Gratitude for state dollars that made levees possible

With the amazing snowpack making us feel like we're living life in a tunnel, it seems appropriate today, with the latest spring flood outlooks showing that the Red Lake River, Red River and rivers throughout Minnesota are going to get high during the melt, to give a shout-out to the Minnesota DNR and the legislature for the existence of the Flood Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the tremendous impact it has had in communities across the state. The Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday published a story stating that the program, through the DNR and legislature, has allocated more than $1 billion for flood control projects in dozens and dozens of Minnesota cities. An image with the story, a map of Minnesota, was filled with green dots, indicating completed flood control projects, as well as red dots, indicating projects in progress. It's a reminder once again that we live in a great state and when the waters rise soon, we should be thankful.

A consistent, manageable melt, with patience, too

Speaking of the imminent spring melt, while everyone is super-excited for winter to be over, it's important that we have not necessarily a snail's-pace thaw, but we don't want a super-rapid melt that has snow melting even overnight. That means Crookston's spring student-athletes, whether they're at Crookston High School or the University of Minnesota Crookston, are going to have to be extremely patient as they stare down an obviously compressed schedule once all this white stuff is finally gone. You feel bad for them because rarely do they enjoy a full and/or uninterrupted season.

Get a head start on ordering trees, shrubs and plants

Spring has to come, right? When you hear about the 2019 Tree Order forms going out, that’s a good sign spring will happen soon. West Polk Soil & Water Conservation District recently wrapped up their orders for a variety of species of trees and shrubs which included bare root deciduous trees and shrub bundles, conifer bundles, individual potted spruce, and/or need tube enclosures, stakes and matting. Interested in more color in your yard? The Redosier Dogwood or Flame Willow let the red shine through in winter. Want fruit-bearing? The Red Splendor Crabapple or American Plum do just fine. While it’s too late for the West Polk SWCD orders, there’s still plenty of time to decide what you’d like for your yard this spring and even more time to think about next year’s SWCD order.

Refs call traveling, even if the dunk is dunk-a-rific

Duke freshman Zion Williamson is an amazing athlete and basketball talent. He injured his knee earlier in the season when his shoe ripped open on the court and he slipped and fell awkwardly. He was out of action until returning for the ACC Tournament last week. Williamson's first game back was nothing less than dominant. Social media was all over it, of course, and a video collage of Williamson's exploits in the game was posted on Twitter, with highly respected and well known basketball minds drooling over it. But basketball purists had to notice the very first highlight more than anything else, when a steal led to Williamson going in alone for a thunderous dunk. A bit past the half-court line, Williamson picked up his dribble and took four steps before he launched himself toward the rim for the big finish. Four steps. Traveling was not called, because, as is usually the case, the referees decided that excitement and the glam factor outweighs one of the most basic basketball rules. Four steps. No traveling. Three steps, four steps, five steps and even more, with no traveling calls. It happens far more often than it should, and until the rule is consistently enforced, it’s tough to respect the game.

Sign up for spring swimming lessons

Before Crookston Community Pool ownership transfers from the school district to the city, they’ll thankfully have spring and summer swimming lessons available for kids. Spring swimming lessons begin soon on March 26 through April 4 for ages 3-5 and 6+, Tuesday thru Friday the first week and Monday thru Thursday the second week; a total of eight days. There are two sessions in the summer, too, for all those people who like broader time frames throughout the day. What a great time for kids to burn off some extra energy and button up their swimming skills before lake time. To sign up, visit and find the swimming lessons tab.