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.
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BEMIDJI—It was a few degrees below freezing Saturday morning, but that didn't stop some Northern Minnesota gamers from lining up outside the Sanford Center to grab a spot for Bemidji area's biggest gaming tournament. The third annual Gigazone Gaming Championship drew an estimated 1,500 people by about 1 p.m. Saturday—about three hours after it began and about six hours after people arrived to make sure they could compete in one of the championship's tournaments for ultra-popular e-sports games such as "Fortnite" and "Overwatch."
BEMIDJI—Bemidji Area Schools leaders are considering ways to help existing staff become classroom teachers. Under a set of long-term goals approved by the School Board on Monday, district staff might start a "grow your own" teacher program, which could help address a nationwide teacher shortage here and get more teachers of color—American Indians in particular—into a workforce that's overwhelmingly white but teaches a student body that's considerably more diverse. "We're just starting to kick around the idea," said Superintendent Tim Lutz.
BEMIDJI -- Thousands of gamers are expected at Bemidji’s third-annual video gaming tournament on Saturday. The Gigazone Gaming Championship will take over the Sanford Center this Saturday. It draws gaming enthusiasts from across Northern Minnesota to test their mettle against one another in e-sports favorites like “Overwatch” and “Super Smash Bros.”
BEMIDJI -- Overall enrollment at Bemidji State University is about 2 percent lower than it was at this time last year.
BEMIDJI—Does Bemidji Area Schools have enough counselors for its students? How can the district attract more American Indian teachers? What's the most important issue facing the school district? Those were some of a handful of questions candidates for school board here tackled on Tuesday night at the first in a series of forums organized by Citizens for an Informed Electorate, a nonpartisan citizen group that aims to help the public learn more about candidates for local elected offices.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji Area Schools leaders are rethinking the scope of the goals they set for their school district. School Board members on Monday unanimously approved a new set of district-wide goals, which includes 2 percent testing bumps, among other measures, and some yet-to-be-finalized longer-term goals and ways—"action items"—district staff will try to achieve them.
BEMIDJI—Total enrollment at Bemidji State University this school year is about 2 percent lower than this time last year. There were 5,136 total students enrolled at the university on the 30th day of 2018-2019 classes there, BSU reported late last week. That's about about 60 fewer than the figure recorded at the same time in 2017 but still higher than the 4,906-student low recorded in the fall of 2014. The equivalent of 4,018 full-time students are enrolled at BSU, which is the lowest figure recorded there since 2010 but still in line with enrollment the past few years.
BEMIDJI—Some Bemidji-area American Indian leaders decried a recent Texas court ruling that could have national implications. A federal judge ruled last week that the Indian Child Welfare Act is unconstitutional because it gives preferential treatment to American Indians and therefore violates the equal protection provision in the Fifth Amendment. The judge, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, also found that the act violated a piece of the 10th Amendment that prevents the federal government from asking states to modify their laws.
BEMIDJI—Enrollment at Northwest Technical College is up this year for the first time in a while. College staff announced on Tuesday that 1,021 students are taking at least one class there this fall, about a 10 percent increase over last year. And the aggregate number of students there—the "full-year equivalent" figure—rose by about 7.5 percent, according to college staff. That means more students are taking more classes at the technical college.
BEMIDJI—An American Indian comedian and screenwriter will speak Friday at Rail River Folk School. Migizi Pensoneau is a co-founder of the American Indian comedy troupe The 1491s, who said he'll chat and answer questions about how he's seen Native representation in popular media change over time and how that representation ties in to activism.