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 5 months
CASS LAKE—Voters will decide Tuesday, Nov. 7, whether Cass Lake-Bena Schools will build a brand-new elementary school and renovate several others. School district leaders put a $37.8 million bonding referendum on Tuesday's ballots. If voters approve it, the district would borrow that money to build a an elementary school for grades 3-5, renovate its existing elementary for pre-k through second grade, and update and repair chunks of three other buildings.
HELGA TOWNSHIP -- An old school building a few miles south of Bemidji could become the area’s newest charter school. Anna Wallin and Shanna Reiners are former Schoolcraft Learning Community teachers, and they hope to get Aurora Waasakone, a would-be K-8 charter school, up and running by the 2019-2020 school year in the old Nary School.
BEMIDJI—Renee Walker and Justin Keezer's lease ended when September did, and the pair have been living in Keezer's truck and crashing on couches in White Earth while Walker goes to classes at BSU. Both were in high spirits, though, as they chowed down at Thursday's "Feast for the Homeless" at the university's American Indian Resource Center. They were two of the first to show up for the feast.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji Area Schools board members agreed last month that Superintendent Jim Hess did not violate school district policy during an alleged confrontation between him and a charter school parent in early September. The School Board discussed a complaint against a district employee in a closed-door meeting last month while Hess waited outside. Board Chair Ann Long Voelkner confirmed Tuesday that the meeting was about the complaint against the longtime superintendent.
BEMIDJI -- Bemidji Area Schools is courting consultants to help leaders there find a new superintendent. The school district asked for price quotes and proposals from several firms, including the Minnesota School Board Association, that could help school board members find and hire someone to replace Superintendent Jim Hess, who announced in August this school year will be his last.
CASS LAKE -- American Indian activist Dennis Banks of Cass Lake died Sunday night, his family said on Monday. He was 80 years old. The family posted on Banks' Facebook page, saying he died Sunday night, with his family by his side. "Our father Dennis J. Banks started his journey to the spirit world at 10:10 pm on October 29, 2017. As he took his last breaths, Minoh sang him four songs for his journey. All the family who were present prayed over him and said our individual goodbyes. Then we proudly sang him the AIM song as his final send off.
BEMIDJI—A draft of Bemidji State University's new five-year strategic plan includes sizeable diversity and programming initiatives. Under the draft plan, which is set to be finalized this winter, university leaders would work to enroll about 100 more American Indian students, nearly 200 more international students, and bring the total number of students of color there from 590 to 700 by 2022. The school has 56 faculty and staff of color, and the tentative plan calls for another 15.
CASS LAKE -- A regional robotics tournament today at Cass Lake-Bena High School will be the emerging sport’s first formal conference championship in Minnesota, organizers say.
CASS LAKE—Cass Lake-Bena middle and high school students have a futuristic new way to learn this year. School district leaders bought last summer several "zSpace" computers, which students can use to manipulate three-dimensional "augmented reality" models of atoms, human hearts, motors, circuits and more to accentuate their math or science lessons.
BEMIDJI—An ironworker who was hospitalized after an accident at a Bemidji elementary school construction site in September wasn't using his safety harness properly, his employer told state authorities.