Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or email@example.com
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RED LAKE -- The Red Lake Tribal Council voted Tuesday to rescind a resolution accepting a land swap agreement with Enbridge Energy. The tribal council voted 5-3 to rescind the resolution that, in December 2015 accepted $18.5 million in exchange for a parcel of land about 16 miles south of the reservation.
BEMIDJI—For years, Sierra Charwood looked forward to the year she would finally be old enough to participate in Native STAND. Charwood's mother had worked for the program, which aims to educated Native American youth in Bemidji, Red Lake and Cass Lake about sexual health. Students have to be at least 14 to take part in the classes and, this year, Charwood was eligible.
BEMIDJI—In the period of one week, shortly before Christmas, five people on the Leech Lake reservation overdosed. One person died, but the four others were saved by doses of Narcan—a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose—administered by family members, rather than first responders or police. Those four people are part of the reason Leech Lake EMS Director Terry O'Connor has held 10 classes in Leech Lake and Bemidji, training community members on how to use Narcan.
BEMIDJI—A Redby man accused of killing his toddler son will remain in federal custody until his next court appearance. During a brief hearing at the Beltrami County Courthouse, Magistrate Judge Jon Huseby granted a motion by federal prosecutors to keep Gary Wayne Jackson in custody. Jackson is scheduled to appear in court in St. Paul on Jan. 12 for a detention hearing.
BEMIDJI—Recent documents in the federal case against a former Bemidji Middle School assistant principal who used social media to prey on his students paint dramatically different pictures of Brandon Mark Bjerknes, and argue for dramatically different prison sentences. Bjerknes' attorney, Peter Wold, and the U.S. Attorney's Office both submitted arguments for their preferred sentences Jan. 2, a month before the former administrator is set to appear in federal court.
RED LAKE -- A Redby man who allegedly killed his 1-year-old son faces a federal murder charge, according to court documents. A Jan. 5 criminal complaint against Gary Wayne Jackson, Jr., states that the child, identified in a separate obituary as Darren Earl Lee Jackson and referred to in the complaint as D.J., was found dead by Red Lake authorities the morning of Jan. 2. According to the complaint:
BEMIDJI—A Bemidji man who escaped from custody in Beltrami County in July will not have to spend any time in prison. Keanu Joseph Major, 22, appeared in court Monday, and received a stayed sentence of one year and six months in prison. This means that Major will not have to serve the sentence as long as he complies with the conditions of his probation. Major also received a sentence of 109 days in jail, but received 109 days of credit for time served.
BEMIDJI—Early last year, Bemidji athletes Parker Bruns, David Wangberg and Dale Williams, Jr. did something extraordinary. The three local powerlifters each bench pressed their way to the podium at the Minnesota Special Olympics for their respective weight classes, thanks—at least in part—to training they received here in Bemidji.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally published on Jan. 5, 2017 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.
WALKER -- Though the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe made significant strides in 2017, Tribal Chairman Faron Jackson, Sr. spent much of his first-ever “State of the Band” address looking ahead to potential 2018 projects and challenges. In his speech, Jackson heavily emphasized the need for more federal funding to keep reservation programs afloat, and updated band members on this year’s projects and initiatives.