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Downtown Bemidji is full of four way stops. Not just one or two, rather many many. With this being said, it has always surprised me that people do not seem to know the rules for approaching a four way stop. Drivers hesitate or give up the right of way, while others charge ahead out of turn without care for the rules or safety. When you add pedestrians into the mix, you may as well forget about the rules, and just insert confusion instead.
When my husband and I moved here in the Summer of 1997, the four way stops were one of the first things I noticed. Have I mentioned that there’s many many of them? After seeing how many I would be dealing with on a daily basis, I quickly opted to review the four way stop rules. Since I seem to be in the minority here, I will take the time to post the four way stop rules here (summary version)
Writing note: I was going to post this last week. I started reviewing the rules and was looking for a summary to post through the DMV site etc. One of the first things I came across was this comedic version. I have not been able to get that version out of my head, nor can I personally write anything quite as good. So I have decided to post Jim Loy ‘s version and then link the DMV / MN driving rules. Keep reading-it’s so funny because it is so true.
The four-way stop is a drivers’ IQ test, that many drivers fail. It would seem to be a maneuver of approximately Blue-Angel caliber. But, it is really very simple, if you follow these few rules.
Case I – one car
You are the only one at the intersection. This is the simplest case. First you stop [complete stop (in or out of the cross-walk), rolling stop, 25 mph stop, etc.], then you have only five options:
2. Hesitate, then go.
3. Wait for 3 more cars to come along.
4. Wait for 2 more cars.
5. Wait for 1 more car.
A true Driver (with a capital “D”, master of four-way stops) would choose option #3. After all, they do call this a four-way stop. Most drivers modify option #3 by adding a time limit, like 30 seconds: “Wait for 3 cars or 30 seconds, whichever comes first.” This 30-second wait has degenerated into option #2, “Hesitate, then go.”
Case II – 2 cars
There are a few permutations here:
1. You got there first. See below, “Complication #3, who got there first?” In this situation, just go, unless you are a disgustingly polite driver (Complication #1).
2. He or she is on your right and you’re turning right. Go.
3. He or she is on your right and you’re not turning right. Wait.
4. He or she is straight ahead; and he or she is going straight or turning right; and you’re going straight or turning right. Go.
5. He or she is straight ahead and he or she is turning left or you’re turning left. Wait.
6. He or she is on your left and he or she is turning right. Go.
7. He or she is on your left and he or she is not turning right. Wait.
Case III – 3 cars
If it’s your turn, go. If not, try to imagine what can go wrong if you do go, and then go if you didn’t just imagine your own death. Actually, this case is a simplification of case IV – 4 cars.
Case IV – 4 cars
There are hundreds of permutations here. But, actually, it’s pretty simple. Go it it’s your turn, or if you’re turning right and nobody else is headed for that lane.
Complication #1 – the disgustingly polite driver
A disgustingly polite driver will wait for you even though you both know that it is his or her turn to go. I can imagine him or her stopping for a child, and waving the child into the path of a speeding semi. Such politeness confuses any driving situation. It can hopelessly muddle a four-way stop situation, unless you follow this advice: Flip him or her the appropriate salute, and go.
Complication #2 – which way will they turn?
Cases II through IV depend upon which way the other drivers are turning. Their turn signals may offer a clue:
1. Some people do not signaling
2. Some people will turn the same way that they are signaling
3. Some people will not turn the same way that they are signaling
There are six principles which will help you sort these out:
1. You can legally assume that people will turn the same way that they are signaling, or that they are not turning when they are not signaling.
2. You can legally ram them if they are lying.
3. No witness will stick around to back up your story about whether or not anybody signaled.
4. Drivers (capital “D”) do not signal.
5. drivers (small “d”) do not signal.
6. All other drivers signal.
Complication #3 – who got there first?
“Who” got there first, “what” got there second, “I don’t know” got there third. Sorry, that was merely an allusion. In theory, a four-way stop is simple. The cars stopped in a certain order, and they go in the same order. In reality:
1. Some people don’t exactly stop. So, when did they arrive at the four-way stop?
2. Some people stop one or two car-lengths behind the stop sign. When did they arrive at the four-way stop?
3. Sometimes two cars really do stop simultaneously.
4. Driver A thinks that driver B got there first, and driver B thinks that driver A got there first. This is a simplification of the next situation.
5. Driver A thinks that driver B got there first. Driver B thinks that driver C got there first. And driver C thinks that driver A got there first. From experience, I would say that this, along with various 4-car permutations, is a very common situation.
6. At least one driver has no clue. This has probably happened before he reached the four-way stop.
So, when there’s doubt about who got there first, who should go first? Here’s a handy rule: “I go first, you go second, everyone else hesitates.” My car is the one with the dents in each door.
Complication #4 – pedestrians
Any of the above situations can be further complicated by the intrusion of any number of pedestrians. You won’t see them lining up and going one at a time. They just keep walking right on through the intersection, dodging cars. While pedestrians slow down the normal clockwork of the four-way stop, they also introduce a logical puzzle to the situation. If you are about to go, and a pedestrian walks in front of you, how does that affect the order of who goes when? Do you get to go first once the pedestrian is out of your way? Should all the other cars wait for you? Or, have you lost your place and must wait for 3 more cars to go. This guideline should help: “If you have to wait for a pedestrian, you are now a time-bomb waiting to go off. To minimize the loss of life, you should be allowed to go first.”
Complication #5 – the four-way stop starburst maneuver
This is when all four cars go at once. All four cars stop, nearly touching, nose to fender. And, nobody can go forward. The driver who backs up loses all respect from his or her family. Besides, the next four cars have gone forward by now. So no one can back up, if he or she wanted to. The four-way stop has now achieved critical mass. The only solution is for one car to be removed, sideways, by a fork-lift. I’m sorry to say that I’ve never seen this done. I understand this is very popular in Europe, at all kinds of intersections.
Four-way stop theory
Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity says, among other things, that two observers, travelling at different speeds, cannot agree on when something happened. In fact observer A may say that event X occurred before event Y, while observer B may say that event Y happened first. And both observers are right. This leads to the “four-way stop paradox.”
A theory that seems to have even more to say about four-way stops is Natural Selection.
Dear Bemidji drivers, it is time to figure this out. You deal with these signs daily if you are downtown. Denial is only getting people frustrated at you. I know the reason you sit and wait for the other person to go (even though you clearly are in the right of way) it is because you don’t know the rules! Well I have cleared that up for you now. Proceed (now that you know how).
Right of Way and Yielding: Right-of-way and yielding laws help traffic flow smoothly and safely.
They are based on courtesy and common sense. Violation of these
laws is a leading cause of traffic crashes.
• When two vehicles reach an intersection at the same time, and
there is no traffic light or signal, the driver of the vehicle on the
left must yield to the vehicle on the right.
• When two vehicles reach an intersection at the same time,
and all-way stop signs or flashing red traffic lights control
the intersection, the driver on the left must yield right of way
to the driver on the right.
• A driver who wishes to make a left turn must yield to vehicles
approaching from the opposite direction when these vehicles are
in the intersection or are near enough to pose the risk of a crash.
• When a green arrow signal indicates that a vehicle may enter an
intersection to make a left turn, the driver must yield to other
vehicles or pedestrians already within the intersection. After
yielding, the driver may continue in the direction of the arrow.
• When two vehicles approach an uncontrolled “T” intersection, the
driver of the vehicle that is turning must yield to all cross traffic.
• When approaching a public road from a private road or driveway,
you must stop and yield to pedestrians and traffic.
• Drivers in the right lane of traffic must yield right of way to transit
and metro mobility buses attempting to merge from a bus stop
• When a funeral procession identifies itself through use of headlights
or hazard warning lights, you must yield to the entire procession.
Always looking for an adventure Jon Heller can be found on his bike or on the road exploring and photographing his experiences. Jon takes as many photos for friends as he does for assignments. A style unique to Bemidji Jon Heller has a flair for photography not usually seen in a town our size. One of the first people to contact me after I started This is my town: Bemidji, Jon and I have become friends and he has helped me on numerous occasions get a shot I can’t, or to loan me equipment I could only dream of using much less have. You have seen some of Jon’s work on the Facebook page in the Where the Heck? pics as well as the profile photos as well.
Some of you know him, but for the rest let me introduce you to Jon Heller:
A big part of my story is pretty much the same as everyone else that grew up in Bemidji. Born and raised in the Bemidji area but with the desire to travel away from here. I would read stacks of “outside” magazines dreaming about all the places I wanted to visit without knowing how I could make it happen.
Then in 1993 on a family vacation to Glacier National Park everything changed when my Dad showed me how to use his old Nikon FE camera. Once those first rolls of Kodachrome came back I was hooked, finally an art form that let me record what I saw in the world the way that I saw it. On top of it all it was easy or at least I thought so after seeing those first slides. From that point on I devoured every magazine, book and behind the scenes video I could get my hands on which is when I started to realize how much more there was to getting successful images. It doesn’t even matter what kind of photos I’m shooting, a lot of photographers only shoot one thing but I don’t really care what I point my camera at as long as it inspires or moves me in some way. I have lived in Montana, Wyoming, Florida and California and traveled to all the places in between but I keep ending up in Bemidji.
Hours after graduating from high school I was on the road back to Montana to attend photography school for the summer. By this point my main direction was in photographing people, still loving it all I just shot what ever I could. On top of that I was on my own, exploring the mountains around Missoula. However, by the time the program was done I was ready to come back to Bemidji. I spent the next few years working odd jobs while trying to build a portfolio as good as the images I saw in magazines with little success, the ideas were there but I was still missing something. Then. I got hired to assist a new commercial photographer in Bemidji who showed me how much work and gear went into getting those shots I was trying to emulate. He had all the gear and would let me borrow it for my own shoots. That’s when my images started to improve by leaps and bounds.
I have paid my photographic dues over the years shooting baby, family and wedding photos to the point where those are the only things I refuse to shoot. Mostly due to the fact that I was never very good at those kinds of shoots but they managed to pay for the gear that let my work evolve into what it is today. I do love photographing people though, anything from sports to environmental portraits. For my personal projects I tend to be drawn to people that I find interesting on some level usually through what they do for work or their hobbies. I really enjoy trying to create images of artists from other mediums.
I’m at a place right now where my photos are getting published on a fairly regular basis and it still doesn’t get old seeing my images on the cover of magazines. I still haven’t picked just one direction to go in, one day I might be shooting a orchestra conductor the next I might be dangling from a rope shooting a rock climber, all things I have actually shot in Bemidji.
That’s the great thing about Bemidji is that even though it would be considered by most a small town things are constantly changing and evolving around here to the point where there is always something new to shoot. I think that is why I have such a hard time choosing a direction with my photography and sticking to it. At the same time I am constantly brow beaten by the small town mentality around here. People automatically assuming that some one who claims to be a photographer and doesn’t run a portrait studio is creepy and should be avoided (mostly because they have seen too many made for TV movies). Though a lot of that has died down since I started shooting for a local woman’s magazine.
The last two or three years though have really been amazing, constantly shooting something and actually having people volunteer to be in my images. Three years agoy works improved immensely when I went digital and was really able to experiment with lighting. I quickly converting from a natural light only type of a shooter to an available light shooter, and by that I mean any light that is available. I will drag enough lighting equipment out to a shoot that it looks like I could be shooting for Rolling Stone when I am probably shooting something as a favor to a friend or a portfolio piece for myself.
Through all of my travels over the years and even the places I have only dreamed of visiting I love having Bemidji as my home base. With all my odd ball friends (term of endearment) that have supported my photography over the years usually by being the subject matter and the area locations that have served as the backdrop for my images this place is home. I am a 31 year old Bemidji local and it has taken most of those 31 years to realize how great of a thing that actually is.
Bemidji Regional Event Center opened their doors November 17, 2010 with their first show Larry the Cable Guy, followed by Sesame Street Live and then onto Hockey and other events. Here are some photos of a few events I personally attended at the center. The next promoted event is Styx live in concert on May 28, 2011.
Blake Shelton Concert
January 29, 2011
Bud Light Bull Riding Challenge April 1&2 2011
April 4, 2011
Bemidji Jaycees Home Sport and Travel Show
The Weekend of April 8,9,10 2011
More Information on the Sanford Center Can Be Found Here
Coffee Pot Landing
How can a person explain Allan? First you start by calling him Fargnot. Second you accept that Uncle Bill Fargnot is indeed his uncle (although he truly is a fictional character, I think. Having heard enough about his Uncle Bill Fargnot I have started to think of this character as a real man.) You learn what a fabulous story teller Fargnot is. You quickly learn that he cares for his wife and family immensely. Finally, you know he is always open for an adventure. He is a teacher of Mathematics (and wisdom) at Cass Lake High School, though I first met Fargnot through geocaching.
A note about the photo shoot- Standing knee deep in the Mississippi River at Coffeepot Landing I tried to keep my balance as the current swept by me moving rocks that knocked against my feet. The sky opened up and the rain poured down. Allan’s smile got bigger as he stated the weather could not be any better for pictures of him, pouring rain was perfect. If you look carefully you will see the rain drops on the river and even some in the air.
It is my true honor to introduce you to Allan H
This part of my story begins in Flint Michigan where at the age of fifteen I worked for my father selling Christmas trees in the front yard of our home on Miller Road, our location was good and business was steady. On Christmas Eve we sold the last tree we would ever sell from our lot as my father announced we were moving to Minnesota to chase after another one of his dreams, we did this every couple of years. He thought we were trading the retail end of the pine tree business for a chance at early retirement. He had purchased a piece of land where we could build a plantation a couple of miles north of a town called Bemidji. I was destined to become a tree farmer.
I made myself believe that it was fate that brought me to Bemidji and it was my lot in life to chase after distant shores. The land we had purchased was a cedar swamp and cedar Christmas trees never really caught on. We were good dream hatchers, but weren’t very good dream catchers. After a while you get used to disappointment, I learned to live with the angry insects and unbearable cold by numbing myself with a good dose of depression. All of that has changed now that I realize the role defining moments have had in directing my life. These days the prayer in my heart is that my children will find a place like Bemidji to raise their dreams.
Everyone starts life with a defining moment which comes from God. He gives us a place from which to start our journey and a time to travel. To some, place is more important as it determines the direction that gives form to our lives. To others, time is the stronger gift that gives us those precious moments to fulfill our destiny. These gifts are given to outfit us for the adventures that lie ahead and are meant to help us find our way back to Him. It is a sacrifice on His part to be parted from those whom He loves, so he has given us a time to return and a place to remember lest we forget. In His infinite wisdom, He realized I would need a little extra help along the way. Four defining moments in the form of pine trees, faith, education and rivers were placed upon my path to help me find my way home.
In the Northwood’s there is a saying “It’s all about the trees” and in my case that was the truth. It was the trees that brought my family to a land where I would meet my eternal companion. Soon after we arrived in Bemidji, I was standing at the bus stop right after the first snowfall when off in the distance I could see the neighbor girl walking along the edge of our swamp headed in my direction. Her beauty took my breath away. It was sometime later that I regained my senses and all I remember is looking out the window of the bus watching flowers sprout out of her snowy footprints. After many years of getting to know one another, I chose her for my wife and she chose me for her husband. I gave her my undying devotion and in return she gave me a family with five children which we will forever cherish.
Time was good to us, but over the years I could feel the gift of place pulling us apart. During the first years of our marriage I often thought about moving back home to Michigan, I had my father’s disease. One day I came home, sold it and packed up the U-haul. We were headed for the Promised Land where I could be king. One of my wife’s favorite sayings is “my husband is the head of the family, but I am the neck which makes the head turn”. So she quickly turned my head back towards her land and a westbound U-haul was soon parked in our Michigan driveway. At first it would seem that we had made no gains, but during our short stay in Michigan we had another defining moment as we found our faith and became Mormons, it was after all the Promised Land.
I have often thought that a happy wife was in my best interests and being in Bemidji certainly accomplished that. We built a log cabin and started our family. Back to basics was the theme of those years. We raised goats, had a midwife deliver the children, took baths in the lake, and lived the poor man’s dream. At times it was wonderful, at times it was a nightmare, but another defining moment soon put another U-haul in our Bemidji driveway. This time we were headed for Brigham Young University in Utah and an education were I was destined to become a mathematics teacher.
Five years, a few more kids, and the realization that we were both strangers in the desert helped us understand how important place was to us. We tried her place, then my place, and then another place and finally it all came together….Our hearts had become one and we realized we could be happy in any place as long as we were together and it was our place. In the end it wasn’t the trees, the seasons, or employment that helped us choose Bemidji in which to build our life. Simply put it was the river that was the deciding factor in our decision to call this place home. I remember talking to my Uncle Bill Fargnot (a world renowned geocacher) and will never forget the “Bill talk” he gave us. He said “Some people live east of the Mississippi and some live west of the Mississippi, but very few have an opportunity to live north of this mighty river”. For some unknown reason this connected with our spirits. When we feel disconnected, we load up the canoe and head for Itasca to make the sixty mile pilgrimage to our home for the past twenty-five years, Bemidji.
Here name is not Ashley, nor is it Elizabeth, but her sense of humor is such that she can laugh at you when you mix her name up not once, but yes, twice. That is what I did to Angela (her name is Angela). When I first started reading Angela’s story I thought she had gotten it all wrong. Surely she did not understand the concept behind this project. That is, until I reached the last paragraph, and then I got it. She did understand and she made me remember that not everyone ends up here on good terms. But, Angela also proves that you can make the most of what life gives you, and do it with a smile.
Say hello to Ashley
(her name is Ashley)
My move back to Bemidji was not the smoothest of transitions. Ultimately I had to pack and move 9 years of my life in a trailer, and drive 5 hours “back home”. My uncle and a friend of his had agreed to help me move. However, part way into the journey home, a flat tire happened on the trailer, at night, in a remote village in Wisconsin. Since it was a Saturday night, this town (if you could call it that), had only one place to buy a tire, and yes, they were closed; we were staying the night. The next day, after spending a pretty sum on two new trailer tires, I was optimistic, we were ready to roll and on our way. Three or maybe it was 4 hours later….we finally reached our destination; my apartment. It was a decent little apartment, just on the end of town in Nymore. However, as we were moving in, I made a sad discovery; my couch did not fit through the door, and it wouldn’t. I would have nothing to sit on. However, the piece de’resistance to this glorious day was when I was outside just ready to bring in some boxes when I heard this magnificent crash and shatter! If one can hesitantly hurry…I did so. I was afraid to know what had happened. There stood the helper, my uncle’s friend, over my living room window. Disbelief was the first reaction. How exactly does one large window, fall out of the wall? Well, it just falls out, when you try to open it, apparently. As the evening came to a close, I remember one of my friends saying to me, as I sat on the front steps, “You’re going to cry aren’t you?” I said quite certainly “no”, though I knew it wouldn’t be long before that happened. I had no place to sit in my apartment, and no window, so I said “We’re going out”.
In 2003, I wasn’t coming back to Bemidji at the happiest time in my life, I sort of felt as though I was coming back with my tail between my legs looking for a place to hide. Making the decision to come back to Bemidji wasn’t easy. After all, I was leaving great friends. When one moves back home after life changing events, they don’t have big “welcome home” parties for these types of occasions. What do you put on the banner and balloons? “Happy Divorce”, “Way to go!” What I did know, was that I needed to move on, and “start over”. At least that’s the way I was trying to see it; starting over. For me, starting over meant, Bemidji.
I was born in Bemidji, in 1974. I went to JW Smith Elementary, graduated from BHS, and went to Bemidji State University, before transferring to UW Stevens Point. I lived in various parts of Wisconsin for nearly 9 years. Now, I have been back in Bemidji for 7 years, I honestly didn’t know that would happen. It has now been the longest I have lived in one place since initially leaving! Why do I stay? Family and friends; it is home. You don’t move back to Bemidji for its fashion, or its wealth…there isn’t a lot of that here. I stay because of its isolation, and its opportunity.
Being back in Bemidji, has allowed for me to discover who I am and what I want from my life. It and the people, my friends and my family did welcome me back home after all those years, not with a big party, but with a quite hug that said “welcome home”.
The sculpture painting project was made possible by a grant Catie Belleveau wrote to the George W. Neilson foundation. They funded our purchase of the 10 beaver blanks that local two dimensional artists have enhanced with their unique painting styles. These sculptures will reside on the Sculpture Walk for a year and be auctioned next spring to the highest bidding individual or business who will have them grace their locations. The proceeds will be used to enhance the Sculpture Walk and 30% of the auction price will be paid to the artist who painted the beaver.
The image of the beaver was chosen by a community survey that was promoted through local media and the artist were selected by committee judging. The blanks were created by a company in Chicago called Cow Painters. We originally ordered 10 blanks but because of a delay of shipment they sent us a extra blank as a consolation. Nine beavers will be installed throughout Bemidji today with the tenth beaver coming soon, being delayed because of a death in the artists family. We have not yet determined the fate of the 11th blank beaver.
We would like to thank our down town business sponsors, The Sculpture Walk Committee, participating artists and George W. Neilson whom we are dedicating this years Sculpture Walk to – because of his foresight and philanthropy in enhancing the lives of the people in our community for many years.
Facilitation and installation are being preformed by Mitch Blessing and Al Belleveau.
Information provided by Al Belleveau
Hello, my name is Crinkle.
N 47° 28.301’ , W094° 53. 024 (City Hall)
I got that name because I spend a lot of time in the water and I get all crinkly. My best friend is Walter a Koi Fish who lives at The Wild Hare. I am enjoying summer in Bemidji after being rescued from the Evil Chain Smoking Beaver Trapper who resides 2
nd and Minnesota. While enjoying my new found freedom I have been able to check things out around here and there is a lovely tree that I am chomping at the bit for. I really want to go gnaw on it and use its parts in a dam I have been working on. This tree is located by River Wood Bank. There is yet another tree I have been eyeing on the corner of 4th and Minnesota but I don’t thing I can reach it. I hope you will enjoy spending time with me and all the others on Bemidji’s Sculpture walk.
N 47° 28.236’ , W094° 52. 955 (3rd and Minnesota)
As the sunsets in our beautiful land,
where the Mississippi is born,
the beaver stands
as the sad clown who sees
suffering at the hands of the humans
as their needs to consume
swirls in the red sea at the end of this river
May all life forms find protection
let the Earth heal and grow!
“Home Sweet Home”
N 47° 28.228’ , W094° 52. 890 (3rd and Beltrami)
This sculpture was painted to draw attention to the beavers, which are the original community builders. They create the pond where they can live, build a lodge, and raise their young, and at the same time, create a place where other animals can live and flourish as well. In my work we see them sharing their living space with several fish, a turtle, and a dragonfly. It also has several aspen leaves, which represent the beaver’s favorite food (a quickly renewed resource), and petroglyph images which represent the long history of association between these animals and humans. “Busy as a beaver” has become a cliché phrase, but in regards to the beaver, it is completely true!
N 47° 28.227’ , W094° 52. 865 (3rd and Beltrami Ave.)
This lake scene was painted by Alice Blessing using her fingers instead of paintbrushes. The resulting marks manifest in a surprising style that resembles pointillism and the impressionistic works of Claude Monet. The artist hopes that this colorful work reminds you to protect our lakes and wildlife: Don’t pollute! Don’t poach!
Jason Elliott Clark
N 47° 28.239’, W094° 52.792 (3rd and Bemidji Ave)
Using an x-ray style I have chosen to represent both the interior and exterior aspects on this beaver form, illustrating anatomical features ranging from bones, tendons, muscles, and nerves to unborn kits and even dietary contents within the stomach. These features are represented through the use of a bold formline and stylized or symbolic markings.
Deborah A Davis
N 47°28.290’,W094° 52.880 (4th and Beltrami)
Gaea means Mother Earth and God is Gracious
That the fertile earth itself is female, nurturing mankind is a belief that crosses culture, time and borders. Gaea means Mother Earth. It also means “God is Gracious,” and is one of the 52 feminine aspects of God in the Christian Bible. Gaea in mythology was a female Titan. If we could embrace the strength of womaness, celebrate it, we would become the people we are meant to be: nurturing, loving, whole.
on a side note: While painting this, the gulf oil disaster occurred… and I couldn’t help thinking, if we could incorporate this… become less gluttoness and more sacrificial, the world would be more like the home it is meant to be for us and our children.
Hug, the History Beaver
N 47° 28.162’ , W094° 52. 973 (2nd and Minnesota)
Hug, the beaver got his name from my 2 year old grandson. Hug is covered with the history of Bemidji. The information from old photos of residents, old newspaper clippings, and a written history was found on the internet. Hug is painted green for Bemidji State University, as they are green beavers. I painted pictures on him that remind me of this area. I chose a fish, an eagle, a deer and two trees. To me, they symbolize Bemidji, and the surrounding area. You can see these things from a distance. When you get closer, you can read some of the history. Up by the top of his head it tells about the post office and how Bemidji was mistakenly named “Bermidji” when the post office first opened. It was quite a lot of time and red tape to get the name corrected. On Hug’s foot are listed the mayors of Bemidji, and the dates that they served. There are many other facts to discover as you look closely at the surface. Sadly, some of the history was lost when the symbols of the area came into being. But, sad as that may be, Hug still contains many mysteries to uncover.
Paula J. Swenson
N 47° 28.425’ , W094° 52. 887 (by Courthouse)
The river and ponds where beavers make their homes inspired “River Home”. The riverbanks are lined with rocks, shrubs and small trees with larger trees in the background. Among the inhabitants of the woods are deer, bear and coyotes. The stars in the sky, the northern lights and the shoreline are reflected in the water where small mouth bass, blue gills and muskies swim. (I know bluegills are not brown and bass are not yellow but that’s how I am.) A spiny soft shelled turtle basks on a sandbar in the river.
Visitors are welcome to visit my studio by appointment. Appointments can often be arranged on short notice. Please call Paula at 218-751-6767
N 47° 28.364’ , W094° 52. 864 (5th and Beltrami)
I wanted to design something that was totally fun, with bright colors and original characters I developed that would appeal to kids. I have two young girls at home, so they had a great time watching the beaver (we named him Ed) become this big art piece. I even used some of their toys in the design and let them do some painting, so they thought that was pretty awesome.
My youngest girl liked the beaver so much that she sat on his tail and ate her cereal in the morning for a few days. Overall it was a great project to be involved with, and became something my whole family enjoyed. I hope the community enjoys the painted beaver sculptures as much as I did being a part of the experience.
I have provided the information, locations, and small photo collages of each beaver sculpture. I intentionally did not post large pictures of each one, these photos are only to serve as a teaser. I do hope that you will take the time to enjoy each sculpture up close and take in the true beauty, talent, and creativity in person. If you look carefully at the art work it is easy to forget that such beauty is placed on the shape of a beaver. A project like this just adds to my appreciation of this town and it’s artist population. It is just another facet that makes this my town.
(Please leave a comment in the box below to show the artists your appreciation. Thank you.)
A special thank you to Janet Rith-Najarain for providing the waypoints.
One person’s life affecting many. That is how I describe Mackenzie. As she hands over your double shot/soy/two pump/vanilla latte and the Uptown scone that could make or break the rest of your day; she is having an impact on your morning and hence your life. A smile, a kind word, remembering it is your big day, asking about an update on your last conversation, and making sure you get that specialty cheese you need for your party, one person’s life can affect many. How has Mackenzie affected your life? I know she has made me smile often.
I came here for the college; I stayed for the community. I arrived in Bemidji in the fall of 1999 in order to study Mass Communications at BSU. As I met friends and relationships evolved I tacked on studies in Art and Art History. I started working at Harmony Co-op in 2001 as an evening cashier. I fell hopelessly in love with the Co-op and all the people in it. And then I fell in love with a co-worker. Jeff, the Produce Department and a steamy summer were the fertilizers that helped my roots grow. So when the dairy manager at the time left, non-related and unaccomplished degree be damned, I stayed and started my humble beginnings as the “dairy queen”. Since I had worked at BSU as the Touche Gallerie director and assorted Art History assistant positions I was collecting paychecks from multiple jobs.
My time at BSU ran out, Harmony was a steady deal but I needed something else. So a few months after Moni & Reed opened up the Wild Hare Bistro I popped in to say that I should probably just turn up to do dishes when they were busy and maybe it would be neat if they hired me. My profession as a “professional” cook had begun. My employment there has taken me great lengths in my cooking skills, on cheese adventures to Wisconsin, catering gigs, true friendships and burns and cuts. I still do the dishes…and now I have been there for four years.
I’ve been at the Co-op for eight. Anyone reading this who knows me most likely met me while I was at work. That is what I do. I work for me, I work for my husband (Jeff) but I work for you Bemidji. I love to make you coffee and muffins. I want to hear about that cheese you had at a friend’s house while you were on vacation. I need to know how your son is doing in school. I want to see your art show. I’d love to meet your parents when they come to town for your graduation.
The deal that Bemidji and I have worked out is that we are fiercely loyal and take care of each other’s needs. I live to serve and Bemidji serves this need for me.
Bad Cat Creations
Coffee with sugar, a particular routine, a pack of cats, confident, all on her own terms… She is never shy with her smiles and I found her easy to talk to. She doesn’t want you to get the wrong impression- she isn’t soft she may even be gritty- tattoos, dark edgy hair, and a dress style you can’t just buy off the rack. However, I saw a soft side too (look at the picture of her holding her cat), she is kind and seemed loyal and honest. Fun, quirky, a robust true laugh… things I took with me after meeting Christina.
May I introduce you to Christina:
I was born in 1981 in Copenhagen, Denmark to an Icelandic Mother and a Minnesotan Father. I spent my first few years of life in the tiny farming town of Ogilvie, MN and moved with my widowed Mother to Bemidji around the age of 3. My Mom eventually remarried to a hot-rod mechanic and we moved to the outskirts of Bemidji to an old two story log home built in the 1930’s by my Dad’s maternal grandparents. We had no next door neighbors and I had no siblings, often feeling alone and stranded in the middle of the Chippewa National Forest, my imagination took hold.
As a child I would wonder through the woods surrounding our house, often playing a story or a character in my head, with my trusty yellow lab, Susie, by my side. Some days I was a princess, captured by an evil queen, some days I was a pirate on a treasure hunt for lost gold (which happened to be my play jewelry I would ask my Mom to hide and then diagram a map for me to follow). I picked flowers for my family, collected rocks for my collection, and danced within fairy rings. My Mom embraced art in our lives, and we were always trying new creative avenues. I loved playing with paints, stringing beads and listening to music (of all genres). All in all, a creative and fun childhood.
Growing older, I began to resent being stuck in the woods, far from friends and things to do. We did at times live in town in a home we owned, but always ended up heading back out to our home in the woods for freedom and the stillness. As years went by and I became a teenager my need to leave grew more and more. I couldn’t wait to get out and live my life, discover who I was as I often felt stifled here.
When I was 20, I packed my bags and left for Minneapolis, I was never coming back.
While living in Minneapolis, wanting to find who I was, I realized I had always known who I was. What I was missing was my voice.
Art had always been a coveted dream in my mind, something I loved and had been striving for. I wanted to be an Artist. I told myself time and time again I would never be an Artist because I couldn’t draw or paint the things I saw in my head. It would break my heart over and over. While working at a shop in Minneapolis that sold jewelry making supplies, I pursued jewelry techniques as I had enjoyed making rather primitive jewelry as a child. It all seemed to come so naturally to me. I would spend all day working at the store, building ideas for jewelry in my mind, to get home late at night and pull together the small jewelry kit I had assembled for myself and work and re-work old jewelry. One night, inspired by pendants that were given to me by a customer at my job that day, I got up in the middle of the night with an idea of what should be done with those pendants. I was too afraid to lose the idea in my sleep. After a couple hours of stranding and link working I held up my finished necklace and said ‘YES! This is exactly how I saw it in my head!” That would later come to be my first “Aha moment”. I realized that maybe I couldn’t draw or paint the images in my head, but I had found MY medium for creation and my voice as an Artist.
It was soon after that, when my jewelry box was over flowing, as well as my friend’s and family’s, that I decided it was time to take it to the next level and start my business. Bad Cat Creations was born in 2002.
After 3 years in Minneapolis, I grew weary of the constant stream of noise and distractions. I missed the sounds of loons and crickets at night, having never become accustom to the sirens and noise of the city. The end of that last year could not come soon enough. I bought my home (a small mobile home) and moved it out onto my family’s property. Still unsure of where I wanted my life to go, after a year I closed up the house and headed to Pennsylvania to get a degree in special effects make-up. I don’t know if getting that degree and moving to Hollywood was ever a real goal in my mind, but at the end of my schooling, just about to graduate I realized it was not the industry for me. So, still not wanting to “go home” I headed to Arizona and started working for the Renaissance Festival, looking for new experiences and travel. Those first few months of life in the Southwest left me feeling unhappy and a little lost. When in conversation with one of my closest friends, she asked “if special effects doesn’t make you happy, then what does make you happy?” Without hesitation I said “I love doing my jewelry designs!” This was my second “Aha moment”.
With new determination, as well as wanting to be close to my family, I returned to Bemidji for the final time and began the journey to fulfill my dream.
I began to see Bemidji with new eyes and a new place of promise. Feeling secure and free in my little home in the woods, taking in all the beauty around me in my own yard that I seemed to have missed before, I pushed myself to pull inspiration from all my experiences and travels. Pursing art festival after art festival, toting my wears, telling my story and meeting fellow artisans and new artists looking for advice on how to “get started” selling goods, a brainstorm started brewing.
Having always had the dream to own my own store, I decided I would not waste anymore time simply dreaming of it. I would make it happen. I had decided I would not only follow my dreams, but I would chase them down and make them my reality! And if I could help other artists along the way, and bring new and different products to my community- I would do it, and do it with a smile.
I often joke that opening my shop was purely a selfish dream, I wanted a fun little boutique like the ones I loved in Minneapolis and other places in my travels, and if no one else was going to do it, then I would! But in actuality, I wanted to fully embrace my community and help it grow into the artist community it is blossoming into. I began to meet wonderful people, and find new love of old places I had once never given a second glance too. I love that I can walk through my downtown area and encounter friendly strangers and smiling friends. I love the strong sense of community, and the feeling that if we can be a strong community, then we too, as individuals, are strong.
I have some serious pride of my town Bemidji. It is a fun, warm, loving, and creative community. I often wonder how I didn’t see these things before, but I don’t spend too many precious moments thinking of the past, wanting to savor every moment enjoying the present and dreaming of the future.