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 top young spellers in the Bemidji schools matched wits Thursday to see who is the top wordsmith at the 30th annual Spelltacular Spelling Bee at Bemidji Middle School. Eighth-grader Kasey Stokes took first place, correctly spelling "phonics" to win the bee. An avid reader, her favorite books include the Harry Potter series, she said after her victory. "You ask any of my friends, I am either reading or I am dancing," she said.
BEMIDJI -- Students from a Bemidji High School environmental science class had a bird's eye view Wednesday -- in nearly the most literal sense possible. Groups of students from teacher Kristina Hammitt's class of about 30 took turns going up in a crane to place sticks on a nesting platform some 40 feet in the air to help install a replacement habitat for a pair of ospreys on Irvine Avenue north of town near Movil Lake. Crews from Minnkota Power Cooperative removed the original nest in December, which the ospreys built on a power line pole.
BEMIDJI -- Local nonprofit public access television station Upstream TV went off the air last week amid staff departures and financial difficulty. A post on Upstream's Facebook account Jan.
BEMIDJI -- Newly inaugurated Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon has changes in mind for Minnesota's voting laws -- changes he says will have a particular effect on convenience of voting and turnout in Bemidji. "If you look at the turnout in Bemidji and countywide over the last few elections, which I have, it tends to fluctuate," he said. Simon said there's been a gradual dip in Beltrami County turnout during midterm elections over time.
BEMIDJI -- Grimes Realty is buying fellow Bemidji realtor ERA Pederson & Associates Realty, Grimes co-owner Jimmy Schoonover said this week. Grimes will add ERA employees to its staff and move offices from Paul Bunyan Drive South into the ERA Pederson building at 2815 Bemidji Ave. N., Schoonover said. The deal is expected to be closed by Feb. 20. "We want to expand, we want to grow," Schoonover said.
BEMIDJI -- For a few moments Thursday, Mike Beard’s closet became the epicenter of a local technological revolution. Beard’s townhome near Anne Street was the first to receive a connection...
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji Regional Airport Authority Board is slowly but surely making progress toward getting a new chairperson to replace retiring chairman Marshall Froyd. A application process that originally began in October was extended to Dec. 1 due to an initial lack of applicants, but airport director Karen Weller said Wednesday the board received four eligible applications by the new deadline. At its meeting Wednesday, the board formed a selection subcommittee to help plan its next move.
BEMIDJI -- Roughly an hour before President Barack Obama delivered his 2015 State of Union Address on Tuesday, Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht delivered a somewhat smaller-scale State of the City Address inside Bemidji City Hall. "You can be assured that the state of Bemidji is strong," Albrecht said. "Our community has grown from a sleepy little college town to a vibrant, flourishing regional center." In her speech, Albrecht covered several initiatives at the Minnesota Legislature that may directly impact Bemidji.
BEMIDJI -- The Sanford Center has a new website design to go with a new year. Director Curtis Webb said Monday the new site, at www.thesanfordcenter.net , which went live at the end of December, gives the center and its clients more autonomy since it's run by Sanford Center staff rather than a third party. "We needed to handle a lot more of the traffic we do in-house," he said.
BEMIDJI -- By more than one measure, Beltrami County has recovered from the late 2000s recession. A study by the National Association of Counties found Beltrami County to have recovered from the recession in two of four categories as of 2014: jobs recovered, and GDP (Gross Domestic Product) recovered.