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 --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.
BEMIDJI - Northern Township board members had many questions Wednesday night. The three in attendance -- Chairman Mike Kelly, Vice Chairman Clark Chambers and supervisor Tim Mountain -- discussed with Bemidji Township board members and Bemidji city councilors the mediation agreement the two reached in late May. That agreement would allow Bemidji Township to leave the joint powers and annexation agreements the three governments adopted almost a decade ago.
BEMIDJI - The Charter Commission wants to set when a special election would be held in case of a vacancy on the Bemidji City Council. During its Tuesday meeting, the commission suggested that if a vacancy is declared with a year or more remaining in the term, a special election should be held. If a vacancy opens up within a year of the term ending, however, the council would appoint someone to the seat.
BEMIDJI - The wait is over. The developers of a proposed Country Inn & Suites connected to the Sanford Center said they have secured the financing necessary to complete the $15 million project on the city's south shore. Tripp Snyder, chief executive officer of Wayzata-based Bay Ridge Properties International, informed the Bemidji City Council of the long-awaited news Monday night.
BEMIDJI - A bridge spanning U.S. Highway 2 remained closed Monday after a semi carrying heavy equipment struck several beams Saturday. And as of early Monday afternoon, it was unclear when traffic would be allowed to cross the 15th Street bridge again. Craig Collison, the Minnesota Department of Transportation district engineer, said a team in St. Paul is examining the bridge's capacity "to determine if we can open it up to traffic." He said four of the six beams on the underside of the bridge were struck, and at least one will have to be replaced.
BEMIDJI - The Indoor Football League is considering adding a team in Bemidji. But for that to happen, an investor or investors would need to finance the expansion. To that end, IFL officials will hold a press conference Thursday to make that need known, according to a press release issued Monday. The press conference will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Sanford Center, where the team would play seven games from February to June.
BEMIDJI -- Chad Johnson was doing routine maintenance on a four-wheeler when his wife alerted him to the flames shooting from an out-building on his father's property Friday afternoon. A few hours later, the building lay in ruins. Crews with the Bemidji Fire Department were called to the home, at 13086 Coyote Road NW, just before 2 p.m. Friday. There, the building was engulfed, with smoke visible from U.S. Highway 2 several miles away. High winds from the south pushed the fire across the yard and toward a wooded area, but firefighters prevented it from spreading further.