Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and firstname.lastname@example.org. He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.
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BEMIDJI - When the latest rankings for county health were released this week, it contained some sobering news for the north country. Cass County ranked at the bottom of the list for Minnesota, and Beltrami County fared almost as poor. The County Health Rankings, prepared by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, ranks the overall health of counties by measuring residents' health and how long they live. In Minnesota, 84 of the 87 counties received a ranking this year, with three counties - Traverse, Kittson and Lake of the Woods - not included. Of the 84 ranked counties, C
BEMIDJI - Starbucks plans to open a coffee shop inside Target here near the end of May. Starbucks is taking applications for "a new store to open Memorial Day weekend," according to a post on the Minnesotaworks.net, which connects employers and job seekers online through the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development. According to the job post, the international coffee chain is looking for staff to begin May 14 and undergo a two-week paid training program.
BEMIDJI - After more than a decade as Beltrami County's administrator, Tony Murphy submitted his resignation letter Thursday afternoon to commissioners. "Over a period of time, the County Board and I have reached a mutual decision to separate," Murphy wrote in an email sent to department heads. As administrator, the county's top appointed post, Murphy spent 10½ years overseeing day-to-day operations for Beltrami County. His letter said his last day of employment would be May 1. Murphy said he's received a job offer within Minnesota, but declined to give specifics.
A lone fingerprint, found on the underside of a toolbox, proved to be all Mike Mastin needed to arrest someone for stealing a truck. The evidence left behind by the thief stands out as an example why the Bemidji Police Department and Beltrami County Sherriff's Office each dedicate a full-time officer to handle auto vehicle thefts. Mastin, now the Bemidji police chief, recalls the 2003 case, primarily because he worked as one of the department's first auto theft officers at the time, just after the city began receiving a state grant dedicated to education and prevention of stolen vehicles. B
Shuttering post offices and mail processing centers across Minnesota, including the sorting center in Bemidji, could lead to the end of the U.S. Postal Service, Sen. Al Franken said Thursday. The Minnesota Democrat, on a conference call with reporters, said closing 117 post offices and five mail sorting facilities could be devastating to customers, businesses and Postal Service employees. "I don't want that," Franken said.
The most powerful winter storm of the year didn't quite live up to its billing Wednesday. For days, the National Weather Service forecast a major winter storm, and possible blizzard conditions in the region, prompting a series of warnings and advisories. After a relatively dry and warm winter, weather service officials encouraged people to prepare for a snow emergency and difficult traveling conditions.
Daniel Leister turns 60 today, but the former Bemidji man says he feels like 15. And, in a way, he is 15. "I've been lucky over the years," said Leister, who now lives in Hawley, Minn. "People don't think I look my age." Leister is a Leap Year baby so celebrating his birthday on the actual date he was born only happens once every four years. He still recalls Bemidji businesses giving away presents to Leap Year babies, including one from Don's Tire when Leister was about 8. "He gave away a sack of marbles," Leister said Tuesday. "It was like gold.
If Arthur "Archie" LaRose, chairman of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, has his way, a proposed bill to make amends for taking timber and land away from Minnesota tribal members will be put on hold. For LaRose, a delay to a 1999 settlement with the federal government is worth the wait to get the legislation right for the approximately 9,500 Leech Lake band members. Currently, legislation is advancing in Washington to release $28 million, including interest, to the Fond du Lac, Bois Forte, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs and White Earth bands of Chippewa. Five of the six bands agree with
Bemidji's mail processing center is among five in the state that will close, the U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday. Locally, the decision affects six workers, and customers can expect delivery delays if they're sending mail to a local address, said Pete Nowacki, a Postal Service spokesman. "It is a change and causes a lot of concern among customers," Nowacki said. "It's certainly not an easy decision for us." Last fall, the Postal Service said operations would likely move to St. Cloud. In early December, Nowacki told the Pioneer that mail sorting operations might move to Minneapolis.
A popular Bemidji meat market plans to participate in the Jaycees' Home, Sport and Travel Show next month, but won't be selling its popular brats there. Instead, Stittsworth Meats will be a non-food vendor and distribute brochures and coupons to attendees.