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 - 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.
BEMIDJI - After months of waiting, a proposed hotel attached to the Sanford Center appeared to clear one last hurdle this week. Councilors agreed to give developers of the Country Inn & Suites, Wayzata-based Bay Ridge Properties International, 90 days to secure their finances for the $16 million project during an April 16 meeting in exchange for $50,000. Tripp Snyder, Bay Ridge chief executive officer, said after that meeting he was "100 percent" sure they'd meet the deadline. And up until Friday afternoon, it wasn't clear whether or not that would be the case.
BEMIDJI — A 63-year-old Laporte man died after a rollover crash Thursday night in Hubbard County. Ronald C. Muller was driving a 2006 Cadillac DTS north on Hubbard County Road 45, along the State Highway 200 detour. The car left the road, struck several trees and rolled, ejecting Muller, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. The incident was reported just after 11 p.m. Thursday. Muller was the sole occupant of the vehicle, according to State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow.
BEMIDJI -- The removal of three large trees, a side effect of the adjacent renovation to Bemidji State University's Chet Anderson Stadium, drew ire this week from those who wanted to preserve the pines. But by Thursday afternoon, little more than a few stumps, limbs and branches remained sitting on the field.
BEMIDJI -- Demolish, acquire, build. Those are three seemingly simple steps that a new program will follow in order to provide homes to low-income families in Bemidji. The Headwaters Regional Development Commission is launching a new program in which it provides funds to demolish vacant dilapidated homes. Northwoods Habitat for Humanity will then buy the vacant lot to build a new home.
BEMIDJI -- Despite recent health issues that included a stroke three years ago, Jim Miller never stopped doing what he loved. That was evident this past Easter, when he joined friends and family in playing a few songs on his guitar. "He wasn't feeling very well but we put a guitar in his hands and we ended up playing a couple tunes," said his wife Kristi Miller. "It was really fun." On Saturday, the local singer and songwriter known for his roles in the local bands Known Only Locally and Blew Munday passed away at the age of 66.
BEMIDJI -- Despite concerns from some the community would lose a tree older than the college campus it sits on, a Bemidji State University representative said the tree must come down in order to complete improvements to its football field. Three trees sit on the west end of the Chet Anderson Stadium, where crews now are replacing the natural grass with a synthetic turf. One of the trees is more than 100-years-old, said Caitlyn Schuchhardt as she sat under the large white pine Tuesday. An online petition to save the trees had almost 100 signatures by Tuesday evening.