Joe Bowen covers education and health for the Bemidji Pioneer.
He is a Minneapolis native and a 2009 graduate of St. John's University. Before moving to Bemidji, Bowen covered education, local politics, crime, and everything in between for the Perham Focus in Perham, Minnesota, and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis.
- Member for
- 11 months 3 weeks
BEMIDJI—Some Bemidji Area Schools staffers got a sneak peek at the district's new, multi-million dollar elementary school. A handful of elementary principals and other administrators met Thursday morning to tour the Gene Dillon Elementary School construction site, where work started in early spring at 3795 Division St. W, near the intersection of Becida Road and Adams Avenue just outside Bemidji. "It's been very exciting to watch," said Ami Aalgaard, a tour-goer and principal at Horace May Elementary.
BEMIDJI -- Authorities confiscated a lawn tractor, snowblower and a king-sized bed, as well as other lawn and home items from a former longtime Bemidji State University employee’s house last week as they investigate whether he spent tens of thousands of public dollars for personal use.
BENA—Rene Fructuozo gestured toward a group of looming wooden constructs in the woods off U.S. Highway 2. "I know it's kind of hard to imagine, but right up to here, we're going to have the gym," he said, before pointing inside the half-finished buildings, which sat on large, purpose-built metal chassis at Johnson Lumber Co.'s bustling yard, miles away from the spot where students will eventually use it. "Right here they have a conference room for teachers or parents, and then offices for teachers, and classrooms."
BLACKDUCK -- An extensive locker room fix-up won’t be ready when fall sports start next week in Blackduck, but school district leaders say it’ll be ready when classes start this September. “The painting's done, the flooring's done, they're finishing tiling today, they're hanging doors this week,” Superintendent Mark Lundin said Wednesday, who added that staff there aim to finish before a late-August teacher workshop.
CASS LAKE -- About a week after they agreed to draft a stripped-down facilities plan, Cass Lake-Bena Schools leaders met again to put a different plan on ballots this November. At an Aug. 3 special meeting, the School Board agreed to ask voters to approve a $37.8 million bonding referendum this fall, pending state approval. If voters agree, the district would use that money to build a new school for grades 3-5 and renovate and expand some of the district’s existing buildings and classroom spaces.
ST. PAUL -- Newly released state testing scores are more or less the same as previous year’s rounds.
BEMIDJI—A few weeks after the Minnesota Department of Education adopted a controversial "toolkit" for transgender students, Bemidji Area Schools leaders said they don't see a specific need to adopt any of the suggested policies and guidelines presented in it. The district has no policies that specifically address the needs of transgender students, but School Board policy has several broader non-discrimination and anti-bullying provisions.
BEMIDJI -- Kevin Williams pointed at a large white strip in central California on a map of the United States. The strip, in contrast to larger, bluer swathes of the map, indicated that there was a low abundance of wild bees there.
BEMIDJI -- Police believe an inmate who escaped their custody late last week may have received help in his efforts to elude them.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A pair of Bemidji State University workers headed to the capitol last week to accept a “Green Ribbon Schools” award from the U.S. Department of Education.