With the city of Bemidji population topping 13,000 for the first time, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, and the immediate surrounding area at 27,489, a focus on "smart growth" is a must. Bemidji has been chosen one of 32 communities - out of 354 that applied - for the Environmental Protection Agency Sustainable Building Blocks program. Bemidji's involvement in the EPA initiative will focus on "smart growth to produce fiscal and economic health." The EPA consulted with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S.
In the last decade, the Bemidji School District dealt with declining enrollments by closing Deer Lake Elementary School and the Paul Bunyan Kindergarten Center. The opening of TrekNorth and Voyageurs charter high schools and open enrollment cut into the Bemidji High School population, and Schoolcraft Learning Community siphoned off some elementary- and middle-school-age students.
The curtain came down hard on the 2010-11 Bemidji State University men's hockey season Friday afternoon, as the Beavers lost 6-2 to the Denver Pioneers. The score, however, wasn't indicative of the play. First, goal No.6 was an empty-net goal that really doesn't portray the level of play. Second, the Beavers played well the first two periods. It was third period that got away from them, with the Pioneers scoring three other goals. But most important of all, BSU wasn't even supposed be there. It was the semifinals of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five Tournament.
The Bemidji City Council did the right thing Monday night when it approved the creation of North Country Park by requesting bids for Phase I of its development. That area of town has seen an explosive growth in housing, much of it multiple family apartments or town homes, but no park facilities, other than Cameron Park right at the Lake Bemidji shore.
Long overdue, President Barack Obama called upon Congress Monday to get to work in reforming educational standards -- something to replace the much maligned No Child Left Behind. The president used a speech at a middle school to urge Congress to fix NCLB before the start of the next school year. His goal is for a program that will allow U.S. students to out-compete and out-educate the world in the 21st century economy. The federal government must put in place education standards that incentivize achievement, not punish as does NCLB.
Minnesota House and Senate Republicans finally put their budget ideas on the table Thursday, so the hard work of the legislative session can begin. But looking at what those budgets say, it will be hard to find compromise with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. Both budgets balance only with spending cuts -- no tax increases, in keeping with the eight-year pledge of former GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Both budgets don't figure in inflation increases, so they stop at $34 billion rather than $37 billion as does Gov.
Some big guns recommended Tuesday that Minnesota redistricting be done by an independent commission rather than by the state Legislature, which is otherwise preoccupied with fixing a $5 billion budget gap. Republicans in charge of the Legislature, however, want to retain that privilege, and there is little wonder why. Every 10 years, after each U.S.
Environmentalists are up in arms because Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill to speed up the permitting process for projects by holding state agencies accountable. It is a good bill, one that the governor should have signed. Gov. Dayton is being hailed for his agreement with the Legislature that it simply takes too long for state agencies to act on a business' request to build a project.
New information released Thursday by the Office of State Auditor shows that Minnesota cities have been swapping the loss of state aid with higher property taxes. "Between 2008 and 2009, cities had a decrease in actual revenues collected as well as a decrease in actual expenditures," said State Auditor Rebecca Otto of the report on city finances for calendar year 2009. "Cities as a group also seem to be putting off capital outlay projects.
After much haranguing and posturing, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday night sent to President Barack Obama, and he signed into law, a measure to keep the federal government funded and running. But only for two weeks. The federal government is operating under what is called a continuing resolution for fiscal 2011, meaning government continues on at 2010 spending levels because Congress can't agree upon a new budget.