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Bemidji State hosts Oct. 15 presentation on emergency response

BEMIDJI, Minn. — A natural resources presentation entitled “Lost in Northern Minnesota – Emergency Response” is scheduled for 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15 at the Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College Center for Research and Innovation Custom College, an off-campus facility located at 3801 Bemidji Avenue North. This Bemidji Area Natural Resources Continuing Education Consortium presentation is open to the public and free of charge.

Presenting will be Beryl Wernberg, 911 communications supervisor/emergency management director with the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management, Bemidji. Her presentation will detail and highlight emergency responses and lessons learned in a remote area of Beltrami and Lake of the Woods counties during the search for Kory Kelly, a grouse hunter who was reported missing in the Red Lake Management Wildlife Area, located northeast of Fourtown. The search began on Oct. 17, 2006, and ended with the recovery of his body on April 27, 2007. The search and recovery effort involved 63 agencies and more than 6,500 hours.

Wernberg said the presentation is intended to be of interest to a diverse audience, including hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, individuals interested in emergency operations and those who may want to volunteer to assist with such operations.

“The importance of emergency preparedness, in every aspect of life, cannot be stressed enough,” said Wernberg. ”Lessons learned from a mission that took place in an extremely remote area with limited communication capabilities will highlight the need to be prepared. In addition, the critical roles that volunteers play in these types of missions will be highlighted.”

Wernberg is the recipient of the 2005 State of Minnesota Outstanding Emergency Manager Award as well as Outstanding Regional Director in 2004. She is a member of the regional Radio Advisory Board and Emergency Preparedness Regional Planning Commission and has been involved in numerous search, rescue and recovery missions. She began work as a dispatcher for the Bemidji Police Department in 1974 and was hired as a dispatcher with the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office in 1987. In 2001 she was promoted to the newly-formed position of 911 communications supervisor and took on the additional responsibilities of emergency management director in 2002.

The talk is part of an on-going series of Bemidji Area Natural Resources Continuing Education Consortium presentations, usually offered on the third Monday of each month. Groups helping organize the natural resources consortium include the BSU Center for Environmental, Earth and Space Studies; the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Norbord Minnesota; the Chippewa National Forest; Beltrami County; the Leech Lake Division of Resource Management; Ainsworth; and the Red Lake Reservation.

Individuals who wish to be added to a mailing list for the series or have questions should contact the Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College Center for Research and Innovation Custom College, Bemidji State University, 1500 Birchmont Dr. NE, Bemidji, MN 56601 (218) 755-4900; toll free, (888) 738-3224; email,

About the Center for Research and Innovation Custom College
The CRICC is an off-campus facility operated by Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College designed to increase collaboration between the University, the College, business and industry and other sectors of the region. The newly aligned outreach resources of Bemidji State and Northwest Tech offer greater variety and easier access to customized training and business services in addition to providing a one-stop-shop, linking external organizations to the region’s higher education knowledge base.
For further information about the CRICC, visit its web site at

About Bemidji State University Bemidji State University, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,000 students, the University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate programs encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. The University is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. University signature themes include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and global and multi-cultural understanding. For further information about the University, visit Become a fan of Bemidji State University on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.