Cheers to ice fishing and Jeers to Minnesota's worst stories of the year ice fishing   

    Name a holiday tradition that involves snow and ice. No, it's not battling wintry roads on your way to celebrate Christmas and New Year. It's ice fishing!    

    For some folks, it's their favorite past time. People actually wait all year for winter and the ice to get thick enough to drive on. They park their fancy or non-fancy ice houses in the best spots hoping to snag a big Walleye for dinner or to mount on the wall. Once the holes are drilled, the fun begins.    

    Some years are better than others. When you do bring home a bucket of fish, it's a proud moment. Everyone in the family will stand over in awe of your accomplishment and then break out the newspaper to get ready for filleting. Whether you like cajun style or original, a fish fry is one of the best ways to end the day.    

    If you haven't tried ice fishing before, give it a whirl. You never know what you will catch plus you get to spend quality time with family and friends. You might even end up becoming one of those people who look forward to winter.   Minnesota's worst stories of the year   

    Minnesota has had some great stories this year. The state also had some bad ones. Awful things happen all over the world, but it hurts the most when it's so close to home. Here are just three of the top worst stories of the year:     

    1. Clergy Sex Abuse. Not only has this been one of the top stories in Minnesota, but also right here in Crookston. It is unfortunate that news of this abuse is finally coming to light after all these years. Diocese all over the state are now publishing lists of priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors. The abuse in question occurred from the mid 1900s to the present time. Abuse attorney Jeff Anderson of St. Paul has worked hard over the past year on assisting survivors and attempting to get Minnesota diocese to release names of past accused priests. He has had a few victories in the southern part of the state and will be working on others into the new year.    

    2. Synthetic Drugs. Jim Carlson of Duluth owned the 'Last Place' head shop until July of this year. Authorities shut his business down after he was found to be selling synthetic drugs. In October, a jury convicted Carlson on 51 counts of drug charges. Synthetic drugs, commonly referred to as "incense" or "bath salts" have been difficult to regulate due to constantly changing formulas. A couple weeks ago, authorities completed a search of his home finding $750,000 cash, guns, ammunition and armor. Carlson will be sentenced in 2014, but says he will appeal.   

    3. Missing Women. Not only is it the tenth anniversary of the kidnapping and murder of Dru Sjodin, there have been many other Minnesota women missing and killed this year. Kira Steger who was last seen having dinner at the Mall of America with her husband, Jeffrey, was pulled out of the Mississippi River in May. Her husband was convicted in her death and sentenced to 27 years in prison. Danielle Jelinek of Oakdale was found in a marsh in May. Her boyfriend was indicted for third-degree murder after he supplied the cocaine that led to her death. Mandy Matula of Eden Prairie was found in a shallow grave in October. Police believe her ex-boyfriend shot her in the head before killing himself outside the police station a day later.