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
- 1 year 9 months
BEMIDJI -- More than 1,200 students are set to graduate from Bemidji-area colleges and universities this spring. At Red Lake Nation College, that means seven graduates will formally accept their two-year associate’s degrees at a lakeside ceremony May 10. Five of those students earned 4.0 GPAs and will each give a short valedictorian speech. “We think it’s one of the most beautiful settings of any graduation,” said Dan King, the college’s president.
LAPORTE—Laporte Public School may keep it's one-woman music program after all. The School Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday, May 1, to consider rescinding an earlier vote that eliminated the district's music program and put Louise Bass, it's lone music teacher, on an unrequested leave of absence. Board members quietly voted in early April to cut Bass and the program, citing a lack of interest among Laporte high schoolers. The move set off a wave of parent and community pushback in the 320-student district.
BEMIDJI -- Bemidji Area Schools is set to spend $967,000 more on personnel next school year -- the first that Gene Dillon Elementary will be in operation. School Board members approved last week a slate of programming and staff changes for the 2018-19 school year. That means the district is set to eliminate the equivalent of 1.8 full-time jobs and add the equivalent of 11.4 full-time jobs.
RED LAKE—Red Lake School District holds quarterly meetings for parents and the public at large to visit with the superintendent here. "Naboob with the Supe"—originally "Soup with the Supe" before district leaders swapped in the Ojibwemowin word—is a regular chance for Superintendent Melinda Crowley to talk with parents and others about district programming or plans.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji Community Arena Corp. leaders may have the momentum—and funding—they need to add a new sheet of ice at their rink near Bemidji High School. Corporation board members said they hope to build a long hoped-for $5 million second sheet of ice at the Bemidji Community Arena with a $2 million pledge from an as-yet-unnamed donor, plus a loan and donations they hope to solicit from the community at large.
BEMIDJI—Tim Lutz is in line to be Bemidji Area Schools' next superintendent. The School Board voted Thursday to enter into contract negotiations with the longtime Kelliher Public School head, capping an increasingly busy search that narrowed the list of candidates from 24 to six to three—then just to him. "We'll look forward to our time ahead with you," Board Chair Carol J. Johnson told Lutz after telling him of the board's decision.
BEMIDJI—A record number of American Indian students are set to graduate from Bemidji State University this spring. That was one of several highlights at Thursday night's 38th annual American Indian Student Awards Recognition Banquet, where BSU staff recognized 51 American Indian soon-to-be graduates. "It's a celebration, commencement-style, but with a cultural component to it," said Bill Blackwell, Jr., who heads the school's American Indian Resource Center. "That's why I think a lot of our students really enjoy it."
BEMIDJI—The second of three candidates hoping to be Bemidji Area Schools next superintendent underwent a gauntlet of questions Wednesday. Tim Lutz's daylong interview with a series of students, staffers, administrators and community leaders culminated with a public interview and second interview with School Board members, where he fielded often-tough questions about moving to a larger district, school safety and working with a diverse student body.
LAPORTE—The fate of Laporte Public School's music program—and its lone music teacher—has caused a stir there. Citing declining student interest, Laporte's School Board quietly voted Monday, April 9, to discontinue its music program and put music teacher Louise Bass on unrequested leave. Parents and other community members have objected strongly to the move in the days since.
BEMIDJI—The field of candidates for Bemidji Area Schools' superintendent job narrowed to three Saturday. School board members selected Mike Kolness, Rochelle Johnson and Tim Lutz to move on to a second round of interviews next week after a marathon round of hour-long interviews. Board members ranked Kolness, who's been the superintendent at East Grand Forks Public Schools since 2016 and led Ada-Borup Public Schools for seven years before that, the highest in an informal straw poll after the last interview.