The Minneapolis man arrested on a commercial bus going through Crookston has been charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct by inducing fear or bodily harm, a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and third-degree criminal sexual conduct which carries a penalty up to 15 years in prison.  Mohamed Harir Ayanle, 22 of Minneapolis was arrested when Crookston police responded to a report of criminal sexual conduct on a Jefferson Lines bus that was traveling to Grand Forks from Minneapolis.  Police pulled the bus over at the University of Minnesota-Crookston campus and talked with the suspect. 
The victim said the man approached her when she was sitting with her daughter, and invited her to come watch a movie with him in the back of the bus when the daughter fell asleep after the stop in Bemidji. The victim thought the suspect, Ayanle, had a weapon and went with him. Once in the back seat, the victim said Ayanle forcibly removed her clothing and raped her.  Ayanle said the two had consensual intercourse.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office is assisting in the investigation.  Ayanle was released from custody on Monday on a $5,000 bond on the condition that he doesn't leave the state.  His next court appearance is January 3.





The Crookston High School Concert Band held their annual winter concert on Monday night and played six pieces and were conducted by Chris Gough.  A video of the last two songs, Brazilian Bell Carol and Children's Christmas March is below.

           Click on the video above to see the final two songs played by the band





The Crookston School Board will hold a truth in taxation hearing at 6:00 p.m. in the Crookston High School Orchestra/Choir room.  Right after the hearing they will start the regular school board meeting. 
Items on the agenda are the acceptance of an donation of $1,000 for the Crookston High School Athletic Department from Gary and Amy Haugo.  Gary is a former teacher and coach at Crookston High School and is currently the VP of University Advancement at Minnesota State Moorhead.  The other donation is $1,053.83 from Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association to fund student recognition programs.
The board will get a report from the Superintendent Chris Bates.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for January 9, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. at the Crookston High School. Choir/Orchestra room.





The Crookston City Council will meet on Monday evening and will start with a Truth in Taxation Hearing at 6:30 p.m. and will start the regular meeting at 7:00 p.m.
The consent agenda includes the approval of the payment of $378,475.96 for bills, partial payment Estimate 2 to Knife River Materials for the Crookston Airport improvements in the amount of $23,274.96.   The council will be asked to authorize the execution of a grant agreement for the funding of the Drug Task Force and approval of the Joint Powers Agreement between the State of Minnesota, acting through its Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the City of Crookston on behalf of its Prosecuting Attorney and Police Department. 
There will be a public hearing and the regular agenda of adopting the five-year capital improvement plan for years 2017-2021.  They will adopt the 2017 budget and adopt the property tax levy increase of 4 percent for taxes payable in 2017.
The meeting will wrap up with reports and staff recommendations.

After the Crookston City Council meeting, the Crookston Ways and Means Committee will meet in the City Hall conference room.
The meeting will close after the regular agenda to discuss the City Administrator Annual Performance Evaluation and to discuss Labor Negotiations.




The annual Christmas Stable Service will be held at the Horse Arena in the University Teaching and Outreach Center (UTOC) on the University of Minnesota, Crookston campus on Saturday, December 17, at 7:00 p.m., and on Sunday, December 18 at 2:00 p.m. Featured will be live animals, music and the Christmas Story, presented around the theme of “A Time For Renewal.” There is no admission charge, but a freewill offering is accepted at the door.
The event is sponsored by the Crookston Community Wandering Vine Ministry, the University of Minnesota, Crookston Campus Ministry, and Trinity Lutheran Church of Crookston, with other churches and organizations participating. Audience members have the opportunity to experience the Christmas story as the angel descends from the rafters, Mary rides to Bethlehem on a donkey, and the Three Kings follow the star on horseback.  For more information, contact George French at 218-281-8266, or by email at

                  Mary and Joseph arrive at the stable                                    The cast celebrates the arrival of the Christ child






Law Enforcement in Crookston responded to the report of a man with a knife on a commercial bus at 2200 University Avenue in Crookston (in front of the strip malls).  The suspect, Mohamed Harir Ayanle, 22 of Minneapolis, was located on the bus and taken into custody.  No knife was located.  The suspect, Ayanle, has been charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct, first degree penetration or contact under 13 and armed with a dangerous weapon. Ayanle makes his court appearance on Monday, December 12.



On December 9, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a Domestic Assault in rural Warren.  The female reported that she had been held against her will and assaulted for approximately 11 hours.  The female was transported to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, North Dakota with non-life threatening injuries.
The suspect, Michael John Slusar, 37 of Warren, was located, arrested and booked into Tri-County Corrections in Crookston.   No further information is being released until the suspect makes his first court appearance on Monday, December 12, as this is an ongoing investigation.
Assisting agencies were the Minnesota State Patrol, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, US Border Patrol, and Warren Ambulance.





The 2017 Ox Cart Days Committee has been busy working feverishly to plan the big five day festival on the third week of August of 2017.  To help raise money to help pay for some of the entertainment, the committee is selling admission buttons for $5.  The buttons will get you into most of the activities planned throughout the festival. “It is a super stocking stuffer idea and that will get you into most of the five days of events that we have planned,” said Ox Cart Committee Chair, Nell DeBoer. “I know it is early, but we have bills coming in January that we need to secure some funding for, entertainment mostly, so we want to get an early start because we don’t have a lot of money in the budget now.”
Buttons are currently available at two Crookston businesses.  “They are currently available at Montague’s Flower Shop and Erickson Embroidery,” said DeBoer. “Committee members are selling buttons, but please stop by the two businesses and buy them there.” 
The 2017 Ox Cart Days Committee will meet on Tuesday at the Valley Technology Park at 4:30 p.m. and if anybody is looking to help, or has any ideas, you are invited to the meeting. “The meetings last about an hour and people can also go to our Facebook page and contact us there,” said DeBoer. “We respond to our messages all the time. “
A brand new website will be unveiled soon with the schedule of events and all the festival information.  “We will have a website up and running on January 1,” said DeBoer. “We will have the schedule and more on the website.”

The committee has been asked if they would take end of the year donations and they will be happy to accept any donations made.  You can checks to Crookston Ox Carts Days, PO Box 674, Crookston, MN  56716.

Stefanie Paverud holds the jar of buttons at Montague's Flower Shop, you can also get them at Erickson Embroidery





On Thursday night, you might have seen what seemed to be lights shining up to the clouds around the area.   It is a phenomena called light pillars and they are created by the reflection of light from ice crystals. The light can come from sources such as streetlights. Light pillars are typically seen in polar regions.
Light pillars appear when artificial light or natural light bounces off the facets of flat ice crystals wafting relatively close to the ground. When the light source is close to the ground, the light pillar appears above the floating crystals. When the light comes from the sun or moon, the light pillar can appear beneath them, too, as the light refracts through the crystals.

Light pillars over Crookston on Thursday night taken from Highway 2





The City of Crookston received anywhere from 15 to 17 inches of snow the last three days and residents have been busy shoveling and clearing snow from their sidewalks and driveways. The Crookston Public Works Department reminds residents of snow removal ordinances and urges people to help their neighbors.

Shovel Your Sidewalk Promptly
Keep a critical part of Crookston’s transportation system moving. City ordinance requires that snow and ice be removed from sidewalks within forty-eight (48) hours AFTER snowfall CEASES. If snow and ice are not removed as provided, it may be removed by authorized City personnel and the costs for snow removal, along with an administration fee, will be assessed against the property.

Help Your Neighbors
Help your elderly neighbors and neighbors with disabilities with snow and ice removal. Clear snow build-up at corners and around fire hydrants. When you go out of town, arrange for moving your vehicles during snowfalls and shoveling your public walk.

Rental Property Owners and Tenants
If you own rental property, please take appropriate measures to ensure snow and ice are being cleared from the sidewalk by assigning a resident manager or retaining a snow removal contractor. If you are a tenant, please check with the property owner to assure proper snow removal arrangements have been made.
Please remember that it is against City Ordinance to deposit snow or ice from private property or vacant lots onto the streets or other public property.
If you have questions concerning the snow and ice removal ordinance, contact the Public Works Department at 281-1232.





The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds the public that it is unlawful to deposit snow on or next to a public highway or street.   “Improperly placing snow on or near a public road creates hazards including drainage problems, drifting, sight obstruction and unsafe access,” said Curt Larson, maintenance superintendent. “Keep crosswalks, intersections, entrances and exits clean and unobstructed.”
Minnesota law and many local ordinances prohibit the plowing, blowing, shoveling or otherwise placing of snow on to public roads. This includes the ditch and right of way area along the roads.
Violations are considered misdemeanors, but civil penalties also apply if the placement of snow creates a hazard, such as a slippery area, frozen rut or bump, that contributes to a motor vehicle or pedestrian crash. The civil liability can extend to both the property owner and the person who placed the snow.
MnDOT maintenance crews plow and maintain about 12,000 miles of state highways and interstates in Minnesota. District 2 crews are responsible for about 3,900 lane miles.




(Re-run of an earlier article)
The Crookston Fire Department wants to remind all building owners and property managers to keep exit doors and fire escapes clear of ice and snow accumulations this winter.
As the inevitable winter weather is soon to be upon us, we are reminding building owners to be aware of the conditions and the problems snow and ice can cause, this requires greater vigilance to insure that these critical secondary paths are available for escape or rescue in an emergency.
Schools, apartments, restaurants, nightclubs and other buildings often have secondary exits that may become blocked by ice or snow during the winter months. Building owners are responsible to maintain required exits, and to clear ice and snow or other obstructions as quickly as possible.
Safe, useable exits are fundamental to maintaining a reasonable level of fire safety in all buildings.
During this time of year, Code Enforcement officers frequently find emergency exit doors frozen shut.
Building owners are requested to provide a high level of scrutiny of their exits during this winter period, and throughout the year.      
Removal of snow and ice from pathways, sidewalks and driveways also allows paramedics to move the ambulance cot quickly to and from emergency medical calls.





The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recently named RiverView Health a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace for its contributions to the health of mothers and their babies.
MDH recognizes workplaces and county health departments that have demonstrated their commitment to supporting breastfeeding mothers by creating a workplace lactation support program.
RiverView’s work to become a breastfeeding friendly workplace was spearheaded by Speech Language Pathologist Ashley Cameron, who is also a certified lactation counselor. Cameron is a member of the RiverView Health Breastfeeding Committee and the Polk County Lactation Coalition.
Criteria for the Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace recognition includes adopting a written policy and educating staff about it; ensuring adequate break time for breastfeeding employees; providing a clean, private place to pump breast milk; and demonstrating a strong commitment to supporting breastfeeding in the workplace. RiverView has provided a designated employee lactation room for several years on the Second Floor. In 2013 the RiverView Auxiliary awarded a grant to make esthetic improvements to the room. “RiverView Health supports employees to meet their breastfeeding goals,’’ shared Cameron. “I am proud to work for an organization that promotes breastfeeding for the well-being of moms and babies.”
Breastfeeding is a foundational way to ensure that babies receive optimal nutrition during the first formative years of life. Studies show that infants who are breastfed have better health outcomes as they grow. MDH recognizes organizations that have taken a leadership role to improve breastfeeding rates and meet Healthy 2020 goals.
The designation acknowledges RiverView’s commitment to acting as a model for the community by supporting healthy families and receiving the business benefits of supporting nursing mothers.

Ashley Cameron is pictured in RiverView’s employee lactation room with the certificate naming RiverView a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace.





What’s the connection between a horse, a trumpet, and a flute? At the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC), it’s Senior Hannah Van Dyke, and all three have played a central role in her academic career. 
Van Dyke grew up on a farm near Edgerton, Minn., and playing both the trumpet and flute were a part of growing up in a family with musical talent. It seems natural too that Van Dyke would major in equine science since she owned a horse of her own in seventh grade. Adding a second major in animal science encompassed her interest in cattle and allowed her to broaden her opportunities for future employment in the two areas she loves most.
Following in her sister Vayla’s footsteps, Van Dyke decided to attend UMC. “I was a freshman when my sister was a senior on campus and she has always been my inspiration,” Van Dyke says. “Vayla majored in natural resources and works for the National Forest Service now, and I will complete my undergraduate career when I graduate in May 2017.” 
She dreams of going west where her experience with both cattle and horses could help her land a job that combines the two working on a ranch. But, graduate school isn’t out of the question either. She enjoys her feeds and feeding class with Assistant Professor Leslie Lekatz so much that she is considering the study of animal nutrition in a graduate program. 
To say Van Dyke enjoys riding is something of an understatement. From her own mare “Peppy” to her gelding “Dief” to competing on the Golden Eagles Western Equestrian team, horses are the focus of much of her time. But, music comes in a close second.
Van Dyke plays flute in the concert band and trumpet in the jazz and pep bands on campus. She works for TJ Chapman, a lecturer in the Math, Science, and Technology Department and director of bands, as the music librarian preparing folders and refiling music. And, the addition of a music minor rounds out Van Dyke’s academic pursuits as a UMC student.  
She also is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, the Honors Program, and active in Campus Crusade for Christ, serving as the organization’s president. 
“There are students faculty members remember long after they leave campus.  Hannah Van Dyke will be one of those students for me,” says Professor Lyle Westrom, who teaches in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department.  “Impeccable character is the way I would describe Hannah.  She quietly goes about her classes and activities around campus with little fanfare.  Yet, most everyone looks to her with the utmost respect. 
“Having Hannah in class has been a real joy for me,” Westrom continues. “But when I look at her activities beyond the classroom and the passion she exudes for those activities, I realize she is a well-rounded student who has fully capitalized on college life.  She will leave a legacy as a truly important member of the U of M Crookston family.”
Van Dyke credits her family as having the greatest influence on her life. Growing up on a farm and working closely with cattle and horses definitely influenced her choice of majors. “Every year that I have been on campus, the classes and professors I have affirmed my college decision,” Van Dyke says. “The size of this campus is a good fit for me and my experience here is confirmation that I made the right choice.”






Crookston is fortunate to have a group of people put together and distribute Christmas care food baskets during the holiday season.  Holiday Food Baskets were handed out to 225 families, serving 775 individuals last year and they hope to reach that many people again this year.  Holiday Food Baskets will be shared with families/individuals in our community who are finding it hard to make ends meet during the holidays.
Monetary gifts are always needed and can be dropped off at Trinity Lutheran Church’s office or mailed to Crookston Holiday Food Baskets – P.O. Box 598, Crookston, MN  56716.
If you know of someone who needs a basket, or if you need one for yourself please contact the Trinity Lutheran Church office at 281-4276.  Names will be taken through December 9.
This annual outreach ministry wouldn’t be possible without the help of many volunteers.  The work goes so much faster with more people and anybody interested in helping is invited to come to the Crookston National Guard Armory at 1801 University Avenue on Friday, December 16 at 6:30 p.m. to help pack the boxes.  Volunteers are also needed to distribute the boxes from the Armory on Saturday morning December 17 starting at 8:30 a.m.
If you are able to help on Thursday, December 15, they are looking for people to help sort all the food items and get it ready for Friday’s packing.  They would start around Noon to 1:00 p.m.
Crookston Community Christmas basket organizers  are Chuck Larson, Ray and Terri Dusek, Greg and Marlen Leblanc, Allan Dragseth, Paul Dwyer, Pete and Ann Graham, Bill and Kim Gillette, and Jerry and Jackie Lindsay.




Phil Olson, a retired barber and a Veteran, stopped by the KROX studios on Wednesday to show us a Grand Forks Herald front page from December 7, 1941.  He said it the paper was his fathers.  You can see pictures below-

Phil Olson holds the paper from December 7, 1941 and a picture of the paper that Phil brought in for us to see




The Tri-Valley Foster Grandparents celebrated a year of volunteering at their Christmas Party on Friday, December 2. The event was held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston.  The event was kicked off with a game called “What’s Your Elf Name”. That was followed by entertainment from the kindergarten through fourth graders from Our Savior’s Lutheran School. The children got everyone in the holiday spirit by singing Christmas songs. Prior to brunch, bingo was played which is always a big hit.
The Foster Grandparents enjoyed a brunch of egg bake and muffins. Following brunch, the group joined together and sang some of their favorite Christmas carols.  The event was enjoyed by all of the Foster Grandparents!

Our Savior’s children sing Christmas carols for the Foster Grandparents




Happy Joe’s understands the importance of local, exceptional service; that’s why the Crookston location has once again made a contribution to the RiverView Health Foundation.  “We (Happy Joe’s) support RiverView Health because of all of the good things it does for the community and its patients,’’ said Happy Joe’s Head Coach Bobbie Goulet. “RiverView goes above and beyond in its care and does a great job.’’
Happy Joe’s has been a “Friends for Life’’ supporter since 2006, according to Foundation Director Kent Bruun.  “Happy Joe’s is committed to supporting the most critical needs of the organization,’’ he stated. “They are dedicated stakeholders and understand the importance of strong healthcare for their employees, their patrons, and the communities they serve.’’
For more information on the Friends for Life program or any other program through the RiverView Health Foundation, contact Bruun at 218-281-9249 or e-mail him at

Pictured above, left to right: RiverView Health Speech Language Pathologist Erin Jore, Happy Joe’s Assistant Coach Brook Panzer, Happy Joe’s Head Coach Bobbie Goulet, and RiverView Foundation Director Kent Bruun.




The County Line
By Warren Strandell
Polk County Commissioner, Dist. 2

The 2016 election is over. All of the ballots have been counted. Whether you like the outcomes or not, the canvassing is now complete. There really wasn’t any chance for a change and/or correction in the county numbers. Not when Michelle Cote and her staff at the Polk County Taxpayer Service Center are conducting it. As director of property records, Cote is the county’s election administrator. She and the about 20 county office employees in the department make every effort possible to conduct elections to comply with every letter of the letter of the law.
Not many of us have any real idea of all that is involved in conducting an election. The process begins in April with the publication of notices that announce the offices that are up for election and filing process for persons who want to be candidates for those offices.
The two-week filing period is then conducted in May after which the Primary Election ballot must be developed and proofed a number of times before finally approved. With school districts, whose boundaries do not correspond with the borders of townships, and with the townships themselves, the different soil & water conservation districts, the cities that have their elections in conjunction with the primary and general elections, judges, etc., some 122 different ballots have to be developed.  

82 precincts                                         
There are 82 precincts in the county. Election officials must be trained for almost all of them. Regardless of past experience, judges must be re-trained on a two-year cycle. Some 400 judges are needed to comply with law. Online training was used for the first time in 2016, which helped the process.
Then, there are requirements involving absentee ballots and mail ballots that have to be prepared and mailed. Mail Balloting is done in 42 of the 82 precincts. For each election approximately 12,000 envelopes are used in addition to the ballot, instructions and the most important I VOTED sticker. 
Absentee and mail ballot voters can begin to cast their ballots 46 days before the election date. These ballots must, of course go through the ballot board process in addition to being safe-guarded before they are fed into the electronic counting machine. The results of this voting are not tabulated until election night. Absentee, now synonymous with “early voting,” can be done in the Government Center. This can result in heavy traffic at the front desk of the Taxpayer Service Center, especially on the final days preceding an election.

Machines have to be prepared
The election machines, which include the M100 tabulator and the Automark voter assistive device must, of course, be prepared. Each must be tested to not only read and tabulate the votes for all of the different races but to also upload them to the Office of the Secretary of State. After testing these machines are distributed to the 40 precincts that have polling places. In addition, they must be secured at all times. 
Much of the election preparation is done after regular hours by Taxpayer Service Center staff. To do this, they go on overtime after 4:30 p.m. and, according to Cote, are worth every dollar that is spent to pay them. “They know what needs to be done and how to do it. They are extremely efficient and save the county a lot of money over having to hire and train people from the outside. Without them it would not be possible for me to do what I need to do. Their level of dedication is invaluable,” she says.

40 polling places
On Election Day the three counting centers located in East Grand Forks, Crookston and McIntosh are manned by members of the Election Team.  They are available to each of the 40 polling places that are operating.  Should a precinct have difficulty with an election machine someone is on the road to help them immediately.  Most polling places open at 7 a.m. and even though actual voting ceases at 8 p.m. that is when the counting and reconciliation begins.  Upon completion, equipment is returned to the counting centers where the results are uploaded to the Office of the Secretary of State.    
And that was just for the Primary Election. The process must be repeated — with usually a much higher number of voters — for the General Election. Now, a month after all was counted, there is still more to do.  Voting history must be given for each voter, new voter information entered into the State Voter Registration System, machines prepared for storage, and election materials made secure for retention.  As of last week, that process was only about 50 percent done.

Some other numbers
Beyond the results that everyone was wanted to know on Election Night, there are some of the other numbers of interest. Such as:
• Of the 16,516 citizens who voted in the General Election, 2,080 were Election Day registrants (EDR). The 16,516 total voters set the record for most voters and topped the previous high mark of 16,025 was set in the 2012 General. The 2,080 EDR, however, were second to the 2,596 who registered for the General on Election Day 2012.
• Those who voted “absentee” or by “mail ballot” in 2016 numbered 4,255. That number topped the 2,549 who voted absent or mail ballot in the 2014 General Election.
• The percent of turnout in the 2016 General was 90.59%, a very high mark for most areas of the country but still second to the 92.82% who voted in the 2012 General.
• Mail balloting is available to non-metro townships of any size and to cities with less than 400 registered voters. Besides usually resulting in greater participation in the election process, advantages to precincts that use mail voting are that they do not have pay to train poll judges or staff a polling place on the election day. The cost of mailing of the ballots amounts to less than $2 per ballot.

Thoughts for the day:
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. — Plato
Why pay money or spend your time tracing your family tree; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.
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.





To the Editor

December 7, 1941 – the attack on Pearl Harbor was a day that has remained in infamy.  Very few service members who personally remember that day are still among us.  The American Legion Auxiliary encourages everyone to do what they can to keep Pearl Harbor a part of our national consciousness.

Many brave service members were asleep or about their morning routines when the Japanese bombers delivered a blow that would decide America’s involvement in World War II.  More than 2400 service members died during the attack.

I invite you along with the members of the American Legion Auxiliary Nels T Wold Unit 20 to take a moment to remember the men and women who lost their lives that fateful day.

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 of $3.1 billion.  As part of the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization, Auxiliary 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 Auxiliary’s mission or to volunteer, donate or join, visit

Sharon Lanctot
Nels T Wold Unit 20





The Crookston Park Board held a Strategic Plan prioritizing meeting on Tuesday.  The goal of the session was to finalize their strategic plan so it could be presented to the Crookston Ways and Means committee next week. 
Scott Riopelle, Crookston Park and Rec Director, reviewed the draft plan.  The Park Board decided to remove items (such as equipment) which naturally fall under the annually budgeted Capital Improvement Plan, and list only the remaining facilities and amenities without prioritizing them.  "Priorities naturally tend to change, depending on grant monies available," said Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen.
The Strategic Plan Draft addresses a number of facilities and amenities throughout the area, including a variety of walking and bike paths, nature trails, fishing pier, disc golf, pickle ball courts, basketball and volleyball courts, playground upgrades and equipment upgrades.





On Thursday, December 8, RiverView Health in Crookston is offering a free CPR program specifically geared for the general public. This two and one-half hour course contains basic information about what to do in life-threatening situations, and is designed for all ages to participate. The skills that will be taught in the program are those that can be used to save the life of a loved one, a friend or neighbor. The courses are being made available to the public at no charge, thanks to grant funds made available by the Crookston American Legion Post 20. 
Also on Thursday, RiverView Health in Crookston is hosting a HeartSaver CPR Course as a part of its American Heart Association (AHA) Community Training Center. The course is being held at 6 PM in Meeting Room 4 at RiverView. The program is required for day care providers and others needing certification. The course includes the Heartsaver card and book for $45.
The classes are a part of RiverView’s American Heart Association (AHA) Community Training Center offerings.  The class will be held on Thursday from 6 to 9 PM in Meeting Room 4 at RiverView.  No test or card is issued and participants will receive the Family and Friends CPR book.
Contracted Community Training Centers (CTCs) and their affiliated sites are the only facilities permitted to offer AHA courses to the public and professionals through their affiliated instructors and programs. To register or for more information on this class or other courses offered through the CTC, contact RiverView Education at 218-281-9405 or 1-800-743-6551, extension 9405.  See our web site:
The American Heart Association strongly promotes knowledge and proficiency in all AHA courses and has developed instructional materials for this purpose. Use of these materials in an educational course does not represent course sponsorship by the AHA. Any fees charged for such a course, except for a portion of fees needed for AHA course materials, do not represent income to the AHA.





Although the cost of childcare garners most of the attention from the media, did you know that there is a severe lack of licensed childcare providers in Northwestern Minnesota? This lack of childcare puts extreme stress on families, potential employees, employers, and our communities in general.

So what are the numbers? Northwestern Minnesota has a licensed childcare capacity of 7,116 with a 2,623 shortfall with a critical shortage in infant care. A 37% growth in capacity is needed to fill the shortfall. A major cause of this shortfall is that the numbers and capacity of family providers has dropped by more than 25% since 2006. (MN Dept. of Human Services; U.S. Census Bureau).
Quality childcare ranked third in “Community Needs” on the 2016 Tri-Valley Community Needs Assessment Survey. The survey collects data from Tri-Valley’s primary service area of west Marshall, west Polk, and Norman counties. In Crookston alone, there are 266 children aged birth to three years old. Unfortunately, there are only 116 licensed spaces for that age group. That leaves 150 children birth to three years at home with a parent or with an unlicensed childcare provider such as a family member or a friend.
Continued discussion is needed now more than ever to start looking for possible solutions to this potential crisis. If you would like to join the childcare conversation, have questions about childcare in our communities, or would like more information on becoming a licensed childcare provider, please contact Maureen Hams (Tri-Valley Community Assistance Program Director) at 1-800-543-7382.






Crookston is one of 853 cities in the state of Minnesota that operate as a home rule charter city.  Home rule charter gives Crookston and the other 106 cities the power to make changes to fit their own needs by amending its charter.  In this way, changes can occur locally, rather than waiting for the Legislature to pass a new law.  "It gives us flexibility," said Mayor Gary Willhite.  "The last major change Crookston made to our charter was when we reduced our number of wards from eight to six."
Crookston's Charter Commission meets once a year and they met on Monday evening to review any proposed changes for the commission to consider in 2017.  City Administrator Shannon Stassen said there weren't any changes submitted and no changes were recommended by city administration.
Six of the 12 commission members have terms that expire this year with Bob Cameron and Ray Ecklund using all their eligibility and two new members will have to be appointed to the commission.




UPDATED - Monday at 7:00 PM

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Northwest Minnesota, including Crookston and the area in effect from 6:00 p.m. Monday to Noon on Tuesday, then a Blizzard warning is in effect from Noon to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday. 
Expect a wintery mix to develop around 6:00 p.m. and then diminish around 6:00 p.m. Tuesday.
The National Weather Service in Grand Forks has forecast light snow on early Monday evening with accumulation up to an inch. Late Monday evening they are forecasting 6 to 8 inches of snow with Northwest winds around 30 mph. 
On Tuesday the forecast calls for 3 to 5 inches of snow and Northwest winds gusting up to 40 mph.
On Tuesday night, 1 to 3 inches of snow is possible for a TOTAL of 11 to 14 inches of snow is possible in the next 24 hours.
Plan for difficult driving conditions Monday night into Tuesday and keep your radio tuned to KROX (1260AM or 105.7FM) for further updates.




The Polk County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the Polk County Highway Department is asking residents and the driving public to be mindful of the changing weather conditions for our area beginning this evening (Monday, December 5).  This is the first significant winter weather event of the year and they are asking everyone to plan accordingly. 
Along with heavy snow beginning Monday night and continuing into Tuesday strong winds are expected to develop Tuesday morning which would significantly reduce visibility, creating difficult traveling conditions. 
Sheriff Barb Erdman and Polk County Highway Engineer Richard Sanders are advising everyone to be prepared to adjust their travel plans based on the emerging weather conditions.  As always before traveling, check driving conditions at and always carry a winter survival kit in your vehicle.




Whether it was the election or sad and depressing news in general, the box office felt the effects of people looking for an escape in a good way as it posted an 8 percent increase between November 4 and November 27. The box office made $900 million during that period alone this year compared to $832 million during the same period last year, according to the website which measures media data.
How did Crookston and the Grand Theatre do in November? “We had a really good month of November,” Crookston Theatre General Manager Brian Moore said. “We saw a 10 percent increase in our business.
Moore also mentioned how he thinks people used the theatre as an escape during a crazy election season and negative news cycle. “People come in to just relax,” Moore stated. “They like to get away and see something. Science fiction movies do well, but true stories usually do the best.”
The Grand Theatre in Crookston is currently playing the animated movie “Moana”, which hauled in $81 million over the Thanksgiving weekend and “The Arrival”. With Christmas coming up, keep an eye out for holiday movies at the Grand Theatre as well! “A big thing coming up is the new Star Wars: Rogue One coming into theaters and then we have our free Holiday movie on December 10. There will be Santa Claus and prizes and it will be a good time.”





Crookston Toys for Tots is back for another year this holiday season.  Toys for Tots is a charity sponsored by the employees of the City of Crookston for needy children in the City of Crookston. Donations can be sent to 124 North Broadway, Crookston, MN 56716 or brought to the Water Department during business hours at 124 North Broadway. Cash donations are greatly appreciated and preferred which allow the volunteers to purchase age and gender specific gifts for each child. Books, toy and gift wrap donations have also been received.

Donations through – December 5, 2016
In memory of Don & Clarice Anderson   $ 5.00
John & Jan Vallager                                 $100.00
Crookston Masonic Lodge                       $ 50.00
Wendell & Penny Johnson                        $ 50.00
Crookston Classic Cruisers                      $100.00
D & D Myerchin                                       $ 25.00
American Crystal Sugar Co.                     $250.00
Fraternal Order of Eagles                         $200.00
Richard Heldstab                                       $ 25.00
Bill & Gloria Watro                                   $ 25.00
Kathy & Robert Altringer                        $100.00

Total this deposit                                      $930.00
Grand Total                                              $2305.00
Goal                                                           $5,000.00






The Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce held their 75th annual celebration and awards night at the Crookston National Guard Armory.  The theme for the night was an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party.  Raymond Frydenlund was the emcee and Chamber CEO Amanda Lien addressed the crowd.
Several awards were handed out by the Crookston Chamber Board President Andy Oman at the celebration -

Large Business of the year – The University of Minnesota Crookston
Small Business of the year – Rejuv Salon and Spa
Entrepreneur of the year – Wonderful Life Foods
Volunteers of the year – Dan and Christine Erdman
Partners in Education Award – Denise Oliver

UMC Chancellor Dr. Fred Wood accepted the large business award for UMC and said, “We are really honored.  The 300 faculty and staff and 1800 students we serve it is nice to be recognized and there is nothing better than being recognized by the Crookston community because we love the connection we have and we are glad to be a part of it.”

Patti Lien accepted the
small business of the year award for her business, Rejuv Salon and Spa and said, “It is quite an honor to be recognized and I certainly don’t do it alone and there are a whole lot of other people to thank.  I would like to thank the staff, family that has made what we are doing possible, people in business know it is no small feat to be in business.  It is nice to be recognized.

Wonderful Life Foods co-owners Erin Brule and Shawn Rezac accepted the Entrepreneur of the year award as they get close to wrapping up their first year of business. “It has been a great year for us. I am doing most of the baking, but Shawn can frost cupcakes with the best of them said Brule.  Rezac said they are coming up on their first complete year of business. “It will be a year on December 11.  This is a great award and we appreciate everybody’s support, opening a new business is always scary, especially with a niche market that we have and we just want to thank the community for embracing what we are doing and the support that everybody has given us and we look forward to an even more successful 2017.”

Dan and Christine Erdman accepted the volunteers of the year award and were honored according to Christine. “We are very fortunate, we were born and raised in Crookston and think it is important to give back to the community.  Dan does volunteer work through the chamber and churches and things like that.  I am fortunate to work on the ambassador group and work with the Crookston Crocs and Wellness group, which is a little bit of a passion of mine, getting to work with kids and see them grow…so getting rewarded for a passion is a win-win.”

Denice Oliver (pictured in the middle), Washington School Principal, ECFE and Community Education coordinator accepted the Partners In Education (PIE) Award and was honored.  “I am very humbled to receive this award.  I believe it takes a village to educate a child.  I couldn’t do what I do successfully without all the hard work of every single person around me so I feel honored and feel like it is in award for all educators who show up every day and make a difference in a child’s life. I appreciate the chamber awarding this to me and thank you to all the educators.”




The Crookston High School Choral and Orchestral departments hosted the 17th Annual Classic Noel dinner and concert at the Crookston High School commons and auditorium on Sunday evening.  The orchestra was conducted by Haley Ellis and the choir was conducted by Belinda Fjeld and they were accompanied by Corene Everett.  The lights and sound were by Steve Krueger.
The concert choir performed Angels We Have Heard On High, No Golden Carriage No Bright Toy and Good King Wenceslas.  The pop choir performed Winter Wonderland.  The concert orchestra performed Dance of the Toy Flutes (from the Nutcracker), Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree Medley and Siberian Sleigh Ride.   For the grand finale, the concert choir and orchestra performed Ding Dong Merrily On High and Peace Peace.
To see the video of the combined concert choir and orchestra click below. 
The Crookston High School Band concert will be Monday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Click on the video above to watch the Crookston High School Concert Choir and Orchestra perform




A check for more than $17,000 was recently presented to the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) by the UMC Teambackers to support student-athlete scholarships. The donation was the result of funds raised during two golf tournaments—the Mark Olsonawski Golf Tournament and the UMC Teambackers Golf Classic—and the Justin Knebel Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament. 
The funds from the ice fishing tournament held in February 2016 allowed the Justin Knebel Memorial Scholarship to reach the $25,000, the amount necessary to endow a scholarship and making it possible for the fund to begin awarding scholarships to student athletes.   “Endowing a scholarship means a legacy has been created in memory of Justin Knebel, a talented basketball player who gave his all on the court and in the classroom,” says Derek Martin, associate development officer at UMC. “We are grateful to those who helped make the ice fishing tournament possible and who helped make this dream of a scholarship in Justin’s name a reality.”
The next Justin Knebel Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament is scheduled for February 4, 2017, at Zippel Bay Resort in Williams, Minn. Upcoming golf tournaments include the Mark Olsonawski Golf Tournament on June 22, 2017, at Two Rivers Golf Course in Hallock, and the UMC Teambackers Golf Classic on July 14, 2017, at Minakwa Golf Course in Crookston.

Justin Knebel, who played basketball for the UMC Golden Eagles, grew up in Warroad, Minn., graduating from Warroad High School in 2001. A talented athlete, he lettered in basketball, cross country, and track. After graduation, he attended UMC where he played basketball as a point guard for the Golden Eagles.  Besides his passion for playing basketball, Knebel loved the Warroad area and outdoor sports in Minnesota, making the ice fishing tournament an apt tribute to the memory of this outstanding student-athlete. For more information on the tournament, visit
UMC Teambackers Club is an athletic promotion and fundraising organization for UMC. It operates in conjunction with the development office, athletic department, and the University of Minnesota Foundation. UMC Teambackers, established in 1993, has helped support athletic scholarships for student athletes in 11 sports on the Crookston campus. Learn more about Teambackers by visiting and follow UMC Teambackers on Facebook for updates and news on upcoming events.

Kamille Wahlin, assistant athletic director; Annette Thompson, vice president of Teambackers Derek Martin, associate development officer, Adam Mauska, treasurer of Teambackers; Stephanie Helgeson, director of athletics; and Brandy Chaffee, chief development officer. 






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