FRIDAY - JANUARY 30,  2014


It’s time to register in the KROX Radio and Bergan Travel 19th Annual “Take a Trip on Us” contest for your chance to win a $2,000 Bergan Travel Gift Certificate.  Go where you want to go, do what you want to do, take who you want!! Register at participating businesses now through February 13. The winner will be announced on KROX after the Noon news on Friday, February 20. The grand prize winner will receive a $2,000 gift certificate from Bergan Travel in Thief River Falls and KROX. So what are you waiting for? Register now for the 19th Annual “Take a Trip on Us” to win a $2,000 Bergan Travel gift certificate. Brought to you by KROX Radio and Bergan Travel of Crookston and Thief River Falls. Register at the following area businesses:
Anytime Fitness, Cenex C Store in Warren, Christian Brothers Ford, Christian Motors of Fertile, Crookston Building and Rent-It Center, Crookston Eagles Club, Crookston Inn and Convention Center, Crookston Valley Cooperative, Drafts Sports Bar and Grill, Eagle Thrifty White Pharmacy, Eagles Nest at UMC, Eagles Square in Red Lake Falls, Four Seasons Clothing, Happy Joe’s Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor, HN Quality Plumbing and Maytag Home Store, Hugo’s in Crookston, Hunter’s Outlet in Thief River Falls, Lakeview Resort Bar and Grill on Maple Lake, Mid-Valley Grain Co-op, Mireault’s Home Furnishings in Fosston, NAPA Crookston Welding and Machine, Ness Café of Erskine, Northern Lumber, Opticare in Crookston, PKM Electric of Warren, R.B.J.’s Restaurant, Red Lake County Co-op of Brooks, RiverView Health, Signature Jewelers of East Grand Forks, Subway of Crookston, Taco John’s of Crookston, This is Sew Broadway, and Tips and Toes Nails Spa.




The Crookston High School One Act Play won the Section 8A Sub-30 contest Thursday night in the Crookston High School Auditorium.  Crookston performed Shuddersome: Tales of Poe.  The second place team was Ada-Borup, who performed "This is a Test."  Both teams advance to the Section 8A contest in Bagley on Saturday, February 7.  
The Crookston cast and crew included: Charles Brantner, Zach Lutz, Michelle Cuno, Macy Larson, Alex MacGregor, Ciera Goering, Kari Gillette, Madison Crane, Megan Frisk, Allison Reinhart, Callie Boucher, Brianna Visness, Bethany Newquist, Amanda Barrus, Gabriella Ostgaard, Kaitlin Selzler, Zach Sanders, Naomi Henry, Mallory Cuno, and Daphne Butler.  The team is directed by Beth Carlson.

The Crookston High School One Act Play team with their Sub-section Championship Trophy! (Picture by Theresa Miller)



It took 16 rounds before a winner was declared at the Spelling Bee at Highland school on Thursday afternoon.  The competition had 16 fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders competing with their classmates watching attentively and quietly the spellers moved quickly through the words on Thursday afternoon.   Words like dandelion, celestial, jostle and volcano were just a few examples that were spelled correctly, before the winner was declared. The winner was the “favorite” coming into the competition with eighth grader Yosh Kapoor winning his fourth straight spelling bee.  “It is pretty interesting to see how everyone does and since it is my last time I did not plan to fail,” said Kapoor.  “Lily (Sandman) was good competition and I thought she had the word right. I have been to Thief River Falls (for the regional competition) several times and that will be a challenge.”
Kapoor edged Lily Sandman, a seventh grader who finished second.  Kapoor will move on to regional competition in Thief River Falls.
Highland Principal Chris Trostad was impressed with the spellers. “The kids did an outstanding job and the students were supportive of their peers and I found the words interesting and how hard they are to spell,” said Trostad.

Judging the competition were Sarah Geist, Larry Anderson and Ray Dusek.
Fifth graders competing were Emma Osborn, Joey Brule, Gunner Gunderson and Luke Noah.
Sixth graders were Nick Coauette, Karsten Issacson, Elijah Williams, and Carter Bruggeman.
Seventh graders were Josh Bernia, Ben Brantner, Lily Sandman and Dayen Sundquist.
Eighth graders were Yash Kapoor, Mason LaPlante, Trey Christopherson and Cayden Bruley.

      Yash Kapoor and his mother Sonam Kapoor after the contest




Two area accounting firms have agreed to merge and are planning to complete the transaction in the next few months, according to Mark Miller, shareholder in charge at Brady Martz and Associates in Grand Forks. “In December 2014, Brady Martz and Associates and Drees, Riskey, and Vallager entered into a letter of intent to merge the two groups together,” said Miller. “After some due diligence in the next few months we will come together in the summer of 2015.”   Brady Martz and Associates has offices in Dickinson, Bismarck, Minot and Grand Forks North Dakota and Thief River Falls, Minnesota. “This a great opportunity for two firms with a similar business philosophy to come together and strengthen into one firm to provide quality service to our clients,” said Miller. “Brady Martz has about 200 employees and Drees, Riskey, Vallager has about 40 so it will be about 240 when we come together and strengthen the typical services accounting firms provide we will have a strong firm going forward.”





The Crookston Rotary Club recently recognized Crookston High School Students of the Month for December 2014 and January 2015.

Crookston Rotary President Krista Proulx (left) with Dan Davidson (center) and Amber Froeber (right).

Rotary Student of the Month for December 2014
Dan Davidson
, Senior at Crookston High School
Family: Parents Kim and Dave Davidson, Sister Katie
Plans after high school/college: “I plan to attend the University of Minnesota Twin Cities to study communication and then law.”
Involvement in clubs or organizations: President of the Student Council and Leo Club, Basketball, Football, RiverWatch
Honors and awards: National Honor Society; attended Camp RYLA—Rotary Youth Leadership Award; admitted to the U of M’s Honors Program
Statement: “I’d like to thank the community for all the opportunities I’ve been given over the years.”

Rotary Student of the Month for January 2015
Amber Froeber
, Senior at Crookston High School
Family: Parents Brenda and Tim Froeber, Brother Luke
Plans after high school/college:
“I plan to go to Northland Tech in East Grand Forks for radiology and to play volleyball there.”
Involvement in clubs or organizations:
Volleyball, Basketball, Track, National Honor Society, Leo Club, Prom Committee, Cathedral Apostle, Toys for Tots
Honors and awards: Team captain for Volleyball, Basketball, and Track; All-Conference Volleyball, Basketball; attended Camp RYLA—Rotary Youth Leadership Award
“Thank you for this great honor. I would strongly encourage all of the juniors to sign up for RYLA. It was one of the best weeks of my life.”




Crookston National Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Daniel L. Rust to its Board of Directors. "It is a pleasure to welcome Dan to our Board of Directors," said Jim Ingeman, President of Crookston National Bank. "Dan's insights and experiences will be valuable to our Bank as we continue to focus on doing what is best for our customers and our community." Daniel Rust is a Partner with Rust, Stock & Rust, P.A. He has been with the Law Firm since 1977, specializing in business law, estate planning, real estate law, along with providing assistance in a variety of other areas of practice.
Dan has also served in numerous capacities throughout the years for a variety of organizations, including Crookston Chamber of Commerce,  Crookston Jobs, Inc.,  Glenmore Foundation, Finance Council of the Diocese of Crookston, Crookston Jaycees, Development Activity Center, Minnesota Client Security Board, Minnesota 14th District Bar Association,  and NW MN Legal Services.
Rust holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting, summa cum laude, from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, and holds a Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota.




Students from Our Savior’s Lutheran School packed 1,000 backpack bags at the North Country Food Bank today as part of their National Lutheran Schools Week.  They will be putting together care packages for the Villa, Hospice, the Care and Share, and veterans’ organizations tomorrow.




The University of Minnesota-Crookston recently earned acknowledgment and accolades regarding safety, affordability, and quality from a number of organizations.

USA TODAY College has listed the UMC at number five among the ten “safest college campuses in the U.S.” The ranking, which is from College Factual, an online college comparison resource, considers crime reports on-campus, in the surrounding town or city, as well as in the surrounding region and utilizes data from the Office of Postsecondary Education and the FBI. View the rankings at

UMC also earned a spot among the top ten of the “50 Most Affordable Public Schools for Out-of-State Students” by, a web resource intended to provide prospective college students with the accurate and relevant information on making higher education more cost-effective. On the list, UMC ranked #8. The organization factored average tuition and institutional financial aid rates into the rankings. The complete listing and methodology are available at

The U of M Crookston’s online bachelor’s degree in communication has been ranked at number one among the “Top Online Communications Degrees for 2015” by Affordable Colleges Online (AC Online).  AC Online is an online resource that examines cost and quality of online degree programs across the nation. The organization collects and analyzes data from government sources and hundreds of colleges and universities to identify top online degree programs in various major fields. Among the scoring metrics used were tuition rates, student-faculty ratio, graduation rates, and financial aid, among others. The full list is available online at

Another of the UMC Crookston’s online programs, its degree in accounting, has been ranked among the 50 best online bachelor’s program in accounting and has received the 2014-15 “Students Before Profits Award” from Nonprofit Colleges Online. According to the organization, the award “was created to promote nonprofit colleges and universities offering online degree programs that put students before profits and education before the bottom line.” Programs were ranked according to their affordability and were selected from accredited, nonprofit colleges and universities with objectively lower than average tuition costs. UMC’s online accounting degree came in at #27 out of 50 ranked colleges and universities. The full list is available online at






RiverView Health in Crookston will host an education course on February 5 for individuals interested in basic first aid. The program, developed by the American Heart Association, is open to the general public. Participants in this First Aid Course will learn to provide first aid for acute injuries and sudden illnesses such as burns, bites, poisoning, and seizures. This course is excellent for day care providers, schools or individuals.
The four-hour class will be held from 6 pm to 10 pm in Meeting Room 4 at RiverView Health.  The cost of the class, including the book and card, is $45. The American Heart Association is not responsible for any fees charged for this course.
The class is an American Heart Association (AHA) Community Training Center affiliated course. 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, call 218-281-9405 or 1-800-743-6551, extension 9405.
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.




Fish for prizes and support scholarships during the 5th Annual Justin Knebel Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament to be held Saturday, February 7, 2015. The tournament, which supports scholarships at the University of Minnesota Crookston, will be held at Zippel Bay Resort on Lake of the Woods, Williams, Minn. Tickets are available for $20 by contacting Alysa Tulibaski at 701-215-4300. Tickets are also available at Zippel Bay Resort, 6080 39th St. NW, Williams, Minnesota.  You can call 1-800-222-2537. 
Raffle tickets also are available for $5 for a chance to win prizes including the grand prize of a 2015 Lil'Skidder Skid Fish house, compliments of Troy Foss and Big Bite Manufacturing of Greenbush, Minnesota. Raffle tickets will be sold until 1:30 p.m. the day of the tournament.
Registration, limited to the first 150, begins at 9:30 am. on the ice at the tournament site with fishing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to the first person to catch a fish, along with prizes for the largest walleye, northern, sauger, perch, and other species caught during the tournament. The registration fee also includes a raffle ticket and road access fee. All proceeds from the tournament support the Justin Knebel Memorial Scholarship Fund at UMC.
The Justin Knebel Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament corporate sponsors are Big Bite Manufacturing, Zippel Bay Resort, and Streiff Sporting Goods in Warroad, Minn. A number of other businesses in Northwest Minnesota support the tournament through the donations of prizes and monetary support. 

Justin Knebel, who played basketball for the UMC Golden Eagles, grew up in Warroad, graduating from Warroad High School in 2001. A talented athlete, he lettered in basketball, cross country, and track. After graduation, he attended the University of Minnesota, Crookston where he played basketball as a point guard for the Golden Eagles.  
Knebel was the ultimate team player working hard on the court and in the classroom.
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
Members of the planning committee for the event include Garret Kollin, Corby Kemmer, Stephanie Helgeson, Amber Bailey, Rose Ulseth, and Alysa Tulibaski.

     Above is a picture from one of the previous Justin Knebel Ice Fishing Tournaments and it promises to be a fun day of fishing and fellowship on the ice!




Sean Coffman, American Red Cross of Northwestern Minnesota Disaster Program Manager, gave an update on services available in the region in case of a disaster at the Polk County Emergency Preparedness Meeting.  Shelter is one of their biggest concerns during a disaster.  “It depends on the type of the emergency like a single family fire or multi-family fire,” said Coffman.  “We can support the first responders with mobile feeding and the clients for the emergency needs like shelter, clothing and food, a larger event we work with the community to provide sheltering, mass feeding for a large number of people and health services for those who lose medical items in the event and mental health help for those who need help coping with the event.”  Coffman is responsible for about 40 counties in Minnesota and North Dakota.  Volunteers are always needed. “We have about 140 volunteers in this chapter and 800 volunteers in the entire region,” said Coffman.  “They are on call for 24 hours and come at a moment’s notice, we pair volunteers with a job they really want to do like case workers, administrative staff, people to drive the emergency feeding vehicle.”
Coffman has an office in Fargo and can be reached at 701-364-1800 extension  2012.




Polk County Commissioner Nick Nicholas serves on the Tri Valley Opportunity Council where a meeting was held for a discussion on pre-kindergarten class enrollment, which is declining.  They also discussed what happens if the state offers to pay for schools to offer pre-kindergarten classes. “It has been an ongoing discussion on enrollment so some numbers were changed on the contracts,” said Nicholas. “If the state would decide to go with pre-k funding where does that put Tri-Valley and other agencies and what would they fund, where is the need and what age group would be affected.”
Tri-Valley has pre-kindergarten across Minnesota along with the Headstart program.





Polk County Commissioners met on Tuesday and approved an increase in the contaminated soil rates on the material taken in at the landfill.  Jon Steiner, Polk County Environmental Services director said the rate would increase from $6 to $20 a ton.  “We use contaminated soils at the landfill for daily cover, we charge for them when they come in,” said Steiner. “The problem is that the demand for us has exceeded are ability to use it, that means we have to move it around the site which we lose money on it so we raised the fee to $20 which is more competitive so we can help the customer and relocate it without a loss.”
Contaminated soils come from oil spills and clean up projects in the area.

A GeoComm technology upgrade was approved by the Polk County Commissioners on Tuesday for the Sheriff’s Department as a cost of $21,023.00, the system does mapping for 911 calls.  “It ties 911 calls to a map so dispatch knows where the call is coming from and can dispatch staff to help,” said Polk County Sheriff Barb Erdman this is an upgrade so we will have a faster turn around and other capabilities we did not have,  it will log cell phone calls also so that is good for the residents.”




The Crookston Noon Day Lions Club is kicking off a campaign for a signature project that will ultimately lead to the creation of a mobile event stage. Crookston is currently host to many outdoor events each year including: Ox Cart Days, Crazy Days, Nite to Unite, Cornstalk Jamboree and more. The mobile stage will also allow for additional events to blossom in the future. These events improve the quality of life for residents and provide a positive economic impact for the local economy.
A committee of Lions members has set a goal of $25,000 for the purchase and customization of the stage.  The Lions Club will be raffling a Polaris Ranger as a major portion of the fundraising effort.
The Polaris Ranger is currently displayed at Bremer Bank until the end of January.  Raffle Tickets for the Polaris Ranger as the Grand Prize, $500 second prize and $250 prize are available at Bremer Bank.  In addition tickets can be purchased at the following local businesses: Titan Machinery, Hugo’s, American Federal Bank, Willow & Ivy, Four Seasons Clothing, Montagues Flower Shop, and City Hall as well as from the members of the Crookston Noon Day Lions Club.


                     A 3D image of the stage created by Chris Trostad                                      A Polaris Ranger will be raffled off 





The RiverView Healthcare Association celebrated its 117th Annual Meeting and Membership Banquet Monday night. Jenny Amon, Dr. Colin Fennell and Andrew Svec were all re-elected to the RiverView Health Board of Directors. Michelle Snyder and Shannon Stassen were both elected to the Board, as well.
Michelle Snyder and her husband Jim have lived in Crookston for over 23 years. Michelle has been the Taxpayer Service Center supervisor/Tax System administrator for Polk County since 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Winona State University. Michelle and Jim have two grown children.
Shannon Stassen is the city administrator for the City of Crookston, a position he has held since January 2014. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Health Education from Valley City State University. Shannon is a member of the Crookston Lions, Red River Valley Lodge Masons, Shriners, and serves as the chairperson for the Polk County Wellness Coalition. Shannon has lived in Crookston for 16 years. He and his wife Jodi have four children.

      Michelle Snyder               Shannon Stassen

Other highlights of the evening included two annual awards going to two gentlemen who have contributed to RiverView’s mission of delivering a healthcare experience that consistently exceeds patients’ expectations.

Reaching Out to Serve Award

Tom Lenertz is not a stranger to RiverView Health. He served RiverView as the CEO for 26 years; retiring in 2000. He is also one of the “founding fathers’’ of the RiverView Foundation. His list of RiverView contributions is long – even after retirement.  While it came as a surprise to Lenertz Monday night, it is no surprise to those who know of his wonderful RiverView contributions that he was awarded the 2014 Reaching Out to Serve Award by the RiverView Healthcare Association. The RiverView Reaching Out to Serve Award is presented annually to an individual or group by the Association's Board of Directors for outstanding contributions to the RiverView Healthcare Association through efforts to fulfill the mission of RiverView.  Retirement has not deterred Lenertz from staying connected to RiverView. He returned to serve as a member of RiverView’s Board of Directors, is a Foundation Board member, has served as a longtime active volunteer to the RiverView Auxiliary, and has been a longtime RiverView Healthcare Association member. Over the years he has also served as a mentor to healthcare administration students; RiverView’s current President and CEO Carrie Michalski being one of them, and the list goes on and on.  “Tom is an extraordinary individual who continually volunteers for RiverView when asked,’’ stated RiverView Foundation Director Kent Bruun, who nominated Lenertz. “With his dedication, positive outlook and life-long community involvement, Tom is an exceptional and accomplished leader.’’

Chairman of the RiverView Health Board of Directors Trent Fischer (left)  presents Tom Lenertz with the 2014 Reaching Out to Serve award.

Alta Hermodson Heart and Soul Award

The patient comes first with Howard Johnson, RiverView Health volunteer. It’s for that reason, and many others, that Johnson was chosen as the recipient of the 2014 Alta Hermodson Heart and Soul Award.
The Alta Hermodson Heart and Soul Award is given yearly to a RiverView volunteer who exemplifies the RiverView Health Auxiliary’s mission of volunteerism and service to RiverView Health, just as Alta Hermodson did. Hermodson was involved in her church, library, hospital, and museum.  Alta truly gave of herself and volunteered at places she believed in.  This award was created in her honor in 2003.  The nominee must volunteer with RiverView Health.  His or her activities should not only benefit RiverView, but also serve as an inspirational example of healthcare volunteerism.  Judging is done by the Auxiliary Board and is based on the nominee’s dedication and inspirational service to RiverView Health. 
Johnson is the first male to receive this honor. He was nominated by an anonymous source who listed as his many attributes his dedication, selflessness and loyalty as a volunteer.  “
This man always brings a positive attitude when he comes to volunteer every Wednesday and Thursday morning.’’ Johnson is the chauffer of RiverView, if you will.  He has a very important volunteer job of transporting people on the Med Ped. The Med Ped is a people mover that brings people who have trouble walking a long distance to where they need to go. “We are very lucky and thankful for the many hours he has given to RiverView,’’ said his nominator.

Community Relations Specialist Kari Moe (left) presents Howard Johnson with the Alta Hermodson Volunteer of the Year award.

Auxiliary Donation

The evening also included a donation announcement of $10,000 from the RiverView Auxiliary to the RiverView Foundation. Each year the Auxiliary gives the Foundation $10,000 from its vending profits to use for a donor match program. This program is used to stretch the donor’s support which allows the donor to take full ownership of a project. The Auxiliary has donated $60,000 to the Foundation in the past six years; in turn this has created $178,270 worth of projects for RiverView.

Community Relations Specialist Kari Moe (left) presents Foundation Director Kent Bruun with a $10,000 donation from the RiverView Auxiliary.





Members of The Salvation Army Service Unit of Polk County would like to thank you, the residents of Polk County, for your donations during the Red Kettle Campaign. The Salvation Army Service Unit has been blessed to receive donations that go to assist the less fortunate in Polk County. A special thank you goes out to Hugo’s, Wal-Mart, Al and Laura’s, JT’s Station, Fuel N Things, Fox Beauty Salon and North Side Express. These local businesses allowed our Red Kettles to be placed in their stores and gave us an opportunity to raise money in Polk County. Also special thank you to Garden Valley which allowed us to ring our bell during their open house.
Another special thank you goes out to UMC, Care and Share, Leo Club, Lion’s Club, Washington School staff and students,  and Fertile Lion’s Club who rang the bell.
Thanks again to the great people who helped make this year’s Kettle Campaign an amazing success.
Our sincerest Thank You for your support,
Cody Kill, Margee Keller, Bob Norland, Verna Norland, Kathy Kelly, Police Chief Paul Biermaier, Sheriff Barb Erdman, Karl Erickson, Lisa Loegering, Paulette Melbye, Sue Shirek, and Dick Roue.





The Crookston School Board met on Monday and student Ryan Porter came before the board to ask for a change in the prom tradition to include sophomores and freshmen students to participate if they are asked.  He asked for the policy committee to look at the change and report back to the school board.   Porter said they are gathering names on a petition to present to the board.  The board also heard from parents asking them for the change and asked if they treat the students as they would treat an adult with the same request.   One of the parents and Crookston High School Principal had a conversation back and forth as he answered questions by the parent.  Bubna ruled last week that the tradition will stay the same after a student vote was about 50/50 with several students marking don't care or not voting at all.  "I told the parents, the school board and students that this wasn't an easy decision, but we felt like we picked a good process. We got some good information from the students and those who wanted to vote were able to, and the students were split down the middle if we should change it or not and generally speaking the adults were against a change. I don't think it is right one way or wrong the other, there is pros and cons to each," said Bubna. "They (students) had presented a petition and had a quite few signatures and I appreciated their desire to express their voice and everything, but I think students feel pressured to sign a petition when their peers are asking them to do that, so I felt the petition kind of contradicts the feedback we got from the student vote so we rested more with the vote in terms as a better indicator where the students where at and they were split on it.  It is one of those things that is a lose-lose, either way you're going to have a party that isn't happy, but I think we picked a good process and made the best decision we could." 

The seniority list for 2015 was approved by the board and salary lane changes for Laurie Wavra, Jamie Macho and Jayne Nesvig were approved.
Ashley Stopa, who teaches at the area learning center, had her contract increased from .50 to .83 and will teach high school chemistry this semester. 

School board committee assignments were improved along with the pay equity report. Laura Lyczewski, finance director for the district said the report was completed and passed inspection. “This report is required every three years and it is an analysis of pay being equal for males and females in equal job categories and matches with the state,” said Lyczewski.  “It is a lot of work to take all the categories and separate male and female classes and include their health benefits so we are glad to have been passed as it is just something we need to do.”

The board approved the annual resolution directing administration to make recommendations for reductions in programs and positions, which is required by state statute.  “People really notice this when money is tight and we are cutting programs, but we have to do it every year so the school board asks the administration to go back to the buildings and see if you can find some efficiencies and combine positions,” said Bates. “Even in times that we are not short of money it is a good process.  We combined some positions last year so it is a good practice to show we are fiscally responsible with the community’s money and it is a good thing.”

High School principal Eric Bubna said juniors are being prepped for the ACT tests that most of them will be taking this year.




The Crookston City Council met on Monday evening with Mayor Willhite proclaiming the week Catholic Schools week.    The council chambers were full of Crookston High School student-athletes along with activities director Greg Garmen, who is also the boy’s basketball coach, and girl’s basketball coach Lon Boike.  The students all introduced themselves and Garmen talked about the seasons they are having as they move toward playoffs.    
The council approved all the commissions and board appointments for the year.  Partial payments were paid to Spruce Valley for 2014 street improvements and Davidson Construction for the 2013 Sahlstrom drive extension.
The council approved resolutions to allow Robert Herkenhoff to construct two twin homes on lots 5 and 6 in Barrette Street Estates, on Eickhoff Boulevard.  Changes will be made in covenants to make the twin homes possible instead of single homes.  All the council members approved the resolutions, but not without some concerns by alderman at large Wayne Melbye.  “I was wondering about the folks who are living up there and bought into the project and we have changed the rules a little bit,” said Melbye. “We wanted them to be informed, we had questions and ironed it out and will move forward.”




The Ways and Means Committee met after the council meeting and approved the purchase of a Jet Rodder truck trough a state bid through Flexible Pipe Tool Company at a cost of $176,397.50 with the trade in of the 1991 Sewer Jetting truck.  Pat Kelly, Public Utilities Director said the funds will come from the sewer service fund.  DeAndra O’Connell, representing the Minnesota GreenStep Cities project which is partnered with UMC and the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development, had a presentation about the project that would help the city of Crookston achieve sustainable goals in the areas of buildings and lighting, transportation, land use, environmental management and economic and community development.  “We focus on making the city more healthy, more energy efficient and get ideas to make Crookston a more innovative place,” said O’Connell. “ I just graduated from UMC and the goal is to get Crookston on board and connect the community and make it a better place to live.” The request to partner with GreenStep City will go before the city council for approval.

The ways and means committee is working to set a date for a planning session retreat in the near future and will organize a public safety committee and finance committee to meet monthly to keep the council members up to date.




The Crookston High School Hall of Fame committee met recently with Activities Director Greg Garmen and it is time for people to send in their nominations for the Hall of Fame.
The nomination forms are on the school website ( and the forms are available at the high school and get people nominated by March 1 so the committee can make a decision on who will be selected.  The committee is considering moving the induction ceremony to homecoming in September instead of having it at the Triple A banquet.  




A campus legacy continues with hosting of the 40th annual Ag Arama at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The weekend of events, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, January 30-31, is hosted by the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department and includes activities for the entire family. The theme for this year's event is "I Go Back." Dedication of Ag Arama is dedicated to all past royalty and included some 95 past royalty from the event.
On Friday, January 30, the Animal Science Association sponsors a chili feed from 5 to 8 p.m. in UTOC for $5 per person. Earlier in the day, contests in agronomy, horticulture, natural resources, and agricultural business take place in the Greenhouse and Owen Hall.
Most of the Ag Arama activities take place on Saturday, January 31, in the University Teaching and Outreach Center (UTOC) located on the north edge of the campus.  Everyone is invited to watch the animal science showmanship contests held in the arena in UTOC on Saturday. They serve as an opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and skills and have a chance to interact with alumni and faculty members.
Contests in agronomy, animal science, horticulture, agricultural business, and natural resources begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until 12:30 p.m.  At 1 p.m. is the Round Robin Showmanship contest followed by Alumni Showmanship. Coronation and the presentation of specialty awards begins at 2:30 p.m. in the UTOC arena.
The ag industries show runs from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Ag Arama is planned and operated by a committee of students advised by Terrill Bradford and Brenda Miller, who both teach in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department.
Concluding the day is a social at the Crookston Eagles from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., with appetizers served from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. and the Ag Arama dance from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. also at the Eagles. 
Admission to the dance is $10.



MONDAY - JANUARY 26,  2015


The Crookston School Board will hold their regular meeting on Monday at 5:00 p.m. in the Crookston High School Choir/Orchestra room. 
Personnel items on the agenda include, approving the seniority list for the school year, approval of salary lane changes, approval of an increase in position for Ashley Stopa, who will be teaching chemistry in the second semester at Crookston High School, along with her current position at the ALC.
The main agenda includes confirmation of the school board committee assignments, approval of the resolution directing the administration to make recommendations for reductions in programs and positions and reasons (something that is done every year). 
The board will hear reports from the administrators, Eric Bubna - CHS Principal, Denise Oliver - Washington School Principal/Community Ed/School Readiness/ECFE, and Superintendent Chris Bates.   
The public, as always, is invited to attend the meeting and visitors may share concerns with the School Board (five minute limit per topic).




The Crookston City Council meets tonight at 7:00 in the Crookston City Council Chambers at city hall.
The consent agenda includes partial payment to Spruce Valley for 2014 street improvements and final payment to Davidson Construction for the 2013 Sahlstrom Drive extension.  A lawful gambling premise permit at the Eagles is up for approval for confidence learning center on February 21, 2015.  Commission and board member appointments will be approved by the council.   A dance permit for the UMC black student association for February 7 at the Crookston American Legion is up for approval.  A cement mason license for Willard Swenby of Fertile, Plumber’s License for Economy Plumbing of Grand Forks and Gas Fitter’s License for Great Plains Natural Gas in Crookston are up for approval.
The regular agenda has a resolution amending the Barrette Street Estates declaration of restrictive covenants to allow Robert Herkenhoff to construct twin homes on Lots 5 and 6 Block 3 in the Barrette Street Estates.  A resolution authorizing the sale of lots 5 and 6 in Barrette Street Estates to Robert Herkenhoff is on for approval.  
The Crookston Ways and Means Committee will meet after the council meeting.





Falls on the ice are a big concern for everyone living in our slippery climate these days. No one wants to slip and break a bone. But did you know that for some folks all it takes is a sneeze to break a bone? Half of all women older than 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis, a common condition where the bones become weak and can break from a minor fall or simply from a sneeze or cough. One in four men will do the same. Osteoporosis affects 54 million Americans.
If you are concerned about bone health, plan to attend RiverView’s Thursday, January 29 Health Luncheon, “Building Better Bones’’, presented by Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Andrea Kraft. Kraft will help attendees understand their risk for osteoporosis and share ways in which to lower that risk.
Kraft, who has bone health training through the National Osteoporosis Foundation as well as the International Society for Clinical Densitometry, recently started seeing patients for bone health issues in RiverView’s Specialty Clinic. She works closely with Dr. Colin Fennell, RiverView orthopedic surgeon, to screen patients at risk for osteoporosis and provide individualized treatment plans, as well as education about what they can do to keep their bones healthy. “This service is for anyone who wants to learn more about their own bone health and ways to prevent a fracture. Once you know where you stand as far as risk factors, there’s so much that you can do to improve your odds of fracture,’’ Kraft shared. “Of course we are here to help folks who have had a fracture and want to prevent further fractures, as well.’’
The luncheon will be held in Meeting Room #1 beginning at noon. Meeting Room #1 is located near the RiverView Clinic entrance on the north side of the hospital and across from the elevators on first floor.
The luncheon series is in its 17th year of sponsorship by RiverView Health. All men and women interested in improving their health are invited to attend. Each luncheon starts a few minutes past noon and luncheons are kept under one hour so those needing to return to work can attend. The presentations are free and attendees can bring their own lunches or purchase a healthy, boxed lunch for $3.00. Pre-registration is required and boxed lunch orders must be placed at the time of pre-registration. Call Holly Anderson at 281-9745 or toll free 1-800-743-6551, extension 9745, for additional information and to pre-register.



Job seekers are invited to attend the 13th Annual Winter Job and Internship Fair on Wednesday, January 28, at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The job fair takes place from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. All are welcome. Admission is free.
Anyone interested in the job fair will have an opportunity to visit with more than 50 employers along with a number of graduate schools. For a listing of the employers and graduate schools, visit
The job fair is sponsored by University of Minnesota Crookston Office of Career Development. For more information, contact Meloni Rasmussen at 218-281-8586.




The Highland School third graders completed another engineering challenge last week. This time the objective was to invent a pom-pom launcher that launched a pom-pom into the air. The constraints and criteria included​ a scissors, stapler and staples, five Pom-poms, two drinking cups,  one foot of masking tape, five drinking straws, six popsicle sticks, seven rubber bands, a piece of string, and three index cards. 
Students were required to brainstorm their ideas, write them down in their Jeffers Journals, build a model, test their model, and then communicate their results.  “There was an amazing amount of teamwork and communication that took place,” said teacher Erica Uttermark. “Students realized that they didn't need to use all of the supplies in order to make a successful launcher.” 

The students creating there pom-pom launcher and then the students see how far they can launch the pom-poms 



Mayor Willhite joined the Cathedral School to sign the proclamation declaring this week as Catholic School's Week.  After reading and signing the proclamation, he is pictured above presenting it to Mrs. Trish Jones, school

principal. Each year Honorary Chairs of Catholic School's week are chosen for their past and present support of the school.  This year's chairs are Steve and Jana Biermaier and Paul and Karen Biermaier.  Jana Biermaier also attended the signing of the Proclamation. Cathedral School will have a week-long celebration culminating in the School's Mardi Gras on Saturday evening. Students dress according to theme each day, with today being Western Day.




The National Weather Service in Grand Forks has released their first flood forecast for the Red River Valley basin. 
The current spring flood risk is well below historical risk values. Soils are fairly dry, and both snow pack and snow moisture are quite low in the valley. The current climate outlook is for near normal temperatures and precipitation into spring. But, winter is not over yet, so a heavy snow or heavy early spring rain are still possible. The next outlooks are due out on February 19 and March 5.





By Warren Strandell
Polk County Commissioner, Dist. 2

When Mark Dietz came to the County Board a few weeks ago with a plan to purchase 600 light bulbs, he got the board’s attention.
For background, Dietz is the county’s superintendent of buildings and grounds. He’s very good at his job… exceptional, actually. And he’s a pretty good salesman, too.
But buy 600 4-foot T-8 LED light tubes? That would be quite a supply to have on hand. And the more than $10,000 price tag of the order — at $17.76 each for LED tubes vs. the $3.49 for the old-style florescent tubes — was a bit staggering.
All of this meant that Dietz had some convincing to do. To start, he said, the tubes would be installed in fixtures in the Northwest Regional Corrections Center jail. There, replacing bulbs takes more than a little bit of doing since many areas require scaffolding to reach the fixtures. And the secure environment in a jail makes it harder to complete even the simplest task… what with the prisoners and such.
But he noted that once in place, the 15-watt LED lights would last about 50,000 hours vs. the 30,000 that can be expected from the old style florescent tubes. A 50,000-hour life amounts to about 20 years of service life.

To replace only as needed
After the lights in the jail are replaced, Dietz said his crew would begin to replace — but only as they needed to be replaced — the existing florescent tubes in light fixtures in all of the other county buildings. In the plan, the old-style fluorescents would be allowed to wear out. None of the usefulness would be wasted.
Under further cross-examination, Dietz explained that the LEDs, besides having 60 percent more life, would give off better light and that they would operate without the need for having a ballast in the light fixture. With over 1,500 light fixtures in just the jail and adjoining Polk County Justice Center alone (each of them having a ballast} that amounted to an opportunity for considerable savings.
Another savings opportunity available by using LED tubes, he said, was that when they do finally expire they could simply be tossed into the garbage. Unlike with florescents, there would be no fees involved with meeting the recycling process requirements.

Just start of the plan
“It’s just part of a long-range plan to be more efficient, more conservative,” Dietz told the board. Buying the 600 tubes now, he said, was the number needed to get the best deal in the first step. Down the road, he said, more tubes would be needed to complete the conversion countywide.
In delivering the knockout points in his sales pitch, Dietz noted that the investment would have a payback in energy savings in just five years. And that was without counting the benefit of not having any recycling costs or having to replace ballasts (at $23 each) as they wear out.
In dollars, when the changeover is complete, he said the energy savings would amount to $379,290 over the 50,000-hour life of the LED tubes. That comes to about $31,607 a year.
As might have been expected, the board’s vote to approve the purchase and begin the changeover was unanimous. After all, when given a chance to save a few bucks whether it is immediately or long-term, it doesn’t take commissioners long to live up to their reputation for being penny-pinching tightwads.
And Mr. Dietz, bless his soul, just gave them another opportunity.

Thoughts for the day:
I don't know how I got over the hill without ever getting to the top. — Will Rogers
I've learned.... That money doesn't buy class. — Andy Rooney
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.



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