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 American Legion building downtown will be sold to become the new Bar 209, officials said Monday. American Legion commander Bob Aitken said Ralph Gracie Post No. 14 plans to sell the building at 217 Minnesota Ave. NW in downtown Bemidji that's been its home for 25 years. Although the post itself will remain active, the bar/restaurant the Legion operates will close as of Thursday, when the liquor and food licenses expire, he said. "Times have changed," he said.
BEMIDJI -- After being presented the Legion of Honor on Tuesday, James Walker of Bemidji struggled to put into words how grateful he felt to have survived one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, and for the support of his loved ones. Instead, Walker looked out at the Beltrami County boardroom, packed with generations of friends and relatives, and said simply, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." The French government conferred the rank of Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion Of Honor upon Walker, thereby awarding him the highest honor France can bestow on a non-citizen. Walker joined the
BEMIDJI -- Retiring after eight years as City Manager, John Chattin has words of praise and words of warning for politicians and staffers inside Bemidji's government. Originally from California, Chattin went into his first government administration job in the 1970s following a seven-year stint in the Air Force.
BEMIDJI -- With the recent warmer temperatures, anglers on Lake Bemidji and other area lakes should tread with care as 'toilet bowling' may make the areas around their ice fishing holes unsafe. Ron Bostic, who owns Taber's Bait in Bemidji, said recent rainfall can widen ice holes unexpectedly as the rainwater flows from on top of the ice through the hole into the unfrozen depths below.
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.