BEMIDJI—The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources didn't receive all of the dollars it asked for in the 2018 bonding bill. However, it did get more than $78 million to finance multiple projects, including some critical to Bemidji and the surrounding area. The need for the projects, according to DNR officials, is paramount, with many components of the agency's 2,700 buildings listed in "poor or unacceptable condition."
BEMIDJI—Just like the temperatures outside, fundraising efforts at the Bemidji Community Food Shelf are heating up for an annual statewide campaign. The food shelf is one of many across Minnesota taking part in the Open Your Heart Summer Challenge. The challenge is a joint effort between Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless as well as Hunger Solutions. The two organizations are working with communities to help fundraise for food shelfs and will provide a partial match at the end of the month.
BEMIDJI—A new fire station to serve residents north of Bemidji took a step closer to reality Wednesday. At its meeting, the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board approved an interim use permit for the Bemidji Fire Department's new station. Normally, the JPB would require a new fire station to have an approved conditional use permit. However, because the new station will be in a leased space, a former auto glass repair shop, the department instead needed just the interim permit.
BEMIDJI—Nice Ride Minnesota has ended its run in Bemidji, but the program is living on in other ways. In 2014, the nonprofit bike-sharing program based in the Twin Cities started a pilot project in Bemidji to introduce the concept to Greater Minnesota. The Bemidji program allowed residents and tourists a chance to rent an orange bike for either an hour, a day or a week.
BEMIDJI—Construction of three new roundabouts near Bemidji High School is underway with completion expected by the start of the fall semester. The project is the second of two on Division Street to add a total of four roundabouts along the corridor. The first roundabouts was completed and opened in October at the intersection of Division Street and Jefferson Avenue at a cost of roughly $1 million. The recent work, meanwhile, started in late June and includes the three roundabouts, as well as resurfacing some areas in between.
BEMIDJI—Action taken by the Minnesota Legislature is managing to keep health insurance costs in the individual market lower both regionally and statewide. According to a press release from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, premiums for Minnesotans in the individual market are about 20 percent lower on average than what they would've been without the state reinsurance program. The program, titled the Minnesota Premium Security Plan, was created by the Legislature to cover high-cost medical claims incurred by health plans in the individual market.
BEMIDJI—Updates to banking accounts for the city-owned Sanford Center are nearly complete, according to a report given at Monday's Bemidji City Council meeting. In mid-June, the council approved making alterations to who can access two bank accounts related to the facility. One of the accounts is used for the Sanford Center's operations while the other is tied to its box office.
BEMIDJI—The city of Bemidji is now accepting applications for a trio of special archery deer hunts this fall within the city limits, including a new area of town. The hunts, following the timeline of the Minnesota deer archery season from Sept. 15-Dec. 31, will take place at the Bemidji Regional Airport, as well as in sections of Ward 5 and, new this year, in areas of Ward 4. According to Deputy City Clerk Teresa Hanson, the Ward 4 hunt was added because of feedback from citizens.
BEMIDJI—Homeownership for people younger than 35 has been on the decline for more than a decade in the Bemidji region. A report from the Minnesota Homeownership Center shows that from 2000-2015, homeownership in that age group has decreased by 15 percent in Beltrami County, 13 percent in Clearwater County, 19 percent in Hubbard County and 53 percent in Lake of the Woods County. Only Mahnomen County experienced an increase, with a 3 percent boost. Those numbers are also reflected in work done locally by the Headwaters Regional Development Commission.
RED LAKE -- The end of April marked the start of construction on four long-awaited projects for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa.