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MONDAY - JANUARY 26,  2015

CROOKSTON SCHOOL BOARD TO HOLD REGULAR MEETING 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, approving the seniority list for the school year, approval of salary lane changes, approval of an increase in position for Ashley Stopa, who will be teaching chemistry in the second semester at Crookston High School, along with her current position at the ALC.
The main agenda includes confirmation of the school board committee assignments, approval of the resolution directing the administration to make recommendations for reductions in programs and positions and reasons (something that is done every year). 
The board will hear reports from the administrators, Eric Bubna - CHS Principal, Denise Oliver - Washington School Principal/Community Ed/School Readiness/ECFE, and Superintendent Chris Bates.   
The public, as always, is invited to attend the meeting and visitors may share concerns with the School Board (five minute limit per topic).

 

 

CROOKSTON CITY COUNCIL AND WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MEET TONIGHT

The Crookston City Council meets tonight at 7:00 in the Crookston City Council Chambers at city hall.
The consent agenda includes partial payment to Spruce Valley for 2014 street improvements and final payment to Davidson Construction for the 2013 Sahlstrom Drive extension.  A lawful gambling premise permit at the Eagles is up for approval for confidence learning center on February 21, 2015.  Commission and board member appointments will be approved by the council.   A dance permit for the UMC black student association for February 7 at the Crookston American Legion is up for approval.  A cement mason license for Willard Swenby of Fertile, Plumber’s License for Economy Plumbing of Grand Forks and Gas Fitter’s License for Great Plains Natural Gas in Crookston are up for approval.
The regular agenda has a resolution amending the Barrette Street Estates declaration of restrictive covenants to allow Robert Herkenhoff to construct twin homes on Lots 5 and 6 Block 3 in the Barrette Street Estates.  A resolution authorizing the sale of lots 5 and 6 in Barrette Street Estates to Robert Herkenhoff is on for approval.  
The Crookston Ways and Means Committee will meet after the council meeting.

 

 

 

RIVERVIEW HEALTH TO HOLD THEIR HEALTH LUNCHEON "BUILDING BETTER BONES" ON THURSDAY

Falls on the ice are a big concern for everyone living in our slippery climate these days. No one wants to slip and break a bone. But did you know that for some folks all it takes is a sneeze to break a bone? Half of all women older than 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis, a common condition where the bones become weak and can break from a minor fall or simply from a sneeze or cough. One in four men will do the same. Osteoporosis affects 54 million Americans.
If you are concerned about bone health, plan to attend RiverView’s Thursday, January 29 Health Luncheon, “Building Better Bones’’, presented by Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Andrea Kraft. Kraft will help attendees understand their risk for osteoporosis and share ways in which to lower that risk.
Kraft, who has bone health training through the National Osteoporosis Foundation as well as the International Society for Clinical Densitometry, recently started seeing patients for bone health issues in RiverView’s Specialty Clinic. She works closely with Dr. Colin Fennell, RiverView orthopedic surgeon, to screen patients at risk for osteoporosis and provide individualized treatment plans, as well as education about what they can do to keep their bones healthy. “This service is for anyone who wants to learn more about their own bone health and ways to prevent a fracture. Once you know where you stand as far as risk factors, there’s so much that you can do to improve your odds of fracture,’’ Kraft shared. “Of course we are here to help folks who have had a fracture and want to prevent further fractures, as well.’’
The luncheon will be held in Meeting Room #1 beginning at noon. Meeting Room #1 is located near the RiverView Clinic entrance on the north side of the hospital and across from the elevators on first floor.
The luncheon series is in its 17th year of sponsorship by RiverView Health. All men and women interested in improving their health are invited to attend. Each luncheon starts a few minutes past noon and luncheons are kept under one hour so those needing to return to work can attend. The presentations are free and attendees can bring their own lunches or purchase a healthy, boxed lunch for $3.00. Pre-registration is required and boxed lunch orders must be placed at the time of pre-registration. Call Holly Anderson at 281-9745 or toll free 1-800-743-6551, extension 9745, for additional information and to pre-register.

 


UMC TO HOLD THEIR 13TH ANNUAL WINTER JOB AND INTERNSHIP FAIR ON WEDNESDAY

Job seekers are invited to attend the 13th Annual Winter Job and Internship Fair on Wednesday, January 28, at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The job fair takes place from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. All are welcome. Admission is free.
Anyone interested in the job fair will have an opportunity to visit with more than 50 employers along with a number of graduate schools. For a listing of the employers and graduate schools, visit www.umcrookston.edu/career/fairs/umcfair.
The job fair is sponsored by University of Minnesota Crookston Office of Career Development. For more information, contact Meloni Rasmussen at 218-281-8586.

 

 

HIGHLAND SCHOOL THIRD GRADERS ENGINEER AND TEST POM-POM LAUNCHER

The Highland School third graders completed another engineering challenge last week. This time the objective was to invent a pom-pom launcher that launched a pom-pom into the air. The constraints and criteria included​ a scissors, stapler and staples, five Pom-poms, two drinking cups,  one foot of masking tape, five drinking straws, six popsicle sticks, seven rubber bands, a piece of string, and three index cards. 
Students were required to brainstorm their ideas, write them down in their Jeffers Journals, build a model, test their model, and then communicate their results.  “There was an amazing amount of teamwork and communication that took place,” said teacher Erica Uttermark. “Students realized that they didn't need to use all of the supplies in order to make a successful launcher.” 

 
The students creating there pom-pom launcher and then the students see how far they can launch the pom-poms 



 

CATHEDRAL SCHOOL KICKS OFF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK WITH MAYORAL PROCLAMATION


Mayor Willhite joined the Cathedral School to sign the proclamation declaring this week as Catholic School's Week.  After reading and signing the proclamation, he is pictured above presenting it to Mrs. Trish Jones, school

principal. Each year Honorary Chairs of Catholic School's week are chosen for their past and present support of the school.  This year's chairs are Steve and Jana Biermaier and Paul and Karen Biermaier.  Jana Biermaier also attended the signing of the Proclamation. Cathedral School will have a week-long celebration culminating in the School's Mardi Gras on Saturday evening. Students dress according to theme each day, with today being Western Day.

 

 


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GRAND FORKS RELEASES THE FIRST FLOOD FORECAST

The National Weather Service in Grand Forks has released their first flood forecast for the Red River Valley basin. 
The current spring flood risk is well below historical risk values. Soils are fairly dry, and both snow pack and snow moisture are quite low in the valley. The current climate outlook is for near normal temperatures and precipitation into spring. But, winter is not over yet, so a heavy snow or heavy early spring rain are still possible. The next outlooks are due out on February 19 and March 5.

 

 

SATURDAY - JANUARY 24,  2015

POLK COUNTY COMMISSIONER WARREN STRANDELL RELEASES ANOTHER COUNTY LINE COLUMN

By Warren Strandell
Polk County Commissioner, Dist. 2

When Mark Dietz came to the County Board a few weeks ago with a plan to purchase 600 light bulbs, he got the board’s attention.
For background, Dietz is the county’s superintendent of buildings and grounds. He’s very good at his job… exceptional, actually. And he’s a pretty good salesman, too.
But buy 600 4-foot T-8 LED light tubes? That would be quite a supply to have on hand. And the more than $10,000 price tag of the order — at $17.76 each for LED tubes vs. the $3.49 for the old-style florescent tubes — was a bit staggering.
All of this meant that Dietz had some convincing to do. To start, he said, the tubes would be installed in fixtures in the Northwest Regional Corrections Center jail. There, replacing bulbs takes more than a little bit of doing since many areas require scaffolding to reach the fixtures. And the secure environment in a jail makes it harder to complete even the simplest task… what with the prisoners and such.
But he noted that once in place, the 15-watt LED lights would last about 50,000 hours vs. the 30,000 that can be expected from the old style florescent tubes. A 50,000-hour life amounts to about 20 years of service life.

To replace only as needed
After the lights in the jail are replaced, Dietz said his crew would begin to replace — but only as they needed to be replaced — the existing florescent tubes in light fixtures in all of the other county buildings. In the plan, the old-style fluorescents would be allowed to wear out. None of the usefulness would be wasted.
Under further cross-examination, Dietz explained that the LEDs, besides having 60 percent more life, would give off better light and that they would operate without the need for having a ballast in the light fixture. With over 1,500 light fixtures in just the jail and adjoining Polk County Justice Center alone (each of them having a ballast} that amounted to an opportunity for considerable savings.
Another savings opportunity available by using LED tubes, he said, was that when they do finally expire they could simply be tossed into the garbage. Unlike with florescents, there would be no fees involved with meeting the recycling process requirements.

Just start of the plan
“It’s just part of a long-range plan to be more efficient, more conservative,” Dietz told the board. Buying the 600 tubes now, he said, was the number needed to get the best deal in the first step. Down the road, he said, more tubes would be needed to complete the conversion countywide.
In delivering the knockout points in his sales pitch, Dietz noted that the investment would have a payback in energy savings in just five years. And that was without counting the benefit of not having any recycling costs or having to replace ballasts (at $23 each) as they wear out.
In dollars, when the changeover is complete, he said the energy savings would amount to $379,290 over the 50,000-hour life of the LED tubes. That comes to about $31,607 a year.
As might have been expected, the board’s vote to approve the purchase and begin the changeover was unanimous. After all, when given a chance to save a few bucks whether it is immediately or long-term, it doesn’t take commissioners long to live up to their reputation for being penny-pinching tightwads.
And Mr. Dietz, bless his soul, just gave them another opportunity.

Thoughts for the day:
I don't know how I got over the hill without ever getting to the top. — Will Rogers
I've learned.... That money doesn't buy class. — Andy Rooney
Disclaimer: Thoughts expressed in this column are those of the author and are not necessarily a reflection of the opinions of the other members of the Polk County Board of Commissioners.


 

FRIDAY - JANUARY 23,  2015

POLK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS SUPPORT THE SANDPIPER PIPELINE

The Polk County Board of commissioners unanimously supports the Sandpiper Pipeline project along the current proposed route, which includes Polk County.  A letter to the Public Utilities Commission from the commissioners is below.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners is unanimous in its support of the Sandpiper Pipeline project along the proposed route. We believe that the proposed route is by far the safest, most efficient and most environmentally protective method for moving Bakken oil to the terminal at Superior, Wis. Our support is based upon these facts:

• The Sandpiper will move the equivalent of 1,700 rail tank cars of Bakken crude a day. This will alleviate the rail congestion that has been so damaging to the Ag industry in the movement of grain to market and in getting much needed fertilizer and other crop inputs back to the farm.

• If the oil were shipped by truck, 1,300 trucks a day would be going down U.S. Highway 2 — right through much of the area that opponents want avoided. Beyond the great threat to the safety of other motorists that this would create would is the damage that would be done to the road system all the way across the state.

• Enbridge already pays the highest amount of property taxes in Polk County — about $2 million a year, or 10% of our total property tax levy.

• Property taxes from the Sandpiper would add another about $2 million a year to that total. This would go a long way in allowing the County to provide a number of additional benefits and services, develop and maintain infrastructure, and provide a needed tax break for property owners.

• Local units of government along the pipeline route to Superior are projected to share in some $25 million in new property tax revenue from the Sandpiper. This will greatly benefit every county it crosses by adding needed tax revenue for rural counties that do not have strong business-tax bases.

•    The Sandpiper will create 1,500 good-paying jobs and spur economic investment in Minnesota.

•    Sandpiper will increase our nation's energy independence and improve our energy security.

Based on the points above and upon the Enbridge’s safety record over a number of years, the Polk County Board of Commissioners believes that the Sandpiper is by far the best option and asks that Enbridge be given the authority to proceed with construction as soon as possible.

Warren Strandell, chair
Polk County Board of Commissioners
612 No. Broadway #215
Crookston, MN 56716

 

 

CROOKSTON WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE OKAYS HERKENHOFF TO BUILD TWO TWIN HOMES, SETTLES ON COMMITTEES

The Crookston Ways and Means Committee held a meeting on Thursday evening and approved a request from Barrette Street Estates developer Bob Herkenhoff who wants to build two twin homes.  Herkenhoff said he needs to move forward as soon as possible. “I’m looking at building two twin homes in my division and there is a quick decision that has to be made because of changes in codes of sprinkler systems in twin homes so we have to pull the trigger quick,” said Herkenhoff. “I have sold all my platted lots so I said I would use the two lots that were on Eickhof Boulevard that were turned back by the Noah’s so the committee went along with it and I appreciate it.  Some people have been buying lots and making decisions about moving to town so we will see new homes going up.”  
The project goes to the council on Monday evening but Herkenhoff is moving forward and getting the necessary permits before the codes change.

The Crookston Ways and Means committee reviewed the board and commission appointments presented by Mayor Gary Willhite on January 12 with some changes made from the original requests. Dan Giest and Wayne Capistran will remain on the Airport Commission with the possibility of adding a representative from UMC’s aviation department.

The Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority will continue to have Kurt Heldstab as chairman along with other members Craig Morgan, Paul Eickhof, Tom Vedbraaten, Lee Meier, and Leon Kremeier. Mayor Willhite will serve on CHEDA also. 

The city library board will have Trey Everett, Cory Harbott and Sara Geist with Alderman Clayton Briggs serving as the liason on the library board and on the regional library board.  

The Charter Commission, which met once in 2014 for 12 minutes will have Betty Arvidson, Gary Willhite, Chris Fee, Tom Noah, Justin Spivey and Tricia Sanders.  

Mark Hollcraft will serve on the Park Board replacing Larry Brekken whose term was up. 

Melissa Perrault is the new person on the Planning Commission which met once last year.

Mayor Willhite was pleased with the discussion and input from the council.  “I am appreciative of everyone who serves for the city and they are good people, I’m just trying to get new people involved and keep the community vibrant and we need new people and ideas so we worked it out,” said Willhite. “It is not approved until Monday night at the council meeting and we all got to explain our decision processes. A couple of committees met for less than a half hour last year and we spent more time discussing who should be on those boards, but I guess that is okay.”

Alderman at Large Bob Quanrud brought up the idea of having a safety committee made up of department heads from fire, police, public works and Information technology to meet regularly to have input presented to the council.  No decision was made on the request.

 


 

POLK COUNTY MAINTENANCE DEPARTMENT BUSY KEEPING EVERYTHING RUNNING SMOOTH

Polk County Buildings are being inspected for flaws and items in need of repair by Mark Dietz facilities management director for the county.  The Polk County Justice Center is in need of some work. “It is a first class building and now has heating issues that need to be addressed to heat the building properly,” said Dietz.  The highway department has a new roof that can handle the snow, but there is a need to upgrade the system that controls the air conditioning and heating.
The Government Center boilers need attention.  “The center boilers need to be replaced as the original company is out of business and parts are no longer available and they have been in the building since 1969,” said Dietz.  “Last year we burned fuel from the tank that had been there since 1969 so new boilers will be more efficient.”
Maintenance to all the county facilities is a constant.  “Having nice buildings you have to take care of them every year or they deteriorate so you have to take care of them,” said Dietz.

 

 

 

CROOKSTON UNITED WAY FUND HELPING CHILDREN GET READY FOR SCHOOL

The Crookston United Way funds are helping children achieve their maximum potential by funding programs that help children enter school ready to succeed. Millions of American children get to fourth grade without learning to read proficiently, and that puts them on the high school dropout track. The ability to read is critical to a child’s success in school, life-long earning potential and their ability to contribute to the nation’s economy and its security.
Thanks to a generous donation from the University of Minnesota, Crookston, the United Way of Crookston presented Denice Oliver, principal of Washington School, and Chris Trostad, principal of Highland Elementary School, with a check for $13,676.00 for their program “United for Learning”.
This program will be implemented at Washington and Highland Schools, and will focus on Kindergarten through
third grade students, who are at-risk for academic failure. The after-school program will be run by elementary teachers and will include a snack and different stations which will focus on getting these students “caught up”.  The program will also be supported by UMC students in the Early Education program as well, under the supervision of Marsha Odom, and will be implemented as part of their course credit.
This program was done through United Way in the past, as funds allowed, and thanks to the U of M donation, all parties involved are excited to bring the program back to the district.  Historically, the program revealed gains in academic progress, improved attendance, and decreases in behavior reports, as well as students gaining confidence in their abilities to read and write.
Research shows a student who can't read on grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who can read proficiently by that time. Add poverty to the mix, and a student is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than his or her proficient, wealthier peer.
The program has reported gains in academic progress, improved attendance, decreases in behavior reports, as well as students gaining confidence in their abilities to read and write.


Back row - Katya Zepeda, Marsha Odom, Highland Principal Chris Trostad, Chancellor Fred Wood, Washington Principal Denise Oliver.
Front tow - Students at Washington School  (Picture submitted by United Way)

 


 

CROOKSTON EAGLES AUXILIARY 873 VISIT THE NORTH COUNTRY FOOD BANK 

Members of the Crookston Eagles Auxiliary 873 made a recent visit to the North Country Food Bank, Inc. Jennifer Erdmann Agency Relations Coordinator and the North Country Food Shelf, April Tate Food Shelf Coordinator.
As part of the Crookston Eagles Auxiliary 873, Give Back to the Community Project, 500 disposable razors were
donated to the North Country Food Shelf.
Jennifer and April will be speaking to the Crookston Eagles Auxiliary 873 members in February
and will be presenting information about the Food Shelf and the Food Bank explaining how your volunteer hours help them get their many projects completed.
If you would like to volunteer, Please call Jennifer at 218-281-7356. Any and All help is appreciated. Sheila Menard, Project Coordinator, April Tate, Food Shelf Coordinator, 


Nancy Asman Crookston Eagles Auxiliary 873 President and Jennifer Erdmann, Agency Relations Coordinator for the North Country Food Bank, Inc.

 

 

 

 

THURSDAY - JANUARY 22,  2015

CROOKSTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE GIVES AWARDS TO CHRISTIAN BROTHERS FORD, B & E MEATS, JERRY AMIOT AND LARRY ANDERSON

The Crookston area Chamber of Commerce held their annual dinner and awards ceremony on Wednesday evening at the Crookston Eagles Club.   Several awards were given out including the Business Progress award to Christian Brothers Ford owned by Todd and Karl Christian.  Karl Christian said they appreciate the support from the community. “It is very nice award and we are excited to be part of the town and welcomed into the community,” said Christian.  “Mother Nature threw us for a loop this summer and then we had the fire, but the community stuck behind us and it is going well.  Our plan is to work with Ford for a new showroom and parts and service area, we will keep the shop and build off the east side of the shop and tear down the other part.  It will be up to Ford standards and good for the community and town with growth, we still have Fertile and Finley stores running with a good staff and we are glad to be here.”

B and E Meats was given the Business Entrepreneur award as they continue to expand.  Brent Epema said they started in 2008 in Fisher and moved to Crookston two years later and expanded the customer service area last year. ”A customer can get everything they need, one steak, one chop, whatever you need for burgers to a whole meal on your way home.  I have four people working now and in the busy season we have about 14 to 20 people during deer season. We do about 400 animals off hoof and 100,000 pounds of sausage a year,” said Epema.  “The award was humbling and it is good to be doing well as a local boy.”  

Jerry Amiot was selected by Chairman Stephanie Harbott for the chairman’s award for his many years of service.  “I was overwhelmed when I got the phone call, it is odd to receive an award for things I truly enjoy and are fun for me,” said Amiot. “I work closely with the chamber through the Lions Club with the changes made in the past year in the Ox Cart Parade.  Lions have worked on it for many years and this year we determined the order of the parade like I did back in Pioneer Days so I appreciate this award very much.”

The Partners in Education was awarded to Larry Anderson, a retired sixth grade teacher at Highland School and a longtime sports trainer for Pirate Athletes. “I couldn’t speak and I was very emotional when Chris Trostad introduced me and brought back a lot of my past when I first came to Crookston with memories of John McMenamy, Doug Lithun, and Ray Dusek,” said Anderson.  “When I look at all the people who have received this award like Nancy Melby who was a teaching partner, Marshall Olson and Dave Kuehn, they all meant a lot to me over the years so If I am perceived to have the same qualities I am humbled and very proud.” 

Jennifer Tate presented the lifetime achievement award to Al Chesley for his work with the city and community.  He was unable to attend the banquet.  

2014 Chamber Chairman Stephanie Harbott turned over the gavel to Corby Kemmer who will serve as chairman for 2015.   The executive board for the chamber in 2015 is chairman Corby Kemmer (Chairman –elect), Crystal Maruska (Vice Chairman), Andy Oman (Secretary/Treasurer), Jennifer Tate (Past Chairman), Stephanie Harbott and President and CEO Mackinzie Burke. The 2015 Board of Directors are Curtis Funk, Neal Plante, Kim Dans, Ryan Palm, Travis Oliver, Dennis Koch, Dr. Fred Wood, Nick Noah and Dan Erdman.   Ex-officio members are Craig Hoiseth, Nick Nicholas, Dale Stainbrook and Delaney Kohorst. 

Crookston Mayor Gary Willhite was the keynote speaker at the end of the evening.

 
            Karl and Kelsey Christian                      Larry Anderson                            Jerry Amiot                             Brent Epema

 

 

EICKHOF COLUMBARIA DONATES DOWNTOWN BUILDING TO CARE AND SHARE FOR THEIR THRIFT SHOP

Paul Eickhof, owner of Eickhof Columbaria, made a donation of his former building in downtown Crookston to the Care and Share. “The new director of the Care and Share approached us in October and mentioned they were having issues with the thrift store in their present location and needed a place that would better serve their needs with parking and a place to back in and put the inventory.  She expressed interest in are building at 116 West Robert downtown,”  said Eickhof.  “My wife and I gave it some thought with the building being empty for two years and made a decision to take advantage of tax benefits and donate the building to Care and Share Center.” The transfer was made on December 23 and the Care and Share is moving their inventory into the building so the doors should be open soon and the building will no longer be vacant.


The old Eickhof Columbaria building (formerly the old Crookston National Bank) will now be the Care and Share's.

 

 

HUGO'S GIVES OVER $1,100 TO UMC CHOIR FROM MONEY RAISED DURING THE TASTE OF THE HOLIDAYS


Hugo's in Crookston recently presented the University of Minnesota Crookston Choir with a check for $1,114 after they had performed during the Taste of the Holidays.  Hugo's matched the funds collected at the checkout and the total was $1,114. Pictured above are Hugo's Manager Bob O'Halloran, Tyler Lowthian (a senior member of the UMC Choir), and George French.

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY - JANUARY 21,  2015

CROOKSTON MAN MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE IN DISTRICT COURT TODAY

David Perala, 35 of Crookston, has been charged in Minnesota 9th District Court in Crookston with four counts of theft of controlled substances, and one count of possession of controlled substances.  Perala was fired from the Villa St. Vincent in May, 2014 after surveillance cameras caught him stealing pills from a medicine cart.  According to the criminal complaint, Perala admitted to stealing pain pills for about a year. He told police that he stole Tylenol 3 and hydrocodone from residents and peeled pain patches containing fentanyl from residents' backs and stuck them to his tongue for an hour at a time. 
The Minnesota Department of Health released a report saying Perala likely exploited nursing home residents by taking narcotic medication from 10 residents. Perala plead not guilty in his initial appearance Wednesday morning  in district court.  Perala was released, on conditions, on the promise to appear.  Perala's next appearance will be an omnibus hearing at 9:00 a.m. on March 9. 
The maximum penalty for theft of a controlled substance is 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

 

 

CROOKSTON HIGH SCHOOL PROM WILL STAY THE SAME AFTER STUDENTS WERE 50/50 ON THE POSSIBLE CHANGE

At the last school board meeting a committee representing parents who wanted to change who could go to prom.  Tracy Solheim represented the group and said they wanted to include sophomores and freshmen to be able to attend the prom, if they were asked by a junior or senior.  The board took the request under advisement with the administration to make a decision.    A decision has been made by the administrators and Josh Hardy, Crookston High School Dean of Students said the request was denied and prom will remain the same. “We decided to stay status quo after polling students, which came out to about 50 percent for a change and 50 percent to keep it as is,” said Hardy. “At the end of the day when it wasn’t overwhelming it was left as is and the tradition will follow and hopefully they will have a good time.”

 

 

 

CHEDA TO GET MORE AGGRESSIVE ON DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT

The Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority met on Tuesday and had good news on the housing rehab loan program.  “Last year we created the housing rehab loan and four loans were given out,” said CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth.  “One was for $50,000 which has now been paid back in full so we can disburse the $50,000.  $75,000 is still being used and we expect it to be paid back in the next few months, this program is refurbishing homes that were in need.” Anyone interested in a rehab project can call Hoiseth or stop at the Valley Technology Park on the north end of the UMC campus. “The administrative costs are two percent interest and we ask that when the rehab is finished that you rent or sell the home and pay back the loan,” said Hoiseth.

The board also discussed getting more aggressive in getting businesses downtown.  “Everyone has identified downtown Crookston to get more development as there are empty store fronts,” said Hoiseth.  “We are asking out of town businesses if they would expand to Crookston, and the discussion was around subsidizing the businesses who would like to come to Crookston and the ideas were positive to move forward.”

The election of officers was held for the year with Kurt Heldstab remaining as chairman, Craig Morgan as vice chairman, Paul Eickhof as secretary and Leon Kremeier as treasurer.   A discussion was held on the Crookston all school reunion loan of $10,000.  $3,500 has been paid back leaving a balance of $6,500 which the board decided to delay a decision for two months.   The construction trades home built with students from the high school has been sold to Rudy Applequist.

 

 

POLK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS DISCUSS POLK COUNTY ATTORNEY GREG WIDSETH'S SALARY APPEAL

The Polk County Commissioners met on Tuesday and held a closed session with their labor attorney to discuss Polk County Attorney Greg Widseth’s salary appeal to district court at the start of the meeting.    County Administrator Chuck Whiting couldn’t divulge a lot of information from the meeting. “I’m limited as to what I can say obviously,” said Whiting. “It was in regard to the claim filed by the county attorney in regard to his salary with the county board, so we had are labor attorney in to discuss the issue.”

In other county commissioner news, the Polk County Sheriff’s Department will get five new vehicles in the fleet after bids were accepted by the board. Three Tahoes were purchased from Christian Motors of Fertile for $32,155.25 each, a transit van was purchased for $28,637.00 and a utility vehicle was purchased for $27,147.00 from Christian Brothers Ford in Crookston.    

Titus Services in Fontana, California will be paid $238,505.00 for the purchase of used waste processing equipment for the incinerator in Fosston.  The board will advertise to fill a Fiscal Supervisor One position for Polk County Social Services.

 

 

CROOKSTON PARK BOARD HEARS OF PLAN FROM THE CITY TO PUT FOUR HOMES ON HOVEN LANE

The Crookston Park Board met on Tuesday and heard from Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen about a project on Hoven Lane to put four homes in the residential area. “One of the discussions is on adding new homes and a larger tax base, so we are looking at areas with green space that we could convert into homes without compromising the neighborhood and do nothing negative to the park area,” said Stassen.  “Hoven Lane has 540 feet of open area and the plan calls for four homes in place and will leave the park and a buffer zone and retain the neighborhood which would benefit the city and school.  The real advantage is that the infrastructure is in place so from the cost to the city would make it affordable.”
The board was interested and the city will hold a community forum to gather ideas and present information to the residents at a later date to be determined.

Park Board approved the first step to change the utilization of the park to residential homes.   The Park Board will wait until their next meeting to elect officers.  Larry Brekken has been chairman and his term was up.  Mark Hollcraft was selected by Mayor Gary Willhite to serve on the park board.  

Park Board members were given a clarification of park board and committee duties according to city code.

 

 

 

TARA MILLER RECEIVES SPIRIT OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AWARD

Tara Miller, MSW, LICSW, is this year’s recipient of the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Award. Miller works at the Northwestern Mental Health Center in Crookston and is a social worker in the Crookston High School. Her nomination for the award describes why she was a deserving recipient for an award given in the spirit of Dr. King.  “She so strongly believes that every voice should be heard, everyone’s experiences in life are unique and should be valued, and that we all have a responsibility to foster and encourage our young people to be the best they can be – so that they can follow all of their dreams and live their lives being respected for who they are and what they can share with the world.”
Miller received the award during the Red River Valley Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  held  on Monday, January 19.
She was born and raised in Grand Forks, N.D., and is an alumna of the University of North Dakota where she earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees. 


Lorna Hollowell, director of diversity and multicultural programs at UMC and Tara Miller. 

 

 

TUESDAY -  JANUARY 20, 2015

CROOKSTON SCHOOL DISTRICT CONTINUES TO LOSE STUDENTS TO THE TUNE OF ALMOST $300,000

The Crookston School Board had a working session on Monday afternoon to go over committee assignments with the new board members, but when discussing finances found out that the school district has 33 less students than projected at the beginning of the year and the loss in enrollment will nick the district for about $290,000. “That was quite a shock to be honest about it,” said Crookston School Board Chair, Frank Fee. "Laura (Lyczewski) gave us the numbers and we are short about 10 that was projected in kindergarten and losses in some other classes as well and nobody seems to know where they’ve gone, which is frustrating too.”  School Board member Dave Davidson said, “We have to have somebody do some research and find out where and why these 33 have left.” The school district will not make any cuts as the reserve is able to handle it without going through the district buildings and asking for cuts. “We are fortunate to have the little cushion that we do,” said Superintendent of Schools, Chris Bates. “If this would have happened the first year I was here, it would have wiped us out. We have done some things like saving money on hiring replacements for those that have retired or moved on. We have a leave of absence where we were able to save some money that adds up.” The school district also received a windfall from the State this year when the State of Minnesota paid school districts for all day every day kindergarten and since the Crookston School District already had all day, every day, the money went to the general fund. “We have to do a better job of knowing our student count at the beginning of the year,” said Fee. “We can’t be surprised like this every year or else there won’t be any surplus. Somehow, someway we need to get the student enrollment numbers earlier so we can adjust our budget accordingly. We lose about $9,000 for every student that leaves. That’s $9,000 for every student that takes their classes at UMC, or just leaves the district for another high school. When I first was on the board, we had a similar surprise of over estimating our enrollment and we didn’t have any reserve at that time and had to make some hellacious cuts and that is something we don’t want to go through again.”

The School Board also agreed to have two board members be ‘adopted’ by each school in the district. Twice a year, the board members would visit their school for a couple hours in the afternoon and watch classrooms in action and then sit in a forum with the staff at those schools and listen to concerns, things that are happening in their schools. “We don’t want the forums to be a complaining session, but rather a way for the staff to see and meet their board members through an interaction like this I think will be a positive thing,” said Chair Fee. There is some concern from the administrators of the buildings according to Superintendent Bates of how the forums would be run. The board agreed to try it and assigned the following board members to a school:
Washington School -  Dave Davidson and Patty Dillabough
Highland School -  Kari Miller and Adrianne Winger
Crookston High School -  Tim Dufault and Frank Fee
“The idea came from the Crookston Education Association to collaborate with the School Board,” said Fee. “I thought it was a good idea and their Executive Board, which is teachers from each building, said they would help facilitate or do anything else to make the school board and staff forums happen. So I’m excited to see this happen.”  The first forums should be soon, as the logistics can be set up.

The School Board finalized their Committee assignments:
Officers:
Chairperson   -   Frank Fee
Clerk -                Adrianne Winger
Treasurer -         Tim Dufault

Standing Committees:
Building and Grounds/Transportation -    Frank Fee (Chair),   Patty Dillabough, Kari Miller 
Finance -  Tim Dufault (Chair), Frank Fee,   Kari Miller
Negotiations -  Tim Dufault (Chair), Kari Miller, Frank Fee (CEA), Dave Davidson (all others)
Policy -  Adrianne Winger (Chair), Dave Davidson,   Patty Dillabough
Personnel -  Frank Fee (Chair),   Dave Davidson, Adrianne Winger

Advisory to the Board:
Area Learning Center -   Patty Dillabough
Community Education -  Chris Bates
Comprehensive & Continuous Improvement with Student Achievement -  Adrianne Winger
Curriculum -  Adrianne Winger
Early Childhood Family Education -  Adrianne Winger
Health and Safety -    Frank Fee
Student Activities Advisory Committee -  Frank Fee
Public Relations/Marketing -  Frank Fee, Dave Davidson
Technology -  Tim Dufault
Title I  -   Patty Dillabough
Vocational -  Frank Fee
Insurance committee -  Tim Dufault,   Kari Miller

Liaison Positions:
Continuing Education Relicensure -  Adrianne Winger
Education Foundation -  Frank Fee
Federal Programs -     Frank Fee
Interagency -  Chris Bates
MSBA Legislative -  Dave Davidson
MSHSL Section Representative -  Frank Fee
Staff Development -    Dave Davidson

 

 

 

CROOKSTON HIGH SCHOOL INDUSTRIAL TECH TEACHERS HOST MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY TO SHOW OFF FAB LAB

A meeting with Mike Seegar of First Technologies in Lakeville, Minnesota and Industrial Technology teachers Mike Geffre and Amy Boll did not go quite as planned this morning as Mike Seegar did not make the meeting.  The meeting was to discuss the dollar for dollar grant match for FAB Lab was held with community members from Dee, Inc, the University of Minnesota Crookston and the City of Crookston.    Mike Geffre said the grant application has been in for some time and they should know in February if they will get funding.  “Getting the community involved is part of the grant so this was a way of doing that,” said Geffre. “Hopefully we can get matching money put together and the grant would bring new equipment and move us into the forefront of technology engineering and fabrication.  Century College in Minneapolis is doing this with an area college and they are tied into students all over the world and community members could use the equipment for evening classes.”
3D printers, CNC Mills and lathes, CNC plasma and wood cutters, laser engravers and vinyl cutters would be some of the equipment they could purchase with a grant. Paul Cwikla, sales manager and co-owner of Dee, Inc., said the FAB lab would be helpful to their company, “I think it is great to have local students be working with this type of equipment and we could utilize their equipment that we don’t have and it links directly to what we do.”
The group had a tour of the equipment now in place that would compliment any new equipment.

 

 

 

RED LAKE ELECTRIC GIVES BACK $300,000 IN REBATES TO CUSTOMERS, WILL HOLD DISTRICT MEETINGS NEXT WEEK

Red Lake Electric Cooperative members were informed of a $300,000 rebate when they received their energy bill earlier this month.  The rebate was made possible as the revenue for the first 11 months of 2014 was more than expected.    District meetings for the Red Lake Electric Cooperative will be held as follows:
January 26 at 7:00 p.m. for District 7 in Oak Park Church at Oklee.
Tuesday, January 27 at 1:30 p.m. in district 2 at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Holt.
Tuesday, January 27 at 7:00 p.m. in district 8 at St. John Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls.  
District 7 will elect a new director at Kelly Lundeen has served since 1994 and is not seeking another term.  The district meetings are an opportunity for information, discussion and fellowship.  Door prizes will be awarded and lunch will be served at each meeting.    

 


SAFE KIDS, ALTRU CLINIC AND POLK COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH TO HOLD A CAR SEAT CHECK-UP AT BROST CHEVROLET

Safe Kids, in partnership with Altru Clinic and Polk County Public Health will be offering a free car seat check-up event. This event is Thursday January 22, from 4:30 -6:00 at Brost Chevrolet in Crookston. Certified car seat technicians will check on your seat and ensure your children are riding safely. This event is free of charge.

 

 

CROOKSTON RESIDENTS ENJOYING THE WARM TEMPS, SLEDDING AND MAKING SNOW SCULPTURES

The weather on Saturday was gorgeous and a lot of people were outdoors enjoying the weather.   "We enjoyed the weather by sledding and then topping off the day by making a Snow Sculpture with the Grandchildren," said Marcia Meine.


Kianna and Brooke Children of Crystal Meine and Grandchildren of David and Marcia Meine, all of Crookston.

 

 

UMC TO HOST 66TH WESTERN MINNESOTA REGIONAL SCIENCE FAIR

Students in grades 6 through 12 (including public, private, and homeschooled students) interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are encouraged to compete in the 66th Western Minnesota Regional Science Fair on Friday, February 6, 2015, at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The science fair, which takes place in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center, offers elementary and secondary students a chance to compete for scholarships, cash and non-cash awards along with the opportunity to advance to the state competition.

The deadline for entries and required forms for projects and papers must be postmarked by Friday, January 23, 2015, and details can be found at www.umcrookston.edu/sciencefair.  Registration for the science fair includes: individual project entry fee is $12 per student; paper competition entry fee is $10 per student; and the team project entry fee is $12 per team member. Forms and fees can be submitted by mail to Western MN Regional Science Fair, c/o Katy Nannenga, University of Minnesota Crookston 2900 University Ave, Crookston, MN  56716.

Sixteen projects will be selected to advance to the state competition and the winner at the regional level will compete in the international competition. The Western Minnesota Region is one of the eight regions in Minnesota and includes the counties of Big Stone, Becker, Clay, Grant, Mahnomen, Norman, Ottertail, Polk, Traverse and Wilkin.

Exhibit set up will begin the day of the science fair at 7:30 a.m. with judging beginning at 9:30. The public is invited to view the exhibits from 2-3 p.m. in Bede Ballroom and an awards ceremony will take place beginning at 3:30 p.m.

For additional information about the Western Minnesota Regional Science Fair, contact Nannenga at 218-281-8262 or visit the website for the science fair at www.umcrookston.edu/sciencefair.

The Minnesota State Science & Engineering Fair (MSSEF) will be held March 20-22, 2015. MSSEF is the culmination of Regional Science Fairs that occur throughout the state. From approximately 2,500 regional participants, 500 students in grades 6-12 are selected to advance and present their research at MSSEF. To learn more, visit www.mnmas.org.  

 

 

CROOKSTON AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY, NELS T WOLD UNIT 20 PURCHASES

The American Legion Auxiliary, Nels T Wold Unit 20 recently purchased silverware for the Crookston American Legion Kitchen. 


Paul Dubuque, Commander; Sam Dubuque, Manager; and Sharon Lanctot, Auxiliary President. 

 

 



MONDAY - JANUARY 19,  2015

CROOKSTON CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS HAVE QUESTIONS ON MAYOR WILLHITE'S COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS

The Crookston City Council will hold another Ways and Means Committee meeting on Thursday evening to look at the list of people being appointed to boards and commissions by Mayor Gary Willhite for 2015.   Crookston Alderman at Large Wayne Melbye said there are some concerns about the changes. “It is always better to discuss things when there is a chance to change things that were done by the Mayor,” said Melbye.  “We want an explanation and get his description of what is going on from Gary before the Council gives approval to the appointments.”
Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority and the Airport commission had people left out when their terms were not up which is unusual according to Melbye. “It is not a written rule, but when you get people to serve it takes a while to get prepared to know what the job entails so if they are interested and make the meetings they usual get two full terms so we want to know it the direction is changing,” said Melbye.  “It’s my job on the council to get the facts as to what is going on.”
The Ways and Means committee will study the changes at their meeting on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m.  Melbye said residents interested in serving the city committees can let council members know.  “I have quite a few phone calls, e-mails and personal visits and I hope they have talked to other council members,” said Melbye.  “We want to be out there and be transparent and open to everyone so we can say we did our jobs.”

 

 

POLK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO MEET WITH THEIR ATTORNEY TO DISCUSS CASE WITH COUNTY ATTORNEY WIDSETH'S SALARY

The Polk County Commissioners will meet on Tuesday at the Polk County Government Center.  They will start the meeting with a closed session at 10:20 with the county’s attorney Rangel to discuss pending litigation with Polk County Attorney Greg Widseth who made an appeal to district court about his salary.    Other items on the county board agenda include tax abatements, approval for the order of squad cars for the sheriff’s department and a report from the building committee.

 

 

POLK COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FILES MURDER CHARGE AGAINST THREE WOMAN IN DRUG OVERDOSE CASE

Based upon an investigation completed by the East Grand Forks Police Department, the Polk County Attorney’s Office has filed criminal Complaints charging Shilo Chasity Delorme, age 32, Haley Lynn-Marie Suedel (Clauthier), age 26, and Jenny Marie Bercier, age 39, with Murder in the Third Degree related to the fentanyl overdose death of another female in October 2014.

The single charge against each defendant contained in the Complaints filed by the Polk County Attorney’s Office is as follows:
Count 1:
Charge: Murder in the Thrid Degree – Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance
In Violation Of: 609.195(b)
Maximum Penalty: 20 years in prison, a $35,000 fine, or both


Shilo Chasity Delorme, Haley Lynn-Marie Suedel (Clauthier), and Jenny Marie Bercier, without intent to cause death, proximately caused the death of a human being by, directly or indirectly, unlawfully selling, giving away, bartering, delivering, exchanging, distributing, or administering a controlled substance classified in Schedule I or II of Minn. Stat. Ch. 152 by intentionally aiding, advising, hiring, counseling, conspiring with, or otherwise procuring one another to sell, give away, barter, deliver, exchange, distribute, or administer the controlled substance.  More specifically, on or about October 3-4, 2014, Shilo Chasity Delorme, Haley Lynn-Marie Suedel (Clauthier), and Jenny Marie Bercier proximately caused the death of J.L.E. by, directly or indirectly, unlawfully selling, giving away, bartering, delivering, exchanging, or distributing fentanyl to J.L.E. in East Grand Forks, Polk County, Minnesota.  Fentanyl is a controlled substance classified in Schedule II of Minn. Stat. 152.02, subd. 3(c)(10).

All of the defendants have made their first appearances on these charges in Polk County District Court, and the Polk County Attorney’s Office will be making no further public comments regarding this case while it is pending.

 

 

NORTHWEST MINNESOTA PINE TO PRAIRIE DRUG TASK FORCE IS EVEN STRONGER THIS YEAR

The effort to take drugs off the street in northwestern Minnesota is now being provided in a much more powerful and better-coordinated way.
Beginning with the start of the new year, the original three-member Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force — that included Polk County and the cites of Crookston and East Grand Forks — has been expanded to include law enforcement agencies from seven other counties. All now work together through a joint powers arrangement in which they share resources and information.
The seven new county-city members are Kittson, Roseau, Marshall, Pennington-Thief River Falls, Red Lake, Norman-Ada, and Lake of the Woods.
The new members are participating in one of three ways — by providing a fulltime officer to the task force (Pennington-Thief River Falls and Roseau), by providing an officer to work with Pine-to-Prairie agents as needed (Marshall, Kittson and Lake of the Woods) or by providing money and other resources to help pay for operational costs (Norman-Ada and Red Lake).
The task force now has 10 fulltime officers. In addition to the five fulltime officers provided by the task force members, the U.S. Border Patrol has committed four officers to the effort and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is providing one officer.
A state grant pays for about half of the salaries of fulltime officers that are being provided by Pennington-Thief River Falls, Polk and Roseau counties and by the cities of Crookston and East Grand Forks.
In addition to their work in the field, the two federal agencies provide a connection to other government resources including prosecution through the U.S. District Court system. The task force also has an arrangement that allows it to work across state lines with the Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force and with other task forces in Minnesota.
The Pine to Prairie Task Force, which has a base of operations at the Polk County Law Enforcement Center in Crookston, has already worked multiple drug cases this year including some that involved assisting local law enforcement agencies at shootings, other violent crimes and in child pornography cases.
A 17-member advisory board made up of county commissioners, city council members, chiefs of police, sheriffs and a county attorney meets regularly to monitor activities of the task force.  

 

 

CROOKSTON NOON DAY LIONS CLUB LOOKING TO RAISE $25,000 TO PURCHASE A STAGE, RAFFLING A RANGER

The Crookston Noon Day Lions Club is kicking off a campaign for a signature project that will ultimately lead to the creation of a mobile event stage. Crookston is currently host to many outdoor events each year including: Ox Cart Days, Crazy Days, Nite to Unite, Cornstalk Jamboree and more. The mobile stage will also allow for additional events to blossom in the future. These events improve the quality of life for residents and provide a positive economic impact for the local economy.
A committee of Lions members has set a goal of $25,000 for the purchase and customization of the stage.  The Lions Club will be raffling a Polaris Ranger as a major portion of the fundraising effort. Raffle tickets will be available from Lions members and at the following local businesses: Titan Machinery, Hugo’s, American Federal Bank, Bremer Bank, Crookston National Bank, Willow and Ivy, Four Seasons Clothing, Montague's Flower Shop, and Crookston City Hall.


                     A 3D image of the stage created by Chris Trostad                                      A Polaris Ranger will be raffled off 

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