Zach Kayser covers local government and city issues for the Pioneer. He previously worked for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, and is an alumni of the University of Minnesota, Morris.
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BEMIDJI -- The city of Bemidji's two off-sale liquor stores lead most of the state in net profits and racked up more than $5.3 million in gross sales revenue during 2013, according to data released Tuesday by the Minnesota Auditor's office. However, with expenses factored in, the $5.3 million figure translated to about $1.54 million in gross profit and $831,434 in net profit. The statistics were part of an annual report compiled by the state of financial data from all of Minnesota's 237 liquor stores that were operational in 2013.
BEMIDJI -- Sanford Health Bemidji Medical Center faces a financial penalty from Medicare over the rate of preventable complications patients experience at the hospital, according to data released last week by the federal program. Medicare penalized the lowest-scoring 25 percent of participating hospitals nationwide, regardless of how high or low their scores were within that percentile. Joy Johnson, chief operating officer of the Sanford Bemidji region, said Monday the numbers were already known by the hospital and Sanford Bemidji wouldn't be changing its anti-complications initiatives speci
BEMIDJI -- On Monday, the Bemidji City Council approved a 2015 budget and levy that help satisfy old debts while planning for possible new expenses in the future. A new piece of the levy in 2015 comes in the form of $84,000 to the Sanford Center Capital Replacement Fund, designed to save money for possible future repairs or renovations to the building constructed in 2010. City Finance Director Ron Eischens said the money would likely be levied "indefinitely" as the city builds up a reserve over years. "It's one of those things where you never know when you're going to need the money and how
BEMIDJI -- A state regulatory agency plans to hold a new round of public hearings on the proposed Sandpiper crude oil pipeline, including a meeting in Bemidji. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission aims to traverse Minnesota in order to hold five meetings over as many days during the second week of January so that the public can comment on the controversial project.
BEMIDJI -- Bemidji could host a potential pilot program for processing mentally ill criminal offenders, Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp said Tuesday. Hodapp reported to the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners on his activities as a member of the Offenders with Mental Illness Work Group, commissioned by the Minnesota Legislature to determine how to address offenders' needs. Hodapp said he thought the group was focusing too much on problems in Twin Cities rather than Greater Minnesota. "We realized the discussions were metro-centric in nature," Hodapp said. To help broaden the spotlig
BEMIDJI --The City Council voted Monday to donate $5,000 toward emergency shelter for chronic inebriate homeless, opening the door to possibly changing its moratorium on giving to nonprofits in the future. The 4-1 decision stemmed from a request put forward at a Dec. 1 council meeting by the Nameless Coalition for the Homeless.
BEMIDJI -- Bemidji has a skills gap, and the shortage of trained workers is driving away businesses, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Interim President Bill Blazar said Friday. Blazar spoke to a gathering of Bemidji Area Chamber members at the Hampton Inn as part of a statewide tour of local Chamber groups involved in the "Grow Minnesota" business development program. Roughly 100 Bemidji businesses have been contacted by the program since its inception in 2003.
BEMIDJI -- When Senor Patron closed Dec. 1, it became another bitter part of a pattern at 128 First St. W. Owner Miguel Barboza has three other Mexican restaurants across northern Minnesota, and had planned to move his family to Bemidji as Patron gained ground. But that dream died as exorbitant costs from the 100-year-old building he leased drained his money and his will to stay on First Street. "It's an old building, it's so hard to keep it up" he said.
BEMIDJI -- NASA's Orion spacecraft grabbed headlines last week for a successful practice run ahead of a possible trip to Mars -- and technicians from the Bemidji office of Twin Cities-based EXB Solutions helped build it. The company, which has had a Bemidji location since 2008, specializes in performing software testing -- "validation and verification"-- of aeronautics and defense equipment. EXB CEO Chris Schwartzbauer said Tuesday from the main Hopkins, Minn., office that in the case of their NASA contract, EXB worked on integral parts of the Orion craft. "Our verification was looking at
BEMIDJI -- A proposed 380-person housing development in Bemidji Township got preliminary approval Wednesday from the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board. Developer Jeff Dickson presented plans for the Red Barn Estates at a JPB public hearing. The development is slated to be built on about 50 acres in Bemidji Township over four phases during a 20-year period. Plans call for 127 townhomes, each with its own garage.