On the pool budget, winter's late arrival, Pirate basketball, political apologies, and the Party on the Patch...

Some clarity on pool funding
When school district voters last November answered “yes” to a ballot question relating to funding of the Crookston Community Swimming Pool for the next decade, they knew their vote was good for the future of the pool. There’s an annual operating budget deficit that is covered equally by the school district and city each year, which is a hassle, and there is overdue maintenance and repairs at the facility, and maybe some new amenities that would attract more users, too. But other than that, the $150,000 or so in revenue that will boost the pool budget starting this year, well, how it’ll be spent has been a little vague. This evening, though, school district and city leaders will sit down to discuss the pool budget, and maybe all those voters who voted “yes” will start to get some clarity.

Enough with this ‘shift’ in the weather pattern
Are we being selfish if, now that it’s almost March, after all, typically the snowiest month of the winter, we aren’t all jacked up about this “changing weather pattern” that weather experts say has the winter of 2011-12 actually resembling winter these days? Heck, we’ve had more storm systems roll through in the past couple weeks than we have had all winter, and even the “b” word, as in “blizzard” is part of the conversation as the next system bears down on the region Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s the strongest storm of the season, forecasters are saying. If this turn of events was a Facebook page, we wouldn’t like it.

Pirate basketball teams, we’re counting on you
Crookston is in desperate need of a winning team. Both Pirate boys' and girls' hockey teams made early exits from their Section 8A tournaments and Pirate wrestling was sent home after its first match. Everyone is excited for wrestlers Cody Weiland and Josh Edlund to make it to state as individuals but it's not quite the same buzz as if a team was headed down for a big tournament. Minnesota, Crookston basketball teams each failed to qualify for the NSIC Tournaments. It's up to the Pirate basketball teams to make some happen in the postseason. Both the boys or girls teams are capable of qualifying for the state tournament.

More apologies at the right time
Republican presidential candidates have criticized President Obama's apology to Afghans for what the U.S. military coalition says was the accidental burning of Qurans. By calling the burning a "mistake," not something deliberately done wrong like the retaliation riots and killings of U.S. soldiers that anti-American protesters have taken up, these guys are saying it's OK to do something wrong if you didn't intend to and no apologies are necessary. Wake-up call: A little apology, especially when it comes to diplomatic relations between nations, is not a bad thing, nor is it a sign of weakness. Rather, admitting to making a mistake, intentional or not, and saying sorry it happened demonstrates humbleness and the guts to admit you were wrong, something that all politicians and diplomats should have. And in no way does an apology for one act justify another.

Good luck getting ‘Party in the Patch’ off the ground
Williston-area truck driver Troy McKinley is going all out and planning a big bash in the Western North Dakota Oil Patch for Memorial Day weekend. With tickets $150 for guys and $20 for women, all of whom must be age 21 or older, it's pretty obvious which gender he's trying to attract most, although his goal is to have one to two women for every five guys. Despite how this looks to a lot of people, he claims it's not a sausage fest, but simply a weekend dance for single ladies from such places as Chicago and the Twin Cities to come and meet the guys making money in the oil field. Uh huh, could this be why he's having such a difficult time securing a venue to take it on? Good luck, McKinley.