A compilation of five things the Times' newsroom staff would like to see happen.

A more interactive site

Crookstontimes.com is almost constantly changing, as our parent company, GateHouse Media, is always looking to make the site better and, yes, increase revenue, too. We don’t like the pop-ups any more than you do, but it’s out of our hands. A few versions of the website ago, the “Guestbook” feature morphed, for better or worse, into a forum where readers debated all kinds of issues and it sometimes got pretty heated. Times’ staff had to intervene now and then, but at least the give-and-take was at times entertaining. Well, later this week, through a vendor called Viafoura, crookstontimes.com will feature an enhanced reader commenting interface that will make it easy for readers to debate issues back and forth, and even post photos and videos. We’ll be kind of getting used to it on the fly, so bear with us, but be sure to check it out.

Sorry NBA, but NHL Finals have been more epic

Hockey fans are laughing after the Heat defeated the Spurs in seven games for the NBA title last week. The media gushed about the epic series and called it one of the best NBA Finals of all time. Maybe the NBA-biased media should pay more attention to the NHL and they would see the Stanley Cup Finals is even more epic. Game one between the Blackhawks and Bruins went three overtimes, while games two and four were also decided by overtime. The Blackhawks hold a 3-2 lead in the series and have a 14-13 edge in scoring through the five games. Game six is tonight with the Bruins facing elimination. Tune in to NBC to see some epic hockey.

Learn the facts before you fully form an opinion on something

Through constantly evolving technology and social media, the public is constantly having opinions and facts thrown in their faces about different things, whether it’s politics or films or a new law. Billboards, Facebook, advertisements and magazines are just a few examples of how the public is bombarded with new and changing information on a daily basis.  Often times, however, these opinions and facts are only half true, or are a single person’s opinion-- the problem with only seeing one side of the story is that people are led to believe something a certain way without understanding or viewing the other half. Snap judgements are made when really there is no tangible understanding of “the other side” of the story or the actual facts; snap judgements are often made without the realization of the person.  This could lead to a mass misunderstanding, or at least an ill-informed viewer. You have to think for yourself, and most of the time when receiving or digesting new information you will make a decision for yourself on your stance or how you feel about the information. However, it can be valuable and altering to see a story from different perspectives and to learn all of the facts about it, and can also help you to make a better-informed decision on how you feel instead of making a quick, mindless decision.

– Torrie Greer, intern

Do we still qualify as Minnesota Nice?

Years ago it seemed everyone knew their neighbors and their neighbor's children, pets, extended family members, etc. (You get the picture.) People would stop by for a chat if they saw you out in the yard or wave hello at the very least. You would bring over a hotdish or bars to someone that was celebrating a special occasion or grieving a loss. Your neighbor from three doors down would volunteer to help with a fix-it project you had in the works. Somehow, this old-fashioned friendliness seems to be slowly slipping away. Can you honestly say you know, really know and not just recognize, all of your neighbors? Chances are, the answer is no. Where has our "Minnesota nice" attitude gone? Aren't we supposed to be some of the friendliest, most trusting people in the country? Perhaps, this is all a sign of the times. People's lives are go, go, go. With constant news reports about acts of violence and terrorism, maybe your little part of the world doesn't seem as safe as it once was. As Mr. Fred Rogers used to sing, "Who are the people in your neighborhood?" Who are they? Bring back tradition. Make an effort toward getting to know our neighbors not out of a sense of obligation, but because you really want to share a sense of community with "the people that you meet when you're walking down the street."   

Modify your Saturday plans because it’s Gibson time

If you have plans Saturday, June 29, you might want to change them. Oh, you haven’t heard? The Twins’ brass finally called pitcher Kyle Gibson up from AAA Rochester on Sunday and he’s going to make his big league debut at Target Field on Saturday against the Kansas City Royals. Gibson, coming off Tommy John elbow surgery in 2011, is on an 130-140 inning limit this season as he gets his arm fully back into shape after the surgery and he’s been doing well in Rochester, and the Twins’ brass want to get a look at him against Major League competition before he reaches his innings peak. Twins’ starter Mike Pelfrey going on the disabled list with a back strain is providing Gibson is big chance; here’s hoping he at least approaches the level he’s been hyped by Twins’ fans.