TUESDAY - MAY 30,  2017


Dan Halland and Marcia Scholler’s sixth grade classes at Highland School took part in an engineering project this past month. Using only 95 craft sticks and Elmer’s Glue, the student teams built Truss Bridges and tested them to see how much weight they would hold. They had 10 bridges this year that have held over 90 pounds – and one bridge that held over 156 pounds without breaking. Interestingly enough, the bridge itself weighs only 182.9 grams.
“The process was to develop a project where we are going to be able to see the trials and tribulations of human error. We looked at 26 different types of truss bridges, and they were able to pick the type of bridge they wanted to design. Along the way, some of them had mentioned that they key to building some of these bridges is to use almost all their glue, because that is what holds the joints together," said Halland. "But they really had to focus on making triangles, because triangles are able to support more weight than squares can. Everyone had their own kind of design, and some of them made modifications to the kind of bridges they had learned about. The bridges were required to hold at least 5 pounds. Every team made it through meeting that requirement. The fun part is adding more and more weight. Last year when I had this set up as a project, the average weight the bridges could hold was about 50 pounds, and the highest one was 93 pounds. This year they supported weights in the upper hundreds.”

The two top teams were Abby Borowicz and Miles Moore from Mrs. Schollar’s class built a truss bridge that weighed 161.1 grams, and it held 160.4 pounds without breaking. Zachary Tahran and Ethan Erdmann’s k-truss bridge weighed 182.9 grams, and it held 156 pounds without breaking.

    Sixth graders get instructions from teacher Dan Halland                  Caitlyn Schulz and Hunter Knutson                     Zachary Tahran and Ethan Erdmann




The Miss Crookston Scholarship pageant will be held Friday August 18th 2017 at the High School Auditorium.  Any ladies that are finishing their Junior year or Seniors are invited to sign up. There is a signup sheet in the school office or you can call Jean Ann Bienek at 218-289-5400 for more information. The new Miss Crookston Pageant Committee is looking forward to this year’s pageant and they will be holding an informational meeting on June 15 with more details to come.  




You may have heard that RiverView Health recently welcomed two new general surgeons to its staff – Dr. Brett Vibeto and Dr. Lorant Divald. Among their many talents, both surgeons are skilled at minimally invasive surgery. Attend RiverView’s May 31 Health Luncheon to meet Dr. Vibeto and learn more about the latest surgical procedures in his presentation “Advancements in General Surgery’’. The luncheon will be held in Meeting Room #1 of RiverView Health, 323 S. Minnesota Street, beginning at noon. Meeting Room #1 is located near the RiverView Clinic entrance on the north side of the building and across from the elevators on first floor.
The luncheon series is in its 19th year of sponsorship by RiverView Health. All men and women interested in improving their health are invited to attend. Each luncheon starts a few minutes past noon and luncheons are kept under one hour so those needing to return to work can attend. Pre-registration is required. A boxed lunch can be purchased for $3, but must be ordered while pre-registering for the event. Call Holly Anderson at 218-281-9745 for additional information and to pre-register. Non-robotic minimally invasive surgery is also known as endoscopic surgery. You also may be familiar with terms like laparoscopic surgery, thoracoscopic surgery, or “keyhole” surgery. These are minimally invasive procedures that utilize an endoscope to reach internal organs through very small incisions.
During endoscopic surgery the surgeon inserts a thin, flexible tube with a video camera through a small incision or a natural orifice like the mouth or nostrils. The tube has a channel to utilize tiny surgical instruments, which the surgeon uses while viewing the organs on a computer monitor. This technique allows the surgeon to see inside the patient’s body and operate through a much smaller incision than would otherwise be required of traditional open surgery.
The benefits of endoscopic surgical procedures can include:
•Small incisions, few incisions, or no incision
•Less pain
•Low risk of infection
•Short hospital stay
•Quick recovery time
•Less scarring
•Reduced blood loss

If you or someone you love has a surgical procedure in the future, attend the Wednesday luncheon to learn more about available options.




According to the Polk County Highway Department, the following County Roads will be under Construction during the 2017 construction season.

CSAH 18     Bituminous Overlay and Aggregate Shoulders located from TH 2, 6 miles west of Crookston, to CSAH 17.
CSAH 19    Grade Widening, Bituminous Overlay, and Aggregate Shouldering located from CSAH 20 to TH 75 at Euclid.
CSAH 20    Intersection Realignment, Bituminous Overlay, and Aggregate Shouldering located at the intersection of CSAH 20 and CSAH 19, 10 miles east of East Grand Forks.
CSAH 28     Stabilized Aggregate Base located from TH 92 at Trail to CSAH 2.
CSAH 33     Stabilized Aggregate Base located from Red Lake County Line to CSAH 6, 4 miles east of Oklee.
CSAH 34     Grading, Storm Sewer, Curb and Gutter, and Bituminous Overlay located in Erskine.
CSAH 50     Bituminous Overlay and Aggregate Shoulders located from TH 2, 11 miles east of Crookston to 1.5 miles north.
CSAH 53     Intersection realignment, Bituminous Overlay, and Aggregate Shouldering located from CSAH 11, 1 mile east of Gentilly, to CSAH 50.
CSAH 54     Bituminous Overlay and Aggregate Shoulders located from CSAH 11, 1.5 mile east of Crookston to CSAH 57.
CSAH 71    Bituminous Overlay and Aggregate Shoulders located from TH 75 at UMC to CSAH 11.
CSAH 75     Stabilized Aggregate Base located from CSAH 6 to CSAH 28, 4 miles north of Trail.
CR 240         Stabilized Aggregate Base located from CSAH 33 to CSAH 6, 3 miles NW of Trail.

The public is asked to avoid these construction projects by utilizing alternate routes of travel if at all possible.  The traveling public’s cooperation during this construction will be appreciated. Anyone desiring further information should contact the Polk County Highway Department in Crookston at 281-3952. 



Horse Riding Camps for Adults and Youth to be Held at UMC

Summer camps for adults and youth interested in riding horses will be held in the University Teaching and Outreach Center (UTOC) located on the north side of the University of Minnesota Crookston campus. To register online for the camps, visit

An Adult Horse Riding Clinic will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on May 30, June 6, 14, 20, and 27 in UTOC. Learn more from instructor Nicky Overgaard, about rider position exercises, horse training, trail riding exercises, horse control, and lateral work.

A Youth Intermediate Horse Riding Clinic will start on June 1 and run Thursdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. through June 29 in UTOC. Students will learn from instructor Nicky Overgaard about rider position exercises, ground work trail, riding exercises, horse control, and lateral work.

For information on the Adult Horse Riding Clinic or the Youth Intermediate Horse Riding Clinic, contact Nicky Overgaard at or call 218-289-4469.

Youth Day Horseback Riding Camps will be available on June 28 for 7 to 10 year olds and July 18 for 11 to 17 year olds. The day camps, held in UTOC, are a great way to learn about horses. The day will be filled with learning about horse grooming, riding, and care. The day camps will be led by instructors Lindsey McNeill and U of M Crookston students. The day camps are limited to 8 participants per camp.

For more information on the Youth Day Horseback Riding camps, contact Lindsey McNeill at or call 832-567-5132.




MONDAY - MAY 29,  2017


The Crookston Veterans' council made the rounds of area cemeteries to commemorate those who gave their lives for our freedoms, as they do every year on Memorial Day, rain or shine.

    The Crookston Band Ensemble plays the National Anthem under direction of Chris Gough             Veterans in attendance recognized at Oakdale                       

Today's trek included Hafslo Lutheran Church Cemetery, St. Peter's Catholic Church Cemetery in Gentilly, Crookston's Oakdale Cemetery and Sampson's addition Bridge, Sand Hill Lutheran Church Cemetery of rural Climax, then back to the Crookston Memorial Walkway. In addition to the prayers, moments of silence, decorations of graves, and other honors done at each site, the Oakdale ceremony included music by the Crookston Band Ensemble, the reading of "In Flander's Fields" by Margee Keller, with the "Reply to Flander's Fields" read by Charles Reynolds, and an address by Lance Akers, relating his experiences as an advocate and organizer of WDAY's Honor Flight.

      Lance Akers talks about Honor Flight      Commander Paula Lundgren salutes after placing a flag among the decorations at the base of the Veterans' Memorial

The Color Guard departs, marking the end of the Oakdale Observance. 



SATURDAY - MAY 27,  2017


Mrs. Shelly Thomforde was the speaker selected by the students

The Crookston High School Class of 2017 Graduation was held in a packed Crookston High School gymnasium on Friday evening.  93 students received their diploma and KROX has pictures of all of them receiving their diploma.  Click on the link below to see all the pictures.

To see the video of the students throwing their caps click above




FRIDAY - MAY 26,  2017


The Crookston Development Review Committee met on Thursday morning and approved a loan for L&T Properties, who currently own the former Eagle Rexall Drug building in downtown Crookston. "This loan was approved to hopefully complete the renovations necessary to bring DaRoos restaurant into Crookston," said Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority Director Craig Hoiseth. "Hats off to these guys (Jason and Jake Leas and Lee Tate), they’ve had a philosophy all along to get an experience-based “something” downtown where you could attract customers and create an inviting ambiance. They recruited DaRoos directly, and we’re really excited to see them come.” Hoiseth said the project will assist in efforts to further create a unique and positive experience in downtown Crookston, while assisting to meet the ongoing demands for dining alternatives.

The $175,000 IRP loan will provide gap financing for the renovation work required in the building acquired by L&T Properties in 2016. The owners of the building, Jason and Jake Leas and Lee Tate, have successfully recruited restaurateurs Amanda and Jamie Glover, who own DaRoos restaurants in Bagley and Fosston, to expand their business operations into Crookston. The loan provides funds for L&T Properties to install a number of items necessary to bring the building up to code and create the ambiance needed to attract customer traffic. Once the HVAC, electrical and plumbing renovations are completed by L&T Properties, DaRoos will bring additional investment into the facility in equipment and furnishings, along with the creation of approximately 20 new jobs.





The Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) is pleased to announce the addition of the most recent of the Little House of Books (LHOB).  From a distance, it looks like a mini log cabin; however, as you get closer, this cozy dwelling has room for only one thing- BOOKS!  The new house is the fourth Little House of Books that ECI has put in the Crookston community. 
This new approach to a free-standing library is coordinated by the Early Childhood Initiative and was funded in a unique way this time round.  The ECI would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Greg Widseth, who generously donated the funding for this particular project to honor his wife Nan and her love for books and literacy.  The ECI would also like to thank Craig Larson, who donated his time and talents and poured his heart into the creation of this unique little library in the form of a log cabin.  
Next time you are walking the paths near Groveland or taking a stroll to and from the north end of town, ECI encourages all community members to check out the newest of our Little House of Books.  Other LHOB locations include Castle Park, Crookston Sports Center and Evergreen Park.  Visitors are welcome to TAKE any book/s home, with no obligation to return.  On the other hand, in order to sustain our libraries and our efforts, they hope some visitors also stop by to LEAVE a gently-used book or two as well.
The ECI is hopeful that this initiative will result in more books to enter more homes in our community.  Other positive outcomes of the Little House of Books Library will be opportunities for children to read independently or with their caregivers, resulting in MORE children reaping the benefits of reading or being read to. 
If you have any questions regarding the Little House of Books Library or have books you would like to donate, please contact Leah Winjum, member of the ECI, at 218-289-3250.

Little House of Books located in the shelter at the top of Groveland Avenue





Highland School sixth grade students Libby Salentine, Halle Bruggeman, Jack Anderson, Xander Kuchen, Nathan Kelly, Ethan Erdman, Zara Baig, Tatum Lubinski, Jocelyn Mitboe, Omar Petithomme, and Thor Harbott, participated in the regional Math Masters of Minnesota Challenge in Bemidji, Minnesota in April.  These students competed individually and as two teams on eight sets of mathematical problems in the competition for a total of 325 problems.  They competed against 100 other sixth grade students from 20 Minnesota schools.
Zara Baig placed ninth out of 100 students in the order of operations timed test and placed 10th on the individual portion of the competition.  Zara received ribbons for both places.

Highland School fifth grade students Richard Burch, Isaac Thomforde, Ny Nguyen, Wyatt Wilken, Nathan Johanneck, Jayden Steinbrink, Emma Gunderson, Halle Winjum, Amelia Cordova and Carter Coauette, also participated in the regional Math Masters of Minnesota Challenge in Bemidji, Minnesota in April.  These students competed individually and as two teams on eight sets of mathematical problems in this competition for a total of 325 problems.  They competed against 195 other students from 40 Minnesota schools.  The top placers were Emma Gunderson who placed 18th out of 195 students in the order of operations timed test and 14th of 195 in the individuals.  Carter Coauette placed 32nd out of 195 and Nathan Johanneck placed 33rd out of 195 in the order of operations timed test.

The Highland School Mathmasters at the competition in April




Students from Our Savior’s Lutheran School’s 7th grade recently participated in an outdoor education program at Lutheran Island Camp, while Our Savior’s 6th grade students took a class trip to Fargo and learned more about the Red River Valley.

Gage Nelson, Karissa Wagner, Waylon Yarbro, Alexis Gudvangen,  Ella Kiel, Shane Briggs, and Aislinn Hoefler are pictured at the Red River Zoo.




THURSDAY - MAY 25,  2017


Memorial Day is the day Americans set aside to honor those brave men and women who met tragic ends during times of war. We must use this day to honor their sacrifices, to pray for their families, and to bow our heads in recognition of their service. We must never forget. You have seen their faces, heard their names, and maybe even heard their voices – those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during all wars. This Memorial Day, the Crookston Veterans Council which includes the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary, Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, DAV and DAV Auxiliary, VFW and VFW Auxiliary members would like to invite Crookston area residents to join us in remembrance of our nation’s fallen heroes.
The Crookston Veterans Council invite you to pause on Monday, May 29 to remember those who have fought for our freedoms. They will participate rain or shine in honor of all our veterans, military and their families. Our military serve rain or shine so we honor them by doing the same.

The schedule for services (rain or shine) is as follows:
7:45 a.m. bus leaves from the VFW POST 1902, 121 NORTH MAIN ST
8:20 a.m. Hafslo Cemetery
9:00 a.m. Gentilly Cemetery
10:00 a.m. Oakdale Cemetery
11:00 a.m. Sampson Bridge – Naval Ceremony
11:50 a.m. Sand Hill Church Cemetery, Climax, MN
12:30 p.m. Crookston Military Walkway

If you would like to participate in the services by marching, please contact: Jamie Cassavant at 289-0865
PLEASE NOTE: The timeline for Sand Hill and the Veterans Walkway have been changed

Fisher American Legion will host a Memorial Day Program beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Fisher Public School Auditorium. Lunch will be served at the Fisher American Legion Club from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Approximate time of the cemetery visits is:
10:35 a.m.  Greenwood Cemetery
11:00 a.m.  Fisher Lutheran Cemetery
11:25 a.m.  Bygland Lutheran Cemetery
Memorial Day Services in Red Lake Falls will take place in Riverside Park beginning at 11:00 a.m. In the event of inclement weather, the services will be held at the American Legion Post Building.
Memorial Day Services in Fertile will take place at 10:00 a.m. in the new school gym.





Breanna Rasmusson addressed the Crookston School Board on Monday, expressing her concern over a serious incident that took place between her child and another student at Highland School. She said Principal Chris Trostad was in Itasca at the time of the incident, but was contacted by phone and handled the problem appropriately. However, she was concerned that in times of his absence from the school, there is not an “official” backup for him in the school to handle incidents such as this. (Trostad gets called on to fill in as a bus driver, and as a substitute teacher, because both positions are so difficult to fill on short call.) “There was an incident involving one of my children at the school," she said, "which may or may not have been handled appropriately at the time. Chris Trostad, playing one of the many roles that he does, was in Itasca, and had to be reached via phone and email to address the concern with my child. I think that at this time, he needs help. He plays a lot of roles in that school, whether it’s a bus driver, a substitute teacher, or an administrator. I think it’s time that he needs help, and I think a School Resource Officer would be beneficial. They could split (their time) between all of the schools. I think Mr. Trostad did a wonderful job handling my situation, and he does a wonderful job handling the school. I just think he is playing too many roles, and he needs some extra help.”

Trostad agreed. “I think this is an opportunity for us to seek grant opportunities, and take a look at the potential for a School Resource Officer (SRO.) When I taught at the high school, we had a SRO, and I really felt that it helped tremendously to have that SRO at the school. They provide expertise that we as Principals don’t have. We’re not experts in dealing with drugs, dealing with suicide threats, death threats, or dealing with sexual conduct things. I think that would be a valuable resource I’d love to see come back into our schools. I think it definitely can help prevent a severe tragedy in our schools, and I hope out of all of this, we can seek grant opportunities and figure out how we can fund that position. Our local law enforcement has been awesome to work with every time I have dealt with them," said Trostad. "And law enforcement also has the ability to make a phone call and (right away) three other people are here as a resource. Without a School Resource Officer we kind of lack that. I really hope that out of all of this, we can come up with a great solution and prevent a tragedy in our school one day. I seriously believe that having a SRO that we could share among the three schools could help prevent a tragedy in our schools, and I know there are a lot of people on board with this. I know the administration would love to have a SRO, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to fund it, so let’s get creative and find some grants, and figure out how to get it done.”

Breanna Rasmusson addressed the Crookston School Board on Monday night.





Polk County Commissioners met this week and passed a resolution honoring the retirement of Kathy Glass from the Polk County Highway Department.  Glass wraps up just shy of 50 years with the county.  "Tough loss, big shoes to fill," said Darin Carlstrom, Polk County Highway engineer. "It will be tough to replace her and we wish her well."  Tracy McGlynn will take Glass' spot and has been working with her for the last month.

The commissioners approved the bid from Knife River Materials of Bemidji for a bituminous overlay on County State Aid Highway 62 for $32,530.00.  Knife River was the low bidder for the reconstruction of the parking lot at the Government Center for $61,000.   The commissioners accepted a donation of $1,500 from Red River Seed in Fisher for the Sheriff’s Department.

The commissioners approved a bid of $7,195.00 to U.S. Recorder Midwest in Elk River for book repair for the property records department.  The board is advertising for an Appraiser VI and a Clerk Typist Cashier III for the Assessor’s Office.





The planting of the entrance gardens is underway at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC), and i​​​​t takes many hands to complete the planting of thousands of flowers across campus. Members of the summer grounds crew make it all possible, and they keep the campus looking beautiful all season. Stop by for a walk or drive through to enjoy the campus as it blooms all summer long. 

Second row: Marshall Mbanga, a freshman from Harare, Zimbabwe; Zach Schnell, a junior from; Greg Benoit – UMC staff; Neal Vraa, UMC staff; and Nate Lorenz, a junior from Breckenridge. 
Sitting in middle of box, left to right, are Jack Krueger of Crookston; Somi Han from Seoul, South Korea; Navjot Singh, a senior from Gurdaspur, India; Becca Sanders – UMC Staff, Matt Supan (driving vehicle), a senior from Rice.

Marshall Mbanga and Becca Sanders planting flowers at the main UMC entrance (Pictures by UMC)




The Land of Lakes Choirboys will be performing on Sunday, June 4 at Trinity Lutheran Church at 8:30 a.m., and also at Trinity Point (on Maple Lake near Mentor) at 10:30 a.m. All are welcome to enjoy this special opportunity. There is no charge for the event.
Each year the Choirboys (ages 8-15) undertake a Concert Tour around the United States. Now celebrating their 41st season, the concert choir has performed in all 50 states and several countries, including Canada, Iceland, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Australia and New Zealand. They perform both sacred and secular music from unison chants to four-part songs of all genres.

Land of Lakes Choirboys will perform at Trinity Lutheran Church on June 4





Michigan-based author and songwriter Bill Jamerson will present the “Dollar a Day Boys” program, a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps, at Itasca, Buffalo River and Lake Bemidji state parks over Memorial Day weekend. Jamerson has presented at CCC reunions around the country and at dozens of state and national parks. The presentation includes storytelling, reading excerpts from his novel and performing original songs with his guitar. "The program is as entertaining as it is important; as honest as it is fun,” said Jamerson. “It is about people both ordinary and extraordinary, with stories of strength, wit and charm.”

Program schedule:
Itasca State Park (Park Rapids) - Friday, May 26, 7 to 8 p.m., at the Forest Inn.
Buffalo River State Park (Glyndon) – Saturday, May 27, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at park picnic shelter.
Lake Bemidji State Park (Bemidji) – Sunday, May 28, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., at the amphitheater.

A question-and-answer period and book signing will follow the presentations. People are encouraged to bring CCC photo albums and memorabilia if they have any. Jamerson will also present a 45-minute children’s lumberjack show at Lake Bemidji State Park on Sunday, May 28, at 10 a.m. at the park Dining Hall. With guitar in hand and dressed in costume, Jamerson will tell stories about the lumberjack experience in Minnesota and sing traditional songs about working in the woods, living in a bunkhouse, work ethics, hardships of river drives and the importance of camp food.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a federal works program created by President Franklin Roosevelt in the heart of The Great Depression. During its nine-year run from 1933-1942, 2.6 million men enrolled across the country including 86,000 in Minnesota. An average of 51 camps operated in Minnesota each year with a total financial obligation of $85 million. Itasca State Park was a site for one of the many CCC camps. The “C”s planted more than 180 million trees in Minnesota, fought hundreds of forest fires, released several billion fish in rivers and lakes, built hundreds of dams and bridges and constructed thousands of miles of roads. Other state parks constructed by the "C"s include St. Croix, Lac qui Parle, Gooseberry Falls, Whitewater, Interstate and Flandrau. Camp Rabideau in Blackduck, north of Bemidji, is still standing and contains many original CCC buildings. It is one of the finest camp restorations in the nation.
Aside from his songs, Jamerson has written a book and several articles on the CCC, as well as produced 11 PBS films. For more information visit, or visit Jamerson’s website at






WEDNESDAY - MAY 24,  2017


The Crookston High School Class of 2017 Graduation will be held on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the Crookston High School Gymnasium.  There are 95 candidates for graduation with 93 receiving their diploma on Friday night.  The class motto is "Spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself and a little less time trying to impress people." - The Breakfast Club.  The class flower is the Spider Mum and the class colors are blue and silver.
The student schedule is below-

7:30 a.m. - Senior/Faculty breakfast in the CHS Commons
8:00 a.m. -- “Senior Walk” at Washington and Highland Schools
9:00 a.m. -– Graduation rehearsal in the CHS Gymnasium
10:00 a.m. – Choir rehearsal, senior choir students included
11:00 a.m. – Senior Video at the Grand Theater - students provide their own transportation to the theater
6:15 p.m. - Report to CHS to line up for processional
7:00 p.m. - Commencement begins in CHS gymnasium. 




Crookston High School students have been busy in their science class with research on how to make their own solar cookers. Today they are cooking things like s'mores, Pop tarts, Rolo cracker sandwiches, chocolate fudge for strawberries and hot dogs. Some solar ovens were made out of pizza boxes, an umbrella wrapped in tin foil, regular boxes and even a moon chair.  Some pictures are below.

Students making a solar oven and a solar oven trying to make smores (Pictures and info provided by Crookston High School)






C.S.A.H. 19 from C.S.A.H. 20 to TH 75 at Euclid will be closed to through traffic beginning Tuesday, May 30. The closure will allow the Contractor to replace several center line culverts on C.S.A.H. 19. Traffic will be detoured 3.0 miles north to C.S.A.H. 21. This portion of C.S.A.H. 19 will be closed for approximately 6-8 weeks. For more information contact the Polk County Highway Department at 281-3952.

C.S.A.H. 53 at C.S.A.H. 11 (1.0 mile east of Gentilly) will be closed to through traffic beginning Tuesday, May 30. The closure will allow the Contractor to realign C.S.A.H. 53 at C.S.A.H. 11. The intersection will be closed for approximately four weeks. For more information contact the Polk County Highway Department at 281-3952.

C.S.A.H. 34 in Erskine will be closed to through traffic beginning Monday, June 5. The closure will allow the Contractor to reconstruct Vance Avenue from 2nd Street to TH 2. Construction should last from 4-6 weeks. For more information contact the Polk County Highway Department at 281-3952.





Neurosurgeon Hamid Abbasi, MD, recently reached a milestone as he performed his 500th Oblique Lateral Lumber Interbody Fusion (OLLIF) on a patient at RiverView Health.

The OLLIF procedure represents medicine’s latest advancements in minimally invasive spine surgery. It treats many of the indications that result in back pain, including: degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, and spinal stenosis. An OLLIF procedure is often required when a disc is damaged or is degenerated. Typically, the height of the disc is reduced, unstable, and bulging. This condition, in turn, can put pressure on the nerves exiting the spine and can cause severe pain in the legs and back.
According to Dr. Abbasi, that stabbing, crippling pain has been described as worse than childbirth by several of his patients. As people age, their discs become less elastic and are less able to stay in top working condition. OLLIF is intended to reestablish the height of the disc, reduce movement of the disc and alleviate pain.

Minimally Invasive Technique
Compared to traditional spinal fusion procedures, OLLIF is a much less invasive surgical technique that does not require removal of any bone or ligament structures. An OLLIF procedure only requires a skin incision of 15 millimeters – smaller than a dime. The diseased disc is removed through a small portal that protects the skin, muscles and nerves. After the disc is removed and the bone graft material is placed, an implant is positioned in the disc space. The implant maintains the spacing of the vertebrae while the fusion takes place. After the fusion is complete, a solid bone mass forms and the two vertebrae are joined together.

Dr. Hamid Abbasi and his surgical team




On Monday, the Minnesota Senate passed a bipartisan jobs budget that advances Minnesota by encouraging growth in our state’s economy. The compromise bill, S.F. 1456, focuses on increasing public and private partnerships to help grow wages, improve local infrastructure and increase labor participation.
Included in the bill are several provisions that benefit Senate District one, with two specific provisions advanced by Senator Johnson to help Thief River Falls bring in new jobs through the Digi-Key expansion.   “This year’s job budget is a bipartisan piece of legislation that encourages economic growth across our state and district,” said Senator Johnson, (R-East Grand Forks). “I’m thankful that we were able to include two provision that will directly benefit our district. Through this public-private partnership we’ll not only be able to keep a great Minnesota company local, but also bring in many new high paying jobs in the process.”
The legislation includes
$4,000,000 loan from existing Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) to Digi-Key over the biennium. The investment funds will assist the company with their facilities expansion, helping to offset of capital expenditures.
In addition to the loan from the Minnesota investment fund the jobs bill includes a $1,600,000 grant for Thief River Falls from the Greater Minnesota Public Infrastructure Program. These funds will be used to help the city expand infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, to support the expanded facility and the influx of workers.
The Digi-Key expansion is expected to bring one thousand new jobs to the area over ten years.  With an average salary of $62,040, Minnesota is expected to see an additional $35 million added to the state’s annual payroll.




TUESDAY - MAY 23,  2017


The Crookston School Board met tonight to act on a number of personnel items, including approving an agreement with MSEA for School Years 2016-2019; accepting of a resignation letter from Merrilee Forgit, Special Ed Instructor at Crookston High School; approving an agreement with Linda Morgan, Youth Services Director for 2016-2018, and approving of a leave of absence request from Emily Brue for August-November 2017. They passed resolutions for termination and non-renewal of the teaching contracts of Andrea Adrian, Maria Argueta, Gina Gunderson, and Travis Oliver, who are all probationary teachers, and who are not fully licensed in the areas they teach.
Chairman Frank Fee noted that the terminations and non-renewal of such contracts are standard procedure, and expressed his hope that all four would reapply for their positions. The board also approved a resolution for membership in Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) for 2017-2018, and approved the hiring of Hayley Klein, who will teach Special Ed at Highland, replacing Merrilee Forgit.

A number of substantial grants and donations were also accepted by the Board, including a grant of $23,142.25 from the MN Department of Education for the Competitive Federal National School Lunch Program Equipment Grant to be used for the purchase of a new oven; a grant of $8,250.00 from the June Shaver Scholarship Fund to be used to provide scholarships for Crookston High School students; and a donation of $2,500.00 from Monsanto America’s Farmers Grow Communities Fund to be used to fund a Vocational Agriculture Program at CHS. Board member Tim Dufault had applied for the Monsanto donation, and was grateful to have been selected as a recipient.

Anna Ogaard Brekken, Food Services Director for the school district, gave a presentation on the Eat United program, which will begin on June 12 and run through August 10. The program operates Monday-Thursday, and serves an average of 100 free meals/day to families in Crookston and youth involved in summer activities. It operates from the Highland Complex, and is assisted by TriValley’s THE Bus, which will pick up and drop off kids in outlying areas of town. “This is an excellent program,” Chairman Fee noted.

Superintendent Chris Bates presented a spreadsheet to the board which showed a summary and variance in construction costs for the construction trades houses built over the past five years. He had shared the spreadsheet with members of the Crookston Housing and Economic Development Association (CHEDA) Board at their meeting last Tuesday. “I certainly find great interest in these numbers, and certainly the numbers do jump around," said Bates. "Could something be done to make those those a little more predictable? I don’t know, but I’m on the CHEDA Board, too, so I’d like to see somebody get a bottom line out of it (the Construction Trades house) that’s not a zero. For us, I think the experience the kids get is wonderful. It’s very hands-on, and is something I think our kids look forward to, and I think it is something we would want to continue. But maybe we need to be a little more predictable (as far as costs go). I’m not sure what the answers are, but I do think that if you dig around, you can find answers to most of your questions in there, so I think that’s a good thing.”





The Crookston City Council met Monday night and approved resolutions to accept the bid and award a contract for 2017 Local Funded Street Improvements to Knife River Materials of Bemidji; approve a Master Partnership Contract with the Minnesota Department of Transportation; enter into an Agreement of Assessment and Waiver of Irregularity and Appeal with TK Properties of Crookston, LLC; approve a 2017 On-Sale Wine and 3.2% On-Sale Liquor License Application to Crookston Area Senior Association DBA Golden Link Senior Center; and approve the Minnesota Lawful Gambling Premise Permit Application to American Legion Post 20 on the premises of Jacobson Hospitality/Crookston Inn.

They also approved the final reading of the modified sign ordinance, passed a resolution establishing a tax increment financing district for the Agassiz Townhomes site, and adopted a tax increment financing plan.

A proposed resolution to enter into a marketing partnership with the Crookston hotels for 2017 was discussed at some length. Councilman Bob Quanrud questioned how the branding/marketing partnership would entice people to come to Crookston. He stated that instead of the cooperative marketing partnership, he’d “like to see a calendar filled up every weekend from June through August with all sorts of baseball, softball, pickleball, golf, 3-on-3 basketball and hockey tournaments. We need to give people a reason to come.” Councilman Jake Fee agreed, saying that it seemed like the City was “just throwing money at the problem (local motels struggling with occupancy rates) without a solution.” City Administrator Shannon Stassen countered that the marketing partnership is one way of “putting the face of Crookston in front of more people. We are using the hotels as a platform to do that.” The topic was eventually tabled until the next Council Meeting.

Chamber of Commerce and Polk County Public Health representatives were on hand to receive Mayor Wayne Melbye’s official Mayoral Proclamation naming the pepper as the featured vegetable for “One Vegetable, One Community” for the Growing Season 2017. Residents are encouraged to plant and consume peppers to help promote a healthier community.

Mayor Wayne Melbye presents an official proclamation to representatives of "One Vegetable, One Community"





The Crookston Ways & Means Committee had both a full agenda and a full house at their meeting last night. Jason Carlson, Director of Tri Valley Opportunity Council, announced to the Council members that the Tri Valley Board has approved one of the final funding pieces for the Agassiz Townhomes project. “There’s some gap financing that is available now through Minnesota Housing, which appears like it is going to take that project one step closer to reality. In fact, kind of initiate all of the steps toward finding contractors and maybe even get some earth moving this year,” said Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen. “So, thanks to Jason and the Tri Valley Board for the commitment that’s been a significant investment on their end in time and dollars. It’s great to hear that project is ready to launch.”

Chamber Director, Amanda Lien and Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) Coordinator, Sandy Kegler gave a presentation on the history of the CVB and the role it plays in promoting Crookston and the surrounding area. “Amanda and Sandy were here talking about the history of the CVB, and taking us all the way back to the start of the CVB and how it has basically doubled in lodging tax collected over that time,” said Stassen. “I think everybody knows there’s been a dip (in lodging taxes collected) in this last year due to a number of factors, but overall the growth trend with CVBs has been really good, so that’s exciting. We had a chance to see all of the materials that were used, and talk about the grant program, which I know you (Kristi Thorfinnson, KROX News Director) were very involved in getting that started. You think about all the events that have started through the years with a little bit of funding through the CVB, so thank you to you too, Kristi.”

The Council members voted to approve a partnership with the Crookston Blue Line Club, which would reduce the off season ice rental charged to the BLC from $4,200 per week to $2,150 per week. The BLC asserted that without a reduction in ice rental fees, all offseason hockey activity would likely cease at the Crookston Sports Center. In return for the reduction in ice rental fees, the City will receive 30% of gross tournament entry fees from winter tournaments to recapture a portion of the revenue, and would have additional access to offseason rented ice to allow for open skating and other activities. “How that all boils down is that we are going to be reducing by half, with the idea that we can kind of claw back some of those dollars through revenues in winter tournaments, if they’re successful,” said Stassen. “There are some incentives for both the City and Blue Line Club for those to be successful.”

And finally, the Council members voted to approve the purchase of a portable sports floor which could be used by several different sports in any of the three rinks at the Crookston Sports Center, when available. The floor can also be used on a hard flat outside surface. Funds for purchasing the floor would be requested from the Crookston Area Community Fund. A community fundraising effort is currently underway, and the Legacy Fund will approve a payment of $62,100 for the portable sports floor reimbursable to the City. “Crookston Area Community Fund has come through with a donation of $62,100. It’s just amazing what Crookston does when they see value in something,” said Stassen. “The discussion tonight was to increase our budget, because we have to formally increase it to accept that money, and expend it back out. The motion was really about making sure we could accept that money, and then turn around and spend it. The portable sports floor will be two full basketball courts, but they can also be tennis courts, pickleball courts, volleyball courts – it’s a multi-use great amenity that will primarily be used in the Crookston Sports Center, but it’s an indoor-outdoor use surface, so it could be used outdoors as well. There’s an ability to set it up outside for summer events.”




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