Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.
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BEMIDJI—The potential for pipeline protests here in Bemidji similar to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota has led the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office and other agencies to prepare in advance. On Tuesday, Sheriff Phil Hodapp asked the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners to approve a mutual aid agreement with various northern Minnesota agencies. This new agreement differs from state statute, which requires an emergency before a government unit can request aid from another.
BEMIDJI -- The safety benefits of roundabouts has county and state officials discussing adding yet another of the traffic control structures in the county. During a Beltrami County Board work session Tuesday, commissioners were given a presentation by the county Highway Department and the Minnesota Department of Transportation on a proposed roundabout that would be at the off ramps on the south end of the bridge over U.S. Highway 71 on Irvine Avenue.
BEMIDJI—The future of winter sports and recreation in the face of climate change is the subject of a documentary screening in Bemidji this weekend. On Saturday, Feb. 24, the Bemidji Citizens' Climate Lobby is showing "Saving Snow," a 50-minute feature about activists, business owners and community leaders working toward clean energy solutions in ski towns and other communities with winter activities. The film and panel discussion to follow is set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Calvary Lutheran Church, 2508 Washington Ave. SE.
BEMIDJI—The Bemidji City Council awarded a bid to Reierson Construction to handle its Street Renewal Program in 2018. On an annual basis, the program selects multiple city streets for reconstruction and restoration. In 2018, the city plans to reconstruct six neighborhood streets, totaling 1.7 miles. The projects included in this year's program include: • Changing Bardwell Drive Northwest on the Anne Street loop from gravel to paved. • Changing Richards Avenue Southeast from First Street to Fourth Street from gravel to paved, while adding a curb and gutter.
BEMIDJI—With confidence, Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht declared the state of the city as strong Monday, citing many accomplishments as examples for her praise.
BEMIDJI—Beltrami County Commissioner Reed Olson, who was elected to the position in 2016, has decided he wants to take what he's learned to St. Paul. On Tuesday, Olson told the Pioneer that he will seek the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's endorsement and run for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 5A. Olson said he made the decision in the last week, but that it had been on his mind since the results of the 2016 election.
BEMIDJI -- Communities from Bemidji to the Red River Valley were blanketed in snow Sunday, with some areas reporting more than a foot of snowfall. “For the Bemidji area, it falls as one of the bigger storms of the season,” said Nick Carletta, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks. “We got our highest storm reports from that region.”
Editorial Note: The 90th Academy Awards — the Oscars — are set for March 4. Over the next several weeks, we will take a look at my favorites to win the golden statues. This year's acting categories all have clear frontrunners, and I'm fairly confident that those frontrunners will get the Academy nod on Oscar night. However, there is always the potential for an upset. Best Actor First up, the nominees for Best Actor. This year, they include: • Gary Oldman for "Darkest Hour." • Daniel Kaluuya for "Get Out."
BEMIDJI—In 2020, a final section of property north of Anne Street will be brought within the Bemidji city limits, more than a decade after an annexation agreement was signed. The annexation will extend northward from Anne Street up to Lakewood Drive Northwest and westward to U.S. Highway 71 and Bemidji Regional Airport. By bringing in the property from Northern Township, Bemidji Finance Director Ron Eischens said the city will eventually see a $300,000 increase in the property taxes it collects.
BEMIDJI -- Priorities for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities for the 2018 Minnesota legislative session that starts next week were detailed in a teleconference Thursday. As with 2017, the CGMC is again pushing for an increase in the amount of funding appropriated for the Local Government Aid program. In the 2017 session, the Legislature passed a tax bill including a $15 million increase in LGA, bringing the appropriation to $534.4 million.