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—The final price tag for a new elementary school is starting to come into focus. Bemidji Area Schools leaders are set to discuss next week a recommended $20.4 million slate of bids to build Gene Dillon Elementary School, and the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Tuesday a cost-sharing agreement between the school district and the county for planned road improvements along Division Street, where district staff plan to build the new school.
BEMIDJI—The Bemidji Area Tennis Association is one large step closer to building a new regional tennis facility. The George W. Neilson Foundation awarded the association a $300,000 grant to build a new indoor tennis facility, which association staff say puts them about halfway toward the estimated $950,000 price tag for the new building. "This is an exciting step for our organization," Paul Swartwood, the association's president, said in a statement.
BEMIDJI—The dispute over the termination of a longtime Bemidji State University football coach will be heard by an arbitrator, according to representatives from the coach's union. Head coach Jeff Tesch was placed on leave a few days before the 2016 football season began, and was formally fired in early November. Staff from the Inter Faculty Organization—Tesch's union—filed a grievance shortly after his termination and said Tuesday that they had requested arbitration.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji High School ninth-graders got a peek at their post-high school options Wednesday at "CEOs in the Classroom," where local business and community leaders had the chance to talk about their careers and outlooks. At one talk, Kevin Cease, the lively funeral director at Cease Family Funeral Homes, told a group of about 20 freshmen that he wanted to be a teacher, social worker, or a crisis counselor when he was in school rather than step into the family business.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji's City Council approved an agreement with Bemidji Area Schools that would ultimately put water and sewer lines to a planned elementary school under the city's control. The council Monday approved a cost-sharing agreement for water and sewer lines alongside Division Street from Adams Avenue to Becida Road, where the school district plans to construct Gene Dillon Elementary School.
BEMIDJI—At its work session Monday, Bemidji's City Council is scheduled to consider a proposed agreement with Bemidji Area Schools that would eventually put utility lines to a planned elementary school under city ownership.
BEMIDJI—Mike Bjerk, a longtime volunteer at Bemidji Middle School, helped a handful of students in Ross Randall's sixth-grade class with a vocabulary lesson Friday. The word was "foreboding"—a feeling or implication that something bad is about to happen. "Kind of like when I watch the Vikings," Bjerk told the students with a chuckle. "I have a real foreboding that they're going to lose."
BEMIDJI—Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed bonding bill includes millions of dollars for a project at Red Lake School District. The governor recommended allocating $14 million to pay for six new classrooms, a larger cafeteria, renovated music and fine arts classrooms and updated mechanical systems at Red Lake's elementary school and early childhood center.
BEMIDJI—Beltrami County staff previewed four planned roundabouts Tuesday that could improve traffic flow along Division Street just west of town. Roundabouts at Jefferson and Adams avenues, Becida Road and the entrance to Bemidji High School would cost an estimated $5.3 million dollars. Bemidji Area Schools would presumably provide some of that money because staff there intend to build a new school—Gene Dillon Elementary—near the intersection of Division and Becida, but the exact amount is still up for discussion.
BEMIDJI -- Bemidji-area educators have implemented a new way to react to an “active shooter” at or near a school. Rather than a more familiar lockdown -- where students and teachers hunker in a darkened and locked classroom until help arrives -- “ALICE” training presents a menu of reactions: alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate.