Over the past several years of blogging I have made it my tradition to do what I call “Hits and Misses” every New Year. This title comes from my experience in the business world where it seems we are constantly analyzing things both positives and negatives. So here goes Bemidjimike’s “Hits and Misses” for this past year.
No doubt the biggest hit of the year was the unbelievable success of the BEMIDJI STATE men’s hockey team with their appearance in the Frozen Four in Washington, DC. Head Coach Tom Serratore, who would be my pick for Bemidji’s MAN OF THE YEAR brought his team together at exactly the right time, beating the likes of Notre Dame and Cornell. I witnessed the excitement this event generated in the community with the pep rally on campus before their trip to Washington. Add to that all of the positive press on the team and the city received during those miraculous weeks. The coach said during many interviews that it could be a “once in a lifetime experience”…and we all got to live it in 2009.
Another hit for 2009 and connected to the first story is the fact that Bemidji State Men’s Hockey was accepted into the premiere hockey conference, the WCHA beginning in October 2010, coinciding with the start of play in the new regional event center. The success of the event center will hinge upon the success of the main tenant, and having the opportunity to play against the best hockey has to offer gives our city a great chance of making the entire South Shore project a big win for Bemidji. I think people here will be surprised how many visitors from Duluth, St. Cloud, Minneapolis, Grand Forks, Mankato and elsewhere will be in our restaraunts and hotels, and will be exposed to our wonderful area while watching WCHA hockey.
My final hit for 2009 is the Alberta Clipper/Southern Lights pipeline project now going on in Bemidji. Little did we know when this was announced a year or so ago what a huge positive economic impact this would have on the Bemidji Area. 750 to 1000 construction workers from Clearbrook to Deer River are making our area home for around 8 months. Total estimates on the United States portion of this pipeline according to Enbridge is $110 million in local spending by the company and an additional $60 million in employee spending. From people renting houses, cabins and apartments to fuel purchases to extra business at food and retail establishments, virtually every segment of our area has seen the positive impact of our own stimulus package. Even sales tax dollars for the City of Bemidji should see a strong surge. And all this happening during a very low point in our national economic picture.
Speaking of economics, certainly a big MISS this year has been the State of Minnesota’s economic condition and its effects locally. Certainly many aspects of our lives from health care to education has been touched by diminished state funding. Unfortunately, this miss may just carry over and be a big miss for the year 2010 also.
Another miss was some members of our city council playing a shell game and eliminating our Community Development Position at a closed door meeting August 10th. On a 4 to 3 vote, this job, which had only been in existence for 15 months, was ended in an attempt to save on the $6 million dollar deficit faced by the city in 2010. At a salary of $57,000 per year, some of our narrow minded council members tried to do a personnel review on the individual holding the position and deemed it a necessary action due to the economics involved. In the 4 months since that vote, we’ve outsourced about ½ of her saved salary to outside organizations for project she could have done, and will probably go into the hole with her claiming unemployment compensation on the city…something which she is certainly entitled to. We have loss a highly respected resource in our city government organization, and again let small town politics affect the future success of our city…in particular the Downtown and the Southshore project. We’ll see how this plays out in 2010…especially with council elections in the fall.
Lastly, a miss is the unfortunate incident earlier this year where a Bemidji Police Officer fired his gun and killed a suspect in the Nymore area. This was one of the first incidences of a Bemidji Police officer killing a suspect in years and reminds us all of the fact that violence and crime are possible anywhere.
By the way…how will you pronounce the year 2010? Will it be the year
2 – 0 – 1 – 0…..or will it be the year twenty ten….or will it be the year two thousand ten?? Apparently there is some controversy about it.
Enjoy a few YOUTUBE videos of the BSU mens Hockey trophy presentation winning the CHA tournament held at the Glass and of the pep rally held on campus. Happy New Year to ALL!!!