The Times' Newsroom staff weigh in on their top five things of the week.

Compromise in St. Paul

The last time Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton had to work with a Republican-controlled Minnesota Legislature, we had to suffer through a brief government shutdown, as Dayton and the Republicans refused to work together to get anything meaningful accomplished. Dayton said the other day he fears it could happen again, now that Republicans again control both the Minnesota Senate and House. But it doesn't have to, especially not with meaningful legislation like health insurance relief, a bonding bill, and tax bill that, according to last year's numbers, would give Crookston an additional $116,000 or so in Local Government Aid. If Dayton and the Republicans approach each other with reasonable expectations and a willingness to give instead of just take, things could get done. But forgive us if we're less than hopeful that the governor and legislative leaders will work together for the benefit of Minnesotans who elected them.

Trojans and Golden Eagles...unite!

Were you a Trojan or Golden Eagle and played or coached basketball for the U of M Crookston? If so, they want you to come back to campus to celebrate history during the Alumni Basketball Weekend Friday and Saturday January 27 and 28, 2017. There will be a special pre-game social at the Evergreen Grill on Saturday and a post-game social at IC Muggs. The 2016-17 men’s and women’s basketball teams will be playing double-headers against Minnesota State University-Mankato on Friday and Concordia St. Paul on Saturday. Basketball alumni will be recognized during half time of the Saturday games. There will also be a bookstore discount during the weekend and a commemorative gift for all returning alumni ball players and coaches. Save the date and plan to fill the weekend with memories while cheering on Golden Eagle basketball!

Flying somewhere? Find great deals online, but do your homework

Shopping around for any big purchase is always a smart idea and airline flights are no exception. There are literally hundreds of websites you can search and it’s important to weed out the ones that might not do what you’re hoping for. Some people swear by a travel agent, but it’s so easy to plan your own trip online that anyone can do it. And save yourself some money in the process. While finding and choosing your preferred flight, keep in mind that some sites make you pay extra for seating arrangements. Some airlines also let you decide if you want to have an assigned seat or not. It’s all up to you. There are a handful of popular websites out there that will also do the work for you. You can punch in your travel dates and they will look through all of the airlines that are available for those dates and give you your best deal. Easy peasy lemon squeeze-y.  So next time you’re thinking of taking a trip, try booking it yourself. You might be surprised with how much money you can save. Plus, if you sign up for the airline rewards programs, you can save even more.

For Vikings fans, solace in knowing Cowboys, Jones are out

For a few hours Sunday afternoon and evening, it was excruciatingly difficult to be a fan of the Minnesota Vikings. More excruciatingly difficult than usual, even. That's because the hated Green Bay Packers were playing the despised Dallas Cowboys. Oh, the horror! You can cheer for both teams to lose, but that's an impossibility. The thinking here, though, is that the outcome for tortured Vikings fans was as good as it possibly could be, with the Packers ending the Cowboys season, in Dallas even, and advancing to the NFC Championship. Aaron Rodgers is simply so good that you have to respect him, and the whole Green Bay Packers tradition and the story of their franchise is admirable. But what really tilts the scales is Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. As a Viking fan, you simply can't cheer for Cowboys success, because you simply can't stomach more camera shots of Jones celebrating in his owner's suite. But, where were the shots of him in agony as the Packers won Sunday on a last-second field goal? Strangely absent. A conspiracy between Jones and the NFL brass, perhaps? Yes, indeed, with the uncalled Drew Pearson push-off, the Herschel Walker trade...Viking fans can celebrate a tiny bit today knowing Jones' dream season has come to a shattering end.

This week will be nice, but spring thaw is a ways off

It took a while for the winter of 2016-17 to arrive in full force, but once it finally did, it's been kind of a fierce one. It's been stormy, snowy, windy, frigid and icy for several weeks now...and it's only mid-January. That's why us Great White Northerners need to keep our wits about us later this week as temperatures are expected to flirt with 40 degrees during the day. Keep the shorts folded up in your dresser drawers. Keep the sunscreen in the closet with your other lake and summer fun supplies. It's going to feel amazing out there for a few days...but it's only January.