THURSDAY - MAY 5,  2016


It’s never too early or late to work toward being your healthiest you! To help area women on their health journeys, RiverView Health will once again hold its annual Women’s Fest event Tuesday, May 10.
This is the ninth year for the free event held in Heritage Hallway on RiverView’s Crookston campus.
Women’s Fest is held in recognition of National Women’s Health Week, May 8-14.  The focus of the recognition is to empower women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages them to take steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases. It’s also a great time to remind women to schedule their annual well-woman visit, as well.
The annual RiverView event will be held from 3:30-6:00 p.m. and will feature great food, helpful information, demonstrations, presentations and door prizes all geared toward today’s woman.
Dr. Kari Wessman will present on bladder and bowel issues. Statistics show that more than 33 million Americans deal with urinary incontinence, while 18 million are affected by bowel incontinence. Severity of these issues range from occasional leakage when coughing or sneezing to having to “go’’ so badly or suddenly that you may not get to the bathroom in time.
Listen to Dr. Wessman share solutions to these issues ranging from simple exercises to surgery.
Also presenting will be Physician Assistant Angela Salveson. Salveson is a Crookston native who recently joined RiverView’s North Clinic and is part of its extended clinic hours staff. Along with family medicine, Salveson has extensive knowledge in orthopaedic issues and will share information on common hand conditions and knee and hip arthritis. To accompany her presentation, staff from RiverView’s Physical Therapy Department will provide suggestions for exercises to help with everyday aches and pains.
There will also be time to have your blood pressure, glucose and bone density screened by RiverView staff.
Women’s Fest is free and open to all women in the RiverView community.





Tourism is a key sector of Minnesota economy, comparable to agriculture in its contribution to the gross state product. Minnesota’s leisure and hospitality industry accounts for more than 254,400 full and part-time jobs and close to $4.7 billion in wages.
Travelers in Minnesota spend more than $37 million per day. These dollars circulate widely into Minnesota’s local and state economies, supporting businesses and amenities that add to Minnesotans quality of life.  Every $1 invested in state tourism marketing returns an estimated $7 in state and local taxes and $75 in spending by travelers.
In Polk County alone there were $47,697,630 spent in gross sales, $2,932,443 in state sales tax and 1,114 private sector jobs attributed to the Leisure and Hospitality Industry in 2014.
In Crookston, top attractions for visitors include the Polk County Historical Museum, wildlife viewing on the many wildlife refuges that surround our community, UMC’s floral and butterfly gardens, Veterans Memorial Walkway, our unique shopping; and of course the CSC arena brings sporting events throughout the seasons. Crookston also made the “top 20 list” on for birding in Minnesota. New to Crookston is Oliver’s Canoe Outfitters, which allows easy access to the Red Lake River for great canoeing and kayaking adventures.
Vacations and getaways benefit the travelers who take them, of course, but tourism also benefits the communities these travelers visit, including Crookston.
In celebration of National Tourism Week Fisher’s Landing Travel Information Center on Highway 2 will open May 11 for the season. Our staff this year will be Sharon Bergsgaard, Sharon Olson and Gary Ricord. The Center will be open 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily.  Everyone is welcome to come out and enjoy our complimentary refreshments while gathering information to “Explore Minnesota” this summer. Be sure to stop by on May 20 for our famous “Minnesota Cookies”




Altru Clinic in Crookston is excited to announce Valorie Tuseth, FNP, will begin to care for family medicine patients at Altru Clinic in Crookston. Tuseth has over 20 years of experience as a nurse practitioner in a variety of areas including urgent care, neurology, family medicine and internal medicine. She earned her Master of Science degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner from the University of North Dakota. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center.
To make an appointment with Valorie Tuseth, FNP, call 218-281-9100.

Altru Clinic in Crookston is an integral part of Altru Health System. Altru’s local staff provide a hometown touch to modern medicine. The team in Crookston offers a multitude of specialties, including family medicine, internal medicine, cardiology, orthopedics, oncology, and physical, speech and occupational therapy services along with local availability of renal dialysis and Yorhom Medical Essentials. With the support of Altru Health System, Altru Clinic has convenient access to additional specialties, so that every patient receives the highest level of care and service.




WEDNESDAY - MAY 4,  2016


The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development informed Crookston Mayor Gary Willhite and city staff that their application for a 2016 Minnesota Small Cities Development program grant was approved for over $600,000 to help with downtown development. “We found out on Tuesday and this is exciting for downtown redevelopment to improve some properties in many ways,” said City Administrator Shannon Stassen. “It is comprehensive as it will serve rental and commercial properties.”  Stassen said they have letters of intent from building owners and the city will have to do an environmental review and train the person administering the grant. “We will solidify the persons who signed letters of intent and have them do an official application,” said Stassen.  “We get $600,875 from DEED which leverages a couple hundred thousand from the building owners so it could mean up to $900,000 in improvements.” 
The city will be working with the Multi County Housing’s Lee Meier and the agency has been instrumental in helping Crookston get the grant. “The grant writer Joan Abercrombie spent a lot of time on the streets with the owners on this project so it is a good feeling and we are excited for Crookston,” added Stassen.




Polk County Commissioners met on Tuesday and approved a request from Casey’s General store for access to their new convenience store along Fisher Avenue.  “They are proposing to put a store on the corner of North Broadway and Fisher Avenue on the east side of North Broadway and they requested an access off Fisher Avenue and the county board approved with Casey’s paying for the work,” said Polk County Highway Engineer Rich Sanders.  “Typically with Fisher Avenue being a controlled access you try to move approaches or double up, but because of the utilities and drainage ditches in the area is was not feasible, so they can have their own approach.”
An alternative access would have to move an electrical pole for Otter Tail Power at a cost of $50,000 which made the change prohibitive.   Casey’s plans to get started with construction soon.




Jon Steiner, Polk County Environmental Services Director, brought the Polk County Commissioners an update on the permit status at the county landfill and he said the permit application has been in since last fall and which has been for five years and now changed to 10 years. “We are required to do an Environmental Assessment Worksheet which is a formal notification process and has been finished with only a few comments from state agencies which we have addressed,” said Steiner. “We should hear in the next week or two.  The state is causing some problems as they are requiring liners on demolition landfill, we have a solid waste landfill, so we have had some difficulty with staff and have been to the commissioner’s office to get it squared away so we can get the permit to build a new cell this summer.  We want to be ready when Hubbard County enters our system and we get more waste and we want to be prepared for the winter frost.” 
The new cell will be installed by R.J. Zavoral and Sons with a bid of $416, 904.90.




If you or someone you know is experiencing memory loss or behavioral changes, it’s time to learn about the different forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Early detection of dementia gives you a chance to begin drug therapy, enroll in clinical studies and plan for the future.

May 9 – The Basics: Memory loss, Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease
The RiverView Health Care Center will host “The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease’’ a community dementia education event on Monday, May 9 from 6-7:30 PM in Meeting Room 4 of RiverView Health
, 323 South Minnesota Street, Crookston. Attendees should use the Rehab Entrance on the south side of the building.  Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. It is a progressive and fatal brain disease that is the most common form of dementia. Through this workshop, discover the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia; how Alzheimer’s affects the brain, risk factors, diagnosis, stages of the disease, treatment, and hope for the future.

Objectives include:
· understanding  dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
· understanding the current symptomatic treatments available to persons with Alzheimer’s disease
· understanding the importance of early diagnosis and planning with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease/other dementia

June 28 – Effective Communication Strategies
The second presentation, “Effective Communication Strategies’’, will be held Tuesday, June 28, also in Meeting Room 4, from 6 to 7:30 PM.
This session is designed to provide practical information and resources to help dementia caregivers learn to decode verbal and behavioral messages from people with dementia. The goals of the program are for participants to better understand the changes in communication that occur with the disease progression and how they manifest in the person with dementia, and to be able to identify ways to connect at each stage of the disease.
Objectives include:
· understanding the communication changes that take place throughout the course of the disease
· how to decode the verbal and behavioral messages delivered by someone with dementia and respond in ways that are helpful to the person
· how to identify strategies to help you connect and communicate at each stage of the disease

Jess Steinbrenner will present both workshops. Steinbrenner is the Western Minnesota program manager with the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota chapter. Steinbrenner provides direct services to individuals and families who are navigating their way through Alzheimer’s disease as well as providing community and professional education throughout the region. There will be time set aside for questions and answers.
Certificates of Attendance will be given at each workshop. These events are open to the public and free of charge. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call RiverView Care Center Activities Director and Social Services Designee Kalie Crayton at




The National Honor Society Induction Ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 5 at 8:00 p.m. in the Crookston High School Auditorium.  
Sustaining Seniors are Brooke Bergeron, Charles Brantner, Timothy Cymbaluk, Gunther Dingmann, Marietta Geist, Alyssa Goelzer, Brooke Gornowicz, Zach Lutz, Haley Roed, Elisa Samuelson, Marie Sandman, Alyssa Schultz, Kyle Stegman, Robert Tiedemann, and Leah Trostad.
Senior Inductees are Precious Adams, Jordan Bengston, Patrick Deng, Claire Dufault, Nicole Goosen, Alyssa Fee, Anna Hajostek, and Alexandra MacGregor.
Junior Inductees are Brita Fagerlund, Megan Frisk, Morgan Kresl, Anna Miller, Isabel Rodriguez, Heidi Swanson, Elise Tanquist, and Christoper Wavra.
The Crookston High School National Honor Society Advisor is Vicki Huck.





A Bumper Crop of Pocket Gophers

As I drive around the region, I notice there seems to be a bumper crop of pocket gophers in the road ditches and hay fields. For anyone that produces alfalfa, one is always alert to these pesky critters that fashion dirt mounds creating another layer of difficulty for harvest. If you produce forage crops, the pocket gopher is your enemy.
Pocket gophers are burrowing rodents so named because they have fur-lined pouches outside of their mouth, one on each side of the face. These pockets, which are capable of being turned inside out, are used for carrying food. The forepaws are large-clawed and the lips close behind their large incisors, all marvelous adaptations to their underground existence.
Gophers have small external ears and small eyes. As sight and sound are severely limited, gophers are highly dependent on the sense of touch. The whiskers on their face are very sensitive to touch and assist pocket gophers while traveling about in their dark tunnels. The tail is sparsely haired and also serves as a sensory mechanism guiding gophers’ backward movements. The tail is also important in thermoregulation, acting as a radiator.
Pocket gophers feed on plants in three ways: 1) they feed on roots that they encounter when digging; 2) they may go to the surface, venturing only a body length or so from their tunnel opening to feed on aboveground vegetation; and 3) they pull vegetation into their tunnel from below. Pocket gophers eat forbs, grasses, shrubs, and trees.
Alfalfa and dandelions are some of the most preferred and nutritious foods for pocket gophers. Generally, they prefer perennial forbs, but they will also eat annual plants with fleshy underground storage structures. Plains pocket gophers consume primarily grasses, especially those with rhizomes, but they seem to prefer forbs when they are succulent in spring and summer. Wouldn’t be nice if they would just eat the quackgrass roots and leave everything else alone -- and didn’t make mounds?
Portions of plants consumed also vary seasonally. Gophers utilize above-ground portions of vegetation mostly during the growing season, when the vegetation is green and succulent. Height and density of vegetation at this time of year may also offer protection from predators, reducing the risk of short surface trips. Year-round, however, roots are the major food source. Many trees and shrubs are clipped just above ground level. This occurs principally during winter under snow cover. Seedlings also have their roots clipped by pocket gophers.
Damage caused by gophers includes destruction of underground utility cables and irrigation pipe, direct consumption and smothering of forage by earthen mounds, and change in species composition on rangelands by providing seedbeds (mounds) for invading weeds. Ever wonder why how those nasty weeds get started in the ditches? Gopher mounds are a perfect environment to get thistles started from the seed blowing during the previous summer.
Gophers damage trees by stem girdling and clipping, root pruning, and possibly root exposure caused by burrowing. Gopher mounds dull and plug sickles when harvesting hay or alfalfa, and soil brought to the surface as mounds is more likely to erode. In irrigated areas, gopher tunnels can channel water runoff, causing loss of surface irrigation water. Gopher tunnels in ditch banks and earthen dams can weaken these structures, causing water loss by seepage and piping through a bank or the complete loss or washout of a canal bank. The presence of gophers also increases the likelihood of badger activity, which can also cause considerable damage.
Next week, I share information on different control methods of this bothersome pest.
This information is adapted from Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. A publication from University of Nebraska Extension that is available at all of the finer Extension offices. For more information contact me at or 800-450-2465.




TUESDAY - MAY 3,  2016


The Crookston High School held their Eighth Annual Triple A Senior Recognition Night on Monday, May 2 to honor their senior Student-Athletes in Academics, Arts and Athletics and the banquet was sponsored by the Crookston Pirate Fine Arts Boosters, Crookston Kiwanis, Crookston Noon Day Lions and the Crookston Rotary Clubs.

Academic Awards:
Dr. Russel O. and Inez Sather Scholarship: Zach Lutz, Haley Roed, Charles Brantner
Donnie Lauf Memorial Scholarship: James Zurcher
Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce: Ariel LaPlante
Franz Memorial/Class of 1929 Scholarship: Claire Dufault
Larsen Achievement Award: Brooke Bergeron, Marietta Geist
CHS Scholarship: Jordan Bengston
Academic Achievement: Jordan Bengston, Brooke Bergeron, Patrick Deng, Guthrie Dingmann, Claire Dufualt, Marietta Geist, Zach Lutz, Haley Roed, Marie Sandman, Alyssa Schultz, Bobby Tiedemann, Kyle Stegman, Elisa Samuelson, and Jacob Roesch.   

Back row - Bobby Tiedmann, Jordan Bengston, Alyssa Schultz, Jake Roesch, Guthrie Dingmann, Zach Lutz, Elisa Samuelson, Claire Dufault, Patrick Deng
Front row - Marie Sandman, Marietta Geist, Brooke Bergeron, Haley Roed, Kyle Stegman

Arts, including Music Awards:
Music Department Senior Awards: Charles Brantner, Daphne Butler, Alexandra MacGregor, Marie Sandman, Kaitlin Selzler, Zach Lutz, Kyle Stegman, Elisa Samuelson, and Brooke Gornowicz.
T.W. Thorson Memorial Award: Charles Brantner
John P. Sousa Awards: Charles Brantner
Mari Hussey Award: Marie Sandman
Carey Award: Zach Lutz
Merle Miller String Scholarship – Marie Sandman
Thespian Award: Zach Lutz
Most Dedicated Thespian Award – Alexandra MacGregor, Marie Sandman
Music Above and Beyond Awards: Precious Adams, Charles Brantner, Zach Lutz, Guthrie Dingmann, Marie Sandman, Marietta Geist, Alexandra MacGregor
Ramona Unke Scholarship: Zach Lutz
Kiwanis Outstanding Supporter for Arts: Sandy Perkins

Marie Sandman, Marietta Geist, Charles Brantner, Precious Adams, Guthrie Dingmann, Zach Lutz, Alex MacGregor

Honors & Awards
Riverview Orthopedic Clinic Scholarship: Alyssa Schultz and Patrick Deng
Noon Day Lions/Brock Olson Award: Brooke Bergeron, Tori Demarais
Noon Day Lions and CHS LEO Club MaryAnn Odland Community Service Award – Alyssa Goelzer and Alyssa Schultz
Crookston Kiwanis Pioneer 100’s Scholarship – Ariel LaPlante
Meredith Reynolds Memorial Scholarship: Brooke Bergeron
Bremer Community Service Award: Macy Larson, Ian Johnson
Senior Honor Awards: Haley Roed, Quentyn Haglund
American Legion Citizenship Award: Marietta Geist, Zach Lutz
American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship – Elisa Samuelson
Walt Keller Memorial Scholarship – Guthrie Dingmann
CHS Citizenship Award: Claire Dufault, Guthrie Dingmann
Cheryl Steinbrink Healthcare Scholarship – Marie Sandman
Tracy Lynn Altringer Scholarship – Madison Ringdahl
Bob and Ella Q. Strand Scholarship – Marie Sandman
June Shaver Healthcare Scholarship – Elisa Samuelson, Haley Roed, Annie Hajostek, Nicole Goosen, Jessenia Argueta, Marie Sandman, Kyle Stegman, Ashley Manning, Alyssa Fee
Red Lake Electric Cooperative Scholarship – Haley Roed
Halstad Telephone Company Scholarship – Patrick Deng
American Crystal Sugar Scholarship – Marietta Geist, Alyssa Valdez Peck
Altru Health System Scholarship – Brooke Danielson
Vernon J. Pick Foundation Scholarship – Marietta Geist
Catholic United Financial Tuition Scholarship – Alexandra MacGregor

Back row - Macy Larson, Alyssa Schultz, Alyssa Goelzer, Marietta Geist, Ian Johnson, Guthrie Dingmann, Zach Lutz, Elisa Samuelson, Alyssa Fee
Front row - Tori Demarais, Annie Hajostek, Brooke Bergeron, Haley Roed, Claire Dufualt

Chris Demarais (representing the Crookston Blue Line Club), Sandie Schmitz (Fan of the year) and Sandy Perkins (Arts Booster of the year)





The 70th annual Minnesota Girls State will be held June 12-18, on the campus of Bethel University in St. Paul and several area high school girls will be attending.
The Nels T Wold Post 20 American Legion Auxiliary of Crookston has selected Anna Miller daughter of Kari and Mark Miller and Chantal Laporte-Lewis, daughter of Sheila LaPorte to represent Crookston at the 70th Annual Minnesota Girls State June at Bethel College. They will be seniors at Crookston High School in the fall.  The 2016 Girls State Delegate from Fisher High School is Cynthia Mendoza, daughter of Renya Mendoza of Crookston and the alternate is Mikayla Vasek, daughter of Mike and Angie Vasek of Fisher.
Minnesota Girls State is a week-long experience of learning about Minnesota government at the local, county and state levels by "doing."  It is a week of intensive study and involvement.  The 400+ participants from across the state will actually organize and participate in the various levels and branches of government.  Every girl will hold a government office or will become a member of the State House or State Senate.  Minnesota Girls State is a program for young women who have just completed their junior year of high school.
Highlights of the week include campaigning, elections, inauguration of the Girls State Governor, state constitutional officers, along with legislative sessions held in the Minnesota House and Senate Chambers and mock trials held in the Supreme Court at the State Capitol in St. Paul.
The Girls State citizens will also have the opportunity to experience group living.  For many, if not most, this will be their first experience in dormitory living and sharing a room.  Meals are served cafeteria style.  This week will be a good preview of college dorm life. 

          Anna Miller             Chantal Laporte-Lewis        Cynthia Mendoza              Mikayla Vasek





Learn how to answer questions using science, develop questions in an area of interest, conduct an experiment, or learn to interpret results of an experiment during Science Summer Camp. The Science Summer Camps will be held at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) on Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 5 and is designed for young scientists in grades 6-9 and another running at the same time for those in grades 10-12 as well as science teachers. Registration for the camps is $90 before July 15 and $100 after July 15. Register at
Housing is available on campus for $170 for the week and includes evening activities, supervision, along with room and board. Daily sessions begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 3:00 p.m. except for Friday which includes poster and oral presentations and concludes at noon. For every five student registrations, one teacher registration is free. Parents and teachers may attend all week but are encouraged to attend the final day.
Studies show that participation in science fair projects increases standardized test scores in the sciences. Participation in a regional science fair can result in trips to the state fair and the international fair along with awards and recognition. For more information on the Science Summer Camps at UMC, contact Katy Smith, Ph.D., 218-281-8262.




Students at Our Savior’s Lutheran School took advantage of the beautiful weather on Friday to release butterflies that had hatched in their classroom. The students studied the life cycles of the painted lady butterflies as part of a spring science unit.




MONDAY - MAY 2,  2016


The Crookston Sports Center hosted a concert on Saturday night with the Gear Daddies and the crowd was smaller than they hoped with 492 tickets sold. “The bands were phenomenal, The Billies and the Gear Daddies put  on a good show, the sound was good and kudos to staff for doing a good job organizing and running the event,” said City Administrator Shannon Stassen. “The total head count with online sales and the sponsors and all the tickets that out was 492.  We had some no shows and it was lower than expected, but fantastic for those attending and we will move forward and figure out how we will do the next one and hit the target whatever it will be.”   Discussions will be held to get ideas for another concert or activity suitable for the Sports Center.




Tri Valley Opportunity Council is submitting a grant for Agassiz Townhomes and needs help from community businesses to meet the amount needed for matching funds. After being turned down last year, they decided to strengthen the grant application.  “It showed that we were about $70,000 short from getting to the next tier of points, so we applied to the Otto Bremer Trust for $35,000 and the CHEDA board has committed $17,500 to match employer contributions of the same amount so we are out talking to different employers talking about support to fill the funding gap and we want to show Minnesota Housing what the community can do when it sets it mind to something,” said Tri Valley Executive Director Jason Carlson.  “They were here last spring and impressed with the community and I think beyond the money we raise this will be a great demonstration this community will back worthwhile projects and I think beyond the Agassiz Townhomes it will show different funding sources, what the community will do when we talk about downtown redevelopment and other projects.”
Meetings are being held this week with local businesses to explain the need for support.  The city is getting infrastructure ready for the project and is calling for bids this week to install infrastructure for the thirty unit townhome to be built on the former Elk River Property on North Broadway.




The University of Minnesota Crookston athletic department will be taking free will donations on Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7 during the games at 2:00 and 4:30 p.m. The money raised will go toward helping former UMC baseball player Ben Lazzari and his family after his 16 day old daughter, Everly Mae Lazzari, passed away after being born with an irregular heart rate.
The Golden Eagles are looking to help raise money for Ben and his wife Amber to help them with the medical costs and funeral expenses incurred.  A table will be set up at the games over the weekend.
Ben Lazzari, originally from Shakopee was a four-year letter winner for the Golden Eagles from 2009-12. Lazzari’s biggest role for the Golden Eagles was a pitcher, while also playing in the outfield for UMC. He is second all-time in pitching appearances to current UMC assistant coach and his former Golden Eagle teammate, Ryan Paasch. In addition to Everly Mae, Ben and Amber have another daughter, Ella.




The Crookston School District is coordinating a retirement party for school district staff that are retiring from the district. Seven employees are retiring with Lonnie Thorson, Frank Lindgren, Shirley Simonson, Jim Mulligan, Toni Grove, Nancy Pearson, Barb Chapman and Deb Bina will be honored.  The retirement party will be at the Crookston Eagles on Friday, June 3 from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.  It is open to all Crookston teachers, retirees and the public.  Admission is $5 at the door with cake, punch and other food.  “They all excellent employees of the district and we will have a short program to let them know we will miss them,” said Crookston School Board member Patti Dillabough.  They retirement party is open to all Crookston teachers, retirees and people who want to come, charge of $5 at the door for all the cake, punch and other food.




RiverView Health in Crookston will host an education course for individuals interested in basic first aid. The program, developed by the American Heart Association, is open to the general public. Participants in this First Aid Course will learn to provide first aid for acute injuries and sudden illnesses such as burns, bites, poisoning, and seizures. This course is excellent for day care providers, school employees and parents.
The four-hour class will be held on Thursday, May 5 from 6 pm to 10 pm in Meeting Room 4 at RiverView Health.  The cost of the class, including the book and card, is $45. The American Heart Association is not responsible for any fees charged for this course.
The class is an American Heart Association (AHA) Community Training Center affiliated course. Contracted Community Training Centers (CTCs) and their affiliated sites are the only facilities permitted to offer AHA courses to the public and professionals through their affiliated instructors and programs.
To register or for more information on this class or other courses offered through the CTC, call 218-281-9405 or 1-800-743-6551, extension 9405.
The American Heart Association strongly promotes knowledge and proficiency in all AHA courses and has developed instructional materials for this purpose.  Use of these materials in an educational course does not represent course sponsorship by the AHA.  Any fees charged for such a course, except for a portion of fees needed for AHA course materials, do not represent income to the AHA.




The 25th Annual Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) Camp is scheduled for July 10-16, 2016 at the University of MN Crookston. RYLA is a leadership training program offered to students who have completed the 11th grade in high school and will be sponsored by the Crookston Rotary Club. The program is designed to develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship. The Crookston Rotary Club will sponsor the cost of the program ($475). This fee covers the cost of the lodging, meals, recreational activities and workshop materials for the week-long camp. To apply, visit the RYLA website: The deadline to apply is Monday, May 9 at 3:30p.m.



SATURDAY - APRIL 30,  2016


The Crookston High School held their 2016 Prom Grand March on Saturday night at the Crookston High School Gymnasium.  80 couples walked through grand march and KROX has pictures of all of the couples again this year.




Crookston High School senior and junior parents have been hosting the Blast to Bede after prom party for Crookston High School juniors and seniors after prom for many years to not only keep them safe, but also to have fun with their classmates.  Around 170 students attended Blast to Bede on Saturday night/Sunday morning and enjoyed good food, games, a hypnotist, and fun with friends.  Below are some pictures from the event.

                                               The kids having fun playing some games at the Blast to Bede After Prom Party



The Gear Daddies played the Crookston Sports Center in Crookston Saturday night.  They sang their big song, "I Want to Drive a Zamboni," and a lot of their songs, but did some covers including "Little Red Corvette" by Prince.

       The Gear Daddies performing one of their songs at the Crookston Sports Center





Gooseberry Falls State Park, Tettegouche State Park and other Minnesota state parks on the North Shore are currently “full” for Memorial Day Weekend, but if people don’t have reservations yet there’s another opportunity next week, when hundreds of previously unreservable sites become reservable. The additional sites will open up not just for Memorial Day weekend, but for the entire camping season at each park.
Starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 3, the additional campsites will be made available in three “batches,” based on Minnesota’s tourism regions.

Tuesday, May 3: State parks in southern Minnesota and Twin Cities metro area.
Wednesday, May 4: State parks in central and northwestern Minnesota.
Thursday, May 5: State parks in northeastern Minnesota.

A map showing which parks are in which region is posted at To check campsite availability and make reservations, visit or call 866-857-2757 (8 a.m.-8 p.m.). It used to be that visitors without prior reservations would show up at the park entrance on busy weekends in hopes of getting one of the “first-come, first-served” sites, but there was no guarantee of getting one. Now the DNR is going to start taking reservations for those sites, which typically make up 25 to 30 percent of the total sites at each campground.
The change comes as the result of a pilot project in 2014 and 2015, when about 20 percent of Minnesota’s state parks made all of their campsites reservable. Based on the positive response from customers, the Parks and Trails Division decided to expand the service statewide.  “As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of Minnesota state parks and trails in 2016, we have lots to look back on with great pride,” said Erika Rivers, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division, “but we’re also looking ahead to the future with the aim of continuously improving our operations and customer service. Making every site reservable in advance so that no one has to leave their plans to chance is just one of the customer service improvements at Minnesota state parks and trails this year.” 

Other customer service improvements rolling out May 3 include:

Same-day reservations. For spontaneous travelers and families with busy schedules, same-day reservations will be available – with no reservation fee – at most Minnesota state parks and recreation areas included in the reservation system (a few parks will require technical upgrades before implementing the change. Previously, the cut-off for making reservations was midnight the night before arrival day. Know before you go. Cell phone coverage and Wi-fi can be unpredictable at parks, so it’s best to make a reservation before arrival.

Online permit sales. Vehicle permits ($5/one-day and $25/year-round) are needed to enter Minnesota state parks and recreation areas. Permits are sold at park offices, at the DNR Central Office and at Twin Cities REI stores. Starting May 3, visitors can get permits online at

Minnesota state parks and recreation areas are also improving orientation and self-registration systems, which will be rolled out this summer.  For more information (including frequently asked questions), visit or contact the DNR Information Center at, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.                                                                




Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week the House passed a number of omnibus bills. Here is an update from Saint Paul.

Education Omnibus Bill
On Monday, the House passed a bipartisan education bill that makes a number of key reforms to address the priorities of students, schools, educators and parents across Minnesota. The bill reprioritizes existing funding, helping to save school districts money by repaying loans early at their request, and using those cost savings to re-invest in our shared priorities.
First, I am pleased that an initiative I authored to fund mobile labs was included in the education bill this year. The labs will travel to teach students manufacturing and welding skills. Partnering with MnSCU educators, students will learn valuable, hands-on skills and gain practical experience, helping jumpstart their post-secondary education or possibly giving them the skills needed to secure a technical job right out of high school. What's more, these mobile labs would also partner with local businesses so students can use cutting edge equipment for their studies.
Many employers in Greater Minnesota are looking for employees with welding and manufacturing skills, and this program will help address those needs with the help of mobile labs and a working collaboration between public high schools and postsecondary institutions.
In addition to mobile labs, the bill also addresses the teacher shortage, an issue important to many schools and families in Northwest Minnesota. Furthermore, the legislation will help reduce the funding disparity between metro and rural school districts, implement innovative programs to help close the achievement gap, and address violence in our schools, ensuring teachers have control of their classroom and can remove disruptive students.
For higher education in our state, the legislation helps reduce college costs by directing the Minnesota Department of Education to collaborate with MnSCU schools to use MCA test scores to exempt students from taking costly remedial courses that do not count toward graduation requirements. It also directs the Office of Higher Education to increase awareness of federal loan forgiveness programs. Finally, the bill expands post-secondary opportunities for students with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Tied with last year's historic education funding increases, this year's bill focuses on the pressing needs of students, schools and rural communities with policy and funding provisions that work for Northwest Minnesota.

Protecting Women
This week during the Health and Human Services Omnibus bill debate, I amended the legislation on the House Floor to require licensure of abortion facilities, insisting they meet the requirements of outpatient surgical centers. It would also require the Commissioner of Health to perform inspections of abortion facilities.
This provision is about the safety and well-being of women, and I am pleased it was passed on the floor this week.

Lands Bill
This year, I am carrying the Lands bill, legislation that pertains to land acquisitions dealing with the state. For me, the goal of this legislation is to facilitate the sale of land owned by Minnesota state government that would be better in the hands of the private sector.
Additionally, in the legislation is a provision for the Klondike flood retention project in Northwest Minnesota for the Two Rivers Watershed District in Kittson and Roseau counties. To ease the financial costs, the state would donate some land to the local watershed district as well as trade school trust lands in the project area.
We all know that Northwest Minnesota is flat and flooding in our communities can be absolutely devastating. The Klondike Project is an important flood mitigation project for our area.
The Lands bill passed the Ways and Means Committee and will soon be up on the House Floor.

If I can ever assist you or your family on a matter of state government, please don’t hesitate to contact my office. I am here to serve you!
Deb Kiel



FRIDAY - APRIL 29,  2016


Corey Lee Reitmeier, 45 of Crookston, appeared in district court on Thursday for an omnibus hearing.  The judge set a contested omnibus hearing for June 21 at 1:00 p.m.  Reitmeier has been charged with one count of criminal vehicular homicide, operating a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration of .08 or more.  The charges stem from an accident on September 26, 2015 when Reitmeier was operating a motorcycle about 8:55 p.m. on Polk County Road 57 when it crashed about six miles east of Highway 75 when two people were hurt. Trooper Millette found the motorcycle lying on the side of a ditch and Reitmeier kneeling over the body of wife Wendy, who had died in the collision.  Reitmeier was injured and taken to Riverview Health where a blood sample was taken about 11:15 p.m. with his permission.  Reitmeier has been cooperative is not confined and promises to appear when requested.




Nate Ellingson, Altru Health Systems in Crookston manager, came to the Polk County Board meeting this week with a rendering of a new addition to the present Altru Clinic in Crookston.  “We started looking and listening to the patients to see how we can improve our services and we are looking at adding on to the clinic and enhancing the services of the community of Crookston, Red Lake Falls, Erskine, Fertile and the area,” said Ellingson.  “We had a rendering done about a month and a half ago and it has been revamped several times as to the content of the building.  The blueprints are changing daily as to the size, but we are not done exploring.”  Ellingson said Altru wants to hear from the community and the businesses as to what they need to carry through the next 50 years.  The timeline is break ground this summer.





Dr. Idatonye Afonya has seen a lot of changes in the decade he’s been with RiverView Health. When he joined RiverView as a general surgeon in 2006 he signed on as chief of surgery, director of medical services, director of Glenmore Recovery Center (now RiverView Recovery Center), and he was the first physician to sign on when RiverView opened its first primary care clinic that same year. He assumed a prominent role in building the success of the new clinic and recruiting and opening the door for several other providers to follow. Through his leadership RiverView has grown leaps and bounds. In appreciation for his dedication to RiverView and its patients, Dr. Afonya was recently named Employee of the Month for April.
A native of Nigeria, Dr. Afonya and his wife, Linda, live in Crookston. He received his BS in Human Anatomy in 1967 and his MD in 1970. He completed an internship and residency at Bay State Medical Center, Springfield, Mass., from 1970-1976. He did fellowships in general/oncology surgery at Bay State Medical Center and kidney transplant surgery at Albany Medical College, Albany, NY. He is a fellow of the International College of Surgeons, 1981, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, 1983.
Dr. Afonya worked as a general surgeon at St. Ansgar’s Hospital in Park River, ND, from 1980-1989, and was a general surgeon at Schoharie County Surgical Associates, Cobleskill, NY, from 1989-1994. He came to Crookston in 1994 and worked at Northwestern Clinic, Grand Forks Clinic and Altru Clinic until 2006 when he joined RiverView.
In his free time, Dr. Afonya enjoys photography, tennis, soccer, ping pong and collecting old cameras. “This is a very pleasant surprise. It is unexpected,’’ he stated of receiving the Employee of the Month honor. “I will continue to do all I can to enhance patient care at RiverView Health.’’




In May, Senior Bryant Hamilton will be walking in commencement. It will be in many ways the fulfillment of a dream and the doorway to another.
The biology major grew up in New York City, in the Bronx to be exact. As a child, he loved microscopes and would sometimes carry his toy version to the playground where he could examine more closely the world around him. He claims to be a “giant comic book nerd,” and has a keen interest in Spiderman and his interaction and understanding of the world around him. When he commented about his Spiderman interest to his science teacher, she told him that Spidey-sense was actually connected to biology and her answer awakened a passion for science in her young student.
Hamilton met his wife, Samatha Anderson, via the Internet, and following her visit to New York, he says he felt “the need for direction” which in would eventually bring him to study at the University of Minnesota Crookston.  “Coming back to school has been rewarding and challenging,” he says. “I learned some important things about the field of biology and what it means to work in the field of science.” At one point feeling overwhelmed by a series of experiments that were not working properly, Hamilton considered withdrawing. “I was working on a process called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that is used in molecular techniques class,” he explains. “I thought if I couldn’t make the process work, then, maybe I was not meant for the field.” He went to his instructor and asked if he had ever felt like giving up.  “He knew just how I was feeling, but what really made a difference was that he explained that my struggle was not keeping me from class,” Hamilton says. “He reminded me that it was my passion for biology that kept me coming back and that science isn’t always about success but about trying, failing, and trying again.”
For Hamilton research failures began to spur on his desire to try and an opportunity last summer to work in the lab on antibiotic research with Associate Professor Bryan Dingmann was pivotal. “Last summer, I lost my father, and a week later, my brother took his life,” Hamilton reflects. “Losing my brother Elias was the most difficult time ever. You see for most of my life growing up, my big brother had been encouraging me to pursue my dream to study science.” Those dark days gave way to another lesson for Hamilton. “I went to my advisor, Dr. Dingmann, and told him what had happened,” Hamilton says. “His response made all the difference. He told me he would be there for me to help me through when I needed it, but he also told me to use the research to give me a sense of purpose and allow it to bring something good out of the pain. All I can say is ‘it worked.”
The research allowed Hamilton to channel the negative energy and use what his brother, Elias, had always encouraged him to do—study biology.
Hamilton is also appreciative of the support his wife has given to him, and he says he owes a debt of gratitude to his mother, April Carter, and his brothers Dennis, Danny, and of course, Elias.  “I believe you should always aim for your dream, and that is what I am doing,” he says. “Obstacles can get in the way, sometimes things happen that seem insurmountable, but your dream is something you should keep trying to reach.”
In a few years, Hamilton hopes to have saved enough financially to go to graduate school with the goal of a career as a microbiologist or a genetic engineer. No matter where the future takes him, Hamilton knows, it is one hurdle at a time and persistence is its own reward.




Spring has sprung and it’s a great time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. While it’s important to securely dispose of physical documents that contain sensitive information in order to protect your identity, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) also recommends adding social media cleaning to your spring cleaning regimen.
“Your digital footprint is something identity thieves keep track of,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “They bank on people oversharing information that they can potentially use to steal your identity.”
Taking steps to guard your identity online is just as important as taking steps to protect it offline. Identity theft is an issue which could potentially affect anyone, particularly those who are active on social media. The information you share through those channels can pile up quickly, especially if you’re a regular user.
Not sure where to start? Here are some basic social media spring cleaning tips to keep in mind:

Be careful what you share. Social media serves as a vehicle to stay in touch with friends and family, but it’s important to keep track of what you share and who can see those updates. If you’re not sure who can access your information, carefully review privacy and security settings to ensure that your information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Take advantage of Facebook’s security checkup feature to manage who sees your Facebook posts, the applications you agree to share your information with, and the personal detail you provide on your profile. In Facebook, you can hide your information – including posts and photos – from people you don’t know by managing your privacy settings.

Personal information. If possible, try to eliminate any personal information in your profile such as your address, phone number, email address, your birthday, or any other information that identity thieves can use to their advantage. Scammers are sometimes able to use this information to crack security questions and gain access to accounts you control.

Clean up your passwords. If you haven’t changed your passwords in recent memory, it might be time to do so. The more complex your passwords are, the safer your sensitive information will be. It’s a good idea to use a different password for each account. Also, never store your passwords on your computer.

Apps and quizzes. In Facebook and Twitter, you can manage which external apps you share your information with. If you choose to utilize an application through social media sites, take a minute to review the permissions to learn more about what personal or account information they’ll have access to and how it will be used. In addition, it’s also important to avoid suspect quizzes. Though Facebook quizzes can be entertaining, it’s important to understand the potential dangers of providing your personal information to unfamiliar third party websites, including the possibility of exposing your device to malware.

For the latest consumer news, fraud alerts and free BBB Business Reviews visit




THURSDAY - APRIL 28,  2016


With the Gear Daddies and Billy’s concert on Saturday Crookston Park and Rec Supervisor Scot Butt, drove one of the Crookston Sports Center zamboni’s around in celebration of the Gear Daddies hit song, “I Want to Drive a Zamboni.”  The zamboni made the first stop of the morning at KROX.
They are encouraging people to get pictures taken on it and share #iwannadrivethezamboni on social media.

The Zamboni in front of the KROX studios in downtown Crookston



The Minnesota Department of Commerce hosted a public information and environmental document scoping meeting on Wednesday at the Crookston Inn and Convention Center to gather information on two proposed Enbridge oil pipelines which would run from North Dakota to Superior, Minnesota.   About 60 people attended the meeting including, area farmers, county commissioners, and union members. The meeting was the first of 12 they are having around the state.  They need the environmental impact statement completed for the Public Utilities Commission which is a major project. “It needs to hear everyone’s voice  so we are making sure we are getting it right and we hope the process can get started,” said Enbridge Public Affairs officer Julie Huber. “Enbridge has been operating in Minnesota for 65 years.”

Jamie McCallister, environmental review manager for the two pipeline projects in the Minnesota Department of Commerce said they wanted to hear from the residents.  “We need to know the concerns of these pipeline placements and how they would impact the environment,” said Huber.  “There is a lot of public interest and there are a lot of complicated procedures to be solved and there is some speculation on turning the project over to the Department of Natural Resources which is being considered.”

Willis Mattson spoke against the route selected for the pipeline. “The citizens are not opposed to the pipeline just to the route proposed to take the oil from North Dakota to Chicago,” said Mattson.  “We think there are better routes than the pristine lakes and ground water of Minnesota.  They can get the oil routed through heavy clay soil, level ground and land already altered instead of the Minnesota land for recreation and tourism. Mattson represents a group of citizens against the pipeline route.

Dale Peterson spoke on behalf of the union workers who want jobs on the pipeline.  “I represent the Labors International Union of North American and we want the project built correctly with skilled labor,” said Peterson. “I have worked with contractors on pipelines for many years and it is important to get good family jobs with benefits.” Peterson said the pipeline would mean over 1,000 jobs for Minnesota and North Dakota.  

Farmer Mike Boucher spoke in favor of the pipeline as the present pipeline runs on his property. “This project has been in the works for a few years and unfortunately is has been delayed,” said Boucher.  “The original pipeline has been there since 1961 and we have had zero issues in the township and as a landowner the pipeline is the most efficient way to ship oil compared to truck or rail.  The life span is 50 to 60 years and it produces revenue for the county and as landowners we get payment for the easement over our property and with the low commodity prices now it is appreciated.”

The Department of Commerce will host another meeting today in Thief River Falls.




The cities of East Grand Forks and Crookston have social host ordinances and now Polk County Public Health is asking the Polk County Commissioners to pass an ordinance for the entire county.   The first reading for the ordinance was held at the county board meeting on Tuesday. Sue Thompson of Polk County Public Health said with the biggest cities having the ordinance they want to bring it to the entire county. The social host ordinance makes it a criminal act for anyone to provide the environment to allow underage drinking to occur. “They do not have to provide the alcohol, for example if I was a parent of high schoolers and they have friends over and I took their  keys and I let them drink in my home that would make me criminally responsible for a gross misdemeanor,” said Thompson.  “Alcohol is the number one choice in Polk County and the nation and when youths drink they binge drink and over consume and then they might engage in behaviors they would normally not do.  The adolescent brain is still developing so it is important that adults and children understand the importance to prevent the excess drinking of alcohol.”





Crookston Mayor Gary Willhite is offering the residents of the Crookston a challenge to spend time outdoors during May.  Willhite wants citizens to spend 30 minutes outside each day in the month of May.  “I want to encourage people to get outside after being stuck inside for the winter,” said Willhite.  “Just get out and improve your health and well being, sign up and receive weekly wellness tips and updates of events in Crookston, so get out and enjoy spring.”
People can sign up on the city website at  




The Area 1 NW Regional Envirothon competition was held on Wednesday at Rydell National Wildlife Center near Erskine. Crookston High School had three teams competing in the event. The participants spend 30 minutes at six different stations that focus on different environmental science topics. The stations include: Forestry, Aquatics, Soils, Wildlife, Current Events, and an Oral Presentation. “The event provides a great opportunity for students to learn from local experts,” said Coach Wes Hanson. “This year’s topic for the student prepared presentation was aquatic invasive species, specifically the aquatic plant Hydrilla. Students worked cooperatively to formulate a plan to stop the spread of Hydrilla. Their presentations needed to be somewhere between 8 to10 minutes.”
The top three teams from the regional advance to the state competition and Crookston’s team of Guthrie Dingmann, Sam Larson, Easton Meyer, Zach Lutz, and Charles Brantner won the best score for the Oral Presentation, scoring a 26 out of 30 possible. This helped them win the regional and earn a return trip to the State competition held May 16 at Lake Bronson State Park. This year there were 25 teams competing and Crookston’s veteran team was competing in the event for the third consecutive year. “Two years ago the team placed third at the regional and qualified for state, last year they came up just short, and now to come back and win with four of the five competitors being seniors is just awesome,” said Coach Hanson. “I’m very proud of their efforts.” 
Crookston had two other sophomore teams competing as well. One of the teams scored 91 total points only three points out of third place.

The region champion team - Charles Brantner, Sam Larson, Easton Meyer, Gunther Dingmann, Zach Lutz

Sylvia Hujanen, Kate Macgregor, Merran Dingmann, Aleece Durbin, Alexavier Lafrance

Gunnar Roed, Keaton Lindgren, Katelyn Wagner, Cameron Harren, Drew Dragseth




A student from each fifth grade class at Highland School has been recognized monthly through the school year by the Kiwanis' Terrific Kids program. 

Back row 5th grade teachers - Jeff Perreault, Kerri Brantner, Susan Garmen, Wendy Greer
Front row - students Ryan Abeld, Abby Borowicz, Julia Lallier, Megan Hagan, Omar Petithomme





Bill Markovich, of Invest Forward in Crookston, will join more than 200 of his fellow representatives at the Investment Centers of America, Inc. (ICA) national conference in Boca Raton, FL. The annual event, to be held April 27-30 at the Boca Raton Resort, provides an opportunity for attendees to share strategies for developing effective solutions to assist clients with their financial goals.
The theme for this year’s event is “Celebrate the Culture – Mind, Body and Soul of ICA.” It will include workshops and educational sessions on unique client reviews, asset allocation building blocks, cyber security, upcoming Department of Labor initiatives, and advisor-led panels discussing what is working in their offices. The event will also include keynote presentations by Dr. Beck Weathers, a survivor of the infamous ’96 Everest expedition; Mike Roby who will present on “The Touchstones of Tradition: How Basic Principles Form a Winning Culture”; and Dr. Barry Asmus on “America’s Economic Future: Challenges and Opportunities.”
The event will feature a 5k Fun Run which annually raises money for several charities. This year, money raised will be donated to Boca Helping Hands, an organization that provides food for those in need, including homebound and elderly individuals, and resources for people in crisis situations (e.g. eviction, utility cancellation, prescription medicine).
In 2015, ICA and its representatives contributed more than $12,000 across eight local charities through the monies raised at the Fun Run.
Bill Markovich is located at Invest Forward in Crookston at 1820 Sahlstrom Dr. Ste A and can be reached at 218-281-6666.





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