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 -- 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.
BEMIDJI --EMDASH-- My first experience in a dragon boat was a humbling one. I came into this past week thinking that the countless times paddling a canoe growing up in the Minnesota wilderness would be enough to jump in a boat and get the hang of it right away. That, and even if I'm not good, there are still more than a dozen other people in the boat to make up for me. No sweat.
BEMIDJI -- Construction of a Country Inn & Suites connected to the Sanford Center could begin in a month after the city and the hotel's developers completed the land sale Friday. Bay Ridge Properties International paid the city about $606,000 for the south shore land Friday, said city manager John Chattin. They signed a purchase agreement in March 2012 to pay $756,000, with a $100,000 down payment.
BEMIDJI -- Candy and Mary Roberts-Salter have already had two wedding ceremonies in the 15 years they've been together. They had a small ceremony cementing their commitment to each other more than a decade ago and a larger wedding with family and friends a few years after that. And later this month, they will make it official in the eyes of the state of Minnesota, thanks to same-sex marriage becoming legal here Thursday. Couples across the state were married early Thursday, with the largest celebration taking place after midnight in Minneapolis City Hall.