Inaugural ‘Champions’ to be recognized this year

    Crookston's 14th annual Night to Unite will be held on Tuesday, August 1 in Central Park from 3 to 8 p.m.  It is a night of festivities and fun for the whole community to connect and learn about law enforcement, public safety and other important community services.

    The event begins with the 4th annual Walt Keller Memorial bingo Party from 3 to 4:20 p.m.  Prizes will be given away, and transportation will be provided for seniors from Tri-Valley’s T.H.E. Bus. The bus will be picking up seniors at the Villa St. Vincent, Oak Court, and Nimens-Espegard Building "C" starting at 2:30 p.m.

    Night to Unite events begin at 4:30 and continue until 8 p.m. To start off the night of fun, there will be a “code three” escort for the National Guard, and Sgt. Kitty Barstad from the Northwest Regional Corrections Center will sing the National Anthem to open up the festivities.  Events include a parade of hot rods and other exciting vehicles, a watermelon eating contest with major prizes, a dynamic martial arts exhibition with Championship Tae Kwon Do and Cilat performing simultaneously, the Grand Forks bomb squad demonstrating with their robot, and a joint law enforcement scenario with the UND Police Department K-9 dog showing off his talents.  

    Professional comedian and magician Jeff Salveson will be returning due to his popularity last year, and the yearly events of the golf ball drop for prizes and the 1,000 gallon dunk tank with "celebrity" guests will be a part of Night to Unite once again.

    There will be many prizes this year courtesy of business and individual sponsors, including 36 new bicycle, helmet, and lock packages, along with popular electronic items, outdoor games, and a few pool parties. Prizes can be won at many of the events, and there will be an early-bird sign up for kids who come early to sign up to win a free bicycle package from 3:30-4:30 p.m.  Kids can also win a prize by running to a police officer and pointing out the "burglar" when he appears.

    Other events include face painting, a "Minute to Win It" contest set up by committee members Janessa Quanrud and Mark Ecklund, and an all-new scavenger hunt.  The Department of Homeland Security's helicopter will also be doing a few fly bys with sirens  and then landing in the park.  There will also be food vendors, including Erickson's Smokehouse from Fertile. The entire event will be filmed and photographed by Bo Brorby, the official Night to Unite videographer.  

‘Champions’ recognized

    This year is a special year for Night to Unite, as the theme of this year is "Night to Unite Champions."  Crookston Police Officer Donald Rasicot would like to update everyone on the exciting new ceremony of crowning the 2017 "Night to Unite Champions of our Community".

    “(Police) Chief (Paul) Biermaier will be announcing our elite winners selected by our committee through public nominations,” Rasicot explains. “He will then present each recipient with a plaque of honor and distinction.”

    A Night to Unite Champion is described as “a person or business that has shown through volunteerism and selfless contributions, (time, labor, services, or finances) a passion for the betterment of Crookston.”

    “Our goal is to continue to foster and promote a great working relationship between the community and its first responders and emergency services organizations,” Rasicot says.

    This year’s recipients are Lisa Loegering, Kathy Kelly, Loren "Punky" Johnson, Sharon Lanctot, Tim Denny, Margee Keller, Sarah Reese, the Crookston Daily Times, KROX Radio, Andy Oman's State Farm Insurance, and Wal-Mart.

Huge effort

    Rasicot says Night to Unite is a massive undertaking, with many people putting in a great deal of time and effort to make it happen.

    "I would like to recognize and give a shout out to the hard working 2017 Night to Unite Committee members who have made this event possible, including Marley Melbye, Connie Wilkens, Kari Brault, Linda Morgan, Mark Ecklund, Brenna Miller, Janessa Quanrud, Megan Parenteau, Monica Parenteau, Matthew Loeslie, Gina Turner, Scott Riopelle, Stacy Olson, Tara Miller, and Dan Morlan,” he says. “Every one of these individuals has volunteered hours and days of their time to make this happen. This is time taken away from their family so others can enjoy a successful event.  Thank you all.”

    Rasicot also thanks City Administrator Shannon Stassen and Biermaier, for giving him the full services of the City of Crookston and CPD to host another successful Night to Unite.