Find the Medallion, starting Wednesday

The Ox Cart Days Medallion Hunt first clue will be read Wednesday, August 14 at the Ice Cream Social at 4:45 p.m. on the Campus Mall at University of Minnesota Crookston. The Times and UMC Admissions are again sponsoring the medallion hunt and the medallion is larger and more colorful for the festival’s 30th anniversary. The medallion will not be hid on private property and it will not be hidden under an object. Once it’s found, the medallion should be turned in right away to the Times office at 124 South Broadway or you can call / text Mike or Jess at 280-0771 or 701-610-6454. Good luck to all and happy hunting!

Welcome back to school!

Everyone all together now, on the count of three: Where did the summer go? Thaat's right, Crookston Public Schools this week is hosting Welcome Back to School Day at the high school on Thursday, and with fall sports practices beginning and back-to-school shopping, it's clear that we're in ramp-up-to-the-start-of-the-school-year time. It's a great event for students and families to get all of the documentation they need and get answers to all of their school-related questions. It's kind of a one-stop shop. Yes, you can do all kinds of things online, as you should be able to, but Welcome Back to School Day is a great resource for families to take advantage of.

Enough with the new plastic factories

Petrochemical companies around the world are building new, giant plastic plants in an effort to increase profits as oil prices decline, reports the New York Times. Plastic is seen everywhere in our daily lives, but it is also slowly destroying the planet as it is abandoned in oceans and landfills. There is more than enough plastic in the world, we don’t need gigantic plants to make more. Storage space on earth is a limited resource, and since plastic takes 1000 years to decompose, there is a definite limit on how much plastic can be stuffed into the earth. Let’s see more facilities dedicated to recycling plastic instead of plants creating new plastic that will simply end up harming the environment, or better yet, let’s see affordable alternatives to plastics. Even recycled plastic has some new plastic added to it, and plastic can only be recycled two or three times. It’s time to move the earth away from plastic and towards a more eco-friendly resource. – Maddie Everett, intern

Vikings finally stabilize their kicking situation

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer gets lots of praise for being such a great defensive mind, but if he has established one glaring weakness during his tenure with the Purple, it's his impatience with kickers and, as a result of his knee-jerk behavior, his inability to settle on a consistent kicker to solidify a critically important roster spot. Certainly, general manager Rick Spielman deserves some of the blame, but it's Zimmer who claims to have no time for kickers' quirks, and, therefore, he's so quick to pull the plug. The latest example was last year; the team drafted big-legged Daniel Carlson, and after one disastrous game against the Packers, Zimmer cut him loose. Carlson went on to have a solid rookie campaign for the Raiders and he has a promising career ahead of him. Now, on Sunday, the team traded a fifth round pick to the Ravens in exchange for their second-string kicker, Kaare Vedvik, who can also punt. Vedvik is from Norway and he seems talented, but with the amazing Justin Tucker already on their team, the Ravens don't need him. This means that shaky Dan Bailey's days with the Vikings are likely over. Hopefully, Vedvik does well enough to slow Zimmer's itchy trigger finger.

Give Crookston businesses your business, during Ox Cart Days and beyond

A week-long Customer Appreciation celebration will go on August 12-18 at participating businesses in Crookston and there are so many specials it will make your head spin. Almost 60 businesses will either have a one-day special, week-long specials, meet and greets, special treats or giveaways. For instance, the Crookston Times is having a BOGO (buy one, get one) special on one-year subscriptions where you buy one for yourself and get one for a neighbor, friend or family member. Plus, there will be FREE popcorn in the store all week. It’s because of the partnerships with Crookston area businesses that the Ox Cart Days summer festival can continue to provide days of entertainment and they deserve your business this week and beyond. Cheers to 30 years of Ox Cart Days and cheers to our local businesses!