Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.
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BEMIDJI—A second opportunity for comment on a proposed Beltrami County tobacco ordinance revision is set for Tuesday, Jan. 22. At the Board of Commissioners meeting, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., officials will open a public hearing to discuss the potential changes. The ordinance revisions would raise the legal tobacco buying age to 21 and has been referred to as "Tobacco 21" by officials.
BEMIDJI—The Bemidji mayoral term may be switching from two to four years. At its meeting Tuesday, the Bemidji City Council is scheduled to discuss a recommendation from the city's Charter Commission for an increase in the mayoral term length. According to city documents, the commission researched and discussed the idea over the past year and felt the four-year term should coincide with the presidential cycle. Additionally, the commission cited other communities similar to Bemidji as one of the reasons.
BEMIDJI—The 13th annual Hockey Day Minnesota was one for the record books. At the onset of the yearly event celebrating the state's beloved winter sport, the temperature in Bemidji stood at 26 below, breaking the previous record of 17 below set in 2008 in Baudette. Despite the frigid temperatures, though, thousands of fans and the hockey players themselves still enjoyed the day on Lake Bemidji's South Shore.
BEMIDJI—The cold is meeting the bold in Bemidji on Saturday, as the 13th annual Hockey Day Minnesota gets underway in one of the biggest events ever hosted by the community. Hockey Day, organized by the Minnesota Wild and Fox Sports North, is a rotating event featuring outdoor high school hockey games to celebrate the tradition of the winter sport. This year, the event is taking place in an area near the Sanford Center.
BEMIDJI—One hundred fans, dressed in jerseys of teams ranging from high school clubs to professional squads, gathered in front of the BSU Alumni Arch late Friday afternoon to help celebrate Hockey Day Minnesota in Bemidji. To do so, they embraced one of the sport's most notable traditions, the stick salute. But, it was anything but ordinary. With so many people braving Friday's frigid temperatures just to raise hockey sticks, BSU organizers called it the "World's Largest Hockey Stick Salute."
BEMIDJI—They're not skating with sticks. They're not shooting the puck. They're not defending the net. But they're still making Hockey Day Minnesota 2019 happen. The "they" are the many volunteers working day and night to help Bemidji's big celebration of hockey run smoothly on the South Shore of Lake Bemidji. There are more than 485 volunteer shifts over the multi-day event and they're all covered by people from a variety of backgrounds, said Kris Christopher, Bemidji's Hockey Day volunteer coordinator.
BEMIDJI—More fines have been levied in relation to the Bemidji First group formed ahead of the November city elections. In a case brought before the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings by Bemidji resident Andrew Wiggins, 2018 Bemidji mayoral candidate Joe Vene was found to have violated two sections of Minnesota campaign finance law. According to documents from the office, a three-judge panel fined Vene a total of $750 on Friday, Jan. 11.
BEMIDJI—The Hockey Day Minnesota rink has been set up for several days now, but organizing committee member Brian Bissonette still feels goosebumps when he walks along the South Shore facility. "It's a pretty special place," Bissonette said. "From my perspective, it is a little surreal. We've seen drawings and plans for more than a year now, so to see it take shape is overwhelming." Hockey Day Minnesota is an annual event celebrating the sport in a different community every year. This is the 13th Hockey Day Minnesota event.
BEMIDJI—The Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings on Tuesday levied two fines totaling $1,000 against a Bemidji resident for violating state campaign finance laws. According to a final order document, Bemidji resident Dean Thompson acted with three other individuals, Mary Ann Thompson, Steve Hill and Jill Hill, to influence the election of three city candidates in the Nov. 6 General Election.
BEMIDJI—The city of Bemidji will form a committee this year to help develop a hospitality tax proposal. In order for a city to implement a special tax, it must receive approval through the state Legislature. In Bemidji's case, both city staff and elected officials are interested in creating a hospitality tax, either on food and beverage, lodging, or both, to reduce the amount of property taxes used to help fund the Sanford Center.