Understanding the economic situation in Bemidji and Beltrami County

State programs and services for the poor will likely be cut, depending on how the budget is resolved. Some of the poorest counties in the state are around Bemidji ... so how will the region work to help those in economic stress make ends meet? A June 21 forum in Bemidji will tackle that issue. MPR has begun the conversation early by reaching out to Bemidji residents. Here is what they are saying.


  1. Minnesota Public Radio News contacted sources in its Public Insight Network, a database of thousands of Minnesotans who help us define and cover the news. We asked them a few questions about Bemidji's economic future, and those answers are what follow.

    Would you like to be part of this discussion? It's easy. Click right here and answer the same questions.

  2. Tuesday: We will start with this question to those in Bemidji and Beltrami County:
  3. Q: Imagine you're talking to Beltrami County leaders who ask: "How should government and the local business community improve economic conditions?" How would you respond?
  4. Wally Peck of Bemidji responded...
  5. A: Report the impact of what the loss of jobs at the University means in economic terms; report the employment/unemployment numbers. Cheer on and report job gains. Look for long term job creation in the green energy field - jobs that pay and will grow in the future. Create and publicize youth employment and life skill building activities that teach kids that they can be an important cog in their family's current situation and that they can repair and fix to save money; teach residents to garden
  6. Linda Lemmer of Bemidji responded:
  7. A: Because of cuts in federal and state aid I am not sure our local government and business community can do more than they already do. However, the time has come to stop having "consultants" from out of town do things that many local persons are capable of doing. I think community leaders need to make sure that sales are legit and are at full value rather than sell things in a hurry. I have yet to meet anyone who knew Nymore beach was up for sale until it was sold for what appeared to be a very