Enjoy the Polk County Fair in Fertile this week

Summer is flying by and it’s already time for the Polk County Fair in Fertile July 10-14. The Midway opens Wednesday followed by the Rodeo. Thursday, there’s another rodeo plus a kid’s bike drawing and Talent Contest. Friday is Senior Citizen’s Day and there’s Bingo, another bike drawing, kid’s pedal pull, and Baja Racing. Saturday, they’ll have their 5K walk/run, Dock Dogs, bike drawing, Baja Racing and the State Championship of Baja. Sunday, they’ll wrap up with more Dock Dogs, a parade, kid’s bike drawing, Super Demo Derby, exhibits will be released, and fireworks for the finale. Bring your family, eat too much fair food, ride too many rides, enjoy all the exhibits and grandstand shows, and go home with a pocket full of memories.

Smoky air not the new normal

It was pretty surreal this past Saturday. It was looking like any other pleasant summer weekend day was on tap, and then the haze rolled in. Smoke blowing in from forest fires in Ontario, the weather people told us. A couple hours later, if you were driving on U.S. Highway 2, you swore a bunch of rural landowners were burning off CRP land or something. That's how much smoke had settled low over the fields. The sun was that orange dot amid all the haze that we've grown accustomed to over the last couple of summers, unfortunately. It was so thick on Saturday that health experts issued an air-quality warning for this region. Is this the new normal, in a changing climate? Smoky summer days and poor air quality, under an orange dot in the sky? Let's hope not.

Support your Crookston Farmer’s Market

While you can buy produce at the grocery store all year long, during the summer and fall, try to find your veggies at the local farmer’s market. Buying from the farmer’s market helps support local farmers, gardeners, and more. Plus, the vegetables are guaranteed fresh and local, rather than shipped from hundreds of miles away to reach the aisles of the grocery store. At the market, you can also find delicious bars and breads by local bakers, jars of honey from nearby beekeepers, homemade jams and more. Stop by the Crookston Farmer’s Market on Thursdays from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Town Square in the Red Barn. Crookston’s market will be open until October, so take advantage of local produce while it’s in season. Shop local and head to the Crookston Farmer’s Market.                                                 
– Maddie Everett, summer intern

Outrage over the latest outrage, then move on

This just in from this minute's/hour's/day's/week's latest outrage: Six police officers having a coffee in a Tempe, Ariz. Starbucks before the start of their shift left the establishment after a barista asked them to reposition themselves or leave because a customer didn't feel safe with them around. Advocates for the Tempe Police Department, specifically, and law enforcement in general freaked out, and advocates for people who are most often mistreated by the police also freaked out, and competing hashtag movements on social media soon commenced, i.e. #dumpstarbucks. Soon it made national headlines and was on the national news, and the conversation about race and the police and a world's whose pulse beats as social media dictates it beat continues. And that is all, until the next minute's/hour's/day's/week's outrage.

Some rationale for the NBA’s rising popularity

Clearly, the popularity of the National Basketball Association is peaking, and if you don't get it and you don't understand why, you're probably never going to get it. Take what is being typically described as an "insane" and "epic" frenzy of free agency signings and sign-and-trade deals over the last few days as a prime example. If you're a skeptic, you wonder how it's good for the league overall if fans of roughly three-fourths of the teams in the NBA have no chance to win a title, much less make the playoffs or make any serious noise in the playoffs. Or take the wall-to-wall ESPN coverage of the NBA's "Summer League" for rookies and other young guys trying to crack a team's roster. A skeptic wonders why glorified scrimmages featuring many fringe NBA players at best are getting so much breathless attention. After all, the real season doesn't start until the fall. Oh, and there's still this: REFEREES ROUTINELY DON'T ENFORCE THE TRAVELING RULE.