It’s human nature to by hyper-critical of our own community, much more than we’d criticize a city we’re less familiar with. We know our town so well, warts and all, and we tend to focus more, and likely a bit too much, on those unsightly warts.

    Which is why, once in a while, it is tremendously beneficial to see our town, Crookston, through the eyes of someone who knows next to nothing about it.

    The Times has hired a new sports editor, Jacob Shames. He graduated last spring from the University of Michigan and went home to Norman, Oklahoma for the summer to start searching for his first legitimate sports journalism job.

    After a productive phone interview, Jacob flew up here to see the Times and the Crookston community for himself. Naturally, one of the first things on the to-do list was a comprehensive, leave-no-neighborhood-or-corner-of-Crookston-unturned tour of town.

    If you’re feeling a bit down and out about Crookston for whatever reason, a thorough drive this way and that all over town with a soon-to-be Crookston newbie that requires you to offer a constant narration to describe the things you’re driving by is just the elixir you need.

    Crookston has a lot going on.

    There was the cruise through the industrial park, and explaining the difference between beet sugar and cane sugar. And all of those metro transit buses at New Flyer, and a brief explanation about the fuel and power technologies put into practice.

    Then came a drive through downtown. After explaining the nutty three-lane, one-way main arteries, the large historic district was mentioned. Daroos was pointed out. The historic Grand Theatre (which Jacob had already read about on Google) was driven by. The new Subway.

    There was more. Lots more. The Red Lake River. Crookston Sports Center. Drafts. New apartment buildings and townhomes. Crookston Community Pool. Not only a new RiverView Health hospital on the way, but a recently expanded and renovated Altru Clinic right next door. Churches. The University of Minnesota Crookston campus. Hugo’s. Walmart. Crookston High School. Highland School. Tennis courts. Parks. Baseball fields. New buildings being constructed. New streets. Paths and trails. (Jacob is a big runner and loved seeing all of the paths and trails.) Vehicle dealerships. Wonderful Life Foods. (Assistant Editor Jess Bengtson bought some gluten-free treats that mightily impressed our new sports editor.) Three fitness center options. Two restaurants featuring Asian cuisine. Older neighborhoods. Newer neighborhoods.

    You get the picture. It’s a lot, a lot of good stuff. It’s good to be reminded of it all once in a while.