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 -- “You haven’t seemed yourself lately. Is everything OK?” That simple question could start a life-saving conversation with a friend who’s contemplating suicide. That’s why about 20 Red Lake Middle School students on the school’s new peer-based suicide prevention group -- called “Hope Squad” -- practiced asking it and other like-minded questions at a Wednesday morning meeting.
ST. PAUL—Governor Mark Dayton is pushing Minnesota legislators to solidify a pre-kindergarten funding increase. Included in Dayton's supplemental budget proposal, released in mid-March, is a plan to make permanent $50 million in additional funding for pre-k he and other state lawmakers agreed on last spring. As enacted, the funding boost would expire after the 2018-19 school year.
BEMIDJI -- As she paged through decades worth of old files documenting Bemidji State University’s nascent environmental efforts, Erika Bailey-Johnson said three names kept showing up. Those three men -- Pat Welle, Rich Marsolek and Steve Spigarelli -- all received Amik Awards on Monday at the university’s annual Feast of Green, which aims to celebrate the sustainability efforts there and recognize those who’ve been instrumental in them.
LEECH LAKE -- Inclement weather and road conditions mean Leech Lake Tribal College will close at 2 p.m. Monday, administrators there announced.
BEMIDJI—Ann (Aitken) Humphrey has been named assistant director of the American Indian Resource Center at BSU and Northwest Technical College. Humphrey was Leech Lake Tribal College's admission and outreach coordinator since 2015. There, she planned and implemented the recruitment of students, processed admission applications, created resources for recruitment and outreach, and worked closely to ensure students were retained, according to a release from BSU.
BEMIDJI -- It was easy to find Janice Haworth’s World Music class on Friday morning. The hum of more than 40 student-made didgeridoos -- the centuries-old indigenous Australian wind instrument -- filled the music professor’s classroom at Bemidji State University and spilled out into Bangsberg Hall.
BEMIDJI—A new Bemidji Area Schools elementary could ultimately mean new homes for some of the school district's kindergarten and pre-kindergarten classrooms. School Board members voted Monday to shift the attendance boundary between Solway Elementary and J.W. Smith Elementary to even out K-3 attendance between the two once Gene Dillon Elementary opens next year for all the school district's fourth- and fifth-graders. Kindergarteners who live in Solway's attendance area are also slated to move back there from Paul Bunyan Elementary.
BEMIDJI—Students at St. Philip's Catholic School got a swooping, spinning, high-flying anti-bullying lesson Wednesday. Julian "Zeus" McClurkin, a forward on the world famous Harlem Globetrotters exhibition basketball team, spoke at the Bemidji-area school about the "ABCs of Bullying Prevention." McClurkin coached students to tell an adult if they see someone being bullied; walk away from a bully or just scroll past their posts on social media to deprive them of attention; and to befriend and show compassion for bullies and their victims.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—A pair of Red Lake Middle School students showcased their dance and drum skills in Washington, D.C., last weekend. Seventh-graders Amaya Pemberton and Rhozaria McClain performed with students from two other Minnesota elementary schools and a trio of professionals at a national talent show for "Turnaround Arts" students at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts last Sunday.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji Area Schools' new elementary school is rounding into form. Construction staff estimated Gene Dillon Elementary is about 75-80 percent complete after a Thursday afternoon public tour, and school district leaders expect to move in this July.