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WEDNESDAY - DECEMBER 12,  2018

CHEDA BOARD HOLDS FINAL MEETING APPROVES MULTIPLE LOANS

The CHEDA board held their final meeting of 2018 Tuesday morning at Valley Tech Park. The meeting regular agenda consisted of an update on Vertical Malt from Adam Wagner; an update on a visit to the childcare center in Benson High School by Wayne Melbye, mayor and Jeremy Olson, superintendent; the results of a review of policies and guidelines for the housing rehab loan program, and loan requests from Crookston Inn, Serenity Adams and Luke Normandin.
Childcare has been a hot button topic around the state at all levels of governments over the past few months and recently when Senator Amy Klobuchar visited Agassiz Townhomes and met with local officials during which she suggested that Crookston may want to visit Benson to learn more about the collaborative childcare center being run out of the Benson High School. Melbye and Olson provided the CHEDA board with a review of their recent visit to Benson and some of the information they learned.
Central to their update were the points that Crookston needs to determine what its childcare need is in order to properly further explore a collaborative effort such as this and the support from the local businesses. Second was the idea that a possible facility would not be intended to be competition for current childcare providers, but a supplement to fill a need in the community.
Adam Wagner also presented on his business Vertical Malt and the ongoing plans they have been working on with CHEDA for expansion into their own Crookston-based malting facility. “We’ve established a couple of committees with Adam, one for advisory to help his business model, one for planning more along facilities and a timeline,” said CHEDA executive director Craig Hoiseth. “Adam was kind enough to come and mention his plans, finances and hopes to actually start construction on a facility in 2019, becoming operational in 2020.”
The board also received a recommendation from Hoiseth after the CHEDA staff reviewed the housing rehab loan program policies and guidelines, to not make a change to the interest rate to prime on a late loan repayment, but rather to attach a small administrative fee of $50 a month for late loans. The board accepted his recommendation and the fee would be a part of any new loan that goes delinquent including two issued Tuesday.
The board received rehab housing loan requests from Serenity Adams, for 406 Houston Ave, and Luke Normandin, for 702 N. Front St, totaling $65,000 which the board approved. The current remaining loan amount will come from the workforce trade funds, not the $350,000 recently allocated by council explains Hoiseth. “Both these families have done loans before and have really good track records with borrowing money in the rehab loan program,” said Hoiseth. “The school district is only doing the construction trades class for half a year this year, so we had some cash outlay there we could us for the remaining loan requests. We wanted to leave the $350,000 sitting there as we take a step back, look at our objectives and move forward with the allocation in a strategic way.”
The board also approved a request for a loan from the revolving fund by the Crookston Inn for $25,000 to assist in paying property taxes. Since acquiring the business in 2013, Todd and Nicole Jacobson have been done significant renovations to the property which has drastically raised their property taxes for $16,000 to $52,000. The Jacobson’s had previous loans of $100,000 and $50,000 from CHEDA over the past few years explained Hoiseth, “he’s been really good at paying off his previous loan aggressively. There was a time they took out $100,000 and later $50,000 for a whirlpool, which that one they’ve completely paid off.” The Jacobson’s currently had $17,392.26

 

 

 

DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE NOTIFIES POLK COUNTY OF TAX COURT FILING BY GREAT LAKES GAS TRANSMISSION

Polk County Commissioners met on Tuesday and approved two appointments to area watershed boards.  Terry Sorenson was reappointed to the Red Lake Watershed Board and Stuart Christian was reappointed to the Sandhill Watershed Board. Polk County has been notified of another tax court request from the Great Lakes Gas Transmission. Michelle Cote, property records administrator has the details, “We have had notification from the Department of Revenue that the Great Lakes Gas Transmission has filed for tax court for 2018,” said Michelle Cote, director of property records.  “Their line in Polk County is in the Johnson and Gully townships with a value of $3.7 million, so now we just wait and see.”    Ross Seed doing business as AgriMax was granted a conditional use permit for 64 square foot sign at their business near Fisher.  Ron Proulx was granted a conditional use permit to hook a new septic system to an existing shed at Maple Lake.  Kristen and Clayton Vetter were granted a conditional use permit to open and operate a pumpkin patch next fall in Rhinehart Township.  The final board meeting for 2018 will be held on Tuesday, December 18 at 10:00 a.m., during which adjustments to, and implementation of, the 2019 county tax levy will be finalized.

 

 

 

CROOKSTON’S DEVELOPMENT POLICY AND REVIEW COMMITTEE TO MEET TODAY

The City of Crookston’s Development Policy and Review Committee will meet at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 12 in the conference room at City Hall.  The agenda includes a year end review and members terms. 

 

 

 

CITY OF CROOKSTON “TOYS FOR TOTS” CAMPAIGN

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

Donations through – December 7

Duane Anderson $5.00
Bob & Becky Cameron $100.00
Crookston Noon Day Lions $100.00
John Vallager $100.00
Norman & Amy Ellingson $50.00
Mathein Study Club $50.00
Richard Heldstab $50.00
Bryan & Connie Dessrosier $50.00
Crookston Masonic Lodge $600.00
Crookston Shrine Club $400.00
Gary & Cynthia Garcia $25.00
Fischer, Rust & Stock, PLLC $100.00
Mary Tuseth $25.00
Dave & Cindy Kucera $20.00
Allan & Judy Dragseth $100.00
Denny & Dee Myerchin $20.00
Bertils Gravel & Excavation LLC $100.00
Jan Charchenko & William Wheeler $25.00
Bruce & Jill Krueger $25.00
Bob & Lynette Young $50.00
Dora Moses $25.00
Anonymous $100.00
Crookston Community Theater Cast and Crew "Home for Christmas" $50.00
Blake & Natalie Royal $100.00
Gordon & Maxine Pagnac $30.00
Scott & Julie Kleven $30.00
Bruce & Tamera Newhouse $100.00
Lyle & Susan Westrom $25.00
Michael & Deann Skaug $25.00
Ron & Susan Hann $50.00
John & Rosemary Tucker $50.00
Anonymous $100.00
   
This Weeks Donation Total $2,680.00

 

 

 

TUESDAY - DECEMBER 11,  2018

CROOKSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT RESPONDS TO FIRE ON 300 BLOCK OF 3RD AVENUE SW

The Crookston Fire Department responded to a fire shortly after 11:00 a.m. at the 300 block of 3rd Avenue South in Crookston Tuesday morning.  "We got dispatched for a reported snowmobile fire inside an attached garage.  Upon arrival it was fully involved inside the garage with a pickup and boat so there was a lot of fuel on the ground and we had to deal with that " said Crookston Fire Chief Tim Froeber. "It burned through the roof in one area almost prior to our arrival.  It was a fast moving fire and the guys did a real good job and we were able to stop the fire from going into the house.  We were able to back it back into the garage and made a good save on the house even though there is a lot of smoke damage in there." 
There were no injuries to occupants or firefighters.


 

 

CROOKSTON SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES A 5.3% LEVY INCREASE IN 2019, FINDS OUT MORE ABOUT STEM

The Crookston School Board met on Monday evening at the Crookston High School choir/orchestra room and approved the 2019 levy increase of 5.3 percent, heard from Highland School fifth and sixth grade students and teachers about STEM.

The meeting started off with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program presentation by Highland Elementary School sixth grade teacher Dan Halland, fifth grade teachers Kristi Griffin and Erica Uttermark and two students, Ashton Hoffman and Logan Brekken.  The STEM program has been used for gifted and talented students and has been expanded at Highland for all students.  Halland said some students are great in math and reading, but struggle in science because they aren’t good with the hands-on learning or problem solving so the STEM projects help them with learning and it helps makes science fun. 
The students made tinfoil boats to test buoyancy and one boat held 341 pennies.   They also build bridges out of 95 popsicle sticks and one bridge held 160.4 pounds last year.  The fifth graders in attendance showed their robots they programmed using an iPad.  They used coding to program the robots to move and they used math and a lot of trial and error.
The STEM projects are made possible through the financial support of the Crookston Education Foundation and the Highland School PTO.   The school board members and Superintendent Jeremy Olson were impressed by the presentation. “I had so much pride when I was watching the presentation thinking these kids are awesome,” said Superintendent Olson. “It was fun to see what they are doing.  They are coding in fifth grade and that is amazing to me that our students our exposed to that and Dan Halland’s presentation was fascinating and that the bridges can hold that much weight.  I am very proud of my staff.”

The board approved the November 26 meeting minutes and the current bills.  They also approved the employment of Michelle Busacker as a paraprofessional at Washington and Jessica Withrow as School Age Care at Washington School.

On the main agenda, there was nobody in attendance for the Truth in Taxation hearing and the board approved a 5.3 percent increase in the levy.  The levy for 2019 is $3,089,255.33.  The increase was primarily to help the new achievement and integration funding where the school will pay 30 percent of the cost and the state will fund 70 percent.  “There are two reasons why the levy is up a bit and one is there is an ebb and flow to our bond payments so basically it is due to the timing when the payments are due and sometimes it can bring the levy down and sometimes it can bring it up and this year it will bring it up,” said Superintendent Olson. “The second part of it is we received integration funding for next year which goes on this year’s levy and we are looking at $150,000 that is coming to the district and 70 percent of that is state share and the 30 percent is levy.  Anytime you can get a 70/30 split we are going to go for that.”  With the extra money, they will look to provide intervention support for the seventh and eighth grade students and also look for an additional liaison position. 

The board also approved the World’s Best Workforce (the school districts strategic plan for education) unanimously, something required by the Minnesota Department of Education. The Crookston School District had five indicators they had to look at as directed by the Minnesota Department of Education.  The five components are Kindergarten readiness, third grade reading proficiency, achievement gap reduction, graduation and career and college readiness.  “Overall, we are very happy with third grade reading proficiency being nine percent over the state average.  We fell a little short on Kindergarten readiness and we are working on improving that,” said Superintendent Olson. “We came up short in the achievement gap, but we believe hiring intervention support for seventh and eight grade will help.  Graduation rate is going well with 94 percent graduating last year.”

The board approved the election of 2019 MREA Board of Director candidate, Lori Bitter (Principal at Rainy River and Crookston LEO Club Director Linda Morgan’s sister) and they approved the combined polling place for district elections not held on the day of a statewide election.  The location would be St. Paul’s Lutheran Church from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The board accepted a donation from the June Shaver Scholarship fund in the amount of $5,400 towards Crookston High School student scholarships.

Washington School Principal Denice Oliver said they have had 758 students in the patch program (after school homework and project help), which is 62 percent of the student population at the end of the year last year. 

Highland School Principal Chris Trostad said they have received a very generous donation from Crookston area farmers to go towards purchasing food for struggling families over Christmas break and they are working on their continuous improvement plan.  Highland School will hold an open house on December 20.

School Board chair, Frank Fee, said he was happy to report they have settled on a three-year contract with the paraprofessionals.   He also said their will be a special meeting on December 20 to approve a copier lease.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the choir/orchestra room was closed for the six-month evaluation of the Superintendent Jeremy Olson.  The evaluation will be released at the next regular school board meeting on Monday, January 14.


Pictured left to right - Chris Trostad, Dan Halland, Erica Uttermark, Kristi Griffin, Logan Brekken, and Ashton Hoffman 

 

 

 

CITY COUNCIL HEARS FROM TWO CITIZENS, AMENDS AGENDA TO INCLUDE PUBLIC HEARINGS PREVIOUSLY OMITTED

In recent months the Crookston Forum, an allotment of time up to 15 minutes for citizens to address the council at the beginning of each meeting, has been utilized often and Monday was no different as to residents addressed the council. But before that, the council held the Truth in Taxation hearing, with the 2019 levy, capital improvement plan and how the City will use the tax dollars presented by Angel Weasner, finance director. The total levy is for $2,167,662 with a five percent increase ($103,222) from the 2018 levy. No one attending the meeting had any questions or comments after Weasner’s presentation.

During the Crookston Forum, the council was first addressed by Dennis Larson, who first stated the council didn’t give him an opportunity to speak at the last council meeting about a water bill, stating he thought they didn’t know what they were approving. There was an opportunity given to address the council during that public hearing regarding water charges and it was taken advantage of by one resident, Harvey Myerchin, who had $64 removed from his bill. 
The rest of Larson’s address concerned litigation regarding several code violations. Larson had been through the court process and found in violation by the courts. City Administrator Shannon Stassen explained the process that would’ve preceded the City taking someone to court over code violations. “We have a property maintenance code we put in place a few years ago with progressive fines,” explained Stassen. “We always try to do everything we can to mitigate that, when it escalates to the point where things out taken care of it goes to court and at that point is out of our hands.”  Eventually, Mayor Wayne Melbye thanked him for coming but told Larson there wasn’t anything the council could do at this point as the court had already ruled.

The second citizen to address the council was Roman Adams who stated he received a letter from his attorney that the City Attorney would be recommending that council approve legal action against both Adams and his father Dean, who ran for mayor in the last election. Adams stated twice that “we’ve been close to closing twice but the City has changed the terms.” Melbye informed Adams that the Ways and Means Committee would be addressing his topic during the “Other” portion of their meeting and asked if he’d be willing to readdress his concern then, which he was.

All items on both the consent agenda and regular agenda sent to KROX on Friday passed unanimously. The consent agenda included approval of the proposed minutes for the November 26 meeting and the following resolutions: to approve City of Crookston bills and disbursements in the amount of $337,365.59, to approve execution of grant agreement for the funding of the Drug Task Force 2019, to approve 2019 Calendar of Council Meetings, to adopt the Water Supply Plan for public water restrictions, to designate Election Precinct Polling Location, for UMC Ag-Arama Dance Permit – “Jacked Up” – for January 26, to amend designated depositories for public funds for the year 2018, transferring all investments from Morgan Stanley to RBC Capital Markets, LLC. 
The regular agenda as previously announced included the second reading and final passage of City Ordinance No. 76 and No. 77 for electric franchise fees with Ottertail Power Company and Red Lake Electric Cooperative, INC; second reading and final passage of Ordinance No. 78 for gas franchise fee with Great Plains Natural Gas Company; and resolutions adopting the 2019 budget, adopting property tax levy for taxes payable in 2019 and adopting five-year capital improvement plan for years 2019-2023.

Not included in the agenda sent to the KROX and a part of the amended minutes to open the meeting were public hearings for 117 Washington Avenue regarding a hazardous building, a sidewalk improvement fee, and Ordinance 116.01-116.03 which establish licensing requirements for plumbers. After no one was present for the public hearings, the topics moved to the regular agenda where both assessments were adopted, and the ordinances amended. 
KROX News Director Rob Silvers asked the Council “why the media had not been notified of the changes in the agenda” as members of the council, often Mayor Melbye has stated the media is their tool for getting information to the public. Weasner said the public hearings had originally been omitted in error but had been on previous agendas, which is true, on the November 26 consent agenda, which passed unanimously (which means the hearings were listed on the agenda but never actually mentioned). Silvers said, “if you’re making us responsible for getting the information out to the public, we should probably be given the updated information the public needs to know even if it’s a late change.” 
Melbye did admit, “this is another area we [the City] have got to get better in.”

 

 

 

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE ASKED TO CONSIDER LEGAL ACTION OVER PROPERTY SALE WITH ROMAN ADAMS

In a carryover from the City Council meeting, the Ways and Means Committee considered legal action against Dean and Roman Adams over a late 2017 property sale that has yet to be finalized.
Reading from his notes, City Administrator Shannon Stassen read from his notes that the committee, on recommendation from the City Attorney Stephen Larson, had two questions to answer regarding the delayed sale of property to the Adams. One, is the city willing to pay the taxes on the property that the Adams contest they shouldn’t pay as they don’t have ownership (deed) of the property yet, despite currently being the key holders and renting the residence out? And two, whether to take legal action to enforce the purchase agreement and terminate a mechanics lien placed on the residence by Dean Adams?
It was also noted that a closing date, the latest of several, had been set for Wednesday, but that Larson had been informed that Roman Adams wouldn’t pay the taxes despite being in possession of the home and collecting rent. Regarding the mechanics lien Larson stated, “property that has a public holding shouldn’t have a mechanics lien, but it still currently shows as a cloud.”
The property taxes amounted to a total of $1,639 according to Angel Weasner, finance director. Roman Adams also claimed to have incurred $1,500 in legal fees above the $5,000 the City had agreed to pay over the past few months caused by the continued inability to close the deal.
According to the Adams, they believed they owned the property after previously signing closing documents, but after signing a housing contract with HUD they were informed by the bank that they did not own the property because Stassen and Mayor Wayne Melbye had signed a different deed than the one, they had. Since then the City had also prepared several addendums, which Stassen stated several times that Roman Adams had signed including an easement for the flood levy and a trail. The lien served to the City on the property by Dean Adams since the first signing after Adams replaced the furnace and added an egress window.
The conversation twisted several times to different aspects of the purchase agreement and addendums as to why the closing hadn’t been completed with Larson repeatedly reminding the committee they should only directly discuss the two questions asked as anything else could be permissible in court.
Councilman Bobby Baird repeatedly asked why if there were changes to the purchase agreement, which had been approved by council, was the addendums not brought before council for their approval. A question he never did get an answer.
Jake Fee made a motion for the City to play the taxes and the closing to happen on Wednesday. Melbye began to ask the Adams if they would agree to that and close on Wednesday as scheduled, when Larson said that because they are represented by legal counsel the council was unable to negotiate with them directly and their proposal would need to go through the Adams’ attorney. Dean Adams did state that, “Wednesday may not be possible because Roman’s loan approval is a year old and we’ll have to redo the papers.” After which Larson reiterated the City was ready to close Wednesday.
Fee amended his motion to remove Wednesday so that the City would pay the outstanding taxes if the closing happened soon. Councilman Steve Erickson also stated, “not the first issue, won’t be the last.”
The motion carried 9-0 on a show of hands from voting members of the committee with the understanding Dean Adams would remove the lien at closing. “We’re settling on a property that has been in question for quite some time,” said Stassen. “It looks like we’ll be able to close on Wednesday,” despite the Adams concerns the loan may not be reapproved on that timetable.
In the end the City will pay $5,000 in Roman Adams’ legal fees as previously agreed, plus the additional $1,639 for property taxes on a deal the City won’t see any money from.   Adams will be responsible for his remaining legal fees currently totaling around $1,500. 
Particularly troubling is the City has merely been acting on behalf of the State, which owned the property and the revenue from the sale will go to the State.  

The rest of the Ways & Means Committee meeting proceeded relatively quickly without much discussion as the two other items were the approval of the past two meeting reports, which passed unanimously and a request for a a fund transfer for the Small Cities Development Program.

It was recently reported by Ken Buchanan that the Commercial Property improvement applications had been very active and in fact the grant had requests they were unable to meet. The staff recommended that $20,000 from the revolving funds used for the Owner-Occupied Improvement Program be transferred to a Multi-County HRA to supplement the funds for this year.
Councilman Tom Vedbraaten asked what the full needs were and if it was more than $20,000 why not move more, while Councilman Clayton Briggs asked if the $20,000 was for one project or multiple. Stassen said the funds would currently be for one project and the committee always has the authority to approve another transfer if needed.
Fee also asked why the rental funds haven’t been used and whether the money was only available for downtown. Stassen informed him that he had checked whether the unaccounted-for rental funds could be used to supplement the commercial funds and was told that the grant allows commercial funds to supplement rental funding, but not the other way around. He also confirmed that grant is specific to a certain area, in this case downtown. The committee moved to pass the transfer unanimously and will bring it before council at the next meeting.
“There has been a lot of interest in the commercial properties getting improved,” said Stassen. “There was an opportunity to help a little more and that’s what we’re doing with revolving money from previous grants and loans so it’s not coming out of the City coffers so to speak so revolving that back into the community for commercial improvements.”


 

 

REGIONAL CORRECTIONS BOARD REVIEWS 3rd ANNUAL RESOURCES FOR REINTEGRATION FAIR, ENTERED RECIDIVISM GRANT EVALUATION CONTRACT

The Regional Corrections Board for Tri-County Community Corrections met on Monday at the Polk County Justice center. A relatively short meeting included a review of the 3rd Annual Resources for Reintegration Fair held in September, and several contracts.
“We actually conduct a resource fair in the jail which allows the inmates to get in contact with resources that will help to prepare them for their release back into the community,” explained executive director for Tri-County Community Corrections, Andrew Larson. “The participation we get from the inmates is really fabulous, this year 97 percent participated in the event.”
Resources include social services, mental health, chemical dependency providers, local employers and housing resources. Overall 28 different vendors participated in the fair.
The board also reviewed the Host County contracts for the juvenile center. Larson explained that rather than engaging in different contracts for each government agency that may request space, as standard practice is to provide a host county contract that is uniform across the board.
Progress continues on the Recidivism Reduction Grant with the probation officer who will work on the project starting to transfer her case load, Northwest Mental Health practitioners have been visiting the jail bi-weekly and will eventually ramp up to 28 hours a week as screening of new admins provides more need. The board also approved a contract with Nadine Rodriguez who will work on data collection and evaluating the data throughout the grant project.
Tri-County has officially also entered into a contract effect January 1st with Mahnomen County for 30 beds, replacing almost the full Clay County contract that has ended with the opening of the new jail in Moorhead.

 

 

 

REAL GOOD BATH AND BODY STORE IN DOWNTOWN CROOKSTON IS OPEN

Walk into the new Real Good Bath and Body store at 118 South Broadway next to Widman’s Candy and the nose is greeted by a variety of scents.  The new shop has its origins in a Christmas gift and got its start on Facebook, went international and has come full circle right back to Crookston.  “This started as a hobby in my kitchen and I’d take my son to the library for story hour and I saw this book on making soap,” said Real Good Bath and Body’s owner Carol Simmons.  “Many years later when we moved to Crookston, my husband gave me a great Christmas present of a soap making kit and I started from there.”
Simmons’ hobby left her with more soap than she needed at home, so she posted to Facebook that she was looking to sell some of what she’d created.  Not long after, a friend from her time in China contacted her about shipping her products to China and thousands of Simmons’ products have been shipped overseas since then. 
Real Good offers a variety of nature-based products using high quality ingredients.  “We have bath bombs, our biggest seller, we’re working on a new one that will shoot out a rainbow in the water and a build your own bath fizzy bar,” said Simmons.  “We also have all-natural bath bombs, soaps scented with essential oils, lotions, shower steamers and natural deodorant.”
You can expect to pay a bit more for these high-quality natural products than you do with your generic brands in a store.  “Many soaps are really just a detergent that uses chemicals to pull the oils off of your skin,” said Simmons. “Using coconut oil, olive oil and shea butter in our soaps cleans your skin, but also nourishes it by leaving some of those oils on.”
Read Good Bath and Body besides their products making you feel good, you also feel good by doing good, so they donate to worthy causes such as the local food bank, women’s shelters, United Way, Humane Society and refugee camps.  Read Good Bath and Body products are created in the store and is open Thursdays (11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), Fridays (11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) and Saturdays (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) in addition to anytime the lights are on. 


Bath Bombs being created and the final product   Fizzy bar to create your own mix

 

 

 

 

HIGH SCHOOL ART EXHIBIT TO DISPLAY ‘WORD ART’ TONIGHT IN COMMONS

Trey Everett has been serving as the “Artist in Residence” for Crookston High School and his work with the students will culminate in a ‘Word Art’ display. There will be projects from both art classes as well as a couple of collaborative efforts by English students on their current areas of study.
“One class has been reading ‘1984,’ so you’ll see an image with all these phrases from the book,” said Everett. “At first from a distance you’ll see different images from birds to symbols, a variety of images. Once you closer you’ll see the images are made up of words and numbers that have to do with the image.”
Each of the students in the art class choose their own image to create such as eighth grader Gavin Winger’s dirt bike. “I did my dirt bike because I have one and passion for driving it,” said Winger. “And I have brands, CCs and details of my bike in [my art].”
The art will be on display tonight in the high school commons beginning at 5:30 p.m. through the girls basketball game. Everett's residency was made possible through a grant from the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council.


Gavin Winger works to finish his 'Word Art' dirt bike

 

 

 

POLK COUNTY BUDGET HEARING TONIGHT IN THE COMMISSIONER’S CHAMBERS AT POLK COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER

The budget hearing for county taxes will take place at 6:00 p.m. tonight in the commissioner’s chambers at the Polk County Government Center. County Administrator Chuck Whiting will present the budget during the hearing, “I’ll do a short summary of the budget and then will open up for questions and comments,” said Whiting. “We’ll still have a few days if we want to change the budget prior to final approval on December 18.”
The final levy is projecting to be at least 1.5 percent less than was called for when the preliminary notices were sent out. “The notices had a top end levy of 5 percent, we’re currently looking at under 3.5 percent,” said Whiting. “The increase would be lower than the increase last year, but we’re still mindful of what this does to our taxpayers and want to make sure we address their concerns.”
The levy increase should bring the overall county budget from taxes to just over $23 million dollars, roughly 40 percent of the overall county budget. The actual amount paid to the county in taxes for property owners is dependent upon their property’s classification and the property’s valuation.
Polk County will be doing work over the next year or two on their facility in East Grand Forks, has a 2.5 percent cost of living increase (down from 3 percent during the last cycle), and an increase in healthcare contributions. The county will also be adding clerk positions, one in the taxpayer center and one in the attorney’s office. The latter will give the attorney’s office a 1-to-1 ratio between attorneys and support staff, allowing the office to be more efficient and organized.

 

 

 

MONDAY - DECEMBER 10,  2018

CROOKSTON SCHOOL BOARD WILL MEET TONIGHT

The Crookston School Board will meet tonight at 6:00 p.m. in the high school choir/orchestra room. The meeting will begin with a presentation on the on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) program at Highland Elementary School by Chris Trostad, principal, with teachers Dan Halland and Erica Uttermark.
Following the presentation, the board will review the November 26 meeting minutes and approve current bills. There are two personnel items on the agenda: to approve employment with Michelle Busacker as a paraprofessional at Washington and approve employment with Jessica Withrow for school age care as Washington.
The main agenda includes: a hearing on Truth in Taxation Levy payable in 2019, certifying Truth In Taxation Levy, a hearing on World’s Best Workforce, approval of World’s Best Workforce, election of 2019 Minnesota Rural Education Association Board of Director candidate, approve resolution establishing combined polling place for district elections not held on the day of the statewide election.
The board will hear reports from: Denice Oliver, principal at Washington, on Washington School, Community Education, Early Childhood Family Education and Patch; Trostad, on Highland School and Eric Bubna, principal, on the high school. The board will also hear a report from superintendent Jeremy Olson.
The board will then accept a grant from the June Shaver Scholarship Fund in the amount of $5,400 to be used toward scholarships for Crookston High School students. A closed meeting will be held immediately following the regular meeting to conduct an evaluation of the superintendent.

 

 

 

CITY COUNCIL TO MEET TONIGHT FOLLOWED BY WAYS & MEAN’S COMMITTEE

The Crookston City Council will meet tonight at 7:00 p.m. following the Truth in Taxation hearing in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The consent agenda will feature eight items with a further six on the regular agenda.
The consent agenda includes approval of the proposed minutes for the November 26 meeting and the following resolutions: to approve City of Crookston bills and disbursements in the amount of $337,365.59, to approve execution of grant agreement for the funding of the Drug Task Force 2019, to approve 2019 Calendar of Council Meetings, to adopt the Water Supply Plan for public water restrictions, to designate Election Precinct Polling Location, for UMC Ag-Arama Dance Permit – “Jacked Up” – for January 26, to amend designated depositories for public funds for the year 2018, transferring all investments from Morgan Stanley to RBC Capital Markets, LLC.
The regular agenda includes the second reading and final passage of City Ordinance No. 76 and No. 77 for electric franchise fees with Ottertail Power Company and Red Lake Electric Cooperative, INC; second reading and final passage of Ordinance No. 78 for gas franchise fee with Great Plains Natural Gas Company; and resolutions adopting the 2019 budget, adopting property tax levy for taxes payable in 2019 and adopting five-year capital improvement plan for years 2019-2023.

The Ways & Means Committee Meeting will immediately follow City Council. The agenda includes approval of the November 13 and November 26 meeting reports, as well as the Small Cities Development Plan.
The Small Cities Development Plan has done well in the area of commercial property improvement applications in 2018, so much so that there is unmet need for commercial project funding. The staff is recommending $20,000 of the revolving funds used for the Owner-Occupied Improvement Program, Property Maintenance Code and future code violations that include Health and Safety Improvement be transferred to Multi-County HRA to supplement the commercial funds for the remaining projects. The revolving fund currently has $86,000 in it.

 

 

 

TRUTH IN TAXATION HEARING WILL BE HELD AT 6:30 TONIGHT AT CITY HALL

The City of Crookston will hold the Truth in Taxation hearing in the Council Chambers at City Hall tonight.  The hearing will cover the tax levy, five-year capital improvement plan and how tax dollars are spent throughout the year.
The preliminary levy was originally set at 7.5 percent, but the final projected levy is five percent an increase of $103,000.  The total levy will be $2,167,662 and City of Crookston Finance Director, Angel Weasner has calculated the estimated tax increase for homeowners.  “The five percent increase does not equate to a five percent increase in taxes,” said Weasner.  “Based on calculations it should only be approximately $34 per year for a home valued at $150,000.”
The classification and value of properties is used to determine the change in each property’s taxes.

 

 

 

CANADIAN PACIFIC HOLIDAY TRAIN TO MAKE STOPS IN NORTHWEST MINNESOTA

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will stop in more than two-dozen Minnesota towns on its annual ride through the northern United State, bringing live entertainment and Christmas cheer in exchange for donations to local food banks. The train will be in Minnesota December 5-14.
Enjoy free performances by The Trews and Willy Porter at each stop, and your food or cash donations will benefit the local community. The train will make several stops in northwest Minnesota on Thursday, December 13 and they are listed below-
Glenwood, 10 a.m.
Alexandria, 11:30 a.m.
Detroit Lakes, 2:30 p.m.
Mahnomen, 4:20 p.m.
Plummer, 6 p.m.
Thief River Falls, 7:30 p.m.


      The Canadian Pacific Holiday train

 

 

 

NOBODY INJURED IN SUNDAY CRASH ON BROADWAY AND E ROBERT ST

Crookston Police responded to the report of an accident on Sunday, December 9 at 3:39 p.m. at the intersection of Broadway and E Robert St.  The two-vehicle accident included a 2010 Ford Mustang driven by Anthony Putz, of Kasota, and a 2015 GMC Canyon, driven by Michelle Olson, of Crookston.
There were no injuries and both vehicles sustained moderate damage.  A citation was issued to Putz for failure to stop for a traffic control signal.

 

 

 

FRIDAY - DECEMBER 7,  2018

CROOKSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT OFFERS TIPS FOR CHRISTMAS TREE SAFETY

The holidays are a time for fun and family. To ensure things stay cheery and bright for your family this Christmas season, the Crookston Fire Department has these safety tips for your Christmas tree. “If you have a live tree keep it water and away from heat sources, with an artificial tree make sure it’s labeled as fire resistant,” says firefighter Shane Heldstab. “Check your light cords for excessive wear and never leave the house or go to sleep with the tree lit. By the numbers, one in four Christmas tree fires are caused by the tree being to close to a heat source and one in three are caused by electrical problems.”
Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home, garage or placed outside against the home.

PICKING THE TREE
Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

PLACING THE TREE
Before placing the tree in a stand, cut 2” from the base of the truck.
Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles and heat vents or lights.
Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
Add water to the tree stand daily.

LIGHTING THE TREE
Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
Replace any strings of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to use.
Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
Use no more than three light strands per extension cord.
Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. One in 31 home fires involving Christmas trees results in death.

 

 

 

TRI-VALLEY’S AGASSIZ TOWNHOMES COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13

Tri-Valley’s Agassiz Townhomes community open house has been scheduled for Thursday, December 13 from 11 am - 3 pm. The townhomes are located at the junction of North Broadway and Fisher Avenue (across the street from Casey’s General Store).
Agassiz Townhomes feature 30 rental units consisting of two and three bedrooms. Property features include professional management, central air, washer and dryer in each unit, attached garage and a playground area. Income restrictions apply.
For more information on Agassiz Townhomes and to apply to see if you qualify, please visit www.dwjonesmanagement.com/crookston or call 218-547-3307.

 

 

 

SENATOR JOHNSON SAYS BUDGET FORCAST REVEALS POSITIVE SIGNS FOR STATE ECONOMY

On Thursday, the office of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released their November economic forecast. The report, which details the state’s budget picture, projected a surplus of $1.544 billion for the 2020-2021 biennial budget, with a significant structural surplus moving forward through the 2022-23 biennium.
In addition, $491 million of the surplus for the current fiscal year was automatically transferred to Minnesota’s budget reserve, leaving the state’s rainy-day account at $2.075 billion, a record level.
In the last biennial budget, Republicans passed the largest tax relief package in nearly two decades, benefiting seniors, college graduates, Main Street businesses, and farmers.
“In 2017, with Republicans in both bodies of the legislature, we took on the difficult task of implementing a responsible budget. We checked government growth and spending to protect Minnesota’s long-term interests. As a result, this year’s November forecast shows one of the largest projected state budget surpluses,” said Senator Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks). “In addition, our rainy-day fund is now the largest on record. We are moving the State in the right direction.”
“Senate Republicans are tackling issues important to Minnesota families, including health care, education, roads and bridges, tax conformity, and many other issues that can now be managed without the threat of a tax increase. As Minnesota approaches the next biennium, I believe we should continue advancing Minnesota.”

 

 

 

EAST GRAND FORKS SNOW EMERGENCY, PARKING CALENDAR AND PARKING TICKET FOOD DRIVE

From Michael Hedlund, East Grand Forks – Chief of Police

The East Grand Forks Police Department would like to remind residents about the Snow Emergency and Calendar Parking regulations for the City of East Grand Forks.  On a related note, the EGF City Council has authorized the Police Department to collect food donations for the East Grand Forks Food Shelf in place of the normal $15 fine for Street Maintenance (Calendar Parking) and Snow Emergency parking tickets through the month of December. Anyone who receives a Calendar Parking or Snow Emergency parking ticket through December 31 may “pay” the ticket with a donation of at least five non-perishable food items.  Donations must be brought to the East Grand Forks Police Department, along with the parking ticket.  People who do not receive a ticket are also encouraged to donate food and are welcome to bring their donations to the EGFPD. All donations will be delivered to the EGF Food Shelf.  The holiday season is important for many ways and your donation can make a difference to a local EGF family.
EGF city ordinance places a snow emergency into effect when the city determines that conditions on city streets caused by the presence of snow, freezing rain, sleet or ice create or are likely to create hazardous road conditions or impede or are likely to impede the travel of emergency vehicles.  The emergency will go into effect one hour after the emergency has been declared through the media.  The snow emergency remains in effect until all city streets have been cleared to their full width.  There is no parking on city streets during a snow emergency.  Vehicles parked on the street during a snow emergency are subject to ticketing and towing.  Once any individual road has been completely plowed and cleaned parking may resume on that street.
In addition, the city has a street maintenance ordinance that is written to allow additional snow removal/street cleaning on specific days and times as listed below:

Parking is prohibited between 7:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. in the following residential areas on the listed days.
·        
District 1 – All areas North of 17th Street NW and West of Central Avenue. This district will have scheduled enforcement on Thursdays
·         District 2 – The areas South of 17th Street NW and North of Gateway Drive.  This district will have scheduled enforcement on Wednesdays.
·         District 3 – The East and Central areas – South of Gateway Drive and North of the Red Lake River. The district will have scheduled enforcement on Fridays.
·         District 4 – The Point area East of Bygland Road.  This district will have scheduled enforcement on Mondays.
·         District 5 – The Point area West of Bygland Road.  This district will have scheduled enforcement on Tuesdays.

East Grand Forks also does street cleaning/snow removal in the commercial district (primarily downtown – see the city website at www.egf.mn for further information including maps of all parking districts). This is done Monday through Friday from 2:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. No parking is allowed on any commercial route during these hours.
Members of the public may choose to be notified (by e-mail or text) when the city declares a Snow Emergency.  If you would like to sign up for these notifications, go to the city website – www.egf.mn – and click on “E-Services.”  Then click on “Notify Me.”  From there you can register and indicate what city information you would like to be notified about.  For “Snow Emergency” notifications go to the News Flash area and indicate you want to be notified about East Grand Forks News and Announcements.

 

 

 

 

 

THURSDAY - DECEMBER 6,  2018

HIGHLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHOIRS, ORCHESTRAS AND BAND PERFORM TODAY

The Highland Elementary fifth and sixth grad choirs, fifth and sixth grade orchestra, fifth grade honor orchestra and sixth grade band performed a concert this afternoon at Highland Elementary School. 


The Highland School sixth grade choir performs during the afternoon concert


The Highland School fifth grade orchestra performs during the afternoon concert


The Highland School sixth grade band was spread out across the stage for their performance in the afternoon concert

 

 

 

MORGAN RECEIVES MELVIN JOHNS FELLOW HONOR FROM LIONS CLUB INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION, CROOKSTON LIONS

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) was founded by Melvin Jones and provides funding of large-scale humanitarian projects around the world.  The Melvin Jones Fellowship program was established to recognize deserving Lions who have gone the extra mile, given time and talent to help fill the needs of their community and are selected by their fellow club members for recognition.  
Linda Morgan was presented with the award on Monday night, an honor she didn’t expect.  “When John Vik started describing the award winner and I started realizing it was me I was very surprised and shocked,” said Morgan.  “Usually it goes to someone that has been in Lions for 10 to 15 years, I’ve been a member for only six years and it’s nice to be recognized for what I do in the school and community.”
Morgan is the Crookston High School LEO Club coordinator and she is involved with a variety of other organizations.  “I’ve been in Matrons, have been on the RiverView Auxiliary board, UMC Alumni board, Night to Unite and self-defense class for the seniors,” explained Morgan.  “I just do different things if they need my help and I’m starting my 8th year advising the Leo Club and have taken over as prom coordinator and student council advisor.”
Additionally, Morgan has served as a director for the Crookston Lions for three years, Peace Poster chair for four years, Youth Golf Tournament Co-Chair for three years, Christmas Party chair, chair for pancake suppers at the Villa/Summit and Care and Share.  The Crookston High School LEO Club, with about 150 members at Crookston High School, under Morgan’s leadership is often credited with doing more projects in a month than many Lions Clubs do in a year.  During the award presentation John Vik said of Morgan, “she is an inspiration to all of us for her dedication to serve and as the positive role model she plays in the lives of so many of our students in our high school.”


 

 

CROOKSTON RV CAMPGROUND FUNDING RECEIVES RECOMMENDATION AS PART OF RED LAKE RIVER CORRIDOR ENHANCEMENT PROJECT

The Red Lake River Corridor Enhancement Project has received a recommendation for funding on four projects from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. The four projects include an RV park/campground in Crookston’s Central Park, Sportsman’s Park in Red Lake Falls, a park in Thief River Falls and trails in East Grand Forks.  “It’s pretty exciting and it has been a long process over several years with six cities, three counties, the watershed district, and many other partners,” said Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen. “It’s just a recommendation at this point, but historically the legislature has approved the recommendations that have come forth.”
About two-thirds of the recommended funding would be earmarked for Crookston. For each project, the cities must provide at least a 25% match of the approved state funding. Central Park would be in line for funding of about $1 million, with the City providing an additional $345,000. Currently, the campground has electric hookup only, the project would add water and sewer. Additionally, a bathhouse/storm shelter would be built that would have the ability to hold about 150 people during a storm.
Stassen said special recognition should go to Linda Kingery, Northwest Minnesota Sustainable Development Partnership, for being a driving force on the project and Kate Svitavsky, an intern for the Joint Powers Board, for coordinating the final application. “Linda has been a driving force behind this for a number of years, so this project doesn’t happen without her,” said Stassen. “Kate pulled together a lot of the information, making it look nice as a wordsmith and really taking the project in terms of the application to the next level.”
The recommendation will be reviewed during the next legislative session and Stassen said he was unsure of the legislature’s schedule for when they would review the project. He added that on past projects, such as the river access points project coming in the summer of 2019, notification of the legislature’s decision has come in May.

 

 

CROOKSTON SCHOOL DISTRICT UPDATE FROM SUPERINTENDENT JEREMY OLSON

The following article is by Crookston Schools Superintendent Jeremy Olson.

Greetings! Communication is so important to our school and community and therefore I want to keep you informed as to what is happening at Crookston Public Schools currently and where we are going as a district.  There is so much to be proud of at Crookston Public Schools and even more to look forward to as we start to plan and prepare for our next steps as a district. Here are some highlights from what has happened at Crookston Public Schools recently:

The Music Program just concluded the Junior High Choir/Orchestra/Band Concert. I want to thank the many people who made this opportunity available to our kids as well as the community members who showed up to support our students. The Pirate Fine Arts Booster Club, Crookston Schools Music Dept, and of course the students who performed, all deserve recognition making this program happen. We are so fortunate here at Crookston to have an Orchestra as part of our music offerings which is one of the few Orchestra programs in northwest Minnesota.

Several of our students achieved successes recently that we would like to highlight:

Katherine Geist and Ben Brantner were both awarded the ExCEL Award!
Brock Heppner and Thea Oman were awarded the Triple A Award for their success in Arts, Athletics, and Academics!
Thea Oman qualified for state in Girl’s Swimming!
Skylar Weiland and Jessica Willits received perfect scores in Vocal Solo Contest held in East Grand Forks! Jessica Willits also received a “Best of Site” for her performance at this same contest!
Katherine Geist finished in 9th place at State A Cross Country!

At the last School Board Meeting, we highlighted our Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program. Each instructor talked about their program and what opportunities are available to their students. The great thing about CTE Programs is that students exit these programs with marketable skills such as house building, manufacturing, fabrication, welding, small engine repair, Computer Aided Drafting, Screen printing, Marketing, Digital Photography, 3D printing, FABLAB (Design/build process), and much more. These classes also teach some of the soft skills such as ability to work as a team, problem solving, and process following. The CTE Program can lead directly to a promising career or post secondary training. These are great programs that I would highly encourage parents to visit with their students about as these programs lead to highly sought after skills!

During the last 2W day, the Washington School staff spent the afternoon working on standards alignment as we continue to work on our World’s Best Workforce goal of Kindergarten Readiness. The teachers looked at Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st grade standards to ensure vertical alignment (alignment from grade to grade) as well as horizontal alignment (alignment between sections of a particular grade). These were important conversations as we work to ensure that our students have a strong start.

Looking toward the near future, we are starting to put together a process to develop a vision for where we want to be as a district as well as a strategic plan on how to achieve this vision. The vision and strategic plan of a district guide and direct next steps to ensure that we are all pointed in the right direction and all moving toward the same goals. I am very excited about this important work that we have ahead of us as we continue to work to make Crookston Public Schools a better place for our kids and families.

 

 

CROOKSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY TO HOLD OPEN HOUSE TO CELEBRATE COMPLETION OF RENOVATION

An Open House to celebrate the completion of a months-long renovation project will be held at the Crookston Public Library. The Open House will feature refreshments, tours, and recognition of the many individuals and community groups who made the project possible. The event on Sunday, December 9 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and is open to the public.
The renovation encompassed improvements to the library’s teen area, sunroom, meeting room, and public restrooms. The project was made possible by a $150,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation, $25,000 of which was matched dollar-for-dollar by the community.
“We’re thrilled to invite the community to celebrate the culmination of this exciting renovation,” said Chris Boike, Crookston Library director. “We work hard to provide a space that meets the needs of our community and are deeply grateful for the support of the Otto Bremer Trust and the many community members and groups who made it possible. We hope a lot of people will join us to celebrate this enhancement to the library.”

 


 

CHARGES PENDING AFTER DISCHARGE OF FIREARM IN GRAND FORKS APARTMENT

On Thursday, December 6 at approximately 9:52 a.m., Grand Forks Police were notified of a discharge of a firearm within an apartment. The renter of the apartment notified police that his friend had been intending to clean a handgun, when a round was discharged. The bullet struck several items within the apartment but remained within the apartment unit. Nobody was injured during the incident. Charges are pending against the suspect, Christopher Goldade, an 18-year-old East Grand Forks resident.
The Grand Forks Police Department responds to several of these calls per year, and would like to remind people to properly check and unload their firearms prior to cleaning.

 

 

WEDNESDAY - DECEMBER 5,  2018

CLIMAX FAMILY'S HOME HIT BY FIRE WITH MODERATE DAMAGE

On December 5 at 4:05 a.m. the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a structure Fire at 107 East Broadway in Climax.  The single family home sustained moderate damage.  No injuries were sustained from the fire however Crookston Area Ambulance transported all four occupants to Riverview Health Emergency Room for evaluations.  Brianna Roper, age 33, along with her three children ages 8, 11 and 13 were treated for non-life threatening smoke inhalation.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the State Fire Marshal was notified.
Assisting agencies were Crookston Fire Department, Nielsville Fire Department, Climax Fire Department, Crookston Area Ambulance and Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

 

STRUCTURE FIRE REPORTED IN MCINTOSH WEDNESDAY MORNING

On December 5 at 3:35 a.m. the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a structure Fire at 325 2nd St NW Lot 8 in McIntosh.  A trailer home sustained moderate damage and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.  The sole occupant at the time of the fire, Georgia Christensen age 65 escaped with non-life threatening injuries.  Essentia Ambulance transported Christensen to Essentia Hospital in Fosston for medical attention.  The State Fire Marshal was notified.    
Responding agencies were the McIntosh Fire Department, Essentia Ambulance and Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

 

 

 

UMC’S NEW ADMINISTRATION HOPING TO BUST MYTHS, PROMOTE A STRONG IDENTITY

Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause began her duties nearly 18 months ago, Vice-Chancellor John Hoffman joined the University on July 30 and the University of Minnesota System President Eric Kaler will step down in July 2019. Hoffman hopes the new administration’s perspective and emphasis on UMC’s key points will help break a few myths about UMC, begin to reverse the on-campus enrollment trend and perhaps even provide an increase in state funding for the campus.
While not everyone believes in the myth, enough do that a false perception can result. The interesting part about present day myths is that they are often created for one of two reasons, either to explain something someone doesn’t understand with what they believe is the most likely cause or because of the way facts laid before them lead them to a false conclusion. UMC has big myths they need to shatter that fall under each category.
The first myth has to do with the centralized power aspect of the University of Minnesota System. For many things, from capital improvements to contracts to accounts payable different aspects that a university normally undertakes are shared between UMC and the system offices in the Twin Cities. Undoubtedly a byproduct of a small university benefitting from using the expertise of a larger staff within the system rather than having to hire their own staff to fill roles needed less often. That knowledge of those areas along with the slogan – small campus, big degree – and the diploma that says University of Minnesota rather than University of Minnesota Crookston have probably distorted the image of how heavily the University of Minnesota System controls the UMC campus.
There are probably many different examples out there that have led to the perception that UMC must go through the system for everything and take only what the system offers them. Make no mistake, as in any higher education system, a certain power does lie in the system offices that the individual campuses must answer to and get certain permissions from. Those perceptions that have been created about the extent to which UMC answers to the system have undoubtedly led to the myth that online students tuition doesn’t fully come back to the UMC campus.
That is false, UMC gets all the tuition money from online students that are enrolled just as they do for the on-campus students says John Hoffman, “the truth is we receive tuition dollars every bit as much from our online students, overall tuition works out to about one-third of our budget.”
The truth is UMC currently brings in just over $2 million dollars more for the campus in tuition dollars than they did in 2011, when on-campus enrollment was 1,122. And tuition revenue is nearly even to what it was in 2014, when UMC had its highest enrollment at 1,876.
Where it may hurt UMC is having a lower on-campus enrollment is in auxiliary fees such as housing and student service fees. Below is a look the enrollment numbers over a variety of years and the amount of revenue the current student service rate would generate with that enrollment. If UMC were able to get back to their 2011 on-campus enrollment of 1,122, they could expect to make an additional $171,902.72 for the 16 areas that utilize the fee for all or part of their budget. The graph below shows the loss of total fees since 2011.

Organization

Semester Fee

2011

2014

2017

2018

On-Campus Enrollment

 

1122

941

830

803

Ag-Arama

$1.00

$2,244

$1,884

$1,660

$1,606

Clubs & Orgs

$8.00

$17,952

$15,056

$13,280

$12,848

Concerts & Lectures

$5.00

$11,220

$9,410

$8,300

$8,030

Crookston Student Assoc.

$7.69

$17,256.36

$14,472.58

$12,765.40

$12,350.14

CSSD

$4.00

$8,976

$7,528

$6,640

$6,424

Golden Eagle Pep Band

$3.00

$6,732

$5,646

$4,980

$4,818

Health Service

$35.00

$78,540

$65,870

$58,100

$56,210

Intercollegiate Athletics

$69.00

$154,836

$129,858

$114,540

$110,814

Intramural Athletics

$8.00

$17,952

$15,056

$13,280

$12,848

NACTA

$3.00

$6,732

$5,646

$4,980

$4,818

Student Activities

$29.00

$65,076

$54,578

$48,140

$46,574

Student Center (SC)

$10.00

$22,440

$18,820

$16,600

$16,060

SC Equipment Rental

$3.00

$6,732

$5,646

$4,980

$4,818

Study Abroad

$2.50

$5,610

$4,705

$4,150

$4,015

Student Experience

$1.25

$2,805

$2,352.50

$2,075

$2,007.50

Wellness Center

$80.00

$179,520

$150,560

$132,800

$128,480

Total Fee

$269.44

$604,623.36

$507.086.08

$447,270.40

$432,720.64

 

 

 

UMC’S BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN HEALTH MANAGEMENT EARNS NATIONAL ACCREDITATION

The Bachelor of Science in Health Management at the University of Minnesota Crookston received accreditation approval by the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) at its mid-year meeting held in November. With the NAB accreditation, the program also received Health Service Executive (HSE) quailification earning both accreditations under the leadership of Susan Klassen, program director. 

Changing Demands in Long-Term Care
By 2050, the U.S. demographics will see a historic shift, with more people over the age of 65 than students in school. Due to consumer demand, healthcare reform, and growing regulatory mandates, leaders of long-term care industries require leadership development and education to meet those needs.
One by one, states are adopting—by legislative statute—to require long-term care administrators to hold the Health Service Executive (HSE) status—provided only by NAB-accredited colleges—to improve the quality and provide a strategy for a changing demographic. With the accreditation, astudent in the program is eligible for Health Service Executive (HSE) status. 
HSE requires leaders to be knowledgeable in the regulatory and operational challenges as older adults transition from nursing homes to other forms of care, such as home health, hospice, assisted living and other home and community-based services. 
With the national accreditation, the program becomes one of only 14 programs in the country accredited by NAB and one of only two offering the program completely online. A complete listing is available, and UMN Crookston is the only online NAB and HSE qualified: 
https://www.nabweb.org/educationpath. An online minor is also available. By meeting these rigorous standards, the program at UMN Crookston aligns with NAB's mission to provide quality leaders in the long-term care industry. 
If students have completed a bachelor’s or graduate degree and would like to pursue licensure as a Nursing Home Administrator in Minnesota, UMN Crookston does offer all of the classes required for licensure online at least annually. In this case, students can enroll as a non-degree student. 
“The national accreditation for our program recognizes the integrity and the educational excellence of our Bachelor of Science in Health Management,” says Mary Holz-Clause, chancellor at the University of Minnesota Crookston. “We are very pleased to provide vital education for earning the credentials needed to work in the long-term care industry—an area that will be rapidly expanding in the years ahead.”
“Our leaders are educated to meet the licensure standards for leading nursing homes, assisted living units, home health care, hospice and other home and community-based services,” says Klassen. 

 

 

 

SERVICE PRO PARTS INC. ADDS TO BUSINESS WITH U-HAUL AFFILIATION

U-Haul Company of Minnesota is pleased to announce that Service Pro Parts Inc. has signed on as a U-Haul® neighborhood dealer to serve the Crookston community. Service Pro Parts at 931 Tuttle Ave. will offer U-Haul trucks, towing equipment, moving supplies and in-store pick-up for boxes.
The arrival of U-Haul Truck Share 24/7 is revolutionizing the moving industry through its more convenient, more secure way to pick up and return a truck. U-Haul live verification technology allows rental transactions to be carried out entirely on a smartphone at any hour – day or night. There are no membership fees. Simply visit uhaul.com to create an online account.
Normal business hours are 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Reserve U-Haul products at this dealer location by calling (218) 281-7123 or visiting 
https://www.uhaul.com/Locations/Truck-Rentals-near-Crookston-MN-56716/038415/ today.
Service Pro Parts partners Milton Olslund and Rodney Donaldson are proud to team with the industry leader in do-it-yourself moving and self-storage to better meet the demands of Polk County.
U-Haul and Service Pro Parts are striving to benefit the environment through sustainability initiatives. Truck sharing is a core U-Haul sustainability business practice that allows individuals to access a fleet of trucks that is larger than what they could access on an individual basis.

 

 

 

 

MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND UMC HOSTED A PRESENTATION ON STRESS AND CHANGE IN AGRICULTURE ON NOVEMBER 28

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture and University of Minnesota Crookston hosted a presentation on stress and change in agriculture by Dennis Hoiberg, a dynamic speaker on November 28.
Mark Jirik, Director of Northern Crops Institute, coordinated Dennis’s visit, with support from Dave Torgerson at MN Wheat Growers. Hoiberg has more than 35 years’ experience in regional and rural communities helping them cope with change – at the personal, family, business and community level.
Jirik was tremendously excited about this opportunity: “About ten years ago, when working for Cargill in Australia, I was asked to present to our buyers about current commodity markets and our outlook (which weren’t good.) Immediately after me was a speaker talking about ‘resiliency and wellbeing’ – an idea that I literally rolled my eyes at.
 “Australia at the time was at the end of a long drought, and our buyers were dealing on a daily basis with farmers who were under enormous stress. That stress was being transferred to our employees. My perceptions were shattered in Dennis’s first minutes. He provided real life, common sense approaches to dealing with hardships and suffering in a very orderly way that challenged many of my assumptions. In that half day workshop, I was converted from a skeptic to an outright believer in the power of mental resiliency and wellbeing.”
Dennis has worked with the grains industry in Australia, local and global leaders, and agribusiness and banking companies that serve remote, regional, and rural communities throughout Australia and New Zealand. He recognizes all the struggles farmers and agribusinesses in the Midwest are facing.  
Dennis Hoiberg is an organizational consultant with more than 30 years’ experience working with individuals, teams and businesses to achieve personal satisfaction, excellence and high performance. His main area of consulting expertise and interest includes assisting people thrive through change, applying his lessons and experience in a practical and pragmatic style – one of his main acknowledged strengths.

 

 

 

 

 

TUESDAY - DECEMBER 4,  2018

PINE TO PRAIRIE DRUG TASK FORCE ARRESTS GREENBUSH SCHOOL CUSTODIAN FOR SOLICITATION OF A CHILD

In November, 2018, the Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force was contacted through Facebook by an individual named “Tony Brazier.”  The Facebook account “Tony” contacted was an undercover account established to investigate predatory offenders; it was designed to appear as a 15 year old girl.  Task Force Officers identified “Tony Brazier” to be Anthony Harry Brazier (age 34), who is a Greenbush school custodian. After two days of conversation involving various explicit, sexual acts, Anthony Harry Brazier agreed to meet with the 15 year old girl at the Greenbush, MN school- after hours. 

Task Force Officers met with Anthony Harry Brazier at the school and placed him under arrest as he approached the vehicle the “15 year old girl” said she would be in. Anthony Harry Brazier had in his possession a small amount of marijuana, a marijuana pipe, two boxes of condoms, a bottle of alcohol, and a pizza. Anthony Harry Brazier admitted to using Facebook to communicate with a girl he thought was 15 years old and intended to have sex with her. No other victims have been identified in this investigation.

The Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force is a Violent Crime Enforcement Team in Northwest Minnesota that investigates all violent crime including undercover investigations involving child predators.

Anthony Harry Brazier was charged in Roseau County Court with Solicitation of a child (or believe to be a child) through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct; and engaging in electronic communication relating or describing sexual conduct with a child.  Both counts are felonies with a maximum sentence of three years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

No further comments will be made in regards to this investigation.

 

 

NO ACTION TAKEN AT CROOKSTON CITY CHARTER COMMITTEE MEETING

The City of Crookston Charter Committee meeting lasted less than 20 minutes Monday night.  Councilman Dale Stainbrook called the meeting to order, filling in for Mayor Wayne Melbye.  The two topics of discussion were holding a primary and authority to recall council member or mayor. 
City Administrator Shannon Stassen told the committee there have been several questions about the City holding a primary when there are more than two candidates.  In order to do this, the City would need to amend the charter to hold the primary, mainly because it would change the dates of filing.   Both Stainbrook and Councilman Steve Erickson expressed concern that a more drawn out process could deter people from running and committee member Dan Johanneck added, “It’s a good problem to have choices, if this were going to deter people from running, I’d be against it.” 
Stassen said he thought it was a good decision, “We’ve had upwards of five candidates in the last two elections, so it was a question that has been brought up fairly frequently.” He added, “people think it is good to have choices and the length of adding a primary may deter candidates.”

The second topic was on the ability to recall a member of council or a mayor.  Currently there is limited authority for recall available to the council outside of Chapter 2, Section 2.05, Vacancies of the City Charter.
“An elective office becomes vacant when the person elected or appointed to the office dies before taking office or fails to qualify, or the incumbent dies, resigns in writing filed with the City Administrator, is convicted of a felony, ceases to reside in the City, is adjudged incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction, or misses six consecutive official  Council meetings without good cause. In each such case, the Council may, by resolution of a majority vote of five Council Members, or four Council Members and the Mayor or Assistant Mayor in the event of a tie, declare the vacancy to exist and may appoint an eligible person to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the un-expired term.”
While members didn’t have the charter in front of them, Chris Fee asked for clarification that, “right now if someone commits a felony you can rid of them for that,” before Johanneck was able to reference the correct section regarding vacancies.
“There are some very specific reasons outlined in the charter already, so the commission saw fit to leave things as they are,” said Stassen.  “It serves the community well and is adequate to keep us protected.”  

 

 

THE FIRST WRAPPING SESSION FOR TOYS FOR TOTS HELD AT THE GOLDEN LINK

The annual Toys for Tots campaign held their first gift wrapping with seniors, Crookston High School Leo Club members, Fire Department Auxiliary members and other members of the community.
The volunteers wrapped hundreds of presents on the first of three gift-wrapping days explained Patty Dillabough. “We wrapped 240 presents in about 2 and 1/2 hours,” said Dillabough.  “We had seniors and Leo Club having a blast and hope next Monday we’ll have more people come down and help.”
The gift wrapping is the third step in the Toys for Tots program process, “the Water Department collects the money, they send it to the fire department auxiliary who gets a list of who is need for Social Services and other departments,” explained Dillabough. “On Saturday’s the fire department auxiliary shops for the toys and brings them to the Golden Link, volunteers wrap the gifts on Monday and then the firefighters dress up like Santa and deliver the gifts around town on Christmas Eve.”
If you’d like to volunteer to wrap gifts with other members of the community there are two more Mondays of gift wrapping at 1:00 p.m. on December 10 and 17.

 

 

GRAND FORKS POLICE RESPOND TO BOMB THREAT ON PUBLIC LIBRARY

On Monday, December 3 at approximately 2:30 p.m., Officers from the Grand Forks Police Department were dispatched to the Grand Forks Public Library for a report of a bomb threat made by an individual who was inside the library. 
A description and location of the suspect was given to Officers and library officials evacuated the library.  Contact was made with the individual who was identified as (34-year-old) GF resident Raymond Lassiter.  Initial investigation indicates Lassiter was overheard making a statement of having a bomb inside his computer. This information was passed onto library staff who then contacted law enforcement. 
The library was cleared by officers to ensure no threat existed. Nothing was located within the library which was opened a short time later. 
Lassiter was arrested for disorderly conduct and confined at GF Correctional Center.
The Grand Forks Police Department was assisted by the Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department.

 

 

THE COUNTY LINE BY POLK COUNTY DISTRICT 2 COMMISSIONER WARREN STRANDELL

It didn’t take long for Leroy to start earning his keep.
A soon-to-be two-year-old German shepherd, Leroy had only been a member of the East Grand Forks Police Department for 5 or 6 days when he was asked to circle a car that was suspected of having drugs.
On that first call, Leroy’s “hit“ turned up to what amounted to a gram or more of meth along with some marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The driver, who had been stopped for a minor traffic violation — probably something like a seatbelt violation — was left facing something a lot more serious.
That incident occurred on about July 1st. Leroy had just arrived in East Grand Forks on June 26 after he and his handler, East Grand Forks Police Officer Tyler Hajicek, had completed some extensive training… 12 weeks for Leroy and 6 weeks for Tyler. They continue to train every week.

Deployed 30 times
Since that first arrest almost six months ago, Leroy and Officer Hajicek have been deployed more than 30 times “with very good results.” In addition to their work in East Grand Forks, they have answered calls for assistance in Crookston and other parts of Polk County along with a few calls to Grand Forks, too.
Hajicek first proposed the drug dog idea to East Grand Forks Police Chief Mike Hedlund in November 2017. As a part of his proposal, he volunteered to spearhead the planning and fund raising that would be needed to initiate the project. The City Council followed up by voting to authorize the endeavor.
A $5,000 pledge by the Fraternal Order of Eagles got things going (the organization recently duplicated that original gift with another $5,000 commitment). North Valley Machine also wrote an early $5,000 check. And kids in the East Grand Forks Public and Sacred Heart Catholic schools came close to matching those big $5,000 contributions with donations of their own that were made through their participation in a Pennies for Paws Fund Raiser.
Other businesses and individuals chipped in to bring the total of contributions to the $40,000 that was needed to finance the purchase of the dog, the cost of training for Hajicek and Leroy, and the specially-equipped vehicle needed to hold and care for the dog while on duty.
That vehicle, a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, came from Fridley, Minn., after that community had invested in a new ride for its drug dog. While it was not the greatest vehicle and may soon have to be replaced, the cost was only $9,000. That price included equipment that can be used in another vehicle going forward. The replacement issue centers on the fact that the Tahoe is a two-wheel drive vehicle, which presents a problem with winter weather.

From Czech Republic
The dog, which came from the Czech Republic, and the training were provided through Mark McDonough K9 Sales & Training in Anoka, Minn. Now retired, Mark McDonough was a police officer for 32 years including 22 years as a drug dog handler. In that time, he worked with four different drug dogs.
About the success of the drug dog program, Hajicek sums it up by saying that it has been “very, very rewarding.” That description obviously doesn’t hold for the 30 or so drug dealers who are facing some pretty harsh penalties because Leroy was able to sniff them out.
Outside of this being an interesting accounting of a highly successful project, the Leroy story has significance for Polk County readers beyond just those in East Grand Forks.

Story significance
That significance is because Sheriff-Elect Jim Tadman would like for Polk County to have a drug dog. From having been the county’s first drug dog handler when the county had a drug dog program almost 15 years ago and from his 30 years in law enforcement, Tadman knows the value that drug dogs provide in trying to control drug activity.
Tadman’s desire for the county to have a drug dog isn’t something that is likely to be acted upon very soon, however. There are other things that will have to be taken care of first in his transition from serving as the chief deputy under Sheriff Barb Erdman to succeeding her as the sheriff.
For now, readers might just keep the drug dog possibility in mind for future reference. If a drug dog program is to happen, there will have to be a lot of planning and preparation… starting with finding the right deputy to be the handler. That is very important. Then, there’s the fund raising that will be needed, the process of selecting a dog, the training that the dog and handler will need, the vehicle, the equipment, and everything else. So, just keep the drug dog idea in mind for now but be ready to step up when it happens.
Note — Officer Hajicek and Leroy, his constant companion, are a part of a law enforcement and public service family. Tyler’s father, Lt. Rodney Hajicek is an officer with the East Grand Forks Police Department; Tyler’s brother, Tommy, is a firefighter with the East Grand Forks Fire Department, and Tyler’s stepmother, Jessica Hajicek, is the chief probation officer for Tri-County Community Corrections.

Thoughts for the day:
I have wondered at times about what the 10 Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U. S. Congress — Ronald Reagan
The bee that gets the honey doesn’t hang around the hive. — A. Abrahamsen, GF Grocery 1945
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


 

 

MONDAY - DECEMBER 3,  2018

CROOKSTON HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR AND ORCHESTRA HOST 19TH ANNUAL CLASSIC NOEL

The Crookston High School Choir and Orchestra hosted the 19th annual Classic Noel last night.  They served a meal catered by Irishman's Shanty and pies from RBJ's Restaurant and after the meal they moved from the Crookston High School commons to the auditorium for a concert. 
The concert started with the Pop Choir's performance of Christmas, Here We Come.  The Concert Choir followed with performances of Carol of the Bells, Silver Bells, I Wonder as I Wander, and Come, Follow That Star.  The Concert Choir performed Snowflakes, Pizzicato Polka, and Three English Carols before the combined Concert Choir and Orchestra finished with Peace, Peace.   We have a video of the combined Concert Choir and Orchestra performing Peace, Peace below.  KROX Radio will also have selections from the Classic Noel concert on the air December 24 at 2:00 p.m.

 
Click on the video above to view the Concert Choir and Orchestra perform Peace, Peace

 

 

TOYS FOR TOTS CAMPAIGN RECEIVES CHECK FROM CROOKSTON SHRINE CLUB

On Saturday, members of the Crookston Fire Department and Auxiliary were on hand as the Crookston Shrine Club presented them with a check for $400 for their Toys for Tots campaign. The Masonic Lodge also was on hand to further support the campaign with a second check for $600.
Lester Wilkens, Master for the Masonic Lodge and also a member of the Shrine Club talked about the donation. “The Shrine Club and Masonic Lodge presented checks to held with Toys for Tots,” said Wilkens. “The Shrine Club is made up of the clowns and color guard from Crookston and Grand Forks. It’s all about the kids and that’s what we’re hear for.”
Kim Feiro, a member of the fire department auxiliary said the auxiliary was pleased to accept the donation and talked about the Toys for Tots Program. “[The Auxiliary] shops for Toys for Tots on Saturdays in December and then our firefighters deliver the gifts on Christmas Eve to all the children,” Feiro explained. “It’s really a warm feeling to be able to do this for the community of Crookston and we thank the Shriners for giving us the ability to supply good stuff for our kids.”

 

 


 FOR THE OBITUARY PAGE  CLICK HERE

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