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22nd April 2014
news

Controversial new parking rules in Bemidji's downtown parking lots that went into effect last month were discussed again at Monday night's city council meeting.

The rules no longer allow any overnight parking by vehicles that do not have a permit. Critics say the new rules will encourage drunk driving by not allowing a safe place for bargoers to leave their cars if they choose not to drive home. And some have questioned the process behind the new policy which was crafted and implemented by the Police Department, the Public Works department and a business group called the Bemidji Downtown Alliance. The rules were put in place without being voted on by the City Council.



7th April 2014
news

Two corrections officers at the Beltrami County Jail were assaulted by an inmate last Friday according to a press release from the Sheriff's Office.

Sergeant Robert Exner and Officer Anthony Olson were in the process of moving 20-year-old when he became combative and attacked them. Exner was transported to the emergency room where he was treated and released for his injuries. The Bemidji Police Department is investigating the incident.



3rd April 2014
news

Former Leech Lake Tribal Chairman Archie LaRose leads all vote-getters for secretary/treasurer in the primary election held Tuesday.

The results, reported yesterday, are still unofficial and show LaRose with 622, nearly double the second-place candidate incumbent secretary/treasurer Mick Finn. In the District II primary Penny DeVault came out ahead of James Howard. In District III, the top candidate was incumbent Steven White ahead of Arnold Dahl. The top two candidates in each race will be on the ballot for the election on June 10.



21st March 2014
news

A ruling yesterday in the contentious annexation lawsuit brought by Bemidji Township against the City of Bemidji.

Ninth District Court judge Paul Benshoof threw out the Township's suit with prejudice, meaning that it cannot be appealed or brought again. The decision keeps in place the decade-old Joint Powers and Orderly Annexation Agreements that the two entities are members of along with Northern Township.

In a strongly worded conclusion to the ruling, Benshoof bemoans the lack of cooperation between the two entities, writing that there is nothing he could “do or say that might lead to a rebirth of the 2004 common vision." He then compared the political situation to a land dispute between neighbors or a bitter divorce, saying that the legal issues were simple, but the political issues were not.

The judge ended the ruling by saying, “the way forward will be for our city and township leaders to choose.”



17th March 2014
news

A 22-year-old Bemidji woman was arrested Friday in connection to the freezing death of a 6-year-old girl in February.

Rachel Downer is expected to be charged today with second-degree manslaughter and felony neglect, according to a press release from the Bemidji Police Department. Downer is the cousin of Mercedes Mayfield, who was found dead outside her apartment complex early on the morning of February 27, when the wind chills dipped to forty below. A preliminary autopsy report from the St. Paul medical examiner showed that Mayfield had died of hypothermia.



13th March 2014
news

The Hubbard County Sheriff's Office is investigating a burglary that happened in February.

According to the press release, the theft took place at a residence in northern Hubbard County some time between February 9th and 13th, and a bag of money was stolen. That money was the proceeds from a church fundraiser for the Knights of Columbus. The empty money bag was found in Cass Lake and returned to 1st National Bank of Bemidji by an unknown man.

Police are looking for that man to get more details on where the bag was recovered and are seeking the public's help with any further information about this crime.



11th March 2014
news

At a work session Monday evening, the Bemidji City Council approved a preliminary plan to upgrade the downtown waterfront park that's home to the famous sculptures of Paul and Babe.

An overview of the $1.4 million project was presented to the council by architect George Watson of WSB and Associates, and it features improved amenities and drainage in the park, which captures most of the storm water runoff from downtown Bemidji.

The current plan has been has been dramatically scaled back from the original $3 million plan that was envisioned some years ago. Construction is planned to begin in July and will cease during the Dragonboat festival. The project is set to be completed by May of 2015.



28th February 2014
news

Police in Bemidji are investigating why a 6-year-old girl was outside early yesterday morning where she apparently died of exposure. Captain James Marcotte of the Bemidji Police Department gave some details at a press conference yesterday.

Police responding to an emergency medical call shortly before 6:30 Thursday morning found the girl inside the front entry of the Washington Avenue Apartments, where she lived. She showed signs of exposure to the cold and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Captain Marcotte said she was wearing a jacket and boots when she was found and it's not known why she was outside in the temperatures that dipped to 27 below zero yesterday morning. Superintendent James Hess of Bemidji Schools confirmed that she was a 1st grader at Horace May Elementary, but police won't identify her until all of her family have been notified.



26th February 2014
news

A Brainerd woman was senetenced to more than 4 years in jail on Tuesday for criminal vehicular homicide.

According to Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie, 24-year-old Kerri Marie Zelinske was sentenced in Cass County District to 50 months in jail for the crash that killed a bicyclist last October. Zelinske plead guilty last month and admitted she had been drinking on a friend's boat before driving her car south on County Road 70, where she crossed the center line and struck and killed 57-year-old Leonard Grabowski of Brainerd.



12th February 2014
news

The results of a survey of Bemidji residents about the city's planned South Shore cleanup are in, and an overwhelming majority supports it. Fifty-one percent of respondents say they are in favor of the plan to remove wood chips and other industrial debris from the Lake Bemidji's south shore beach and lake bottom to make way for a planned swimming and recreation area.

The survey informed people that the project was likely to increase property taxes between 1.7 and 2.7 percent. And yet only 22% said they favor the less expensive option of leaving the lake bottom unrecovered. The survey was conducted by BSU's MARS program.




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