CORONAVIRUS THREAT PLANS

In light of the new cases of COVID-19 in the state, Beltrami County Public Health and Beltrami County Emergency Management hosted a meeting with a broad set of community partner organizations, aimed at getting the community on the same page with a consistent response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. All who took part, agree that it was very informative to hear what organizations are already doing to prepare, especially about the level of planning Sanford Health has completed for any potential need for testing, and a possible surge of patients. Sanford Health is providing testing based on clinical judgement. If you are ill and suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your provider before traveling to medical facilities. Locally, additional information is available on the Sanford Health website for updates.

BEWARE THE SCAMMERS

Incidents of fraud are on the rise and scammers’ tactics are becoming more complex. On Thursday, at 12:30PM at the Bemidji Senior Activity Center, the Beltrami-Bemidji TRIAD will have a session titled “Outsmart the Scammers” presented by Katherine Monkman, a Financial Advisor from Edward Jones. Attendees will learn how to spot certain red flags that may indicate a fraudulent encounter, and learn of resources individuals can turn to in the event they or a loved one are targeted, and steps they can take now to help protect themselves and loved ones. Everyone is welcome to attend.

LETTERS SOUGHT ON IDEAS TO IMPROVE THE JAIL

Beltrami County is working toward addressing the needs for an updated County Jail. The county goal is to have a right sized jail that is designed to keep staff and inmates safe and secure. The County is seeking citizens interested in serving on the Jail Steering Committee. Citizens may send letters of interest to the County Administrator by March 31st. Letters may be sent via e-mail to kay.mack@co.beltrami.mn.us or by regular mail to 701 Minnesota Ave NW, Bemidji, MN 56601.

EDUCATION SYMPOSIUM

On Friday, House Speaker Hortman, Majority Leader Winkler and Education Committee Chairs Jim Davnie and Cheryl Youakim (u-ah-keem) held an all-day Education Symposium: ‘Bridging the Gap’… a high-level overview of Minnesota’s education system. Rep. Jim Davnie had these comments about it on Friday…

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17th Annual Bemidji Area Friends of Concordia Language Villages’ Essay Contest

The 17th Annual Bemidji Area Friends of Concordia Language Villages’ Essay Contest was a huge success…. getting 125 essays from area 4th and 5th graders. 10 one-week scholarships have been awarded. They will be honored in an awards ceremony on Sunday, March 15th, attended by the winners, their families, their friends, their teachers, donors, volunteers to the program, and staff of Concordia Language Villages. For more information, visit www.ConcordiaLanguageVillages.org

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MINNESOTA TOBACCO PREVENTION ACTIVITY

Bills related to smoking prevention have seen a flurry of activity recently at the Minnesota capitol. Laura Smith of Clear-Way Minnesota says states need their own laws to provide enforcement clarity….

While that bill hasn’t encountered strong opposition this session, some lawmakers in past sessions have questioned whether the move would create an underground market.

PAUL BUNYAN ADDING BROADBAND EXPANSION

Paul Bunyan Communications has been awarded a Border to Border Broadband Grant from the state of Minnesota to expand its fiber optic services. As a result, the cooperative will begin expansion construction in late 2020 and continue into 2021. The project is estimated to cost $5.68 million, with the State of Minnesota Border to Border grant contributing $2.35 Million of that money. Access to quality broadband service is considered vital to health care, education, business, and recreation.

NEW RECOMMENDATIONS SURROUNDING POLICE SHOOTING REDUCTIONS

A new report offers nearly 30 recommendations for reducing deadly police shootings in Minnesota – but one watchdog group says the findings fall well short of meeting that goal. Michelle Gross is with Communities United Against Police Brutality, and she says there’s a lot missing from the report….

Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington…

Harrington says the department needs more spending authorization from state lawmakers to put the recommendations in place.

SNOW SURVEYS UNDERWAY

A survey team with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, has begun collecting snow surveys throughout the region, and it will run until March 6. The team is taking the surveys to assist Corps’ water management officials in determining how much water is contained within the snowpack this year. This information is shared with other agencies such as the National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey and helps determine what steps can be taken to reduce flood risks across the region.

RED LAKE TRIBAL MEMBERS TO VOTE ON LEGAL POT

Red Lake tribal members will soon be voting on the legalization of medical marijuana on the Red Lake Reservation. That comes after the Red Lake Tribal Council… .earlier this month… passed a resolution to vote on whether medical marijuana should be available for Red Lake tribal members. The referendum vote to authorize the production, regulation, and distribution of medical marijuana on the Red Lake Reservation will be voted on by Red Lake band members on the May 20th ballot.