Posted: May 16th, 2010 | Author: Julie | Filed under: North East of Bemidji, South of Bemidji | Tags: Bemidji, Common Ground, Lakeland Public T.V., Minnesota, moving, new job, This is my town, young couple | 9 Comments »
Photography by Julie Saari
Filming “Common Ground”
North East of Bemidji
Ashley was the one to contact me. She asked me if I would take part in her LPTV show Common Ground. I was so new into my project this prospect made me nervous. We met and discussed the possibility at a downtown coffee shop. When we left I was going to take part in Ashley’s show and she was going to participate in my project. She would be filming me taking pics of someone and I in turn would take pics of her filming someone,a very snake eating it’s own tail tale. What I learned is Ashley is learning to live in the Greater North. Brought here temporarily for a job, she is staying for reasons not listed in the travel brochure.
This is Ashley:
I was offered a job, I was moving to a new city! Life, as I knew it, was great! I received a packet in the mail from the Bemidji Chamber of Commerce, including ALL the information I needed to know about the city of Bemidji. Sure, the temperature looked colder…. and my friend’s eye’s nearly bugged out their heads when they saw 50 below in all of that information…but, it never really impacted me?
I guess, a naïve Ohio girl had never felt 50 below, so it was no big shake. I was ready!
On my 24th birthday, I loaded up my car and headed North with my mother by my side! As we passed each state line, my excitement grew! By the time we reached Motley, (next day) it was 8 p.m. and my excitement flew out the window somewhere on Highway 10. Where in the heck is this place, Bemidji? After two angels assured us we were headed in the right direction, we finally reached our destination!
The cold, winter months drug on, but I was reporting for Lakeland News at Ten and meeting several key community members! I was driving on the ice with a vehicle to cover stories with the DNR, which was shocking to me! I was watching Ice Rescue Searches with the local emergency departments. I covered Logging Days, an annual tradition in Bemidji. I watched two police officers in training, get zapped by the tazer gun. This process was all part of their training. They did ask if I wanted to be zapped too- now if that isn’t Minnesota Nice, I don’t know what is? I politely declined to be zapped! I watched winter blow away and summer swarm in with mosquitoes. I vividly remember ducking to the ground, thinking a pterodactyl was flying overhead! Thankfully, the mosquitoes don’t like me.
Soon, I met a great friend, who insisted on keeping me here. So I agreed when she asked me to meet a new guy, who had just moved to town too! Things were great- I was new to Bemidji and he was new to Bemidji. We were learning what this town has to offer, together! I became obsessed with the outdoors! I began to learn of the vast trail system. I was bike riding, running, swimming in the lakes and enjoying life in the North Country. We savored the summer days until winter blew in again and I was offered a job to leave, a morning anchor position, at a TV station in Wisconsin. I visited the small Wisconsin town, I even interviewed for the job, which was offered to me. After a lot of tears, many long conversations, a list of pros and cons, I decided this is my town! Bemidji, the last place on earth I thought I’d be living! Now granted, my love interest, Dale Turner had a lot to do with my decision to stay, but thankfully, I’ve never regretted staying here!
Bemidji is a unique place. It’s a close-knit community that thrives on togetherness. Whether it be volunteerism, community events, or a night out on the town we do it together. You see the same faces everywhere you go and to me, that’s ok! I enjoy the small town feel of Bemidji. I cannot believe the vast appreciation for non-profits! There are even businesses that allow you to volunteer your time, during the workday. Not too many other cities, especially larger ones, would be so willing to let employees reach out to their communities to lend a helping hand! I think it is awesome, I can say I live in a town that thrives on community!
Working for Lakeland Public Television for the past four years, I have learned just how important all non-profit organizations are to this area. Through my line of work, I have been fortunate to work within the Bemidji community and surrounding communities. Many communities rely on Bemidji, as it is the closest “city” to most of their towns. Not only do they rely on Bemidji for shopping, but for entertainment. We have a great venue for performance, art and outdoors! I have learned a great deal about the arts of northern Minnesota from a new show that I produce and host on Lakeland Public Television called Common Ground. Common Ground is a weekly series that highlights northern and central Minnesota. We explore the worlds of art, history and culture right here in the North Country! Meeting such talent in my very own community is such an adventure! The people of Northern Minnesota are great and the community I have learned to accept as my own is priceless! I have thoroughly enjoyed my 4 years in the Bemidji area and plan to call this place home for a very long time!
I could never have imagined the lifelong memories I have created here in Bemidji, MN. I now love the outdoors, have a new appreciation for the arts and thoroughly enjoy taking an active part in my community! Lastly, I should tell you there was some information missing from that very first packet I received from the Chamber of Commerce. It failed to mention, I would find love and lasting friendships here in Bemidji, MN. It’s for those reasons, I call Bemidji, home.
Written by Ashley Hull
Click here to view a slide show of Ashley’s photo shoots
pics by Julie Saari
Common Ground Facebook Page can be found HERE
Common Ground’s site can be found HERE
Posted: May 10th, 2010 | Author: Julie | Filed under: North East of Bemidji, South of Bemidji | Tags: Bemidji, Bike Guy, bike ride, following dream, Minnesota, repair, starting a new business, This is my town, trail | 4 Comments »
Photography by Julie Saari
Northeast of Bemidji
I had just finished a meeting downtown. A truck with a trailer pulled up and parked as I crossed the street heading toward my vehicle. The emblem on the side resembled that of a super hero, and maybe Kirby (The Bike Guy) is a super hero, at least in the world of bikers. Kirby grew tired of trying to make a living and decided to try to earn money doing what he liked instead. This decision seems to have served him well. Mobile bike repair with same or next day service is something this town obviously needed. But there is a man behind the business
Meet Kirby H. (aka The Bike Guy):
Water, pine trees, wood smoke and ‘smores, that was the beginning of my personal Bemidji. I guess I am lucky that my parents loved to camp. When I was a kid the word “Bemidji” was magic. I have heard it said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but to an eight year old growing up in the middle of the Red River Valley, the word “Bemidji” conjured up a thousand pictures. Here a few words about my town, you will have to fill in your pictures yourself.
Summer, the camping was in the summer (and still is for my wife, kids and I) but since I arrived here in 1997 summer has grown into more than I could even have dreamt it would. I love to fish, enough said about that. Really, I love too many fun summer things to even start listing them, so I will list the fun Bemidji things I don’t do: rollerblading on the bike trail (no time), windsurfing (but my friend, Drew, is going to teach me this summer) and Muskie fishing (not enough patience). That’s it.
Fall, okay the smell of the leaves on a damp morning – I will never be able to put that into words so I won’t even try. My dog helping me find birds is the highlight for me, my wife prefers to round up her friends and head to “Girls Deer Camp.” When our kids were younger they loved to rake leaves into a big pile and bury each other (wait a minute, they still do!), the pumpkin patch, “Spooky Dinner” (our annual Halloween bash for the kids, their friends and our friends) late season walleye fishing on the Rainey, bow hunting, late season mtn. bike rides on 60 degree days in November, and finally the first snow arrives!!!
Winter, I would call it “the best season of all” but that would just not be fair to the other three. At Buena Vista Ski Area I fell in love with skiing the minute my oldest brother, Mark, rode a chairlift to the top with me and said “See you at the bottom!” I became and addict, I would beg, borrow and steal rides with my friends and their families, I signed up for any and all denominations that were sending a bus for the weekend, any way I could get there was fair game. On church trips we slept in the train cars that still sit in the Logging Village; those hot/cold then hot/cold bunks are where I left some of my best nights of sleep, ever. I could not believe it when, in the fall of 2005, Liz Letson called me and asked me to run the rental shop (I had managed a ski/bike service shop in Grand Forks when I was in college, so I knew the biz backwards and forwards). I tried to act cool but I think they saw the excitement in me in the first five minutes. I loved every minute of it (if you can figure out how to bottle the energy of two hundred school kids that just rode a bus two hours to get there, you will be a billionaire) but I am leaving to run my own business; I am still going to Ski Patrol but I will miss being a bigger part of the experience that people have there.
Spring, everything comes to a stop, slush turns into mud, then it snows again, then that turns in to mud; all on its own schedule with no regard for what us lowly humans want to get done. It is fun to drill holes in the trees and get the main ingredient for syrup out, but other than that I have come to appreciate the “shoulder” time of early spring. Spring gives a person time to transition from one season’s toys to the next. I get our winter gear stowed and roll out the bikes and boat for a little TLC. Relining the fishing rods and finding the life jackets means it is time to look forward to another summer and the circle begins again.
Written by Kirby Harmon
To view a slideshow of Kirby’s photo shoot click HERE
pics by Julie Saari
The Bike Guys Website can be found HERE
The Bike Guys Facebook Page is HERE
Posted: April 12th, 2010 | Author: Julie | Filed under: South of Bemidji | Tags: Bemidji, David, Logging, Minnesota | 6 Comments »
Check back on April 19 for another story
- South of Bemidji
South of Bemidji
Photography by Julie Saari
I found David quite by accident. I knew I wanted a logger to be part of my project. But, how does one find a logger? After all they work in the woods. I happened across a site, took a chance and scrawled a note on a piece of paper and stuck it on the truck at the site. I was praying he didn’t think me crazy. Instead, he called me. He was excited. See, David knows he has a story, and he was ready to tell it. To me this is the best kind of story; one of a life well lived, and lived simply.
The day I took David’s pictures it was his 63rd birthday. He was ready to go and had everything planned to make my experience easier. What he may not have known is I loved being out in the woods. I could have stayed all day; the trees, the smells, the quiet taken over by one lone chainsaw.
David has a story, here it is:
I grew up on a farm near Guthrie. My first involvement with the timber industry was my brother and I cutting aspen off our family farm to sell to the Nu Ply plant in Bemidji. We used our Ford farm tractor and a two wheel trailer loading and unloading all the wood by hand. After we had stacked the cut pulpwood in a place a truck could reach we hired a logger who had a truck to haul it to NuPly.
After graduating from high school I continued to log some in the same way and also to work for loggers who had more specialized equipment. Until I graduated from the University of Minnesota, Forestry school, spring 1970; I worked weekends and breaks logging for myself or for loggers to pay my way through school. By the time I graduated I knew I really enjoyed logging. The development of rubber tired skidders and hydraulic log loaders had taken the backbreaking labor out of the process and made it possible to log more difficult terrain. However, before I could start logging full time I had a military obligation to fulfill.
The four years I spent in the Air Force strongly reinforced my desire to choose my own work and the place I would live. I logged whenever I got leave and I did purchase a used skidder while I was still in the Air Force. As April 18, 1975 approached I was eager to get back to Minnesota to:
Be close to family.
Do work that I enjoyed where I could see the results of my efforts.
Be outdoors every day.
“Be my own boss”!
In April 1975, I started logging full time mostly working as a one man crew. I followed the same model of operation we used as kids on the farm, do the work to get the wood to roadside and then hire the trucking. This is still the way I do things and it has permitted me to do the work I really enjoy.
In March 1980, I married another person involved in the timber industry, Barbara Lundmark. Barbara worked in her father Roy Lundmark’s timber dealership. I had sold Roy wood since 1967 and had known Barbara since I returned from the Air Force. We moved to a location halfway between our previous homes when we got married and my address became Bemidji as hers had been. Barbara continued to run the business for her parents until April 2001, when she and I became co-owners. We continue to operate the business though at a very reduced size due to the loss of mills in our area.
My logging operation is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the heavily mechanized crews that have become the norm. One man with a small grapple skidder, a pickup and several chainsaws comprise the entire operation. Felling, delimbing and cutting into the various products is accomplished with chainsaws. Building roads, skidding the wood from the woods to the landing, sorting into various products and piling for truck pickup is accomplished with the grapple skidder. The pickup carries fuel for the skidder, chainsaws and of course the crew.
In the last fifteen years I have cut mostly private timber combining my forestry education and my logging to help landowners develop a long term plan for their timber and then implement that plan. It is very rewarding to be able to see the results of the work we have done and to be able to share the increase in value that the work has created.
I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to live in an area I love, to do work that I love.
Written by David Horn
To see a slideshow of David’s photo shoot click here
pics by Julie Saari