Officials right to remove pets from home The removal of 107 dogs and two cats from two rural Bemidji homes last week raised numerous questions, including several about human and animal welfare. Sheriff's deputies, acting on a tip, visited the homes to find an appalling scene, where an estimated 50 dogs were living in one home. Further investigation found more than twice that number, an environmental hazard and a situation compounded by the dog owners' grief.
Two years ago the Bemidji City Council met with a consultant for more than four hours to discuss goals for the city through 2015. One was south shore development. The other goal was annexation, a process which began in 2004 and led to a uniform planning and zoning ordinance. In January 2010, some council members wanted to aggressively pursue annexation while others wanted to take a more deliberate approach.
Winter might have started late in the Bemidji area, but the staples of what makes Bemidji unique this time of year are underway. This past weekend, the Beaver Pride Hardwater Classic fishing tourney drew about 500 outdoor enthusiasts. The weeks ahead include a wide variety of fun events to offer a little bit of everything for those looking to celebrate the season. Later this week, Polar Daze kicks off with a Paul and Babe exhibit and a weekend full of entertaining activities. Before the end of the month, we'll enjoy the annual Taste of Northern Minnesota.
Jeer: It's time to address bus formula After several years of inequity, and numbers to bolster change, Minnesota lawmakers have yet to address fairly funding school districts' transportation costs. Districts like Bemidji, with a substantial service area, are at a disadvantage and required to find ways to offset busing costs. Last school year, Bemidji saw a $575,000 deficit, while some districts in the state pocket the difference in state aid, giving them a surplus.
Cheer: Elwells have given so much We're thankful to Laddie and Jim Elwell, who for nearly 20 years provided energy and vision for Bemidji's Headwaters Science Center. In 1992, the Elwells' dream helped create the center. It now serves about 30,000 visitors each year and provides a terrific resource for children to learn more about the world they live in. Its popularity has led to the center outgrowing its current facility.
This time of year often prompts resolutions and a time to reflect. Naturally, we look back at the top stories of the year, highlighted on the front page of The Pioneer this week. But it begs the question: What will the next year bring? As you'll read in Saturday's Pioneer, the Bemidji area is anything but static.
Cheer: Spreading kindness Kindness and lending a helping hand, even to strangers, is still part of the fabric of our community. A handful of people paid off Christmas gifts on layaway at a local store, without the donors or recipients even knowing each other. One man stopped to help out a woman stranded with a flat tire, then spent the next couple hours fixing it after giving her a ride to work.
Cheer: A new look for Chief Bemidji A selection committee has picked three finalists to create a permanent statue of Chief Bemidji in Library Park. The three finalists - Steven Whyte of Carmel, Calif., Gareth Curtiss of Olympia, Wash., and Ann LaRose of Tucson, Ariz. - will provide models and drawings to illustrate what their final product would look like.
Cheer: A step in the right direction We're pleasantly surprised to hear Minnesota is looking at an $876 million state budget surplus after last week's forecast by auditors. It's a step in the right direction, but state lawmakers and officials must use it as a stepping stone for a permanent solution while restoring funding for education and other important programs and services.
Cheer: Football team made us proud We're proud of the Bemidji High School football team's state playoff run. The Lumberjacks provided the community plenty of reasons to cheer this fall, and earned a lifetime of memories during a sparkling season that ended in the state championship game on Saturday. Thanks for representing your school and community during an unforgettable season. Jeer: Detecting danger It's disappointing more people don't invest in carbon monoxide detectors and keep working batteries in them. Last week, five people were poisoned at a home northeast of Bemidji.