Joe Bowen covers education and health for the Bemidji Pioneer.
He is a Minneapolis native and a 2009 graduate of St. John's University. Before moving to Bemidji, Bowen covered education, local politics, crime, and everything in between for the Perham Focus in Perham, Minnesota, and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis.
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BEMIDJI, Minn. — Some Bemidji-area American Indian leaders decried a recent Texas court ruling that could have national implications. A federal judge ruled last week that the Indian Child Welfare Act is unconstitutional because it gives preferential treatment to American Indians and therefore violates the equal protection provision in the Fifth Amendment. The judge, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, also found that the act violated a piece of the 10th Amendment that prevents the federal government from asking states to modify their laws.
LEECH LAKE, Minn.—Larry Aitken, a luminary of American Indian education, passed away early Thursday. He was 74.
CLEARWATER COUNTY, Minn. — Roadwork that crosses the early stages of the Mississippi River was halted briefly on Tuesday morning, Sept. 18, by protesters who object to a plan to install an oil pipeline nearby and a similar plan in Louisiana, where the river drains into the Gulf of Mexico.
BEMIDJI—On a sunny Friday afternoon, Vicki Meyer ran her hands along the underside of a boat, checking for the sandpaper-like feel of Zebra Mussels. "How long has the boat been out of the water?" she asked the man who towed it to the Cameron Park boat launch in Bemidji. Since Friday, or maybe Sunday, he replied. "And what was the last water body you were on?"—Lake Bemidji. Meyer tapped the man's responses into a small tablet and, after a few more questions, went back to her SUV, which doubles as a kind of office or ranger station.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Nine Minnesota schools have formally agreed with the state on a plan to reduce the district's discipline disparities. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has been pressuring school districts to reconsider their disciplinary practices since fall after noticing non-white students were suspended or expelled at a rate much higher than their white counterparts.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—It was easy to find Janice Haworth's World Music class on Friday morning. The hum of more than 40 student-made didgeridoos—the centuries-old indigenous Australian wind instrument—filled the music professor's classroom at Bemidji State University and spilled out into Bangsberg Hall.
RED LAKE, Minn.—About half of Red Lake High School's student body and a handful of Red Lake Middle Schoolers left class Wednesday as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence in schools. The walkout here was one of thousands, big and small, held across the country on the one-month anniversary of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead and motivated a sustained political push for tougher gun control and school safety measures—and it carries a deep significance in Red Lake.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Bemidji High School students hope to organize a pair of events in lieu of a now-canceled walkout demanding action on school shootings. The school's student council wants its classmates to perform 17 acts of kindness on March 14, one for each of the people killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that reignited a national debate over gun violence. Other student bodies have pegged that same date for a nationwide walkout.
WALKER, Minn.—"Who loves America?" an announcer yelled to a growing crowd that had gathered around a rectangular hole in the ice on Leech Lake. The crowd "woo"-ed in agreement and, minutes later, teams of people in lifeguard suits and star-spangled swim trunks leapt into the icy water at the raucous, boozy International Eelpout Festival, which started Thursday, Feb. 22, and wraps up Sunday, Feb. 25, on a frozen stretch of the lake outside Walker.
BEMIDJI—A school walkout to protest gun violence has been canceled. Bemidji Area Schools Superintendent Jim Hess said he didn't support a Bemidji High School teacher's call for students and faculty to leave class next month to protest school shootings, and the teacher told the Pioneer the event has been canceled.