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 -- After months of preparations, Greater Bemidji will this week close on a deal to buy the Mayflower Building, director Dave Hengel said Monday. Greater Bemidji intends to use the building to house its "Minnesota Innovation Institute" or MI2, a start-up business incubator.
BEMIDJI -- Dale McKenzie has a faded tattoo on his arm with a date from 1943: the day he joined the U.S. Navy during World War II. Although McKenzie would go on to make a career of the military and serve in three major service branches, the two-plus years immediately following that date on his arm forms the most indelible part of his experience serving his country. A lifetime later as a retiree in Bemidji, McKenzie still remembers treating casualties from the Pacific Theater's bloodiest battles as a corpsman aboard the hospital ship U.S.S. Rescue.
BEMIDJI -- Sierra Sue II has been both a warrior maiden in America's most epic conflict and a femme fatale in a detective story that spanned decades. "She" is an airplane -- a P-51D-20NA "Mustang" fighter plane, to be exact. Sierra Sue and hundreds more like her helped the Allies win World War II by seizing control of the skies over Europe from the German Luftwaffe.
BEMIDJI -- On Saturday, the first day of deer season, I joined local hunter Matt Lewis's hunting party long before the dawn. For decades, the Lewis family has hunted on a 60-acre patch of what is now state-owned land northeast of Bagley.
BEMIDJI -- Gov. Mark Dayton missed the 12th Annual Minnesota Governor's Deer Opener banquet Thursday, but that didn't stop hundreds of hunters from celebrating the onset of the 2014 deer hunting season, which begins Saturday. Dayton was unable to attend the banquet the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association hosted at the Sanford Center due to a flu bug, but sent along a message with his apologies that Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr read to the crowd.
BEMIDJI -- Beltrami County marched to the beat of its own drummer on Election Day even as it went along with some statewide trends. The county opted for Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Al Franken by margins similar to the those in the state as whole. Dayton had about 51 percent of the vote in Beltrami County and 50 percent statewide, while GOP challenger Jeff Johnson had 42 percent in the county and 45 percent in the state.
BEMIDJI -- The race for House of Representatives District 2A covered familiar ground. Dave Hancock, R-Bemidji was in position to retake his House seat on Tuesday and defeat incumbent Roger Erickson, DFL-Baudette. Erickson won the seat from Hancock in 2012. At about 12:30 a.m., Hancock lead Erickson with 105 of 107 precincts reporting. Hancock had 52.45 percent to Erickson's 47.40 percent. The swing-area race has captured a relatively high degree of attention from the statewide political world.
BEMIDJI -- The 12th Annual Minnesota Governor's Deer Opener is in range, with a 12-point rack full of activities and events in Bemidji. Minnesota Deer Hunters Association interim Executive Director Dennis Quarberg said the annual Deer Opener is a bit like a holiday. "It's a celebration of the season that we look at as being our most favorite time of the year," he said. Although Quarberg acknowledged this hunting season would be a conservative harvest year with higher restrictions, he said it wouldn't dampen the mood at the opener celebration. "A sacrifice today makes prosperity tomorrow,"
BEMIDJI -- John Persell, DFL- Bemidji, 64, won re-election in District 5A on Tuesday, defeating challenger Phillip Nelson. With all 70 precincts reporting early Wednesday, Persell won with 55.13 percent of the vote, or 7,862 votes, while Nelson had to 44.77percent, or 6,38 votes. Nelson is new to politics, having been recruited by the Republicans for his first-ever race to try and take down Persell. Nelson, 33, who said he wasn't accepting any financial contributions for his campaign, was running on a three-point platform: campaign finance reform, job creation and tax reduction. "If you do want to donate to the Republican campaign for th
BEMIDJI -- Two men on the front lines of Minnesota's small business economy faced off in the House District 2B race. Incumbent Republican Steve Green, 54, of Fosston, held onto his seat Tuesday, topping DFL challenger David Sobieski, 48, of New York Mills. With all 87 precincts reporting, Green topped Sobieski 57.16 percent (8,335 votes) to 42.77 percent (6,236 votes). It's the second term for Green, who defeated Brita Sailer of Park Rapids for the seat in 2012.