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FRIDAY - NOVEMBER 28,  2014

POLK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OKAY PURCHASE OF 600 L.E.D. LIGHT BULBS TO HELP SAVE ON UTILITY BILLS

Polk County Buildings will be getting new L.E.D. light bulbs that will save money on utility bills for the county.  “We are doing some conservation work as we ordered 600 L.E.D. lights with a 12 year warranty as the ones we have last only a year and the new ones operate at a lower wattage and will reduce labor hours in replacement,” said County Commissioner Craig Buness.
Graybar Supply of Fargo was the low bidder for 600 replacement bulbs at a cost of $10,656.00.

The commissioners will be making a decision on the county surveyor selection at their December meeting. “We have talked about that position and must make a decision soon,” said Buness. “We reappointed Wayne Nelson for another four year term to the Marshall and Polk Rural Water System board of directors.”

 

 

CROOKSTON WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE APPROVES A NEW INTERNAL SERVICE FUND

The Crookston Ways and Means Committee approved creation of a new internal service fund at their meeting this week.   Crookston Finance Director Angel Hoeffner said it is a way for the city to put money into a reserve fund. “We can have the same expenses moved to a separate fund which will keep an eye on the insurance costs and what we take in for all the city departments and anything thing that has property liability and workers compensation,” said Hoeffner.  “This separate fund will make it easier for everyone.”

The city will hold their Truth in Taxation Hearing on December 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Crookston City Council Chambers before the council meeting and it is open to everyone.  

 

 

CROOKSTON ROTARY CLUB ANNOUNCES THE STUDENTS OF THE MONTH FOR OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER

The Crookston Rotary recently recognized the Crookston High School Student of the Month for October and November 2014.  The student of the month for October was Madison Crane and the November student of the month was Danica Brekken.

Student of the Month for October 2014 Madison Crane, Senior at Crookston High School
Family:  Parents Dan and Brenda Crane, Sisters Elizabeth and Caitlin, Brother-in-law Max

Plans after high school/college: “I plan to attend UMC and double major in early childhood education and elementary education. I’d like to be a preschool teacher.”

Areas of involvement in clubs or organizations: Leo Club, Student Council, Theater, Orchestra, Speech, and teaching Sunday School at Trinity Lutheran Church

Honors and awards: Recipient of the 2014 Miss Crookston Scholarship

Comments: “I would like to thank Crookston Rotary very much for this honor.”


Madison Crane (left) receives the October Student of the Month Award from Crookston Rotary President Krista Proulx (right)



Student of the Month for November 2014 Danica Brekken, Senior at Crookston High School

Family:  Parents Jaclyn and Kevin Brekken, Brother Elliot

Plans after high school/college: “I plan to attend Jamestown University and major in elementary or secondary education with an emphasis in math and a minor in finance. I will also play soccer there.”

Areas of involvement in clubs or organizations: Leo Club, Student Council, Soccer, Basketball, Softball, apostle at Cathedral Church

Honors and awards: 4.0 Honor Roll, National Honor Society

Comments: “I appreciate the award and thank everyone who continues to support me, especially my parents.”


Danica Brekken (right) receives the November Student of the Month Award from Margee Keller (left) of Crookston Rotary

 

 

ENBRIDGE DONATES $2,000 TO THE CROOKSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT AND CROOKSTON EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT


Art Haskins (Emergency Response Coordinator)  with Enbridge Pipeline stopped at the Fire hall on Wednesday, November 26 and presented the Fire Department and the City of Crookston Emergency Management with a $1000.00 donation for each entity.  In the photo representing Crookston Emergency Management is Bob Magsam and representing the Crookston Fire department is Tom Feiro.

 

 

EMPIRE THEATRE COMPANY TO PRESENT THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK CHRISTMAS

The Empire Theatre Company will present The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical November 28-29 and December 4-6 at 7:30pm each night at the Empire Arts Center. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for students and Empire members, and they can be purchased weekdays at (701) 746-5500 or anytime at www.empireartscenter.com.
With music and lyrics by David Nehls and book by Betsy Kelso, this production is the North Dakota premiere of the sequel to the smash hit original The Great American Trailer Park Musical, which played to sold-out crowds in 2008 in Grand Forks. The production has mature content and is not suitable for children.
In the show, it’s holiday time down in Armadillo Acres (North Florida’s premier mobile living community) and everyone’s filled with warmth and beer. But when a freak bout of amnesia strikes Darlene, the trailer park Scrooge, neighborly love is put to the test. Be on hand as Betty, Lin and Pickles jingle all the way with some new neighbors in an all-new, all-trailer-park holiday extravaganza!
Broadway World Houston calls it, "hands down our favorite holiday confection this year. Everything about this production works to bring out hearty guffaws from beginning to end."
The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical features the following local actors: Abby Schoenborn, Amy Driscoll, Leah Biberdorf, Jared Kinney, Misti Koop, and C.J. Leigh. The production is co-directed by Chris Berg and Casey Paradies, with music direction by David Henrickson.
The Empire Theatre Company produces a theatrical season annually staffed by professional actors, technicians, musicians, and staff, with an especially unique mission to perform contemporary, thought-provoking plays and musicals. The last show in the 2014-2015 season will be A Bright New Boise April 2-4 and 9-11 in Studio E. For more information about these productions, or to purchase tickets, visit 
www.empireartscenter.com.

 

 

 

THURSDAY - NOVEMBER 27,  2014

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW

The National Weather Service in Grand Forks has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for snow, which is in effect from 9:00 p.m. tonight (Thursday) to Noon on Friday.
Snow will develop near Grand Forks this evening, then spread east through the overnight hours and continue through Friday morning.  Two to four inches of snow with localized amounts of up to five inches is possible. Southeast winds could gust to 25 mph overnight and some blowing and drifting is possible reducing visibilities to a half mile or less at times. The winds will also cause windchills of 10 to 15 below.
A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means that periods of snow will cause primary travel difficulties.  Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities and use caution while driving.


MNDOT URGES SAFE TRAVEL THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND

Thanksgiving begins a busy travel season and the Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds motorists to use caution when driving across the state and to take advantage of the tools MnDOT makes available for safer, more predictable travel. “The holidays are a busy time on our Minnesota roadways,” said Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “Our plow drivers will do their part to keep our roads safe, but motorists should plan ahead and drive according to the road conditions.”
Because weather can change quickly during this time of year, MnDOT urges motorists to check 511 travel information when planning their holiday trips. MnDOT’s 511 travel information service provides road and winter driving conditions for the entire state and links to official weather information from the National Weather Service. 511 is available online at www.511mn.org/ and by dialing 5-1-1. Motorists also may download a free 511 application to get the same information on their smartphones and other mobile devices.
Motorists should note that the new winter road descriptions are ‘normal,’ ‘partially covered,’ ‘completely covered,’ ‘travel not advised’ and ‘closed.’ The descriptions are defined on the 511 website.
Safety experts agree that taking rest breaks is important, especially on long trips. Most of Minnesota’s rest areas are open and available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. For a complete listing of rest areas and their availability visit www.dot.state.mn.us/restareas
For safe driving at any time of the year, MnDOT advises motorists to:   

 

 

 

MINNESOTA DNR REMINDS PARENTS OF ICE DANGER TO CHILDREN

A mix of warm and cold weather across Minnesota has created inconsistent ice on lakes, rivers and ponds. The Department of Natural Resources is warning parents to keep an eye on their children this Thanksgiving as they visit friends and family who live near bodies of water. Last winter season (November to April), three people died after falling through the ice.  “Kids are adventurous and want to go out and play while mom and dad are cooking or visiting with friends. Right now, a thin coating of ice has formed on many lakes and ponds. An inch or two of ice is not safe,” said Capt. Todd Kanieski, DNR regional enforcement manager. He added, children should not go out on the ice without adult supervision, even when conditions improve. “Parents should also tell their children to stay away from any frozen water bodies around the home and that no ice is ever 100 percent safe,” Kanieski said.
The DNR recommends anyone heading out on the ice should: carry a set of ice picks, check with a local bait shop or resort – ask about ice conditions – and measure the ice.
DNR clear ice thickness recommendations are:

 

 

HUNTERS HARVEST 111,000 DEER THROUGH THIRD WEEKEND OF HUNTING

Minnesota hunters registered 111,000 deer through the third and last weekend of firearms deer season, down 31,000 from the same period in 2013, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. So far this year during special hunts and the archery, early antlerless and firearms seasons, hunters have harvested 127,000 deer, down from the 2013 to-date harvest total of 160,000.
This year’s lower harvest is by design because regulations were implemented to place more deer – particularly does – off limits to increase Minnesota’s deer population.
The DNR’s ongoing deer management work also includes upcoming revisions to the deer population goals for large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota. This is part of a multi-year goal-setting process for the entire state. People interested in helping set these deer population goals can get more information on the process and opportunities for involvement at www.mndnr.gov/deer.
Additional deer will be harvested during the late southeastern season, which runs through Sunday, Nov
ember 30, and the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, November 29, and continues through Sunday, December 14. The archery season also runs through Wednesday, December 31.

 

 

WEDNESDAY - NOVEMBER 26,  2014

POLK COUNTY TO THINK ABOUT A RAISE FOR COUNTY ATTORNEY GREG WIDSETH

Polk County Commissioners met on Tuesday and continued discussing the 2015 budget. Polk County Attorney Greg Widseth met with the board about his salary for 2015. Commissioner Craig Buness, of Crookston, said they had a survey of salaries for county attorneys in other counties. “We met with the county attorney about salary and how his department has changes,” said Buness. “No decision was made today, but we will look at it over the next two weeks.” Widseth has a salary of $98,1440 now and is asking for an increase to $112,000.00 for 2015. The commissioners will have more discussion before making a decision. The board gave approval to fill a legal secretary position for the county attorney’s office.

The truth in taxation hearing for the county is set for 6:00 p.m. on December 2 at the Government Center. A final decision on the 2015 budget will be made at the final December meeting, according to Buness. “The final levy will be done on December 16 for 2015 at the regular meeting along with all the other items for the end of the year.”

New radios are being ordered early for the Polk Sheriff’s Department to save money. “If we order in 2014 we can save $400 a radio and pay for them in 2015 and we will get one more radio with that savings for the department,” said Buness.

Polk County will be getting a new plat book in 2015. "We are getting a new plat book in 2015 as we are all out and it has been two years since we had a new one,” said Buness. “The cost will remain at $30 per book.”
 

 

POLK COUNTY LOOKING FOR MAINTENANCE WORKERS

There are two maintenance positions open at the highway department. “The openings are being discussed to replace the workers,” said Buness. “We approved the contract with Fosston for two deputies for 2015 at the same cost of 2014.” A job description is below.

Polk County is seeking applications for the position of Maintenance Superintendent. The position works under the general supervision of the County Engineer and Asst. County Engineer. The position supervises, coordinates and directs all aspects of the Polk County Maintenance division. The position also supervises the work at the county parks, recreation buildings, four (4) out-shops and all grounds facilities.
A pre-employment physical exam, drug testing analysis and criminal history evaluation will be conducted on the successful applicant. Results are contingent to employment. A complete position description and a County Application form may be obtained from the Polk County Highway Department, 820 Old Hwy. 75 So., Crookston, MN 56716, 218-281-3952. Applications close Monday December 15, 2014 at 4:30 P.M. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment regardless of their race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age, marital status, or status with regard to public assistance.

 


CROOKSTON SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES MAINTENANCE CONTRACT WITH JOHNSON CONTROLS

A contract with Johnson Controls for maintenance was approved by the Crookston School Board this week and they will provide new services for the district. “Johnson Controls maintains the air handling equipment throughout the district as it relates to heating, ventilation and air quality,” said Rick Niemela, Crookston School District Building Supervisor. “They will be doing maintenance of the equipment and some fine tuning as it wear out. Now that the construction is complete we have a full set of controls that is uniform whereas before we had two companies which conflicted, so now we can handle the controls from one set from wherever we are instead of being in the building.”
School Board member Keith Bakken voted against the contract because he has had concerns about the bidding process for those services.

 

 

TOYS FOR TOTS DONATIONS COMING IN, YOU CAN DONATE NOW

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 Crookston Water Departmetn 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.  Toy and gift wrap donations have also been received.

Donations through – " November 26, 2014

Crookston Kiwanis Pioneer 100’s                           $100.00
Crookston Classic Cruisers                                      $200.00
Lynn Thoen                                                               $  25.00
Crookston Rotary                                                     $  50.00
Crookston Masonic Lodge                                       $100.00
Order of Eastern Star                                               $  50.00
Odland, Fitzgerald, Reynolds & Harbott                $100.00
American Legion Post No. 20                                  $100.00
Crookston VFW Post 1902                                       $100.00
OtterTail Power Co.                                                 $  50.00
American Crystal Sugar Co.                                    $150.00
Sisters in Spirit                                                          $  50.00
Ernest & Sandra Taus                                              $  25.00                       
Total this deposit                                                     $1,100.00
Goal                                                                          $5,000.00



 

CUB SCOUT PACK 44 CELEBRATES A SUCCESSFUL POPCORN FUNDRAISER

Cub Scouts Pack 44 in Crookston would like to say THANK YOU to everyone that supported them in their annual popcorn fundraiser. “With the help of the community we were able to sell just shy of $18,000. It is great to see the community helping such a great program,” said Maggie Haskett. “All the funds we get are directly used to benefit the Scouts which includes camp, awards and fun pack meetings.” The last pack meeting the Scouts who sold $450 or more of popcorn were able to pie a leader of choice. 


Dylan Thode the packs top seller enjoyed pie his dad Pat Thode, Assistance Wolf Leader


         The Cub Scout Pack 44 members after the Pie Night (Pictures by Maggie Haskett)

 

 

 

POLK COUNTY'S DARRELL LARSEN RECEIVES MN FARMERS UNION DEDICATED SERVICE AWARD

Minnesota Farmers Union honored Darrell Larsen of Polk County with their Dedicated Service Award at the Minnesota Farmers Union 73rd annual state convention, held last weekend at the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis. “Darrell understands the importance of family farmers and has worked tirelessly to make sure that family farmers, their families, and their livelihoods, are protected through the ups and downs of farming.  Darrell understands that farming isn’t just a job, but a way of life,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “I want to thank Darrell for his dedicated service to Minnesota Farmers Union, rural communities, and the people who live there.  We have been lucky to have him as part of our team and wish him best of luck in the next chapter of his life as he begins his retirement.”
Darrell Larsen started with MFU as a Field Representative in 1972.  He later served as Director of Field services until returning to the home farm in 1980.  He continued part-time with MFU as Director of Cooperative Services until the mid-80s.  Darrell later served as Morrison County Farmers Union President and as Minnesota Farmers Union Vice President until resigning to begin full-time work with ASCS-FSA in December of 1994.
Darrell began his career with ASCS-FSA as a Field Reporter in 1992, then completed the Country Operations Training program in 1995 and served as County Executive Director (CED) in Hubbard County from June 1995 until 1997.  In 1997, he was selected for his current position as CED in Morrison County, and also served two terms as a Shared Management CED with Todd County FSA during this time.
Darrell is an Army Artillery veteran of the Vietnam War, serving in the Northern I Corps from July 1968 to July 1969.  He continued his military career with the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, serving 27+ years and retiring as Lieutenant Colonel.
Darrell is married to Arlene, and they have three grown daughters and ten grandchildren.  His current plans are to retire from FSA at the end of December and spend more time with his grandchildren, and tending to the family farm.


  Doug Peterson presents Darrell Larsen the award

 

 

TUESDAY -  NOVEMBER 25, 2014

CITY OF CROOKSTON WANTS TO RAISE ICE RENTAL TO THE BLUE LINE CLUB BY A $1,000 FOR THREE MONTHS IN OFF-SEASON

The Crookston Sports Center Task Force met with the Crookston Blue Line Club Tuesday morning to address the cost of ice rental for 2015 during the months of April, May, June and September.  The City of Crookston requested a raise in the rental and the Blue Line Club felt it was to high.  “We would like to keep the rental around the $4,000 mark, but we will do what we have to for our kids," said Darla Prudhomme, newly elected president of the Blue Line Club. "We are losing money every year on the rental and try to make it up on the concession stand and other things, but does not appear it will get any better. We lose about $4,500 to $5,000 each year. We think we can work it out with the city and find other areas to pick up the cost."
Angel Hoeffner, City of Crookston's Finance Director  explained the need for raising the fee from $4,000 to $5,000 per week.  “The city back in June asked the Blue Line to pay $5,000 and they said it was a little to expensive all at one time and  maybe cut it to $4,200," said Hoeffner. "Everyone is taking a hit, the LLC, the Sports Center. It is an interesting financing tool with the LLC at $500,000 and the city at $500,000 for a million dollar total."
The city and blue line club will meet again to get closer to a rental fee for 2015.  “It will be discussed in a smaller group  to get a discussion on the two major costs of the sports center being utilities and labor," said Hoeffner. "The temperature in the Sports Center was lowered last year and again this year and it is ten degrees lower,  but the weather changes that all the time also. Everyone agreed the tournaments on weekend are good for the businesses and the community."
Crookston Pirate Hockey Coach Joel Gasper reminded everyone that we are running the Sports Center for the kids and that we knew when it was built it was not going to make money. Brent Melsa, owner of Draft’s Bar and Grill, located next door to the Crookston Sports Center had about 38 percent increase in their business from weekend hockey tournaments.  Other businesses have benefitted from the weekend tournaments and the Crookston Convention Visitors Bureau has a big increase in their budget from the hotel tax. 
Crookston City Council member Bob Quanrud said everyone has to step up along with the blue line club, the city, the figure skating  participants and the curling teams along with more community involvement.




CROOKSTON CITY COUNCIL AND WAYS AND MEANS HAVE REGULAR MEETINGS

The Crookston City Council met on Monday evening and accepted a donation from Leon Kremeier, Ottertail Power Company Area Manager.  Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen said the city is appreciative, “Mr. Kremeier had a donation of $1,500 for a AID device for the police department, so we are thrilled as they are a good partner with the city and it is good for the residents and the department so we thank then a whole bunch.”

The council accepted a grant agreement with the State of Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety State Fire Marshal for a shared service contract with the city fire department.

The Ways and Means Committee met after the council meeting and agreed to have a committee from the council and staff look at the housing incentive program and make some improvements. “Barrette Street Estates started about 18 months ago and we have some lots available,” said  Stassen. “We want to make sure the agreements say what we want and make a few minor changes for the future.”
The city has been in negotiations with the police department and settlement is close according to Stassen.  “We have been in negotiations with the police department and we have a preliminary agreement," said Stassen. "We will send it on to the council in a few weeks and have it signed before the first of the year.”

The s committee agreed to send the city budget for 2015 to the council with a five percent levy Increase for approval at the next meeting. Council member Dana Johnson said department heads should take another look at their budget for a five percent cut while council member Wayne Melbye said they have done their jobs and have cut to the bare bones.



 

CROOKSTON SCHOOL BOARD HEARS OF STAFF VISITING OTHER SCHOOLS

The Crookston School Board met on Monday and heard from their Principals and teachers who visited the schools of Fertile-Beltrami and Pequot Lakes, two schools that have showed marked improvement in their test scores.  Highland Principal Chris Trostad went to Pequot Lakes with a focus on science, “We looked at all the core areas, we found they are working with ART response intervention which is to pull students in during the day to get extra help for high school, junior high and younger students." Sue Garmen, Highland Teacher was among the group that visited Pequot Lakes said they were working on standards and  hands on teaching.  

Crookston High School Principal Eric Bubna led a group that went to Fertile-Beltrami with Wayne Folkers, a math teacher from the High School, and Elementary teachers Kari Brantner and Renee Tangquist, who stated that technology was used in all grades.  “We had a great day and visited with the new principal in Fertile. We saw classes from K-12," said Bubna. "Wayne Folkers and I visited math classes and they have more access to technology than we do and they attribute some of their success to  what they have available.”  The Crookston School Board suggested that each building in the district maybe meet with the school district technology director and discuss what additional technology might be needed or wanted and maybe have a presentation to the board on what kind of money would be needed to add those ideas.

Kim Durbin of  Drees, Riskey and Vallager presented the audit for 2013-2014 to the board which showed assets of $36 million for the school district.  Laura Lyczewski, Crooksto School District Business Manager was pleased with the audit, “The audit looks very well and everything was on budget. Revenues were a little over and expenditures were a little under and they had no findings which is always good.” The school district had a reserve fund increase of just over $600,000 from last year at this time. The board was pleased with the approximate 10% reserve fund balance.

Contract agreements with the custodial staff for 2013-2014 and 2014 to 2017 and Rick Niemela, Transportation Director were approved. “We settled up for the group and Rick with no increases for 2013-2014 and about a three percent raise for the other agreements,” said Lyczewski.

The board approved the trip to Washington, D. C. for June, 2016 with the group doing the fund raising. 

The Wal-Mart proposal  to carry Pirate apparel and give the school district 8 percent of the profits did not pass as it died for lack of a motion.

Donations from Hardware Hank of $450.71, KROX RADIO for $500, Ryan and Sandy Lindtwed for $250 and Scott and Kim Durbin for $500 were accepted to purchase a volleyball net system for Highland School.

The Crookston Youth Basketball Association (CYBA) donated $2,400 to be used toward the gymnasium floor at the high school, $2,000 to the Crookston Pirate Girls Basketball program and another $2,000 to the Crookston Boys Basketball program. 
 

 



MONDAY - NOVEMBER 24,  2014

CROOKSTON WOODCARVER NAMES WOODCARVER OF THE YEAR

The Woodcarving Illustrated magazine has named a Crookston resident, Rick Jensen, the Woodcarver of the year 2014.  Jensen is known across the country for his carving cottonwood bark into whimsical bark houses which appear at carving shows and competitions across the country. Jensen is now in demand to teach at shows and classes showing his techniques for bark carving which has become popular throughout the country.   Jensen started carving at seven years of age when his father gave him a pocketknife starting with sticks and moving on to decorative pieces and then took time out for family life and education. After serving in the Vietnam War he came back to carving in 1984.  "I had many teachers in the carving society which affected my style and I now work with other carvers at seminars demonstrating for people and telling stories and answering questions," said Jensen.
He has written a book with Jack Williams called Illustrated Guide to Carving Tree Bark.  Other carvers say he reinvents himself every year going from the houses to tree houses and boat houses to get a new twist.  Jensen sees potential in bark houses after three decades of carving as he combines them with other small pieces to create a large carving.   The Woodcarver Illustrated magazine has been giving out the award as Woodcarver of the year since 2001.

(Picture from Woodcarving Illustrated)




CROOKSTON HIGH SCHOOL ENVIRONTHON TEAM GETTING READY FOR COMPETITION IN MARCH

Crooksotn High School Science teacher, Wes Hanson, is the advisor for the Environthon team which will get started in March. Environthon is an opportunity for students to work outside the classroom on environmental topics as they work as a team and explore issues and current events on the environmental level,” said Hanson. Guthrie Dingmann is a member of the Envirothon team. “I felt like I had to get involved as my dad is a biology teacher at the college (UMC)," said Dingmann. "I really wanted to do something and I gave it a shot and liked it, learned a lot. I’m not a farmer’s kid, but I learned a lot about cover crops." Alex McGregor said her teachers got her involved in Environthon. “Both teachers talked to me so I decided it was a good thing to do," said McGregor. "I was on a team and ended up being an alternate for state and worked with an alternate from Park Rapid, so it was a good experience. My research was on forestry and learned how trees and humans interact."


 

WINTER TRUCK LOAD INCREASES BEGIN TODAY IN NORTHERN MINNESOTA

Winter truck load increases will begin Monday, November 24, on unrestricted highways in the north and north central frost zones, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Vehicles will be allowed to operate up to 10 percent over the standard legal maximum loads on unrestricted highways during the winter load Increase period. However, trucks must comply with current registration weight laws and not exceed registered gross weight tolerances.
Drivers should check with local agencies prior to increasing any weights on city, county and township routes. The sign erected on the roadway governs the load limit in effect. A winter weight increase permit is required to take advantage of the 10 percent weight increase on interstate highways only; a permit is not required for state trunk highways.
For questions about legal weight/size trucking, call: Minnesota Department of Public Safety - State Patrol - Commercial Vehicle Enforcement; 651-405-6196 (select option 3, option 3).
For questions about over legal weight/size ‘heavy haul’ trucking, call: Minnesota Department of Transportation, Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations - Oversize/Weight Permits, 651-296-6000 or email: ofcvopermits.dot@state.mn.us. 
The start and end dates for winter load increases are based on how weather is affecting roadway strength. These dates are established by monitoring roadway strength as weather conditions change. Therefore, the ending date for winter load Increases is variable and drivers must check for updates throughout the year. Vehicle operators are required to check with MnDOT for the exact start and end dates.
All changes are made with a minimum three-day notice.

 

 

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA EXTENSION OFFERS TIPS TO STORE GRAIN IN COLD

Grain Storage Problems with Sudden Cold

The drastic temperature drop over the past weeks may create some grain storage and drying problems. To address this concern, this week’s tip comes from Dr. Ken Hellevang, NDSU Extension Engineer. Following is his response to the most common concerns during this sudden cold snap. 
The basic issue is with the sudden change in air temps and how to best manage the operation of aeration fans on bins to cool grain without freezing the bin. According to Ken, the kernels will not freeze together if the corn moisture content is below 24%. There is extensive experience with cooling corn to well below freezing and the corn still being able to flow normally. The acceptable moisture content decreases with more foreign material in the corn. He recommends the corn moisture be less than 24% to hold it until outdoor temperatures are above freezing and at or below 21% to hold corn until spring.
Some people are recommending that wet corn be not be cooled below freezing because ice crystals will form in the void spaces between the corn with the moisture coming from the corn. Based on Ken’s extensive experience, this is not problem.
Frosting will occur when moist air comes in contact with a surface at a temperature below freezing. It typically occurs when air from warm corn comes in contact with a cold bin roof and roof vent during aeration. It can occur with corn at temperatures below freezing when warmer air comes through the cold corn. This could occur if the corn at the top of the bin was cold and warm air from corn below is moved through the cold corn as the bin is cooled using aeration. Normally this will occur only in a shallow layer of corn at the top of the bin and only for a period of time until that corn has been warmed by the warm aeration air coming from the warm corn. 
The amount of frost accumulation expected in the corn increases as the corn gets colder and layer of corn gets thicker. Since corn is a good insulator, the cold layer is normally expected to be fairly thin and the warm aeration air removes the frost.
If the corn is warmer than the bin steel, condensation in the form of frost will occur on the bin roof and bin vents. The rapid drop in outdoor temperature makes this very likely. Cooling the corn in small steps reduces this potential. The general goal is to cool the corn to just below freezing, so operate the fans only when outdoor air temperature is above 20 degrees. 
Corn at 22 percent moisture has an estimated allowable storage life of about 60 days at 40 degrees and 30 days at 50 degrees. Cool corn at recommended moisture contents can wait for cooling until appropriate temperatures exist. Ideally the aeration air temperature would be 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the corn. If it is extremely cold, it is best to not run the fan and wait for an appropriate air temperature.
For more information, contact me at 800-450-2465 or stordahl@umn.edu.  This article was provided by Ken Hallevang, NDSU.

 

 

FRIDAY - NOVEMBER 21,  2014

CROOKSTON HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMEN FIND A CHANGE UP IN HEALTH

Freshmen at Crookston  High School have a change in their health curriculum this year, according to health teacher and Dean of Students Josh Hardy. “We are doing a new thing for health this year in ninth grade instead of a semester of health they will receive four full days of health each year until they are seniors which is 16 days of health , 8 hours each day, which is about 128 hours in place of a semester long class, doing things like this allows us to bring people in from the community,” said Hardy.  “Mental health was the theme for the day this week with specialists like Travis Knutson from the Northwest Mental Health Center, Jill Carlson our school psychologist,  Leah Kent our counselor, Bethany Brandvold from Polk County Public Health, Kay Williams who does Yoga at UND and I participated also. The students rotated through and got presentations and creative health things and the students seemed to have a good day with the girls liking the yoga more than the boys but I was pleased with the first time experience.”
Hardy is  will be getting health specialists from throughout the state to participate in their monthly Health Fair.



CROOKSTON CITY TASK FORCE WILL MEET ON TUESDAY MORNING, CITY COUNCIL WILL HAVE REGULAR MEETING ON MONDAY NIGHT

The Crookston Sports Center Task Force meets on Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. in the  Crookston City Council Chambers in the Crookston City Hall. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss ice rental fees for the spring and summer ice at the sports center which is rented by the Crookston Blue Line Club.

The Crookston City Council will have their regular meeting on Monday, November 24 at 7:00 PM in the council chambers. For the council meeting agenda, click here. Immediately following the council meeting, the Crookston Ways and Means committee meet.

The ways and means agenda:
1. Approve/Amend meeting reports from October 27, 2014 and November 10, 2014
2.  Request for an extension on Barrette Street Lot
3.  Create new Internal Service Fund
4.  Budget Discussion
5.  Other
Both meetings are open to the public.

 


CROOKSTON SCHOOL BOARD WILL HEAR ABOUT THE FINAL AUDIT FOR 2013-2014 SCHOOL YEAR AND BE ASKED TO APPROVE IT

The Crookston School will hear about the final audit for the past school year from Kim Durbin, CPA at Drees, Riskey and Vallager in Crookston. The board will also be asked to approve the audit. Other agenda items include approving contracts for the past year through 2017 for the custodial staff and also Transportation Director, Rick Niemela for the past year through 2017.  The board will accept over $1,700 from businesses and citizens for a volleyball system at Highland and $6,400 from the Crookston Youth Basketball Association (CYBA) going toward the gym floor at the high school and for the Crookston Girls and Boys basketball programs. For the full agenda, click here.
The board meeting starts at 5:00 PM and is open to the public. There are two points at the board meeting citizens can address the board, immediately after the opening and just before the close.


 

MINNESOTA CROP IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION TO HOLD ANNUAL MEETING IN JANUARY

The 2015 Minnesota Crop Improvement Association (MCIA) Annual Meeting will be held January 13 and 14 at the Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. An informative program, industry trade show and Awards Banquet has been planned for seed producers and processors.

Meeting highlights include:
-Awards Banquet, January 13 will feature Dr. Jim Orf as he reflects on his career of over 30 years as soybean breeder at the University of Minnesota.  From the broad usage of publically developed varieties, the adoption of bio-technology and growth of food grade soybeans - his career spans a period of dramatic change in the soybean seed industry.

-How Will Sequencing the Soybean Genome Impact Plant Breeding?
presented by Dr. Robert Stupar of the University of Minnesota.  Learn how advancements in genomics research will yield major benefits for plant breeders and variety improvement. 
-Barley Breeding at the University of Minnesota by Dr. Kevin Smith.  The University of Minnesota has a long history of releasing highly regarded 6-row malting barley varieties.  Hear what’s next for this program with two- row and winter barley.
-University of Minnesota - CFANS and MAES Update, Dr. Brian Buhr.  Hear about exciting initiatives and changes at the University from the new Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and Director of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES).

For more information contact MCIA at 800-510-6242 or visit our website at www.mncia.org. For over 100 years MCIA has provided programs and services to meet the needs of an ever changing agricultural world.  These include certification and quality assurance services for seed, forage and mulch, identity preserved grains and sod.  MCIA Organic is a USDA accredited Organic Certification Agency providing local service to a wide variety of producers and processors.  The MCIA foundation seed program works closely with the University of Minnesota plant breeders increasing and marketing new crop varieties.  In addition MCIA provides customized auditing and assessment services for seed and IP grains.  MCIA operates from facilities on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus with field staff located throughout Minnesota.  

 

 

OTTERTAIL POWER OFFERS TIPS FOR THE PUBLIC TO KEEP HOUSEGUESTS SAFE DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Celebrations, family gatherings, and houseguests traditionally increase in number during the winter holiday season. Unfortunately, statistics show that incidents of home fires and accidents typically increase this time of year as well. While festive decorations and savory food may seem like the most important aspects of holiday entertaining, be sure to give careful thought to the safety of your guests.
Otter Tail Power Company offers these tips to help ensure that your home is safe for the holiday season.

Fire safety
-Make sure your stairs, hallways, and entries are properly lighted and keep them free of clutter and other objects that could hinder escape during a fire emergency.
-Use nightlights in hallways and bathrooms.

Decorating safety
-If your Christmas tree is real, be sure to keep it watered. If a bulb gets too hot or there is a short in the wiring, a watered tree is less likely to catch fire.
-Consider LED holiday lights instead of incandescent light strings. LED lights are safer because they are cool to the touch when lit and resist breaking. They also use less electricity so more strings to be connected together, and they can last 50 times longer than incandescent lights.
-Avoid overloading electrical outlets, which can overheat and cause fires. Use no more than three standard-size sets of incandescent lights per single extension cord or outlet.
-Discard decorations with worn or frayed electrical cords, broken or cracked sockets, damaged plugs, or loose connections.
-Make sure extension cords are in good repair and are properly sized for the electrical load. Extension cords used with outdoor decorations must be rated for outdoor use.
-To reduce the chance of electrical shock, use a fiberglass ladder when putting up and taking down holiday lights, and be sure to stay clear of overhead electrical wires.
-Fasten outdoor lights securely to protect them from wind damage. Never yank, kink, or bend electrical cords or hang them from nails. Don’t nail or staple through electrical cords. Cracking the insulation around the wiring could lead to shock or electrical fire.
-Use only weatherproof electrical devices outdoors. And protect them from moisture, especially at connections to extension cords or to additional light strings or other electrical decorations.
-Make sure electrical decorations bear labels indicating that they have been tested by independent agencies, such as Underwriters Laboratories. A green UL label rates them for indoor use only. A red UL label indicates that they are suitable for outdoor and indoor use.
-Turn off and unplug all electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.

Keep young visitors in mind
-Install tamper-resistant receptacles to prevent electrical shocks and burns, or use safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.
-Never allow children to play with electrical decorations or cords.

“It’s important to keep safety in mind while preparing for this exciting and extremely busy time of year,” says Otter Tail Power Company Safety Services Manager Eric Hamm. “We remind everyone to exercise good judgment. A proactive approach to safety will help you give the gift of safety to your family and friends this holiday season.”

 

 

 

THURSDAY - NOVEMBER 20,  2014

UMC TO HOST RENEE RONGEN ON DECEMBER 1

Be the Entrepreneur of Your Life” is the presentation topic of popular speaker and author Renee Rongen on Monday, December 1, at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC). Rongen’s presentation begins at 6:00 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium. All are welcome and admission is free.
With messages transcending the barriers of age, gender, and occupation, Rongen’s entertaining, engaging and energetic style, coupled with customized rich content moves audiences to act, live, and work differently.  
Rongen’s presentation is sponsored by the Business Department and Communication program at UMC along with Concerts and Lectures and the Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies (CRES). For more information, contact Megan Pederson at 218-281-8573.

Background on Reneé Rongen
Rongen is an award winning humorous and inspirational speaker, author, and business consultant.  She engages her audience with her “legacy living” philosophy.  Her comedic timing coupled with Rongen’s acclaimed gift as master story teller make her the perfect fit for organizations who want to inspire and grow their culture to be the best in the industry. 
In addition to her speaking, she is an accomplished author of several popular books. Her newest work titled Fundamentally Female, released in October 2012, was included in the Oscar and Golden Globe swag bags for all female nominees. A second book in the Fundamentally Female series entitled I’m a Girl…That’s Why is set for release in 2015.


 

MNDOT ENCOURAGES RESIDENTS TO GET THEIR MAILBOXES READY FOR THE SEASON

With winter weather here, the Minnesota Department of Transportation encourages residents to get their mailboxes ready for the season. During winter, residents are responsible for the care and replacement of a damaged mailbox unless it was directly hit by a snowplow. Minnesota Statute 169.072 cities that mailboxes along state highways need to conform to location and breakaway standards. These standards are available at the following web page: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/stateaid/trafficsafety/safety/mailboxes.pdf

Often when damage occurs, it is the result of mailboxes not conforming to these requirements. This is often caused by rusting mailboxes or posts that do not stand up to the snow thrown by plows. Please note the following reminders about mailboxes along state highways:
-Mailbox reflectors and driveway markers should be blue or clear. Motorists may confuse red and orange reflectors with vehicle tail lights, which could draw them toward the mailbox when visibility is limited.
-Mailboxes with damaged or worn latches should be replaced. Wind and heavy snow can cause a mailbox door to fall open if the latch isn’t working properly.
-Newspaper holders, chains and other types of ornamental displays under the mailbox add to its size and weight and do not leave much room for plow clearance.

MnDOT follows up on all mailbox damage complaints and appreciates cooperation from mailbox owners when investigating damages. Mailbox damage found to be caused by a direct snowplow collision will be repaired by MnDOT. Repairs may take time due to snow removal and other regular maintenance activities.

FOR THE OBITUARY PAGE  CLICK HERE

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