FRIDAY - APRIL 29,  2016


Corey Lee Reitmeier, 45 of Crookston, appeared in district court on Thursday for an omnibus hearing.  The judge set a contested omnibus hearing for June 21 at 1:00 p.m.  Reitmeier has been charged with one count of criminal vehicular homicide, operating a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration of .08 or more.  The charges stem from an accident on September 26, 2015 when Reitmeier was operating a motor vehicle about 8:55 p.m. on Polk County Road 57 when it crashed about six miles east of Highway 75 when two people were hurt. Trooper Millette found the motorcycle lying on the side of a ditch and Reitmeier kneeling over the body of wife Wendy, who had died in the collision.  Reitmeier was injured and taken to Riverview Health where a blood sample was taken about 11:15 p.m. with his permission.  Reitmeier has been cooperative is not confined and promises to appear when requested.




Nate Ellingson, Altru Health Systems in Crookston manager, came to the Polk County Board meeting this week with a rendering of a new addition to the present Altru Clinic in Crookston.  “We started looking and listening to the patients to see how we can improve our services and we are looking at adding on to the clinic and enhancing the services of the community of Crookston, Red Lake Falls, Erskine, Fertile and the area,” said Ellingson.  “We had a rendering done about a month and a half ago and it has been revamped several times as to the content of the building.  The blueprints are changing daily as to the size, but we are not done exploring.”  Ellingson said Altru wants to hear from the community and the businesses as to what they need to carry through the next 50 years.  The timeline is break ground this summer.





Dr. Idatonye Afonya has seen a lot of changes in the decade he’s been with RiverView Health. When he joined RiverView as a general surgeon in 2006 he signed on as chief of surgery, director of medical services, director of Glenmore Recovery Center (now RiverView Recovery Center), and he was the first physician to sign on when RiverView opened its first primary care clinic that same year. He assumed a prominent role in building the success of the new clinic and recruiting and opening the door for several other providers to follow. Through his leadership RiverView has grown leaps and bounds. In appreciation for his dedication to RiverView and its patients, Dr. Afonya was recently named Employee of the Month for April.
A native of Nigeria, Dr. Afonya and his wife, Linda, live in Crookston. He received his BS in Human Anatomy in 1967 and his MD in 1970. He completed an internship and residency at Bay State Medical Center, Springfield, Mass., from 1970-1976. He did fellowships in general/oncology surgery at Bay State Medical Center and kidney transplant surgery at Albany Medical College, Albany, NY. He is a fellow of the International College of Surgeons, 1981, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, 1983.
Dr. Afonya worked as a general surgeon at St. Ansgar’s Hospital in Park River, ND, from 1980-1989, and was a general surgeon at Schoharie County Surgical Associates, Cobleskill, NY, from 1989-1994. He came to Crookston in 1994 and worked at Northwestern Clinic, Grand Forks Clinic and Altru Clinic until 2006 when he joined RiverView.
In his free time, Dr. Afonya enjoys photography, tennis, soccer, ping pong and collecting old cameras. “This is a very pleasant surprise. It is unexpected,’’ he stated of receiving the Employee of the Month honor. “I will continue to do all I can to enhance patient care at RiverView Health.’’




In May, Senior Bryant Hamilton will be walking in commencement. It will be in many ways the fulfillment of a dream and the doorway to another.
The biology major grew up in New York City, in the Bronx to be exact. As a child, he loved microscopes and would sometimes carry his toy version to the playground where he could examine more closely the world around him. He claims to be a “giant comic book nerd,” and has a keen interest in Spiderman and his interaction and understanding of the world around him. When he commented about his Spiderman interest to his science teacher, she told him that Spidey-sense was actually connected to biology and her answer awakened a passion for science in her young student.
Hamilton met his wife, Samatha Anderson, via the Internet, and following her visit to New York, he says he felt “the need for direction” which in would eventually bring him to study at the University of Minnesota Crookston.  “Coming back to school has been rewarding and challenging,” he says. “I learned some important things about the field of biology and what it means to work in the field of science.” At one point feeling overwhelmed by a series of experiments that were not working properly, Hamilton considered withdrawing. “I was working on a process called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that is used in molecular techniques class,” he explains. “I thought if I couldn’t make the process work, then, maybe I was not meant for the field.” He went to his instructor and asked if he had ever felt like giving up.  “He knew just how I was feeling, but what really made a difference was that he explained that my struggle was not keeping me from class,” Hamilton says. “He reminded me that it was my passion for biology that kept me coming back and that science isn’t always about success but about trying, failing, and trying again.”
For Hamilton research failures began to spur on his desire to try and an opportunity last summer to work in the lab on antibiotic research with Associate Professor Bryan Dingmann was pivotal. “Last summer, I lost my father, and a week later, my brother took his life,” Hamilton reflects. “Losing my brother Elias was the most difficult time ever. You see for most of my life growing up, my big brother had been encouraging me to pursue my dream to study science.” Those dark days gave way to another lesson for Hamilton. “I went to my advisor, Dr. Dingmann, and told him what had happened,” Hamilton says. “His response made all the difference. He told me he would be there for me to help me through when I needed it, but he also told me to use the research to give me a sense of purpose and allow it to bring something good out of the pain. All I can say is ‘it worked.”
The research allowed Hamilton to channel the negative energy and use what his brother, Elias, had always encouraged him to do—study biology.
Hamilton is also appreciative of the support his wife has given to him, and he says he owes a debt of gratitude to his mother, April Carter, and his brothers Dennis, Danny, and of course, Elias.  “I believe you should always aim for your dream, and that is what I am doing,” he says. “Obstacles can get in the way, sometimes things happen that seem insurmountable, but your dream is something you should keep trying to reach.”
In a few years, Hamilton hopes to have saved enough financially to go to graduate school with the goal of a career as a microbiologist or a genetic engineer. No matter where the future takes him, Hamilton knows, it is one hurdle at a time and persistence is its own reward.




Spring has sprung and it’s a great time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. While it’s important to securely dispose of physical documents that contain sensitive information in order to protect your identity, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) also recommends adding social media cleaning to your spring cleaning regimen.
“Your digital footprint is something identity thieves keep track of,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “They bank on people oversharing information that they can potentially use to steal your identity.”
Taking steps to guard your identity online is just as important as taking steps to protect it offline. Identity theft is an issue which could potentially affect anyone, particularly those who are active on social media. The information you share through those channels can pile up quickly, especially if you’re a regular user.
Not sure where to start? Here are some basic social media spring cleaning tips to keep in mind:

Be careful what you share. Social media serves as a vehicle to stay in touch with friends and family, but it’s important to keep track of what you share and who can see those updates. If you’re not sure who can access your information, carefully review privacy and security settings to ensure that your information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Take advantage of Facebook’s security checkup feature to manage who sees your Facebook posts, the applications you agree to share your information with, and the personal detail you provide on your profile. In Facebook, you can hide your information – including posts and photos – from people you don’t know by managing your privacy settings.

Personal information. If possible, try to eliminate any personal information in your profile such as your address, phone number, email address, your birthday, or any other information that identity thieves can use to their advantage. Scammers are sometimes able to use this information to crack security questions and gain access to accounts you control.

Clean up your passwords. If you haven’t changed your passwords in recent memory, it might be time to do so. The more complex your passwords are, the safer your sensitive information will be. It’s a good idea to use a different password for each account. Also, never store your passwords on your computer.

Apps and quizzes. In Facebook and Twitter, you can manage which external apps you share your information with. If you choose to utilize an application through social media sites, take a minute to review the permissions to learn more about what personal or account information they’ll have access to and how it will be used. In addition, it’s also important to avoid suspect quizzes. Though Facebook quizzes can be entertaining, it’s important to understand the potential dangers of providing your personal information to unfamiliar third party websites, including the possibility of exposing your device to malware.

For the latest consumer news, fraud alerts and free BBB Business Reviews visit




THURSDAY - APRIL 28,  2016


With the Gear Daddies and Billy’s concert on Saturday Crookston Park and Rec Supervisor Scot Butt, drove one of the Crookston Sports Center zamboni’s around in celebration of the Gear Daddies hit song, “I Want to Drive a Zamboni.”  The zamboni made the first stop of the morning at KROX.
They are encouraging people to get pictures taken on it and share #iwannadrivethezamboni on social media.

The Zamboni in front of the KROX studios in downtown Crookston



The Minnesota Department of Commerce hosted a public information and environmental document scoping meeting on Wednesday at the Crookston Inn and Convention Center to gather information on two proposed Enbridge oil pipelines which would run from North Dakota to Superior, Minnesota.   About 60 people attended the meeting including, area farmers, county commissioners, and union members. The meeting was the first of 12 they are having around the state.  They need the environmental impact statement completed for the Public Utilities Commission which is a major project. “It needs to hear everyone’s voice  so we are making sure we are getting it right and we hope the process can get started,” said Enbridge Public Affairs officer Julie Huber. “Enbridge has been operating in Minnesota for 65 years.”

Jamie McCallister, environmental review manager for the two pipeline projects in the Minnesota Department of Commerce said they wanted to hear from the residents.  “We need to know the concerns of these pipeline placements and how they would impact the environment,” said Huber.  “There is a lot of public interest and there are a lot of complicated procedures to be solved and there is some speculation on turning the project over to the Department of Natural Resources which is being considered.”

Willis Mattson spoke against the route selected for the pipeline. “The citizens are not opposed to the pipeline just to the route proposed to take the oil from North Dakota to Chicago,” said Mattson.  “We think there are better routes than the pristine lakes and ground water of Minnesota.  They can get the oil routed through heavy clay soil, level ground and land already altered instead of the Minnesota land for recreation and tourism. Mattson represents a group of citizens against the pipeline route.

Dale Peterson spoke on behalf of the union workers who want jobs on the pipeline.  “I represent the Labors International Union of North American and we want the project built correctly with skilled labor,” said Peterson. “I have worked with contractors on pipelines for many years and it is important to get good family jobs with benefits.” Peterson said the pipeline would mean over 1,000 jobs for Minnesota and North Dakota.  

Farmer Mike Boucher spoke in favor of the pipeline as the present pipeline runs on his property. “This project has been in the works for a few years and unfortunately is has been delayed,” said Boucher.  “The original pipeline has been there since 1961 and we have had zero issues in the township and as a landowner the pipeline is the most efficient way to ship oil compared to truck or rail.  The life span is 50 to 60 years and it produces revenue for the county and as landowners we get payment for the easement over our property and with the low commodity prices now it is appreciated.”

The Department of Commerce will host another meeting today in Thief River Falls.




The cities of East Grand Forks and Crookston have social host ordinances and now Polk County Public Health is asking the Polk County Commissioners to pass an ordinance for the entire county.   The first reading for the ordinance was held at the county board meeting on Tuesday. Sue Thompson of Polk County Public Health said with the biggest cities having the ordinance they want to bring it to the entire county. The social host ordinance makes it a criminal act for anyone to provide the environment to allow underage drinking to occur. “They do not have to provide the alcohol, for example if I was a parent of high schoolers and they have friends over and I took their  keys and I let them drink in my home that would make me criminally responsible for a gross misdemeanor,” said Thompson.  “Alcohol is the number one choice in Polk County and the nation and when youths drink they binge drink and over consume and then they might engage in behaviors they would normally not do.  The adolescent brain is still developing so it is important that adults and children understand the importance to prevent the excess drinking of alcohol.”





Crookston Mayor Gary Willhite is offering the residents of the Crookston a challenge to spend time outdoors during May.  Willhite wants citizens to spend 30 minutes outside each day in the month of May.  “I want to encourage people to get outside after being stuck inside for the winter,” said Willhite.  “Just get out and improve your health and well being, sign up and receive weekly wellness tips and updates of events in Crookston, so get out and enjoy spring.”
People can sign up on the city website at  




The Area 1 NW Regional Envirothon competition was held on Wednesday at Rydell National Wildlife Center near Erskine. Crookston High School had three teams competing in the event. The participants spend 30 minutes at six different stations that focus on different environmental science topics. The stations include: Forestry, Aquatics, Soils, Wildlife, Current Events, and an Oral Presentation. “The event provides a great opportunity for students to learn from local experts,” said Coach Wes Hanson. “This year’s topic for the student prepared presentation was aquatic invasive species, specifically the aquatic plant Hydrilla. Students worked cooperatively to formulate a plan to stop the spread of Hydrilla. Their presentations needed to be somewhere between 8 to10 minutes.”
The top three teams from the regional advance to the state competition and Crookston’s team of Guthrie Dingmann, Sam Larson, Easton Meyer, Zach Lutz, and Charles Brantner won the best score for the Oral Presentation, scoring a 26 out of 30 possible. This helped them win the regional and earn a return trip to the State competition held May 16 at Lake Bronson State Park. This year there were 25 teams competing and Crookston’s veteran team was competing in the event for the third consecutive year. “Two years ago the team placed third at the regional and qualified for state, last year they came up just short, and now to come back and win with four of the five competitors being seniors is just awesome,” said Coach Hanson. “I’m very proud of their efforts.” 
Crookston had two other sophomore teams competing as well. One of the teams scored 91 total points only three points out of third place.

The region champion team - Charles Brantner, Sam Larson, Easton Meyer, Gunther Dingmann, Zach Lutz

Sylvia Hujanen, Kate Macgregor, Merran Dingmann, Aleece Durbin, Alexavier Lafrance

Gunnar Roed, Keaton Lindgren, Katelyn Wagner, Cameron Harren, Drew Dragseth




A student from each fifth grade class at Highland School has been recognized monthly through the school year by the Kiwanis' Terrific Kids program. 

Back row 5th grade teachers - Jeff Perreault, Kerri Brantner, Susan Garmen, Wendy Greer
Front row - students Ryan Abeld, Abby Borowicz, Julia Lallier, Megan Hagan, Omar Petithomme





Bill Markovich, of Invest Forward in Crookston, will join more than 200 of his fellow representatives at the Investment Centers of America, Inc. (ICA) national conference in Boca Raton, FL. The annual event, to be held April 27-30 at the Boca Raton Resort, provides an opportunity for attendees to share strategies for developing effective solutions to assist clients with their financial goals.
The theme for this year’s event is “Celebrate the Culture – Mind, Body and Soul of ICA.” It will include workshops and educational sessions on unique client reviews, asset allocation building blocks, cyber security, upcoming Department of Labor initiatives, and advisor-led panels discussing what is working in their offices. The event will also include keynote presentations by Dr. Beck Weathers, a survivor of the infamous ’96 Everest expedition; Mike Roby who will present on “The Touchstones of Tradition: How Basic Principles Form a Winning Culture”; and Dr. Barry Asmus on “America’s Economic Future: Challenges and Opportunities.”
The event will feature a 5k Fun Run which annually raises money for several charities. This year, money raised will be donated to Boca Helping Hands, an organization that provides food for those in need, including homebound and elderly individuals, and resources for people in crisis situations (e.g. eviction, utility cancellation, prescription medicine).
In 2015, ICA and its representatives contributed more than $12,000 across eight local charities through the monies raised at the Fun Run.

Bill Markovich is located at Invest Forward in Crookston at 1820 Sahlstrom Dr. Ste A and can be reached at 218-281-6666.






Many cities across the valley are having problems with clogged sewer pipes and Crookston is no different, according to Public Works Director Pat Kelly, who says the city has problems with the “flushable wipes”.  “They are advertised as flushable, but they don’t break down in the system and they pile up in the pipes and clog up the lines,” said Kelly.  “Toilet paper is the only thing that should be going down the toilets.”  When the flushable wipes and other items get flushed down the toilet is takes a lot of time to clean the pumps.  “It is a lot of work to clean up the pumps.  We have to take them out and clean out the stuff, it plugs up the rakes and sometime the interceptor sewers and we will see some back up and it gets expensive,” said Kelly.  “We just installed a $60,000 chewer on one of the lift stations to help chew the stuff up, but we can’t do it at all the lift stations, so don’t put baby wipes or other materials in the toilet, just toilet paper.”




The city of Crookston has called for bids on the North Broadway sanitary sewer extension and lift Station and has received quotes to replace the roof on the water plant and quotes to remove texture, re-seal joints and seal exterior concrete. “We are going to extend the sanitary sewer to the old Elk River Concrete site on the north end of town and we need a lift station and we are fast tracking the plans to get the bids done as soon as the specifications are done,” said Crookston Public Works Director Pat Kelly.  The water plant was built in 1980 and it needs the roof replaced and insulation.  The exterior of the water plant building is pealing so they will strip the exterior and repair this summer.
Hjelle Roofing will repair the roof for $34,500 and Osseo Construction will do the exterior work for $55,000.




Libby Salentine, Halle Bruggeman, Jack Anderson, Jack Doda, Nathan Kelly, Ethan Erdman, Zara Baig, Tatum Lubinski, and Thor Harbott, students at Highland Elementary School, participated in the regional Math Masters of Minnesota Challenge in Bemidji, Minnesota on April 22.  These students competed individually and as teams on eight sets of mathematical problems in this competition for a total of 325 problems.  They competed against 170 other students from 35 schools from around Minnesota.

Leading the way for Crookston was Libby Salentine as she finished fourth out of 170 students in the order of operations timed test and received a medal. “My favorite part of Math Masters was the five minute order of operations sheet.  During our competition I took fourth out of 170 people.  I was very exited!” – Libby Salentine

Thor Harbott placed 10th out of 170 students and received a blue ribbon. “My favorite part was just being here and there.  I learned so much and I had fun competing.  I just feel smart.  I wish we had more time and that would be a lot of fun.  I think the whole experience was awesome!” – Thor Harbott

Zara Baig placed 15th out of 170 students in the order of operations timed test and receive a blue ribbon. “My favorite part was when we did the group packets because it was fun and interesting to see other peoples’ ideas for solving the problems.  I also liked my group so that was a plus J”- Zara Baig

Tatum Lubinski placed the highest from both teams in the individual word problems category, placing 35th out of 170 students and said, “I think the best part of Math Masters is doing all that math and excitement in doing math.  The competing was so much fun!”

  The Highland School Mathmasters team at the competition



Polk County Public Health is on the move this week and will be settled in their new facility at the Polk County Justice Center by Thursday. Polk County Health will have a separate entrance on the south side of the building facing Ampride.  “Moving has gone well with the staff, construction workers and public workers working as a team so it is wonderful,” said Public Health Director Sarah Reese.

Polk County Commissioners approved conditional use permits for Viking Gas Transmission Company for a public utility structure in Scandia Township, Section 25 and in Fanny Towhship, Section 32.  Derek Skalsky of Rosebud Township received a conditional use permit for a dog kennel business.   Donald and JoAnn Andringa of Crookston were give approval for an accessory structure 28 by 48 feet and hookup to a septic system on Union Lake.   The commissioners approved establishing an absentee ballot board as requested by the state.  Mesabi Glass, Window and Doors of Fargo bid $9,985.00 to renovate windows at the Justice Center.




Polk County Commissioner Don Diedrich serves District 5 and plans to run for another term.  “There were an erroneous report out earlier, but it has been corrected and I am running for another term in district 5,” said Diedrich. “I feel that I am capable and qualified to serve and I feel good and want serve another term. I have been a commissioner for 12 years and it has been enjoyable. I don’t have an agenda but want to serve the people.”
Commissioners Nick Nicholas and Craig Buness have declared they will not seek another term.  Filing for the county positions opens on May 17.




TUESDAY - APRIL 26,  2016


The Crookston Police Department has sent out an official press release on the missing snake in Crookston.  The release and comments from Crookston Police Chief Paul Biermaier are below-

On Friday, April 22 the Crookston Police Department (CPD) was notified a large snake was observed two days earlier, Wednesday April 20, in 1600 block of Radisson Road. Obviously the snake was gone upon the arrival of a CPD Unit. Since Friday Officers have been able to establish the following from interviewing the witness;
· It is not believed to be a Boa or Python,
· It looks similar to a Hog Nose snake (
Hognose snakes have mild venom that help them catch their prey, such as toads, but they are not poisonous to humans)
· It is completely black or very, very dark brown,
· It is possibly 5-6 feet long,
· It was moving very slowly (as a cold blooded animal would this time of year),

In speaking with the DNR Area Wildlife Supervisor in Crookston we have determined;
· Hog Nose snakes can be dark in color but are virtually non-existent in this area,
· The snake could be someone’s pet that got loose,
· With the cool temperatures all cold blooded animals are unlikely to be out moving around,
· With a warm day they might become active temporarily but these animals would still be so lethargic a person could pick one up without any problems,
· If the snake is still in the area the quickest way for it to be located is with the help of property owners who know their property best.
· Please look around your property, if you locate the snake call the CPD at 281-3111.

At this time the CPD has not received a report of a missing snake, a snake as described above, nor any other reported sightings of this snake. Even though it is a violation of City Ordinance to be in possession of “any poisonous, venomous, constricting, or inherently dangerous member of the reptile or amphibian families including rattlesnakes, boa constrictors, pit vipers, crocodiles and alligators,” we would still like to know if anyone is aware of someone owning a larger snake in the area of Crookston so we can talk to them as part of this investigation.

To hear an interview with Crookston Police Chief Paul Biermaier click here.


First story - at 9:15 a.m.
There have been rumors that a python got loose from a home in Crookston and KROX asked Crookston Police Chief Paul Biermaier if this was true. “Yes, we actually have had a report of this. The report isn’t completely done yet, but here’s a short synopsis of what we do know.  A snake roughly five feet in length was observed in the 1600 block of Hoven Lane near Radisson Road.  We are working to verify the sighting and determine the type of snake.  It was originally reported to by a python.  Obviously Python’s are not native to North America, but other similar looking snakes have occasionally been sighted in Minnesota.   It’s possible this is a pet that got loose,” said Biermaier.  “In talking with a DNR Officer here in Crookston; with the cool temperatures all cold blooded animals are unlikely to be out moving around.  With a warm day they might become active temporarily, but these animals would still be so lethargic a person could pick one up without any problems. If anyone is missing a snake we definitely would like to know.  We would also like to know if anyone is aware of someone owning a larger snake in this area of Crookston so we can talk to them.  We will continue to look into this, interview people and find out what we can.  If anyone sees a large snake out of the ordinary for this area, please call the Crookston Police Department.”
The Crookston Police Department phone number is 281-3111.




The Crookston School board met on Monday and accepted the resignation of Doug Lee, Industrial Technology and Construction Trades Instructor.  Superintendent Chris Bate said they will look for a replacement. “You never like to find good people and have them leave, I have only heard good things about him and he built up the programs,” said Bates. “Doug and his wife will be missed, It is not easy to find industrial tech teachers as most of them go into business.”
Two teachers were hired for next fall with Krystyna Cymbaluk Freeman hired to teach fifth grade replacing Barb Chapman.   Freeman is a Crookston native and Crookston High School graduate. 
April Hyde is the new special education teacher coming from the Climax district and replacing Jim Mulligan.   
The board approved a change in the non-licensed long term substitute language. “We have had some people step in to fill in for Cheryl Barvels and they made a long term commitment and for teachers we honor that commitment, but we did not have a policy for the non-licensed staff,” said Bates.  “We had a conversation and decided for a person that makes 50 consecutive days subbing for one teacher they would be paid a little more than the sub rate which would be the first year rate for the job.”




The Crookston City Council met on Monday and the council approved waiving special assessments excluding flood fees for the home at 234 Washington which is being remodeled. 
Two flood homes were put out for bids, a bid of $40,000 on the Bridge Street home and $60,000 for the home on Woodland.  “Back in 2008 and 2006 we acquired two homes with grant money from the state,” said Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen. “In order to divest ourselves from the homes now that the grant is completed we needed to do a bidding process and we received bids which we will submit to the state for their approval to get the homes back on the tax base when they are owned by community members.”  

The Crookston City Council is looking to dissolve the Crookston Sports Center LLC and the Crookston Housing and Economic Authority executive board will vote on dissolving it at their next meeting in May.  If CHEDA votes to dissolve the LLC it will belong to the city of Crookston. “A few years ago when we did the financial creation of the Sports Center and we needed to incorporate an LLC and now we need to unwind it,” said Angel Weasner, Crookston Finance Director.  “There are no outstanding loans so a decision needs to make regarding the structure so it is in the city’s best interest to get under the management of the city.”

Crookston Mayor Gary Willhite is presented the Crookston Municipal Airport's Governors Award from airport manager Lowell Miller and Angel Weasner, Crookston Finance Director who accepted the award at a banquet earlier this month.



The Crookston Ways and Means committee met following the council meeting and approved moving forward on putting the University of Minnesota Crookston logo on the north water tower when it is renovated this summer. City Administrator Shannon Stassen said they are going to pursue putting the UMC logo on the north water tower. “We are repainting the tower this summer so the water gets drained and everything gets refurbished as it does about every 25 years,” said Stassen.  “The University is a tremendous asset so we will go brand it with the city of Crookston at $8,000 for each logo on the sides, we are still debating if it will be vinyl or paint.”




Highland School held several fundraisers to benefit Sheryl Barvels, the Highland School Librarian last week.  Sheryl is still recovering from a stroke she had on March 9. She continues to improve, but will have a long road to recovery.  Teacher Jeff Perreault came up with the idea of a read-a-thon with the kids, which was a challenge activity where they raised about $2,600 and a used book sale was held on Saturday, “Thanks to all the people in town who donated books,” said Highland School Principal Chris Trostad. “We raised over $1,000 at the book sale so all together we raised over $5,400 from Highland School alone.” 
Bremer Bank has a Barvels family fund set up for anyone who wishes to donate.




Rep. Dan Fabian (R-Roseau) and Rep. Deb Kiel (R-Crookston) are joining fellow House Republicans in urging lawmakers to work together to finalize a transportation package this session. Late last week, the Senate DFL majority unveiled their proposed budget targets, devoting less than 4 percent of the $900 million surplus to transportation. In addition, Governor Dayton and DFL lawmakers continue to push a regressive gas tax increase and costly light rail.  “House Republicans, Senate Democrats and Governor Dayton have all expressed a shared priority in improving our transportation infrastructure this session, so let's invest in what we all agree is important: roads and bridges," said Rep. Fabian. "Folks in Northwest Minnesota, and 98 percent of all Minnesotans, rely on our roads to get to work and school each day. The governor has flip-flopped on the issue of whether or not to force a large gas tax on Minnesotans, but I believe we should focus on our shared priorities and pass a transportation bill this session that doesn't take more from Minnesota taxpayers."
Last week, U.S. Senator Al Franken and Governor Dayton’s Metropolitan Council Chair urged legislators to spend state funds on Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT) this session. The Metropolitan Council Transportation Committee estimates the total cost of the SWLRT Green Line extension has grown by nearly 50 percent, with initial estimates at $1.2 billion while recent reports state a new cost of $1.77 billion. Federal and local tax dollars are expected to fund part of the overall cost of the project if it moves forward. "Why spend money on one expensive train in Minneapolis when we could repave six lanes of every interstate in Minnesota, fund four years of Metro Transit bus operations and make historic investments in a new funding program for small city road and bridge repairs?" Rep. Kiel stated. "On top of that, we could fund needed local projects in Northwest Minnesota like improvements to Highway 59 from Sand Hill River to US 2, and Highway 75 from Kennedy to Hallock. Let's utilize tax dollars wisely and invest in projects that positively impact our whole state, not just a handful of people taking light rail in the metro."
Governor Dayton and the Senate DFL majority continue to push the largest gas tax increase in state history. The proposal forces drivers to pay a minimum of 16 cents per gallon more at the pump, a figure that would only rise as the price of gasoline increases. If a 16 cent per gallon tax is added on top of Minnesota’s gas tax today, our state would move to the second highest state gas tax.  Furthermore, technology advancements and increases in fuel efficiency mean gas tax revenues will continue to decline in the near future and become a less and less reliable funding source.
The Republican plan uses taxes Minnesotans are already paying on car parts, auto repairs, vehicle leases, and rental cars and dedicates that revenue through a special fund called the Transportation Stability Fund. By adding in a portion of the $900 million budget surplus and bonding, the Republican plan would fix 15,500 lane miles of roads and 330 bridges statewide.




Play in a Puddle on a Rainy Day
By Meredith Burton
(Meredith Burton, MA, is the director of Furman University Child Development Center and teaches a 4-6 year old multiage class in the same program. She is also the president of the South Carolina AEYC. Her favorite job is being Mom to a rising first grader!)

When the weather is rainy and uncomfortable for us as adults, it doesn’t mean that our children feel that way.  Rain puddles have an almost magnetic pull for children.  They love to jump in them, roll through them on their trikes and feel the splashes on their legs, float things in them and much more.  There are lots of ways to use the rain to your advantage and create authentic water play experiences for your children.

1.  Puddle jumping – As long as it is warm enough, I regularly encourage my five-year-old to put on his raincoat and boots and run outside to jump in puddles while it is raining!  He likes puddles after the rain too, but his favorite is watching the rain fall into the puddles as he jumps off the front steps into them!  What a fun way to develop the gross motor skills of jumping and stomping. Children also experience cause and effect and properties of water through this simple activity.
2. Floating and Sinking – Use a puddle as a natural water table.  Let your child explore properties of floating and sinking by experimenting with different items found outside.  Does a leaf float in the puddle?  What about a stick? Or a rock?  This can lead to other experimentation and questioning.  Why do ripples form when you drop a rock into a puddle?   Children learn to make predictions and explore strategies for answering their questions through this type of play.
3. Puddle Music – Rain has many sounds.  Listening to rain on the roof and rain falling into a puddle are different experiences.  A soft rain also sounds different from a hard rain.  Try to replicate the sounds of rain using a pot or a wood block, a drum or a shaker.  We also love to sing while we play in puddles.  Songs can also lead to imaginative role playing in the puddles.  Here are some songs we like to sing on puddle days.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
It’s Raining, It’s Pouring
There’s a Hole in the Bucket
Singing in the Rain
Developing a sense of rhythm and rhyme are essential phonemic awareness skills – understanding and playing with the sounds of language. Music also plays with patterning, an early mathematical skill.
4. Puddle Soup – Children use their environment to create play experiences with very little help from adults.  We just need to give them the opportunities to explore and the freedom to live out their ideas.  Provide some buckets and scoops or spoons to use in puddle play. My son likes to make puddle soup.  As he stirs, scoops, measures and serves his soup, he also uses rich language to describe his process and to converse with friends, real and imaginary.  Children practice and build vocabulary and build confidence and self-regulation through imaginative play. Puddle soup also can incorporate measuring and fine motor development using measuring scoops and cups.
Puddles can provide endless fun and exploration.  Put on your raincoat and head outside with your child on the next rainy day, and when the sun comes out, keep track of how long it takes for a puddle to evaporate!  There is always something new to learn when we play in nature. 




MONDAY - APRIL 25,  2016


Crookston High School juniors are preparing for prom on Saturday, April 30 in the Crookston High School commons.  Grand march, with a Greek theme, is at 5:00 p.m. in the Crookston High School gymnasium followed by dinner in the commons at 6:30 p.m. and the dance from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m.   As of last week there were 65 couples registered. The dinner menu is grilled chicken breast on a bed of wild rice,  baked potato, vegetables are asparagus or corn, tossed salad and buns catered by Irishman’s Shanty.  “We want to thank Andy Oman State Farm Insurance for sponsoring the dessert bar to be served by the Crookston Police Department with vanilla ice cream and all the toppings you want,” said Crookston High School Prom committee’s Britta Fagerlund.
Heidi Swanson is arranging the photography schedule at Kiehle Auditorium with the juniors taking pictures starting at 2:30 at Kiehle and the seniors will start at 3:30.   “They can take single or buddy pictures so this is the exciting start to the day with We Clik Photography taking the pictures with payment by the students,” said Swanson.  The picture and prom day schedule is below.
Tom Cymbaluk is constructing the set and backdrop for the evening. “I am helping with the backdrop for the stage and the sets and props for the grand march,” said Cymbaluk.  “The commons will be decorated with help from students I can get to assist.”
The Grand March is open to the public with the doors opening at 4:30 at a cost of $5 per person.

“May the Force BEDE With You” is the theme for the Blast to Bede after prom party for Crookston High School and was revealed to the junior and senior class this morning (Monday) by the Blast to Bede Committee. “We had a planning meeting and the big hit was Star Wars so that was the reason for the  theme,” said Blast to Bede committee member Marcia Haglund.  Blast to Bede starts at 11:00 p.m. at the University of Minnesota Crookston’s Bede Hall on Saturday and goes to 4:00 a.m. on Sunday. The students have to arrive between 11:00 p.m. and midnight to register and then the doors will be locked at midnight.  The kids can register at the door for $25 if they haven’t registered already and you don’t have to go to prom to go to Blast to Bede.  “There are a lot of games, door prizes, food galore, and a hypnotist at the end of the evening,” said Haglund. “The kids will have a lot of fun.”

Students took a second to take pictures with Darth Vader and Chewbacca after the Bede theme unveil at Crookston High School


The Kiel Auditorium doors will be unlocked at 2:30.
Juniors Picture Time 2:30 to 3:30
2:30   Juniors can do their single & buddy pictures
3:00   Junior Group Photo (All Juniors must be at UMC by 3:00 no waiting for anyone)
Seniors Picture Time 3:30 to 4:30 
3:30   Seniors can do their single & buddy pictures
4:00   Senior Group Picture (All Seniors must be at UMC by 4:00 no waiting for anyone)
4:30   Grand March - start lining up
5:00   Start Grand March
6:30   Banquet & Professional Pictures
9-11 Dance
11:00 $100 Drawing for 1 Guy and 1 Gal to win (MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN)
Blast to Bede entry - 11:00 p.m. to midnight.  Doors close at midnight.
Blast to Bede - Midnight to 4:00 a.m.
Breakfast at the Irishman's Shanty at 4:00 a.m. ($5 per kid)




The Crookston School Board meets today (Monday) at 5:00 p.m. at the Crookston High School choir/orchestra room. 
Personnel items on the agenda include a resignation from Doug Lee, Industrial Technology/Construction Trades instructor, employment of Krystyna Freeman, elementary education teacher at Highland, and employment of April Hyde, special education teacher at Crookston High School. 
Approval of the non-licensed long term substitute language is expected. 
The board committees will present an update on activities. 
There will also be administrative reports from Kathy Stronstad on special services, Highland School principal Chris Trostad, Washington School Principal Denice Oliver.  Superintendent Chris Bates will report on district activities. 
Visitors may bring concerns to the board at the beginning of the meeting or at the end of the meeting.




The Crookston City Council meets tonight at 7:00 in the Crookston City Council Chambers at city hall.
The consent agenda includes a resolution approving plans and specifications and call for bids on the North Broadway sanitary sewer extension and lift station,  a resolution to reject all bids for a commercial mower for the Parks and Recreation department, a resolution to waive special assessments excluding flood fees on tax forfeited parcel at 234 Washington Avenue and a resolution to approve the Minnesota lawful gambling premise permit application to the Crookston Firefighters Association at Minakwa Golf Course.  A resolution to enter into joint exercise of police powers agreement for the purpose of granting authority and set forth conditions under which the participating agencies may exchange or provide personnel and equipment for the purpose of conducting or assisting in law enforcement and emergency response operations by establishment of a joint specials operations group. 
A dance permit for the University of Minnesota Crookston Alumni Association for May 6 at the Crookston Eagles is up for approval.   A presentation of the Governor’s Award for the Crookston Municipal Airport will be given. 
The meeting is open to the public. 
The Crookston Ways and Means Committee will meet following the council meeting.




10 Crookston High School band students recently competed in the MSHSL Solo/Ensemble Contest at East Grand Forks High School and all of the Pirates received high praise for their performances. Highlighting the day, Senior Charles Brantner earned a perfect score on his performance of Ferdinand David's Concertion for Trombone. Both Charles and sophomore Courtney Dalrymple (flute) were awarded two of the three 'Best at Site' awards. One 'Best at Site' award is given by each judge to the student who impressed him/her the most.  The following students all represented Crookston well at contest: Hannah Emanuel, Charles Brantner, Zach Lutz, Aleece Durbin, Jenna Porter, Courtney Dalrymple, Makenah Bingham, Katelyn Wagner, Luis Argueta, and Elise Tangquist. 

Most of the Crookston Senior High Band members that participated in the solo/ensemble contest

14 Crookston junior high band students participated in the Mahnomen Junior High Honor Band Festival. Students worked with the festival clinicians at Mahnomen High School all day and putting on a performance at 6:30 p.m.  This year's participants are: Ashlynn Gereneux, Kathryn Halos, Haley Reading, Emma Borowicz, Cassidy Baatz, Sophie Steiner, Zoe Everett, Linnea French, Emily Funk, Jasmin Hanson, Kasey Cwikla, Blaine Asman, and Brinna Egland.

Most of the Crookston Junior High band students that participated in the Honor Band Festival

Five Crookston 5th and 6th grade band students have been selected for the Minnesota Band Directors Association's first and second year honor bands. The event will be held in the morning of Saturday, April 30th in Moorhead at Horizon Middle School, with a concert at 12:00p. Ethan Boll, Kailee Magsam, and Ann Funk will be representing Crookston in the first year band. Grace Miller and Hayden Winjum will be participating in the second year ensemble.  “All of these events reflect the hard work Crookston band students are putting in on a daily basis,” said Crookston School District Band Director Chris Gough.  “These students are choosing take advantage of and succeeding with the many opportunities to explore music."




Eleven students from Crookston High School's Concert Orchestra participated in eight different events at the Orchestra Solo and Ensemble Contest at Moorhead High School last week.
Students prepared solo and small ensemble works and played for orchestral judges and received ratings based on their performances. Other participating schools include: Moorhead High School, Bemidji High School, Fergus Falls High School, and Thief River High School.
Of the eight events that went to Solo and Ensemble, five received Superior ratings (or Double Starred), one received an Excellent rating (Single Starred), and two received Good ratings.

Double Star Events: 
Senior Quartet (Marie Sandman, Alex MacGregor, Zach Lutz, Guthrie Dingmann)
Sophomore Quartet (Maddie Everett, Merran Dingmann, Sylvia Hujanen, Clair Frydenlund)
Violin Duet (Maddie Everett, Sylvia Hujanen)
Violin Solo (Marie Sandman)
Violin Solo (Maddie Everett)

Single Star Events:
Viola Solo (Zach Lutz)

Members of the Crookston High School Orchestra that competed in the solo and ensemble contest




Crookston Summer Registration Day will be Wednesday, April 27, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Crookston Sports Center. Register your child for summer programs in one place at one time.

Crookston Park and Recreation
Washington School Summer Care  K-fourth Grade
Crookston Gun Club
Summer Camp  K-sixth Grade
UMC Robotics & Technology Camp  4-8th Grade
Junior Eagle Day Basketball Camp for - Grade 1-6
UMC Offensive Skills Day Basketball Camp - Grades 5-12
Girl Scouts
Cub Scots - Grades 1-5
Boy Scouts - Grades 6 to age 17
Sun, Country and You - Birth to 12th Grade
Crookston Crocodiles & Wellness Swimming 6-18 years of age
UMC Discover & Explore Science Summer Camp - 6 – 12th Grade
UMC High School Individual Football Camp 9 – 12th grade
4-H X-Camp
Safety Town for students entering Kindergarten
Purchase Summer Passes for T.H.E. Bus

Visit four or more of the following tables and register for gift certificates or other door prizes.  The Crookston Blue Line Club will have a $5 Supper Special which includes a hot dog, chips and pop.  For more information, call Barb Jorgenson or Denice Oliver at 281-5078.








A Business Activities Day was hosted by the Business Department at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) last week.  Approximately 50 students from Fisher and Fertile-Beltrami High Schools in Minnesota and Central Valley in North Dakota were involved in the business competition. 
Students read and completed a business case study.  The case study required them to choose a market to sell to, marketing tactics, and a management style for a new model of car called the “Naro Car.”  Students were assigned student and faculty mentors from the Business Department who could assist them with questions on their case study. 
The students created a presentation and gave a "pitch" to a panel of judges comprised of faculty and staff from the U of M Crookston.  There were 5 winning teams in two categories including "overall presentation" and "highest profit."  Students who won in the "overall presentation" category had the highest presentation skills out of all the teams in their judging group.  Students who won in the "highest profit" category had chosen elements in their case study which resulted in the highest profit for the company out of all of the teams present at the event.  
In the Top Overall Presentation category the winners included all three teams from the Fertile-Beltrami High School: Annika Sannes, Garet Dufault, Elijah Neufeld, Grace Rongen, and Ana Kircher; Carussa Gunufson, Willie Meine, Quin Hasler, Solomon Liebl, and Megan Bryn; and Chase Donaldson, Grant Kaste, Amber Leiser, Megan Fugelseth, Courtney Adams.
Winners in the Highest Profit category included the team from Central Valley:  Adam Aamold, Katie Thompson, and Emily Severinson; and the team from Fisher High School: Claire Kvasager, Tabitha Orona, Wendy Sorenson, Jadan Halland.
For more information on Business Activities Day at UMC, contact Rachel Lundbohm at 218-281-8190.

Annika Sannes, Garet Dufault, Elijah Neufeld, Grace Rongen, Ana Kircher





Highland School fifth graders in Mrs. Brantner's class picked up garbage around the school in honor of Earth Day on Friday.




Cathedral School 6th graders created "Do It Yourself projects" made from recycled material.  In honor of Earth Day, the 6th graders had to design a useful item that could be made using materials that  were ready to be recycled. The projects were taken to the Villa to be on display for Earth Day.



KROX Radio/ is seeking an energetic and organized journalist to head our news department.  KROX is looking for someone to build upon our existing award winning local news effort and also improve the breadth and depth of our content, continue and strengthen existing community relationships, and work with our social media.  The news director plays a key role in shaping the voice and direction of KROX’s local news, providing leadership to ensure the evolution of high journalistic standards, and quality content.
The news director is responsible for overseeing and creating the daily local news stories for the radio and our website.  You will be asked to take pictures and post stories on our website at
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