Grace Pastoor / Forum News Service
BEMIDJI, Minn.—A Park Rapids man will spend years behind bars for taking a woman to Bemidji to work as a prostitute. David Cruz Velazquez, 44, was sentenced Thursday, Oct. 5, to five years and two months in prison for promoting prostitution. He must serve at least two-thirds of his sentence before he is eligible for supervised release. Velazquez was charged in June with promoting prostitution. He was also charged months earlier with soliciting a child or someone believed to be a child through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—A group of Twin Cities teens who took to the water six days ago to protest a proposed oil pipeline stopped in Bemidji to spread their message Thursday evening, Aug. 17. The six youths, who are between 14 and 18 years old, are paddling canoes 250 miles across northern Minnesota in an effort to raise awareness of their objections to the potential replacement of Enbridge Energy's Line 3.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—More than 100 people marched down Bemidji's main drag Wednesday evening, Aug. 16, holding signs and chanting in response to a racist rally in Virginia this past weekend that left one woman dead. Three Bemidji activists planned Wednesday's "Unite Against Hate" rally after events in Charlottesville, Va., saturated headlines around the country. Colbi Ikola, Nate Larson and Dan Gannon wanted to combat local racism, both open and subtle.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—As Minnesota regulators work to determine the fate of Enbridge Energy's Line 3 replacement project, environmental activists wrapped up an anti-pipeline horseback ride in Bemidji Thursday, Aug. 10. The four-week-long ride, organized by Minnesota group Honor the Earth, took activists from Wisconsin to Bemidji. The riders are working against a number of oil pipelines, including the Canada-based energy company's Line 3. Many activists worry that a new pipeline could contaminate water and land with cultural significance to Native Americans.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Bail for a Bemidji man who was captured after escaping from custody was set Wednesday, Aug. 2, during a short court appearance. Keanu Joseph Major, 22, escaped early Friday morning, July 28, from Sanford Bemidji Medical Center after a corrections officer allowed him to use the restroom, according to court documents. After a multi-day manhunt, he was apprehended in St. Cloud, according to a release from the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office sent at 8:29 p.m. Tuesday.
PONEMAH, Minn.—In the last hours of her life, Anna Gibbs was still teaching. "She was still giving directions," said her son, Leslie Gibbs. "Giving people instruction on what it is they need to do to make their lives better." Gibbs, an Ojibwe spiritual leader from Ponemah, died Sunday, July 23, at the age of 72 after succumbing to liver cancer. She broke barriers by fulfilling roles traditionally assigned to men, and spent much of her life working to preserve Ojibwe language and culture.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—When Bemidji Area Schools Superintendent Jim Hess received news of a school bus crash the morning of May 3, he knew he needed to go to the scene. After Hess arrived at the intersection of Irvine Avenue and U.S. Highway 71 and found Bemidji School District Bus No. 25 on its side in a ditch, the severity of the situation sunk in. But the district's leader also noticed something encouraging.
ROSEAU, Minn. —A former Roseau County sheriff's deputy has beencharged with stalking after allegedly harassing two Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents through text messages, letters and other venues. Joshua McGurran Olson, 35, was arrested April 5 in Clearwater County and is currently being held in the Roseau County Jail after being officially charged Wednesday.
BEMIDJI—The owners of a local funeral home started the year with an unpleasant surprise Monday, when they arrived at work to find that one of the hearses had been stolen. Though police soon located the hearse—owned by the Cease Family Funeral Home—in Clearwater County, it had been burned down to the chassis. The hearse was taken from the funeral home's Bemidji location according to Kevin Cease, who owns the business with his family. Cease said police were informed of the theft immediately and quickly found the burned-out vehicle.