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 -- Members of U.S. Sen. Tina Smith’s, D-Minn., staff said Tuesday during a roundtable that the legislator supports the idea of a single payer system for the country. But at the moment, she is still exploring what model would work best. “She hasn’t signed on to the version that’s been introduced in a bill yet,” said Lindsay McLaughlin, health care and aging outreach director for Smith’s office. “She wants to make sure we’re taking the correct approach for the United States if we do this.”
BEMIDJI -- Traffic has reopened along Division Street near the campuses of two Bemidji schools -- and with some new roundabouts in play, officials are hoping vehicles are able to move through smoothly. After several weeks of work, the corridor reopened to traffic Friday evening with three recently completed roundabouts. While the project isn’t fully complete, the road is usable as the first day of school approaches Tuesday.
BEMIDJI -- The largest, most comprehensive cancer center in northern Minnesota. That’s how Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota President Bryan Nermoe described the new Joe Lueken Cancer Center in Bemidji on Tuesday. Nermoe spoke during an open house held to introduce the community to the center, designed to care for patients battling cancer.
BEMIDJI—When it comes to finances, Beltrami County is in dire straits. Because of the ever growing cost related to the county's Health and Human Services Department's foster care work, the county is seeing its fund balance dwindle. In recent weeks, county officials have started referring to the situation as a "fiscal cliff."
BEMIDJI—A heavily used bridge over the Mississippi River is open again after a renovation project finished ahead of schedule. Repairs on the bridge's deck, railing and substructure elements began July 9, with several of the components replaced. Additionally, the $300,000 project added pavement to the bridge, located east of Lake Bemidji and west of Lake Avenue Northeast. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Area Supervisor David Schotzko said the bridge was the latest in a series of rehabilitation projects in the region.
BEMIDJI—The Bemidji City Council authorized on Monday the Fire Department to purchase a new ladder truck to replace an aging vehicle. The Fire Department requested to buy a stock truck from MacQueen Emergency Group for $946,903 to replace the 1992 ladder truck, which will be sold once the new equipment is in service. According to Fire Chief Dave Hoefer, the current truck needs replacing because of age, lack of adequate ladder length and ongoing maintenance.
BEMIDJI -- The makings of a new chapter in Bemidji’s economic development took shape Monday, as business officials and community leaders broke ground on a new facility for Delta Dental of Minnesota. When completed in September 2019, the new operations and technology center will house up to 150 employees. The company is expected to be a top 10 employer in Bemidji, with employee wages to range from $15 to $33 per hour, officials said.
BLACKDUCK -- A group of incumbents on the Blackduck City Council are running for office again to continue their service in local government. For the mayoral race, incumbent Rudy Patch is running for reelection against current Blackduck City Council member Jason Kolb. Patch won the mayor position in 2016, succeeding Daryl Lundberg.
BEMIDJI—With the primaries now in the rearview, the Minnesota Republican Party is looking ahead to November's General Election. However, party officials say the strategy won't change. At the Beltrami County Republican Lincoln-Reagan Dinner on Wednesday evening in Bemidji, state party Chair Jennifer Carnahan said the GOP will continue into the General Election with all systems go.
Misdemeanors, ordinance violations in Bemidji will go through City Hall; felonies will remain with county