A grand jury has indicted Daniel Gonzalez Jr, an 18 year old from Crookston, who allegedly shot a friend at a Crookston apartment last month on first-degree premeditated murder charges last week.
Gonzalez was indicted on one count of first-degree premeditated murder, one count of second-degree intentional murder, four counts of second-degree assault and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in Polk County District Court on July 30.
Prosecutors allege Gonzalez intentionally shot 18-year-old Juan Manuel Morales in the head with a pistol early July 9 at an apartment in Crookston.
According to the criminal complaint filed, there were four people in the apartment, including a 5-year-old boy at the time of the shooting.
Two of them told police they witnessed Gonzalez shoot Morales after the two had an argument.
Morales died several hours after the shooting from the injuries.




The Crookston High School class of 1965 is celebrating their 50th reunion during Oxcart Days weekend.  Dinner will be Friday, August 14 at the Crookston Inn at 5:00 p.m., with class pictures taken at 5:30 p.m.  Saturday’s events will be Pepster Scoops on KROX from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., a bus tour of the city at 1:00 p.m. and other casual activities.  Some bleachers will be set up at the corner of North Ash Street and East 7th Street to view the parade for classmates  – meet prior to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.  Cathedral School class of ’65 and other friends are invited to the Crookston Inn about 8:00 p.m. on Friday to visit and reminisce.



Round up your most-skilled dodgeball loving friends and enter the 2nd Annual Ox Cart Days Dodgeball Tournament sponsored by RiverView Health on Wednesday, August 12.
The tournament will have two divisions: Adult and 12 and under. Each team is required to have six players. The entry fee for each team is $40.  The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Lysaker Gym, on the University of Minnesota-Crookston campus. Prizes will be awarded to the top three teams.
Teams must register by Monday, August 10. Entry forms are available by going to or



MONDAY - AUGUST 3,  2015


The Miss Crookston Scholarship pageant will be celebrating the 25th straight year of the pageant with the theme of Sparkalicious - Celebrating 25 plus Years of Spectacular women.  The pageant will be held Friday, August, 14 at 7:00 p.m. during Ox Cart Days.  This years contestants are the following-

Name Sponsor Parents Talent
Grace Espinosa Dairy Queen Lucy Payment Dance
Marietta Geist Dans Flying Service Dan and Sara Geist Piano
Ariel LaPlante Dairy Queen/Crookston Paint and Glass Craig and Sue LaPlante Monologue
Macy Larson Crookston Gun Club Rodney and Suzie Larson Vocal
Alex MacGregor M and H Scott and Kris MacGregor Violin/Fiddling
Marie Sandman Bremer Bank Julie Sandman Dance

All former queens and past contestants are invited at 5:00 p.m. before the pageant to visit the Crookston High School commons area.  Light refreshments will be served and the video "Thru the Years" will be shown.  Past queens will be guests at the pageant and will be introduced during the show.  Following the pageant there will a reception for all past queens, contestants, past committee members and everyone interested in the commons.

The most "mature" queen is Rosita Ellingson Barber, who is 90 years old, and hopes to attend.  Barber was crowned in 1948.  Throughout the years there have been 37 queens, beginning in 1948.  The pageants were sporadic between 1948 and 1990.  Since 1991 the pageant, under the direction of Ann Graham and the late Kari Thompson, has had over 200 young women as contestants and awarded over $58,000 in scholarships.  There has been additional scholarships for girls that chose to go to UMC.  Several Miss Crookston pageant contestants have gone on to Miss Minnesota sanctioned pageants and have competed in the Miss Minnesota pageant.

Picture boards from the past 25 years will be on display in the Crookston Paint and Glass windows the week of the pageant.  "I was fairly new in town and received a call from the Crookston Chamber of Commerce asking if I would start a pageant.  Kari Thompson also agreed and we became good friends and had so much fun throughout the years.  25 years later the committee has been consistent, with a few leaving and new people joining.  The community and businesses have been very supportive and many individuals have volunteered many hours.  The committee truly enjoys working with the contestants each year and it is a fun committee to be a part of," said Miss Crookston Pageant Director, Ann Graham. "I feel the pageant helps the contestants gain confidence and poise, builds friendships and it is a fun and rewarding experience."

To commemorate this years celebration, "One in a Million" charms are being made and are being designed by Kailey Persson Normandin.  Each year the contestants finale is done to the song, "One In a Million."  Charms may be ordered now through Robin Reitmeier by calling 218-281-4064 or at the door at the pageant.  Cost is $10 and will go to the One In a Million award, which is new this year.

The Miss Crookston committee consists of Brenda Kaiser, who has been with the pageant for 25 years, Kristy Morris-Leas, Marilee Hanson, Laura Lyczewski, Adrianne Winger, Dawn Johnston, and Dawn Skjei.
Tickets are $8.00 and will be on sale Tuesday, August 11 from Noon to 1:00 p.m.  Tables will be set up by the Crookston High School Tennis Courts due to the parking lot construction at the Crookston High School.  Remaining tickets will be sold at Crookston Floral and Montague's Flower Shop.




From today (August 3) through Sunday, August 9, Domino’s in Crookston will donate $2.00 from each pizza ordered with a donation form to Joseph Ramirez and his family to help pay for medical costs.  To get the form needed to donate $2 from every pizza you order click here.
Joseph Ramirez, son of Joe and Victoria, is a 13 year old who attends Crookston High School and enjoys playing football, baseball and other activities to stay active.  In June,  Joseph started getting constant headaches and high fevers, causing his organs to become enlarged.   Doctors found that his immune system created antibodies to destroy blood platelets, so his red blood cells were unable to mature.  This left him exhausted and in constant pain. He was diagnosed with Atypical Kawasaki Disease. He was in hospitals for over a month with stays at Riverview Health, Sanford Pediatric ICU in Fargo and the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. Joseph was able to return home on July 16.   Your support of the benefit with Domino’s this week would help the family with building medical expenses.  For more information about Joseph’s journey, check out the Go Fund Me page at, if you would like to donate money to the family.




The Crookston Chamber of Commerce has named Crystal Maruska the new Crookston Chamber of Commerce Chair with Corby Kemmer leaving for a job in Bismarck.
Maruska joined the Chamber Board of Directors back in 2012 as a representative from the Villa St. Vincent. Currently she is the Director of Rehab Services at RiverView Health and just recently stepped into the position of Chair after former Chair Corby Kemmer left his position at the University of Minnesota, Crookston to pursue a professional opportunity in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Always hearing the Chamber so highly talked of, she immediately said yes when approached as an addition to the board and ever since has been a great asset to the group. She lives by "anything that helps business grow is good for Crookston" and has gained great friendships, business connections, and has had a lot of fun during her term. She mentions that her contribution is similar to her role in rehab as she is continually developing new programs to promote community health and vitality. Her priorities on the board are based on the Chamber's mission while providing more educational opportunities to the Crookston businesses that promote development and enhancement as well as focusing on our Young Professionals. "Having grown up in Crookston, I appreciate the traditions of Crookston and have seen many positive changes throughout the years," said Maruska. "I am blessed to work, live, and play in Crookston while my husband and I choose to raise our children here. Being on the Chamber Board is a great opportunity for me to give back to the community and I am happy to serve the Crookston businesses." Crystal's husband Adam Maruska is Vice President of Crookston National Bank and they have two children, Connor and Catelyn. 
The Crookston Area Chamber would like to thank Corby Kemmer for his service to the Chamber Board of Directors and best wishes for him and his family in their new endeavors.




Polk County Public Health, along with the Polk County Breastfeeding Coalition and the Polk County Wellness Coalition, is celebrating Minnesota Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Each August it is celebrated in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7. The 2015 World Breastfeeding Week theme, Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work, aims to empower and support ALL women, working in both the formal and informal sectors, to adequately combine work with child-rearing, particularly breastfeeding. Work is defined in its broadest form from paid employment, self-employment, seasonal and contract work to unpaid home and care work. We know that making this healthy choice easier, where we live, work and play is the key.
Breastfeeding is important for both mother and baby. Human milk is tailored to the needs of the human infant. Research shows that infants who are not exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life are more likely to develop a wide range of chronic and acute diseases, including ear infections, diarrheal diseases, asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, obesity and respiratory illnesses.
Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding with a decreased risk for breast and ovarian cancers. In Minnesota, the majority of mothers breastfeed. However many stop breastfeeding earlier than planned, or do not breastfeed at all, because they face multiple and complex barriers that keep them from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals. Support and encouragement from family, friends, employers, communities, health care and child care providers reduces barriers and helps mothers who wish to breastfeed overcome the barriers they do encounter…essentially making breastfeeding easier. Everyone benefits from measures protecting breastfeeding at the workplace. Mothers and babies are healthier, happier, more rested, and less stressed; the entire family benefits from the protection a woman receives in job security, cash and medical benefits, and peace of mind to be with her newborn and to recuperate; fathers and partners benefit from being equal partners in parenting, and sharing parental and paternity leaves; babies are also sick less often, so both families and nations save on health care costs, with lower morbidity and mortality rates; employers benefit from having a more contented and productive workforce due to less employee absenteeism, increased loyalty and less staff turnover. New prospective employees are seeking employment in places that promote worksite wellness, including a lactation space and a comprehensive worksite breastfeeding policy. With support from The Statewide Health Improvement Program or SHIP, and a grant from the local United Way, Polk County Public Health along with healthcare partners and community members that form the Polk County Breastfeeding Coalition (PCBC), work continues with inviting Polk County employers to participate in an important worksite initiative: establishing a worksite lactation support program and policy.
Effective March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 721 S. Minnesota St. #1 • P.O. Box 403 • Crookston, MN 56716 • (218) 281-3385 amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), to require employers to provide a nursing mother reasonable break time to express breast milk after the birth of her child. The amendment also requires that employers provide a place for an employee to express breast milk, other than a bathroom. The PCBC will assist employers in establishing lactation rooms, and aid them in developing a breastfeeding support program. With more and more woman choosing to breastfeed their baby, with an initiation rate close to 80%, and with many mothers in the workforce, having employers assist in being a supportive environment helps breastfeeding continue. PCBC plan to identify businesses that support breastfeeding women, with a door/window cling that displays the International Breastfeeding Logo of a woman holding an infant in blue and white colors. With the display of this cling to employees and consumers, mothers will know breastfeeding is supported and protected at this place of business. Breastfeeding Policies for worksites will also be encouraged and assistance provided as well. Other sources of breastfeeding support in our community, along with the Polk County Breastfeeding Coalition, include Polk County Public Health, WIC, local hospitals, Mama’s Milk Connection (a breastfeeding support group in Crookston), area IBCLC’s and CLC’s. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a certified healthcare professional with special knowledge and experience assisting breastfeeding families. 2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of celebrating World Breastfeeding Week. To celebrate, Mama’s Milk Connection will sponsor a Family Potluck at the Community Family Service Center Playground (Head Start playground), Thursday August 6th, at 6:00 p.m. All who promote, protect and support breastfeeding, are welcome to join the evening of fun with games, prizes and great discussion. This year’s theme “Breastfeeding and Work-Let’s Make it Work” therefore involves EVERYONE. Together, WE CAN MAKE IT WORK! For more information about breastfeeding, World Breastfeeding Week, Mama’s Milk Connection, Polk County Breastfeeding Coalition, or Polk County WIC program, please call Polk County Public Health at 281-3385.





The American Legion Auxiliary held their 96th State Convention in Redwood Falls in July. Auxiliary members from Crookston representing the American Legion Auxiliary Unit #20 were Margee Keller and Sharon Lanctot.
Chris Ronning of Osseo, Minnesota, State President of the American Legion Auxiliary presided.  Honorary Department Junior President, Jules Efta, a member of the Argyle unit brought greetings from the Junior Auxiliary.  Greetings were also brought by the 2015 Governor of Minnesota Girls State Sarah Burch of Lindstrom, Minnesota.
Special highlights of the convention were: The Ninth District Band was in the parade held Friday night. Jamie Cassavant of Crookston took third place for her Poppy Centerpiece in that competition. Nels T Wold Unit 20 earned Certificates of Merit for our Children and Youth, Legislation and Public Relations programs.
The newly elected officers for 2015-2016 American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Minnesota are  President Sandra Fredrickson from Glenville; First Vice President Carol Kottom from Buffalo and Second Vice President Donna Arends from Willmar.

Margee Keller, American Legion Auxiliary District 9 President, Crookston; Jean Walker, Candidate for Department 2nd Vice President, American Legion Auxiliary, Warren;   Karen Thygeson, Past Department President American Legion Auxiliary, Thief River Falls and Sharon Lanctot, President, Nels T Wold Unit 20, Crookston.



Otter Tail Power Company is granting up to nine $1,500 awards in 2015 to qualifying organizations in its service territory for purchasing automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Applications may come from nonprofit entities such as a city, school, ambulance/first responder unit, community center, etc. To qualify, an applicant must:
Receive electrical service from Otter Tail Power Company.
- Prove nonprofit status by submitting a 501(c)(3) (or equivalent) document.
- Agree to place the AED where it’s easily accessible for emergency response.
- Have volunteers willing to receive CPR and AED training and able to respond to a
cardiac emergency.

According to Mark Helland, Otter Tail Power Company’s vice president of customer service, the recipient is responsible for purchasing, placing, and maintaining the AED and for training volunteers. “Otter Tail Power Company will provide the funding or this life-saving equipment, and the recipients will administer the program,” he said.
To apply, go to to fill out the application form and submit it to the Otter Tail Power Company Customer Service Center in your area. The application requests a short summary of where the AED would be located (senior center, fire department, swimming pool, for example) and approximately how many people that location serves. The deadline to apply is October 1, 2015. Each Customer Service Center will select an AED grant recipient from its area and will notify the successful applicant by November 1.




Again this summer, I’ve had several calls regarding curling leaves on tomatoes or peppers. In each case, the gardener had unknowingly applied contaminated compost, or the garden area had been sprayed previously with the herbicide Aminopyralid in an attempt to control difficult weeds – sometimes 2-3 years beforehand. Aminopyralid is the chemical name of the herbicide manufactured by Dow and sold under numerous trade names, including Milestone.
This problem is not unique to our area. Gardeners all across the US, Europe and Canada are finding classic herbicide damage on garden crops due to manure or compost contaminated with this herbicide. In fact, Aminopyralid can persist in hay, manure, compost or soil for up to three to five years depending on application rate.
The most commonly observed symptoms are twisted, cupped, and elongated leaves. Poor seed germination or death of young plants is also common. Certainly, these symptoms can be caused by other factors such as disease, insects or herbicide drift – especially when spraying nearby lawn weeds.
In our area, Aminopyralid is typically used in pastures and along roadsides to control thistle and spotted knapweed. The company label says the forage can be safely consumed by livestock and horses where the herbicide passes through the animal’s digestive tract and is excreted in the urine and manure. After passage through an animal, this product will remain active in the manure even after it’s composted and will cause damage to broadleaf garden plants. It can also remain active on hay, plant residue and grass clippings from treated areas.
You can prevent the loss of garden crops from herbicide damage from products such as this in two ways. One, do not spray any areas intended for current or future gardens. This includes pastures, hay fields or even lawns. Next, before using compost or manure that you did not produce yourself, be sure to ask if any herbicides were used on the hay or pasture. Also, be sure to ask about purchased hay sources as well. If the livestock were fed hay from road ditches or land in CRP, which was sprayed with Aminopyralid, the carryover issue will likely be a concern.
If the horse has already left the barn, till the garden several times during the growing season, using irrigation if practical, and plant the area into a non-sensitive cover crop for a year or two to help the Aminopyralid break down.  To determine when it’s safe to plant again, conduct a pot or field bioassay with a sensitive crop like beans or peas. Meanwhile, you may want to prepare another garden area while the chemical breaks down in your existing garden.
Conducting a bioassay is easy. Simply take several random soil samples from various areas in the garden and mix thoroughly. Use this soil to fill three to six small pots (4-6 inches) with your suspect garden soil. Next fill the same number of pots with a commercial potting soil to serve as your untreated experimental control. Plant three pea or bean seeds in each pot, water, and let them grow for two to three weeks -- until you can see three sets of true leaves. If the peas or beans in the control pots grow normally and the ones in the pots with your garden soil do not, you can assume your soil is still contaminated. If they all grow normally and it’s difficult to see any differences, it would be reasonable to assume that your garden soil is fine.  Keep in mind however, that the test will be only as good as the samples you take, so be sure to get representative soil samples. For greater detail, see the Washington State University Web site:
Herbicides, like Aminopyralid, are very powerful poisons that can persist the soil for years and may damage sensitive crops at very low concentrations. If you use these products be sure to read the label and take the appropriate precautions and safety measures. If you get manure or compost from a neighbor, be sure to ask questions regarding chemical use on forage crops or pastures.
For more information, contact Jim Stordahl at 800-450-2465
North Carolina State University and Ohio State University.




FRIDAY - JULY 31,  2015


The 2015 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments scores have been released for the school districts in the state.  Crookston's results have improved in all three categories. 
In reading, Crookston had 52.5 percent of the students meet proficiency, which was up 3.5 points from last year. 
In math, 57.5 percent of the students met proficiency, which is up just shy of three percent from last year. 
In science, 47 percent of the students met proficiency with a rise of 1.5 percent from the year before.  "Chris Trostad (Highland School Principal) called me as he was excited that five of his grades went up and one went down a little. We haven’t had a chance to get the scores from the other schools which I think grounds you. If you go up 10 percent which is a good thing what does that mean, but if you know that others have only gone up five percent then are increase is better. Chris seemed to think the increases were good especially in the reading side compared to the math side,” said Crookston Schools Superintendent Chris Bates.  “Denice Oliver and the committee just got a new English curriculum so we like to see things improve when we make such an investment which is a positive thing. We will spend the rest of the week looking at the state averages and the schools around us and seeing where everyone falls, but it proves that our schools went up a little and the bottom line is that the kids are improving.”

Around the Crookston area, Fisher edged Fertile-Beltrami for the top area scores and Red Lake Falls wasn't far behind at third.  The only school District in the immediate area that had scores go down was the Climax-Shelly district as their scores dropped 23.9 percentage points from last years scores.  There is a graph below to see the five area school district scores.

New statewide standardized test results show that Minnesota students made no overall improvement in math, reading or science this year.
In reading nearly 60 percent of students mastered state standards, compared with 59 percent in 2014.  In Math 60 percent of students met math standards, down from the nearly 62 percent in 2014. 
There was little progress in closing the state’s persistent achievement gap between white and minority students.  White students continue to outperform students of color by more than 20 percent points on average.  Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said she was not satisfied with the results and added that they do not paint a complete picture of student achievement.


School Reading 2014/2015 Math 2014/2015 Science 2014/2015 Up or down total
Crookston 49.0 / 52.5   (up 3.5) 54.9 /  57.5  (Up 2.6) 45.5 /  47.0  (Up 1.5 ) Up 7.6 %
Climax-Shelly 58.7 / 43.9  (down 14.8) 43.3 / 45.4  (Up 2.1) 39.5 / 28.3 (down 11.2) Down 23.9 %
Fisher 54.1 / 59.2  (up 5.1) 62.9 / 56.7 (down 6.2) 49.2 / 60.7 (up 11.5) Up 10.4 %
Red Lake Falls 58.3 / 54.7 (down 3.6) 60.6 / 64.7 (up 4.1) 42.7 / 48.3 (up 5.6) Up 6.1 %
Fertile-Beltrami 64.3 / 59.8 (down 4.5) 68 / 60.9 (down 7.1) 50 / 54.6 (up 4.6) Down 7 %




The Ox Cart Days Festival in Crookston from Wednesday, August 12 through Sunday, August 16 just got a little bigger and better after event organizer and Crookston Chamber of Commerce CEO, Amanda Lien, told KROX that they just secured a carnival/midway for this year’s festival.   The family owned Merriam's Midway Shows will arrive in Crookston on Monday, August 10 to set up and will run Thursday, August 13 through Sunday, August 16 in Central Park.  Advanced tickets will go on sale soon.  "We are completely appreciative of the community support and added activities that have made up a great festival schedule for 2015. Thank you to all who help continue to bring this event to life, sponsors, supporters, event organizations, and the committee," said Lien.  "Bringing in a family-owned and well praised carnival to our festival is an opportunity (and a chance one with 5 weekends in August this year) to provide new events to our community and also to continue with the growth of the festival into the future to align with our mission and goals. We truly are On the Trail to the Future."




Students will have two new majors to choose from at the University of Minnesota Crookston in the Department of Math, Science, and Technology. A Bachelor of Science in exercise science and wellness and one in medical laboratory science are the two latest additions to the more than 30 majors offered on the Crookston campus.
Joseph Shostell, head of the Math, Science, and Technology Department, says these two majors will give students great options for a future career. “Majoring in exercise science and wellness will provide opportunities for students to take advantage of the new wellness center under construction on campus,” Shostell says. “And, students interested in medical laboratory science will graduate with problem-solving skills so critical to the medical field. Both of these majors will prepare students for careers in the fields of health, wellness, and medicine and we are excited to offer them both.”

Exercise Science and Wellness
The Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Wellness combines the study of exercise physiology within the holistic context of health and wellness.  This major integrates hands-on, experiential learning with laboratory work that focuses on a variety of demographic populations.
Through a dynamic collaboration between the U of M Crookston and local hospital rehabilitation services, students are exposed to scenarios to apply theory to patient rehabilitation.  Students learn techniques in coaching, counseling, and effective motivational techniques during both internal and external internship experiences. 
The program is unique in the region in the way it combines exercise science curriculum within a context of wellness and community health. 
Potential employers may include community organizations, corporate health centers, country clubs, health clubs and fitness centers, hospitals, and more. The website for Exercise Science and Wellness is

Medical Laboratory Science
Modern medicine would be impossible without the problem solving skills of medical lab scientists making a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science vital to the study of medicine.  Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) technicians run tests that encompass areas of clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, hematology, clinical urology, immunology, immunohematology, and molecular diagnostics. With a high demand for medical lab scientists, MLS graduates will have excellent job opportunities and students in the program will have unique opportunities to be involved in research projects.
Through a consortium agreement and partnership with the University of North Dakota (UND), a graduate of the program would receive a certificate of completion from UND.  Dual enrollment at both UMC and UND in the proposed program of study would begin in the third year.  In the spring of the junior year the student would take either courses located at UND (25 miles away) or online. 
A bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science could provide a great background for individuals interested in entering fields of forensic science, pharmaceutical sciences, and medicine. The website for Medical Laboratory Science is




THURSDAY - JULY 30,  2015


Jody Beauchane, Polk County Emergency manager, is spreading the word about code red and weather reports that are available to residents in the county during this season of severe weather concerns.  There are two different types of Code Red, the standard type that everyone in Polk County with a landline is registered and it is automatic.  The second one is a Code Red Weather Alert.  “The public has to sign up and they will get weather notification by landline, cell phone, text and e-mail if they choose,” said Beauchane. “You will get a weather alert message from the National Weather Service and it will not tie up dispatch.”  You can go to following website to sign up     
Dispatch often gets many calls when there are weather alerts and they cannot always handle the number of calls at one time.




Two ordinances were acted upon by the Crookston City Council this week dealing with signage and billboards in the city.  An ordinance was introduced to amend the code on the size of billboards and off premise signs.   “They did have the final passage of an ordinance amending the billboard ordinance to be able to put them in certain commercial districts,” said Crookston City Building Inspector Matt Johnson. “They have to be 600 feet from residential areas and 500 feet from intersections.  This opens it up for a few more in town and advertising a business.”




The Crookston Noon Day Lions accepted a check of $910.00 from TRIAD at their meeting on Monday. Crookston Police Chief Paul Biermaier, chairman of the Taste of Italy dinner and fundraiser, presents the check to Ken Gray of the Lions.  The $910 will be used for the Lions Mobile Event stage to be used throughout activities in Crookston.





The chemical computations of last summer have taken two students at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) to a lab at Villanova University. Seniors Emmett LaCoursiere of Red Lake Falls, and Michael Laurich of Lansing, Illinois, along with Assistant Professor Tim Dudley, are creating the compounds they previously had only investigated using computer modeling. Through the modeling, the duo used math and physics to predict chemical behaviors in the study of benzimidazoles and what happens when these molecules are altered.
Of particular interest to LaCoursiere, an animal science, pre-vet major, is the fact that the research has implications in the field of animal science as it relates to pharmaceutical use in the medical treatment of animals. “There is a similarity to compounds used in the treatment of internal parasites,” LaCoursiere says. “Through our research, I have gained a much greater understanding of chemistry and how it could affect the field of vet medicine.” The work could also lead to the development of synthetic molecules in the future, and there is potential for the project to move into a biological study as well.   “We wanted to limit the variables down to a very small system,” Laurich says. “And, working with smaller molecules makes them easier to control.”

The students began the study with computer modeling but when it came to characterizing the new molecules they created in the lab, they required specialized equipment that was unavailable on campus. Since Dudley started working on this benzimidazole research as a faculty member at Villanova, his continuing research with LaCoursiere and Laurich took him back to the laboratory at his former institution with the help of a University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid.
The goal was to find alternative molecules that mimic important biological processes involving proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET). These reactions play an important role in both chemical and biological processes including such processes as photosynthesis. PCET reactions involve the synchronized transfer of an electron and a proton. The most rewarding part of the work by Dudley and his students was the compounds they created were determined to be very pure, which impressed those at Villanova who are involved in the project.
Dudley also points out the valuable assistance of UMC Associate Professor Venuopgal Mukku who played a significant role with the characterization of the molecules through his expertise in organic chemistry.  “The real advantage of the Crookston campus is our size,” Dudley says. “Students have direct access to faculty, and they have research opportunities that involve not only looking at something on a computer but taking it to the lab. And, these two student demonstrate this fact by the way they took advantage of the opportunity and created about a half dozen compounds that are now a part of a broader study.” LaCoursiere and Laurich presented their work in November 2014 at a meeting of the Midwest American Chemical Society in Columbia, Missouri. LaCoursier will be attending veterinary medical school at the University of Missouri starting this coming fall. Laurich will present the latest research this fall, and he is planning to attend graduate school to study in the area of marine biology. The two agree that research with faculty members has benefited them both significantly and they hope to continue conducting research in their respective fields as they move forward.

Laurich and LaCoursiere look at results from the vacuum filtration. (Picture by UMC)



WEDNESDAY - JULY 29,  2015


April Grunhovd is the new chief nursing officer at RiverView Health after the recent retirement of Sandy Boice who retired from RiverView after 30 years of service. Grunhovd has 15 years of experience in healthcare; 11 of those as a registered nurse. She is a familiar face at RiverView having worked there since August 2009. She started her RiverView career as the infection control coordinator and has added additional hats and responsibilities over the years, including employee health, employee wellness, emergency preparedness coordination, director of outpatient nursing, director of Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab, and most recently director of the Emergency Department and trauma program management.
A native of Beltrami, Grunhovd holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Nursing Administration from the University of Mary, Bismarck; a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Minnesota State University, Moorhead; and several certifications including: board certification in Infection Prevention and Control, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Trauma Nursing Core Course, Operations Level First Receiver (Hazmat), FEMA Incident Command and LEAN leadership.
As for her new role, Grunhovd is ready.  “I am excited to continue my nursing and leadership journey at RiverView Health, the hospital in which I was born, where I experienced my first registered nursing clinical rotation, and where I returned to after the birth of my first child and have now had the pleasure of working in for almost six years,’’ she stated. “I am passionate about people; both those providing care and those receiving care.  RiverView Health has many exceptional people and I am excited to be able to support those people in ways that positively impact the patients we care for.  I also look forward to innovation in nursing practice and looking at performance improvement; ways of working differently, utilization of technology, systems, theories, and collaboration with partners and stakeholders to enhance our current practice.” 
Grunhovd and husband Brian, who is a central office equipment technician at Garden Valley Telephone in Erskine, have two children ages six and three. The family lives in Fertile.




The National Weather Service in Grand Forks, North Dakota issued a wind advisory on Tuesday and extended it to 1:00 a.m. this morning (Wednesday).  There is also a wind advisory until 7:00 p.m. today. The wind blew several trees down in Crookston and blew a lot of branches and leaves around town.  One of the trees blew down on a one week old fence at UMC Softball Coach Don Stopa's property in town.  You can see pictures below.

                      The damaged tree in the Stopa's yard





University of Minnesota Crookston Senior Lydia Hegge, Mentor, Minn., quietly handles the inoculating loop, a simple tool used mainly by microbiologists to retrieve a small amount of cells from a culture of microorganisms. She meticulously introduces common pathogens such as E. coli onto a petri dish previously prepared with nutrient agar.
Under the guidance of Teaching Specialist Karl Anderson, Hegge is looking for rare bacterial species from the order Actinomycetales in soil and water samples collected locally.  They are noteworthy for their potential to produce antibiotics.  Isolating, characterizing, and testing a new species that possesses antibiotic properties could help in the fight against deadly pathogens that are resistant to current antibiotics.
Soil and water samples were collected from several areas in and around Crookston. So far, well over 200 hundred strains of bacteria have been cultured, and they are currently in the process of testing those strains for antibiotic properties. This testing keeps Hegge diligently at work in the lab.
The petri dishes she handles were prepared earlier with a strain of unknown bacteria, to be used for a biological assay or bioassay. The bioassay is used to determine biological activity of a substance and will show Anderson and Hegge how these soil isolates produce antibiotics against several known pathogens. “We're excited to see if any of our sampled organisms have the potential to be a source of antibacterial substances,” says Anderson. Hegge and Anderson are working on the microbiology portion of the ongoing antibiotic research of Associate Professor Venuopgal Mukku, who teaches organic chemistry on the Crookston campus.
During spring semester, Mukku asked students in his organic chemistry class if any of them were interested in summer research. Hegge stepped forward and began her work in mid-May. For the next month, she sub-cultured soil samples to purify each sample down to a single microorganism for study.

Hegge will stay involved with this phase of the research until it is completed. “I work 20-30 hours a week in the lab,” Hegge says. “I have learned about lab procedure and equipment and gained valuable experience working with faculty.” One of the pieces of equipment she has learned to use is the high-pressure liquid chromotography (HPLC) instrument, a technique in analytical chemistry used to separate the components in a mixture and to identify and quantify each component.  The HPLC instrument, along with two carbon dioxide incubators and multi-channel pipettors, are valuable pieces of research equipment provided through funding from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for this work.   
Growing up on a farm, Hegge, a health sciences major, discovered a passion for tools. Combining that love with an interest in dentistry has Hegge taking a serious look at dental school applications for the fall after graduation. She dreams of a possible specialization in oral and maxillofacial surgery. For now though, she is focused on the important work at hand and is excited about its potential in the medical field.
As she looks back on her work in preparation for a future professional career, she recalls her deep interest in mathematics that began in high school, and a long with it, a new found love of physics calculations, and the always satisfying work in the laboratory. She also shares a few words of advice for incoming students gleaned from her own experience: “Try everything; do as much as you can; and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

 Hegge pictured with Anderson and Mukko in the lab on the UMC campus (Picture by UMC)




Chances are you’ve seen the back-to-school advertisements with the latest backpack styles and deals on pencils. Yes, it is time to start thinking about getting your family ready for fall and everything it brings with it. It’s time to get your athletes in for sports physicals. It’s also time for those athletes to get their ImPACT Baseline Concussion Testing done with RiverView Health.
RiverView will be offering FREE ImPACT testing at RiverView Health’s Red Lake Falls Clinic on Wednesday, August 5 and Wednesday, August 12. Appointments are being taken for 5, 6, and 7:00 PM by calling 218-253-4606.

Traumatic Brain Injury
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth.
Even with today’s advanced safety equipment, preventing a concussion is impossible. Fortunately, there have been advances in diagnosing and treating a concussion. One of the most popular concussion management programs is ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), used by RiverView Health. ImPACT is also used by many professional and amateur teams, including the National Football League and Major League Baseball.
Gone are the days of a coach holding fingers up in front of a player’s face and asking them how many they see, only to send the player back out into play if he or she guesses correctly. Today ImPACT provides invaluable information that can help take the guesswork out of concussion management and promote safe return-to-play decisions for athletes.

RiverView Health’s, Marie Johnstad, coordinator of the Speech-Language Department, and Physical Therapist Rhonda Salentiny, administer the ImPACT computerized assessment to document an athlete’s neurocognitive functioning 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-concussive 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 all athletes to take into account cognitive development.

Free Baseline Testing
The baseline testing is free for area athletes thanks to funds from the United Way, RiverView Health Auxiliary and RiverView Health. “Without the United Way and the Auxiliary we wouldn’t be able to offer this very important program,’’ Johnstad shared. “The news is full of stories of athletes suffering concussions. The Centers for Disease Control mandates that states, schools, sports leagues and organizations have policies or action plans on concussions in youth and high school sports. While these policy efforts show some promise, more research is needed to help protect children and teens from concussion and other serious brain injuries.’’
While ImPACT is mostly used in our area for high school athletes, Johnstad said she has also used ImPACT on younger and older patients, including a seven-year-old who hit his head on the ice and a highway employee who needed the testing done to determine when he could safely go back to work.
For more information on RiverView’s ImPACT Concussion Management Program, contact Marie Johnstad at 218-281-9463.

Did you know?
Ø  A concussion is a brain injury that frequently involves physical as well as cognitive symptoms.
Ø  About 10 percent of all student athletes in contact sports suffer a concussion during their season.
Ø  Recovery may take days or weeks, with individuals often experiencing dizziness, headaches, double vision, memory problems, irritability and depression.
Ø  Premature return to play following a concussion can lead to potentially serious consequences.
Ø  Proper management of the injury is the first step in avoiding long-term complications.






TUESDAY - JULY 28,  2015


The Crookston City Council held a public hearing to consider a sanitary sewer line insurance policy at their meeting on Monday.  There were no residents to comment. The council approved the policy to add 50 cents a month to the water bill to pay for the insurance.  “It is similar to the water service line policy. When we get the starting date we will cover any failures of sanitary sewer lines within 10 feet of the structure,” said Public Works Director Pat Kelly. It will not cover the cleaning of roots or anything like that. It will cover a collapsed line or separation, but it will help out with the 50 cent service charge, I think it will be helpful and well received.”




A Crookston Central Park Improvement RV campground project was presented to the Crookston Ways and Means Committee on Monday by Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen.  The city has talked about improving Central Park for a long time with 48 full service hookups and now they have a concept plan with water and sewer.  “It would involve a new lift station, which would be expensive, a new bathhouse, and adding a playground area,” said Stassen.  “If we would move forward it would bring 48 sites to the downtown in the summer would be a big advantage for revitalization of the downtown. There are some grants which would be helpful so we will dig deeper to bring this to fruition.”
Costs for the improvements would be in the $1.5 million without any grants and would be expected to cash flow after several years.  Improvements would include a new safe bath house and staffing to provide the necessary services for a mixture of campers by the season, month and day.  Such campgrounds in the area are full each summer with waiting lists. 
The city would work with the Red Lake River Corridor Group when they apply for grants. 

The Ways and Means committee will work on the Crookston City budget for 2016 in August as department heads will present the  needs of their area.




The Crookston Ways and Means Committee had a discussion on a solar energy program that had six city buildings inspected by officials from Real Solar Company from Backus, Minnesota.  The inspection was done through the GreenSteps Cities program with Dea’Andre O’Connell.  “Dea’Andre did a great job in spearheading the job. She is leaving soon so we wanted to get this done,” said Stassen. “In June we brought in the company to evaluate the city buildings, we highlighted the city shop tonight as it is pretty efficient, and a solar project could provide 91 percent of the energy for the building. What is prohibiting is the cost, even with rebates and payback in 20 years.”  Stassen added that they are not planning to act on the project now, but they have the data so they can approach other companies and when the prices come down and rebates improve they could act.
The cost for the solar program at the city shop would be $123,304.33 at this time, which was considered too high for work to be done now.
The Crookston Fire Hall would be good for a solar energy project. “About two thirds of solar could produce the energy for the fire hall.  The Crookston Sports Center project would not produce what would be sufficient for the building as it uses a lot of electricity so they will continue to look at it with a new roof.  “It is good to have the information,” said Stassen. The information was collected and will be studied further for future consideration.
Otter Tail Power Company is being active as they would be part of the rebate program.




The Crookston Ways and Means Committee had a discussion was held on a problem with the street on Eickhof Boulevard on the northeast part of town.  Council member Wayne Melbye said they have been getting calls about the area that the so called street is not in any condition to drive on. “We were talking about the situation on Eickhof Boulevard where we have some new houses going in and the developer kind of let the road get under constructed and there was no hard surface and a family was trying to move in their new home and there were some problems,” said Melbye. “The weather didn’t help being wet and so there was some miss communication as the council passed a resolution to get the street settled temporally so they could move in and it did not happen.  So the question was, who dropped the ball?  We wanted some clarity and answers for the residents and I guess we got it taken care of.”
Work was supposed to have been done back in early spring but it was not done and now the road is not passable.  The contractor did arrive to start the job this week.




The Crookston City Council met on Monday and approved an agreement with the Crookston Fire Fighters Associations to expand and update the storage building next to the fire hall.  “The firefighters association is going to make some improvements to the pole shed where their equipment is stored and where city fire equipment is stored,” said City Administrator Shannon Stassen. “It is a great collaboration between the groups and they will be putting in insulation, new floor, adding water, sewer and all the work needed in the heated space to work for everyone.” 

The city will participate in the project by loaning the firefighters funds to match their contribution.   

An ordinance was passed to provide billboard signs in certain districts by a conditional use permit.





The Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a suspicious vehicle call in rural East Grand Forks on Sunday, July 26.  The caller was able to give Polk County Dispatch a license plate, and the vehicle had been reported stolen from Itasca County.  The caller said there was a male and female with the car.  When deputies arrived, both parties had fled the area on foot. During a search of the area, it was learned the female had been transported to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks by a private party.  The female stated she had been forced to get into the car at gunpoint by her boyfriend at a location in East Grand Forks.  She suffered non-life threatening injuries. 
A search of the East Grand Forks area resulted in the suspect being located, arrested, and transported to Northwest Regional Corrections Center in Crookston.
The male was charged with kidnapping, 2nd degree assault, possession of stolen property, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  He will appear in court today. The case is still under investigation and no other information will be released at this time.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the East Grand Forks Police Department, and United States Border Patrol.




Rep. Deb Kiel was recognized by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) July 23 during the Coalition’s three-day summer conference in Duluth for her positive impact on economic development in Greater Minnesota.  Rep. Kiel, a Republican from Crookston, is serving her third term in the Minnesota House. The Legislator of Distinction Award is given to legislators who played key roles in advancing CGMC’s policy during the preceding session.
Rep. Kiel was the chief House author of legislation to create a new job training program designed to help train workers in the skills needed to fill the numerous job vacancies in Greater Minnesota. The program outlined under Kiel’s legislation became law this year and provides for a fast, flexible and employer-driven job training program in Greater Minnesota. The new program was funded at $900,000 for each of the next two years.  “The lack of skilled workers is one of the top economic development challenges currently facing Greater Minnesota communities,” said Heidi Omerza, president of the CGMC and a member of the Ely City Council. “Rep. Kiel’s efforts helped create a much-needed program that will help our businesses grow and provide good-paying jobs for our residents.”

  Rep. Deb Kiel and Heidi Omerza of the CGMC




At 10:55 on Monday, July 27, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of an accident with injuries on Highway 2 in Fosston.  It was found that a car traveling east bound, driven by Holly Joann Thorson of Fosston, struck a pickup when it pulled it front of her out of the parking lot of the LePier’s Service Station on the west side of Fosston.  The pickup was driven by Michael Kenneth Ripley of St. Louis Park.  A juvenile female passenger in Thorson’s vehicle who was airlifted to Sanford Hospital in Fargo, ND.  Thorson sustained minor injuries and was released.  Ripley sustained no apparent injuries.  The accident is under investigation.
Minnesota State Patrol, Essentia Fosston Ambulance and Fosston Fire Department assisted with the accident. 




The Crookston Chamber of Commerce held the annual Water Wars competition on Thursday on Ash Street in downtown Crookston.  This event was sponsored by Otter Tail Power Company, Crookston Fire Department, Crookston Daily Times, and the Chamber office.  

The Professional Division winners were Jake Leas, Brian Hanson, and Ryan Tull. (Picture by Crookston Chamber of Commerce)

In the Amateur Division, Crookston Baseball players (Seth Desrosier, Cody Magsam, and Nicholi Broekmeier) won the title, beating teams from RiverView Health, KROX Radio, and the Crookston Chamber of Commerce.  (Picture by the Crookston Chamber of Commerce)

            Two teams facing off in one of the Amateur division rounds




MONDAY - JULY 27,  2015


The Pennington County Sheriff's Office is still seeking information about the incident, which was reported shortly after 9:00 p.m. Friday at the Kruse In convenience store in St. Hilaire.  The footage from the camera shows the suspect coming and going through the convenience store's main door.
The suspect is believed to be male was dressed in all black with a black face mask and black glasses.  The suspect entered the Kruse In with a rifle and forced the clerk down to the floor, then removed money from the safe and left in a gray van with a maroon rear hatch door, which was later found burned southwest of St. Hilaire.
The sheriff's office is seeking information from anyone who may have seen a suspicious vehicle shortly after 9:00 p.m. in the area of Center Avenue, known as County Road 3.
Anyone with information regarding the robber can call (218) 681-6161.




The Crookston City Council meets on Monday at 7:00 p.m. in the Crookston City Council chambers at city hall. 
The consent agenda has a resolution to approve the agreement with the Crookston Firefighters Association to expand and update the storage building.   A public hearing is scheduled to consider the sanitary sewer line insurance policy. 
The regular agenda includes a resolution to adopt the sanitary sewer line policy and have the second reading and passage of the ordinance providing for billboard signs in certain districts by conditional use.  An ordinance amending city code entitles zoning by defining off premise signs and amending the definition of a billboard sign will be introduced.
The meeting is open to the public.

The Crookston Ways and Means Committee will meet following the council meeting.




Crookston High School will be holding the Parent, Athlete and Coaches (PAC) meeting on August 3 at the HIGHLAND School Auditorium at 7:00 p.m.  “The PAC meeting is set for August 3 at the high school auditorium unless the parking lot is not ready so people should listen to see if there is a change,” said Greg Garmen, Crookston High School Activities Director. “It is important to show up and meet the coaches, learn about the online payment plan and anything new as to rules for the athletes. It is important to get the information at the meeting and we will be sending out a mailing, get all the paperwork done, learn about physicals and anyone with questions will be answered.”
Event schedules are on the school website and brought up to date daily.  “The school website has the schedules on activities,” said Garmen. “There is a notify me button that will send out any changes or cancellations or postponement if people sign up to get notified.”
Anyone with questions can contact Garmen at the high school or by calling 281-5313.





As the start of school nears, the University of Minnesota Crookston thinks the enrollment should be steady compared to last year. “The enrollment situation in college education is unpredictable this year, which is seen in the media,” said UMC Chancellor Fred Wood.  “Students are applying to more and more campuses.  We used to be able to predict by the applications we received, but it is hard to explain as more and more students are applying to other schools.  We think we will be fine with enrollment but we should be as good as last year.”
UMC is looking at hiring another Director of Admissions after Carola Thorson is leaving to go to her alma mater, Concordia in Moorhead. An interim director will be coming up from the Twin Cities to keep things under control.  UMC is also looking for a new foundation director. “We are also losing Corby Kemmer and his wife Sherry, who have been here for several years,” said Wood. “They are pleased to be going back to the Mandan/Bismarck area where Sherry is from, Corby will be at the University of Mary.  We have started a broad search nationwide, but we anticipate we will get regional candidates from which we will get a good candidate.”





Are you sneezing and sniffling your way through the summer? Are allergies to blame for your red, itchy eyes? If so, maybe it’s time to find relief through acupuncture. RiverView Health Licensed Acupuncturist Megan Scott will address allergy symptoms and how acupuncture can help you live a more comfortable life at the Tuesday, July 28 Health Luncheon “Acupuncture and Allergies’’. According to the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, acupuncture may be an "excellent complement to routine care (for moderate allergic sinusitis), often minimizing or altogether eliminating the need for medications, releasing the patient from continuous exacerbation-remission cycles."
Listen to Scott as she explains the relief acupuncture can bring to allergy sufferers with private or community acupuncture – an effective, affordable, safe, drug-free alternative for pain and ailments that might be keeping you from living your life to your greatest potential. Scott offers private acupuncture sessions in Crookston and community acupuncture in both Crookston and East Grand Forks.
The luncheon will be held in Meeting Room #1 beginning at noon. Meeting Room #1 is located near the RiverView Clinic entrance on the north side of the hospital and across from the elevators on first floor.
The luncheon series is in its 17th year of sponsorship by RiverView Health. All men and women interested in improving their health are invited to attend. Each luncheon starts a few minutes past noon and luncheons are kept under one hour so those needing to return to work can attend. The presentations are free and attendees can bring their own lunches or purchase a healthy, boxed lunch for $3.00. Pre-registration is required and boxed lunch orders must be placed at the time of pre-registration. Call Holly Anderson at 281-9745 or toll free 1-800-743-6551, extension 9745, for additional information and to pre-register.




Cliff Nelson put an antique typewriter in the bank exhibit at the Polk 
County Museum in Crookston. “This is one of the new or refurbished displays at the museum,” said Nelson, who is the buildings and grounds supervisor. The museum is open noon to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Polk County Historical Society members are there to greet visitors and answer questions. There is no admission charge and everyone is welcome.





Motorists on Highway 200 between Ada and Highway 32 should expect lane closures, slow traffic and delays when a resurfacing project begins Wednesday, July 29.
Flaggers and a pilot car will allow one-way, alternating traffic through the work zone. Motorists should slow down, obey flaggers and use caution as they follow the pilot car.
Crews from Minn-Dak Asphalt of Thief River Falls will complete the $2.1 million project, which also includes shouldering work on various highways in the area.
The work will ensure a smoother and safer roadway for motorists in the region.
This project helps ensure MnDOT’s transportation system will continue to serve the state for many years. Learn more about Minnesota’s investment in and maintenance of the state’s transportation system at MnDOT’s Get Connected site
MnDOT urges motorists to follow these recommendations in work zones: stay alert; watch for signs, equipment and workers; minimize distractions, such as using cell phones, eating or drinking; avoid tailgating; follow posted speed limits and directional signs; and stay in one lane while driving through a work zone.
For real-time traffic and travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit, call 5-1-1 or log on





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