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 -- People are planning to cut another hole in the ice covering Lake Bemidji this month. However, this one won’t be for ice fishing. Instead, for the 16th year, bold volunteers will be jumping in the cold waters for the annual Brrrmidji Plunge. The event, organized by the Bemidji Jaycees, has attracted both locals as well as people from across the country and world to plunge in Lake Bemidji, with all of the proceeds going to help the community.
BEMIDJI—One political career in county government ended Tuesday night while another is just getting warmed up. At the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners meeting, a ceremony was held to recognize outgoing officials while also swear in newcomers (and some returners). On the county board itself, newly elected District 1 Commissioner Craig Gaasvig took the oath of office, officially succeeding longtime official Keith Winger.
BEMIDJI—A new Bemidji City Council took the stage, so to speak, at the Sanford Center on Monday. The council convened for the first time in 2019, with half of the six-member board elected to their positions in the November election. Monday's meeting started with the three new council members, Michael Beard of Ward 2, Emelie Rivera of Ward 4 and the At-Large seat holder Jim Thompson, taking the oath of office. For Thompson, the ceremony marked the second time he's taken the oath for the council, having served from 2010-2014.
The 76th annual Golden Globe awards ceremony is tonight and will give some insight into what films have momentum in the Oscars race. The Globes are voted on and given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of about 90 members. In most award seasons, the Globes are usually one of the more interesting ceremonies, mainly because the HFPA can make some surprising choices. There have been plenty of times where there picks have gone against the season's trends and therefore, they can be notoriously hard to predict sometimes.
BEMIDJI—Monday's Bemidji City Council will be the start of a busy month at City Hall, with several work sessions scheduled to discuss major projects. Because of a construction project at City Hall to improve accessibility, the first council meeting of 2019 will take place at the Sanford Center. Monday's meeting is at 6 p.m., and will feature the swearing-in of incumbent Mayor Rita Albrecht and new council members Michael Beard, Emelie Rivera and Jim Thompson.
BEMIDJI—Data from an updated tourism study suggests visitation to Bemidji remains fairly consistent through the winter, spring and summer months. Over the past year, the University of Minnesota Tourism Center conducted a visitor profile project with results broken into four sections by season. The study was ordered by Visit Bemidji and was started on Dec. 1, 2017. The winter, spring and summer portions of the study have been completed and data compiled from fall is expected for release in early February.
BEMIDJI—The number of people flying in and out of the Bemidji Regional Airport terminal is on the rise. In 2018, Airport Executive Director Karen Weller said 61,430 passengers made their way through the airport, with arrivals and departures about equal. It's a number that's been increasing for some time, with the total just two years ago at 51,000. "It seems to be a trend," Weller said. "For 2017 and into 2018, we were up anywhere from 100 to 300 passengers per month."
BEMIDJI—For the past few months, the unemployment rate for Minnesota, and for individual counties, has been lower than in previous years. The Bemidji region is no exception. Minnesota had an unemployment rate of 2.8 percent in November, the lowest since May 1999, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Beltrami County had an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in November, more than a point lower than the average rate of about 4.4 percent for November in recent years.
The year of 2018 is wrapping up and for movies it means it's time to look ahead. Sure, there are still some 2018 films making their way to more theaters and the gauntlet of award season is still being navigated, but there is also hype building for what's to be released in 2019. For me, the following are the films that I'm looking forward to. 10. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
BEMIDJI—The workday started early for plow crews in northern Minnesota on Thursday. According to city, county and state officials, snow removal operations all began at 3 a.m., with work continuing throughout the day. The early start was in response to a major winter weather system, which had dropped 8 inches of snow in Bemidji by Thursday morning.