FRIDAY - JANUARY 19,  2018


The Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee (pictured above with UMC representatives) made a stop in Crookston to visit the University of Minnesota Crookston and the North Country Food Bank.  The Committee is touring the state and viewing prospective investment projects so they know the needs across the state when they begin their legislative session.
UMC is putting the focus on a continued need for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) dollars for projects like window replacement in Owen Hall and other maintenance projects. Crookston receives a portion of the HEAPR allocation to the University of Minnesota System.

They also have two projects they are seeking funding under the conceptual heading of Greater Minnesota Academic Renewal in cooperation with the University of Minnesota system.  The two projects are below.
- Optimize 9,500 square feet in Dowell Hall with lab stations for 122 students in STEM education, computational research, and teacher education
- Renovate 4,000 square feet in Owen Hall to create modern chemistry and biology labs, providing flexible bench space for up to 30 students and supporting independent undergraduate research.
Governor Mark Dayton came out earlier this week with a plan to spend 1.8 billion dollars on capital improvements, while the Republican leadership said it will be more like 800 million dollars and the funding for the North Country Food Bank wasn't on Governor Dayton's request for funding.

The University of Minnesota's 2018 Capital Request can be viewed by clicking the following link -

The Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee touring UMC (Picture submitted by UMC)





Diabetes is a growing epidemic in America, affecting 30 million children and adults – or 1 in 11 Americans. Every 21 seconds, someone in the U. S. is diagnosed with diabetes. People with diabetes are at higher risk of serious health complications, including stroke, blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, and even loss of toes, feet or legs due to circulation issues. That’s the bad news, but the good news is that we can take steps to prevent type 2 diabetes.
To help address this important health issue, RiverView Health is offering Free Prevent Type 2 Diabetes classes starting on Tuesday, January 23. Dietitian Darcey Larsen and Health Coach Kelsey Billing will lead the classes. Larson explained, “This is our third year teaching this curriculum from the Center of Disease Control. It’s part of a nation-wide effort to educate people on what prediabetes is, in order to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes. The class is a year-long program; we meet weekly the first six months, and then twice a month the second six months. We cover a variety of topics from nutrition to activities, sleeping well, triggers, and reducing stress.”
According to the American Diabetes Association, 84 million Americans have prediabetes (the precursor to type 2 diabetes), and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Billing said,“One out of 3 adults, or 84 million Americans, has prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes – and 90% of them don’t know they have it. Prediabetes doesn’t typically have the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, so diagnosis is only done by testing your blood sugars."
RiverView’s FREE Prevent Type 2 Diabetes classes start on Tuesday, January 23. Registration is required by Friday, January 19. Three separate groups will meet weekly through June and then will meet twice a month July through December. Classes will be held in Crookston from noon to 1:00 p.m. in Meeting Room 1 at Riverview Health; In Red Lake Falls from 9:00-10:00 a.m. in the Sunset Court Community Room in the Housing Authority’s main complex at 209 International Drive; and in Fertile at the Fertile Community Center at 101 South Mill Street from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. To register or if you have questions, call Larsen at 281-9589 or Billing at 281-9259.




Rydell National Wildlife Refuge will host a public scoping meeting to seek the public’s input on any changes they would like to see in future hunting opportunities within Rydell NWR. An open house style meeting will be held in the Visitor Center, at 17788 349th St. SE, Erskine, on Monday, January 22 from 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Rydell NWR was established in 1992 and is 2,070 acres in size. The initial Refuge Hunt Plan opened the majority of the Refuge to hunting deer under special, highly regulated conditions. This included a permit-based, antlerless only opportunity during Minnesota’s regular gun deer season, as well as a two-day mentored youth hunt and a three-day accessible deer hunt. The antlerless only hunt was conducted as a means of reducing the Refuge’s previously high deer population. In recent years, the only hunting allowed on Rydell NWR has been the mentored youth and accessible deer hunts. The Refuge was never opened to migratory birds (e.g., duck, goose, woodcock) or upland game (e.g., grouse, squirrel, rabbit) hunting. Hunting is a priority public use on National Wildlife Refuge System lands and the possibility exists to expand hunting opportunities on Rydell NWR. This might include changes to the framework of deer hunting on the Refuge, or opening parts of the Refuge to hunting migratory birds and/or upland game.
Refuge Manager, Gregg Knutsen explained that public input is necessary in developing the Environmental Assessment report, which is the first step in enacting any changes on the Refuge, saying, “A real important consideration when we look at what the future of hunting is on the Refuge is user group conflicts. We’ve got the non-consumptive users, like hikers or bikers, who use the Refuge in a non-consumptive fashion, and then we have the hunting community, who are interested in more hunting opportunities on the Refuge. We need to evaluate whether it is possible to modify or even expand the hunting opportunities and not create user group conflicts.”
The ways the public uses the Refuge system varies greatly: some hike or bike the paved trails in the summer and fall, some cross country ski or snowshoe on the groomed trails in the winter, some only take part in the special accessible hunt, or the mentored youth hunt, some come out to watch bird and wildlife, some stop in for photographs, and some may only come out for special programs or activities. Knutsen said that many are surprised at the size and scope of the Refuge, once they see a map, adding, “Everyone comes into the Refuge, for the most part, at ‘point A’ by the office, and from there, they link up with the trails. That tends to be their view of the Refuge. But when you put up a Refuge map with the trails on it, then you see that the northeastern quarter of the Refuge is where the trails are primarily located, which leaves the remaining ľ of the Refuge pretty wide open, and underutilized by people. Another consideration might be to focus on that area, but nothing is has been decided to date, so until we get all of the public comments and start working through our Environmental Assessment, we don’t know where things are going to go.”
If you are unable to be at the forum on Monday night, you can call or email Knutsen at 218-687-2229 x 16, or to share your comments and suggestions, and they will be included in the plan. Your input is strongly encouraged as future uses of the Refuge and its resources are considered.



The U OF M Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships offer the 6th annual Local Foods College

The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships offer the 6th annual Local Foods College.  This interactive distance learning opportunity supports gardeners and farmers interested in community-based food systems. The webinar series will begin January 23rd and is a series of five sessions, meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays (with the exception of February 6th) until February 27th. 
Local Foods College is free but registration is required. Learn more by visiting The webinar format is convenient for participants to access from home. Topics include fruit and nut production, pasture improvement, deep winter greenhouses, seed saving, and pollinators.
The Local Foods College is part of a movement to strengthen local and regional food systems. The 2018 Local Foods College is supported by University of Minnesota Extension.  
The Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships leverage University knowledge and seed funding with local talent and resources in four areas: agriculture and food systems, tourism and resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy.





Anthony and Tracy Kuchan, Crookston are West Polk County’s representatives in the Red River Valley Emerging Leadership Program. Alumni of the program from the county nominated them to take part in the program because of their involvement in their community.
Anthony is a licensed physical therapist with Riverview Health in Crookston, MN. He primarily works in the outpatient clinic setting but also see patients in the critical access hospital. His area of specialty is orthopedic care. Tracy is the office manager and a real estate agent at LeBlanc Realty, which is a locally owned family real estate business serving Crookston and surrounding communities with residential, commercial, land, and lake real estate transactions.
Anthony and Tracy have been taking part in educational sessions since November 2017.  They are building skills for leadership and networking with other rural leaders from 16 counties in the region. Extension educators Lisa Hinz, Brian Fredrickson, and Jody Horntvedt are instructors for the sessions which focus on personal leadership styles, communication, community leadership, rural issues, life balance, dealing with challenges, change, and facilitating effective meetings.
According to Horntvedt, “University of Minnesota Extension research shows one in 34 adults in rural counties must step up and serve in a leadership role, compared to one in 143 in metro areas. We are training leaders by helping participants gain competence, build connections, and increase confidence to lead.” This is the 34th year the Emerging Leadership Program has brought together individuals from across the region for training workshops. Nearly 1,100 leaders in northwest and west central Minnesota are alumni of the program, which was established in 1985 to enhance the King Agassiz Program of the Red River Valley Winter Shows.
University of Minnesota Extension, with their long history of excellence in designing, delivering and evaluating leadership programs, is the primary sponsor of the Emerging Leadership Program.  Additional financial support for the program comes from the Red River Valley Development Association, and from a variety of other sources including ag producer groups, electric cooperatives, community businesses, financial institutions and individuals in counties throughout northwest and west central Minnesota who contribute each year. The Emerging Leadership Program is supported by the Northwest Minnesota Foundation who manages the program’s project and endowment funds. 
Anthony and Tracy will be honored for their commitment to leadership and their community at the Emerging Leadership Program’s annual recognition banquet on Saturday, March 24 in Crookston.  Family and friends are invited to join program alumni at the event. Tickets can be ordered from the Extension Regional Office~Crookston by calling 218-281-8696 -or- toll free 1-888-241-0781.





After the Vikings’ stunning, last-second upset of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, it seems safe to say that this is a good year to be a Vikings fan. The win moves the team once step closer to the Super Bowl, which interestingly enough, will be played on their home field at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on February 4.  No NFL team has ever won a Super Bowl in their home stadium, nor even played a Super Bowl game in their home stadium. This could be one for the record books.
We caught up with an avid Vikings fan, Travis Oliver, who was fortunate enough to be at the game last Sunday, and witnessed the last-second play that sealed the victory for the Vikings, and both shocked and elated the fans. Oliver said, “Well, we’re usually on the flip side of those situations, and it was exciting to be there to experience it, and share the experience with other fans. Everyone was celebrating and crying, they were so happy. It is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I have been a Vikings fan basically my whole life, and I can’t remember a time when a game has mattered that much. With the Super Bowl being in Minnesota this year, something like that happening is amazing. The stadium went from where you could hear a pin drop, to the loudest noise I have ever heard in my life within 4 to 5 seconds. I can’t even describe it. Watching on tv doesn’t do it justice – whatever you heard on tv, multiply that about ten times.”
Oliver said the game drove home the often-repeated, “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over” phrase that sports fans everywhere know well. “Late in the fourth quarter, I saw some fans leaving, but I would say upwards of 99% stayed right to final seconds," said Oliver. "I’ve watched several games that were decided in the final seconds, so you never know what can happen until that last second goes off the clock. But I don’t think anyone there thought things would happen that way, considering our unlucky history of ending games where we had control.”
Generally speaking, the average Super Bowl ticket costs between $2,500 and $3,000, but that price varies depending on the particular matchup and when the tickets are purchased. The NFL made some changes around Super Bowl 52 by allocating tickets to a new program that surprised fans with free Super Bowl tickets. Some of the tickets were given to fans identified by the clubs as exemplifying the heart of their team spiritSome went to outstanding youth football coaches and community heroes. And others were given in recognition of the most creative fans—at tailgates, in stadiums and watching at home—who put on their face paint and jerseys, their Cheeseheads and Viking helmets, and supported their teams through thick and thin. In total, 500 tickets to Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis were given away this year.    




UMC Ranked #11 in ‘The 25 Best Online Bachelor’s in Information Technology Degree Programs’

UMC’s online degree program in Information Technology Management is ranked number 11 among the top 20 “Best Online Bachelor of Information Technology Degree Programs" in the nation for 2018 by the online education resource, ‘the Best Schools.’
The degree programs were selected based on the quality of the program, the types of courses offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school’s reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.
In an increasingly globalized market, businesses of all sizes rely more and more on the connective power of technology. However, most people in business lack the expertise necessary to operate and administer these systems, and the demand for qualified information technology professionals remains high. Top of Form
An Information Technology degree typically covers a wide range of IT concepts, including programming, systems analysis and design, database management systems, network administration, and cybersecurity. Specializations within the field can include such things as Application and Database Development; Applications Development; Enterprise Computing; Gaming Design; Information Systems; Infrastructure and Security; and Web and Mobile Programming.







Polk County Commissioners met on Tuesday and approved the notification of Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Tadman’s candidacy for the position of Sheriff.   This notification is required by county policies.  Filings for the position of sheriff open on May 22 and close on June 5.

The commissioners declared a building in East Grand Forks a public health nuisance and require the demolition of the building at the request of the county public health office. 

Sarah Reese, Polk County Public Director, had a report on influenza as it moves across the country.  “Across Minnesota we are experiencing the flu across the state. It is different than the usual stomach influenza,  we recommend that people still get flu shots from their medical provider or elsewhere,” said Reese. “If you have extreme headaches, muscle soreness or fatigue we encourage you to stay home because we want to prevent others from getting the flu.  Stay hydrated and keep washing your hands to prevent the flu.”

Aleeca Helms was introduced to the commissioners as the new Human Resource Officer for the county.   Helms was born in Crookston and moved to a farm north of East Grand Forks when she was nine years old.  She currently lives on the farm with her four year old son, Sawyer.  She graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2000 and worked for Target in Human resource roles for eight years and then moved back and worked for Simplot Human Resources.  Helms said she happy to get started with Polk County.




The City of Crookston recently received good news when the Red Lake River Corridor Enhancement Joint Powers Board (Red Lake River Corridor) found out they will receive a grant of around $200,000 to use throughout the cities involved, IF the legislature okays the funding, which is expected.   The Corridor includes three counties – Polk, Red Lake and Pennington.  It also includes six cities – Crookston, Thief River Falls, St. Hillaire, Red Lake Falls, Fisher and East Grand Forks.  Crookston is the fiscal host and the leader of the group and Crookston City Administrator, Shannon Stassen relayed the good news to the Crookston Park Board at their meeting on Tuesday afternoon.  Stassen said they look to use Crookston’s portion of the grant money to put a river access point at the Gentilly bridge, to improve the access point by the intersection of Highway 2 and 9, to put a floating pier and kayak launch at Wildwood Park, to put a floating pier and portage area by the rapids at Maplewood Park, and a floating pier and kayak launch by the 6th Street landslide area.  “The Red Lake River became recognized as a trail of regional significance about two years ago.  This year we had about a $1.2 million request and we got about $200,000 of it approved by the commission.  We still have to get it approved by the state legislature, so it’s not 100 percent, but in the past they have gone with the recommendation of the commission,” said Stassen. “The next phase, that we will apply for, will include larger items like campgrounds and things of that nature, some bigger ticket items.  It is pretty exciting because once they start funding a project, they like to see it through.”  
The grant will also cover uniform signage from Thief River Falls to East Grand Forks.  “The Red Lake River is a wonderful asset and it unites and connects the communities and it can be used in all four seasons.  There is ice fishing, snowmobiling, kayaking, summer fishing, biking along the river and a number of uses,” said Stassen. “In the end, we would like to do a better job of attracting people from all over the Midwest to come to Northwest Minnesota and we are trying to get the infrastructure in place.”

     The Red Lake River in Crookston looking at Central Park




The Crookston Park Board met on Tuesday afternoon at Crookston City Hall and discussed activities scheduled for 2018.   Crookston Park and Rec Director, Scott Riopelle, handed out a packet of the activities.  The Crookston Blue Line Club is keeping the arena busy with tournaments most weekends in January and February.  The Crookston Sports Center will also have the Dreams on Ice Figure Skating Show March 11 and 12, it will host the Annual Senior Day in April.  Other activities in town are the Crookston Youth Basketball tournament in March, Arbor Day in May, Adult Softball leagues begin play in mid-May.  Summer youth programs will start June 11 and run through August 9.  The Park and Rec will host youth baseball tournaments in June and July, adult softball tournaments in June and July, a 3-on-3 Streetball tournament in July along with the annual Take a Kid Fishing day in July.
In the fall, the Crookston Park and Rec Department helps Ox Cart Days in August, the rodeo will be coming back in September and they were happy to say they have booked the Big One Craft Show October 19 and 20 at the Crookston Sports Center.   Hoops on Halloween will also be held the last Sunday of October and they are looking to use the sport court again this fall.  Those are some of the events the Crookston Park and Rec Department helps with/hosts throughout the year.  “We have a number of activities that are taking place, whether it is tournaments or other activities that we are bringing into the community and former things that have happened and we are enticing them through our sports tourism,” said Riopelle. “We wanted to keep everybody abreast of what is happening, it is going to be a big year.  We have the big craft show again and the rodeo will be coming back and we are looking forward it.”
The board discussed the upcoming projects in 2018.  Playground equipment upgrades were discussed for two parks, Hoven Lane and Alexander, but Alexander could be pushed back one year to allow more significant changes and the park at Johnson Place could be inserted this year.  “Each year we do two parks, actually this year we are looking at three and need to figure out which two we can do,” said Riopelle. “We will make the determination when the time comes.”
A 12 hole Disc Golf Course will be added at Castle Park, along with the creation of an off-street parking area.  “That will be big for the community and could bring people into Crookston,” said Riopelle. “There is a lot of traffic in the area and we want to keep people off the street and make sure kids don’t get hit, so it is safer.”
A biking trail for mountain bikes somewhere in town was discussed and ball field improvements at Highland Complex (baseball and softball) are on the list.




Justin Lindgren, an eighth grade student at Crookston High School, won the school competition of the National Geographic Bee on Tuesday afternoon and a chance at a $50,000 college scholarship. The runner-up was Hannah Loraas and Ainsley Boucher finished third.  Other competitors were - Isabelle Herberg, Gunnar Gunderson, Luke Noah, Clara Meyer, Haden Michaelson, Jacob Hesby, and Roshna Khaling.
Previous winners - 2017 Ella Weber, 2016 Ben Brantner, 2015 Caden Bruley, 2014 Jacob Wagner.
Justin Lindgren, son of Bruce and Lynette Lindgren said he was nervous on the stage. "I was a little nervous. I thought I was going to do a lot worse than it did, so it was kind of a surprise," said Lindgren. "I just studied a lot, and paid attention in class. That's pretty much how I'll prepare for the written test, too."
If Justin scores in the top 100 state-wide on the written test, he will advance to the State Geography Bee in Mankato this April. "We've had somebody advance for the last three years in a row, so it would be great to continue that streak," said Crookston High School teacher and event organizer, Tim Moe.

The school 
Bee, at which students answered questions on geography, was the first round in the 30th annual National Geographic Bee. Thousands of schools around the United States and in the five U.S. territories are participating in the 2018 National Geographic Bee. The school champions, including Justin, will take a qualifying test; up to 100 of the top scorers on that test in each state will then be eligible to compete in the state Bee on April 6, 2018 at Minnesota State Mankato. 
The National Geographic Society will provide an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., for state winners to participate in the Bee national championship rounds May 20-23, 2018. The first place national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society including a subscription to National Geographic magazine, and a trip to the Galápagos Islands, courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. 
National Geographic will air the final round in May, 2018, and later on public television stations. Check local listings for dates and times. Everyone can test their 
geography knowledge by downloading the “National Geographic GeoBee Challenge” app, with more than 1,000 questions culled from past Bees, available on the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad; from the Android Market; or for NOOK Color. National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. We fund hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year. With the support of our members and donors, we work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism, education initiatives and more. For more information, visit

    The Crookston High School Geography Bee contestants on the stage in the Crookston High School auditorium (Pictures by Crookston High School)





Polk County Chief Deputy James Tadman is excited to announce his candidacy for Sheriff of Polk County in the upcoming November 2018 election.  His announcement comes after two-term Sheriff Barb Erdman announced she will not seek another term. 
Tadman is a 30-year veteran with the Polk County Sheriff's Office and currently the Chief Deputy, promoted in 2013 by Sheriff Barb Erdman.  He currently oversees all aspects of the Sheriff's Office and day to day operations.     
Chief Deputy Tadman has performed many duties during his career including Drug Task Force, Patrol Deputy, K-9 Officer, Investigator, Training Instructor, Supervisor, and currently Administration.  He has also been involved in specific assignments, department policies, training supervision, and budget oversight.  Chief Deputy Tadman is also currently involved in the Northwest Regional Emergency Communications Board Advisory Committee, and the Polk, Norman, Mahnomen Community Health Improvement Plan.   
Chief Deputy Tadman’s goals are to continue providing effective, professional law enforcement, maximizing patrol coverage and office resources.  He would also like to boost collaboration with citizens in crime prevention, continue and expand youth education programs, maintain existing programs and look to add other programs such as a K-9 unit for drug enforcement, and officer safety.
Chief Deputy Tadman has lived in Polk County for 30 years.  He and his wife Stacy have three children, Austin 21, Sydney 18, and Kianna 12.  Tadman is strongly involved in the community.  He is a 22-year member of the Erskine Fire Department, 14-year member of the Win-E-Mac School Board, member of Grace Lutheran Church, and Winger Lions member.  Crookston TRIAD member, Crookston / Polk County Salvation Army Board member.  Chief Deputy Tadman would like to thank his wife Stacy and his three children.  Without their love and support, he would not be where he is today. 

Polk County Sheriff, Barb Erdman with Tadman




The Crookston School District and the Minnesota School Board Association have announced that they have 11 candidates that have applied for the Crookston School District Superintendent job opening.  The application deadline was Friday, January 12.  The current Crookston Schools Superintendent Chris Bates will be retiring after this school year. 
The Crookston School Board will meet with the Minnesota School Board Association on Monday, January 22 to discuss the applicants and work on a list of finalists.




Elliot Oliver James Kuznia wasn’t due to arrive at RiverView Health until January 15, but he decided to make his way into the world ahead of schedule on January 9 to be named RiverView’s First Baby of 2018.
The first baby born in 2017 also arrived on January 9. As a matter of fact, three title winners in the past six years have been born on January 9. Maybe Elliot knew the ninth was a fashionable date or maybe he realized another baby was in the running for the title, arriving just the next morning at RiverView.
The third child born to proud parents Destiny and Jarvis Kuznia, Red Lake Falls, Elliot was born at 6:34 am. He weighed in at 8 pounds 2.9 ounces and measured 21 inches long. Dr. Erik Kanten delivered the little guy with two middle names, a fact he shares with his dad.
Elliot is already loved by big sisters Audrina, 5, and Londyn, 3. He is the grandson of Kevin and Michelle Harmoning, Red Lake Falls, Tony and Diana Kuznia, Buffalo, ND, and the late Shirley Knoff. Elliot’s great grandparents are Eva Miller, Red Lake Falls, and Robert Harmoning, Red Lake Falls.
As the first baby of 2018, Elliot will receive a care package from area merchants.

             Elliot Oliver James Kuznia and his family




MONDAY - JANUARY 15,  2018


The Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a garage fire approximately 10 miles southeast of Warren in Section 25 of Brandt Township on Saturday. The structure was a complete loss. The adjacent residence was damaged by the heat of the fire. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was believed to be cause by a wood furnace in the garage. Property owner is Dan Veselka. Assisting agencies were, Warren Fire Department, Warren Ambulance, and the Minnesota State Fire Marshall.





All Events have been cancelled because of the storm
The seventh Annual Red River Valley Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will take place on Monday, January 15. We spoke with Lorna Hollowell, Director of Diversity & Multicultural Programs at UMC, who told us that, “It is a full day to commemorate and celebrate Dr. King and all of his work on human rights, civility and acceptance. We all collaborating with secondary schools, the faith-based community, civic organizations, and groups from the Air Force Base, so the celebration extends to both sides of the river.”
This year, they won't hold the Unity Walk from the Crookston Inn to the UMC campus because of the cold temperatures.
The Celebratory Program at 11:00 in Kiehle Auditorium will be followed by a free lunch social in Brown Dining Hall. Hollowell said that the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. award caps the program. “I started this award back in 2013 with our first event, to recognize, celebrate and commend an individual who has done work to support underrepresented populations, those who are marginalized, human rights, civility, inclusion, diversity – we want to celebrate individuals in our region who have been involved in this work,” she said.
The public is both invited and urged to participate in this celebration.





Mike and Cindy O’Keefe, owners of McDonald’s Restaurants in Crookston, East Grand Forks and the restaurant near the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, have once again made a difference in the lives of pediatric patients at RiverView Health.
The O’Keefes set up the McDonald’s Children’s Fund through the RiverView Foundation in 2013 to benefit the most critical pediatric therapy needs at RiverView’s East Grand Forks and Crookston Rehab Services locations. Over the years they have assisted in helping Rehab Services obtain vital equipment for a variety of occupational, speech, and physical therapy programs.  “I am just amazed at how a simple piece of equipment can be intertwined to be utilized with multiple children and can greatly improve their deficits” stated Cindy O’Keefe.
The O’Keefes recently funded programs/equipment to help children improve visual motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory regulation, feeding challenges and memory skills. “We cannot thank the O’Keefe’s enough for their continued generosity in helping RiverView secure funding to purchase equipment that is necessary for our pediatric rehab program,’’ shared April Waters, occupational therapist. “It is amazing to see the impact the equipment has on patients in reaching their goals by having new tools that are motivating to them.’’
For more information on RiverView Rehab services, please call 218-773-1390 in East Grand Forks or 218-281-9462 in Crookston. For information on RiverView Foundation programs contact Foundation Director Kent Bruun at 218-281-9249 or

Back row - Foundation Director Kent Bruun;
Front row - Occupational Therapists April Waters and Tina Safranski, and Cindy and Mike O’Keefe with just a few of the recent items purchased through the McDonald’s Children’s Fund at RiverView Health. 



Minnesota Humanities Center to Launch Second Tour of We Are Water MN

The Minnesota Humanities Center, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and their statewide partners are pleased to announce that their popular statewide exhibit, We Are Water MN, will be continuing in 2018 –- spanning the state at eight host sites for the 2018-2019 tour.
Originally developed as a locally-focused companion piece to the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Water/Ways exhibit, We Are Water MN is a traveling exhibit that focuses on the relationships between people and water—how water connects story, history, faith, ethics, the arts and science. Over 13 months in 2018 and 2019 the exhibit will visit eight Minnesota communities.
These communities include:
Minneapolis (University of Minnesota – Twin Cities) October 14 – November 26, 2018
Bemidji (Headwaters Science Center) December 2, 2018 – January 14, 2019
Crookston (West Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District) January 20 – March 4, 2019
Cloquet (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) March 10 – April 22, 2019
Austin (Cedar River Watershed District) April 28 – June 16, 2019
Northfield (Cannon River Watershed Partnership) June 20 – July 28, 2019
Grand Rapids (Itasca Waters) August 4 – September 16, 2019
Onamia (Mille Lacs Indian Museum, Minnesota Historical Society) September 22 – November 4, 2019

“We are honored to be given the opportunity to continue We Are Water MN and bring the exhibit to eight more communities in Minnesota,” says Minnesota Humanities Center President & CEO, David O’Fallon. “Minnesota has a unique relationship to water, and this exhibit gives all Minnesotans the opportunity to deeply engage – through the sciences AND the humanities – with what water means to them and what the future of water is in our state. We look forward to working with our statewide partners to continue this important dialogue.”
The Humanities Center’s traveling exhibition programming is focused on cultivating partnerships and being in communities authentically, respectfully and in a way that speaks to the multiplicity of experiences in the community. We Are Water MN does this in three ways; 1.) By exploring the connections between the humanities and water through a hands-on exhibit. 2.) By building and supporting cross-disciplinary partnerships of people who protect and affect water. 3.) By helping host communities design public events that build participants’ relationships with water.
We Are Water MN uses an interactive story collecting strategy that focuses on individuals’ relationships with, and responsibilities to, water. The exhibit includes stories from people reflecting on the meaning and experience of water in Minnesota, stories from local people from each host site community and space for visitors to add their own stories and images. We Are Water MN also raises awareness about the quantity and quality of Minnesota’s water, connecting exhibit-goers to active water solutions.
The University of Minnesota Crookston’s Compass Center Director of Diversity & Multicultural Programs, Lorna Hollowell, says about the program; “We are Water MN cultivates opportunities for inclusive, community-wide conversations to share stories, learn about, and celebrate our most precious common resource. Water connects us all through shared experiences and our quest to discover ways to protect and conserve it for generations to come.”
Through the We Are Water MN traveling exhibit, each host community will tell its local water stories and envision the future of water in Minnesota. Local events may include activities like: contests, workshops, tours, speakers, theater, music or film events, school partnerships, museum displays, outdoor activities, festivals and more.  “Through my work on the project, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about water quality from my MPCA colleagues, listen to interviews of people from the tour sites and collect images of the special places they describe,” says MPCA Outreach & Education Coordinator, Britt Gangeness. “Now I don’t just think of regional water quality trends. I think of people—THESE people—and I smile, because there are an awful lot of people out there who care about all the little plants, and animals, and flow rates, and smell of the mud, and the places where loons nest (to name a few of the many things they care about). They treasure the special events in their lives that happened in and around the water. This deep connection is what will make a difference for water quality in Minnesota.”
We Are Water MN is a partnership of the Humanities Center, MPCA, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. More information about We Are Water MN and host site community events can be found at




Fertile Library Book Club to Discuss “The English Teacher”

Those who resolved to read more in 2018 will find encouragement at the Fertile Public Library! The library’s book club, the Resolute Readers, will discuss thriller The English Teacher by Yiftach Reicher Atir on Wednesday, January 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the library, and all are encouraged to join the discussion. Discover new reads and discuss the books you loved with the group.
The library also offers a weekly Storytime for children and their caregivers, which is held on Fridays at 10:30 a.m., plus regular crafting events. Visit the library or the library’s page at for more information.
Calling all crafters! Work on your favorite crafting or quilting project at the library on Thursday, February 1, beginning at 10:00 a.m. All are welcome.
Kids can bring their creativity to the library on Friday, February 2 at 3:30 p.m. for the craft of the month, which is rainbow stained glass magnets. This school-aged craft is open to all, but children under 10 should be accompanied by an adult helper.




FRIDAY - JANUARY 12,  2018


The Villa St. Vincent/The Summit is once again presenting a fashion fundraiser, called “Attire to Inspire” at the National Guard Armory on Friday, January 26.
We caught up with Mindy Fanfulik, Lindsey Erdman and April Kopecky, organizers of the event, who said, "It’s a really fun event for a fundraiser. Basically, we take the opportunity to showcase local area businesses in a style show. 2nd Street Boutique, Erickson Embroidery, Simply, Rocky, Cabi, LulaRoe, Bridge Street Candle Company, Wonderful Life Foods, and Sweet Light Photo will all be there.” The fundraiser will feature fashionable, chic merchandise and creative designs in the always-popular fashion show.
The event kicks off with a social hour with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour, and the style show starts at 7:00 p.m. Erickson’s Smokehouse will provide food, and the Irishman’s Shanty will be there with beverages. “Tickets are $25 in advance, and can be purchased at the Villa Business Office, or at Montague’s Flower Shop, Erickson’s Embroidery/2nd Street Boutique, Wonderful Life Foods, and Rejuv Salon and Spa. Tickets are $30 at the door,” added Erdmann.





The Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court Bishop Schenk #2010 of Crookston, Euclid and Gentilly paid it backwards to the Knights of Columbus in Crookston for all of their help during the State Convention held in Crookston in April.  The Court held a potluck for the KC’s before their meeting on Monday, January 8th. Jean LaJesse, Regent and Margee Keller, Vice Regent thanked the KC’s for all they did to help make the State Convention a success.  

Neal Plante, KC Grand Knight, is pictured with the twenty four CDA members who were present





The Crookston Eagles 873 were excited to present RiverView Health and Altru Health each a $1300 check from their Flamingo's Flip & Flop Cancer Awareness Event in October 2017. Mark your calendars for October 12th, 2018 for the next Cancer Event. A big thank you is extended to all that helped make this event a great success for the community. Those in need can ask either RiverView Health or Altru Health for assistance in the purchase of wigs, scarves and other things not covered by insurance.

Guest speakers Shirley Reitmeier, Bobby Baird, Alana Wagner and Kent Bruun

Carrie Bergqust accepted the check from Sheila Menard on behalf of Altru Health

Kent Bruun accepted the check from Sheila Menard on behalf of RiverView Health







The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota State Patrol reopened Highway 2 between Crookston and East Grand Forks at 12:50 p.m., however it remains under a no travel advisory.
The no travel advisory is still in effect for the northern Red River Valley in the following locations. The western portions of Kittson, Marshall, Norman and Polk counties.
Snowfall has tapered off, but high winds continue to severely limit visibility and motorists should use caution when traveling.
MnDOT reminds motorists to be patient while snowplow operators work to improve driving conditions. The majority of snowplow crashes take place during “clean up” when motorists resume their normal speeds.
After a storm motorists should:
Check road conditions at or call 511; it takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions.
- Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for their trip.
- Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud.
- Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. Plows may also travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
- Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.
For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to




Chief Biermaier of the Crookston Police Department will visit the Crookston Public Library to share tips to prevent community members from being scammed. All are welcome to attend this event, which will take place on Thursday, January 11 at 10:30 a.m.
Thursday afternoon, Melissa Weiland of H&R Block will go over new tax information and answer questions at 5:00 p.m.

Adults are encouraged to discuss good books with library staff at the Crookston Inn on Tuesday, January 16 at 7:00 p.m., during the next meeting of the Books and Brews Book Club. The selected title is Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris. RSVP by calling the library at 218-281-4522.
The next meeting of the Adult Coloring Club will be held Wednesday, January 17 at 6:00 p.m. – bring your coloring materials and join the latest craze!
The library will be closed on Monday, January 15 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.






Attention job seekers: the University of Minnesota Crookston is hosting the 16th Annual Winter Job and Internship Fair on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., in Wellness Center on campus. Admission is free and no parking permits will be required during the job fair.
Meet with representatives from more than 50 companies. The employers in attendance include: Altru Health, American Crystal Sugar, CHS Inc., Digi-Key, Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Minnesota Army National Guard, Northwestern Mutual, USDA, and many more. To view the complete list of prospective employers, visit
“Often times finding a job is all about networking. The beauty of job fairs is that you are given the opportunity to network and connect with dozens of potential employers all in one place, says Aaron Meyer, director of career development at the U of M Crookston. "Additionally, many times you are limited to an online application, where your resume is tossed into a bin with countless other applications. Job fairs allow you to interact with potential employers face-to-face, giving you the opportunity to create a much more personal and memorable impression.”
The Annual Winter Job and Internship Fair is hosted by the Career Development Department at the University of Minnesota Crookston. For more information, contact Aaron Meyer at 218-281-8585.





There have been at least 22 crashes so far this season involving vehicles and snowplows. With significant snow totals forecast for much of the state this week, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is urging motorists to use extra caution during plowing and snow removal operations. “Inattentive drivers, motorists driving too close to the plow and motorists driving too fast for conditions are the main causes of these crashes,” said Steve Lund, state maintenance engineer. “Our snowplow drivers are well trained to drive their plows, but motorists should be patient and stay back from the plow. Snowplows travel much slower than the posted speeds because it is most effective for clearing roads.”
Lund said that operators’ ability to see behind them is restricted behind the truck so they must rely on mirrors to see to the rear and side of the truck.  “Their vision is also hampered by the snow clouds created while they plow. So, the safest place you can be is well behind the snowplow and away from the snow cloud it creates,” he said.
Last year in Minnesota, there were 58 crashes involving vehicles and snowplows.
Minnesota law requires motorists to turn on their headlights when it’s snowing or at any other time when weather conditions impair visibility.
Here are some other recommendations for safe driving around snowplows:
Stay alert for snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
- Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow. Don’t drive into a snow cloud.
- Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions.
- Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
- Turn off the cruise control.
- Be patient
and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
- Don’t drive distracted.

Motorists should check road conditions at






As banquets and catering at the Crookston Inn and Convention Center continue to grow, the business must keep up with the needs of its customers. The management at Crookston Inn announced that, as of January 15, their dining room will be closed to the public during lunch, and will open in the evening with full menu Monday through Saturday from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. The lounge will continue to carry the dinner menu as well.  And on Sundays, the dining room will still be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for their famous brunch buffet.   “For January, I still have three Christmas banquets to do because I had no room in December,” said Crookston Inn and Convention Center Banquet and Catering Manager, Laurie Stahlecker.  “There is a wall I can pull down (in the dining room) in between the upper deck and lower deck that can make two more banquet rooms.”
Closing the dining room during the day will not affect any of their banquets or catering business; in fact, that part of the business is the area where they intend to concentrate more of their efforts. “Just today I already booked two weddings.  If you look at 2016, they had 14 weddings.  I had 18 weddings in 2017 and I am up to 21 weddings in 2018,” said Stahlecker. “We have already booked two weddings for 2019.”
Stahlecker and Jacobson hinted that there will be more big news, and more to look forward releasing more information over the next month.  “In the end, it will all make sense,” said Stahlecker. “We will throw teasers out throughout the next month,” said Crookston Inn and Convention Center owner, Todd Jacobson.
So, stay tuned to KROX to hear the exciting happenings at the  Crookston Inn and Convention Center.

A picture of one portion of the Crookston Inn and Convention Center dining room




The Minnesota State Patrol, Polk County Sheriff's Department and Crookston Police and Fire Departments responded to a two-vehicle crash approximately eight miles east of Crookston on U.S. Highway 2, at about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. An eastbound Ford F45 Tractor truck, driven by David Allen Neset, age 55, of Fosston, was struck from behind by a plumbing and heating service truck, driven by a 31 year old man from East Grand Forks. Neset and his passenger, Leslie James Neset, age 64, also of Fosston, were transported to RiverView Health in Crookston, with non-life threatening injuries. The other driver was declared dead at the scene, no other details are being released at this time. 





The University of Minnesota Crookston will host the 43rd annual Ag Arama on Friday and Saturday, January 26-27, 2018. This year’s Ag Arama is dedicated to Assistant Professor Paul Aakre who has taught agriculture on campus for more than 40 years. This year’s theme for the weekend is “Never Going Outta Style.”
Most of the Ag Arama activities take place on Saturday, January 27, in the University Teaching and Outreach Center (UTOC) located on the north edge of the campus. Everyone is invited to attend and no parking permits are required.
Contests in agronomy, animal science, horticulture, agricultural business, and natural resources highlight Ag Arama weekend. They serve as an opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and skills and have a chance to interact with alumni and faculty members. Ag Arama is planned and operated by a committee of students advised by Terrill Bradford and Brenda Miller, who both teach in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department.
On Saturday morning from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., the animal showmanship contests begin and the public is welcome to watch the competition as it unfolds in both novice and experienced categories. Students compete in western and English horse showmanship, goat, lamb lead, and dairy, beef, sheep, and swine showing.  The novices are paired with experienced students prior to the contests to prepare for the day.
From 9 a.m. to noon, an agricultural industries show features some of the latest in agricultural equipment. At 1:30 p.m., the Round Robin Showmanship will begin followed by alumni showmanship at 2 p.m. Coronation of the Ag Arama royalty takes place at 2:30 p.m. followed by the presentation of specialty awards and the sweepstakes presentation.
An alumni social will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at the I.C. Muggs, 1500 University Avenue, followed by the Ag Arama Dance from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. with Silverado at the Crookston Eagles, 105 South Broadway. Admission is $10.




The Crookston Figure Skating Club is proud to announce that  Jamie Burns we will be a guest skater at this year’s Dreams on Ice, March 10-11, thanks to the generosity of sponsors Christian Brothers Ford, Christian Motors and the AmericInn. Jamie will be performing with our local skaters during their Ice Dancing performances. 
Jamie Burns specializes in choreography, skating skills and ice dance. Jamie was born in Great Britain and was an eleven time national championship competitor. At senior level, Jamie was British Ice Dance Bronze Medalist, Performance Team member and international competitor. He was trained by Olympic Champions Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov. Jamie performed in international professional ice shows, often in a principal role, including Holiday On Ice and Woodstock Ice Productions. Jamie is a graduate of Blackburn Sixth Form College, England, with qualifications in Performing Arts, Dance and Physical Education, where he was also recognized with awards for Excellence in Sport and Excellence in Dance.

                     Jamie Burns




On Monday, January 22, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff from Rydell National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Erskine, MN will host a public scoping meeting to seek public input on the future of hunting on the Refuge.
Rydell NWR was established in 1992 and is 2,070 acres in size. The initial Refuge Hunt Plan opened the majority of the Refuge to hunting deer under special, highly regulated conditions. This included a permit-based, antlerless only opportunity during Minnesota’s regular gun deer season, as well as a two-day mentored youth hunt and a three-day accessible deer hunt. The antlerless only hunt was conducted as a means of reducing the Refuge’s previously high deer population. In recent years, the only hunting allowed on Rydell NWR has been the mentored youth and accessible deer hunts. The Refuge was never opened to migratory birds (e.g., duck, goose, woodcock) or upland game (e.g., grouse, squirrel, rabbit) hunting.
Hunting is a priority public use on National Wildlife Refuge System lands and the possibility exists to expand hunting opportunities on Rydell NWR. This might include changes to the framework of deer hunting on the Refuge, or opening parts of the Refuge to hunting migratory birds and/or upland game.
We are seeking the public’s input on any changes they would like to see in future hunting opportunities within Rydell NWR. Ideas and comments received during the January 22 public mtg. will be taken into consideration when completing the revised Hunt Plan and associated Environmental Assessment. The “open house” style public meeting will be held in the Rydell NWR Visitor Center, from 4:30 – 7:30pm on Monday, January 22nd. For more information on the meeting or if you have questions, contact Gregg Knutsen, Refuge Manager, at 218-687-2229 x16 or  For more information please contact: Gregg Knutsen, Manager Rydell NWR 218-687-2229 x16




Gala for Girls will be held on Friday, February 2 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Crookston Armory. Cost is $40 for each couple ($10 for each additional girl). This special night will include a sit-down dinner, a souvenir photo of each couple, a gift for each girl, an evening of memorable dancing, plus chances to win great prizes. Attire for the evening is casual chic – jeans and jewels or plenty of sparkle. If you are a girl in grades K-6, bring your dad, grandpa, uncle or adult male role model. Registration is limited, and the registration deadline is January 19. The first 15 paid registrations will be eligible to sit at the Table of Honor during the event. A drawing will be held and the winning couple will be notified. For more information, call Anna or Sarah at 281-3385, or by email at




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