Our quaint downtown Bemidji looked better than ever this summer thanks to a decision by the city and the Bemidji Downtown Alliance. The city’s parks department hired Josh Kaney for the summer to help keep downtown public spaces and sidewalks tidy, and it made a noticeable difference.
As Nate Mathews also mentions on this page, summer is a busy time in Bemidji this year. There's multiple road construction projects underway, as well as new residential and commercial building throughout the city. And one of the busiest events of the summer takes place this week—the annual Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival, which returns on Thursday at two locations. Thanks go out to the Jaycees, volunteers all, for their countless hours in planning and preparing this event that many people in the region look forward to each year.
Several local news items of the past few weeks featured a familiar theme. The future. For years, various health, wellness and sports enthusiasts have yearned for more facilities in Bemidji to meet their needs. This includes more ice rinks and playing fields, indoor and outdoor, as well as tennis facilities and a YMCA-like space.
Fair and balanced. No, this is not an editorial about a cable television network, which is itself making the news this week. Rather, we are talking about taxes. Specifically, property taxes and those paid by Minnesota businesses. In a recent visit to the Pioneer, Jim Pumarlo, director of communications for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, outlined the chamber’s goals and priorities for this year’s legislative session, which is on Easter break.
Like Lake Bemidji itself, the state park that shares its name is a jewel nestled among the tall trees in this area we call home. And part of what makes Lake Bemidji State Park such a wondrous place are the people. People like John Fylpaa. The LBSP naturalist will be calling it a career in early April after some three-plus decades here in Bemidji. From kids fishing events to snowshoeing treks to leading the park's bog walks, Fylpaa shared his love for the outdoors with countless visitors to our backyard.
Some cheers for the news events of the past week. Quickly becoming a focal point for entrepreneurship in Minnesota, the LaunchPad in Bemidji already is expanding and deserves a cheer. As part of the revamped Mayflower Building downtown, the LaunchPad helps startup business and entrepreneurs, offering co-working space, meetups and training.
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When organizers moved the annual Water Carnival festival from near Paul and Babe downtown to the Sanford Center because of park reconstruction, there were immediate cries of foul, as many thought the downtown business district was being left behind. Now, after two years at the Sanford Center parking lot, the Water Carnival is looking to return to downtown. Ironically, it needs to move because of construction -- the ongoing development of the South Shore.
On Wednesday, Bemidji Chief of Police Mike Mastin released the department’s strategic plan for the next three years.
The Bemidji region continues to grow and one of the drivers of that is the availability of health care options to local and area residents.