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As Others See It: Keeping street name is the right choice

We're glad the Bemidji City Council decided not to change the name of Stoner Avenue Southeast.

The city planned to make the change because street signs have repeatedly been stolen by pranksters who like to display the "Stoner" name. About 15 signs go missing every year, according to Craig Gray, city engineer/public works director.

Replacing those signs has cost the city money over the years, so in June the council began the process of changing the name.

But at Tuesday night's meeting, Stoner Avenue residents persuaded the councilors to change their minds and leave the name alone.

Kudos to residents like Nancy Savad and Hollie Simmerman for making their case. They contended that changing the name would be a burden on the residents, in terms of updatingdriver's license information, bank statements and more. About 40 property owners live along the four sections of Stoner Avenue in the Nymore area.

More importantly, they made the point that better security measures and proactive surveillance could put a stop to the thievery.

The street is named for Marcus Stoner, a man who came to the Bemidji area in the late 1800s and surveyed much of the land in the region.

During his time in Bemidji, Stoner was the first city engineer and Beltrami County surveyor. His accomplishments were many during the early 1900s. He surveyed the Soo Line from Cass Lake to 20 miles west of Bemidji. He located and built 175 miles of railroads and logging spurs in the area.

Stoner built the only swing bridge across the Mississippi north of the Twin Cities. In 1906, he designed and constructed one of the first strictly sanitary sewer systems in the state. ...

This is the kind of person who should be immortalized.