The Times' Newsroom staff weigh in on their top five things

Get your flu shot

Flu shot clinics are popping up around the region and, with the upcoming weather change, it’s the perfect time to get vaccinations to help reduce the spread of influenza. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza vaccinations are recommended for people ages six months and older and to protect against the virus and its related complications. Millions of people get the flu every year and thousands of people are hospitalized, plus thousands die from flu-related causes every year. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect yourself and others against the flu, so consider bringing the entire family for a quick shot so you can get on with the season hopefully without worry.

More kids and seniors getting free produce

The Power of Produce Club program will run in conjunction with the Crookston Farmers Market and Crookston’s Marketplace for just two more weeks Thursdays at the Downtown Square from 4-7 p.m. for kids ages 0-18 and seniors ages 65+ to get FREE produce from local farmers. The 2018 market season has proved to be a stupendous success with hundreds of children benefiting from the PoP Club produce vouchers and seniors can get in on the action now, too. This week’s Marketplace theme is Star Spangled Freedom Night in partnership with Beyond the Yellow Ribbon of Crookston, VFW Auxiliary, and American Legion Auxiliary with freedom-focused games and activities. Next week’s theme and season-ender is the annual Cornstalk Jamboree with soup served, local produce and more details coming soon. Get out to the Square and enjoy the end of what has been a fun season.

Less stress for Minnesota Medicare recipients forced to change plans

Around 320,000 Minnesota seniors with Medicare Cost plans are stressed to the max because a new federal law is eliminating the coverage, meaning they have to scramble to find new plans. The affected people are now receiving information from the government and marketing materials and other advertising from insurance companies who want their business. But many are bemoaning the lack of critical, timely information, which should surprise no one. Medicare Cost plans seem to work, and most seniors who have it don't know why the plans are going away. But a technicality involving the way insurance companies are paid by the government is resulting in "Cost" plans going away in favor of "Advantage" plans.  That's of no comfort to seniors who have to find new Medicare plans. This all seems avoidable.

Serious consideration for Carlson’s future with the Vikings

It's difficult to envision a scenario in which the Minnesota Vikings brass doesn't bring in a couple kickers this week for tryouts. Veteran Dan Bailey, deemed too expensive and cut by the Dallas Cowboys prior to the regular season, would seem like a logical choice. Vikings rookie Daniel Carlson may have a big leg and a reputation as a clutch college kicker for Auburn, but it obviously hasn't transferred to the beginning of his pro career, and it cost the Vikings a victory in Green Bay over the Packers on Sunday. Head Coach Mike Zimmer typically lacks patience for such inconsistency from his kickers, and it's clear Carlson is a mess right now. Hopes for a memorable season are too high for the Vikings to throw it away on a rookie kicker who's already crumbling under the pressure.

Know that your vote matters, this election and every election

The 2018 Midterm elections are coming up fast and theres no doubt you haven’t seen campaign ads and signs around town and in the media. No matter where you land on the political spectrum, the sociopolitical climate since the 2016 general election has been nothing short of chaotic. Even though voting pressures and biases are running high this season, you should still take time to go out to the polls and vote. We’re not going to be able to vote for a new president, but we can vote for our congressional representatives, new governors in 36 states, and many open judges seats. These positions have a lot of influence and power. Thats why voting in these midterm elections is important, especially if you don’t agree with whats currently going on politically. There’s much at stake this year, for both Democrats and Republicans. Don’t try to talk yourself out of voting or assume your vote won’t matter, it really does.

                                                                      – Anna Huck, student writer