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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LEECH LAKE, Minn.—Larry Aitken, a luminary of American Indian education, passed away early Thursday. He was 74.
Laporte Public School's music program is officially back in place, and district leaders and the public at large are set to brainstorm ways to change it next year and beyond. School board members voted unanimously on Tuesday to rescind their earlier decision to eliminate the district's music program and put Louise Bass, it's longtime — and only — music teacher on unrequested leave.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Bemidji High School students hope to organize a pair of events in lieu of a now-canceled walkout demanding action on school shootings. The school's student council wants its classmates to perform 17 acts of kindness on March 14, one for each of the people killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that reignited a national debate over gun violence. Other student bodies have pegged that same date for a nationwide walkout.
WALKER, Minn.—"Who loves America?" an announcer yelled to a growing crowd that had gathered around a rectangular hole in the ice on Leech Lake. The crowd "woo"-ed in agreement and, minutes later, teams of people in lifeguard suits and star-spangled swim trunks leapt into the icy water at the raucous, boozy International Eelpout Festival, which started Thursday, Feb. 22, and wraps up Sunday, Feb. 25, on a frozen stretch of the lake outside Walker.
BEMIDJI—A school walkout to protest gun violence has been canceled. 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 canceled.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—A central Minn. 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 - A person who appeared to have a medical emergency was rushed to the hospital after apparently driving a truck into a financial advisory office Monday evening on the 10000 block of Bemidji Avenue. Neighbors who live immediately across 11th Street Northwest from the office said they heard the crash at about 6:40 p.m., then saw a woman open the truck’s door and call 911. A pair of tracks plowed through their yard indicate the truck narrowly avoided their home before it struck the building.
BEMIDJI—Bemidji Area Schools staff suspend and expel American Indian students at a higher rate than their white counterparts—but they aren't the only ones. Statewide, American Indian, black, and multiracial students are suspended more frequently than their proportion of the population would suggest, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Education.
CASS LAKE, Minn.—A girl's body was found last Friday morning in Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. Cass County Sheriff's Office staff and other law enforcement officers were told of a body found shortly after 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 12, and discovered a "deceased juvenile female" within the city limits of Cass Lake. No age or other information was provided. The sheriff's office is investigating the incident, along with the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department, and an autopsy has been scheduled, sheriff's office staff said.
If you go: What: Meet and greet the founders of Aurora Waasakone Community of Learners When: 3-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12 Where: Nary School, 25895 County Road 9, Helga Township, Hubbard County An old school building a few miles south of Bemidji could become the area's newest charter school. Anna Wallin and Shanna Reiners are former Schoolcraft Learning Community teachers, and they hope to get Aurora Waasakone, a would-be K-8 charter school, up and running by the 2019-2020 school year in the old Nary School.