Gone are the days of smoke-filled bars, restaurants and other businesses. Heck, even newsrooms, where a visitor once could all but be guaranteed a white-blue haze above workers' desks, have been smoke-free for years. The impact of the years-long efforts to ban smoking in public places is taking hold in Minnesota. Last week, the Department of Health reported the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey results, which show the smoking rate fell 14.4 percent since 2010. "We know that many factors, including tobacco price increases, smoke-free policies, cessation programs and media, combine to reduce sm
Bemidji is growing. According to 2013 estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau, the latest numbers available, Bemidji's population is at 14,435. That's an increase from the official 2010 census of 13,431. So, we know growth is occurring. But where? And how? That's why last week's initial foray into updating the Comprehensive Plan for the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board is so important. On hold for several years because of the annexation morass, local officials decided rightly to get back to updating the plan.
If you needed a reminder of what season it is, Sunday and Monday did the trick. The region's first real cold snap moved through, with lows forecast in the single digits to below freezing, and coupled with the wind chill, you had actual temperatures in the 20 below range and colder in some areas. (Don't worry, it should warm up by the weekend.) The Bemidj area, and the state of Minnesota, is known for its bevy of outdoor activities, such as ice fishing, snowmobiling, skiing and snowboarding, to name a few.
It happens each year. You peer out the window and see the white and gray canvas that used to be green and blue and you remember, "Oh yeah, I live in Minnesota and winter's here." So, as the first winter storm "snowpocalypse" bears down on the Twin Cities and parts south of us today, it's a good time to remind ourselves about winter driving, and heck, winter living. Roads around the Bemidji area were relatively good Monday, although U.S. Highway 2 was listed as partially covered with snow and ice, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation's website.
This is not a case of if you build it, they will come. They are already here. On Election Day this Tuesday, the Bemidji School District is asking residents to vote yes on two questions: one to issue $40 million in bonds to construct a new elementary school to serve the district's fourth- and fifth-graders and replace the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system at Bemidji Middle School, and the other question is to increase the operating budget by about $1 million a year for 10 years to operate the new school.
It was a tale of two cities this past weekend. Or, rather, two bears. On Friday, a bear that had wandered into Bemidji city limits during the morning hours was later tranquilized and relocated to a nearby park later in the day. On Saturday morning, a bear was shot and killed by police in St. Paul. Both bears were roughly the same size, about 150 to 200 pounds, although the Bemidji bear was larger based on media reports. Why was one tranquilized and removed and the other shot and killed? While some may think it is a black-and-white question and want to blame the St.