Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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RED LAKE, Minn.—The Red Lake Tribal Council voted Tuesday, March 13, to remove Enbridge-owned oil pipelines from its land. The unanimous vote came two months after the council agreed to rescind a resolution accepting a land swap agreement with the Canadian energy company. That Jan. 9 vote paved the way for Tuesday's action, according to Red Lake Representative Robert Smith.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Before Tantoo Cardinal left her childhood home near Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, to attend high school, she spent her time taking in the nature around her. "I could walk in the bush behind my grandmother and know that there's a whole world out there that's connected to sound and the wind and energy," Cardinal said Tuesday, March 13. "That's where I learned how to act, is from walking behind my grandmother."
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Leech Lake's Emergency Medical Servics and the addiction treatment program called Face It TOGETHER continued their efforts to prevent opioid overdoses Tuesday, March 6, with two trainings aimed at Bemidji State University students. The hourlong events, held at the university, covered general information on addiction and services, as well as the overdose reversal drug nalaxone, also known as Narcan. Students were encouraged to rethink the way they saw addiction, then taught how to use Narcan to reverse an overdose.
RED LAKE—Longtime Red Lake Tribal Council member Richard Barrett Sr. has died. According to an announcement posted to the council's Facebook page on Monday afternoon, Feb. 12, Barrett, 75, is survived by his wife and other family members. Barrett was first elected to the tribal council in 2002, following the death of his predecessor. He served the community as the Little Rock representative for 16 years. Roman Stately Jr., who grew up with Barrett and represents the Red Lake district, described Barrett as a "gentleman."
BEMIDJI—An emotional and largely symbolic sentencing hearing brought legal proceedings against Brandon Bjerknes to a close Thursday, Feb. 8. Even Ninth District Judge Paul Benshoof described his sentence as "moot" during the hearing, shortly before sentencing Bjerknes—the former Bemidji Middle School assistant principal who posed as a teenager online in order to have sexual conversations with children—to a total of seven years and six months in prison.
ST. PAUL — Nearly a year after the Bemidji community discovered that Brandon Bjerknes had engaged in sexual conversations with his students, his victims and their families continue to suffer. One girl is currently in a state mental hospital due to multiple suicide attempts. At least two more have had to make trips to the emergency room after cutting themselves. Some have been bullied by other students. Some can't trust boys or men.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—A Bemidji man who sexually assaulted a vulnerable adult while he was employed at an area REM home was sentenced to 180 days in jail Monday, Jan. 29. Anthony Leonard Granger, 53, also received a stayed sentence of four years in prison. He will not have to spend any time in prison as long as he complies with the conditions of his probation for the next 15 years.
WALKER, Minn.—A Cass Lake, Minn., woman police say was present for the shooting death of Brandi Shank—also known as Brandi Strong—was charged Friday, Jan. 26, with two counts of aiding another who they say committed second-degree unintentional murder. A criminal complaint filed Friday accused Sara Renae LaRose, 41, of giving investigators "false or misleading" information about the November shooting. Brandon Joseph Roy, 24, of Cass Lake, was charged in November with second-degree unintentional murder in Shank's death.
MINNEAPOLIS—As football fans pack the Twin Cities ahead of the Super Bowl the next two weeks ahead of the Feb. 4 game, a group of Red Lake youths hopes to introduce the audience to its culture and seize the opportunity of a lifetime. The group of about 44 students is composed of members of Red Lake's Little Bear drum group and the Red Lake Elementary dance troupe. Both will perform during the week leading up to the Super Bowl.
RED LAKE, Minn.—The Red Lake Tribal Council voted Tuesday, Jan 9, to rescind a resolution accepting a land swap agreement with Enbridge Energy. The tribal council voted 5 to 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. The land, located near West Four Legged Lake and Leonard, Minn., is home to Enbridge-owned oil pipelines that were installed by Lakehead Pipeline Co. Inc. before the reservation realized it owned the land.