The League of Minnesota Cities (LMC), along with the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC), the Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT), and the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) has formed the "Big Four" committee to work on projects of cooperation and mutual interest between the various types of local government in our State.  Based on the belief that needs of our communities can no longer be effectively met by public service "silos", the group meets bi-monthly to discuss common interests and explore ways that we can support our local governments as they cooperate to serve their common constituents.  The Big Four has a strong legislative focus, but also focuses on ways to increase local government collaboration.  Crookston Mayor Gary Willhite was selected to serve on the Board of Directors of the League of Minnesota Cities earlier this year and he will serve on the Big Four committee. 




Margee Keller of Crookston,  Jean Walker of Warren, and Joanie Krantz of Karlstad were among the nearly 1,300 delegates, alternates, and distinguished guests from across the nation who attended the 96th American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) National Convention August 26 - September 1 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The annual event brings members of The American Legion Family together to celebrate successes from the administrative year, elect national officers, and set national priorities to guide their organizations in the coming year.
They participated in a variety of activities throughout the week, including divisional caucuses, sessions on how to continue the ALA’s mission of serving veterans, the nomination of state and national officers, and recognition of the year’s achievements.
They also had the opportunity to hear firsthand from Democratic and Republican presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who attended the event as guest speakers.
American Legion Auxiliary members have dedicated themselves for nearly a century to meeting the needs of our nation’s veterans, military, and their families both here and abroad. They volunteer millions of hours yearly, with a value averaging $2 billion each year. As part of the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization, ALA volunteers across the country also step up to honor veterans and military through annual scholarships and with ALA Girls State programs, teaching high school juniors to be leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism. To learn more about the ALA’s mission or to volunteer, donate or join, visit

Margee Keller of Crookston- MN Department Children and Youth Chairman; Jean Walker, Warren - MN Department 2nd Vice President and VA and R Chairman; Mary Ann Davis, Washington, Newly elected National Auxiliary President, and Joanie Krantz, Karlstad- 9th District Auxiliary President.




Roger Narlock has a lot to celebrate these days. He’ll mark 30 years with RiverView Health September 22, and he’s just been named the Employee of the Month (EOM) for August.
Narlock started as an accountant and business manager at RiverView, moved on to senior accountant and is currently the finance manager of the Finance Department.
A Forest River, ND, native, he has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from UND, has passed the CPA exam and has been a member of the North Dakota CPA Society for over 20 years.
In his free time, Narlock can be found fishing, golfing, cross country skiing and a variety of other outdoor activities; saying he strongly believes in “exercising the mind and body’’. Narlock also enjoys attending sporting events, concerts and traveling.
Of his recent EOM honor, he said: “I have a great staff that goes above and beyond. The people at RiverView have been great to work with over the years considering all the changes in healthcare every year. To work in healthcare you have to be a caring individual which is why RiverView has been a great place to work.’’






Crookston School Enrollment is up compared to last year.  KROX has tabulated the numbers and they are below-

Crookston High School: 590 Students (up 13 from last year)
Seniors: 103
Juniors: 95
Sophomores: 97
Freshmen: 99
8th Grade: 90
7th Grade: 106

Highland Elementary School: 485 Students (down 2 from last year)
6th Grade: 112
5th Grade: 90
4th Grade: 91
3rd Grade: 102
2nd Grade: 90

Washington Elementary School: 227 Students (up 9 from last year)
School Readiness: 60
Kindergarten: 76
1st Grade: 91

Cathedral School: 66 Students
Prekindergarten: 13
Kindergarten: 12
1st Grade: 12
3rd Grade: 12
4th Grade:  5
5th Grade: 8
6th Grade:  4

Our Saviors Lutheran School: 56 Students
Pre-School: 17
Kindergarten: 6
1st Grade: 6
2nd Grade: 3
3rd Grade: 2
4th Grade: 6
5th Grade: 7
6th Grade: 3
7th Grade: 6




With area schools getting started this week, it is always important to remember to drive carefully with school buses on the road.  Rick Niemela, Crookston Pubic Schools Transportation Director, would like to remind people about bus safety. “I want to remind everybody to watch out for the flashing yellow and red lights when the buses are getting ready to pick up students,” said Niemela.  “When the red lights come on and the stop arm comes out, you want to be sure to stop.  It is a punishable offense by a fine if you do run the stop arm.  Be aware of that as kids are crossing the streets and watch out for everybody that is out there early in the morning and later in the afternoon.”

Niemela says that there is still a need for more bus drivers in Crookston.  “We are still looking for some bus route drivers to bring the kids to and from school,” said Niemela.  “It adds up to a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the afternoon.  It’s a good part time job for anybody who has some extra time on their hands and we could always use some more help.”
For any additional information on Crookston School Bus Transportation, contact Niemela at 281-5444.

Crookston School District busses lined up and ready to go on the first day of class for the high school




Polk County Commissioners met on Tuesday and learned about the impact of the decision by Enbridge Energy to decide against construction of the Sandpiper oil pipeline from North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin.  Commissioner Warren Strandell said it will have an economic effect on county taxes.  “It is very disappointing. I’m unhappy with the permit requests that drag on forever, the system is broken and we have the tail wagging the dog,” said Strandell.  “The Governor was on record as in favor of the pipeline, but did nothing to move it forward so I am unhappy with him.” On the financial end it was projected that Enbridge would be paying about $25 million in property taxes in Minnesota for the new line and Polk County’s share could have been between two and three million dollars which is about 10 percent of the levy.  “The off shoot is Enbridge is challenging the valuation of their properties in the state probably with a good reason,” said Strandell. “The state properties are significantly more than in Wisconsin or North Dakota so depending on how the court actions go we could have to pay back some money and if we lose the new revenue and an added bill to repay tax collections it is a sad situation so I can see why they bailed out.”

The Polk County Commissioners approved a request from Kent Johnson, Social Services Director for a child protection specialist to replace Keelee Emanuel who resigned. 
Johnson said a revised grant award for the SNAP program will bring the county another $30,000 for a total of $90.000 for the year. 

Middle Snake, Tamarac Rivers Watershed District President Ben Kleinwachter, along with board member Robert Kovar and new administrator Brent Silvis updated the commissioners on projects dealing with Judicial Ditch 75 and county ditch 175 along with the new buffer strip program.    

Polk County Social Services received two donations for school supplies from the East Grand Forks VFW and American Legion donated $450 to provide school supplies.

David Bertils of Fertile and chairman of the Polk County Board of Aging came before the commissioners with a request for their budget in 2017. “We need our budget request of $2,600 approved for the work that we need in providing funds for the selection of outstanding senior citizens for year,” said Bertils.  “We do an essay for sixth graders each year on their favorite outstanding senior, some of them will bring tears to your eyes.”  The request will be included in the 2017 budget. 

The commissioners approved a request for repairs on county ditch 109 branch 9 and awarded the bituminous patching bid to Minn Dak Asphalt of Thief River Falls for $52,200.  Patching will be done on county state aid highways 23, 41 and 53.



A group of residents from Lake Sarah were at the county board meeting in opposition to a conditional use permit for Nancy Gunderson and Tracy and Chris Sorvig who want to put four campground sites on their private property.   After a lengthy discussion the board postponed a decision until September 12.  “It would be on the east end of Lake Sarah and it was rejected last October and they applied again as some of the issues like the road, power, fencing and others were fixed along with septic,” said Commissioner Craig Buness.  “We have to make a decision as the neighbors are not in favor of four trailer houses on two lots of about an acre and a half.  The board does not have the language to deny the permit if they meet the criteria, our ordinances do not address the issues at the lake.  It was not the intent to have  a high dollar home and four trailers in between, so we will have a special meeting on Monday morning as we have to act within 60 days or they get what they asked for so that is what we will do.”
Richard Rock is president of the Union Lake Sarah Improvement District and said they do not approve of the conditional use permit. “They want to create a private campground on their lot and the residents are against it,” said Rock. “The question is that there is a cabin on the property and for that reason alone it should not be allowed, the fact that if every private lot had three or four camping sites it could get to be an issue.”




On September 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Altru Clinic in Crookston, Crookston Police Department, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Department will give the public an opportunity to prevent unintentional poisoning, medication theft and abuse by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription or over-the-counter medications. Bring your medications to the Altru Clinic parking lot at 400 South Minnesota Street, for a convenient drive up, drop off Medication Take Back Day. Properly disposing of excess drugs is everyone’s responsibility as a matter of public safety. Medications left in homes can lead to theft, misuse, diversion, unintentional poisoning, abuse and overdose. Please find time to clean out your medicine cabinet and drop off controlled, non-controlled or over-the-counter medications during the Medication Take Back Day. If you are unable to attend the Medication Take Back Day, you can properly dispose of unwanted medication at the Crookston Police Department or Polk County Sheriff’s Department. Further information can be found at   






Jerardo Gonzalez, 21, made his first court appearance on Thursday in Polk County District Court on multiple felony charges. 
According to court documents the Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force said he helped his brother, Juan Andres Gonzalez, 24 of Olso; Salomon Leandro Gutierrez, 21 of Crookston; and Daniel Morales, 23 if Crookston, traffic four ounces of cocaine over a three-month period in 2014 from North Dakota and Texas to Minnesota.
The four men were charged in early August and had have appeared in court over the last month with Jerardo Gonzalez making his appearance on Thursday.
Crookston Police received a tip that a cocaine supplier was coming into town that week and on May 27, 2014 a confidential informant was given "buy money" from officers and purchased four grams of marijuana and Adderall pills from Morales.
An officer said he overheard Morales through an electronic transmitter the informant was wearing say he could get up to a half gram of cocaine and that he was going to Colorado to pick up five pounds of marijuana.
A few weeks later, the informant purchased more pills and marijuana from Morales, who stated he was going to start selling cocaine; and he was going to keep selling until he got caught.
Court documents said the informant met with Morales again in July of 2014 to purchase $1,200 in cocaine.  Morales said the supplier rented a farm near Climax because the drugs were too hot in Grand Forks. Morales was arrested that day by East Grand Forks police at a Crookston gas station.
Morales was able to buy $1,350 worth of cocaine, or about 13 grams.  Gutierrez was arrested July 2, 2014, and police said they found $790 that matched buy money officers gave to Morales for the drug deal.
Gutierrez met with Jerardo Gonzalez July 7, 2014, in Fisher, where Gutierrez said he purchased $1,250, or about 14 grams, of cocaine from Jerardo Gonzalez. Police followed Jerardo Gonzalez to East Grand Forks, where he was arrested.
Juan Gonzalez was arrested shortly after with an automatic pistol in his center console and the buy money that had been used to purchase.
The Gonzalezes and Gutierrez have been charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime of sale, first-degree controlled substance crime of sale and failure to affix a tax stamp, all felonies. Each of the first-degree crime of sale charges carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
Jerardo Gonzalez also faces a second first-degree controlled substance crime of sale, a felony. He and Saloman were charged with fourth-degree driving while impaired, a misdemeanor.
Juan Gonzalez also faces a gross misdemeanor charge of carrying a pistol without a permit.
Morales has been charged with five felony counts of controlled substance crime of sale—two fifth-degree, two fourth-degree and one second-degree.




Back Row (L to R): Hunter Kopff, Kristine Stegman, Krystyna Freeman, Megan Hanson, Andrea Adrian, April Hyde, Travis Oliver, Julie Christianson
Front Row (L to R): Heidi Neubert, Taylor Pearson, Wendy Willits, Jenny Knutson, Gina Gunderson 

Today is the first day of school for seventh grade – 12th grade in Crookston and there are quite a few new teachers in the district this year.  KROX sat down with 13 teachers in new positions and found out more about each teacher.

Julia Christianson will be one of the Kindergarten teachers at Washington Elementary School.  “I have taught at headstart before this in Crookston and Hendrum.  I went to college at Moorhead State and I am originally from Shelly,” said Christianson.  “This summer I have been getting the classroom ready, shopping at Art and Learn, tracing, and meet a lot of fun people.  I am excited to get to know the students and to watch them learn and grow and to also meet the parents and families.”

Megan Hanson is a new second grade teacher at Highland School this year.  “I taught first grade at Climax/Shelly for seven years, as well as Title 1 there for one year.  I went to Moorhead State for college and I am originally from Crookston,” said Hanson.  “My parents are Steve and Kathy Martin and I married Brian Hanson, who is another local, and we have two kids, Maddie who is six and Brodie who is three.  This summer I have been spending a lot of time working in my room and I am excited to meet the kids as well as everyone in the school district”.

Andrea Adrian will be teaching Special Education at the High School.  “I taught Math at Climax/Shelly and I’ve been thinking about switching to Special Education and the opportunity came about so I decided to take the chance.  I went to college at Moorhead State and I am originally from Drayton, North Dakota,” said Adrian.  “All of my family lives along the interstate, so we are close enough to drive to each other.  This summer I have been hanging out with my two year old and we had a great summer.  I am excited to meet all of the new kids and staff and excited to be a part of this.”

Taylor Pearson will be teaching music at Highland Elementary this year.  “This is my first teaching position and I just graduated from NDSU.  I am originally from Grand Forks, and my whole family lives there,” said Pearson.  “This summer I took some music classes and spent a few weeks in Fargo learning and getting ready for school this year.  I am excited to see my kids, 482 kids this year”.

Krystyna Freeman will be teaching fifth grade at Highland this year.  “This will be my seventh year of teaching.  I was teaching in Pillager and Arizona before here.  I went to college at Moorhead State and I am originally from Crookston,” said Freeman.  “I grew up on a farm just north of town and my parents are Dan and Becky Cymbaluk.  This summer I have been working in my classroom as well as enjoying some downtime.  It is important as a teacher to recharge a little bit and be ready for the school year.  I am excited to meet my kids and to get started.”

Wendy Willits will be teaching Special Education at Washington Elementary School.  “I taught 15 years in Illinois, 10 years in Brainerd, and last year I was a Para at Washington.  I went to college in Charleston, Illinois and I am originally from Illinois,” said Willits.  “My husband moved up here three years ago to find work and we fell in love with the town.  This summer we shipped our oldest daughter off to Japan in the Navy and we sporadically bought a house in one day.  I am excited to be at Washington and we love being in Crookston.”

Heidi Neubert will be long term sub for first grade at Washington Elementary.  “I have been teaching for the last two years in East Grand Forks and I also ran a home day care for seven years and I taught in Wisconsin for eight years before that.  I went to St. Cloud State for school and I am originally from Southeastern Minnesota, a small town called St. Charles,” said Neubert.  “This summer I have been getting the classroom ready and studying the curriculum.  I am excited to get back to working with kids and getting to know the children.”

Gina Gunderson is the new ECFE Parent Educator.  “I currently own a childcare in town located at the Villa St. Vincent.  For school, I went to Bemidji State and UND.  I am originally from Mahnomen,” said Gunderson.  “I will be going to school for a Parent Educator License and I am excited for the school year to get going.”

Jenny Knutson will be teaching School Readiness at Washington.  “I have taught preschool classes in Crookston before this position.  I went to Bemidji State and I am originally from Crookston,” said Knutson.  “My parents are Debbie and Gary Knutson and they are both still in the area.  This summer I worked at the UMC Child Care Center so I worked with toddlers, infants, and preschoolers.  I am very excited to get the school year started.”

Kristine Stegman is the new ALC teacher.  “I have taught ECFE since 1992 and I worked at the Crookston Eye Clinic before coming back to education.  My husband Gary Stegman teaches Art here at CHS,” said Stegman.  “This summer was the first time I have had it off in a few years so it was nice to reconnect with my kids and I did some traveling, spent time with my mom, did some reading, and worked on some projects.  I am excited to work with the kids and help them get back on track with their classes and help them any way I can.”

Travis Oliver is the new Industrial Technology and Construction Trades teacher. “ This is my first teaching position.  Before this, I worked for DeBoer Builders and I also operate Oliver’s Canoe Outfitters here in Crookston.  I am currently taking college classes at UMC to get my teaching certificate, and I took Construction Management, I have a Residential Carpentry Degree, and I have a Business Degree,” said Oliver.  “I attended NDSU and UMC.  I am a Crookston native, graduating from CHS in 2000.  I have a grandmother who lives at Summerfield named Pat Carlson and my parents are Scott and Terri Oliver.  My girlfriend is Crookston native Ann Longton and I have a stepdaughter named Ava and daughter named Hazel.  We recently moved into a new house so the summer has been busy with projects for us as well as projects for other people.  I am excited to get to know all the kids and take part in the school district.”

April Hyde will be teaching Special Education at the High School.  “I taught at Climax/Shelly for 10 years before this.  I attended St. Cloud State University and I am originally from Grand Rapids,” said Hyde.  “This summer I have been spending time with my four kids as well as getting the classroom ready.  I am excited to get to know my students and their families.”

Hunter Kopff will be teaching Chemistry and Physical Science at Crookston High School.  “This is my first teaching job and I went to college at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  I am originally from Monticello,” said Kopff.  “My girlfriend is a new teacher at Red River High School in Grand Forks.  I have been coaching swimming in Montana this summer as well as hiking and camping.  I am excited to meet the kids and teach them about science.”




There is an increase in pedestrian and bicycle traffic around schools starting this week as students across the state head back to school. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is asking pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists to practice safety as they travel.
Pedestrians should use crosswalks and sidewalks when available, and look left, right and left again before crossing the street. When no sidewalks are available, they should walk on the left side of the road toward traffic.
About a third of all pedestrian crashes occur during the weekday morning and afternoon rush hour driving times. In 2015, 32 percent of pedestrians killed and 26 percent injured were trying to cross a road at an area with no crosswalk and no signal.
In 2015, the top two most contributing factors for crashes between vehicles and pedestrians were motorist failure to yield right of way and motorist inattention or distraction.
Bicyclists should ride predictably so motorists know what their intentions are. This means using hand signals, riding in a straight line and obeying traffic signals. Bicyclists are subject to the same laws as motor vehicles. They should wear helmets and wear reflective gear to increase their visibility. 
About a third of all bicycle crashes occur during the afternoon rush hours of 3 to 6 p.m. Bicyclists’ failure to yield right of way and disregard for traffic control devices were the top two contributing factors to crashes in 2015 when bicyclists were at fault. When motorists were at fault, the contributing factors were failure to yield right of way and driver inattention or distraction.
Motorists should look for children at intersections, crosswalks and along roads. It’s the law to stop for pedestrians within the crosswalk. It’s also the law to give a three-foot clearance, and to yield to bicyclists before making a turn. Motorists should also focus on driving and avoid distractions, such as eating or drinking and using cell phones, while operating their vehicles.




The Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (NW RSDP) has announced its 2016 funding priorities for community-based projects. Seed funding is available to support projects that leverage community participation and create a robust partnership with the University of Minnesota. Individuals, organizations, and groups in northwestern Minnesota are encouraged to apply.
The NW RSDP is interested in innovative ideas to advance agriculture and food systems, tourism and resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy. “We’re excited to develop community-led projects that address these sustainability priorities for the region, and engage both local partners and University resources,” said NW RSDP Executive Director Linda Kingery. Priorities include:

Sustainable agriculture and food systems
Supporting local food assets such as food policy councils, community gardens and rural groceries.
Connecting farmers to rural food places.
Encouraging farming practices that promote climate adaptation and mitigation.
Investing in systems for season extension and food preservation.

Natural resources
Engaging people in nature.
Promoting practices that maintains or restores natural processes.
Supporting efforts that respond to environmental hazards.

Tourism and resilient communities
Creating a positive narrative for rural communities.
Developing tourism projects that preserve natural resources and promote cultural assets.
Advancing community economic development, quality of life, health, and safety.
Developing community leaders, youth entrepreneurs, and natural resource scientists.

In recent years, NW RSDP has supported a variety of successful community projects including nature-based play areas for children, farmers markets and community gardens, and tourism initiatives that help communities tell their stories.
The Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) bring together local talent and resources with University knowledge and seed funding to drive sustainability in the four areas. RSDP is composed of a statewide office and five regional partnerships and is part of University of Minnesota Extension.
For more information and to submit a project idea, visit or contact Linda Kingery at or 218-281-8697.




The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds motorists that on a road with two or more lanes, drivers must move over one full lane from stopped emergency vehicles that have their flashing lights activated. That includes ambulance, fire, law enforcement, maintenance, construction vehicles and tow trucks. If it is not safe to move over, the driver should slow down.
The Move Over Law is named after State Trooper Ted Foss, who was struck and killed by a passing semitrailer truck while conducting a traffic stop on Aug. 31, 2000. The law is intended to keep emergency workers safe, and prevent motorists from crashing into stopped vehicles.
For real-time traffic and travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit, call 5-1-1 or log on to






The Valley Corn Maize and K & D Krueger Farms & Sons will be having a corn maze located on the corner of Highway 2 and 160th Street Southwest, one mile east of East Grand Forks. The corn maze is 4.5 miles long with games you can play by using paper and pen or your smartphone to help you navigate your way through the maze. Along with the maze, there are new activities since last year. There will be a cannon blaster, a corn box, corn in a hole, tether ball and a spider web rope climb for the little tikes and more.  Bring your appetite as there will be plenty of food items available at the concession stand. The Valley Corn Maize will be open September 2 and every weekend through October 16 and opened an extra day on Labor Day. Dates and hours of operation are Fridays 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. Admission is $7.50 plus tax. A military discount is available and children under thirty-six inches are free. Ticket sales end 30 minutes before closing time. They have many special events planned too. September 11 is Grandparents Day. Grandparents will receive free admission with one paid grandchild per grandparent.  The perfect weekend for tractor enthusiasts of all ages is the Touch a Tractor weekend September 16-18. The Valley Corn Maize will be overflowing with tractors, combines and farm equipment. Bring your dog out for Canines in the Corn on September 25. In honor of all those who serve our communities and country, all law enforcement, fire, EMS, and military personnel with service ID will receive free admission and a family discount for additional family members during Hometown Heroes Weekend October 7-9. Finish off the Corn Maize season with some adventure!! Come out and enjoy the last night by going through the maize in the dark, BYOF (Bring Your Own Flashlight) for the Flashlight Dash October 16 from 7:00 to 9:00.  For more information, visit    




Today, the “Hollcraft Benefit Fund” account was established at Crookston National Bank.  Donations to the account will be utilized to cover lodging expenses for family members coming to Crookston to be with the Hollcraft family.  Monies received in excess of those needs will go towards a Joseph Hollcraft memorial.

Hollcraft Benefit Fund
c/o Crookston National Bank          
1901 Sahlstrom
Crookston, MN 56716
(218) 281-1976
Donations will be accepted during normal banking hours.  They can also be directed to Cathedral School or Parish at 702 Summit Ave, Crookston and will be forwarded to the account





RiverView Recovery Center - in collaboration with the Glenmore Foundation and Care and Share Center of Crookston – will hold a presentation of hope, strength and experience in recovery Thursday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Care and Share Center, 220 E 3rd St., Crookston. The public is welcome.
Lyle Prouse, the Northwest Airlines captain who was the first pilot in American commercial aviation to be arrested for flying a commercial airliner under the influence, will speak about his conviction, sentence, time in federal prison and the treatment he sought for alcoholism. Prouse eventually received a Presidential Pardon from Bill Clinton, 11 years after his arrest, and has now been sober for over 26 years.
The event is part of National Recovery Month which is held each September. The month-long recognition is meant to spread
the positive message that chemical dependency treatment is effective and people can and do recover. Events will be held across the country throughout the month.
For information on recovery programs through RiverView Recovery Center, please call 800-584-9226.




The Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce Beautification Award winners have been determined and the Beautification Committee is proud to honor the following awards:

PRESENTATION OF LANDSCAPED BUSINESS: TIE: Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home & Drafts Bar & Grill


PRESENTATION OF STOREFRONT: Willow & Ivy (Lifetime Achievement Award)

PRESENTATION OF BUILDING RESTORATION: Christian Brothers Ford  *New category

The Chamber Beautification Committee would like to thank all of the winners and contenders for making Crookston a more beautiful place for its residents and visitors.  Additionally, the committee would like to extend a huge thank you to the residents of the near the 6th Street Garden Neighborhood that have adopted that area and made it look beautiful this summer. This group has been headed up by Shane Heldstab and includes many individuals that live nearby.  Across the way, Friends of Rydell and Glacial Ridge Refuges adopted the area in front of LeBlanc Realty and made it look stunning. Thank you to all for their hard work and dedication in making our community beautiful.

         The Willow and Ivy storefront in downtown Crookston      The new Christian Brothers Ford building (Pictures by the Crookston Chamber)

The Crookston Fire Department (Picture by the Crookston Chamber of Commerce)

                                                 Drafts Sports Bar and Grill  (Picture by the Crookston Chamber of Commerce)

                        Stenshoel-Houske Funeral and Cremation Service (Picture by the Crookston Chamber of Commerce)





You might have noticed the Crookston Eagles Club sign was being worked on this week.  Matt Parnow, Eric Helgeson, Adam Sinks, Missy Barrus, Bruce Meyer, Travis Oliver, and Wayne Melbye were busy sprucing up the sign by power washing and cleaning the sign and painting it.  You can see some pictures below.

                      The Crookston Eagles sign before the and the Crookston Eagles sign after all the work done this week

Matt Parnow power washing the sign





A large crowd gathered in the Altru Clinic parking lot in Crookston on Wednesday evening as they held a ground breaking ceremony.  Altru is expanding their current facility and completion is expected in early 2018.  “We are really proud that a day that we dreamed about for a long time has finally come.  This is an opportunity for us, not only to have a modern facility, but to reach out in new ways to our community,” said Altru CEO Dave Molmen. “We are adding new space, but also adding new capabilities and new services that haven’t been available in the community.  We are really making an investment in building upon our primary care base.”

Altru Administrative Director Jill Wilson went over some of the specific programs that Altru will be adding though the next 18 months. “We are focusing on primary care services and elevating our primary care in the community with some new technology and new exam rooms.  We are also expanding our services in the community, so we are going to be adding ultrasound, mammography, expanding our speech services, and bringing in additional specialists, so we’ll have oncology, orthopedics, and cardiology,” said Wilson.  “We are expanding our surgical services as well, so we will have an operating room and two procedure rooms for GI procedures, podiatry procedures, and general surgery procedures.  We are excited to bring those offerings to Crookston.”

Crookston Mayor Gary Willhite also addressed the crowd and stressed the importance of healthcare in Crookston.  “Healthcare has been a very important element, actually a hallmark I think, for the Crookston community for many, many years,” said Willhite.  “Altru has been a part of that and they work hand in hand with RiverView here and it’s great to see them.  There is nothing more fun than groundbreakings, it’s just fun!” 

Crookston Community leaders along with leaders of Altru used ceremonial golden shovels to break ground on the south end of the clinic, facing the parking lot.  Most of the group wore bright orange t-shirts that said “We’re Breaking Ground.”

     The latest architectural drawing of the new addition and entry at Altru Clinic in Crookston

                              Dignitaries and Altru employees with their shovels at the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday evening




To:   Media                                                                                                     
From:  Crookston School Board

We plan to have a couple events to inform the Crookston School District residents and then give them a chance to see our plans, ask questions and have a conversation of the projects.

1.  Tuesday,  September 13.  Tour of the current bus garage at 115 E. 4th Street in Crookston. It will start at 4PM and the district residents can see first hand why the district feels we need a new bus garage.

2.  We will have a Crookston School District Forum to show the plans the following week, Thursday, September 22 starting at 6:00 PM in the Commons area of the Crookston High School to show plans for three facility projects that the School Board is discussing:
a.  A new bus garage   (to be possibly built behind the Highland School on the old junior high football fields.
b.  A new Sports Complex, which would include an artificial turf football field along with a new track. The soccer teams would also be able to use the facility that would have lights. Many other uses would be possible for the complex to be built north of the High School on the current L.E. Drechsel Field that the JV and underclass football currently play.
c.  An addition to the current High School which would be an additional two station gym to be used for physical education, intramurals, junior high volleyball/basketball. There would also be an additional room to accommodate the music departments need for an additional classroom.  The addition on the very north end would also have room for a concession stand for football/soccer contests as well as locker rooms for the football/soccer teams could use before, during and after contest.

The program will take the interested district residents through the three drawings on both overhead screen and on paper and residents will be able to take a closer look.  Questions, comments will be part of the program and hopefully a good conversation of the projects. A representative from Widseth Smith Nolting, who have designed the plans will be in attendance as well as school board members, school administrators including the transportation director and activities director.

All school district residents are encouraged to attend the forum that starts at 6:00 PM on Thursday, September 22 in the Commons area of the Crookston High School as well as the bus garage tour on Tuesday, September 13.

Thank You for your interest and continued support,

The Crookston School Board





The Crookston Planning Commission met on Tuesday night at City Hall.  The main item on the agenda was to discuss the conditional use permit for the proposed digital billboard at 1921 Sahlstrom Drive (in front of the old auto glass building now owned by the fire fighters. The commission heard from several sources with opinions on the application for a conditional use permit for a 10 foot tall by 30 foot wide digital advertising billboard on the north end of town.  Billboards are allowed in certain corridors in the city and the location at 1921 Sahlstrom Drive is one area that billboards are allowed.  “This is an opportunity for the commission to hear feedback from the community and weigh in on that and make a decision on conditions that would be put on that,” said City Administrator Shannon Stassen.  “At this point, the item has been tabled by the planning commission.  We are exploring next steps to keep this moving through.”  There is a September 29 deadline for this application and if no action is taken, the application is granted as received.  “If we are not able to take any action, the billboard would be permitted to move to the next step which is to visit with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.  Then after that we would have to come back for a building permit so there are still a few steps to go.”
The Planning Commission also heard from Crookston Building Official Matt Johnson on the amended Property Maintenance Code.  “We took the information from the public input meeting and made a couple of changes that some citizens were concerned about.  We specifically talked about pools and the way the code was originally written would be pretty restrictive as far as fencing around pools,” said Johnson.  “We presented an amendment to that to make it less restrictive, by removing access to the pool and to cover it when it is not in use, rather than requiring a fence to be put around any pool that is deeper than two feet.”  The amended code reads, ‘Pools that are temporarily installed above ground and disassembled and removed at the end of the summer season shall be exempt from the provisions of this section.  However, during nonuse, such pools shall be covered and access thereto shall be removed’.  Other amendments to the language of the code made it clear that in a renting situation, the landlord is not responsible for the cost of fuel for heat, as well as rubbish removal is not solely the responsibility of the landlord.

The Planning Commission tabled the billboard discussion and made a recommendation to the Crookston Ways and Means Committee to move forward and approve the Property Maintenance Code as it was presented at the meeting.  The next scheduled Crookston Planning Commission meeting is Tuesday, September 20.

A billboard similar to the one above is what is being proposed along Highway 2 by the old auto glass building

KROX installed a new poll today after problems with our first one.  After about 5:00 p.m. last night with over 90 votes the voting was even within several percentage points.  We have tried to get a more strict poll as far as votes per computer/IP address etc.  We will see if this one works a little better.  Remember online polls are for entertainment purposes and are nowhere near scientific polls.


survey tool




The First Annual Chalk It Up will be held Saturday, September 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Crookston Downtown Square. It is a community/family event that will be open to all ages. The Crookston Visitor’s Bureau invites everyone from Crookston and the surrounding communities to join them to create artwork, or just come walk around and enjoy all the art. You will be the artist and create your own chalk art. No artistic background is needed. Each participant will buy a four by four foot square and chalk for $5.  Download a registration form at   Categories are ages 6-12, 13-18, 19 and older, college students, businesses and organizations, small groups of 3-5 people and featured artist with standing chalk panel. Ages 5 and under will have a free creative area. Limited spots will be available the day of.  Giorgios Entertainment will have face painting and balloon animals. Bring your appetite as there will be Caputo’s Catering Homemade Cooking on the Go and Berry Burst Frozen Yogurt food trucks.





TUESDAY - AUGUST 30,  2016


Altru Clinic of Crookston will be having a groundbreaking celebration and ceremony on Wednesday, August 31 at 5:30 p.m.  Altru will be expanding its Crookston clinic.  “We are adding on to our clinic, roughly 7,500 square feet.  It’s not so much the square footage that changes things up for us,” said   Regional Altru Clinic Manager Nate Ellingson.  “I think it’s the layout and flow of how it currently is and how it will be in the future, and it will be significantly different.  It will still be the same people and the same great care that you would expect as a patient coming in, but the flow will feel different and I believe it will feel great”.
Dave Molmen, Altru’s CEO, will be presenting, along with the Regional Administrative Director Jill Wilson.  Crookston Mayor Gary Willhite will say a few words and Dr. Bruce Ring of the Altru clinician physician group and Staff Chaplain David Bergstrom will also be part of the festivities. 
The ground breaking celebration and ceremony will start at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 31 in the Altru Clinic parking lot, located at 400 South Minnesota Street.

                          The latest architectural rendering of the Altru Clinic in Crookston



King of Trails City Wide Garage Sales, will be held Saturday, September 10.  Crookston’s event will be one of many held that day along Highway 75’s 411 mile route, promoted as “400 miles of great bargains”. Highway 75 was designated as the Historic King of Trails by the Minnesota legislature in 2002, and designated as a Minnesota Scenic Byway in 2004. The King of Trails Scenic Byway is the newest Byway in the state.
We are hoping local residents will participate in the annual city-wide garage sale. Maps will be provided to the public with the addresses of the garage sales along with hours of operation. They will be distributed at the new Chalk It Up event at the Downtown Square as well local gas stations beginning at 6:00 p,m, the Friday before the event. We will be promoting the market in the surrounding communities as well as the Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks areas, so take advantage of this opportunity.
There is no charge to list your garage sale. Just call or e-mail the Chamber Office with your information.
To get your sale listed or for more information, contact the Crookston Chamber & Visitor’s Bureau at or call (218) 281-4320. 
You can also get your garage sale listed on the KROX Swap Shop by emailing




Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) has selected five area nonprofit organizations to complete Vital Nonprofits, a program that will build the long-term sustainability of the region’s nonprofit organizations.
The following organizations will complete the program over the next two years: Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area, Care & Share of Crookston Inc., Clear Waters Life Center (Clearbrook), Northwoods Battered Women’s Shelter (Bemidji), and Thief River Falls Area Community Theater.
These organizations will focus on seven areas of work that are important for the success and sustainability of a nonprofit organization: mission and vision, governance, financial management, fund development, human resources, planning and evaluation, and collaborative partnerships.
Applicants were chosen based on need, variety of budget sizes, and geographic location.
Northwest Minnesota Foundation is a public, charitable foundation serving twelve counties of northwest Minnesota by investing resources, facilitating collaboration and promoting philanthropy.



MONDAY - AUGUST 29,  2016


The Crookston Fire Department was busy this weekend with severe weather in the Crookston area both Saturday and Sunday evenings.  “When we get a severe weather notification, we usually get a call from the Sheriff’s Department and they get their information from the National Weather Service.  We have a call list that we follow of about 6 difference entities in town and we notify them to keep an eye on the weather, listen to the radio, or watch the radar," said Crookston Fire Chief Tim Froeber.  "Our guys will bring up the radar themselves and keep an eye on what’s going on.  We stay in contact with the National Weather Service if something looks threatening to the City of Crookston and they will tell us if they have any type of rotation in the clouds and they will pinpoint those areas.  We also listen to reports from the Sheriff’s Department and weather spotters.”
KROX Radio had several phone calls, text messages and emails wondering why the sirens weren't sounding on Sunday night with tornadic activity and funnel clouds spotted from Crookston.  “We only activate our sirens if we have a tornado sighted within 20 miles of Crookston and it is coming towards Crookston and threatening the city.  If it is past us already, we will not sound the sirens," said Chief Froeber. "We would also sound the sirens if we have sustained straight-line winds at 70 miles an hour or more that will eventually threaten the City of Crookston.  We don’t like to sound the sirens if we do not need to because we want the people of Crookston to react when we do sound them.  We don’t use them for curfew or any other warning so when we do sound the sirens we want to make sure people react.”
Chief Froeber reminds Crookston residents to call the fire department with any concerns during severe weather at 281-4584.




The Crookston area, mainly to the south and east had a lot of tornado activity on Sunday night.  The storms popped up on the radar around 7:00 p.m. and tornadic activity was reported for the next three-plus hours around Crookston and Fertile area. 
Several people called and emailed KROX asking why the sirens didn't sound and Crookston Fire Fighter Shane Heldstab said they only sound the sirens if a tornado is in Crookston or coming towards Crookston and since the funnel clouds were south and east of Crookston and moving to the east away from Crookston the sirens were not turned on.
KROX received several funnel cloud pictures and we have posted all of them below.  If you would like to send us one send it to

Hammomd Township 8 miles south if Crookston     Funnel cloud hits the ground by Eldred
                       (By Dave Meyer)                    (Picture by KROX News Director Tyler Brekken)

Storm clouds and rain five miles east of the airport or six miles northeast of Crookston (Picture by Dave Emanuel of Wildfire Photography)

3 miles south of the old Glenmore building     Taken off of Highway 2 between Crookston and Mentor
    (Picture by Tiffani and Don Boone)                                    (Picture by Lacia Hanson)

        Funnel Cloud East of Crookston          Tornado west of Beltrami
                (Picture by Nicki Roed)              (Picture by Donovan Hanson)

Another picture of the clouds 5 miles east of the airport or 6 miles NE of Crookston (Picture by Dave Emanuel of Wildfire Photography)




To kick off the recognition of September as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, RiverView Health will offer the free, informative Health Luncheon “Ovarian Cancer: Risk Factors, Stages and Treatment’’, Wednesday, Aug. 31st with RiverView Gynecologist Dr. Kari Wessman presenting.
Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly of women's cancers. It ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. The World Health Organization estimates that there are over 238,000 new cases diagnosed annually and nearly 152,000 deaths worldwide.
This cancer typically occurs in women in their fifties and sixties with the median age being 63. Many women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a genetic history of ovarian cancer. Unfortunately many women don't seek help until the disease has begun to spread, but if detected at its earliest stage, the five-year survival rate is more than 93%. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often subtle and easily confused with other ailments.
Symptoms may include:  Bloating; Pelvic or abdominal pain; Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; Urinary urgency or frequency; Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation or diarrhea; Extreme fatigue, Shortness of breath; Backaches; and Weight gain.

The luncheon will be held in Meeting Room #1 of RiverView Health, 323 S. Minnesota Street, beginning at noon. Meeting Room #1 is located near the RiverView Clinic entrance on the north side of the building and across from the elevators on first floor.
The luncheon series is in its 18th 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. Pre-registration is required. A boxed lunch can be purchased for $3, but must be ordered while pre-registering for the event. Call Holly Anderson at 218-281-9745 for additional information and to pre-register.




The First Annual ‘Ride the Wind for Wendy’ will take place on Saturday, September 24.  It is a memorial ride for Wendy Reitmeier, who was on a ride with her husband Corey on September 26, 2015 when a deer jumped out of the ditch and Wendy was tragically killed.   “It’s the first annual Ride the Wind for Wendy.  Any bike is welcome, if you have two wheels come along," said event organizer Dylan Reitmeier, son of Wendy.  "If you don’t have a bike, you can certainly follow along in a car.  There will be a lot of cars following along on the ride”. 
If you can't make the event, donations are being accepted after Dylan set up a fund at Bremer Bank in Crookston.  You can mail it in or drop by Bremer Bank and make the check payable to Ride the Wind for Wendy.  "There will be two gas stops and three other stops at Fabian’s Bar in Nielsville, Lakeview Resort at Maple Lake, and Carpenters Corner. It will be about a 165 mile ride," said Dylan.  "We will start at I.C. Mugg’s in Crookston and registration starts at 10:00 a.m. and the ride leaves promptly at Noon, rain or shine.  We will also be ending at I.C. Mugg’s and they will be providing pizza for everyone afterwards”.
Dylan requests that the ride be an alcohol free run.  All donations and proceeds will go towards a headstone for Wendy’s grave site.  For more information, contact Dylan Reitmeier at or find “Ride the Wind for Wendy” on Facebook at



The 2016 Crookston High School Pirate Hall of Fame Banquet will be held on Friday, September 9 in the Crookston High School Commons.  The program will start at 5:00 PM with a meal catered by RBJ's Restaurant of Crookston with the cost of a ticket at $10.00. Tickets can be purchased at the Crookston High School office and the committee would like tickets to be purchased by September 6 so they can have a handle on the number of diners.  All monies raised from the banquet go back into the Hall of Fame committee's account to prepare for next year.

The inductees to the Pirate Hall of Fame will be:

Dave Barnum -
35 years as a science teacher while coaching cross-country and girl's track. He also coached 7th and 8th grade football for 18 years and taught class room drivers education  for a number of years. Dave was named the National Drivers Education and Traffic Safety of the Year. He was named the State Class A Girls Track Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1999. During his career the Pirate girls won four state championships in track and won 114 first place finishes.

Paul Kuznik - 
Was a two-time Minnesota State Wrestling Champ, plus a top academia who went to West Point attending the U.S. Military Academy where he wrestled and was captain his senior year and qualified for the NCAA Championships twice.  After his service in the Army, Paul has been in the medical device industry for the past 23 years.

Brent Reichert -
A 1975 graduate where he was class valedictorian. Brent earned 12 varsity letters in football, basketball (where he was All-State) and tennis where he set a state record of 102 wins and won the Region singles four straight years. Brent participated in choir, band and orchestra where he was All-State choir, highest possible ratings plus he was a Region champ in Speech finishing second at state. Brent is now a law partner with Robins Kaplan in Minneapolis.

1995 Crookston Pirates Baseball Team - 
The Pirates won the Minnesota State Class A Baseball Championship defeating Brooklyn Center 4-3 in 10 innings for the title and finished 22-5 that season.
Crookston won the Section 8A Tournament and started out with a 9-7 win over Melrose, 9-3 semi-final win over Luverne.  In the championship game, Chris Bruggeman walked and Marty Aubol courtesy ran for him. Chris Peterson sacrifice bunted Aubol to second and Aubol ended up at third base on a wild pitch. The winning run scored on a Jerrod Hann single past the second baseman to end the longest title game at that time in 49 years!
Members of the 1995 Pirates:
Marty Aubol
Mitch Bakken
Chris Bruggeman   (State All-Tournament Team)
David Clausen
Shaun Corbin
Jerrod Hann
Brock Hanson
Alfredo 'Bambi' Lopez
Erik Monteen
Travis Nicholas
Ben Parkin  (State All-Tournament Team)
Justin Paul
Chris Peterson
Garrett Rock
Bob Shimpa  (State All-Tournament Team)
Coach:  Jim Simon
Assistant Coach:  Brian Follette
Student Manager : The late Travis Brekken

Also being recognized will be the inaugural Crookston High School 'Legends Hall of Fame'.
Recognizing individuals who would qualify for entry in the Pirate Hall of Fame but distinguished themselves long before the Hall of Fame was established. The three individuals named to the Legends Hall of Fame and having their names on that plaque are:

Andrew Geer -
Class of 1925. Participated in football, basketball, baseball, track, opera, class play and glee club.

Tosten 'Toddy' Johnson -
Class of 1945.
First Pirate basketball player to score 500 points in a career and also lettered in football and track.

Willis Eide -
Class of 1939.
Although not participating in sports, Willis actively promoted them and would be asked by the teams to travel along to the games. Willis was a bench official for local basketball games, serving as timer and scorer. Willis died at the age of 29 in an automobile accident and the school has been giving a "Willis Eide Memorial Award" each spring to a local student-athlete.





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