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 -- 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.
RED LAKE -- About half of Red Lake High School’s student body and a handful of Red Lake Middle Schoolers left class Wednesday as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence in schools. The walkout here was one of thousands, big and small, held across the country on the one-month anniversary of a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead and motivated a sustained political push for tougher gun control and school safety measures -- and it carries a deep significance in Red Lake.
BEMIDJI -- Minnesota’s top election official talked shop with some Bemidji High School government students Tuesday. Secretary of State Steve Simon did a quick Q&A with students in Jeff Aas’ American Government and Politics class about the 2016 election, barriers to voting, and reasons to vote beyond participating in a community or honoring the sacrifices of people who fought for voting rights.
BEMIDJI -- As they make their final push for a championship, most teams are sharpening the winning strategy that got them that far to a razor’s edge. But one of Bemidji Middle School’s robotics teams is adding another way to win. They’ll compete at the VEX Robotics World Championship next month in Louisville, Ky., with a retooled robot they hope will be even better than the one that helped them win a state championship in February.
BENA—An audacious plan to build a new school in less than a year will take longer than expected. Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school and the Bureau of Indian Affairs were on track to replace a shoddy, subpar high school building with a new one built in sections by Arizona-based Modular Solutions, which started the project last spring. That plan, as school and company staff outlined it in August, would have the building completed in late fall or early winter 2017. But that construction is now months behind schedule, according to interviews with school and bureau staffers.
BEMIDJI -- A Bemidji charter school is headed to a new home. Schoolcraft Learning Community is set to move to the former Deer Lake Elementary building and grounds about 15 miles north of Bemidji. Bankers approved a loan to Dave Bahr and Deer Lake Properties LLC for renovations to the property, which means the company has presumably cleared the last hurdle before it can lease the building and grounds to the charter.