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UMN Crookston - So much to be excited about

Submitted by UMN Crookston
Crookston Times

    Greetings from the University of Minnesota Crookston!

    There are a few signs of the season as our winter sports season returns. Basketball will begin competition in January, along with our new ACHA Club Hockey team; the puck drops in Jamestown and home games return to Crookston Sports Center Jan. 15-16 against Minnesota State University Moorhead.   

     All UMN Crookston students will transition at Thanksgiving to entirely online to conclude fall semester classes and final exams. Our fellow high schools, too, out of an abundance of caution, are moving forward with their winter sports.

    We wish all local student-athletes a fulfilling season.

    So many things in the Crookston area to touch on and provide shout-outs…

    While we understand child care continues to be a critical component and in short supply in our region, the University of Minnesota Crookston is expanding an early childhood education student pathway in partnership with White Earth Tribal and Community College (WETCC).

    WETCC recently received a $500,000 annual grant for five years. UMN Crookston, a collaborating partner along with White Earth Head Start, will effectively increase the number of qualified education staff working in Tribal Nations, Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

    Congratulations to Janelle and Mark Berhow for proposing downtown childcare in Crookston. Utilizing the portable classroom near the corner of Fourth Street and North Broadway, home to New Paths Area Learning Center for many years, would be a great addition to the community.

    Welcome, Amy Finch, Crookston’s new City Administrator. Our Economic Development Administration (EDA) Center and the Small Business Development Center look forward, along with small businesses in northwest Minnesota, to strengthening our partnerships with CHEDA, the City of Crookston, the Downtown Crookston Development Partnership(DCDP) and surrounding communities. The DCDP has been busy with progressive communication, thoughtful and strategic planning downtown and within Crookston, including this past summer’s food trucks. That initiative was so successful that a new business that brought a truck to Crookston, Heroes Rise Coffee Company, is now opening a coffee shop in Crookston.

    Next, the DCDP will light up the Robert Street Bridge with spotlights that can be changed to any color depending on the season or celebration.

    There is a meaningful discussion underway regarding downtown’s future, with potential new traffic paths and improved sidewalks. Towering over the corner of Robert Street and North Broadway is Jeff Evers’ Fournet Building, where he continues to transform the historic, iconic structure into a vital destination for the future. Drive by now and you’ll see Evers preparing to install large glass panels.  

    There’s more to be excited and encouraged about…

    Recently, Bob Herkenhoff, my (Chancellor Mary’s) friend, neighbor and Crookston developer stocked 400 pounds of minnows and buckets full of walleye and perch in his north pond. My grandkids can’t wait to fish in 2021.

    Thank you to Polk County and City of Crookston leaders for awarding two rounds of local CARES Act aid, $750,000 to a variety of local businesses who will certainly benefit from the financial boost as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. This is a very disruptive time, given recent funding reductions and changing demographics at the state and national levels; every dollar can make a difference.

    RiverView Health’s $51 million construction project is a testament to their commitment to serve Crookston and the region. How fortunate Crookston is to be home to not only RiverView and its new hospital, but Altru Clinic right next door.

    We also want to thank Governor Tim Walz, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, the University of Minnesota, and the state legislature for their recent approval of the capital investment bonding bill, which includes $1.35 million dollars of High Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) funding for the UMN Crookston campus. The HEAPR funding allows us to make those needed improvements to provide our students and faculty with state-of-the art infrastructure that is needed to be world-class and provide our students with access to technologies and tools they need in today’s competitive marketplace.

    The state, through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, also came through with $5 million for the Ag Innovation Campus in Crookston. It was so great to see Gov. Walz attend that historic groundbreaking last week.

    The United Way of Crookston continues serving the Crookston community and so many agencies and organizations doing impactful work. Education, health, well-being, and basic needs remain constant; your contribution, no matter the size, supports local individuals and makes an impact. Please consider a donation to your United Way…our United Way. We too, as a campus, are responding to the needs of our region along with many other businesses by pledging through our payroll deduction program.

    I see through our students, neighbors and friends, as we embark on cooler weather and fleeting daylight, our well-being needs to be a focus and nurtured. I am a true believer that self-care is important for each of us to stay focused, persevere and forge ahead. Now more than ever it is important to check in on one another.

    We look forward to working with you in advancing UMN Crookston to meet the region's needs in the year ahead!

Mary Holz-Clause

UMN Crookston Chancellor

Michelle Christopherson

Director of Outreach and Engagement

UMN Crookston Director of Outreach and Engagement Michelle Christopherson
UMN Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause