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 counter at the Save Tobacco Super Store is an unlikely forum for political debate. But these days, customers are talking —and often at length —about the state Legislature’s plan to increase taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. “It sucks,” says one loyal shopper. A flyer hangs off of the register nearby, urging customers to contact legislators and oppose a tax increase.
BEMIDJI -- It's a Saturday night and the Blue Ox is packed. Two Minneapolis-based bands --the Color Pharmacy and the 4onthefloor -- are in town. The following weekend, a similar-sized audience arrived in anticipation for local band Uncle Shurley to hit the stage. Nate Larson had a hand in both shows, albeit in different roles. Larson, a percussionist for Uncle Shurley as well as the Seasonals, has booked shows for the Blue Ox Bar and Grill on and off for the past few years, helping to bring some major acts into Bemidji.
BEMIDJI —A dispute over the Bemidji area’s annexation agreement was the subject of a mediation session Wednesday night. But what was discussed there is unknown. Jim Thomson, a Twin Cities-based lawyer representing the city of Bemidji in a dispute with Bemidji Township, acknowledged a meditation session took place but couldn’t discuss what happened. The Bemidji City Council will have a closed meeting Monday night to discuss the pending litigation with the township.
BEMIDJI —Ron Kinn isn’t sure how the Turtle River town board is going to compensate for the extra snowplowing costs from this winter season. “We’re just going to have to take a look at it, and maybe we’ll have to cut back on some of our other maintenance to make it up,” said Kinn, the town board’s chairman. “Because that’s about the only thing we can do.”
BEMIDJI — Burning permit restrictions will begin May 13 in Beltrami, north Cass Hubbard, Clearwater, Mahnomen and east Polk counties. Permits won’t be issued after then until vegetation becomes green again. The announcement came Wednesday from Beltrami County Emergency Management. Requests for variance permits for agriculture and construction can be made to a state Department of Natural Resources forester.
BEMIDJI — Monday afternoon’s grass fire in southeast Bemidji made one thing clear to the city’s fire chief Dave Hoefer. “I think that fire…kind of proved how dry things actually...
BEMIDJI —Monday afternoon’s grass fire in southeast Bemidji made one thing clear to the city’s fire chief Dave Hoefer. “I think that fire…kind of proved how dry things actually are,” Hoefer said. There, a permit-sanctioned wood pile fire ignited the surrounding grass. In the wake of that fire and high winds, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources cut off local burn permits Tuesday afternoon until further notice.
BEMIDJI -- Rapidly melting snow is still covering a number of area roads in water. As of 9 p.m. Wednesday, several roads remained closed.
BEMIDJI — Residents of Jackson Avenue were more or less cut off from the outside world Sunday night. That’s when the dead-end road in a lowland area near Oak Hills...
BEMIDJI —Gary Johnson, chief executive officer of Paul Bunyan Communications, was named the local district’s Rotarian of the Year. The award was presented during the district convention in Bemidji over the weekend. About 500 Rotarians from northern Minnesota, North Dakota, northwest Wisconsin and part of Canada took part in the events at the Sanford Center. Other locals were also nominated for Distinguished Rotarian Awards.