The Times' Newsroom staff weigh in on what they'd like to see happen this week.

Turn city politics around

Throughout the last few months, city politics have been a forefront in your local news and, at certain points, the negatives have outweighed the positives. There have been behind-the-scenes arguments, public spats, walk-outs, resignations, misinformation tossed around, and plenty of gossip. It’s time to get everyone on the same page again and work for what’s best for Crookston. This town has a lot going for it with beautiful attractions and amenities, businesses that deserve everyone’s attention, events that can’t be beat, and some of the nicest people around. Let’s work better at communicating, even if that means having more meetings to let everyone’s voices be heard, and let’s do what’s right. Let’s work harder, work smarter and include all who want to be included. And let’s start right now.

Cut your tree on Saturday

With a later-than-usual Thanksgiving holiday this year, the weeks between Turkey Day and Christmas are reduced, and it's had some buying and putting up their Christmas trees a bit sooner than usual, to maximize the enjoyment. While there are great options in and just outside of Crookston for buying a real or fake tree, if you're willing to wait until this Saturday, Dec. 7, you can cruise east on Highway 2 to the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, where they're conducting another tree-cutting event as part of their effort to rid the refuge of non-native conifers. It's a fun event in the great outdoors, and you can't beat the bargain price for a tree.

Some new blood in the college football playoff

It would be fun to see either Utah or Baylor in the College Football Playoff this year. Both teams have not made it to the playoff before. The past few years, there have been the same five or six teams that always make it in, and it would be nice to see some new teams in it this year. LSU is another team that will likely be in the playoff for the first time. If Utah wishes to join them, they will have to win the Pac-12 championship against Oregon and hope that LSU beats Georgia. For Baylor, they will have to beat Oklahoma and then hope that Utah loses. There will be a lot of drama in college football in the upcoming weeks, and it will be fun to watch.
– Cooper Brown, student writer

Enjoy the debate over the future of Gopher football

As far as experts' prognostications go, there were primarily two schools of thought going into this Minnesota Gophers college football season. One school figured the Gophers were mediocre to solid, which added up to, at best, a finish in the middle of the pack in the Big 10 West. Another school tended to agree that the Gophers weren't exactly great, but their schedule looked weak on paper, and they could possibly win up to nine games and surprise some in the Big 10 West. Now that their regular season is over and the 10-2 Gophers await a likely New Year's Day bowl invite, it's clear that they were better than advertised, and they were also aided by that soft schedule. Speculation is rampant now in regard to the program in general. Has it officially turned a corner under Coach P.J. Fleck? Will better recruits come year after year as a result? Or, will the Gophers come back down to earth next year when they play a stiffer schedule? There are two schools of thought on that as well. In one, the answers are yes and yes. And in the other, it's no and no. But it's a fun debate to have, is it not?

Embrace winter: Check out events calendar

December is chock-full of events for the holiday season with tree-cutting, Santa and a Movie, Santa Land, stable service, concerts, tree-lighting ceremonies, cookie walks, high school and college sports, and more, but don’t forget we have lots more winter left to go and there are plenty of indoor and outdoor events to embrace throughout the next couple of months. January has Dr. Martin Luther King’s Celebration and Walk, UMC’s Ag Arama, and JC’s Pool Tournament. February has February Fitness Fever, Cathedral’s Mardi Gras, Ice Buster Daze, and, new this year, an indoor ice fishing tournament fundraiser for Ox Cart Days. Embrace the cold, play outside, shovel for a neighbor, and enjoy Crookston events all winter long.