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 -- 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.
BEMIDJI -- The City of Bemidji and Bemidji Township are in the process of determining which annexed properties can return to the township. The city recently sent a letter to the township with a list of properties that it does not believe are eligible to be in the township again, or detached from the city, as a result of a mediation agreement signed May 30. Bemidji Township attorney John Steffenhagen said it is an important step for the people who want to become township residents again.
BEMIDJI --EMDASH-- The 15th Street bridge spanning U.S. Highway 2 won't be open until mid-August. The Minnesota Department of Transportation made the announcement Wednesday afternoon. The bridge was struck by a semi traveling on the highway July 13. "The concrete barriers that will be used to route traffic over the bridge have been difficult to acquire," Roger Hille, district bridge engineer, said in a press release. "Installation will likely take place in mid-August now."
BEMIDJI - A bridge that was struck earlier this month by a semitrailer passing under it will have a higher clearance once repairs are completed next summer. TJ Melcher, spokesman for the local district of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said the beams underneath the 15th Street bridge over U.S. Highway 2 will be adjusted for more height. Those beams were damaged when a semi with not enough clearance struck them July 13. "They're going to reduce the height of those I-beams," Melcher said. "They're not raising the bridge."
BEMIDJI - Bemidji City Councilors want to formalize the process development proposals go through before they reach the full council. They met Monday night to talk about the development review process, a wide-ranging discussion that included determining what south shore land is worth and if certain parts of land sale negotiations should be open to the public.
BEMIDJI - At least one Minnesota political party said a lot was accomplished in the 2013 legislative session. Minnesota DFLers, who controlled both chambers of the Legislature as well as the governor’s office, boasted putting more money into education and property tax relief. But one local legislator is dismayed they didn’t do enough in one area: fighting aquatic invasive species. "We could not get money to local organizations who are doing the fight now," said DFL Rep. Roger Erickson of Baudette.