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OPINION

EDITORIAL: Kudos to those who don't pack it in, but shift on the fly

Since the pandemic really hit last March, think of how many events and activities in Crookston could have just been cancelled entirely, but instead have been reimagined and put on to make people happy

Mike Christopherson

It initially came to mind one afternoon last week, this realization that as the COVID-19 pandemic has raged on for something like nine months now in our neck of the woods, some people simply refuse to pack it in.

No, we’re not talking about people who refuse to comply with orders to wear masks or socially distance or avoid gatherings of various sizes. We’re talking about people who are involved in their community, and often that involvement manifests itself in putting in a lot of time and effort and even money to make events and activities happen, both large and small.

Specifically, the notion that these people deserve a shout-out came to mind when we were posting on the Times’ Facebook page last week the story about a trio of local churches, First Presbyterian, St. Paul’s Lutheran and Trinity Lutheran, teaming up to put on a live nativity event this coming Sunday evening that, as so many other events this year have been, will be drive-by in nature. With the annual stable nativity service in UMN Crookston’s UTOC arena simply not possible this December due to the pandemic, organizers of the Dec. 13 “Follow the Star” event have come up with what they hope will be the next best thing. For 20 minutes or so, people will “Follow the Star” on an interactive map to the three churches, where they will certainly see something pretty cool, and they’ll finish up in Central Park, all the while staying in their vehicles. There will be drop-boxes to donate diapers and deodorant to the Crookston Care and Share as well.

It’s just the latest in a long line of efforts since last March put forth by a lot of people who have forged ahead under the belief that something is better than nothing when the pandemic has once again torpedoed an event or activity that would have attracted a lot of people, indoors or outside.

Mike Christopherson, Crookston Times managing editor

Just look at what Crookston High School and UMN Crookston did for their commencement ceremonies. Or how Ox Cart Days shifted on the fly. Or the way Halloween was celebrated in Crookston? Or the United Way, or the Chamber, or the Rotary and other service clubs, all going virtual with various fundraisers and other activities to raise needed dollars.

All because something is better than nothing.

It goes beyond that, too. As the pandemic has dragged on and stress and anxiety have only increased as winter has loomed, people have rallied to put on new things as well in order to reach out to people and engage them. Recently, Crookston School District Superintendent Jeremy Olson hosted a trio of Zoom meetings with public school families just so a casual conversation could be had in an informal setting. In the latest example, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council and Polk County Public Health are teaming up to offer a series of morning “Coffee Connections” later this month and in January, with each one featuring a different theme, from beating the winter blues, to playing bingo, to sharing favorite old recipes.

There are so many more efforts that weren’t mentioned in this space today, but are no less worthy.

All of them have had a positive impact, whether on a small group of people or many. And the efforts of those who have made and continue to make all of them happen are greatly appreciated.