The Polk County Sheriff’s office is seeking the public’s assistance in locating an escaped juvenile.  On Monday, November 23, at 3:14 p.m. a 17 year old black male identified as Demarcus Jahari Brown (5’10 and 140 pounds with black hair and brown eyes) escaped from custody while being transported from the Grand Forks Juvenile Detention Center back to Polk County for a court hearing for fifth degree controlled substance.  Brown is believed to be wearing a light blue light jacket with black jeans and was handcuffed in front.  Brown was last seen at the River Cinema Movie Theatre in East Grand Forks at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Monday.  Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Brown is encouraged to call their local law enforcement or call the Polk County Sheriff’s office at 218-281-0431.




The Crookston Ways and Means committee held a closed session on Monday to have a performance evaluation of the city administrator Shannon Stassen.  “The annual evaluation was good. The council is involved and most of their reports were excellent in leadership, fiscal management, supervision of about 40 employees that work for the city, setting priorities and communication were in the overall evaluation,” said Crookston Mayor Gary Willhite. “The reports were on the positive side like customer service, things he has done for quality of life in Crookston, improving relationships with UMC, time commitment with early mornings and after 5:00 p.m. meetings.  There can always be improvement in communications with the public including myself,  there are some things we can do also, In the beginning of the year Shannon shared about 30 things he wanted to do which is a lot.” 
Willhite added that we all want more done on housing with ways to assist the business climate in town which is a job for all of us.”




Rob Wagner, Director of Polk County Assessment Services is responding to the tax statements recently mailed out to the county residents. Wagner said they haven’t had many calls. “The Truth in Taxation statements are out and what we have seen generally are not to concerning.  Just the normal increases, however value changed on several parcels from last year to this year, so we have a number of parcels that have substantial increases which is due to the change in value more than anything else,” said Wagner. “At this point in time the valuation on the statement went through the board of appeals last year and the county cannot change the value at this time.  The only recourse at this time and point is tax court.”




The Fisher School students of the month for October are Sophia Holen, daughter of Althea Holen; Keith Rosga, son of Robin Rosga; and Evan Wurden, son of Sheila and Jon Wurden





The Crookston School Board met on Monday and after the meeting the school board and district staff toured the bus garage, which has many problems. “I think the members saw what we all knew and it is in need of replacement,” said Fee. “The new school buses don’t fit and are scraping the beams that go across, we don’t get all the bells and whistles on the buses as we cannot get them in the garage.  It is not a good environment for the buses as something will happen with the wind or whatever, the board members are on board that something has to be done,  how and what, is something we will look at in the future.” Transportation director Rick Niemela talked about the condition of the bus garage. “The bus garage is over 100 years old and we have outgrown it in height and length so we showed the school board the problems and need to look toward the future so we can continue to operate,” said Niemela.  “The buses have gotten taller for safety and comfort and that limits what we can buy and we need to put specialized suspension on the get them into the garage work on them.”

At the start of the meeting the school board heard from Crookston Pirate Wrestlers Zack Lutz and Jesse Vasquez who thanked the school board for installing a water fountain near the wrestling room. 
The board approved a leave of absence for Highland School teacher Amber Sannes for eight weeks starting about March 24, 2016 through about May 16, 2016. 
The board accepted donations for the electrical project at the high school soccer field and tennis courts. “The soccer field, tennis courts, and practice football fields by the high school will be getting electricity thanks to citizens and businesses who have put in a lot of money so they can run the scoreboard and equipment,” said Crookston Schoolboard Chairman Frank Fee.  “Donations were received from Nate Lubarski at the Crookston United Insurance, Erik and Judie Kanten, Dr. Baig and his wife, the Crookston Tennis Association and Otter Tail Power Company and Dave Nicholls did the labor for installation.  That is how you get things done in the community when people chip in and they see something that they want and that the school cannot fork out the money. They are concerned about the school and community and we appreciate that.”
The board renewed a three year agreement with School Messenger through November, 2018 at a cost of $8,000.  This is the company that coordinates the school closing and such messages to the district resident.  A grant of $28,000 was received by the district from the State of Minnesota for the World’s Best Workforce Indian Education to support Native American students. 

The Crookston swimming pool is open with temporary heat as the old boiler is being removed and the installation has begun for the new boiler.




The Crookston City Council met on Tuesday evening and heard from the Mayor of the Day winners.  Mayor Gary Willhite shared the gavel with Ava Lopez who had the best hand written essay on what they would do if they were the Mayor for the Day.  Lopez is a fifth grader at Highland School and her teacher is Dan Halland.  There were 67 students who wrote essays.  Second place went to Ethan Boll and third place to Halley Winjum. 
The city council approved a payment of $45,729.20 to Spruce Valley Corporation for 2015 street improvements.  A variance was approved for Jim Urness to build a garage in Carmen Addition when the set back was reduced to two feet instead of 15 feet. 
2016 liquor licenses were approved. 




The Crookston Ways and Means Committee (Crookston City Council and staff) met after the council meeting and reviewed the budget for 2016.   Discussion included the costs at the library and giving funds to the Crookston Housing and Economic Development Association.  Councilman Tom Jorgens voted against the five percent increase in the budget and explained why. “I am troubled with the budget, we are entering a time when in next several years where we have an unsustainable situation as expenses are rising and revenues are static,” said Jorgens. “We need to begin to downsize and adjust the budget and that is not reflected, we are spending more money each year, the revenues from the state and from property taxes are not changing the way they need to so that is where I am at.” City Finance Director Angel Weasner provided the budget numbers for the City of Crookston with the general fund at $5,117,136.00 and the overall budget is $10,598,000.00.  “We have are truth in taxation hearing at 6:30 p.m. at city hall on December 14 and then the council will approve the budget and five year capital improvement plan,” said Weasner.  “The five percent increase will be set at the council meeting with one council member opposed. The tax statements are out and the city portion has gone down and we are aware the market values went up which affects it, but everyone I have spoken with had a reduction in the city tax.”




The Crookston Ways and Means Committee discussed the role of the Park Board after Councilman Steve Erickson said the Park board was floundering. “I think we got a good grasp on what needs to be changed, just going through the charter would be helpful,” said Erickson. “It is hard for members of the park board to do their job when it says they make budgets and that is done at the city council and they need to review and examine so we will get together and make changes.” Erickson wants the role of the Park Board updated as the present charter is 16 years old.  Park Board Chairman Don Cavalier suggested that the board, staff and council members have a discussion and come up with a plan for the future.  Councilman Jorgens said the Park and Recreation budget had increased more than 10 percent which was disputed by others as items were removed the year before and now needed to be done.  The board, staff and council will get together and make a plan for the future in the next month.





The past week was Geography Awareness Week and the state of Minnesota hosted a competition between registered schools where students virtually made their way down the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca to St. Paul.  Students earned miles by taking a daily quiz, reflecting and writing their thoughts about different maps, posting pictures on social media sites of different parts aspects of life in Minnesota, and by playing different games including a fishing game where students learned more about fish in Minnesota.  

There were two different categories with a competition between 5th-8th grade classes and 9th-12th grade classes.  With prizes going to the top two competitors and the top two classes in each division.  Crookston High School had a strong showing with Mr. Moe's classes and individuals finishing towards the top of the competition.  

In the 5th-8th grade competition the Crookston Bald Eagles (Mr. Moe’s fourth period class) finished in 10th place.  While Luis Meyo finished 2nd overall in the state with 397 miles-(the winner had 399) with Caleb Sannes finishing in 12th place and Gretchen Theis finishing 13th place.

In the 9th-12th grade competition, the Crookston Raccoons (Mr. Moe’s first period) finished in 2nd place.  Individually Jaden Lubarski won the competition with 371 Miles.  Chelsey Homme finished 8th Place, Olivia Kendrick 15th Place, Maria Olson-18th, Jada Dillabough-22nd, and Hannah Street-25th place.




Cranberry, the Thanksgiving Fruit

I’m not sure if Thanksgiving has an official fruit, but if it did, it would likely be the cranberry. This indigenous colorful fruit has graced the holiday dinner table as a tangy condiment, perhaps since the very first Thanksgiving.
Cranberries are a unique fruit. They can grow and survive only under a very special combination of factors. These factors include acid peat soil, an adequate fresh water supply, and a growing season that extends from April to November. Cranberries grow on low-lying vines in beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay. These beds are commonly known as bogs or marshes and were originally created by glacial deposits. Commercial bogs use a system of wetlands, uplands, ditches, flumes, ponds and other water bodies that provide a natural habitat for a variety of plant and animal life.

There are two basic types of cranberries grown. The North American cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, is the standard for fresh cranberries and the cranberry juice cocktail. The European variety, which is grown in parts of central Europe, Finland and Germany, is known as Vaccinium oxycoccus. The European type is smaller fruit with anthocyanin pigment profiles similar to that of the North American variety. The European variety, however, has a different acid profile in terms of the percentages of quinic, malic and citric acid levels present. In Europe, this fruit is commonly known as lingonberry or English mossberry.

Lingonberries are a common Scandinavian condiment served as a sauce, jam or jelly. Lingonberry, though closely related to the cranberry, grows quite differently. These fruits are produced on low-growing evergreen shrubs throughout Scandinavia's alpine forests. The tart red berries are much smaller and juicier than their cousin the cranberry. Indeed, Lingonberry jelly is always a special treat in our home.

Cranberry is grown much differently from most other crops. Considered a Native American wetland fruit, it grows on trailing vines like a strawberry. The vines thrive on the special combination of soils and water properties found in wetlands. Cranberries grow in beds layered with sand, peat and gravel. These beds are commonly known as bogs or marshes and were originally formed as a result of glacial deposits.
Once the bed is prepared for planting, cranberry cuttings are spread on the sand at the rate of about two tons of vines per acre. After the vines are spread, they are pushed into the sand with a straight dull disk. The bed surface is then firmed with a cultipacker. The vines are then sprinkle-irrigated two or three times per day for several weeks. Within a few weeks the cuttings produce roots and new vine growth begins. It takes about four years to produce a good crop of fruit from a new bed, and up to six years before a new bed is in full production. Cranberry production is a long-term, expensive investment.
The harvest method for cranberries varies according to how the fruit will be used. Fresh fruit are harvested with a picking machine. Such machines have tines that comb through the vines and catch the fruit that are then lifted onto a conveyor then into a bin. After harvest, fruit for fresh use is dried in boxes with slatted bottoms and stored in refrigerated buildings. Later fruit are sorted and packaged for retail sale.
Fruit that is destined for processing into juice, sauce or sweetened dried cranberries is wet harvested. For wet harvesting, beds are flooded with eight to ten inches of water. A machine with a circular beater mounted on the front is driven through the bed to remove berries from the vines. Alternatively a “slipper” is drawn through a bed to remove fruit from the vines. The berries float to the water’s surface are corralled into a corner, and then conveyed or pumped out of the bed to a waiting truck and delivered to a processing plant.
As you enjoy your cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving, appreciate the toil by cranberry farmers that provide this colorful fruit that has been a constant at Thanksgiving meals since the Pilgrims first shared their bounty in 1621 with Wampanoag Indians in Plymouth, an event regarded as America’s “first Thanksgiving.”

Happy Thanksgiving, and remember to give thanks for all the blessings bestowed upon your family over this past year!
For more information, contact Jim Stordahl at 800-450-2465 or  Sources: The Cranberry Institute and History Channel.





The Crookston School Board will meet at 5:00 p.m. today in the Crookston High School choir/orchestra room.  
The agenda includes a leave of absence request for Amber Sannes for eight weeks beginning approximately March 24 through approximately May 16, 2016. 
Acceptance of grants and donations for the electricity project at the Crookston High School soccer fields and tennis courts from Crookston United Insurance for $1,500,  Erik and Judie Kanten $1,500, Mirza and Refugio Baig $500, the Crookston Tennis Association $1,000 and Dave Nicholls and Ottertail Power Company for the labor on the installation of soccer field scoreboard. 
A three year renewal agreement with School Messenger from December 1, 2015 through November 30, 2018 is up for approval.  
There will be administrative reports from high school principal Eric Bubna, special services director Kathy Stronstad, Highland School Principal Chris Trostad, Denice Oliver ECFE, Community Ed and Washington Principal and superintendent Chris Bates. 
Visitors may share their concerns at the beginning of the meeting or at the end of the meeting.   The meeting is open to the public.




The Crookston City Council meets at 7:00 this evening in the Crookston City Hall council chambers. 
The consent agenda has a resolution to approve partial payment to Spruce Valley for 2015 street improvements.  An application for a variance to reduce the required side street setback from 15 feet to two feet on Lot 8 Block 10 in Carmen Addition is up for approval. 
2016 liquor license renewals are up for approval. 
A public hearing will be set for consider tax abatement of city property tax for parcels qualifying for the housing incentive program.
The regular agenda will have the introduction of an ordinance amending city code Chapter 152, entitled zoning by revising the provision relating to the establishment of the official zoning map. The meeting is open to the public.    
The Crookston Ways and Means Committee will meet following the council meeting with the final portion of the meeting to be closed to discuss the city administrator’s annual performance review.





The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, (DEED) is funding 15 projects in Greater Minnesota for broadband internet with $11 million. Receiving grants in the KROX area are Halstad Telephone Company to build infrastructure in Gentilly Township in Polk County to provide high speed internet to 114 households, 20 businesses and one community anchor institution with $424,460.00.  Total project cost is $931,000 with Halstad Telephone providing the remaining $504,540.00 for the project.  The project will enable more effective agricultural management teleworking opportunities.   




The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has news for parents this cold and flu season: antibiotics don’t work for a cold or the flu. Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses, and colds, flu and most sore throats are caused by viruses. It’s a long-documented medical fact that antibiotics don’t touch viruses. However according to public opinion research, there is a perception that antibiotics cure everything, and when we go to the doctor with the sniffles we expect to get a prescription.
Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can do more harm than good. Widespread inappropriate use of antibiotics is fueling an increase in drug-resistant bacteria. Families and entire communities feel the impact when disease-causing germs become resistant to antibiotics. Taking antibiotics to treat a viral infection, such as a cold or flu, won’t fight the virus, make the patient feel any better, or yield a quicker recovery or keep others from getting sick. Instead it gives a boost to drug-resistant disease-causing bacteria. Almost every type of bacteria has become stronger and less responsive to antibiotic treatment when it is really needed. According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. You can lower this risk by talking to your doctor and using antibiotics appropriately during the cold and flu season.
So what should you do for colds and flu? Children and adults with viral infections recover when the illness has run its course. Colds caused by viruses may last for two weeks or longer. Some measures that can help a person with a cold or flu feel better include increasing fluid intake, using a cool mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion, and soothing the throat with ice chips, sore throat spray or lozenges (for older children and adults).
What is the best way to stay healthy during cold and flu season? Wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid contact with sick people, and stay home if you’re sick. And finally, a flu shot is your best prevention against the flu.




Robbe Nessler, Crookston High School Social Studies teacher, says a discussion of current events like the debates and the crisis in Paris are part of his classroom studies to get the students engaged.  “We talk about current events often in the classroom and I show clips from the debates and the kids enjoy it,” said Nessler. “I told the kids I would rather watch the debates than a football game, which I would not have said when I was a senior in high school.  Now I want to be informed and I think seniors are realizing that they are close to being a part of this and that’s good as the voting turnout of that age group is very low.”

The news from Paris got the attention of the students. “We talked about it in all the classes, we watched Channel One, which focused on Paris on Monday.  The kids had heard about it, but did not know the details so we had a discussion on why it would happen, like we did on the September 11 event which was my 16th birthday,” said Nessler.  “The kids don’t remember that, but I reminded them that I did not know what was going on either, so I think it is important to talk about why someone would put so much work to do such a horrible thing. I don’t have all the answers, but I can show them what other people are saying and help them wrap their brains around it a little more.”




The fifth graders at Highland School in Crookston recently wrote essays on what they liked about their school.  The teachers went through all the essays and selected four from each class and we have listed those essays on our website.  We have included one below and the click on the link to see the rest of the essays.

My Favorite School
By Alexis Reinhart

Highland School in Crookston, MN, is a loving and caring school. I think it is really safe, because it has an intercom to keep us safe.
Highland School offers a bunch of music programs. First, there is Choir where you sing in a concert, but you practice every week. Second, there are band and orchestra lessons if you want to learn how to play some instruments.
Highland School has a bunch of polite and caring staff. If I were to say how perfect all the staff is I would have seven pages worth of nice things. So I decided to say some nice things about the janitors. Their names are Ken, Cory, and John. They are so respectful and clean up the school every day even if they don’t feel like doing it. They pick up all of our junk and stuff that we leave behind. They stay so late that they are the last ones out of the school.
The other nice people in our building are the secretaries. Their names are Mary Jo and Jana. They are so busy every day with the announcements and paperwork and all sorts of stuff. They are the second to last staff out of the school because they have paperwork. If I had one chance to do their job I would be so lost.
The other great thing about Highland is that there is zero tolerance for bullying. Our principal, Mr. Trostad, came up with three rules. The first one is to do the right thing. The second one is to do everything to the best of  our ability. The third one is to treat everyone with dignity and respect.
Highland School has a fundraiser called PTO Bingo. This helps raise money for all of the kids to go on field trips.
Highland School is the best school you could ever go to. Like I said, we have music programs, a caring staff, zero tolerance for bullying, and has a fundraiser. It is also a very respectful school.





The RiverView Foundation Board of Directors would like to thank KROX for another great year of broadcasting RiverView’s Philanthropy Day event on Monday, November 16. This year marked the twelfth year KROX has broadcast live, on-site for this meaningful event filled with heartfelt stories from RiverView patients and staff sharing testimonials of the exceptional care they and their loved ones have received at RiverView Health. 
RiverView’s first Philanthropy Day event was held November 15, 2004. Since then more than 250 interviews have been shared with KROX listeners regarding what local healthcare services mean to those members of the community.  “Philanthropy Day is an important day for our organization,’’ said Foundation Director Kent Bruun. “The annual event is important in helping to create an increased awareness of services offered at RiverView Health and the important role of the Foundation. The Foundation Board and I want to thank Chris Fee, Frank Fee and KROX for the years of support they have given this event. Without them it would not happen.’’
The Foundation Board of Directors would also like to thank those who shared their stories with KROX’ listeners, as well as everyone who participated in the Community Health Fair.
Philanthropy Day is a great way to share all that we are thankful for at the Foundation. It is a great way to highlight the priority programs that provide the greatest benefits to the highest number of patients. We thank you for being a part of this important event, and for your continued support of the RiverView Health Foundation.


The RiverView Foundation Board of Directors
Kurt Heldstab – Chair, Ingrid Remick, Amy Ellingson, Christian Kiel, Machelle Engelstad, Trent Fischer, Dr. Kari Miller, Jodi Dragseth, Sue Westrom, and Jerry Lindsay





Raising a Thankful Child
By Julie A. Riess

As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, we may find ourselves reflecting more often on how to raise a thankful child. At first glance, parents might think about how to teach the social scripts of thank you. Should a 2-year-old be forced to say thank you to Grandma for a gift? Should a 4-year-old sign a thank you note for a birthday present? Should a 6-year-old show appreciation for a large helping of spinach and cranberry sauce on his or her Thanksgiving plate?
Parents often have the best intentions of raising a thankful child as part of their parental job descriptions. We tend to use the social graces of please and thank you as one index of raising a “good kid.” Indeed, manners such as these are important tools for getting along and working together with others in our society.
Even young children can be taught to say please and thank you. Giving them prompts (“What do you say?”), withholding the requested item (“You can’t have the cookie unless I hear the magic words”), and modeling (“Could you please pass the juice?”) are ways to encourage learning these manners. But is learning to say thank you the same as being thankful?
Think about something in the past year for which you are thankful. Is it a person, place, or thing? an event? a state of being? Did you say thank you? How did you express your gratitude? Did it feel sincere or more like satisfying a social grace?

The development of morality is marked in part by the emergence of the moral emotions such as shame, pride, guilt, embarrassment, and empathy. As these emotions develop, they allow children to feel a response in relationship to their own actions toward others. The emotional feedback contributes to that sense of sincerity.
Our gut reactions may highlight a comparison of manners vs. morals. While both reflect an aspect of how we treat others, children can use manners just by learning a script. The problem in learning scripts for manners for a child too young or separated from meaning is that children satisfy the social grace without experiencing the emotional response or acting upon their own intent. For example, 4-year-old Beth runs to greet her grandmother. “Thanks, Grandma!” she says, grabbing the present out of her grandmother’s hand. She opens the box to find six pairs of white socks.  Crestfallen, she says, “Thank you, Grandma, for my socks.” Beth’s first thanks is genuine appreciation for receiving a present, but her second thank you is the script that she is supposed to say.

Teaching manners is a fine art of modeling but not always the making of meaning. Raising thankful children is a fine art of helping them make their own meaning.  Maybe it is a rumpled, crayon-scribbled card. Maybe it is a fresh bouquet of dandelions (and a few other weeds) from the back yard or local park. Maybe it is just a warm hug after a cold ice cream treat.
Children express some sense of thankfulness and desire to be appreciated all the time. It is our role as parents to model appreciation and reflect those genuine feelings back to the child. With a warm smile and a sincere voice, we can say, “Thank you for my beautiful card. I can tell you worked hard on it. You used so many different colors! It makes me feel really good and happy inside. I’m going to put it up right here on the refrigerator so our whole family can enjoy it.”
Thankfulness also emerges from children raised with the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Like adults, children need to be exposed to genuine appreciation and to feel appreciated.
Many years ago on our family vacation, my 8-year-old daughter saved some of her carnival money and schemed a way to buy me a small candle and matching stand. The gift brought tears to my eyes, and we both knew our appreciation was genuine.  And yes, I said thank you.





The City of Crookston has train traffic through downtown, next to the high school and the University of Minnesota Crookston campus and safety is a concern of everyone and the city is prepared to handle an incident.  “The train comes through town at various times of day and we have no control of that, there are about 10 to 13 trains every day, they go by our high occupied areas like downtown, the high school and UMC,” said Crookston Fire Chief Tim Froeber.  “It crosses over the river and major highways so they are an inconvenience and could cut off areas of the town in an emergency, right now they are doing a major overhaul on the tracks, spending millions of dollars up to the Canadian border.”  The trains haul lumber, cars, grain and hazardous materials through town, along with the semis that go through town and haul hazardous materials. “We practice and get ready for the operations of dealing with hazardous materials,” said Froeber. “All the firefighters are able to identify what materials are on the train or truck, they know what protective materials we need, evacuation sites and distances, health hazardous, we have technicians on the fire department that can remedy the problem and stop leaks. Life safety is the number one priority and get evacuation in place, which could be staying in your home with doors and windows closed.”  Froeber said the state is helpful with a rule that all rail companies have to commit funds for training and purchasing resources needed in an emergency.  In January the state will provide training in Crookston for the department, public works department, sheriff’s office, emergency service and anyone else that is in the safety area.  The City of Crookston was built around the railroad. “It was needed to establish the city and we will do everything in our powers to keep the people safe in an emergency by keeping training up to date,” said Froeber. “The pipeline company has offered help and there is a HazMat team in Moorhead to help and mutual aide from area fire departments will be available to help with safety.”




The Crookston Planning Commission held a short meeting this week to approve a variance for Jim Urness and they updated the comprehensive plan.  Urness is moving a house to Euclid Avenue and the variance is to build a garage by the house. “The variance request was for a garage was approved and will go to the council for approval on the setback on Euclid Avenue,” said City Building Inspector Matt Johnson.
KLJ is doing the comprehensive study for the city and wanted more time to finish the plan and will present the plan at the December meeting.




St. Paul’s Lutheran Church's Fellowship Committee has purchased 25 tickets and is hosting a bus trip to attend the annual Concordia Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 5 at 2:00 p.m. We will be loading the bus from the church parking lot at 11:30 A.M. for the concert, followed by a stop at the Frying Pan in Moorhead for dinner on the way home. The bus ride is FREE and tickets for the concert can be purchased at the GROUP RATE of $15. Please make your check out to St. Paul’s Fellowship Committee.  We are collecting for the ticket(s) when you sign up at the church office. Tickets will be handed out as we board the bus. Sign up in the church office. Phone: 281-3638.  For questions please call Dale Knotek at 281-6680.




Giving Back –The Crookston Firefighters and their families filled 560 “backpacks” and 890 food boxes at North County Food Bank Wednesday night. This is an annual event for the firefighters and they made quick work of the task with the 30 plus helpers.






The Polk County Commissioners traveled to Trail County, North Dakota to meet with their commissioners and discuss the future of the Nielsville bridge which connects Minnesota and North Dakota.   “We were invited to meet with the commissioners and their staff. Our commissioners, administrator Chuck Whiting, County Engineer Rich Sanders and Property Records Director Michelle Cote went to discuss the bridge which drew a standing room only crowd,” Polk County Commissioner Craig Buness said.  “It is a big issue with the folks in the area and they want to see something done, replaced or repaired. In the end there is a difference between the states when it comes to money and priorities. We are going to do a joint resolution to see if there is a way to replace the bridge as the abutment on the North Dakota side has moved two feet tipped towards the river. The idea of putting $400,000 to $500,000 into the deck and another high water event could make a change. To me you are not putting the money in the best spot.” Buness also addressed the need for the bridge. “It comes down to whether we need the bridge or not,” Buness noted. “We have to try and get the legislators in St. Paul, Bismarck or Washington to get some funding for that. I assume the crowd was made up of farmers and they talked to us afterwards and reiterated that they need the bridge. Reynolds, Buxton and Hillsboro were represented; they have mutual aid agreements for fire and ambulance service. They don’t have that ability now and an extra 15 minutes makes a difference if you save a building or a life. We will continue on to see if we can replace the bridge, we just need the money.”


Dan Weir from the Northwest Service Coop in Thief River Falls made a presentation to the Polk County Commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday about the Retirement VEBA insurance option for employees.  “The VEBA account allows employees to take their severance, vacation or sick leave and put it in a tax free retirement health savings account,” said Weir.  “They put it in tax free and take it out tax free for health insurance premiums for themselves or family members or other options.”  The county is considering the program and looking at the ideas and will sit down with the bargaining units to make a decision.
The board took no action, but will gather more information on VEBA.




Again this year Otter Tail Power Company has granted nine $1,500 awards to qualifying organizations in its service territory for purchasing automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Each of the company’s Customer Service Centers selected an AED grant recipient from its area. The recipient organizations from each Customer Service Center are:

1.   Fergus Falls, Minnesota - Otter Tail County Historical Society
2.   Devils Lake, North Dakota - Lake Region Heritage Center
3.   Jamestown, North Dakota – Edgeley Volunteer Fire Department
4.   Morris, Minnesota – Ghent Fire Department
5.   Wahpeton, North Dakota – Lidgerwood Ambulance
6.    Rugby, North Dakota – Rolette School District 29
7.    Bemidji, Minnesota – Pioneer Memorial Care Center, Erskine
8.    Crookston, Minnesota – City of Crookston
9.    Milbank, South Dakota – Lake Preston School District

“Otter Tail Power Company provides the funding for this life-saving equipment, and the recipients administer the program,” said Mark Helland, Vice President, Customer Service, for the company. The recipient organization is responsible for purchasing the AED, placing it where it’s easily accessible for response to cardiac emergencies, maintaining the AED, and training volunteers to operate it and to perform CPR. Eligible AED grant recipients include nonprofit organizations that receive electrical service from Otter Tail Power Company.





The University of Minnesota Crookston Enactus Organization hosted a Crookston Campus Community Connection forum on Tuesday evening in Bede Ballroom.  The theme was “Crookston as a College Town” with discussion about services and ideas to make Crookston a better college town for the students.
David Melichor, a sophomore from Buffalo, said he would like more entertainment. “I think the community is doing a good job, but could improve.  There are a lot of restaurants Subway, Arby’s, RBJ’s, Draft’s, and I found out about the Mexican restaurant downtown,” said Melichor. “I feel that things said tonight will move things forward, since I am under 21 there is no place to go after 10:00 p.m. since I can’t drink,  so it gets rather boring.”
Bailey Braatz, a junior from Buffalo, said there is a disconnect. “I lived here this summer and work in the community and campus, I guess there is a disconnect between the entertainment on campus and in town,” said Braatz. “The railroad is a barrier between the two and a lot of students are not aware of what is going on even with the efforts made to get them together.  We need more communication on what there is to do off campus.”
Crookston city council member Steve Erickson said it was a good exchange. “It was a good starting point, I came as a business owner and council member and it is a communication thing between the two and this was a stepping stone to get collaboration between the two,” said Erickson. “Ages between 18 and 21 is tough, but laws are laws so it makes it difficult for sure.”
UMC Chanchellor Dr. Fred Wood was pleased with the turnout. “People from the council and members of the community along with students and faculty, great conversation with good ideas, which is one of the advantages of students with fresh ideas,” said Wood.  “Options like using the venues in the community once or twice a month for entertainment. It really came out that a lot of places cater to the 21 and older group so there was a conversation on how to cater to the younger students with wrist bands or something.  They are looking for a place to go in the later evening beyond 10:00 p.m., so we need to get more advertisement out to the community and campus, so more investigation will be done.”
12 percent of the population in Crookston are students and the college age students are looking for activities to partake in on the community level.  Students are looking for bowling, karaoke, a coffee shop to hang out in, live music to get them off the island where the railroad seems to divide the city from the campus.  The students said the college is a safe haven where they go to bed at 11 when everything is closed.




The Polk County Commissioners met on Tuesday and heard from Mike Rengel of the Pemberton Law Office about the process underway for setting of the 2016 salaries of the two elected officials in the county, county attorney and sheriff. “There is a statue that sets forth the process where the county board looks at the salaries of elected officials and engages in a process that is fair to the county taxpayers and officials when they set their salary and this is a continuation of the process to get resolved by mid December,” said Rengel. “We are looking at comparative information in a local county without regard to size in the same judicial district and in another group of eight larger and eight smaller counties from the state of Minnesota.”
The commissioners set the Truth in Taxation hearing for December 3 at 6:00 p.m. at the Polk County Government Center.
Facilities director Mark Dietz reported on the plan to demolish the annex by the Law Enforcement Center. Bids will be taken until December 31 for the job. 
The boiler project at the government center is complete and the final payment of $94,000 was approved to Peterson Sheet Metal for a total of $350,196.25 for the boiler replacement. 
Roger Stordahl was reappointed to the Marshall and Polk Rural Water System.




Monday was a banner day for the RiverView Foundation and its 12th Annual Philanthropy Day and Community Health Fair. Community members lined up to have free health screenings done, ask questions of RiverView staff and take home information on various programs and services offered at RiverView Health. KROX’s Chris Fee was on-site conducting interviews with RiverView patients and staff members regarding the exceptional care they and their family members have received at RiverView. And Foundation Director Kent Bruun shared the exciting news of the most significant gift ever received in RiverView’s 117 year history.
Bruun reported that the Foundation recently received a generous gift from the estate of Agnes Juliet Dale, who passed away April 7, 2015. The Foundation will share the amount of the gift once it has determined how to best leverage this gift so it impacts RiverView’s patients and hospital at the highest level.
Agnes Dale was a longtime Fertile resident. The daughter of Oscar and Anna (Seim) Moen, she graduated from Fertile High School and married Harry Dale. The couple lived on a farm east of Fertile. Agnes worked in the Crookston office of Ottertail Power as a receptionist and posting clerk prior to working in the accounting department. She had great faith and enjoyed music, including playing the piano and organ for church.  “The timing of this estate gift is powerful as we continue to serve a growing aging rural population,’’ said Bruun. “This estate gift was received at the beginning of our 25th year of existence. It defines the name and real meaning of philanthropy, which is the ‘love for mankind providing care and support for each other.”
Bruun shared that if Agnes were here, he would promise her that he and the Foundation will be good stewards of her valued gift, as they are with every donation the Foundation receives.  “I am humbled and honored that RiverVeiw was named as Agnes’ preferred charity,’’ Bruun shared. “I am thankful for her charitable heart. Agnes’ gift will heal and save lives, today and long into the future.”
For more information on the RiverView Foundation, contact Bruun at 218-281-9249 or

KROX owner Chris Fee interviews Jim Kent during Philanthropy Day




Members of the Crookston Pirates Girls swim team left for the Minnesota State High School League state swimming and diving meet yesterday afternoon.  Superintendent Chris Bates treated the five Pirates to breakfast Wednesday morning. 
One of the five going to state is Haley Roed, a senior that will be going to state for the third time.  “I’ve been swimming since I was in second grade, competitively since third grade and will swim the 50 Free, 100 Free and 200 Free relay and the 400 Free relay at state, it is good to be busy,” said Roed. “I swam all summer and will be going to Minnesota State Moorhead next year.” Haley’s parents are Nicole and Eric Roed.

Marietta Geist is a senior and is ready to swim at her third straight state swim meet. “I have been swimming for six years and I will swim in the 200 Free style and 400 free style relays,” said Geist. “I swam all summer with the others in Grand Forks and it paid off for all of us in several events.” Marietta’s parents are Dan and Sara Geist.

Sierra Pry, another senior is ready to go. “I’ve been swimming since second grade, competitively since third grade,” said Pry. “I am going in the 200 free relay and I am excited and have worked all year for this, and I am excited fort my third trip to state.” Sierra’s parents are Aaron and Stephanie Pry.

Kate MacGregor is a sophomore making her third straight state swim meet. “I will swim in the 100 backstroke, 200 free and 400 relays,” said Kate.  “I have been swimming since first grade. Since, this is my third trip to state we know how it goes and I am looking forward to going back.”  Kate’s parents are Scott and Chris MacGregor.

Thea Oman is the fifth swimmer going and is a ninth grader. “I have been swimming since third grade and will swim in the 400 freestyle relay,” said Oman. “I was at state twice as an alternate so I am super excited to go this time to swim and I have a few years left.”  Thea’s parents are Andy and Lynnea Oman.
The Pirate Girls Swimming coach is Marley Melbye.

Marietta Geist, Haley Roed, Kate MacGregor, Thea Oman, and Sierra Pry at the pool on Monday






The Polk County Sheriff’s Office conducted a requested security check at approximately 11:30 p.m. to check an unoccupied rural McIntosh farm. A deputy came across a burglary in progress as he found an adult male and an adult female from the Bemidji area inside the residence. The total value of the property taken from inside the residence is unknown at this time.
Both parties were arrested for burglary and transported to Tri-County Corrections in Crookston.
The names of the parties are being withheld until formal charges are filed and they make their first appearances in Court on Thursday November 18. 




The Crookston Park Board met on Monday and had a recap of the fall programs from Park and Recreation Supervisor Scott Butt. Butt said they are making some changes in elementary football.  “We are changing fifth and sixth grade football with the chance to get into the Pop Warner league with some of the smaller towns in the area,” said Butt, who is also the head Crookston Pirate Football coach. “It came about when we played Fisher and the parents talked about the league so we decided to get the kids involved in that.” 
To fill the void with the third and fourth graders after the NFL flag football was dropped they have decided to hold football for the kids. “We are going to have them padded up and teach the fundamentals, teach the proper way to hit, tackle, and block and stress safety and play games in house for the third and fourth graders,” said Butt.

Volleyball had something new this year for sixth graders. “The girls traveled around this year to other communities and they had a good time,” said Butt. “We will stick with that and expand instead of just staying in town, so it will get them involved in other communities.”

Park and Recreation Director Scott Riopelle said the Splash Park work is done for the year and it has been fenced off so no one can get on the cement that was recently poured.  Widseth Smith Nolting is making plans for the holding pond and water has been installed to the Splash Park by the city crew.  Four stalls have been rented on the east side of the Crookston Sports Center for those who want a reserved parking stall for the all the activities held during the year. “It was a quick effort to see if we had any takers and the last one went this afternoon,” said Riopelle.  “We may raffle them off in the future or something of that sort, but we have other parking issues with parking in the bus lane, or the drive thru area and we don’t have a solution. We need people to follow the policies and stay out of the drive thru and fire lanes, we do not want the police to have to ticket when they pass through.”




The Crookston Mayor for a Day essay contest had 67 fourth through sixth graders competing for the best essay. “A huge thank you to all the fourth, fifth and sixth grade Crookston students for participating in Crookston's "Mayor for a Day" Essay contest,” said Crookston Mayor Gary Willhite. “Thank you to the teachers from Highland, Cathedral and Our Saviors for encouraging participation!  The contest generated 67 essays and several great ideas!!

The winners are -

Overall Winner - Ava Lopez, 6th Grader at Highland
2nd Place- Ethan Boll, 5th Grader at Cathedral
3rd Place- Halle Winjum, 4th Grader at Highland

Honorable Mentions:
Alex Kozitka, 6th Grader at Cathedral
Justin Lindgren, 6th Grader at Highland
Olivia Forgit, 6th Grader at Cathedral
Issac Thomforde, 4th Grader at Highland
Gianna Hollcraft, 6th Grader at Cathedral
Trinity Garcia, 6th Grader at Highland
Grace Miller, 6th Grader at Cathedral

The overall winner Ava Lopez, along with her teacher Mr. Dan Halland, Principal Chris Trostad, and her entire classroom will be treated to lunch at Happy Joe's with the Mayor and will be invited to a future City Council Meeting. All others, second place, third place and all Honorable Mentions winners will also be invited to a City Council Meeting to be recognized!



As part of International Week, an evening of Korean Dance will be presented on Thursday, November 19 at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC). Kwanggaeto Samulnori, a Korean percussion ensemble from Seoul, South Korea, featuring a break dancer, will perform at 7:00 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium. Admission to the program is $10 for adults and free for children, high school, and UMC students. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets will be sold at the door.
Guests also have an opportunity to enjoy a Korean Dinner served from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Brown Dining Room, Sahlstrom Conference Center. Tickets for dinner are $8 per person. Parking permits are not required and a campus map is available at
The visit by Kwanggaeto Samulnori is made possible through the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature, the UMC Concert and Lectures, the Korean Heritage House in St. Paul, where students learn about Korean dance and drumming, and International Programs at UMC.
International Education Week, which is November 16-20, 2015, promotes efforts that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States. To learn more visit,

Kwanggaeto Samulnori will perform at UMC on November 19






Bill Markovich, Invest Forward market president and Forward Foundation volunteer, announced today that an online auction will be held to benefit Forward Foundation. All proceeds raised by the auction will be used to support children experiencing a life-threatening health crisis who live in Bank Forward’s trade areas.
The auction will be held from November 12 – December 2, 2015. Many items are available online at “Forward Foundation provides a perfect opportunity to give back to our communities and help others via an auction,” notes Bank Forward President Tom Watson.   
Local businesses and individuals donated items for the auctions. Items will be delivered or shipped to winning bidders after the event at no extra cost.
Forward Foundation is a registered nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. The mission of Forward Foundation is to support children experiencing a life-threatening health crisis by providing financial assistance to eliminate financial obstacles in order to radically transform the financial future of the children and their families.
Volunteers also assist to eliminate financial obstacles by donating their time and experience in financial, insurance and tax matters.






The Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce  is sponsoring a new event, Dasher Days, in conjunction with National Small Business Saturday.  “We are combining Small Business Saturday with Winter Wonderland, so we are hoping for snow,” said Lien.  “Businesses are working on events to have on that day and invite everyone to shop and there will be sleigh rides, a white tail deer showing, cookie decorating, hot chocolate, and tree lighting at the Downtown Square.”

The annual celebration turned had a big turnout this year as it combined with the Crookston Eagles Club Beet Beat party this year and it turned out to be a huge success. “The annual dinner and auction on October 30 was a huge success with a lot of people and we thank all the businesses that donated items for the auction and all the people that came out,” said Chamber Executive Director Amanda Lien.  “There were about a hundred more people than normal with the Beet Beat party also so it was nice to see a good crowd.”
There have been changes at the chamber office for the staff and a new website has been launched and they are working toward 2016.




On the evening of Monday, November 9, law enforcement officers from the Red Lake County Sheriff s Office executed a search warrant on Daniel Gabriel Proulx (32) of Red Lake  Falls.  Proulx was stopped by law enforcement officers in his vehicle on Red Lake County Road 13 in Red Lake Falls Township.  Proulx was found to be in possession of Methamphetamine and he also had a loaded .45 caliber pistol in the center council of his vehicle. Several other illegal items were later seized at Proulx's residence in Red Lake Falls. He was arrested and taken to the Tri-County Community Correctional Facility in Crookston and was charged with Controlled Substance Crime in the fifth degree (Felony) and was also charged for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, which is a Gross Misdemeanor offense.   He made his first court appearance to face these charges on November 12 in District Court in Thief River Falls. He was held in custody until he appeared in court in Red Lake Falls on Monday morning, November 16. At that court appearance, Proulx plead guilty to both counts and he was released from custody, with several release conditions, and will return to court in Red Lake Falls on December 21 for formal sentencing on the charges.





Coming from a vibrant and rushing city, sophomore Van Dang was in for a surprise when she arrived to Crookston to attend classes at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC). Coming from halfway across the globe, Van arrived to Crookston this fall to pursue her career in health management following in the footsteps of other family members and their health related careers. Van, originally from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, decided to take a huge leap by moving to the U.S. Van says it was a good choice, seeing as she has family here and enjoys travelling around the country. She has been living in the U.S. for the past year. Last year she was in Missouri with her sister and with this year, being her second one here, she has hit the ground running.
Similar to many students away from home, Van misses the people, sights, and scents from her country; it is inevitable. She mentions that often she longs for a plate of Phở, which is a traditional dish found ubiquitously in Vietnam. Van recalls the tradition of purchasing garden-fresh ingredients for each meal: “It’s exciting to go to the markets in each different district to buy fresh food every day, although it can get very crowded at times and there are people on the streets at every hour of the day! It’s quite the opposite of this little town.” She also talked about the amazing sights and the nature surrounding the city. Sightseeing in Vietnam would leave many breathless.
When Van decided to come to Crookston, she had various reasons in mind. She liked that fact that it was a small campus that had many classes of no more than 15 students. Coming from a place with 8 million people, getting close one-on-one interaction with people in the community is definitely an eye catcher. Van explains that her sister went to a large school with about 20,000-30,000 students and that she recommended going somewhere much smaller. So after learning about UMC’s academic excellence, ranking and majors, Van had no doubt that this school would be a great fit.
It has been a little over a month since classes started and everyday Van is happier with her decision to come here. Right from the beginning she was involved in school activities and clubs like M.I.C. (Multi-cultural International club). She also spends time volunteering in a variety of places and meeting new people. School related activities aside, she also loves baking and any new recipe is a thrilling challenge for her. Van plans to graduate from UMC while creating unforgettable memories and memorable bonds.




According to most crop budget projections; cash rented farmland crop production for 2015 will be unprofitable when you take into consideration the current available input costs and market prices. 
To assist agricultural landowners, renters, agri-business professionals and others, University of Minnesota Extension educators will present several workshops throughout the state during November and December. Two of those workshops will be in our area says Curtis Nyegaard, Ag Extension Educator for Red Lake County. The meetings will be conducted in Thief River Falls and McIntosh. The meeting in Thief River Falls will be held at the Northland Community & Technical College Auditorium on Monday, November 23rd starting at 2:00 p. m. The meeting in McIntosh will be held at the Community Center on Tuesday November 24th starting at 9:30 a. m. Both meetings are sponsored and no registration is required.
Rents are the major input costs for soybeans and corn, accounting for 44.5percent and 28.5 percent respectively. Landlords with increasing property taxes increased rental rates during record crop prices. Now, farmers are trying to play catch up when budgets do not support current rental rates and input costs. 
Lower rental rates in 2016 would help struggling farmer tenants, but lowering those rates may require some tough negotiations. A flexible rental agreement may be the best option for 2016. In this kind of agreement, both the landlord and farmer share the price risks; if prices improve, so does the rental payment. A flexible agreement also can factor in higher than average yields. 
During the workshops, Extension ag business management professionals will lead discussions about current farmland rental rates, land values, leasing agreements and related financial issues for land owners, farmers, landlords, tenants and agri-business professionals. Presenters will provide examples and worksheets for both tenants and landlords covering the FAIR RENT program, flexible leases and fair rental agreements. 
For more information on cropland rental rates in Minnesota counties visit




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