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 11 months
BEMIDJI -- A state report published earlier this month found that Minnesota schools spend millions of dollars and untold hours administering state-mandated tests, but faculty and administrators have to clear a variety of logistical hurdles to do so and are often unsure how to interpret or apply testing data afterward.
BEMIDJI -- An a capella group dazzled Bemidji Middle School students Thursday morning ahead of a larger show choir fundraiser this weekend. The six-man group -- cheekily-named “Six Appeal” -- performed for about 40 minutes at the middle school’s gym, leading sections of the student assembly in an instrument-less rendition of “No Woman No Cry” and breaking down the different parts each group member performs to make the cohesive whole.
BEMIDJI -- Staff development time at Bemidji Area Schools was at the heart of a brief school board discussion Monday, after which school district leaders opted for a 2017-18 calendar that has a pair of full-day professional development sessions rather than four half-days that would mean early dismissals for students.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji Area Schools leaders approved Monday a bid to build proprietary water and sewer lines to a new elementary school. The School Board unanimously voted to award a $1 million bid to Reierson Construction Inc. to build the utility lines from the site of Bemidji High School west along Division Street to Becida Road, where the school district plans to build Gene Dillon Elementary School.
BEMIDJI—John Fylpaa was cleaning out his desk at Lake Bemidji State Park's visitor center when a years- or decades-old scrap of paper fell from a pile of documents he was tossing into a recycling bin. "You will enjoy life and share it with others," the scrap reads. It was from a fortune cookie he had opened after some lunch during his 38-year career as a park naturalist—a career that he plans to retire from early next month.
BEMIDJI—A Bemidji Area Schools bus crashed as it tried to navigate down an icy hill in the Nymore neighborhood early Friday morning, but the accident resulted in no injuries, according to school district transportation department staff. Transportation Coordinator Greg Liedl said the bus was heading down a hill at First Street East and Pershing Avenue Southeast when it started to slide and struck a passing pickup truck.
Blackduck Public Schools staff are making preparations to renovate the school district’s locker rooms at Blackduck High School. The School Board voted unanimously Monday to advertise for bids for the project, which district staff estimate will cost about $370,000. Superintendent Mark Lundin said that money would come from the district’s cash reserves, meaning it wouldn’t need to raise taxes or issue bonds.
Blackduck Public Schools’ enrollment has dipped, and staff there said there’s no distinct reason for it. The school district lost 17 students between February and March, Superintendent Mark Lundin told the School Board in a brief report on Monday. “I really can’t give you a rationale for this,” Lundin said. “We haven’t had people that have left because they’re disappointed and going different places. It’s just -- life is getting in the way.”
BEMIDJI—A total of 40 acres of land off Leech Lake is officially part of the Chippewa National Forest. The nonprofit Trust for Public Land announced on Monday that a quarter-mile square on Stony Point now is officially owned by the United States Forest Service. Wary of a developer's proposal to build homes on the patch of land, the trust purchased it for a little more than $1 million in 2009, according to Bob McGillivray, a senior project manager at the trust.
BEMIDJI -- A handful of classrooms at Bemidji Area Schools have more students than recommended by district policy. Nine elementary school classrooms and one high school classroom have more students than the district’s class size goals, according to documents supplied at last month’s school board meeting. No Bemidji Middle School pod exceeded the class size guidelines, which were adopted in 1987 and most recently revised last spring.