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 —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.
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 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 after-noon until further notice.