John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.
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BEMIDJI — The three local governments involved in annexation will each have a meeting over two days next week. And in one form or another, each of them plans to address the events of the past week. On Monday, the Bemidji City Council will meet behind closed doors to discuss pending litigation with Bemidji Township. That will come one week after it rendered a contentious 5-2 vote against a mediated settlement agreement to allow the township to leave the annexation and joint powers agreements.
BEMIDJI — Administrative changes at Sanford Health in Fargo, N.D., and Sioux Falls, S.D., won’t have an effect on personnel in Bemidji, according to the local region’s interim president. Forum News Service reported Thursday that Sanford is buying out a dozen of its administrators under a restructuring plan to save $10 million annually, while also planning to centralize management of system-wide functions.
BEMIDJI — The Bemidji City Council’s rejection of a mediated settlement agreement with Bemidji Township on Monday night will bring the issue back to court. The township’s lawyer, John Steffenhagen of Edina-based Hellmuth & Johnson, said a conference call is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. June 17 in Beltrami County District Court. Steffenhagen said he isn’t sure what will be discussed in that call.
BEMIDJI —The city’s wastewater treatment facility is running more efficiently thanks to recently completed additions to the plant. The only problem, according to its co-superintendent Mike Forbes, is how it looks. “The net effect is, yes we can treat solids better, but we ended with up with this huge flat, gray, concrete wall that looks like a throwback to Eastern Bloc Cold War,” Forbes said. “It’s really pretty unattractive.”
BEMIDJI — The Bemidji City Council voted against approving a mediated settlement agreement that would allow Bemidji Township to leave the annexation and joint powers agreements during its Monday night meeting. The agreement reached early Friday that allowed Bemidji Township to exit the annexation and joint powers agreements was contingent on approval by both the township and the city council.
BEMIDJI — On a recent rainy afternoon, a bouquet of flowers sat in the ditch separating the two directions of U.S. Highway 2, adjacent to its intersection with State Highway 89. The flowers are a reminder of an unspecified crash at this crossing —it’s unclear from driving by if the bouquet is marked. But it does mark one of the most dangerous intersections in the state. With that in mind, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is planning a major overhaul of the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 89 west of Bemidji.
BEMIDJI — Bemidji Township won’t be annexed into the city after all. After a marathon mediation session between the city of Bemidji and Bemidji Township that lasted until early Friday, an agreement was reached that allows the township to exit the orderly annexation and joint powers agreements.
BEMIDJI — An apartment development is in the works for the city’s south shore near the Sanford Center. Aaron Chirpich, development director with the Headwaters Regional Development Commission, described the proposed apartment as “high-end” for young professionals as well as families. He declined to name the developers or which lot they are looking to buy. The developers are planning to come before city councilors to discuss their proposal.
BEMIDJI — A season of business changes will continue in early June when the building now occupied by the Blue Ox Bar & Grill becomes the Depot on 1st. The building’s Brainerd-based owner, Denis Villella, confirmed the news Tuesday. He hopes to open the new restaurant June 6, with a grand opening event later in the summer.
BEMIDJI — Events honoring veterans won’t end on Memorial Day in Bemidji, or in communities throughout the state for that matter. On Wednesday night, a yet-unknown number of veterans will ride into town as part of the statewide Veterans of Foreign Wars "Ride for Healing." Four groups of bikers and classic cars will leave St.