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 Bemidji City Council will consider Monday adopting state recommendations regarding the handling of finances at the Sanford Center, as well as accepting a $137,000 payment from VenuWorks for the alleged misuse of funds by a former director of the city-owned facility.
KELLIHER—The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners is again traveling this summer to meet with constituents in rural areas. Last year, the board started holding some of its summer meetings in communities across the county. The commissioners held three meetings in rural locations last in 2017; this year, they're holding four, starting with the Kelliher meeting held on Tuesday. In July, the board plans to meet in Summit Township, in August they'll visit Liberty Township and they'll close it out with a September meeting in Ten Lake Township.
BEMIDJI -- Regardless of the outcome of November’s midterm elections, there will be new faces in both city and Beltrami County government. As filing for offices closed Tuesday evening, Bemidji At Large City Council member Dave Larson, Bemidji Ward 2 Council member Roger Hellquist and Beltrami County District 1 Commissioner Keith Winger all opted to not run for reelection.
BEMIDJI—The Wolfe, an overnight winter shelter operating in downtown Bemidji the past three years, has successfully helped keep people out of the cold during the year's most frigid months. However, operators of the facility say more funding is needed to continue the service in the heart of the city. During Monday's Bemidji City Council meeting, Reed Olson, chair of the Nameless Coalition for the Homeless, described the dire situation the shelter is in moving forward.
BEMIDJI—In 2017, the city of Bemidji held a beach party at the newly renovated South Shore Park to celebrate its opening. The event was such a hit Bemidji leaders have decided to hold one every year. "Last year, we had the ribbon cutting and a beach bash and we've decided to make that an annual event," Bemidji Parks and Recreation Director Marcia Larson said. "We wanted to have something to celebrate the beginning of summer."
BEMIDJI—The 2018 Minnesota legislative session is now in the rearview for lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton. On Thursday, Dayton signed the last bill of the session, a bipartisan piece of legislation to stabilize the state's employee pension program. For both Dayton and local legislators, the pension bill was a win.
BEMIDJI—Gov. Mark Dayton's signature on the 2018 bonding bill Wednesday was a reason to celebrate for individuals in and around Bemidji. The $1.5 billion public works construction legislation, passed by lawmakers last week, includes dollars for two long-awaited projects in Bemidji and another in Red Lake. In Bemidji, the bill's signing means funding has been secured for the replacement of an outdated building at BSU and a new residential health facility for veterans.
BEMIDJI—City leaders voted Tuesday to provide dollars for the Bemidji Youth Advisory Commission, with the condition that membership and activity increase in the next several months. The discussion, taking place at a City Council work session, was based on a meeting in March where the youth program's budget was brought up. At that meeting, the program had budgeted $18,346 for 2018-19, with $9,845 coming from Evergreen Youth and Family Services, $1,000 from fundraising and $7,500 from the city.
BEMIDJI—Two of the most famous World War II planes now have a touch of Bemidji. The Memphis Belle, a B-17 that conducted strategic bombing missions and the focal point of a Hollywood movie, and That's All Brother, a C-47 aircraft that carried paratroopers during the D-Day invasion, each now bear markings by AirCorps Aviation of Bemidji. As another Memorial Day approaches, staff at AirCorps say now more than ever is a time to connect with those who served in the military or those who worked on the homefront during the second World War.
BEMIDJI -- Andy Wells is not just a local business owner, but a person who’s helped others turn their lives around. On Thursday, Wells was honored for both pursuits with the Charlie Naylor Lifetime Achievement Award.