John Hageman covers local business and North Dakota politics. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Bemidji Pioneer.
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BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji City Council approved a pared-down park improvement project for Paul Bunyan and Library parks Monday night. Parks and recreation director Marcia Larson presented the council with a list of improvements she believes could be made to the park with the $1.4 million the city has at its disposal. That money is split between some remaining half-percent sales tax revenues dedicated to parks and a $750,000 state Legacy grant that will be available in 2015.
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji City Council will discuss next year's budget and funding future park improvements during a work session Monday night. City staff will recommend setting aside $24,000 for an extra staff person at the Bemidji Public Library contingent on Beltrami County support. Also, staff recommends setting aside $20,000 for a possible increase to the city's contribution to the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board.
BEMIDJI -- Local stargazers will have the opportunity to see a meteor shower this weekend. The Perseid meteor shower, named after its supposed origin, the constellation Perseus, will be most visible Sunday night and Monday morning, according to the American Meteor Society. Early Monday morning, they'll be streaking across the sky at a rate of about 60 per hour.
BEMIDJI -- A committee reviewing the design of a Country Inn & Suites connected to the Sanford Center wants more information before approving the project. The South Shore Design Review Committee, which includes city councilors, as well as city and planning staff, met Thursday afternoon with the project's developer and architects. The hotel had gone to the design review committee last year, but some changes to the building's roofline and other features changed since then.
MAHNOMEN -- With the White Earth Nation flag and tribal and state representatives standing behind him, Gov. Mark Dayton signed an executive order Thursday directing state agencies to develop policies to guide them when working with tribal nations. "We are committing that we're going to have government-to-government, equal-to-equal communication," Dayton said in a signing ceremony at the Shooting Star Casino. "That kind of communication and dialogue is so important."
BEMIDJI -- Conservationists and wildlife advocates used dire language Wednesday in describing the threat of Asian carp pose to Minnesota's lakes and rivers. "I see this as a war, with the enemy currently invading our precious waters," Gary Botzek, the director of the Minnesota Conservation Federation said during a conference call. "The general public is very aware of the enemy."
BEMIDJI -- Dean Jacobs has swum with piranhas, visited a sphinx in Egypt and has gone scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef. But northern Minnesota will always be a memorable place for the globe-trotter and Nebraska native. "Minnesota was the only place that I went on a family vacation with my family to Otter Tail County," Jacobs said, wearing a tan hiking vest and bandana around his neck. "So I have a nostalgic connection to Minnesota."
BEMIDJI -- An Illinois couple has donated $150,000 to help restore the Carnegie Library building. Andreas and Marilyn Kuhn of Godfrey, Ill., donated the gift in memory of their grandson, Jordan Klope, who died at the age of 15. According to a press release from the City of Bemidji, Klope talked about moving to Bemidji, where his grandparents spend their summer months, and becoming a fishing guide. He loved the outdoors, including hunting and fishing. He was also an expert trap shooter.
BEMIDJI -- Some Bemidji City Councilors Monday questioned recent events involving a mediation agreement between the city and Bemidji Township. The Pioneer reported Friday the city sent a list of properties it believes cannot be detached, or returned to Bemidji Township, to the township's attorney John Steffenhagen. That follows the signing of a mediation agreement in May that allows the township to leave the annexation and joint powers agreements.
BEMIDJI -- The public will have a chance to speak on the city's sale of south shore land Monday night. The hearing, which is required under state law, centers around the proposed sale to Grand Forks, N.D.-based developers who plan on building a 60-unit high-end apartment building on 2.69 acres of land on the west side of the Sanford Center parking lot.