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—Bemidji Community Arena Corp. leaders may have the momentum—and funding—they need to add a new sheet of ice at their rink near Bemidji High School. Corporation board members said they hope to build a long hoped-for $5 million second sheet of ice at the Bemidji Community Arena with a $2 million pledge from an as-yet-unnamed donor, plus a loan and donations they hope to solicit from the community at large.
BEMIDJI—Tim Lutz is in line to be Bemidji Area Schools' next superintendent. The School Board voted Thursday to enter into contract negotiations with the longtime Kelliher Public School head, capping an increasingly busy search that narrowed the list of candidates from 24 to six to three—then just to him. "We'll look forward to our time ahead with you," Board Chair Carol J. Johnson told Lutz after telling him of the board's decision.
BEMIDJI—A record number of American Indian students are set to graduate from Bemidji State University this spring. That was one of several highlights at Thursday night's 38th annual American Indian Student Awards Recognition Banquet, where BSU staff recognized 51 American Indian soon-to-be graduates. "It's a celebration, commencement-style, but with a cultural component to it," said Bill Blackwell, Jr., who heads the school's American Indian Resource Center. "That's why I think a lot of our students really enjoy it."
BEMIDJI—The second of three candidates hoping to be Bemidji Area Schools next superintendent underwent a gauntlet of questions Wednesday. Tim Lutz's daylong interview with a series of students, staffers, administrators and community leaders culminated with a public interview and second interview with School Board members, where he fielded often-tough questions about moving to a larger district, school safety and working with a diverse student body.
LAPORTE—The fate of Laporte Public School's music program—and its lone music teacher—has caused a stir there. Citing declining student interest, Laporte's School Board quietly voted Monday, April 9, to discontinue its music program and put music teacher Louise Bass on unrequested leave. Parents and other community members have objected strongly to the move in the days since.
BEMIDJI—The field of candidates for Bemidji Area Schools' superintendent job narrowed to three Saturday. School board members selected Mike Kolness, Rochelle Johnson and Tim Lutz to move on to a second round of interviews next week after a marathon round of hour-long interviews. Board members ranked Kolness, who's been the superintendent at East Grand Forks Public Schools since 2016 and led Ada-Borup Public Schools for seven years before that, the highest in an informal straw poll after the last interview.
BEMIDJI -- Bemidji Area Schools will host community interviews next week for superintendent finalists there. The School Board is scheduled to interview five candidates Saturday, April 14, then narrow its choices to two or three finalists who’ll each undergo a daylong series of interviews next week with district staff and community leaders. Part of each day will include a “open forum interview” where the public at large can ask questions of each candidate vying to replace outgoing Superintendent Jim Hess.
Leaders at Blackduck Public School might beef up security there in the wake of recent high-profile school shootings. Board members heard on Monday -- but did not take formal action on -- a proposal from school administrators that would spend about $47,000 to secure one main entrance at the high school and another at the elementary school, plus replace dozens of doors in the elementary school.
BEMIDJI—Staff at Bemidji State University on Thursday began an 18-month long 100th birthday party for the school. University leaders spoke at a kickoff celebration Thursday morning, interspersed with song and dance and video highlights of the school's history. Then it was off to an alumni luncheon and, later, a dedication ceremony for "Centennial Plaza," an open space between the upper and lower sections of Hobson Memorial Union. "The past is always with us," said Faith Hensrud, president of BSU and Northwest Technical College.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji Area Schools board members narrowed the list of superintendent hopefuls Thursday. Consultants from School Exec Connect presented the board with a list of five candidates, which they had culled from a field of 24 total applicants. The board approved that five-person list for a round of interviews on Saturday, which made the candidates' names and other information about them public. The candidates are, in the order they were presented to board members: • Tim Lutz, superintendent at Kelliher Public Schools