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 — Preliminary construction of townhomes northeast of the Sanford Center will start Friday after the developers closed on the land deal Thursday morning. B&B Enterprises LLC, operated by Bob Whelan and Brian Freeberg, plans on building 30 townhome-style units on the 6.5 acre plot of land on the south shore of Lake Bemidji.
BEMIDJI — A historic vote to legalize gay marriage passed the state House Thursday afternoon with two local DFL legislators — Reps. John Persell of Bemidji and Roger Erickson of Baudette —voting yes. Persell delivered a passionate speech on the House floor during the debate, ultimately asking his fellow members to support the bill. It had been unclear, at least publicly, how Persell would vote in days leading up to Thursday.
Lisa Carlson, director of planning regulation at Sanford Health Plan, talks Wednesday morning with about 50 business owners at the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University about upcoming changes to health insurance. Among the topics of discussion were President Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, as well as Minnesota’s health care marketplace, dubbed MNSure, which will launch in October. John Hageman | Bemidji Pioneer
BEMIDJI — A new way to stay in shape will be coming to North Country Park this summer. The Bemidji City Council on Monday approved the purchase of more than $11,000 worth of outdoor exercise equipment for the park, located on 30th Street Northwest. That will include an elliptical machine, fitness bike, chest press, waist twister and a Thai Chi spinner —several rotary wheels designed to improve shoulder arm and elbow flexibility.
BEMIDJI — The city of Bemidji says the significant amount of grease cleaned out of its stormwater system last month was the result of it being illegally dumped there by Toasty Beaver’s Sports Bar and Grill. But the attorney for the bar, located at 114 Third Street Northwest, said any grease that ended up in the system was not put there intentionally, despite eyewitness accounts alleging otherwise.
BEMIDJI —A water main break near the Bemidji State University campus temporarily closed the road above Tuesday. The break was reported Tuesday morning on 23rd Street Northeast, and by 10:30 a.m., crews were digging up the street. The road was closed between Birchmont Drive Northeast and Calihan Avenue Northeast.
BEMIDJI —Upstream TV will soon have new equipment. The Bemidji City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve almost $20,000 worth of new equipment for the nonprofit public access station. Representatives from Upstream went before the city’s Public Affairs Committee on April 15, where the committee recommended the council approve the request. The equipment request included a new camera, editing computers, microphones and a tripod.
BEMIDJI —Sanford Center management is exploring the possibility of bringing an indoor football team to Bemidji. Curtis Webb, the center’s executive director, said he has reached out to Robert Loving, the commissioner of the Indoor Football League about the possibility.
BEMIDJI —The Bemidji City Council will hold a public hearing on its storm water pollution prevention program during its regular meeting 7 p.m.
BEMIDJI — The large windows of 401 Beltrami Ave. are covered in brown paper. The only hints to what’s going on behind the obscured panes are written on an orange building permit and a banner that both read "Bemidji Brewing Co." Inside, the three main members of the Bemidji Brewing team are preparing the space on the corner of Beltrami Avenue and Fourth Street to open their brewery and taproom, potentially by mid-summer. "The whole team’s really excited. It’s been an incredible process so far," said Justin Kaney, one of the founding members of Bemidji Brewing.