edge of Lake Bemidji and encompasses 5,000 linear feet of shoreline. It is the largest piece of land on Lake Bemidji that has not yet been developed. The final plat did not require a public hearing.
What's better than a helping hand? About 100 helping hands. Approximately 50 family members and friends gathered at the home of Dwight and Leslie Raddatz in Kabekona this week to help the couple construct a new home. "It's been really amazing to see all these people come," Dwight said. "It's pretty awesome." Dwight is one of eight siblings, and all but one made the trip to help him out. Some came from as far as California and Washington.