The Tri-Valley Foster Grandparents celebrated a year of volunteering at their Christmas Party on Friday, December 2. The event was held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston.  The event was kicked off with a game called “What’s Your Elf Name”. That was followed by entertainment from the kindergarten through 4th graders from Our Savior’s Lutheran School. The children got everyone in the holiday spirit by singing Christmas songs. Prior to brunch, bingo was played which is always a big hit.
The Foster Grandparents enjoyed a brunch of egg bake and muffins. Following brunch, the group joined together and sang some of their favorite Christmas carols.  The event was enjoyed by all of the Foster Grandparents!

Our Savior’s children sing Christmas carols for the Foster Grandparents




Happy Joe’s understands the importance of local, exceptional service; that’s why the Crookston location has once again made a contribution to the RiverView Health Foundation.  “We (Happy Joe’s) support RiverView Health because of all of the good things it does for the community and its patients,’’ said Happy Joe’s Head Coach Bobbie Goulet. “RiverView goes above and beyond in its care and does a great job.’’
Happy Joe’s has been a “Friends for Life’’ supporter since 2006, according to Foundation Director Kent Bruun.  “Happy Joe’s is committed to supporting the most critical needs of the organization,’’ he stated. “They are dedicated stakeholders and understand the importance of strong healthcare for their employees, their patrons, and the communities they serve.’’
For more information on the Friends for Life program or any other program through the RiverView Health Foundation, contact Bruun at 218-281-9249 or e-mail him at

Pictured above, left to right: RiverView Health Speech Language Pathologist Erin Jore, Happy Joe’s Assistant Coach Brook Panzer, Happy Joe’s Head Coach Bobbie Goulet, and RiverView Foundation Director Kent Bruun.




The County Line
By Warren Strandell
Polk County Commissioner, Dist. 2

The 2016 election is over. All of the ballots have been counted. Whether you like the outcomes or not, the canvassing is now complete. There really wasn’t any chance for a change and/or correction in the county numbers. Not when Michelle Cote and her staff at the Polk County Taxpayer Service Center are conducting it. As director of property records, Cote is the county’s election administrator. She and the about 20 county office employees in the department make every effort possible to conduct elections to comply with every letter of the letter of the law.
Not many of us have any real idea of all that is involved in conducting an election. The process begins in April with the publication of notices that announce the offices that are up for election and filing process for persons who want to be candidates for those offices.
The two-week filing period is then conducted in May after which the Primary Election ballot must be developed and proofed a number of times before finally approved. With school districts, whose boundaries do not correspond with the borders of townships, and with the townships themselves, the different soil & water conservation districts, the cities that have their elections in conjunction with the primary and general elections, judges, etc., some 122 different ballots have to be developed.  

82 precincts                                         
There are 82 precincts in the county. Election officials must be trained for almost all of them. Regardless of past experience, judges must be re-trained on a two-year cycle. Some 400 judges are needed to comply with law. Online training was used for the first time in 2016, which helped the process.
Then, there are requirements involving absentee ballots and mail ballots that have to be prepared and mailed. Mail Balloting is done in 42 of the 82 precincts. For each election approximately 12,000 envelopes are used in addition to the ballot, instructions and the most important I VOTED sticker. 
Absentee and mail ballot voters can begin to cast their ballots 46 days before the election date. These ballots must, of course go through the ballot board process in addition to being safe-guarded before they are fed into the electronic counting machine. The results of this voting are not tabulated until election night. Absentee, now synonymous with “early voting,” can be done in the Government Center. This can result in heavy traffic at the front desk of the Taxpayer Service Center, especially on the final days preceding an election.

Machines have to be prepared
The election machines, which include the M100 tabulator and the Automark voter assistive device must, of course, be prepared. Each must be tested to not only read and tabulate the votes for all of the different races but to also upload them to the Office of the Secretary of State. After testing these machines are distributed to the 40 precincts that have polling places. In addition, they must be secured at all times. 
Much of the election preparation is done after regular hours by Taxpayer Service Center staff. To do this, they go on overtime after 4:30 p.m. and, according to Cote, are worth every dollar that is spent to pay them. “They know what needs to be done and how to do it. They are extremely efficient and save the county a lot of money over having to hire and train people from the outside. Without them it would not be possible for me to do what I need to do. Their level of dedication is invaluable,” she says.

40 polling places
On Election Day the three counting centers located in East Grand Forks, Crookston and McIntosh are manned by members of the Election Team.  They are available to each of the 40 polling places that are operating.  Should a precinct have difficulty with an election machine someone is on the road to help them immediately.  Most polling places open at 7 a.m. and even though actual voting ceases at 8 p.m. that is when the counting and reconciliation begins.  Upon completion, equipment is returned to the counting centers where the results are uploaded to the Office of the Secretary of State.    
And that was just for the Primary Election. The process must be repeated — with usually a much higher number of voters — for the General Election. Now, a month after all was counted, there is still more to do.  Voting history must be given for each voter, new voter information entered into the State Voter Registration System, machines prepared for storage, and election materials made secure for retention.  As of last week, that process was only about 50 percent done.

Some other numbers
Beyond the results that everyone was wanted to know on Election Night, there are some of the other numbers of interest. Such as:
• Of the 16,516 citizens who voted in the General Election, 2,080 were Election Day registrants (EDR). The 16,516 total voters set the record for most voters and topped the previous high mark of 16,025 was set in the 2012 General. The 2,080 EDR, however, were second to the 2,596 who registered for the General on Election Day 2012.
• Those who voted “absentee” or by “mail ballot” in 2016 numbered 4,255. That number topped the 2,549 who voted absent or mail ballot in the 2014 General Election.
• The percent of turnout in the 2016 General was 90.59%, a very high mark for most areas of the country but still second to the 92.82% who voted in the 2012 General.
• Mail balloting is available to non-metro townships of any size and to cities with less than 400 registered voters. Besides usually resulting in greater participation in the election process, advantages to precincts that use mail voting are that they do not have pay to train poll judges or staff a polling place on the election day. The cost of mailing of the ballots amounts to less than $2 per ballot.

Thoughts for the day:
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. — Plato
Why pay money or spend your time tracing your family tree; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.
Disclaimer: Thoughts expressed in this column are those of the author and are not necessarily a reflection of the opinions of the other members of the Polk County Board of Commissioners.





To the Editor

December 7, 1941 – the attack on Pearl Harbor was a day that has remained in infamy.  Very few service members who personally remember that day are still among us.  The American Legion Auxiliary encourages everyone to do what they can to keep Pearl Harbor a part of our national consciousness.

Many brave service members were asleep or about their morning routines when the Japanese bombers delivered a blow that would decide America’s involvement in World War II.  More than 2400 service members died during the attack.

I invite you along with the members of the American Legion Auxiliary Nels T Wold Unit 20 to take a moment to remember the men and women who lost their lives that fateful day.

American Legion Auxiliary members have dedicated themselves for nearly a century to meeting the needs of our nation’s veterans, military and their families both here and abroad.  They volunteer millions of hours yearly with a value of $3.1 billion.  As part of the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization, Auxiliary volunteers across the country also step up to honor veterans and military through annual scholarships and with ALA Girls State programs, teaching high school juniors to be leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism.  To learn more about the Auxiliary’s mission or to volunteer, donate or join, visit

Sharon Lanctot
Nels T Wold Unit 20





The Crookston Park Board held a Strategic Plan prioritizing meeting on Tuesday.  The goal of the session was to finalize their strategic plan so it could be presented to the Crookston Ways and Means committee next week. 
Scott Riopelle, Crookston Park and Rec Director, reviewed the draft plan.  The Park Board decided to remove items (such as equipment) which naturally fall under the annually budgeted Capital Improvement Plan, and list only the remaining facilities and amenities without prioritizing them.  "Priorities naturally tend to change, depending on grant monies available," said Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen.
The Strategic Plan Draft addresses a number of facilities and amenities throughout the area, including a variety of walking and bike paths, nature trails, fishing pier, disc golf, pickle ball courts, basketball and volleyball courts, playground upgrades and equipment upgrades.





On Thursday, December 8, RiverView Health in Crookston is offering a free CPR program specifically geared for the general public. This two and one-half hour course contains basic information about what to do in life-threatening situations, and is designed for all ages to participate. The skills that will be taught in the program are those that can be used to save the life of a loved one, a friend or neighbor. The courses are being made available to the public at no charge, thanks to grant funds made available by the Crookston American Legion Post 20. 
Also on Thursday, RiverView Health in Crookston is hosting a HeartSaver CPR Course as a part of its American Heart Association (AHA) Community Training Center. The course is being held at 6 PM in Meeting Room 4 at RiverView. The program is required for day care providers and others needing certification. The course includes the Heartsaver card and book for $45.
The classes are a part of RiverView’s American Heart Association (AHA) Community Training Center offerings.  The class will be held on Thursday from 6 to 9 PM in Meeting Room 4 at RiverView.  No test or card is issued and participants will receive the Family and Friends CPR book.
Contracted Community Training Centers (CTCs) and their affiliated sites are the only facilities permitted to offer AHA courses to the public and professionals through their affiliated instructors and programs. To register or for more information on this class or other courses offered through the CTC, contact RiverView Education at 218-281-9405 or 1-800-743-6551, extension 9405.  See our web site:
The American Heart Association strongly promotes knowledge and proficiency in all AHA courses and has developed instructional materials for this purpose. Use of these materials in an educational course does not represent course sponsorship by the AHA. Any fees charged for such a course, except for a portion of fees needed for AHA course materials, do not represent income to the AHA.





Although the cost of childcare garners most of the attention from the media, did you know that there is a severe lack of licensed childcare providers in Northwestern Minnesota? This lack of childcare puts extreme stress on families, potential employees, employers, and our communities in general.

So what are the numbers? Northwestern Minnesota has a licensed childcare capacity of 7,116 with a 2,623 shortfall with a critical shortage in infant care. A 37% growth in capacity is needed to fill the shortfall. A major cause of this shortfall is that the numbers and capacity of family providers has dropped by more than 25% since 2006. (MN Dept. of Human Services; U.S. Census Bureau).
Quality childcare ranked third in “Community Needs” on the 2016 Tri-Valley Community Needs Assessment Survey. The survey collects data from Tri-Valley’s primary service area of west Marshall, west Polk, and Norman counties. In Crookston alone, there are 266 children aged birth to three years old. Unfortunately, there are only 116 licensed spaces for that age group. That leaves 150 children birth to three years at home with a parent or with an unlicensed childcare provider such as a family member or a friend.
Continued discussion is needed now more than ever to start looking for possible solutions to this potential crisis. If you would like to join the childcare conversation, have questions about childcare in our communities, or would like more information on becoming a licensed childcare provider, please contact Maureen Hams (Tri-Valley Community Assistance Program Director) at 1-800-543-7382.






Crookston is one of 853 cities in the state of Minnesota that operate as a home rule charter city.  Home rule charter gives Crookston and the other 106 cities the power to make changes to fit their own needs by amending its charter.  In this way, changes can occur locally, rather than waiting for the Legislature to pass a new law.  "It gives us flexibility," said Mayor Gary Willhite.  "The last major change Crookston made to our charter was when we reduced our number of wards from eight to six."
Crookston's Charter Commission meets once a year and they met on Monday evening to review any proposed changes for the commission to consider in 2017.  City Administrator Shannon Stassen said there weren't any changes submitted and no changes were recommended by city administration.
Six of the 12 commission members have terms that expire this year with Bob Cameron and Ray Ecklund using all their eligibility and two new members will have to be appointed to the commission.




UPDATED - Monday at 7:00 PM

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Northwest Minnesota, including Crookston and the area in effect from 6:00 p.m. Monday to Noon on Tuesday, then a Blizzard warning is in effect from Noon to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday. 
Expect a wintery mix to develop around 6:00 p.m. and then diminish around 6:00 p.m. Tuesday.
The National Weather Service in Grand Forks has forecast light snow on early Monday evening with accumulation up to an inch. Late Monday evening they are forecasting 6 to 8 inches of snow with Northwest winds around 30 mph. 
On Tuesday the forecast calls for 3 to 5 inches of snow and Northwest winds gusting up to 40 mph.
On Tuesday night, 1 to 3 inches of snow is possible for a TOTAL of 11 to 14 inches of snow is possible in the next 24 hours.
Plan for difficult driving conditions Monday night into Tuesday and keep your radio tuned to KROX (1260AM or 105.7FM) for further updates.




The Polk County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the Polk County Highway Department is asking residents and the driving public to be mindful of the changing weather conditions for our area beginning this evening (Monday, December 5).  This is the first significant winter weather event of the year and they are asking everyone to plan accordingly. 
Along with heavy snow beginning Monday night and continuing into Tuesday strong winds are expected to develop Tuesday morning which would significantly reduce visibility, creating difficult traveling conditions. 
Sheriff Barb Erdman and Polk County Highway Engineer Richard Sanders are advising everyone to be prepared to adjust their travel plans based on the emerging weather conditions.  As always before traveling, check driving conditions at and always carry a winter survival kit in your vehicle.




Whether it was the election or sad and depressing news in general, the box office felt the effects of people looking for an escape in a good way as it posted an 8 percent increase between November 4 and November 27. The box office made $900 million during that period alone this year compared to $832 million during the same period last year, according to the website which measures media data.
How did Crookston and the Grand Theatre do in November? “We had a really good month of November,” Crookston Theatre General Manager Brian Moore said. “We saw a 10 percent increase in our business.
Moore also mentioned how he thinks people used the theatre as an escape during a crazy election season and negative news cycle. “People come in to just relax,” Moore stated. “They like to get away and see something. Science fiction movies do well, but true stories usually do the best.”
The Grand Theatre in Crookston is currently playing the animated movie “Moana”, which hauled in $81 million over the Thanksgiving weekend and “The Arrival”. With Christmas coming up, keep an eye out for holiday movies at the Grand Theatre as well! “A big thing coming up is the new Star Wars: Rogue One coming into theaters and then we have our free Holiday movie on December 10. There will be Santa Claus and prizes and it will be a good time.”





Crookston Toys for Tots is back for another year this holiday season.  Toys for Tots is a charity sponsored by the employees of the City of Crookston for needy children in the City of Crookston. Donations can be sent to 124 North Broadway, Crookston, MN 56716 or brought to the Water Department during business hours at 124 North Broadway. Cash donations are greatly appreciated and preferred which allow the volunteers to purchase age and gender specific gifts for each child. Books, toy and gift wrap donations have also been received.

Donations through – December 5, 2016
In memory of Don & Clarice Anderson   $ 5.00
John & Jan Vallager                                 $100.00
Crookston Masonic Lodge                       $ 50.00
Wendell & Penny Johnson                        $ 50.00
Crookston Classic Cruisers                      $100.00
D & D Myerchin                                       $ 25.00
American Crystal Sugar Co.                     $250.00
Fraternal Order of Eagles                         $200.00
Richard Heldstab                                       $ 25.00
Bill & Gloria Watro                                   $ 25.00
Kathy & Robert Altringer                        $100.00

Total this deposit                                      $930.00
Grand Total                                              $2305.00
Goal                                                           $5,000.00






The Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce held their 75th annual celebration and awards night at the Crookston National Guard Armory.  The theme for the night was an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party.  Raymond Frydenlund was the emcee and Chamber CEO Amanda Lien addressed the crowd.
Several awards were handed out by the Crookston Chamber Board President Andy Oman at the celebration -

Large Business of the year – The University of Minnesota Crookston
Small Business of the year – Rejuv Salon and Spa
Entrepreneur of the year – Wonderful Life Foods
Volunteers of the year – Dan and Christine Erdman
Partners in Education Award – Denise Oliver

UMC Chancellor Dr. Fred Wood accepted the large business award for UMC and said, “We are really honored.  The 300 faculty and staff and 1800 students we serve it is nice to be recognized and there is nothing better than being recognized by the Crookston community because we love the connection we have and we are glad to be a part of it.”

Patti Lien accepted the
small business of the year award for her business, Rejuv Salon and Spa and said, “It is quite an honor to be recognized and I certainly don’t do it alone and there are a whole lot of other people to thank.  I would like to thank the staff, family that has made what we are doing possible, people in business know it is no small feat to be in business.  It is nice to be recognized.

Wonderful Life Foods co-owners Erin Brule and Shawn Rezac accepted the Entrepreneur of the year award as they get close to wrapping up their first year of business. “It has been a great year for us. I am doing most of the baking, but Shawn can frost cupcakes with the best of them said Brule.  Rezac said they are coming up on their first complete year of business. “It will be a year on December 11.  This is a great award and we appreciate everybody’s support, opening a new business is always scary, especially with a niche market that we have and we just want to thank the community for embracing what we are doing and the support that everybody has given us and we look forward to an even more successful 2017.”

Dan and Christine Erdman accepted the volunteers of the year award and were honored according to Christine. “We are very fortunate, we were born and raised in Crookston and think it is important to give back to the community.  Dan does volunteer work through the chamber and churches and things like that.  I am fortunate to work on the ambassador group and work with the Crookston Crocs and Wellness group, which is a little bit of a passion of mine, getting to work with kids and see them grow…so getting rewarded for a passion is a win-win.”

Denice Oliver (pictured in the middle), Washington School Principal, ECFE and Community Education coordinator accepted the Partners In Education (PIE) Award and was honored.  “I am very humbled to receive this award.  I believe it takes a village to educate a child.  I couldn’t do what I do successfully without all the hard work of every single person around me so I feel honored and feel like it is in award for all educators who show up every day and make a difference in a child’s life. I appreciate the chamber awarding this to me and thank you to all the educators.”




The Crookston High School Choral and Orchestral departments hosted the 17th Annual Classic Noel dinner and concert at the Crookston High School commons and auditorium on Sunday evening.  The orchestra was conducted by Haley Ellis and the choir was conducted by Belinda Fjeld and they were accompanied by Corene Everett.  The lights and sound were by Steve Krueger.
The concert choir performed Angels We Have Heard On High, No Golden Carriage No Bright Toy and Good King Wenceslas.  The pop choir performed Winter Wonderland.  The concert orchestra performed Dance of the Toy Flutes (from the Nutcracker), Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree Medley and Siberian Sleigh Ride.   For the grand finale, the concert choir and orchestra performed Ding Dong Merrily On High and Peace Peace.
To see the video of the combined concert choir and orchestra click below. 
The Crookston High School Band concert will be Monday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Click on the video above to watch the Crookston High School Concert Choir and Orchestra perform




A check for more than $17,000 was recently presented to the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) by the UMC Teambackers to support student-athlete scholarships. The donation was the result of funds raised during two golf tournaments—the Mark Olsonawski Golf Tournament and the UMC Teambackers Golf Classic—and the Justin Knebel Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament. 
The funds from the ice fishing tournament held in February 2016 allowed the Justin Knebel Memorial Scholarship to reach the $25,000, the amount necessary to endow a scholarship and making it possible for the fund to begin awarding scholarships to student athletes.   “Endowing a scholarship means a legacy has been created in memory of Justin Knebel, a talented basketball player who gave his all on the court and in the classroom,” says Derek Martin, associate development officer at UMC. “We are grateful to those who helped make the ice fishing tournament possible and who helped make this dream of a scholarship in Justin’s name a reality.”
The next Justin Knebel Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament is scheduled for February 4, 2017, at Zippel Bay Resort in Williams, Minn. Upcoming golf tournaments include the Mark Olsonawski Golf Tournament on June 22, 2017, at Two Rivers Golf Course in Hallock, and the UMC Teambackers Golf Classic on July 14, 2017, at Minakwa Golf Course in Crookston.

Justin Knebel, who played basketball for the UMC Golden Eagles, grew up in Warroad, Minn., graduating from Warroad High School in 2001. A talented athlete, he lettered in basketball, cross country, and track. After graduation, he attended UMC where he played basketball as a point guard for the Golden Eagles.  Besides his passion for playing basketball, Knebel loved the Warroad area and outdoor sports in Minnesota, making the ice fishing tournament an apt tribute to the memory of this outstanding student-athlete. For more information on the tournament, visit
UMC Teambackers Club is an athletic promotion and fundraising organization for UMC. It operates in conjunction with the development office, athletic department, and the University of Minnesota Foundation. UMC Teambackers, established in 1993, has helped support athletic scholarships for student athletes in 11 sports on the Crookston campus. Learn more about Teambackers by visiting and follow UMC Teambackers on Facebook for updates and news on upcoming events.

Kamille Wahlin, assistant athletic director; Annette Thompson, vice president of Teambackers Derek Martin, associate development officer, Adam Mauska, treasurer of Teambackers; Stephanie Helgeson, director of athletics; and Brandy Chaffee, chief development officer. 





The staff of Rydell and Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) invite the public to participate in their second Annual Christmas Bird Count on Thursday, December 15, 2016. We'll meet at the Rydell NWR Visitor Center at 8:00 am. People new to birding will be teamed up with experienced birders to search areas by vehicle and/or on foot. The 15-mile wide count circle includes portions of both Rydell and Glacial Ridge NWRs, as well as the towns of Mentor and Erskine. If you do not have your own binoculars and/or bird guides, we can loan them to you for the count.  A midday potluck lunch will be provided, courtesy of the Refuge staff.  We’ll plan to meet back at the Visitor Center around noon to “fuel up” and to tally the morning sightings. If you’d like to participate, PLEASE SIGN UP by Tuesday, December 13 by emailing Lisa Wiersma at  You can also call Rydell NWR at 218-687-2229 x10.
For more information about the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, it’s 117-year history, and how the count helps birds, visit





Enjoy some holiday spirit during three special musical events in December.  A holiday dance with the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) Jazz Band, a concert by the Community Band and a performance by the UMC Choir will be held December 10 and 11. 
The UMC Jazz Band will host a Holiday Dance on Saturday, December 10 in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. The dance begins immediately following the Golden Eagle Men's Basketball game (approximately 8 to 10 p.m.). The Jazz Band is directed by TJ Chapman.
The UMC Community Band Fall Concert will be held on Sunday, December 11 in the Kiehle Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The Community Band is under the direction of TJ Chapman.
The UMC Choir will perform on Saturday, December 10, at 2 p.m. at the Hafslo Chapel at the Polk County Museum. There will be a free-will offering taken to support choir activities.  The concert is co-sponsored by the UMC Music-Theater Department and the Polk County Historical Society. The Choir is under the direction of Associate Professor George French. 






On Friday, the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released its November Economic Forecast, revealing updated budget numbers that will guide state leaders crafting a budget during the 2017 legislative session. For the current budget cycle, $334 million of this biennium’s balance will automatically go into the state budget reserve, leaving $678 million in surplus for 2016-17, and a $1.4 billion overall surplus heading into Fiscal Years 2018-19.
“While I am pleased our state is celebrating a surplus, Minnesota families aren’t always seeing a surplus in their own budget,” said Rep. Deb Kiel, R-Crookston. “My focus is on returning those funds to the hardworking taxpayers who helped fund our state’s $1.4 billion surplus. Next session, I will advocate for meaningful middle-class tax relief, as well as work to provide relief for folks affected by our state’s health care cost crisis.”
According to MMB, Minnesota has a structural surplus moving forward, with a projected surplus for the 2020-2021 biennium. An updated forecast will be released in February which legislators will use as a final economic outlook to craft our state’s budget.





During the recent Crookston City Council meeting Mayor Gary Willhite presented Chancellor Fred Wood the "Keys to the City of Crookston" in gratitude for his work on campus and in the community.  The Council was on campus for their meeting on Monday, November 28, 2016, following a tour of the Wellness Center, UCLEAR lab, and Heritage Hall. Support of the community and City Council of Crookston is appreciated and Chancellor Wood has played a key role in community relations. 

UMC Chancellor Fred Wood receives the key from Mayor Gary Willhite




Crookston Toys for Tots is back for another year this holiday season.  Toys for Tots is a charity sponsored by the employees of the City of Crookston for needy children in the City of Crookston. Donations can be sent to 124 North Broadway, Crookston, MN 56716 or brought to the Water Department during business hours at 124 North Broadway. Cash donations are greatly appreciated and preferred which allow the volunteers to purchase age and gender specific gifts for each child. Books, toy and gift wrap donations have also been received.

Donations through – November 28, 2016
Crookston Valley Co-op/Proseed                                            $680.00
OtterTail Power Co.                                                                 $100.00
Dennis McDaniels                                                                    $ 20.00
Order of Eastern Star                                                               $ 50.00
American Legion Post No. 20                                                   $ 50.00
Lynn Thoen                                                                               $ 25.00
Crookston Noon Day Lions                                                     $100.00
Sisters In Spirit                                                                         $ 50.00
Fischer, Rust & Stock PLLC                                                  $100.00
Crookston Area Public Employees #1353                              $100.00
Fitzgerald, Reynolds, Harbott, Knutson & Larson PLLP     $100.00

Total this deposit                                                                   $1375.00
Grand Total                                                                           $1375.00
Goal                                                                                       $5,000.00




There were 365 rooted poinsettia cuttings that arrived in August at the University of Minnesota Crookston in anticipation of another holiday season.  Under the skill and coaxing of students involved in the commercial floriculture class, those cuttings develop into a beautiful poinsettia crop.  This year's poinsettias create a beautiful and colorful display with their showy "flowers" known as bracts and include varieties such as Autumn Leaves, Cortez Burgundy, Enduring Pink, Polar Bear, Winter Rose Early Red, Christmas Wish, Christmas Beauty Marble, Euphorbia Luv U Hot Pink, Gold Rush, Orange Spice, and Ruby Frost.
Members of the fall semester class include: Nathan Hvidsten, a senior majoring in horticulture from St. Paul; Heidi Shol, a junior majoring in horticulture from Crookston; MacKenzie Cochran a junior majoring in horticulture from Grand Forks, North Dakota; and Jeffery Ness, a junior majoring in horticulture from Bagley.

In October, students started the process of forcing the plants to induce bract color in time for the holiday season in December. Following a specific procedure to control the light, the students covered the plants with a dark cloth at 4 p.m. and uncovered them at 8 a.m. each day to regulate the length of daylight the plants receive. The students are responsible for greenhouse chores on the weekends as well. Although the class is taught by Rick Abrahamson, the crop is in the hands of the students. The work and production of the poinsettia crop is entirely the responsibility of the class.  Abrahamson says, "our goal is to give the students as much hands-on experience as possible, they make cropping decisions and get to see the results."

The Agriculture and Natural Resources Department offers commercial floriculture as part of the horticulture program to teach students to produce quality plants for a specific date - a skill necessary for employment in a greenhouse or garden center. "The colorful portion of poinsettias are actually modified leaves called bracts.  If you look closely in the center of these bracts you will see the small petal-less flowers.  Poinsettias are short day plants, meaning they initiate flowering when the day length is less than twelve hours.  The length of the day can be manipulated to ensure that the crop blooms at the desired time.  Poinsettias will bloom anytime of the year if given short days.  Our crop was given short days during the first week of October."

Abrahamson often allows problems to develop to see how the students will solve them--something they would have to do in an employment situation and giving them an opportunity to apply what they have learned. The class demands hard work, dedication, and a strong team effort to grow the best poinsettias. Leadership, responsibility and strong problem solving skills are three of the qualities that develop in this type of teaching and learning environment. "Students learn so much more by applying their classroom learning to the real-world experience of growing a crop," Abrahamson explains. "Students are held accountable for the outcome of their decisions making the commercial floriculture class one of their favorite courses and most memorable." The class is excellent training for a career in horticulture, a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S.

To learn more about the horticulture program with emphases in environmental landscaping, production horticulture or urban forestry, visit or

           Heidi Shol, Nathan Hvidsten, MacKenzie Cochran, and Jeffery Ness  (Picture by UMC)





The Polk County Self-Help Clinic was established on December 1, 2016, as a joint venture between the Polk County Law Library Board and Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota.
The purpose of the clinic is to assist people who are representing themselves with civil court matters in Polk County.  This may include explaining the legal process and options, assisting and reviewing court-approved pro-se forms, or referral to other appropriate resources. District Court Judge Tamara Yon stated, “The self-help clinic will provide guidance to ensure unrepresented individuals have access to the court system.  This joint venture between the Polk County Law Library Board and Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota is intended to increase the accessibility and efficiency of the legal system.” 
The clinic is located in the Polk County Justice Center, Courthouse Law Library, 2nd Floor, 816 Marin Ave., Crookston, MN.  An attorney will be available to provide personalized help, free of charge. The clinic is open the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 2:00-4:00 p.m. If necessary, an appointment can be made in advance to meet individualized needs by calling Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota at 1-800-450-8585 or 218-233-8585.




The Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, Crookston Unit 14, met on Tuesday, November 29, at 12:30 p.m. at the Irishman’s Shanty for a luncheon meeting. Commander Jean LaJesse presided. The secretary’s and treasurer’s report were given by Adjutant Margee Keller. Eight members were in attendance.
Members participated in the American Legion, VFW, and Highland School Veteran’s Day Services. 23 veterans at the RiverView Special Care Unit, The Summit, and the Villa were presented poinsettias by DAVA members Mercy Peterson and Nancy Lanctot for the Christmas holidays. A monetary donation was made to Villa St. Vincent.
Business items included: The annual gathering for the DAV and DAVA will be held on January 15, with more details to follow. Members are reminded to save items for Care Packages for the veteran hospitals. Items can be toothpaste, brushes, hygiene items, socks, and so forth. Members are also reminded to turn in their volunteer hours by February 28th to Commander Jean LaJesse. The next local DAV/DAVA state convention is set for April 27-29, 2017 in Duluth.
The next DAVA meeting is set for March 21, 2017.





Some background information on me is probably in order. I’m a lifelong resident of the Crookston area having been born in Crookston 77 years ago and now reside in the city. I served on the Riverview Board in the 70’s and moved into Crookston last fall partly to be closer to the medical facilities.

I’m quite concerned about the path healthcare in Crookston is taking. For a number of years now Crookston has had only one Hospital, RiverView, which belongs to the citizens of the area. We have also had only one Clinic, Altru, which belongs to Altru Health of Grand Forks. 12 years ago the residents of the Crookston area conducted a very successful fund drive to upgrade the healthcare facilities at RiverView Health. Minnesota Street was blocked off and the Hospital building was extended across the street to connect to the Altru Clinic building. The Altru Clinic discontinued having their own laboratory and x-ray departments and instead utilized the new state of the art facilities at RiverView. New operating rooms, MRI, cat, etc. This seemed to make good sense, as the duplication of expensive equipment is costly when one set will do. At the same time RiverView brought in some much needed specialties, which Altru was not providing in Crookston, namely orthopedics and gynecology. RiverView has also brought in some more family care Doctors to try and shorten the long wait time to see a doctor.

This is where my concern starts to arise. First, after a disagreement over billing costs, the Altru Clinic decided to reopen their laboratory. Then they put in their own physical therapy department in direct competition with the new and enlarged department at RiverView. Next they added a pharmacy in direct competition with the several pharmacies in town. They have put in their own x-ray department, again in direct competition with the new and state of the art department at RiverView.

Now they are spending $11 million to expand their clinic much of which is a duplication and in direct competition with Riverview. Most people in the area have an Altru doctor because there are more of them. My suggestion to you is that the next time your Altru Doctor orders a procedure you ask to have it done at Riverview (x-ray, MRI, elective surgery, physical therapy, etc.) When this is all in place it could cause the death of our hospital and then we’ll have their new clinic we’ll have to drive to Grand Forks if we need a hospital.
My question is this, “When is enough, enough???” Duplicating departments already in place in a community owned facility such as RiverView Health can only serve to increase the healthcare costs to the residents of the area and increase the profits of Altru which by the way is a Grand Forks business.

Signed, Allan Dragseth







With December upon us in northwest Minnesota, many snowmobilers are gearing up to fire up the sleds and hit the trails. Minnesota’s snowmobile trails officially open on December 1 and there are some conditions that must be met before those trails are ready to be traveled on. Andrew Korsberg is the State Trails Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division and explains. “The December 1 date is pending the right conditions for each individual trail to be open. What really helps is if the ground gets a good freeze because then when the snow does come it doesn’t get too messy with the grooming equipment,” Korsberg said. “There needs to be about 12 inches of snow to get a good groomed surface and all the other aspects of the trail have to be set up before it can be open.”

Caution is urged for any snowmobile rider, whether they are riding on a trail or in a ditch. “We always want people to drive safely, cautiously and defensively,” Korsberg said. “Snowmobile trails are probably the safest to ride and if you drive on side roads and ditches be aware of obstacles. If you drive on lakes or rivers, use exercise extreme caution. There should be at least five inches of ice before you even think about driving on any body of water.”

The Crookston Police Department reminds local snowmobile riders about the rules of the road. Crookston police officer Justin Roue gives some information. “When you drive a snowmobile in Crookston, all of the regular state statutes and DNR laws apply,” Roue said. “In town, you can drive directly to and from city limits. You can also drive to and from a gas station to your home or where you stow your snowmobile. If you’re between the ages of 14-18 you can drive on the streets if you have your safety certificate in your possession. Finally, equipment wise, have a visible headlight that is visible from 100 feet so people can see you.”

According to the DNR, Minnesota has more than 22,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. The DNR reminds people to call in advance or research online to get local conditions for the area they plan to ride. “We want to encourage everyone to be ready for the snowmobile season,” Korsberg said. “Get your sleds registered so when the snow does fly you can get out and enjoy the trails.”





Leah Hendricks is a busy woman raising a family in Ada with husband Derek that includes son, Braxton, and daughters, Brogan and Brittyn. But she’s also known for taking great care of patients as a Registered Respiratory Therapist in RiverView’s Cardiopulmonary Rehab/Respiratory Therapy Department. That exceptional care is the reason she was recently named RiverView’s Employee of the Month for November.
Hendricks has worked at RiverView for the past eight and a half years in Respiratory Therapy, Cardiopulmonary Rehab and the Stress Lab. She has an AAS in Respiratory Therapy from Northland Community and Technical College.
In her free time, the Beardsley, MN, native enjoys spending time with family, being at the lake, traveling, cooking and reading.
 “Being named Employee of the Month is a humbling honor, as there are so many deserving employees throughout RiverView,’’ she shared. “ I am fortunate to work with so many wonderful people who make me want to be a better therapist.  Each day, I strive to give our patients the best possible care, after all, they are the reason we are here.  In my current position in Cardiopulmonary Rehab, we have a unique environment because we see many of the same patients week after week.  These individuals are more than patients to us, they become more like family.  Knowing we can make a difference in someone’s life, where their health is concerned, is very rewarding.’’ 

            Leah Hendricks






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