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FRIDAY - APRIL 18, 2014
MATHEW RUST BECOMES SHAREHOLDER OF RUST, STOCK AND KNUTSON LAW OFFICE
Matthew J. Rust has become a shareholder in the Crookston, Minnesota law firm of
Rust, Stock & Knutson, P.A. Other shareholders are Daniel L. Rust, Charles A.
Stock and Tracey
L. Knutson. The firm will soon be renamed Rust, Stock, Knutson & Rust, P.A.
Rust obtained his law degree from Hamline University School of Law in 2006. He was a law clerk at the firm in 2005 and served as a judicial law clerk in Austin, Minnesota before joining the firm as an associate in 2010. He is licensed to practice in Minnesota. Rust focuses his practice on real estate, estate planning and probate. Rust grew up in Crookston, Minnesota, and graduated from Crookston High School in 1999.
The law firm of Rust, Stock, Knutson & Rust was founded in 1932 by John Padden, a former President of the Minnesota State Bar Association. One of the oldest firms in Northwestern Minnesota, it serves a 24-county area in Northwestern Minnesota and Northeastern North Dakota. Firm attorneys practice in the areas of personal injury, product liability, insurance and wrongful death litigation; real estate and commercial transactions; farm and general business planning and tax planning; estate planning, probate, and trusts; agricultural law; employment law; criminal law; and family law.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE DEB KIEL WISHES EVERYONE A HAPPY EASTER AND UPDATES CONSTITUENTS ON LEGISLATIVE SESSION
I hope you and your loved ones share a blessed and peaceful Easter season. May you find joy in the new life that springs forth from the earth, signaling the end of a long, harsh winter.
The Minnesota Legislature is reaching the end of a very hectic legislative session. The holiday provides an opportune time to reflect on where we have been and where we are going, what we did well and what should have been done better.
Locally, I am working to bring much-needed workforce housing to the region—at no cost to taxpayers. I have also joined forces with local law enforcement, social services, and hospitals to expand critical mental health care access in northwest Minnesota.
Our long-term and disability caregivers are some of our region’s most important assets. I have continued my efforts to secure raises for these providers, ensuring our region’s health care system is strong and stable well into the future.
I have voted to secure additional dollars for our K-12 schools, and I am working closely with administrators at the University of Minnesota Crookston and Northland Community and Technical College to fund critical infrastructure projects on their campuses.
I am thankful that many of our efforts in St. Paul have centered on fixing mistakes made last year, when taxes and fees were increased by over $2 billion on hardworking Minnesotans. Though I wish we would have eliminated more than just a fraction of the increases, our efforts so far are steps in the right direction.
For instance, many hardworking families will receive bigger tax refunds this year. Homeowners, renters, and farmers will also see long-awaited property tax relief.
Rural families will no longer have to worry about losing their land and assets due to the onerous gift tax. Other tax repeals mean main street businesses competing along the border will be less likely to consider raising prices, cutting jobs, or moving their operations.
Tax repeals were made possible thanks to Minnesotans’ hard work and ingenuity that produced a $1 billion surplus. Unfortunately, much of that surplus has been committed to nearly $1 billion more in auto-pilot spending.
What’s more, hundreds of millions of tax dollars are being used to bail out Obamacare subsidies that didn’t come to the state as expected. Instead of fixing the problem, leaders committed to this bailout for the foreseeable future.
On top of all that, $90 million of hard-earned tax dollars will go toward an unneeded and lavish office building for senators.
Government should be accountable to hardworking taxpayers. Minnesotans deserve to have their money handled wisely on needs and priorities, not wants. On your behalf, I will continue to oppose all measures to wastefully spend precious tax dollars.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns related to state government. I can be reached at 651-296-5091 or email@example.com. I am here to serve you!
THURSDAY - APRIL 17, 2014
RIVERVIEW HEALTH NOT UNSCATHED BY CHALLENGING HEALTH CARE ATMOSPHERE
Forty-two of the 148 hospitals in Minnesota are unaffiliated with a larger
health network and remain independent. RiverView Health is proud to be one of
the minority independent hospitals. But independent or not, health care systems
One of the most important issues facing U.S. health systems is the projected need for dramatic cost reduction in response to health reform. By many estimates, the reduction must reach 20-30 percent of total cost structure by 2015 to be able to confront a lean, health-reformed environment. “We have a perfect storm of declining volume, patients seeking less care as deductibles and copayments continue to rise and at the same time our largest payers, including the federal government through Medicare, are balancing budgets through cuts in Medicare payments,’’ stated RiverView Health President and CEO Carrie Michalski. “As a Critical Access Hospital, two years ago we were supported by a one percent profit margin on care to Medicare patients. Today, we continue to be limited by federal sequestration to recovering just 99 cents on every dollar we spend caring for a Medicare patient. That equates to a guaranteed loss of one percent for every patient who is Medicare eligible. For RiverView Health that is over one third of our business.”
Hospitals and health systems of varying sizes across the nation have cut jobs from their workforces through layoffs, reduced employee hours, attrition, and elimination of vacant positions. In September of 2013, health care providers announced more layoffs than any other industry.
Support Staff Reduction
This week RiverView Health reduced its workforce through layoffs of eight employees from five different departments. Each employee was given a severance package. Additionally, eight employees received notice of a reduction in status. “RiverView’s largest annual expense is its workforce,’’ Michalski reported “Salaries and benefits account for 55 percent of our budget. Since the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1), we have been able to lower expenses by nearly 8 percent, and reduce our workforce by 53 full time employees through attrition and reduced overtime. Unfortunately, those reductions have not been enough to bring our labor expenses in line with where we need to be.’’
The recent layoffs will account for an estimated $344,000 in annual savings. According to Michalski, RiverView is on pace to have an 8.4 percent reduction in its expense structure by year end, that is equal to $4.5 million in expense reductions. Michalski and the RiverView Board of Directors are very transparent regarding RiverView’s financial status, reporting year-to-date losses of $1 million as of Feb. 28. RiverView suffered a $3 million loss in fiscal year 2013. “It is with heavy hearts that we reduce our workforce,’’ Michalski shared. “But RiverView Health cannot sustain multiple years of million dollar losses and remain in business serving our community.’’
There are many Minnesota hospitals that have fallen victim to hard times. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, 34 hospitals have closed in Minnesota since 1987, 28 of them occurring in Greater Minnesota. “We must move forward with organizational goals heavily weighted in finance, quality and service to our patients to survive this climate,’’ stated Michalski. “The closing of Crookston’s only hospital and the primary Critical Access Hospital for a number of surrounding communities, along with the loss of 400 jobs, would be devastating.’’
In this trying time, RiverView Health remains focused on its reason for being…the patient. No services have been reduced, and no direct patient caregivers were affected in Tuesday’s workforce reduction. “The providers and support team at RiverView Health are highly skilled professionals dedicated to exceeding the expectations of every patient we serve. While RiverView employees refine the way we deliver high quality care to our patients, the community that RiverView calls home can also help assure its future," said Michalski. "It’s simple. If the community values the hospital, our emergency care and convenient access to highly skilled physicians, patients should choose RiverView Health for their care needs, and encourage others to do the same. Every dollar generated at RiverView Health is reinvested right here to sustain services and improve the health of our community. If you have any concerns or questions about services, please call us or stop by to visit. We are here to serve you, and we want to be here for you and your family for many years to come.’’
CITY OF CROOKSTON CHANGES ZONING FOR NATURES VIEW ESTATES AND CLEAN UP WEEK IS NEXT WEEK
An ordinance was changed by the Crookston City Council at their meeting this week dealing with zoning of district boundaries. Crookston Building Inspector Matt Johnson said the change was necessary for Nature’s Estates plat three. “Bob Herkenhoff added a couple of lots and needed to extend the zoning to R 2 single and two family zoning, taking it out of the farm zoning.”
Spring Clean Up Week is April 21
through 25 in Crookston. Public Works Director Pat Kelly asks residents to put
their items on the boulevard. “There will be a compost amnesty and we ask the
residents put items out on their regular garbage pickup day,” said Kelly. “Put
items in separate piles, garbage, clothing, cardboard, tires, branches, yard
waste, furniture, metal items, and demolition to help speed up the clean up
Items that cannot be collected include batteries, chemicals, paint cans that have paint in, and concrete items. They ask residents to cut branches into four foot lengths and bundle them.
SECOND SPRING INTO ACTION EVENT TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY AT THE CROOKSTON LIBRARY
Spring into action and celebrate the young child at the Crookston Public Library on Tuesday, April 22 at 6:00 p.m. Francine Olson is the coordinator for the celebration and invites the children to come and meet the rescue heroes. “We are going to bring rescue heroes to the library, policeman, fireman, ambulance driver, doctor, and mounted posse with a horse,” said Olson. “All the vehicles will be in the parking lot for the children to explore, inside there will be springy crafts, an obstacle course, balloon action and imagination action along with a springy treat at the end of the event. Families and young children are encouraged to participate.”
CROOKSTON DAWN TO DUSK LIONS TEAM UP WITH UMC CSA TO RAISE AWARENESS OF NF2
The Crookston Dawn to Dusk Lions are
working with the UMC Crookston Student Association (CSA) to promote awareness of
a rare disorder called Neurofibromatosis type 2, or NF2, and to raise funds to
support research to help those who suffer from NF2.
The CSA will be selling NF2 ribbons around the UMC campus from April 21 through April 25 and at the free will donation Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser sponsored by the Dawn to Dusk Lions at the Crookston Eagles Hall on Tuesday, April 22 from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Natalie Tym, a UMC student and member of the Crookston Student Association will be presenting a short program during the Spaghetti Dinner at 5:30 and again at 6:30 to share her mother, Lisa’s, experiences as a nine- year victim of NF2. There will also be a repeating slide program and information about Neurofibromatosis Type 2 available.
The tax deductible funds raised by the dinner and the sale of ribbons will go to the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) which is a not-for profit organization dedicated to finding effective treatments for the millions of people worldwide living with NF2. In addition to benefiting those who live with NF2, this research is shedding new light on several forms of cancer, brain tumors, bone abnormalities, and learning disabilities, ultimately benefiting the broader community.
NF2 is a disorder characterized by the growth of noncancerous tumors in the nervous system. The most common tumors associated with NF2 develop along the nerve that carries information from the inner ear to the brain (the auditory nerve). Tumors that occur on other nerves are also commonly found with this condition. The symptoms are based on where the tumors are located, but may include hearing loss, ringing in the ears, problems with balance, changes in vision, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, and/or fluid buildup in the brain. Signs and symptoms of NF2 usually appear during adolescence or in a person’s early twenties, although they can begin at any age.
Lion Joanne Swanson and UMC student Natalie Tym working on ribbons to foster Neurofibromatosis awareness and to help find a cure.
VILLA ST. VINCENT CELEBRATED NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK LAST WEEK
Vincent/The SUMMIT honored and saluted its volunteers as part of National
Volunteer Week last week. On Thursday April 10, Villa St. Vincent celebrated
Volunteer Recognition Day to honor the many individuals who dedicate themselves
to the residents, assisted living tenants and short term care clients on campus.
The volunteers give countless hours of time and their talents making others
In 2013, 37 youth and 146 adults donated over 5,633 hours volunteering which is almost 16 hours every day! We are so grateful. We are especially proud of the 7 volunteers who donated over 100 hours of service in 2013, including: Mary Anderson, Allean Boschee, Jean Hanson, Sister Agatha Hermann, Sister Joanne Johnson, Judy Kuzel and Marilyn Leblanc.
Volunteering is a win-win for all, check out these facts:
· Volunteering helps you make new friends and contacts
· Volunteering combats depression
· Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy (Studies reveal those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants)
· Volunteering kindles happiness
· Volunteering can advance your career and provide valuable career experience
· Volunteering increases your social and relationship skills
· Volunteering as a family activity teaches children valuable lessons
· Volunteering increases self-confidence
· Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life
Volunteers are priceless and crucial to our organization. We hope everyone will Thank a community volunteer this week and consider making a difference by becoming a volunteer themselves. For more information about volunteering at the Villa St. Vincent/The SUMMIT, contact Tamara, Enrichment Coordinator at 218-281-9723 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CROOKSTON COMMUNITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM CONDUCTS REFRESHER TRAINING
The Crookston CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) recently conducted annual refresher training at the Crookston Fire Department. Members trained on medical assessment, fire extinguisher training, shelter set-up, and Hazmat awareness overview. Members of the CERT consists of citizens from the Crookston community that would be used in the event of a community disaster.
Pictures from the Crookston Community Emergency Response team training. The group using fire extinguishers and in the second picture the shelter set up
RSVP READERS THEATER VISITS CATHEDRAL SCHOOL
RSVP Readers Theater, accompanied by their Director, Heidi Whiting, visited Cathedral School students to share stories they love with the children. The group read I Like Myself, Rainbow Fish and If You Give a Dog a Donut to the Kindergarten and 1st grade students.
WEDNESDAY - APRIL 16, 2014
CROOKSTON SCHOOL DISTRICT TEACHERS HEALTH INSURANCE TO COST $55,000 MORE THAN BUDGETED
The Crookston School District learned the teachers health insurance cost will increase at a meeting on Tuesday attended by Crookston School District Business Manager Laura Lyczewski and teacher Chris Trostad. Superintendent Chris Bates said the increase, in the pool to which they belong, was 14.5 percent for the district, which was the second highest out of 30 schools in the group. The district had budgeted for a nine percent increase so the larger increase will mean it will cost $55,000 more than they budgeted, which is the main reason the Crookston School Board wants to put a cap on the teachers insurance. If the Crookston School District wasn’t part of the insurance pool, costs would have risen 38 percent. "It was good news, bad news. Thank goodness for the pool. We made a decision some months back on which pool to be in with a maximum and minimum and clearly our Business Manager Laura Lyczewski and Chris Trostad picked the right pool," said Bates. "Actually for this year we were one of the higher districts in our group of 30. We aren't sure why we were one of the highest because we seemed to have a normal year health-wise." The district belongs to the Northwest Educational Coop based in Thief River Falls.
POLK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS APPROVE DWI COURT PROGRAM\
Polk County Commissioners met on Tuesday and approved a DWI Court program for the county with County Attorney Greg Widseth. The program is operating in Marshall and Pennington counties at the present time. Widseth wants to start the specialty court after a state grant has been approved. “It allows DWI offenders to lessen some of the punishments up front in return for higher intensity supervision on the back side as it works to prevent recidivism as it addresses chemical problems in their lives,” said Widseth. It deals with repeat offenders and offers more resources in the court that would meet the offenders needs. “The program is grant funded through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and would cover a half time attorney and a probation officer,” said Widseth. “The county would pay for the other half time of the attorney.” The commissioners approved the request. The DWI court program has the support of the county prosecuting offices, judicial branches, law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities.
The commissioners approved a bid from Morgan Terpestra for mowing of county properties in the city of Crookston at $395 for each mowing. They approved a bid from Knife Materials for three federal safety road projects for $912,252.20 which was 7.86 percent below the estimated cost. County State aid highways 6, 3 and 34 will have safety solutions like rumble stripes, ground in edge line stripes, two foot shoulders and an overlay on Highway 6.
POLK COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES IS OFFERING A SEPTIC SYSTEM LOAN PROGRAM FOR RESIDENTS
Polk County Environmental Services
is offering a septic system loan program through Clean Water Act state funding.
Josh Holte, Polk County Planning and Zoning Administrator said the program could
help fix failing systems. “It is a loan interest program to help residents
upgrade their systems,” said Holte. “The loan will be paid back to the county
over a ten year term with an interest rate at .01 percent. People who wish to
get information can contact the Environmental Services in Crookston at 281-5700,
there are restrictions so people need to qualify.”
There is a limited amount of funding available and
preference for funding will be determined based on income status, condition of
existing system, and proximity to priority surface waters. If you are interested
in learning more about this great low interest loan program please call Polk
County Planning and Zoning at (218) 281-5700 or you can reach us by email at
The deadline to apply for the Septic System Fix-Up Loan Program is July 1, 2014.
Polk County Planning and Zoning requires building/land use permits for all construction projects throughout the County. If you are planning any building/land use projects please contact planning and zoning prior to construction to see what setbacks and ordinance requirements may apply. More information on building/land use regulations can be found on the Polk County Website at www.co.polk.mn.us under the Environmental Services and Planning and Zoning Department pages.
Rob Wagner, director of Polk County Assessment services reported on the gravel tax collected for 2013 which amounted to $132,307.22. Of the money collected, $53,419.04 will be distributed to the county road and bridge fund and the same amount to the township bridge and road fund. The reserve fund for Pit Restoration will receive $18,583.78 and $6,615.36 will go to the county treasurer for administration.
The commissioners approved the hiring of a Wellness Coordinator for Polk County Public Health to replace Marley Melbye who has taken the job as manager of the Crookston Swimming Pool. Advertising for the position will begin this week.
MATT ENTENZA SAYS CROOKSTON IS IN GOOD SHAPE WITH PROPERTY TAX REDUCTION AND INCREASED LGA
Matt Entenza, former state legislator and current director of Minnesota 20/20, a non partisan think tank, traveled the Red River Valley on Tuesday talking about property taxes and the homestead credit refund. Entenza said the refund will benefit Crookston residents. “The good news at tax time is that for homeowners and renters there is a rebate program that could mean a fifteen percent reduction if they file for it so they can get a check from the state in August. You can file with your taxes and if you didn’t , you can get the form and file late,” said Entenza. “The other good news for Crookston is an increase in Local Government Aide. This is helpful as Crookston has seen substantial decreases over the last 10 years, so the city and mayor have done a good job in trying to cope with the reductions but this is being turned around by Governor Dayton and the Legislature.”
REGISTER IN THE KROX/MONTAGUE’S FLOWER SHOP ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONAL DRAWING
Administrative Professionals Week is April 21-25, and your administrative professional will have a chance to win flowers for a year. Montague’s Flower Shop and KROX know how important your administrative professional is to your business, so give them the recognition they deserve. Nominate them as Montague’s Administrative Professional of the Week. Just drop off, mail, or fax your entries to KROX, then be listening on Wednesday, April 23 at noon. The winner will receive flowers from Montague’s Flower Shop once a month for a year with best wishes from Montague’s Flower Shop and KROX Radio. Drop off or mail your entry to KROX, 208 South Main, Crookston, MN. 56716, fax to (218)281-5036, or email it to email@example.com.
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW SPOTTED IN POLK COUNTY FOR THE FIRST TIME ON THE UMC CAMPUS
A Eurasian Tree Sparrow made a stop on the University of Minnesota Crookston campus this week. Known for its chocolate-colored crown and black throat and cheeks, the sparrow is commonly found around St. Louis, Mo. The sighting of the bird in the Nature Nook near Owen Hall is the first Polk County record and only the ninth in Minnesota. Vanessa Lane, a lecturer in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department noted that it is “unusual for this non-native species to be spotted so far from its home in Missouri.” For more on the Eurasian Tree Sparrow, visit http://birds.audubon.org/birds/eurasian-tree-sparrow.
Photo by John Zak, University Relations.
COMPUTER VIRUS CAUSING PROBLEMS AGAIN, ENLOW COMPUTING OFFERS TIPS
Another computer virus has popped up and could cause problems for
many computer users. KROX has received the following information from Will
Enlow at Enlow Computing Services in Crookston. if you have any virus
issues contact Enlow Computing Services at 281-9964.
What is Hearth Bleed and how can it affect my website?
Hearth Bleed is a vulnerability in SSL (Secure Socket Layer) a way to transmit encrypted data securely over the internet and is used to send personal information to servers (like your username and password etc.). The vulnerability allows hackers to steal this protected information.
What are some mayor
website that have been affected?
If your website has been affected, there is no reason for panic as even the biggest websites in the world have been among them are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Gmail, Yahoo, GoDaddy, Dropbox, Minecraft and many many more (most of these companies have since then fixed the security vulnerability)
What should I do if I
have a registered account on an affected website?
Once the security vulnerability has been fixed (you can use the tool mentioned above) it is crucial that you create a new password and change it, make sure to create a completely new password and not one used previously as there is a big chance that it got exposed on other websites you have used it.
The catastrophic Heartbleed security bug that has already bitten Yahoo Mail, the Canada Revenue Agency, and other public websites also poses a formidable threat to end-user applications and devices, including millions of Android handsets, security researchers warn. Handsets running version 4.1.1 of Google's mobile operating system are vulnerable to attacks that might pluck passwords, the contents of personal messages, and other private information out of device memory. Some versions of Android 4.2.2 that have been customized by the carriers or hardware manufacturers have also been found to be susceptible.
It now appears that the “Heartbleed” security problem affects not just websites, but also the networking equipment that connects homes and businesses to the Internet. A defect in the security technology used by many websites and equipment makers have put millions of passwords, credit card numbers and other personal information at risk. The extent of the damage caused by Heartbleed isn’t known. The threat went undetected for more than two years, and it’s difficult to tell if any attacks resulted from it because they don’t leave behind distinct footprints.
Here’s a look at what consumers and businesses should know about Heartbleed and its effects on networking devices.
How is networking
Just like websites, the software used to run some networking equipment — such as routers, switches and firewalls — also uses the variant of SSL/TLS known as OpenSSL. OpenSSL is the set of tools that has the Heartbleed vulnerability.
As with a website, hackers could potentially use the bug as a way to breach a system and gather and steal passwords and other sensitive information.
What can you do?
Security experts continue to advise people and businesses to change their passwords, but that won’t be enough unless the company that created the software in question has put the needed fixes in place. When it comes to devices, this could take a while. Although websites can be fixed relatively quickly by installing a software update, device makers will have to check each product to see if it needs to be fixed.
Both Cisco Systems Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc. continue to advise customers through their websites on which product is still vulnerable, fixed and unaffected. Owners may need to install software updates for products that are “fixed.” As a result, businesses and consumers need to check the websites for devices that they think could have problems. They must be diligent about installing any software updates they receive. The bug could potentially affect any home device that’s connected to the Internet, including something as simple as a Wi-Fi-enabled Blu-ray player and recent advances in home automation, such as smart thermostats, security and lighting systems. “We simply don’t know the extent of this and it could affect those kinds of devices in the home,”
To test to see if the website you are going to has been fixed click here.
TUESDAY - APRIL 15, 2014
CROOKSTON TO HAVE SCHOOL ON EASTER MONDAY, STRUGGLING TO GET APPLICANTS FOR THE HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
The snow storms this winter has
caused the Crookston School District to make some changes to the schedule and
one of the biggest changes will affect Easter break this weekend. There will be
no school in Crookston on Good Friday, but there will be school on Easter
Monday. “We have two extra days that should have been made up, but there was no
time in the calendar so the staff will have summer make up days as they have to
pack up and move and repack so they will have two days of flexible time to clear
the rooms so the construction can start,” said Crookston Superintendent Chris
Bates. Eleven applications were received for the Crookston High School Counselor
position and the district interviewed four people for the job. “We could have
hired anyone of them,” said Bates. “We want to find the best one that will fit
so we are in the selection part of the job to replace Jackie Robertson who is
The school board approved a leave of absence for Tom Bakken Dryden, Northern Lights Academy Instructor for the next school year at their meeting on Monday. Andrea Ingersoll, third grade teacher was also approved for a leave of absence, which will be from the middle of October, 2014 to around January 5, 2015.
A donation of $1,500 from Midcontinent Foundation was accepted to be used for the purchase of IPads for the special education department.
Applications are still being taken for principal and athletic director at the high school. “There are nine or 10 applicants for athletic director so far,” said Bates. “For the principal position, Administrative Assistant Marilyn Wahouske called NDSU, UND, Moorhead State and the St Cloud State education department to find out if they have high potential people in the classroom that might be available for a position of principal so we are hoping to get candidates from those calls.”
CROOKSTON SCHOOL DISTRICT BOND SALE GOES VERY WELL WITH BIG SAVINGS FOR A GOOD RATING
The Crookston School Board met on
Monday and approved a resolution for the issuance of general obligation school
building bonds. Patty Heminover, Vice President of Springsted, Incorporated,
said they were pleased with the bond sale. “We sold $6,015,000 in building bonds
and the great news was we had five bidders with the winner Robert W. Baird &
Company with an interest rate of 2.98 percent over the life of the bonds,” said
Heminover. “The other bids ranged from 3.02 percent to 3.39 percent, so the
difference between the high and low was a $400,000 difference in savings to the
district.” The interest rate was less at this sale than the one in December. “We
split the bond issues for a couple of reasons,” said Heminover. “We issued a
bond sale of $7.8 million in December and then the $6 million today, as the
district did not need all the money so it saves them interest and the taxpayers
money. The fact is when the district is issuing less than $10 million in bonds
in one year, they are called bank qualified and we get more bidders at less
interest. So it is less for everyone, we have another bond sale in a few months
of just over $1million for the parking lot project.”
The Moody rating for the district was an A3 rating , which is very good.
The enrollment figures for the future of the district are giving them a good rating and the influx of state money will help with the district fund balance, which is looked at by the bond bidders. Crookston Superintendent Chris Bates said the district taxpayers should be pleased with the interest rate of the bond sale. “When you do a project like this you make promises to the community and you want to keep them,” said Bates. “The financial planners we work with build in a cushion and this came in at the low end so the taxpayers will pay less than a quarter million in interest and the district will get the same amount of money to work with on the project.”
CROOKSTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING SHORT AND SWEET
The Crookston City Council approved a resolution appointing City Administrator Shannon Stassen as the responsible authority to administer requirements needed by the state. “We have it written in our policies and procedures that the administrator is responsible for data on the personnel and in doing research with the attorney and League of Minnesota Cities we are required to state an actual person,” said Stassen. “So, it says my name instead of administrator for bookkeeping purposes.” The Crookston City Council also discussed some zoning changes and we will have more on that story on Wednesday.
CROOKSTON WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE DISCUSSES BLUE LINE CLUB CONTRACT, R.V. PARK, DOWNTOWN HOUSING
The Crookston Ways and Means Committee met after the Crookston City Council meeting and approved the purchase of a lawn mower needed for mowing the dikes and using funds from the Special Service District. They will also look at reducing the acres mowed throughout the city which is estimated to be 220 acres.
The committee heard from Chris Boike, Crookston Library Director, about security concerns, which has led the Friends of the Library to approve the purchase of six cameras to be installed in the library area . Phillip Barton, Crookston technology director will do the installation with help from volunteers. Cost of the cameras will be $1,600 and paid by the Friends of the Library.
The city contract with the Crookston Blue Line Club for the concession stand revenue at the Crookston Sports Center has been reviewed and some changes made. “We see the Blue Line Club as a critical partner with the city at the Sports Center and it was stated in the contract when it was first drawn up that it would be reviewed in a year or two,” said Stassen. “We tweaked a few changes and will give it to the Blue Line Club for their review. We want to move on the getting more revenue at the center with bigger events.” Councilman Wayne Melbye said a 10 percent payment to the city is appropriate as the profits at the concession stand are not large.
The Ways and Means Committee heard about progress on a recreational vehicle park in Crookston to be located in Castle Park. A developer is ready to get the project underway. “For a number of years the city has been looking at putting a camp ground at Castle Park and applied for a grant for the project which was not approved,” said Stassen. “So a developer has come along for the project which would be for profit and get the land on the tax rolls and give us a camp ground.” Public input will be requested at a meeting on Monday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall so questions and concerns can be noted in a dialogue. “American Crystal Sugar is looking for a campground for their workers who come in the Fall with tourists filling it up in the summer,” said Stassen. “It would be a win for everyone so the committee approved moving forward with the developer.”
The Downtown Rehab Program with Northwest Minnesota Multi County is near completion and more apartments are needed so the committee agreed to move forward with recommendations from the housing study. “We are going to take a comprehensive look and look at gap financing, the banks do work with the developers and but sometimes gaps need to be filled,” said Stassen. “We will be applying for another grant for the rehab program that would help business and make sure we have adequate parking for any new apartments.”
The committee approved extending the frontage road in the Draft’s Bar and Grill area to speed up development. A street project to repair four blocks of Euclid Avenue and South Main Street is in place in there are sidewalks on part of the area so Public Works Director Pat Kelly wants to know if the sidewalks should remain or be removed. Alderman Dale Stainbrook will contact the homeowners and get their input before a decision is made.
POLK COUNTY CELEBRATES NATIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY TELECOMMUNICATORS WEEK
County is celebrating the second full week of April (April 13-19) as National
Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. This week, sponsored by the Association
of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and was
officially designated by Congress in the early 1990’s, is celebrated annually to
honor the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch
emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to the
Last year the Polk County Sheriff’s Office 911 Center received over 11,000 911 calls and 23,000 general calls for service.
MONDAY - APRIL 14, 2014
CROOKSTON CITY COUNCIL AND
WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MEET TONIGHT
The Crookston City Council meets this evening at 7:00 in the Crookston City Council Chambers at city hall. The consent agenda includes a resolution to appoint Shannon Stassen as the responsible authority to administer the requirements for collection, storage and use and dissemination of data on individuals within the city.
The regular agenda has the second reading and final passage of Ordinance 55 amending city code 152 “Zoning” by changing a section Zoning Map District Boundaries.
The Crookston Ways and Means Committee meets following the council meeting. The meetings are open to the public.
CROOKSTON EARLY CHILDHOOD SUMMIT SCHEDULED FOR TUESDAY, APRIL 15
The Crookston Early Childhood
Summit is scheduled for Tuesday, April 15 at the Crookston High School Commons
and Auditorium for parents and educators of young children, ages birth to first
grade. A free meal of taco in a bag along with fresh fruit and dessert will
start at 6:00 p.m., the presentation starts at 6:30 in the auditorium. Childcare
is available and anyone interested in using childcare can call 281-2762 at
Washington School to arrange childcare starting at 6:30.
Washington Principal Denice Oliver invites parents and educators to hear from Professor Ada Alden. “Alden is an early childhood family educator expert and has written books on positive parenting. She came to Crookston last fall and spoke to early childhood teachers, kindergarten teachers and day care providers,” said Oliver. “We invited her (Alden) back to speak with parents. She teaches at the U of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University, so parents and educators are invited to come for the evening.”
Professor Alden will be speaking on positive discipline. “Her book called the Red, Yellow, Green book on respectful discipline is the topic and she talks about empowering children to being independent and gaining self discipline and how parents can help them in their journey as a family,” said Oliver.
A free educational tool will be given to parents for their child, along with gift cards, drawings and prizes and a free copy of Ada Alden’s book.
Funding is through the Early Childhood Initiative and the Summit Committee. The event is free. For childcare call 281-2762.
UNCLE SAM'S NEW DEAL TRAVELING EXHIBIT VISITS CROOKSTON THROUGH MAY
An era that is fading into history
will be highlighted in Uncle Sam’s New Deal with a traveling exhibit on loan
from the Minnesota History Center and will be at the Carnegie Building in
Crookston throughout April and May.
The exhibit will be open every Monday and Thursday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. admission is free with the exhibit open house on Monday hosted by the Polk County Historical Society serving treats and beverages. The exhibit features photographs, interviews, film footage and interactive activity to illuminate the federal government’s role in reviving Minnesota communities 70 years ago. If anyone has depression glass or photos of WPA projects to share, bring them to the open house or contact Historical Society president Jerry Amiot at 289-8889 or Kristina Gray at 281-2663. The exhibit is funded through the Art and Cultural Heritage Fund.
The Uncle Sam's New Deal banner hangs from the Carnegie Library
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA EXTENSION OFFERS A NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO SITE
If you would like another way to get University of Minnesota Extension
information, and you have a mindset for finding information on the internet, our
new YouTube Video site may be of interest to you. It
can be accessed through the newly updated U of MN Extension Crops webpage at www.extension.umn.edu/crops under
One example on this new site is focused on soil compaction. The compaction videos were filmed at the “Tires, Traction and Compaction Field Day” held in September 2011 near Fergus Falls. Soil pits were dug to look at compaction in the soil after equipment had been run across plots under a variety of conditions. With this technology, you reap the benefits of that day by viewing these videos. The titles of 4 short video clips are:
1. Factors Contributing to Soil Compaction
2. Soil Structure – a Natural Defense against Compaction
3. Managing Vehicle Traffic to Reduce Compaction
4. How to Make Your Tires Perform at Their Best (A significant factor in managing compaction)
Cover crops and soil health have been another hot topic of interest but it’s difficult to find good information. Indeed, there will be significant things to learn over the next few years as these topics are given greater attention. At the same time, there are opportunities to address issues in how to deal with basic things like tillage practices and equipment related to compaction that can make a lot of difference for soil health, productivity and profitability.
More videos on a range of crops topics will be posted in the future. You can subscribe to the channel to be notified of new postings by clicking on the "subscribe" button on the website.
For weather related crop information… Extension Climatologist Mark Seeley posted a note recently that a team of Midwestern universities have pulled together a new web site to furnish climate data, data tools, and assessments useful to agricultural producers. The new web site is designated "U2U" (meaning useful to usable). You can easily find this site quickly by doing an Internet search for “useful to usable.”
Seeley suggests that while we’re waiting to start of the 2014 growing season it may be a good time to browse and get familiar with the data and information tools at this web site. There are tools to help with nitrogen fertilizer management and irrigation scheduling among others. There are some sites that track growing degree days relate to development of some insect pests.
If you’re not so interested in spending a lot of time looking at computer screen and fishing around to find things that may or may not actually be there – working with these resources might be a good task to share with someone else in the family. It might be good for some youngsters to find out there could be information and resources online that are actually relevant to real world things your family does on the farm. It might make for some good “working and learning together” time.
This article was provided by Dan Martens, an educator with University of Minnesota Extension. For more information on this or other topics, contact me at 800-450-2465 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FRIDAY - APRIL 11, 2014
CROOKSTON SCHOOL BOARD TO MEET ON MONDAY
The Crookston School Board will hold their regular meeting on Monday at 5:00
p.m. in the Crookston High School choir/orchestra room.
Personnel items on the agenda include a leave of absence request from Tom Bakken Dryden, Northern Lights Academy Instructor, for the 2014-2015 school year and a leave of absence request from Andrea Ingersoll, Highland School third grade teacher, from approximately the middle of October 2014 through January 5, 2015.
The main agenda has a resolution for issuance of bond sale and staff summer make up days with two additional storm days to be made up and arranged with building principals. The board will accept a donation of $1,500 from Midcontinent Foundation for the purchase of iPads for the Special Education Department. Superintendent Chris Bates will report to the board on school activities. The board will take questions and concerns from the public at the beginning or the end of the meeting.
CROOKSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT CALLED OUT TWICE FOR CHILDREN PLAYING BY THE RIVER
The Crookston Fire Department was called twice out
to children playing on the ice near the Red Lake River Thursday evening. The
first call came Thursday evening at 5:25 p.m. when they responded to Myrtle
Street where a caller said kids were on the ice. They had gotten off when the
firemen arrived, but a conversation was held with them about the danger of the
river and the ice.
At 7:00 p.m. they were called to McGrew and Jackson where six kids were trapped on an island of ice at Aunt Polly’s Slough. The firemen used their equipment while wearing their wet suits and rescued the children two at a time from the ice. The ambulance crew checked the children out and found they were okay.
The Crookston Firefighters using the raft and their special wetsuits to rescue the kids
The Crookston Firefighters rescuing the kids from the ice in Aunt Polly's Slough
RED LAKE RIVER IN CROOKSTON IS RISING, BUT STILL A WAYS FROM MAJOR CONCERN
The Red Lake River reading at 11:00 a.m. this morning was 13.43 feet. Central Park is filled with water and the ice is moving with a long stretch of ice in front of the fire hall while the river is clear further down the river past Oak Court. The city crews and other staff are continuing to watch the river and will keep everyone informed over the weekend. As of Friday morning, things seem to be going well in Crookston.
THIS WEEK IS NATIONAL WEEK OF THE YOUNG CHILD
This week is the Week of the Young Child and the rest of the week, KROX will have an article on different ways to spend time with your child and help the physical and mental development. The articles were submitted by the Crookston Early Childhood Initiative.
10 THINGS EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PLAY
by Laurel Bongiorno, PhD, the director of Champlain College’s graduate program in early childhood education, with specializations in teaching and administration, in Burlington, Vermont. She has taught preschool, directed early childhood programs, and studied parents’ perceptions of preschoolers’ learning through play.
1. Children learn through their play.
Don’t underestimate the value of play. Children learn and develop:
cognitive skills – like math and problem solving in a pretend grocery store
physical abilities – like balancing blocks and running on the playground
new vocabulary – like the words they need to play with toy dinosaurs
social skills – like playing together in a pretend car wash
literacy skills – like creating a menu for a pretend restaurant
2. Play is healthy.
Play helps children grow strong and healthy. It also counteracts obesity issues facing many children today.
3. Play reduces stress.
Play helps your children grow emotionally. It is joyful and provides an outlet for anxiety and stress.
4. Play is more than meets the eye.
Play is simple and complex. There are many types of play: symbolic, sociodramatic, functional, and games with rules-–to name just a few. Researchers study play’s many aspects: how children learn through play, how outdoor play impacts children’s health, the effects of screen time on play, to the need for recess in the school day.
5. Make time for play.
As parents, you are the biggest supporters of your children’s learning. You can make sure they have as much time to play as possible during the day to promote cognitive, language, physical, social, and emotional development.
6. Play and learning go hand-in-hand.
They are not separate activities. They are intertwined. Think about them as a science lecture with a lab. Play is the child’s lab.
7. Play outside.
Remember your own outdoor experiences of building forts, playing on the beach, sledding in the winter, or playing with other children in the neighborhood. Make sure your children create outdoor memories too.
8. There’s a lot to learn about play.
There’s a lot written on children and play. Here are some NAEYC articles and books about play. David Elkind’s The Power of Play (Da Capo, 2007 reprint) is also a great resource.
9. Trust your own playful instincts.
Remember as a child how play just came naturally? Give your children time for play and see all that they are capable of when given the opportunity.
10. Play is a child’s context for learning.
Children practice and reinforce their learning in multiple areas during play. It gives them a place and a time for learning that cannot be achieved through completing a worksheet. For example, in playing restaurant, children write and draw menus, set prices, take orders, and make out checks. Play provides rich learning opportunities and leads to children’s success and self-esteem.
UMC STUDENTS COMPLETE PROJECTS TO RAISE MONEY AND FOOD FOR THE NORTH COUNTRY FOOD BANK
Students from the
University of Minnesota Crookston’s chapter of Rotaract have taken the
commitment to community service seriously. The group recently completed a
project to raise money and food for the North Country Food Shelf in Crookston.
Students Levi Atinda, Gyungyoun Baek, Christiana Boadu, and Riho Nagatsuka
collected 287 pounds of food from within the UMC campus community during a food
drive. Much of the food was collected door to door from fellow students in
campus residence halls. The food drive was held in conjunction with the local
Boy Scouts troop, which was conducting its annual “Scouting for Food” program.
In addition to the collected food, Atinda worked to obtain a $500 grant from the Sodexo Foundation youth grant program administered by Youth Service America in order to further support the food drive. The students presented the $500 they received from the grant and the food to Tracy Volker, food shelf coordinator, on April 1. As a bonus, the students had their $500 matched for even greater impact on helping needy families in the Crookston area.
From left to right: Gyungyoun Baek, UMC Rotaract; Don Cavalier, Crookston Rotary; Christiana Boadu, UMC Rotaract; Tracy Volker, North Country Food Shelf; Levi Atinda, UMC Rotaract; and Krista Proulx, Crookston Rotary.
CATHEDRAL SCHOOL HOLDS THE ANNUAL ART AND ACADEMIC FAIR
Cathedral School held its annual Arts and Academic Fair earlier this week in the school gym. Students in Kindergarten through sixth Grade participated in projects focusing on the Arts this year. Many students created project to display and others chose the performance presentation section. Pictured above is Kindergartener, Audrey Goehring, informs Brian Boll about the matching dresses she made with her Grandma for herself and her American Girl doll. Some fifth and sixth Grade students performed an assortment of songs they have been learning during their band lessons. Next year's fair will focus on the academic categories.
CHS STUDENT MERRAN DINGMAN LEAVES FOR STATE SPEECH COMPETITION TODAY
Merran Dingman, eighth grader at Crookston High School leaves for State Speech competition today with her advisor Phyllis Hagen. There are three rounds and 13 categories and everyone does their speech and will get judged. "I wrote an extemporaneous eight minute speech on the Unicorn and a family," said Dingman, "It was long and I am excited to compete on Saturday in the Twin cities."
FISHER STUDENTS OF THE MONTH FOR MARCH ANNOUNCED
The Fisher School students of the month for March are: Trevor Jenson, son of Dennis and Nancy Jenson; Heather Reynolds, daughter of Cindy Reynolds and Chris Reynolds; and Brady Klein, son of Jade and Leah Klein.
The March students of the month - Trevor Jenson, Heather Reynolds, and Brady Klein.
THURSDAY - APRIL 10, 2014
UMC'S ALPHA LAMBDA DELTA TO HOST THE THIRD ANNUAL PI RUN APRIL 26
Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) at the University of Minnesota Crookston is hosting the
third annual Pi Run on Saturday, April 26, 2014. The run will include a new
route starting at Highland School, 801 Central Avenue North, Crookston, Minn.
Races include the 5K pi run, a race of 5 km (3.1 miles) a distance roughly equal
to Pi; a 10K or 2Pi race (6.28 miles); and a children’s fun run. To register,
visit www.theirrationalrace.com or
call 218-281-8432 with questions. All runners and walkers are encouraged to
The schedule for the morning begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration at the Highland School followed by the Fun Run at 9:30 and the 5K and 10K at 10 a.m. Awards will be presented to the top three overall female and male finishers. All children participating in the Fun Run will receive a finisher's medal. Early registration guarantees 5K and 10K runners a shirt.
All proceeds from the race will benefit the Polk County Historical Society Carnegie Library Restoration Project Fund and the Bone Marrow Registry drive taking place on the Crookston campus on April 29-30.
Herc-U-Lift is a major sponsor of the ALD Pi Run. Anyone interested in contributing should contact Brian Dingmann at 218-281-8249.
Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) is an honor society at the University of Minnesota, Crookston for students who have maintained 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.
The goal of the Polk County Historical Society's renovation project is to transform 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.
The Polk County Historical Society had a grand opening celebration at the Carnegie Library this week. There was a display from the Polk County Museum and the Minnesota State Historical Society and Uncle Sam’s New Deal will be showing the months of April and May. The Carnegie Library is open Monday and Thursday’s from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The MinnKota4 performed at the grand opening of the Carnegie Library earlier this week
POLK COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH IS CELEBRATING NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH WEEK THIS WEEK
Polk County Public Health is celebrating National Public Health Week from April 7-13. Every April, we come together to celebrate public health and renew our commitment to promoting healthier communities, schools and workplaces. Most people do not understand what public health is, much less how it impacts their daily lives. Public health affects all of us on a daily basis as we are only as healthy as the world we live in.
Public health professionals:
· Analyze the effect on health of genetics, personal choice and the environment in order to develop services that protect the health of your family and community
· Protect the health of entire populations, which can be as small as a local neighborhood, or as big as an entire country
· Work toward preventing problems from happening or re-occurring through educational programs, developing policies, administering services, partnering with health systems and other health professions, and conducting research
· reduce health disparities, fight for health care equity, quality, and accessibility
Polk County Public Health is grateful to have many individuals who volunteer their time, skills, and abilities in various activities and projects that nurture and strengthen our communities. These individuals advocate for improvement and expansion of public health in their families, schools, workplaces and communities. As part of NPHW, we at Polk County Public Health would like to take the time to acknowledge our Public Health Champions.
The first champion that Polk County Public Health would like to thank is Shannon Stassen, Shannon is the former Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce and the current City Administrator of Crookston. Shannon partners with Public Health in many different forms including being current Chair Person of the Polk County Wellness Coalition which works to encourages and promotes healthy choices and behaviors for all residents throughout the County. Shannon has also worked hand in hand to create change in Crookston through the work of Statewide Health Improvement Program by encouraging and creating an environment that offers choices for people to be healthy and active.
Another person that Public Health would like to recognize as a Public Health Champion is Polk County Sheriff, Barb Erdman. Barb has been active in the Polk County Wellness Coalition and was one that initiated the conversations, helped to secure funding and brought interested stakeholders together to form the Towards Zero Death Coalition which as a result is a grant that works through Public Health these are just a few of the many ways in which she helps advocate and support the working at Polk County Public Health.
Lieutenant Brad Norland of the Minnesota State Patrol is also another person that public health would like to recognize as a Polk County Public Health Champion. Brad has been an active member of the Towards Zero Death Campaign from the start back in October of 2012. Brad remains dedicated to keeping our roads safe by educating young drivers about the risks associated with distracted driving. Last spring, before prom and graduation season, and through is own initiative, he secured the use of a driving simulator and brought it to Polk County high schools to demonstrate just how quickly a crashes occur when the driver takes his/ her eyes off of the road.
Tim Denney is the Training and Workability Director at Northwest Mental Health Center. Tim has dedicated himself to making sure that all the dots are connected to people throughout the community. Tim has been active on the Polk County Wellness Coalition, Towards Zero Death Coalition and also on the Polk-Norman- Mahnomen SHIP Community Leadership Team. Tim is always willing to share his wealth of knowledge and experience with these groups to help strengthen the work they do.
Norm Baumgarn, Superintendent of Climax-Shelly schools has worked in the field of education for over 40 years and has been an advocate for healthy choices throughout his career. He attributes his passion for healthy living to his mother who was a dietician. Norm has always been active in the menu planning in his schools and has partnered with local farmers and various grant and food programs to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for his students. Norm is willing to share his knowledge and values with collaborative partners throughout the region. PCPH thanks him for being such a great advocate for health.
CROOKSTON CHAMBER BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEE IS HOSTING A CLEANUP OF DOWNTOWN CROOKSTON
Global Youth Service Day is Saturday, April 12 and the Crookston Chamber
Beautification Committee is hosting a clean up day for downtown Crookston with
several partners. “The beautification committee is partnering with the
CHS (Crookston High School) Leo Club, City of Crookston, and UMC Office of Community Engagement and
Office of Sustainability on Saturday morning to get the downtown cleaned up,"
said Amanda Lien, Crookston Chamber of Commerce interim
Event & Marketing Coordinator. "We
want volunteers and the youth to show up with gloves and trash bags. We will be
furnished with a light breakfast following the clean up. Show up at
the parking lot behind city hall on Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.”
It is also time to order the floral baskets for the Chamber Adopt a Basket Program. “We will beautify the City of Crookston with hanging baskets," said Lien. "People can call or e-mail the chamber for an application by May 31 with the baskets costing $65.”
POLK COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH HAS RADON TESTING
Polk County Public Health has received an additional supply of radon testing kits that are available to the public at no charge. Kits will be available at Polk County Public Health offices in Crookston, East Grand Forks, and McIntosh, however the supply is limited. If you have any questions, please call (218) 281-3385.
THIS WEEK IS NATIONAL WEEK OF THE YOUNG CHILD
This week is the Week of the Young Child and the rest of the week, KROX will have an article on different ways to spend time with your child and help the physical and mental development. The articles were submitted by the Crookston Early Childhood Initiative.
WAYS TO BUILD MATH INTO YOUR CHILDS LIFE
By Laura Bilodeau Overdeck
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck and her husband have been doing nightly math problems with their kids for years. Laura developed Bedtime Math to share with other families some fun math riddles and other ways to incorporate math into daily routines.
Math is everywhere. That’s great news for parents, because we can talk with our kids about math in fun, natural ways. And that kind of math-talk is really important.
Studies show that a child’s math skills at kindergarten entry are a better predictor of future academic success than reading skills, social skills, or the ability to focus. As parents, we can give our kids a head start by helping them get comfortable with math concepts like measuring and counting at home.
Here are five ways to add math to your child’s day.
1. Bake something together -You can’t help but use math when you’re baking. Doubling recipes requires multiplying, halving a recipe requires dividing, and measuring a ½ cup or a ¼ teaspoon gets you working with easy fractions. At a more basic level, kids love counting out chocolate chips. (And so do the parents; we speak from experience!)
Ask your child: How many chocolate chips do you think it will take to fill one cup? How many for 1/2 cup? Count together and see how close you came to the right answer!
2. Measure, count, and record - Most kids love stopwatches, and watching the seconds tick by gives them opportunities to practice counting. Measure distances and heights. Count jumping jacks, push-ups, or consecutive kicks of a soccer ball.
Ask your child: How far can you throw a ball? Take a guess, then throw the ball as far as you can and measure the distance.
How many jumping jacks can you do in a minute? Try it!
How many times can you jump rope or bounce a ball without missing? Count and see.
3. Build something together - Big or small, any project that involves measuring includes counting, adding, and multiplying. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making a clubhouse out of shoeboxes or building a genuine tree house. Legos and other building toys are wonderful tools for incorporating both numbers and spatial thinking into playtime.
Ask your child: How high can you build that stack of Legos?
How many Legos do you need to stack to reach as high as the coffee table?
Can you make a square? A rectangle? Other shapes? Talk about the shapes of whatever your child has created.
4. Plan dinner or a party - Whether you’re planning a party or just getting ready for a family dinner, there are plenty of math concepts involved. Have your child help set the table and count out the plates, napkins, and silverware. For a party, have your child help with the shopping. You know you’re going to have to do some math since all of those plates, balloons, and party favors are packaged in different quantities!
Ask your child: How many plates, napkins, and forks do you need for dinner?
If you’re inviting 10 guests to a party, and the plates come 8 to a pack, how many packs are you going to need? How many are going to be left over?
If you’re not planning a party in the near future, get creative. Why not host a tea party for your child’s favorite stuffed animals?
5. Mix in math to your bedtime reading - Most families read to their children at night. Why not add a math problem to the mix? Here’s one to try.
Melt in Your Mouth - No matter how much you love your favorite snack (apples, marshmallows, pound cake), it probably tastes even better dipped in something warm and gooey. That’s what you do when you eat fondue. You fill the fondue pot with cheese or chocolate, put it over a hot flame, and then dip pieces of food into the yummy meltedness using long skinny fondue forks.
It all started with cheese fondue in a Swiss recipe in 1699, but since then we’ve added meat fondue (where you carefully cook chunks of steak in hot oil) and, of course, chocolate fondue. But you have to pay attention while dipping: Some say that if you drop your apple slice in the pot, you have to kiss the person to your left.
Ask your 3 or 4-year old: If you dip 2 apple slices and 3 banana slices into your fondue, how many pieces did you dip?
Ask your older child: If there are 2 people sharing cheese fondue and everyone wants 3 apple slices, how many apple slices do you need to serve? (Answers: 3 or 4-year old: 8 slices. older children: 6 slices.)
There are plenty of other ways to keep kids thinking about math—board games, stickers, and stargazing, to name a few. The important thing is just to encourage your child to see the numbers all around us and to keep things fun. This is how we’ll raise a next generation that thinks math is cool!
NW REGIONAL SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP LOOKING FOR BOARD MEMBERS
Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (NWRSDP) is
seeking community members in Northwestern Minnesota to serve on its board of
directors. “We are one of five Regional Partnerships across the state that
connects local communities and citizens with the resources of the University of
Minnesota. In recent years our board has supported innovative projects in
Northwest Minnesota such as Connecting Children and Nature and Promoting Farmers
Markets. We seek forward-thinking and active board members who will help us
contribute to a more vibrant and sustainable Minnesota, now and into the
future,” says Mike Moore, current board chair.
Each of the five Regional Partnerships (Southeast, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Central) is citizen-driven, building community-University partnerships that create new opportunities and solve problems in Greater Minnesota. The Partnerships are a division of University of Minnesota Extension.
According to Linda Kingery, executive director, board members function as a team, working with local communities to identify and implement projects that foster sustainability in agriculture and food systems, tourism and resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy.
Members of the NWRSDP board also:
· solicit, evaluate, and vote on proposals
· participate in regular boards and focus area work group meetings—both in-person and by conference calls—contributing time, energy, and insight to projects
· serve for three years with mileage and honorarium for agreed upon meetings and special assignments provided.
Board membership is open to residents of Greater Minnesota and University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students. To be considered for a position, please submit your application by Thursday, April 24 for terms starting in July of 2014.
For more information, see “Board members information and application” at http://RSDP.umn.edu.
The Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDPs) give communities in Greater Minnesota access to the University of Minnesota in order to help solve problems and take advantage of new opportunities. As a part of University of Minnesota Extension, NW RSDP brings together local talent and resources with University of Minnesota knowledge and seed funding to drive sustainability in four areas: agriculture and food systems, tourism and resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy.
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