TUESDAY - APRIL 25,  2017


The Crookston School Board met Monday night and clipped through an agenda that included approving the employment of Donovan Edlund as Transportation Assistant/Bus Driver for the District. Edlund will work half time as Transportation Assistant to Rick Niemela, and half time as a bus driver. He will be paid $37,440 with full-time benefits.

The board also approved a resolution to approve the canvass results of the April 18 Special Election, noting that question #1 (bus garage) received 553 yes votes, and 1459 no votes, and was defeated. Question #2 (gymnasium) received 289 yes votes, and 1718 no votes, and was also defeated. The third question, the athletic complex, was the third defeat, as 255 people voted yes on the question, and 1751 voted no.

A resolution to name Northwest Service Co-op as the District’s Health Insurance Carrier for school years 2017-18 and 2018-19 was also approved.

Juniors are taking their ACT tests and the district has all the end of the year MCA tests.  Crookston High School Principal, Eric Bubna also reported that several of his staff are working on ways to help smooth the middle-school-to-high-school transition for incoming students next fall.

The School Board Negotiations Committee met with members of the Crookston Education Association for a negotiations meeting following the regular School Board meeting. The next regular Board Meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 8 at 5:00 p.m. in the Crookston High School Choir/Orchestra Room.





The Crookston High School Drama Department entertained people over the weekend and Monday evening with the production of the musical, Adams Family.  The performances were outstanding, the costumes and set were fantastic and a great job done by a the big cast and crew!  Dave Emanuel of Wildfire Photography snapped pictures from the Monday night performance.

The Adams Family characters and as you can see the costumes and make up were great (Picture by Dave Emanuel)

One of the scenes with a lot of the characters on the stage - Picture by Dave Emanuel

The cast taking a bow at the end of the performance to a standing ovation at the CHS auditorium





Safety Town will be held on June 5-9 from 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. at Washington School.  Safety is a comprehensive safety education program for children who are age eligible to enter kindergarten in 2017.  It is a one week, 15 hour summer program that introduces children to the following safety issues:  home safety, how and when to dial 911, farm safety, bus safety, bicycle safety, playground safety, water safety, boat safety, fire safety, animal safety, and pedestrian safety.   Please register at the Community Education office.  Registration deadline is Friday, April 28, 2017.   There is a $20 fee payable to Safety Town.





The Crookston City Council met on Monday night, and began their meeting with a public information announcement/disclosure of a conflict of interest in the matter of an application made by Laurie Erickson for a rehabilitation grant through the Small Cities Development Program, administered by Northwest Minnesota Multi-County Housing. No action was required on the disclosure – it simply was required to be announced for the record, as Ward 2 Councilman Steve Erickson and Laurie Erickson are husband and wife.

The council also passed resolutions authorizing advertising for bids for fuel system improvements at the Crookston Airport, approving plans and specifications and calling for bids on the 2017 local and federal funded street improvements, entering into a Change of Roadway Jurisdiction Agreement with the State of Minnesota “MnDOT” (for the street in front of McDonald’s north to the Armory), and authorizing a transfer $50,000 in funds to the Crookston Housing and Redevelopment Authority (CHEDA) for a term of one year, which will be used in their Housing Rehabilitation loan program.





The City of Crookston Ways & Means Committee met on Monday evening, and heard from Dillon Fenno, Facilitator for the Downtown Crookston Development Partnership (DCDP), on training he recently received on “Main Street Initiative.” Fenno emphasized that, in order to be successful, the Main Street Initiative, as applied to Downtown Crookston, has to be a collective city effort. Crookston is currently an “associate member” of the Initiative; to become a fully-accredited city (which comes with an annual cost of $2,000), Crookston and the DCDP must complete nine additional criteria, including widespread support, vision and mission statements, a comprehensive work plan, historic preservation, active Board of Directors and committees, a budget, paid professional staff, training for staff and volunteers, and reporting statistics. Fenno said the DCDP has several of the criteria in place already.
He also noted that the DCDP will have 10 committees to address their perceived needs in Downtown Crookston. Three of the committees are their immediate focus, including one working on alleyways and alley lighting, a mural committee, and a way finding committee, which will concentrate on additional amenity signage in the downtown.

The Councilmen had numerous questions and comments about the DCDP, including Dale Stainbrook wondering if they ought to have one or two councilmen as ex-officio members on the DCDP Board. Steve Erickson addressed Fenno’s proposed $2,000/year membership commitment, as well as his allusion to ongoing support from the City. “I thought the goal of the DCDP was to become self-sufficient in three years.” Mayor Wayne Melbye agreed with Erickson, adding, “You need to show some results.” Stainbrook further commented that the DCDP has left the Council “in the dark for a lot of decisions, like your Board Members, the facilitator job description,” and so on.

Fenno stated that any Council members are welcome to attend the DCDP Board Meetings, which are held once a month.

City Administrator, Shannon Stassen, explained a little about what the Main Street Initiative is, and how they hope to apply those principals to Downtown Crookston. “For those of us who were involved on the very front end of it, we realized that a big goal for this Main Street Initiative is to create an “experience-based” downtown. Really what that means is creating destination opportunities through businesses, but also through public art and aesthetics like the flower baskets and those kinds of things. If you want to make your downtown a destination, you also want to make sure that it feels safe. That’s why we’re discussing things like narrowing our streets, and creating areas for biking that are separated from the traffic. We certainly have plenty of room to do that kind of thing, to create that safety feeling. With three lanes of sometimes high-speed traffic, people don’t feel that safe crossing the street. Combining the aesthetics and the safety and businesses that attract people and are synergistic – for example, you come down to the coffee shop, then you pop over to Willow and Ivy, and then This is Sew Broadway -- these kind of businesses support each other because they can become a destination and an experience-based downtown. We want to grow the things we currently have, and we want to fill up some of these empty spaces on one of the key blocks in our downtown, so that’s really what we’re striving for.”





First and third Grade Buddies at Cathedral School recently held a WELCOME HOME PARTY for their versions of Flat Stanley that have been traveling around the world for the last three months.  Many Flat Stanley's traveled throughout the United States but several of them made it farther to places like, Canada, Bahrain in the Middle East, Germany and France.  After reading the Flat Stanley stories in class, the students made life-size flat versions of themselves and sent them, along with a journal, on a trip.  Each person that received the package took Flat Stanley on an adventure, taking pictures to email back to the class and writing in their journal.  Then, they sent Flat Stanley on to another location to keep him moving.  After three months of traveling, they returned home to a Welcome Home Party.  The students anxiously opened their packages, some filled with pictures, maps and postcards of where they had been and read their journals.  A few even had treats that were specific to that area.  The students and their flat person are in front of the pictures that were taken and sent back to us throughout their journey.

The Cathedral School students with their Flat Stanley's




MONDAY - APRIL 24,  2017


The Crookston School Board will meet on Monday, April 24 at 5:00 p.m. in the Crookston High School Orchestra/Choir room.
Personnel items on the agenda include approval of the employment of Donovan Edlund as Transportation Assistant/Bus Driver. Items on the Main Agenda include approval of the canvass results for the special election held on April 18, and approve the Northwest Service Co-op as the district’s health insurance carrier for 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 school years.
A negotiations meeting with the Crookston Education Association (Crookston teacher’s union) will be held at 6:00 p.m. in the District Conference Room, following the school board meeting.
Crookston School Board meetings are open to the public. Visitors may share their concerns at the beginning of the meeting in the public forum.





The Crookston City Council will meet on Monday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the Crookston City Council Chambers at City Hall.
Agenda items for the night include a presentation on the Small Cities Development Program and conflict of interest disclosure.
The board will be asked to approve City of Crookston bills and disbursements in the amount of $226,761.88, to authorize advertising for bids for 2017 Crookston Airport Improvements.  The council will be asked to pass a resolution approving plans and specifications and calling for bids on the 2017 local funded street improvements and approving plans and specifications and calling for bids on the 2017 federal funded street improvements.  The council will be asked to approve a change of roadway jurisdiction agreement with State of Minnesota “MnDOT”.  The city will be asked to authorize the transfer of funds from the restricted cash account-BNSF settlement (Fund 101) to the Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority (CHEDA) for a term of one year and the authorization of the sale of real property to the Crookston School District.
The City Council meeting is open to the public.

The Crookston Ways and Means Committee will meet in the City Hall Conference room after the city council meeting.





Friday was the day – the big reveal of the Blast to Bede theme for prom. The short presentation in a completely dark auditorium opened to drum beats, black lights and glow sticks. Janelle Brekken, one of the Blast to Bede “reveal” organizers, stepped up to the microphone, announcing that, “The theme is 'A Light to Remember.' Just a couple of reminders: t-shirts are out in the commons area, so you can stop and pick those up before you go to class. Wear them the night of Bede – they’re going to put your name in a drawing for those who actually wear their shirts there. The students can park in Lot A at Bede. The doors open at 11:00 p.m. and are locked at midnight, so nobody can come in after midnight. The event goes until 4:00 a.m., and keep in mind that the Irishman’s Shanty is offering their $5.00 buffet after the Bede, and they also do drawings for those who attend. I’d like to thank all the drummers who helped out today, and Mr. Gough, who helped organize this, and to our light runners, Hayley and Allece. Thank you – have a fun and safe prom!”





23 Highland third graders enjoyed a fun afternoon and evening learning about STEAM-based activities (science, technology, engineering, art and math) from the University of North Dakot Power-Up STEM volunteers, experiencing virtual reality simulations at the University of Minnesota Crookston, learning juggling techniques from Greg Widseth, attending the play "The Addams Family" at Crookston High School, and finally working together to find clues to "escape" from the Highland Library in an activity based on the book, "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library" which they recently read. The students all had complimentary Happy Meals from McDonald's in Crookston, which included a book for each student.


3rd graders enjoyed learning from UND Power-UP STEM volunteers about helium and other gases, how a vacuum affects marshmallows, making slime and playing on a keyboard that made flames dance





On Tuesday, Senator Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks) was appointed to serve on the legislature’s conference committee for Senate File 803, the Omnibus Judiciary and Public Safety Bill.  Senator Johnson will join four of his Senate colleagues and five members from the House, who will work collaboratively over the coming days to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the omnibus bill.  “I’m honored to have been appointed to the Judiciary and Public Safety Conference Committee and look forward to working to improve our courts, law enforcement, and corrections systems,” said Senator Johnson. “As a member of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee and a practicing attorney I believe my experience will allow me to thoughtfully contribute during the upcoming negotiation process.”
The Omnibus Judiciary and Public Safety Bill was passed by the Senate earlier this month and dedicates $2.23 billion in funding to Minnesota’s public safety, and corrections departments and the Judicial branch over the next two years. The bill was passed with bipartisan support.
Conference committees will begin meeting in the next few days, and will continue negotiations until an agreement is reached. Once the conference committee report is passed, the report will head back to both the Senate and House to be voted on. If passed by both bodies, it will be sent to Governor Dayton for his signature to become law. The legislature has five weeks of session left under the state’s constructional mandates and must have all bills submitted to the Governor by Monday May 22.




Otto Bremer Foundation, Champion for Young Children

The Crookston Early Childhood Initiative has named the Otto Bremer Foundation a “Champion for Young Children” for their past and present support provided for children, ages birth through five, and their families in Crookston.
The Otto Bremer Foundation has provided the funding for the following opportunities to support families within our community which is the foundation ECI’s mission.
In December of 2008, the Otto Bremer Foundation allocated $25,000 over 5 years to provide financial support for the “Play It Forward” playground project of the Crookston ECI, which called for bringing five age-appropriate toddler preschool play areas in area parks and schools.  This project was started in an effort to help our children develop healthy, physical, social and emotional well-being.  The five parks added with Otto Bremer foundation support were Wildwood Park, Evergreen Park, Washington School, Crookston Sports Center, and Castle Park Natural Play Space.
Beginning in September 2013, The Otto Bremer Foundation approved a grant for the Crookston Early Childhood Summit for the amount of $50,000 over a two year period.  As the end of the first grant was drawing to a close, the committee was encouraged to “think big” and reapply, again being approved for $50,000 for two years.  The goal of our Summit Committee is to help create a shared vision for early childhood education in our community so we can increase the number of children prepared for kindergarten.   We believe if we all work together with a common vision, all children can achieve and succeed.  This has been accomplished through a series of “Crookston Early Childhood Summits”, or meetings, and through events that give us an opportunity to reach out to parents.  We have also been able to provide “Tool Kits” with activities that can be implemented to help with school readiness preparation.
The Otto Bremer Foundation also provided new computers to the Lake Agassiz Regional Library system.  This enables families to use the library to seek resources available to them online as well as apply for jobs, find daycare, etc.
The Crookston ECI gives the Champion for Young Children Award to individuals, organizations, and businesses that help to provide a supportive and nurturing environment for our young children, age’s birth through five.  If you would like to learn more about current projects of the Initiative or be involved in the work of the Initiative please contact Gina Gunderson or Like them on Facebook.

ECI Steering Committee Members: Brandi Nesseth, Gina Gunderson, Denice Oliver.  And Otto Bremer FoundationsTony Looking Elk.



SATURDAY - APRIL 22,  2017


The Crookston Speech Duo of Megan Frisk and Zach Sanders, performing their selection of "Children of a Lesser God" by Mark Medoff, earned the 4th place medal at the Minnesota State High School League Speech Tournament.   They competed in three preliminary rounds, which consisted of four sections of six performances.  The Crookston duo earned first place in preliminaries.  The top eight finalists competed in a final round with five judges, where Frisk and Sanders were awarded the fourth place medal.

Zach and Megan with their State 4th place medals





FRIDAY - APRIL 21,  2017


April 24 – April 28 is Spring Clean-Up Week in Crookston.  Clean-up items will be picked up only on your regular garbage pickup day and must be placed on the street boulevard.  Please note: Compost material - grass clippings, lawn or garden waste - WILL NOT have to be in City compost bags for this week only.  Cleanup items should be separated into the following piles:  garbage, clothing, cardboard, etc.; appliances; branches and yard waste; furniture, metal items, demolition, etc. and tires.  Placing these items out in separate piles will help speed the clean-up process.  In awareness of clean up week in Crookston, Polk County Public Health advises to not bring furniture, mattresses, box springs, or bed frames found on the street into your home in order to prevent the spread of bed bugs.
Due to State Law, all video display devices (TV’s, computer monitors, etc.) cannot be land filled.  Therefore, these items will not be collected during clean-up.  These devices may be disposed of at Polk County Environmental Services (Transfer Station), free of charge.  Video display devices left on the boulevard more than 48 hours are subject to a $25 penalty surcharge.
Concrete, batteries, partially full paint cans, other chemicals, or large amounts of demolition debris will not be accepted.  Branches must be cut in four foot lengths and bundled.
Items should be placed on boulevards no more than 72 hours prior to your collection day.  Remember, Spring Clean-Up Week is April 24 – April 28 in Crookston.




Darren Laesch, MnDot District Planning Director, met with Polk County Commissioners this week to discuss a 10 year plan for the county highways.  “Each year we develop a 10 year highway improvement based on the pavement and bridge conditions on the highway system.  We inspect the pavement and bridges every year and we measure how rough the roads are and the distresses on the road, we inspect the bridge decks, tresses, super and sub structure and apply the rating, we try to address the infrastructure that needs it the most and project out on the revenue we have,” said Laesch.  “There is always plenty of projects, lots of needs on the aging system built 70 to 80 years ago.  We are having more needs on the culverts and sidewalks, they need a big fix but we do not have the revenue for a big fix so we have to work on the plan and make it sustainable.”
They are working on possible changes for downtown Crookston.  “We are working with the city on possibilities downtown to make it more pedestrian and bike friendly and easier to navigate,” said Laesch.  “We have discussed making it down to two lanes instead of three lanes and we want to develop a vision and then get a project to accomplish the vision.”





In this week’s Focus on Education, our news director, Kristi Thorfinnson sat in on an intense, self-defense class given to the Crookston High School senior girls. She caught up with the instructors, Linda Morgan and Crookston Police Officer Don Rasicot to get a little background on the annual tradition. “Five years ago I started my job here. I got to know Don a little bit, and I heard that he did a self-defense thing. So I brought it up to the Principal and said I wanted to do a class for the senior girls. All the support was there," said Mogan. "Don made up a sheet of what we were going to do. We’ve had anywhere from 30 kids at a time, to 14 today. I just do it for the senior girls going off to college – it’s my gift to them, because I get to know these girls and get really close with them, so they can learn to just to protect themselves a little bit.”
She and Rasicot had lots to say on the subject, so tune in to KROX on Saturday morning at 8:45 to hear more.

   Some of the senior girls at the self defense class and Crookston Police Officer Don Rasicot talks to the senior girls during the class

 Officer Justin Roue, Detective Dave Grabowski and Officer Don Rasicot 






The University of Minnesota Crookston held their annual Student Awards Celebration on Thursday, April 20 in Kiehle Auditorium.

Man and Woman of the Year 

Seniors Ryan Rynda and Tareyn Stomberg were named Man and Woman of the Year capping off this evening’s Student Awards Celebration. Stomberg is a senior double majoring in ag business and animal science from Menahga, and Rynda is a software engineering major from Argyle.

Student Achievement Awards 

Back row, left to right, are Trina Wiesel, a senior from Alexandria; Delaney Kohorst, a senior from Cohasset; Shane Boehne, a junior from Henderson; and Bailey Braatz, a senior from Buffalo.
Middle row: Heidi Shol, a senior from Crookston; Ellen Dauphinais, a senior from Parkers Prairie; Kary Sheppard, a senior from Grand Rapids; Karen Choi, a senior from Seoul, South Korea. 
Front row: Dale Knotek, representing the Lions Club; Man of the Year Ryan Rynda and Woman of the Year Tareyn Stomberg, and Lisa Samuelson, Crookston Student Association advisor.
Not pictured
Baillee Hauser, a senior from Raymond.




A nice evening helped to ensure a big turnout for the Family Festival Super Heroes in Action at Crookston High School. The event featured super hero games and activities, jumpy house, training camp, food, and health and informational booths, along with five real super heroes. The event was sponsored by the Celebrate the Young Child Collaborative and the Early Childhood Initiative.

Kids and parents were dressed up as their favorite superheroes at the Family Festival held at Crookston High School





Our Savior's Lutheran Preschool recently earned a Four Star Parent Aware Rating.  This is the highest possible rating.  Parent Aware is a state run program designed to help families find the quality care and education their children need to succeed in school and life. Parent Aware rates childcare and preschool programs to ensure that the programs are trained in and using best practices that prepare children for kindergarten, while helping parents easily identify these high-quality programs.





RiverView Health’s monthly Type 2 diabetes support  group will meet on Wednesday, April 26 from 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm in Meeting Room 1 of RiverView Health, 323 S. Minnesota Street, Crookston. The group is led by RiverView Dietitian Darcey Larsen, RD LD, and Health Coach Kelsey Billing, RN, BSN.  
The Type 2 meetings are free and open to anyone with Type 2 diabetes and their family members. New members are always welcome. In 2017 the group will meet on the following Wednesdays: April 26, May 24, June 28, July 26, August 23, September 27,  and October 25.
For more information, call Larsen at 281-9589.   






How better to sharpen your social skills than with a fun group of your peers? This is what the participants of the RiverView Health Social Skills Groups have been doing for the past several months. The goal of the groups is for each individual to develop the necessary social skills for them to be successful at home, school, and in the community. This includes communicating with others, making friends, and expressing themselves in a socially acceptable manner.
The concept for the groups came from RiverView Occupational Therapist April Waters who wanted Rehab Services patients to have a chance to practice the things they learn in therapy sessions in a real-world setting. “We work hard on social skills during our OT sessions, however, some patients struggle with carrying over the skills out in the community as they have had no ‘practice’ utilizing those skills with their peers or in a group setting,’’ Waters shared. “With the social skills groups, the participants learn about a particular social skill and then they receive the ‘practice’ they need out in the community with their peers.”
Waters received RiverView’s 2016 Bright Idea of the Year Award for her idea and work in creating the groups.
Rehab Services has conducted two social skills groups thus far, with the groups meeting every other week for three months. The social skills groups also help the therapists in determining how they can best help their patients. “We want to see the patients relating to other peers and visualize the areas they truly struggle with,’’ Waters stated. “During our treatment sessions, patients sometimes ‘mask’ their behaviors and we do not get a visual of how they interact with others out in the community. These groups provide us the opportunity to witness how they interact with others and determine how we can better assist them in developing their skills.’’
Group sessions have included ice breaker games, role playing, small group activities and going out to restaurants. The following topics have been covered: Social predictors: developing rapport with group members; joining in on conversation; expected vs. unexpected behaviors: analyze social behaviors; developing appropriate social topics in social settings; developing complimentary skills to last a lifetime: Problem solving and identifying  appropriate manner skills; and implementing new conversation skills in a social setting. So far RiverView has held a group for children ages 9-14 and another for ages 14 and up. Waters said she would also like to create a group for younger children. Another group will begin this summer, although children can join an already functioning group at any time.
For more information on RiverView’s Social Skills Groups, call Rehab Services at 218-281-9463.

Pictured above are some of the members of one of the RiverView Health Social Skills Groups




Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge Prairie Grouse Viewing Opportunities

Each spring, Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge staff place small, three-person public viewing blinds alongside the dancing grounds (aka – leks) of greater prairie-chickens and sharp-tailed grouse within the Refuge.  These native prairie grouse species are unique in their behavior each spring when males gather at regular breeding sites and engage in tremendous territorial displays, all in hopes of attracting a nearby female.  The antics include an array of calls, booms, leaps, foot stomping, and chasing, among other “dance moves”.  The blinds are positioned adjacent to the lek, so they don’t disturb the birds, yet are close to the action.  For many visitors, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
This is generally an early morning activity, with visitors needing to show up at their blind a full hour before sunrise.  The early alarm clock is well worth it though, as the displays can be amazing and provide for terrific photo and video opportunities.  When you reserve a blind, you will be provided maps, spatial coordinates, and written directions to it.  The trail to each blind is marked with a number of reflectors that will be highly visible in the dark with a flashlight.  If visitors can be situated in the blind well before sunrise and stay quiet, the “show” put on by the birds is usually tremendous.  Grouse activity at the leks typically tapers off around 8:00am. 
Reservations for this unique activity can be made beginning April 10 through late May.  To obtain more information about this free wildlife viewing activity or make a reservation, contact the Crookston Chamber of Commerce at 218-281-4320, 800-809-5997, or

Prairie Chickens "dancing"    Prairie Chicken close up  (photos by Eric Gustafson)





Giziibii Resource Conservation and Development Association is hosting a workshop on growing a variety of mushrooms.  It will be held from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm on April 22, 2017 at the Eckles Community Center, 9735 Cardinal Road, Bemidji, MN.  Participants will learn techniques, sources for supplies, recommendations for quick success and a brief overview of harvesting wild mushrooms. The speaker will be Ron Stelck, who has been growing mushrooms for many years and has shared his knowledge through workshops held throughout Minnesota.  Pre-registration is available by calling Colleen Oestreich at 218-333-0724, or email  Fee to attend is $10.00 to cover the cost of materials.  Participants will be able to leave with inoculated logs or a small starter kit to inoculate materials at home. Please help spread the word about this opportunity! 




THURSDAY - APRIL 20,  2017


The Polk County commissioners met on Tuesday and heard from Rich Sanders, Polk County Highway Engineer, about road damage on Highway 18 in the Fisher area.   “Over the past week we noticed a lot of damage on Highway 18 from Trunk Highway 2 to County State Highway 63,” said Sanders.  “I came to the board to get a reduction in the restriction from nine ton per axle to seven ton per axle to prevent more damage.  We will probably have to spend $50,000 to make repairs.  There are three areas to repair and there could be more.”
The county released the following press release on Wednesday -
According to the Polk County Highway Department, CSAH 18 from US Highway 2 to CSAH 17 has been posted down from nine tons per axle to seven tons per axle due to pavement deterioration over the past two weeks.  The existing bituminous has areas that has deteriorated beyond repair and will need patching this summer.  The traveling public should be aware of the areas and drive cautiously.

The commissioners approved an easement request from the City of Crookston, Sanders explains. “The city is going to be doing a construction project on South Main by the Fire Hall and because the county has tax forfeited property on the east side of the road at the old Otter Tail Plant, we need to give them the easement to do the project.”

Polk County will have a new assessor this spring after the retirement of Rob Wagner in May and they will promote Mark Landsverk to be County Assessor.  Landsverk will start on May 1 to work with Wagner and will become official on May 31.

The commissioners had an update on the Enbridge Pipeline tax appeal status. “There’s still discussion going on in St. Paul. There’s a Senate Tax Committee that we will be talking to on Thursday. There is some legislation out there on pipelines, but nothing concrete,” said Whiting.  “Of course, the Enbridge Tax Appeal itself doesn’t start until October now. We went over the failed mediation earlier at the end of March. So right now for us, it’s just preparing for the chances that if Enbridge somehow wins some or part of what they are appealing and what kind of costs that means to property tax payers in Polk County.  I just hate to say that, but that’s where we are stuck. We’ll have to do see what we have to do, depending on the amount if Enbridge succeeds.”




On Wednesday April 12, Crookston High School Junior trap shooter, Cameron Niemela, shot a perfect score of 25. "This is very difficult to do and we are very proud of him," said Danelle Knoll.  "We also had a number of 24’s and 23’s. The team is looking very solid this year with 44 shooters." 
Neimela was happy with the result, but wasn't looking forward to the recognition.  "For the most part I was happy.  I didn't want to get recognized, and I knew that was coming.  Everybody was saying congrats, congrats to me and I just wanted to go to my next round and see if I could hit another 25," said Neimela.  "I have been on the Crookston trap shooting team for three years now, otherwise I have been shooting since I was little."

 Cam Niemela hit all 25 targets while shooting last week.





Administrative Professionals Week is April 24-28, and your administrative professional will have a chance to win flowers for a year. Montague’s Flower Shop in Crookston and KROX know how important your administrative professional is to your business. Give them the recognition they deserve. Nominate them as Montague’s Administrative Professional of the Week.  Just drop off, mail, email or fax your entries to KROX. Then be listening on Wednesday, April 26 at 12:25 p.m. for the announcement of the winner. The winner will receive flowers from Montague’s Flower Shop once a month for a year.  All with best wishes from Montague’s Flower Shop and KROX Radio in Crookston.  Drop off or mail your entry to KROX, 208 South Main, Crookston, MN. 56716, fax to 281-5036, or email it to





The Crookston Eye Clinic - including Drs. Matthew Forgit, Kari Miller and Angie Smith - recently gave back to the community by contributing to RiverView Health’s Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) program. Through the RiverView Foundation, the Crookston Eye Clinic gave financial assistance to support and further develop the program that helps determine if an athlete has suffered a concussion and keeps the individual from returning to play too soon if results indicate that a concussion has occurred. “There’s so much more to vision than reading black letters on an eye chart,’’ Dr. Forgit explained. “The higher visual processing and vestibular areas in our brain that can be affected by head trauma play a huge role in clear, comfortable, efficient vision that is so important for learning for our young people.  Not only are we thrilled to be a part of this but felt obligated as caring for visual systems is our passion.’’

The ImPACT Program
ImPACT is a computerized assessment that documents an athlete’s neurocognitive functioning baseline before the sports seasons begin. If a possible concussion occurs, after the athlete has seen his or her primary caregiver, another ImPACT test is done to determine any damage since the baseline testing. The computerized program evaluates and documents multiple aspects of neurocognitive functioning, including verbal and visual memory, attention span, brain processing speed, reaction time, and post-concussion symptoms. The user-friendly injury documentation system enables medical providers and therapists to track the injury from the field and through the recovery process. An athlete is usually cleared to go back to play after favorable ImPACT results. ImPACT baseline testing is repeated every two years by participating athletes to take into account cognitive development.
RiverView’s ImPACT team is made up of Alyssa Halley, SLP; Rhonda Salentiny, PT; and Tina Safranski, OT. Last year the team did baseline testing for approximately 300 student athletes prior to their sports seasons and ultimately conducted 50 post-concussion tests. The ImPACT testing was done in the schools of Crookston, Fertile, Red Lake Falls, and Stephen Argyle Central.
With the support of the Crookston Eye Clinic, Safranski said she was able to complete further training on the role of an occupational therapist  in post-concussion techniques, including visual and vestibular treatments for those who have failed multiple post-tests. She shared that her additional training also granted her the tools to better understand the role of oculomotor pathology through vision therapy rehabilitation.  Safranski provides the vision portion of the concussion testing while Salentiny does the vestibular. “I am excited for this opportunity to work as a team  between Rehab Services, Crookston Eye Clinic, and area schools to better serve our student athletes and not only get them safely back to play but also help them return to learning,’’ Safranski shared.

Knowing When It’s OK to Return
Dr. Miller knows the ImPACT program firsthand as her family has been touched by it on a personal level.  Both of Miller’s sons played soccer for the Crookston Pirates while in high school. In the fall of 2012, oldest son Samuel suffered a concussion early in his senior soccer season. Fortunately, Samuel had done baseline ImPACT with RiverView prior to the start of the season.
“Had he not had the baseline concussion testing done through RiverView’s therapy department, we would not have had conclusive evidence to use in determining whether or not he could return to soccer that season,’’ Miller shared. “In my opinion, the ImPACT program was critical in my son’s recovery from a traumatic brain injury. The effects of traumatic brain injury can last a life time and I feel confident knowing that our son was allowed the time his brain needed to heal before exposing himself to further injury by returning to soccer too soon.’’
Miller reported that her son’s return to the soccer program was delayed by about a week due to the fact that he did not meet the baseline standards shown in his pre-concussion testing.  “The temptation is for the athlete to return more quickly than appropriate when physical symptoms like headaches, light sensitivity, and blurred vision resolve,’’ Miller stated. “However, the objective testing which measures recall, reaction time, memory, and more, reveals whether or not the athlete’s brain has recovered completely from the traumatic injury.’’
Unfortunately, Samuel suffered a second concussion within three weeks of his initial injury. Again, Dr. Miller says ImPACT testing was invaluable in determining the status of Samuel’s brain injury during the recovery. Samuel’s second episode did not resolve as quickly and ended his soccer season. “Our family is sincerely grateful for RiverView’s ImPACT program and the benefits it provides for student athletes in the area,’’ Miller concluded.

For more information on RiverView’s ImPACT program, call Rehab Services at 281-9463. For information on RiverView Foundation projects, contact Foundation Director Kent Bruun at 281-9249 or

Drs. Angie Smith, Kari Miller and Matthew Forgit, Crookston Eye Clinic; Kent Bruun, RiverView Foundation director; and Tina Safranski, RiverView occupational therapist.




The City of Fisher has recently completed a Comprehensive Plan with assistance from the Northwest Regional Development Commission.  Public input is critical to the success of the Fisher community.  Please review the proposed plan by clicking the button below and e-mail any comments to  For the comprehensive plan click here.





Music in the air this spring as the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) Jazz Band, Choir and the UMC Community Band take to the stage in Kiehle Auditorium for their final performances of the 2016-17 academic year. The concerts are free and all are welcome. No parking permits required to attend.

On Saturday, April 22
, the U of M Crookston Jazz Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium under the direction of TJ Chapman. The performance will feature guest artist Steven Konecne, professor emeritus of music at Bemidji State University. Konecne was a woodwind instructor and director of jazz studies at BSU during his tenure. He maintains an active performance schedule as a soloist and as a member of the Bemidji Jazz Quartet.

On Sunday, April 23
, the UMC Community Band and the UMC Choir will be in concert at 3 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium. The concert will feature student conductor and senior Hannah Van Dyke, who will be conducting a piece she played with the band as a freshman. The band will also play an arrangement by senior Ryan Rynda. The band is directed by TJ Chapman.
The choir will sing a variety of numbers under the direction of George French including a group of selections that include favorite spirituals and several popular numbers.





Five students from the University of Minnesota Crookston traveled to Tennessee to present at the 31st annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research held at the University of Memphis. The conference, held in early April, was an opportunity for the students to showcase their undergraduate research projects.
The students presenters, joined by faculty members Brian Dingmann and Megan Bell, included Pratima Thapaliya, a senior from Kathmandu, Nepal, majoring in applied studies; Heather Buchhop from Cary, Ill.; Cassandra Morthera, a junior from Mexico City, Mexico; Kary Sheppard, a senior from Grand Rapids; and Joseph Wodarek, a senior from Six Lakes, Mich.
Formal presentations during the four-day conference were given by Joseph Wodarek on the “Effects of Sodium Bicarbonate on Xanthomonas translucens;” Pratima  Thapaliya on “A Study on Use of Ichip Technology to Isolate Diverse Groups of Microorganisms;” Kary Sheppard on “Post-therapy Collaboration;” and Heather Buchhop on “Validating the Association of SLC2A9 and NLN with the Entropion Phenotype in a Domestic Sheep Herd.”
Cassandra Morthera was selected to participate in the poster session with her poster “One Step Ahead” discussing the use of social media in the University of Minnesota system.

The idea for a national conference open to all undergraduates was conceived and first implemented at the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) in 1987. The first conference drew more than 400 participants from schools across the country. Now in existence for 30 years, the conference has become the leading conference for undergraduate research, hosting 3,500-4,000 students and their faculty mentors each year. One of the only conferences of its kind within the world, it provides students and faculty mentors from all disciplines the ability to present their research through posters, oral presentations, visual arts and performances. The conference is hosted at a different university across the U.S. each year.
The Council on Undergraduate Research’s Executive Officer Elizabeth Ambos notes:  “CUR’s programs, including its signature student research conference, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), serve as “home” for all champions and practitioners of undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry.”




Crookston High School Leo Club members and Drama department hosted their annual senior brunch this morning. The seniors were also treated to a special performance of the spring play, The Addams Family, which will run this weekend.

Part of the large crowd of seniors enjoying brunch before the play performance





The Crookston School District special election on Tuesday had a huge turnout and the voters made it clear they didn't want the three projects, at least at the prices that were quoted.  The ballot contained three stand-alone questions asking the Crookston School District voters to approve over $11.4 million in bonds for three separate projects.
The first question was for construction of a new bus garage in an amount not to exceed $3,435,000 and there were 1,459 NO votes to 553 YES votes.
The second question was for an addition of a gymnasium and music room at the high school for a cost of $4,875,000 and there were 1,718 NO votes to 289 YES votes
The third question was for the construction of an athletic complex/football/soccer turf field at a cost not to exceed $3,105,000 and there were 1,751 NO votes and 255 YES votes.
"Obviously it would have been nice to pass one of them, but we didn't.  Our job was to show these projects were needed and we didn't," said Crookston School District Superintendent Chris Bates.  "I'm not sure if I have ever seen a referendum this lop sided.  I certainly haven't been a part of one.  I thought the bus garage would have been closer." School Districts have to go to the voters to get approval and that is different than the city or the county. "We aren't like the city or the county because we have to go to the voters and we know that.  I think that makes it harder, but that forces us to be reasonable.  I don't know that we asked for a lot of money for the projects, obviously what the public didn't like was what the money was to be spent on," said Bates. "I thought the bus garage would have been the one that would gain traction and it didn't."
What is the next step for the Crookston School District? "When you have a close vote, you tweak it, but these aren't close," said Bates.  "That is a question the school board will have to ponder.  The thing is if you ponder for too long and cut the projects back they will cost the same when you come back again.  We met with Butler Buildings and tried to bring the prices down, but when we started from the first estimates to the second one, we saw a 10 percent increase.  The board will have to decide what and when and that will be the next step.  Do we forget the projects?  The need for a bus garage and a track won't go away and things usually go up in price, especially the bus garage."




April 24 through April 28 is Spring Clean-Up Week in Crookston.  Clean-up items will be picked up only on your regular garbage pickup day and must be placed on the street boulevard.  Please note: Compost material - grass clippings, lawn or garden waste - WILL NOT have to be in City compost bags for this week only.  Cleanup items should be separated into the following piles:  garbage, clothing, cardboard, etc.; appliances; branches and yard waste; furniture, metal items, demolition, etc. and tires.  Placing these items out in separate piles will help speed the clean-up process.  Polk County Public Health advises to not bring furniture, mattresses, box springs, or bed frames found on the street into your home in order to prevent the spread of bed bugs.
Due to State Law, all video display devices (TV’s, computer monitors, etc.) cannot be land filled.  Therefore, these items will not be collected during clean-up.  These devices may be disposed of at Polk County Environmental Services (Transfer Station), free of charge.  Video display devices left on the boulevard more than 48 hours are subject to a $25 penalty surcharge.
Concrete, batteries, partially full paint cans, other chemicals, or large amounts of demolition debris will not be accepted.  Branches must be cut in four foot lengths and bundled.
Items should be placed on boulevards no more than 72 hours prior to your collection day.  Remember, Spring Clean-Up Week is April 24 – April 28 in Crookston.




Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) at the University of Minnesota Crookston is hosting the seventh annual Pi Run on Saturday, April 22, 2017. The run starts at Highland School, 801 Central Avenue North, Crookston, Minn. Races include the 3.14 mile “Pi Run/Walk” (a distance roughly equal to five kilometers) and the 6.28 mile “2Pi Run” (approximately 10k).  Prior to the Pi Run, there will be a “Slice of Pi” kids run which is approximately one-half mile.  The schedule for the morning begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration at the Highland School.  The Slice of Pi kids run will start at 9:30 and the 5k and 10k at 10 a.m. Participants will be able to register on the day of the race.  However, registration by April 7, 2017, guarantees 5K and 10K runners a participant shirt. Awards will be presented to the top three overall female and male finishers at the conclusion of the 5k and 10k, and all participants are invited to enjoy our pie social after the race. All children participating in the Fun Run will receive a finisher's medal. To register, visit or call 218-281-8558 with questions. All runners and walkers are encouraged to participate in this community event.  All proceeds to benefit the Carnegie Library Restoration Project Fund. The goal of the Polk County Historical Society's library renovation is to restore the Carnegie building into an arts and cultural center for the community and region. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in June 1984 and the Lake Agassiz Regional Library of Crookston, built that same year, stands adjacent to it. Members of Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) Honor Society sponsor the race. ALD is an honor society at the UMC for students who have earned a 3.5 or higher grade point average and are in the top 20% of their class during their first year or term of higher education. 




We continue our observance of Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week with a little information from Brian Halos of the Crookston Fire Department on flooding and the dangers posed by high water. He explains why flooding is not just a spring-time concern: “Flooding can happen any time of the year. We’re kind of past the typical spring flood season now that everybody usually thinks of with the snow thaw and the ice moving out on the river. We basically got through this year with very little impact and very little flooding at all. We had a little high water when the ice started to move and jam up, and about the only effect that had on the City was that we did get a little water in Central Park, and we had a little water flowing over east Robert Street in the location where the old arena used to sit. The Public Works department simply had to go and close a gate on a storm sewer. Flooding in the City can happen any time of the year, it isn’t only with spring snow melt and the ice moving off the river. If we have a 2-6” rain event, depending on soil conditions, and the current river level, it can raise the river level enough that we’ll have issues with the river, or with overland flooding. Flash flooding typically occurs with heavy rain events. We certainly have seen flash flooding, and it usually happens when we get rain fast enough that the storm sewer system can’t handle the runoff. Typically that’s short-lived and doesn’t involve a lot of property damage. Usually what we see are vehicles stalling out when they attempt to go through the water in the underpass behind the fire hall or the underpass on Sixth Street by Arby’s.”

Halos said Crookston has comprehensive plans in place to deal with rising river levels, and ensure the safety of residents. “We’ve got all of our flood protection measures completed, we’ve got our levees in place, we’re protected to 30 feet; the river’s got to get pretty high here to get to 30 feet,” he said. “We have a whole list of procedures laid out – basically we start watching the river at about 14-15 feet, and between 14-22 feet river level we have different things that need to be done: Central Park is closed off, certain storm sewer gates are closed, things like that. At that point, it’s primarily Public Works watching things. We certainly keep an eye on things, too. Once the river level gets to 20 feet the Emergency Management, Fire Department and Police Department people get more involved. We start patrolling the areas, checking the river, checking problem areas, walking dikes, things like that. Walking the dikes starts at 22 feet.”

According to Halos, motorists need to exercise caution around flooded roads. “If you’re in a vehicle and there’s water over the road, and you can’t see the road, don’t try to drive through it. You might think it's two to three inches deep, but it might be four feet deep. A foot of water or so will stall out a vehicle. If you can’t see the road, you’re not sure the road is even there. Flash flooding will actually wash out a road, so there might be a big hole. You might think you’re driving through a few inches of water, but the road might not actually be there. In flash flooding, the water is typically moving very fast, and driving through what you think is a small amount of water, is potentially enough water to sweep a vehicle off the roadway, and potentially downstream.”

And finally, he gave us some tips homeowners can take around floodwaters, and in preparing for high water incidents: “If you see water across the road, don’t drive through it. Certainly stay out of the water – don’t let your kids go ride their bikes through it. It certainly helps to be prepared in the spring of the year. Some people in low-lying areas buy plugs for their basement floor drains to make sure they don’t get a little sewer back-up. Typically that isn’t a problem, but it’s a measure you can take. Now that we’re out of the flood plain with our permanent levees, flood insurance is cheaper to buy. Flood insurance is really a pretty good bargain, if you’re not in the flood plain. You have to buy it for a year at a time, but it’s typically a good value.”

Each year, Homeland Security and Emergency Management in collaboration with the National Weather Service and 16 state and local agencies and organizations sponsor Severe Weather Awareness Week to refresh, remind and educate everyone about the seasonal threats from severe weather and how to avoid them. It’s also a great time to make and practice your emergency plan and build or refresh your emergency preparedness kit. Tomorrow we’ll hear from fireman Chris Klawitter on the dangers that tornadoes and high winds can present.




TUESDAY - APRIL 18,  2017


A portion of downtown Crookston, including the KROX studios, went dark for a while this morning. Around 10:00 this morning, a crew from Otter Tail Power Company was called to the alley behind the Eagles building on Broadway to repair a downed power line.  The Crookston Fire Department and Crookston Police Department offered their services during the repair and kept people away from the downed line.
Jenn Walz, owner of This Is Sew Broadway called in the problem, and said the incident made her building shake. “I was in the long-arm room, putting a quilt on the long-arm and the lights went out, and all of a sudden I heard a big bang (in the back of the store) that shook the building," said Walz.  "I looked out the window, and saw sparks flying all over, and a big chunk of something flew across the alley. We went outside and were watching to see what else would happen. It was pretty exciting and kind of crazy. The firefighters were down there and told us to get back, but we really haven’t had anyone tell us yet what’s going on.”
Otter Tail Power had power restored by 11:30 a.m.

Otter Tail Power Company crews working hard on restoring power in the alley behind This Is Sew Broadway, Brandner Printing and the Crookston Eagles




The Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority (CHEDA) Board met this morning to discuss the topic of a stipend request from Sweet Light Photography to relocate to a larger location in downtown Crookston. Funding for the stipends could come from rents paid by Valley Technology Park tenants, said CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth: “We’ve actually been talking about this topic – a business development stipend for downtown development for a couple years now, trying to get some traction, where businesses could see some revenue stream supplied by CHEDA. In this case we’d be looking at incubating a tenant, but rather than in the VTP, we’d be extending that incubation process to the downtown. We’ve identified a business, and we’ve identified a place where they could go, it’s just that the rent and the utility costs are too high for them to make a go of it there. Rather than subsidizing them at Valley Tech Park, we had the discussion about whether or not we should subsidize them at a downtown location.”  Crookston City Council members were split on the idea. “I’d like to see more of this,” said Councilman Jake Fee. “$3,000 is a small investment for that kind of return.” However, Councilman and Board Member Steve Erickson countered that argument, saying, “I’d like to see a better plan in place before we go ahead.” Board Member Paul Eickhof agreed, saying “No sense putting together a plan for a business that isn’t going to be successful.”
Hoiseth seemed pleased with the discussion the topic stirred. “We didn’t need to act on it today, but did discuss putting forth some framework and some parameters on how that policy might look, in the event that a stipend was given. This one discussed today was for $250 a month, so it would be a commitment for one calendar year at $3,000 and then revisit it at that time. We also recognize that if we did this – actually a dollar give-away – to help a business locate downtown, that there would be others that would probably be coming forward, so we have to understand what the demand would be for such a stipend, and be able to administer it fairly and have good stewardship on it.”
The Board also approved housing rehabilitation loans to two local developers: $25,000 to Craig and Melinda Larson for a home at 375 Crescent Avenue, and $50,000 ($25,000 now and $25,000 in August 2017) to JR Rentals (Justin Jerde and Blake Royal) for a house at 121 East 2nd Street. Hoiseth explained the action of the Board: “At our last meeting we talked about the fact that our funds for the housing rehabilitation loan had been depleted. The Board instructed me to try to find some funds someplace, so I went to the Ways & Means Committee and they were gracious enough to appropriate us $50,000. We had that request for the house on 7th Street to be rehabbed, and in the meantime we had another request for a house on Crescent Ave, so what we did is split the $50,000 between the two, giving each of them $25,000 to start their project, and then when we get a rehab loan paid back this summer in August, we’ll extend the other $25,000 for the house on 7th Street.”
The Board Members agreed to put the stipend topic on the agenda for the next CHEDA meeting, and to gather public input in the meantime.





Two big items were discussed at the Park Board meeting on Monday night. The first item mentioned by Scott Riopelle, Director of Crookston Park and Rec, was the progress being made on a new website for Park & Rec. Riopelle said, “Our website hasn’t been as user-friendly to some people, so we’re trying to change that up some, and we thought we could start our own website – it wouldn’t be part of the City’s website, it’ll be Park & Rec’s own, but it’ll have links to the City and vice versa. We’d like to make it a little more vibrant, a little more appealing to people and easy for them to use. We’re going with all on-line registration now, so we’ll have a link to that, as well, so that people can look up our particular offerings and sign up for them, and we’re ready to go.”

The second item Riopelle noted was the plan to create a “history wall” on the west wall of the event arena at the Crookston Sports Center.  “We have the west wall of the event rink which is real white, real plain, because there’s nothing on there,” he said. “The class of 1977 from Mount St. Benedict has purchased a banner commemorating the team as the Runner-up in the 1977 Hockey Tournament. Rather than hang it from the rafters, we will incorporate it in with some stuff from Cathedral or Mount teams, some action shots, something like that. Maybe tie in something else next to it from Crookston Central hockey, so there’ll be some history for people to see as they walk around the rink, and give us some appeal on that west side that is so plain at this point. It’ll fit all of our needs – we do have a policy within the rink of what we can hang on walls, so the idea is to put up bigger pictures, something attractive to people and let them see a little history, because we do have some good history in the community in that sport.”
The two items were well-received by the Park Board members, who will be meeting again on May 10 in a special meeting to address the Strategic Plan.
The next regular Park Board meeting is scheduled for May 15, 4:15 p.m. at the Crookston Sports Center.




April signals a number of year-end high school traditions, including prom. The Promenade Dance, most commonly called a prom, can include elaborate “promposals” to line up a date, semi-formal dress, corsages and boutonnieres, elaborate dinner plans, limousine rides, and all-night after-prom parties. No doubt about it, prom can be a major event among high school students.
Dawn Skjei is the coordinator for this year’s Crookston High School prom. She gave us a little information on what her role is, and what students and parents can expect next Saturday.  At 2:30 p.m. the Juniors will be out at Kiehl Auditorium for their group pictures and buddy pictures. At 3:30 the Seniors will come in and do their pictures. At 4:30 Grand March lineup begins, and Grand March starts at 5:00. After the Grand March, the banquet is at 6:30 and the professional pictures will be taken. The dance is from 9-11:00. "If we can get our students to stay for the dance – that’s sometimes an issue that they leave early – for whoever stays, their name will go into a drawing for a boy and a girl to win $100 each," said Skjei.  "So that’s a little incentive to stay.”
Skjei said that both students and parents can look forward to an entertaining evening, especially with the VIP seating offered this year. “The entertainment at the dance is a DJ. We hired someone new this year who is a relative of one of the students, so that worked out well. We’re still trying to sell some of the Hugo’s books to make enough money to pay for our prom,” she said. ”Something new this year is our Limited VIP Seating for $25.00. Any parent who wants to sit up front for the best picture-taking can go to the high school and pay for it. For anyone else who would like to come and watch the prom, admission is $5.00, and it goes toward prom expenses.  It’s always kind of fun to see the guys and the gals all dressed up.”




Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 17-21, 2017. Each year, Homeland Security and Emergency Management in collaboration with the National Weather Service and 16 state and local agencies and organizations sponsor Severe Weather Awareness Week to refresh, remind and educate everyone about the seasonal threats from severe weather and how to avoid them.
We caught up with Kent Ellingson at the Crookston Fire Department, who shared some information about Severe Weather, Lightning and Hail. All thunderstorms are dangerous, he said: “Thunderstorms affect relatively small areas, compared with other storms. A typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts for 30 minutes. But whatever their size, all thunderstorms are dangerous. Severe thunderstorms produce large hail or winds of at least 58 miles per hour. When a severe thunderstorm threatens, stay inside a strong structure. Mobile home occupants should go to a more permanent structure. Thunderstorms can product straight-line winds that can exceed 100 mph.”
Hail can also present danger, according to Ellingson “Hail is a product of thunderstorms that causes nearly $1 billion in damage every year. Most hail is about pea-sized. Much of it is the size of baseballs, and can reach grapefruit size. Large hailstones fall faster than 100 mph and have been known to kill people.”
Ellingson said thunder and lightning go hand in hand in severe weather. “Every thunderstorm produces lightning. Lightning kills 100 Americans each year – more than tornadoes, and caused about 300 injuries. No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. When you hear thunder, immediately move to a safe shelter. Stay in the safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.”
However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of injury in thunderstorms, he said. “Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that can put you in direct contact with electricity. Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets. Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches. If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere, immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, never lie flat on the ground, never shelter under an isolated tree. Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water. Stay away from objects that conduct electricity, such as barbed wire fences, powerlines, windmills, etc.”




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