Steve Wagner is editor of the Bemidji Pioneer.
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Between 3,100 and 3,200 customers of Otter Tail Power remain without electricity this morning after a storm packing winds in excess of 80 mph hit Bemidji and surrounding areas Monday night. Cris Kling, a spokeswoman for Otter Tail, said there are 40 power employees here working to restore power, a process slowed by the large number of trees down. "The primary thing is trees on the lines," said Kling, adding the number of broken poles and transmission crossbars are few considering the storm. She said the first priority for Otter Tail employees is restoring transmission lines, and then crews
BEMIDJI - The word "change" has virtually become a buzzword. Not just for Bemidji and Beltrami County. It's on the tip of the tongue for everyone who talks about virtually any substantial subject matter: politics, government, health care, business, economics and communications, including who and how we do it. And with change comes a new set of challenges. Dave Hengel, executive director for Greater Bemidji, knows the challenges well. Greater Bemidji, the organization focused on economic development in the area, is faced with branding issues and getting the word out about Bemidji's strengt
BEMIDJI - After 35 years in business, the Kmart store here will close its doors. The retail giant said Wednesday that it won't renew the lease for the store, 1201 Paul Bunyan Drive NW, attached to the Paul Bunyan Mall. Store manager Tim Hayen said he was informed of the closing on Tuesday, and has talked with store employees to let them know. The store, which opened in 1977, employs 50-60 employees, most of whom are part-time. "I'm still trying to grasp all of this," said Hayen, adding employees also were surprised by the news. "I'm in the infancy of all of this.
CASS LAKE - Carri Jones' victory in last week's Leech Lake Tribal Council election was confirmed after a recount this week. Jones picked up two votes in the recount, conducted Tuesday afternoon by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, paving the way for her to be the tribe's first female chairperson. The recount brought Jones' vote total to 1,337, compared to 1,330 for incumbent Arthur "Archie" LaRose. "We're all excited to see what happens" once Jones assumes the tribe's top post, said Steven Howard, executive director for the Leech Lake Band. Frequently, not much gets done in tribal government
One of the most frequent questions we receive here at the Pioneer comes from groups and organizations wondering how to get information about their events into the newspaper. Recently, in preparation for a meeting with a group of directors for volunteer services in our community, I put together a tip sheet to help them - and the Pioneer staff - get information into the paper. Our aim is to put news about events into the paper in advance so readers can plan their days, nights and weekends. So, what types of events and information will we print? Our focus is on newsworthy events - those gener
BEMIDJI - The last time Tabitha Carrigan wrote out a ticket for a driver failing to have children restrained in their car seats, it turned into a pricey penalty for the parent. Workers at a local fast food restaurant called police to report the parent, who had ordered food through the drive-up window, was traveling with five children, none of whom were properly restrained. Carrigan, an officer with the Bemidji Police Department, said the violation proved to be costly - a citation for failing to properly use car seat restraints costs $135 - since there were five car seats in the sport utility
BEMIDJI -- Two Bemidji men were arrested Wednesday in connection to a burning cross reported in a yard north of the city last month. Derek Daniel Barnes, 20, and Ryan Fairbanks Andree, 19, were arrested on suspicion of terroristic threats and use of explosive/incendiary devices, according to a news release issued Wednesday night by the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office. Investigative reports will be forwarded to the Beltrami County Attorney's Office for review by prosecutors, who will consider formal charges. No other details of the arrests were immediately available.
BEMIDJI - A journey to discover his own faith has led Harlan Hegna to take a pilgrimage to Israel. Born and raised in Bemidji, Hegna, 27, is an independent filmmaker now living in Los Angeles. "When I was 9 years old my brother was killed in a car accident," Hegna told the Pioneer.
A 3-month-old Bemidji boy is in critical condition after a team of first responders helped revive him Memorial Day morning. In the middle of his shift Monday, Officer Karson Otness, a nearly 17-year veteran of the Bemidji Police Department, was at the Law Enforcement Center when the call came in at 9:13 a.m. Otness drove three blocks and arrived two minutes later to the home on Minnesota Avenue Northwest, where a mother had reported her child wasn't breathing. "You don't get those calls very often," Otness said Tuesday.
'You will not be forgotten'