Joe Bowen covers education and health for the Bemidji Pioneer.
He is a Minneapolis native and a 2009 graduate of St. John's University. Before moving to Bemidji, Bowen covered education, local politics, crime, and everything in between for the Perham Focus in Perham, Minnesota, and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis.
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BEMIDJI—TrekNorth Junior and Senior High School went into a "soft" lockdown Wednesday morning after leaders learned of a potential threat there that has since been determined to be not credible. A student there was suspended in early February after telling a friend he was going to shoot up the school, TrekNorth Executive Director Kristin Gustafson told the Pioneer. The student returned to class Tuesday and several concerned parents contacted the district Tuesday night as rumors on social media swirled, she said.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji Area Schools' next superintendent should be approachable, visible, culturally competent and more, according to consultants hired to help find him or her. School board members unanimously approved on Tuesday a "New Superintendent Profile," which staff from search firm School Exec Connect will use to assemble a slate of applicants for board members to consider this April. And, after the board narrows the candidate field to a handful of finalists, community members and board members can refer to the profile as they interview those finalists.
BEMIDJI -- A school walkout to protest gun violence has been cancelled. Bemidji Area Schools Superintendent Jim Hess said he didn’t support a Bemidji High School teacher’s call for students and faculty to leave class next month to protest school shootings, and the teacher told the Pioneer the event has been cancelled.
BEMIDJI -- A Bemidji high school teacher wants students and educators to leave class next month to make a point about school violence and pressure lawmakers to address a decades-long rash of school shootings. Gina Marie Bernard, an English teacher at Bemidji High School, is organizing a “Women’s March Youth EMPOWER” walkout at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 14, at the high school. The plan is to have students, teachers, school administrators and parents leave school buildings across the country for 17 minutes.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji High School's annual Snow Week starts next week. The festivities kick off on Tuesday, Feb. 20 with an all-day "color day," where freshmen can dress in red, sophomores in purple, junior in orange, seniors in black, and staff in "GO JACKS" blue and white. A coronation is scheduled for 9:46 a.m. in the school's main gym.
BLACKDUCK -- After a Brainerd High School basketball coach announced his resignation last month over parent conduct, Blackduck Public School leaders criticized how coaches here are treated, too. At a Feb. 12 school board meeting, school leaders seemed to be in general agreement that some -- a handful, even -- of Blackduck’s sports parents treat coaches poorly.
BEMIDJI -- High schoolers from across northern Minnesota checked out some of the applications for a career in the arts Tuesday. BSU’s second-annual Media, Art & Design Day aimed to show students that they can make a living in the arts, said Dan Voss, an articulation coordinator in the university’s college of business. “We show students that, yes, you can do this and you can make a living and here's how you can do it,” Voss said.
BEMIDJI—A handful of BSU students and staffers learned about a style of self-defense that goes beyond elbow strikes and hammerfists. "Empowerment self-defense" considers social cues and the broader cultural context in which violence occurs, explained Diane Long, a longtime empowerment self-defense instructor who taught seminars about the technique on Tuesday night and Wednesday on campus.
BEMIDJI -- Bemidji Area Schools needs more bus drivers. The district has 76 regular routes and about that many regular drivers, transportation coordinator Greg Liedl told the Pioneer, but about 10-12 drivers can’t make their regular shift on any given day for a variety of personal or medical reasons. That means transportation department staff regularly call on a dwindling stable of substitute drivers or put their regular duties on hold and drive a route themselves.
BEMIDJI -- As Minnesota lawmakers get ready to work on a large-scale bonding bill this spring, leaders at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College on Tuesday presented their hoped-for projects to a Bemidji-area legislator and one of the state’s top higher education officials.