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—Six American Indian communities in Minnesota—including the three that bracket Bemidji—are in line for millions of dollars from the federal Department of Justice to improve public safety, help crime victims and combat violence against women. In Leech Lake, the grants mean $1.9 million over three years for a narcotics investigator, a victim advocate who'll help band members through court proceedings and other parts of the justice system that a lawyer might not help with, and a bevy of police equipment, including six new squad cars.
BEMIDJI—The Bemidji teachers union is set to screen School Board candidates as it considers endorsements ahead of November's general election. Bemidji Education Association leaders plan to interview candidates in early October and determine who they might endorse later in the month, President Jason Koester said. "We will invite them all in, and we'll ask them questions and we'll visit with them and see which ones we think would be best for our district," Koester said.
BEMIDJI -- Early Tuesday morning, Sept. 18, a group of indigenous water protectors from the Ginew Collective raised a tipi and blocked a bridge southwest of Bemidji in Clearwater County, halting work at a construction site for the recently permitted Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement, according to a press release from the group. The release called Ginew a "grassroots, frontlines effort led by indigenous women."
RED LAKE -- The gym quieted when Anne McKeig spoke. An associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court who grew up in Federal Dam and went on to be the state’s -- and almost certainly the nation’s -- first American Indian supreme court judge, she admonished the Red Lake students who chatted among themselves while Chief Justice Lorie Gildea told them about the state’s pardon board.
BEMIDJI -- After failing to achieve the bulk of the goals they set for the school district last school year, Bemidji Area Schools leaders will deliberate this month on a new set of them.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji Area Schools leaders are set to consider on Monday $11.04 million in local property tax levies, a figure that's about $200,000 less than the amount they asked taxpayers to chip in last year. Every fall, school districts across Minnesota set tentative—"preliminary"—property tax levies to pay for day-to-day expenses, leases, maintenance plans and more. School board members then finalize those levies in the winter, after a "truth in taxation" hearing where the public at large can ask about them and the district's finances in general.
RED LAKE -- Peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, onions -- this was the first year that Randy White, Sr., grew his own food in Red Lake. And it’s White’s second year working at a community garden in Redby, where he’s part of a team of people growing potatoes, carrots, kale, peppers, jalapenos, corn, zucchini, cucumbers, squash, celery, tomatoes and herbs.
RED LAKE—"A Year in the Life of a Seed"; "Food is Medicine"; "Decolonizing the Diet." Those are a handful of seminars scheduled at the third-annual food summit this Friday and Saturday at Red Lake Nation College. Organized by 4-Directions Development, the summit highlights indigenous foods, agricultural practices, and broader issues such as "food sovereignty."
BEMIDJI—Family, friends, fellow Navy veterans, and the staff and student body at Gene Dillon Elementary packed the new building's gym Wednesday to honor longtime School Board member Gene Dillon, who passed away shortly before voters approved funding for the school that now bears his name. Interspersed with the Pledge of Allegiance and a musical number by the Bemidji High School Band, a series of sometimes-tearful speakers described Dillon as a kind man who was dedicated to his faith, his family, and to schools here and the children whose lives were shaped in them.
BEMIDJI -- The People’s Church in Bemidji helps some of the city’s most desperate residents, and staff there are on an extended break after a spate of vandalism. The church’s typical 3-4 week summer hiatus started about a month early, leaders there said, and is scheduled to continue into early October as they fix it back up. When normal operations resume, staff will secure entrances and exits there and require people to fill out an application before they’re allowed to stay at the church.