Friday, September 5, 2008

Well it seems we've been found out ;-)

Today on the Crookston Times guestbook the following insert appeared.
I love Crookston @ is so sugary sweet with sprinkles on top. One can’t but help lick their lips each time they glance over at as they think about the good old days. While you're out surfing the web make sure you drop in on and set a spell. is the personal web blog for Crookston duplex owner John Reitmeier, author of and goes more into depth over how this wonderful, fun idea came about. Please make sure to leave a few comments as well.

Jan Chrom
Friday, Sep 05, 2008 (12:09:52 pm CDT)
Interesting, first of all I don't know Janice Chromes, but thanks! That was exactly the response I wanted to get and thought I would when I asked MANY people to contribute, rather than some slick marketing guy or some intern that was assigned the task. Many of the comments brought back memories that even I had forgotten!

I've been blogging for some years and in tracking who visits my site, fine it interesting that it's been such a secret up to now. So let's have some internet fun and see if what we can find about Janice on the internet. First we got to and do a whois on her domain name that is attached to her email and we find this data:
Somonauk IL
United States 60531
and a contact person of Greg@
So why would a person from west of Chicago be posting on the Times guestbook. So we'll send her an email and see what comes back.

So this is what comes back when we send the email:
Your message has encountered delivery problems
to the following recipient(s):
Delivery failed
550 not accepted
No recipients were successfully delivered to.

So it appears that that too was a spoofed email address. OH WELL thanks janice.
Now an email back from the owners of is no JaniceChromes there!

By the way, as it says in the Crookston Times article on the bottom of I had submitted a LONG dissertation to the Times. I know how busy editors of small papers are, so taking something from the "how to be president" political playbook, I sit down and try to calculate possible questions, and then prepare answers, usually I send this ahead so that with a few minutes review, it makes for a short interview, and a happy interviewer, but a LARGE transfer of data between us. So I though I'd share that with you here. So this is the "prepare to be interviewed about" preparation.
Why LOVE Crookston why not middle ground?
Well, you love your kids even when they're "not so good" We all need to love our town and work to fix anything that needs fixing. The main reasons I did it include:
Trying to show that there's a WHOLE bunch of folks who really love this town, many of who stay silent, but would "speak up" if encouraged. It's easy to get some marketing folks together in a room and have a forced, "why I love Crookston" session, but I wanted to see what the regular folks, the average-go to work, have a little fun, pay their taxes, raise their kids and live here by choice people think about our town. I was, and am still hoping it's a place that employers, the city and county governments, the College and all the schools, the churches, anyone, can use to send perspective and future residents to, to get a feel of the town and what our residents think of the place. I'm so frustrated by what a few folks who won't even identify themselves, keep saying about where I live. This is a good town! There are good people living here. There are as good or better opportunities here than in similar places in this region, and I'm tired of a few negative attitude people always raining on the parade!

Why did you get
"The Art of War" is a Chinese military treatise that was written during the 6th century BC by Sun Tzu. It still stands today as the foundation of how to win war, or run your business, or manage strategy. Anyone who's following major league sports, EVEN the Olympics, would understand, and if you take ANY lessons about how to optimize your presence on the web, it's that the best defense is a strong offense. The IHATE page is fixed, it's NOT going to expand, and there's not going to be anyone's comments on it, except mine. That's all I was doing, I felt that if caught on at all, that some YAEHOO out there would get the IHate equivilent and start whining again. So I got it, to block that from happening. Ironically now there are a few people who are somehow trying to make that into something. HEY there's any number of variations of web names out there and available. If you feel strongly enough that you're right about your observations, go get a web page, host it somewhere and have at it! But why someone would try to drag down an effort to show our community in a good light to the world is completely beyond me. I'm happy to debate anyone, anytime, anyplace about the benefits of our town. But show yourselves, don't hid behind fake email names, or anonymous postings, or pretending you're someone else!

Who's funding the project?
I am, alone and totally! It was my idea, I own the domain names, soon there will other ways for folks to show how they LOVE CROOKSTON and I paid for all of that. I sort of feel like the Verizon cell phone commercial I have great confidence that there's literally THOUSANDS of people (my network) standing behind me and supporting me! Sunday people were stopping me in the Grocery store and it was ALL encouraging!!! PS: All donations gratefully accepted!

What's your connection to the Crookston Chamber of Commerce?
I (or my companies) have been a member off and on since 1976. I have not been a member since about 1997. My business efforts are mostly far away from here, we even do some international things, but I think I'll join up again just cause it's the right thing to do and I want to support Lorie and put a stop to the negativity! Let's find positive ways to attach the problems. In my opinion it should be called the Greater Crookston Chamber of Commerce or the Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce because things don't just end at the city limits sign. Someone on the guestbook was complaining that Lori Wagner (Chamber President/CEO) doesn't live in town and doesn't pay taxes in town. WOW talk about UNINFORMED. Do you not realize how much money (a significant part of which is taxes) a farmer spends in town? Do you not realize how many people are employed because of the farmers who spend millions, tens of millions of dollars in Crookston? Do you know what percent of school taxes comes from OUTSIDE the city limits??? And guess what, all those people own houses that are taxed, and drive cars and pickup trucks that fill at the Crookston stations, and buy groceries and sundries and hardware and insurance (don't even get me started on insurance costs for farms and businesses). Where do you think that money comes from? EVERY PERSON who has a job, every member of a family with a bread winner, every person who eats, sleeps, or consumes any products is a valuable citizen of our community. Even the folks who are totally retired or on some form of government assistance are EQUALLY VALUABLE. Sorry, got off this question, but it's SO IMPORTANT for everyone to realize that we're in this together. We sink or swim, we live or die by every little effort, every little attitude coming together and contributing to the whole. Yesterday (Aug. 30, 08) the citizens, tens of thousands of them, marched in Mexico City because there's been upwards of 1,200 kidnappings this year alone. Hundreds of people are being murdered annually There's wars going on, earthquakes, and now another hurricane coming at the USA. I LOVE CROOKSTON more and more as each year goes by!

What's are you predicting for the future of ?

Sunny and continued warm! It's there for anyone to link to, to make reference to, to remember, to get a little boost when things don't look so good. As long as people keep sending me things to add, I'll put them up there. Someone has suggested collecting all the recipes that are remembered from different cooks/chefs in the past, and I'd be glad to do that if folks are willing to share them. We can make a pictures section. Perhaps teachers would like to make it a project for their students. It would be interesting to see what 3rd graders would say, vs. 6th graders or 9th graders.

So you're living in a dream world that there's nothing wrong with our town?
You know, I've lived in Winnipeg for 4 years of my life, and Southern California for almost a decade, and Las Vegas for some years, and in Franklin Tennessee for 4 years. I travel a lot, as much as 4 times a year to Europe for as much as a month at a time. I've now been back here for 14 years 5 months and some days. I plan to make this my residence for the rest of my life. My Mother, Grand Parents, even Great Grand Parents are buried here, along with cousins, and uncles and aunts, and some friends. My space at Oakdale is paid for and I plan to use it, but hopefully not for 25 or 30 more years. What's our town going to be like in that time? That's an entire generation, only today's youngest teachers will still be teaching at that time, any kid born today could be through college, have served in the military and started a family by then. What kind of a town are we going to leave them? We need to do some dreaming, some visioning. Our town is only going to be great then, with lots of planning now! In Japan they have 100 year business plans. Can they predict the economy/world situation that far in advance? Of course not, but they have lots of plans based on this happening, or that happening and they try to stick to their plan, which will take them to their goals. When I started working for Yamaha Japan in 1972 and was schooled in that philosophy I thought, what a waste of time but now (in what feels like a blink of an eyelid to me) we're more than 1/3 of the way through what was their 100 year plan back then. Look at how Japan is TROUNCING us in Vehicle you think that happened by accident??? Let's dream big, reach for the stars, add some realistic expectations and GO FOR THE GOLD. WOW wouldn't it be terrible if we only came up with the Silver or the Bronze! (He says, tongue in cheek!)

Why do you think that people are so vocal in a negative way about some things in out town, particularly on the Crookston Times Guestbook?
That is the $64,000.00 question! We claim to have a democracy here, but we really don't. We have a representative for of government and I'm really glad we do. Hopefully we elect people to offices from super local all the way up to President. Well informed, honorable people who really want to do the best for their world, even if some of their choices are unpopular and perhaps even fly in the face of what we see as reason. If we got up every morning and the USA as a whole HAD TO VOTE before breakfast, do you think that would be a good thing? Do you think that more that 50% of the people will vote for higher taxes (even when it's necessary)? People will probably always vote their pocketbooks, right or wrong, if they perceive it's going to give them more cash in the pants, that's the way they'll vote. But sometimes that's not always the best choice for the future, or even the short term goodness. Just like the new arena coming to Crookston. We literally have an Englestad type gift. 10 MILLION Dollars (plus or minus) and to make a pretty top notch place we need 2 million more (give or take). This is a challenge we should rise to with enthusiasm! What if we had had NO chance of getting a 10 million dollar gift? If we were starting from scratch? Can you imagine the mountain we'd have to climb? Yet we need LESS THAN 20% of the total amount. That's 235.00 per person. I understand that with the cost of filling a gas tank, or 3 kids stomachs, that that ain't chopped liver, but this is a once in a generation cost, for our town to have a great facility both for our kids, and for visitors and the schools and the college. And what if some "sponsors" rise to the challenge for a million or a million and a half? Will you try to help raise the residual?? That could come out to $50.00 per person, or $30 per person, or is that STILL TOO MUCH? I think there's a pretty good committee in place, let's help them find ways to make this work. We really did get an ANGEL'S GIFT. I'm sad that the original building has to come down, I hope they have looked at every possible way to keep it, but flood protection AND the benefits of a new facility really should top that want! BTW as an aside, the plans I've seen with a parking lot LOWER than the entrance, making everyone walk up steps, AND since it's on the south side of the building, it will blow in with snow ALL THE TIME....HEY design guys, please rethink that!!!

If there's any bad side to the internet, it's the fact that it allows people who have no real expertise in a field to comment on things, AND remain anonymous. If people had to put their name to their comments, we'd probably have a lot better discussion of both the needs and problems that a community faces. But to take potshots at our elected officials and those who work in government and in service jobs, and then do it from a hiding place, is bordering on immoral. I can't imagine the sick satisfaction that someone gets making those kind of comments, without having the fortitude to identify themselves, OR AT LEAST to identify themselves to the newspaper (who by the way has a long history of protecting sources) so that the editor/publisher of the media can vouch for the fact that the person writing the words is someone of reasonable character and good intentions. It's like telling your best friend, "you dress like a slob," or saying, "Hey, you looked really great when you wore that outfit, why not make that 'your look!" In my humble opinion, too many people are hollering SLOB...SLOB, let's find positive encouragements to finding solutions!

If you could wave your magic wand, what changes would you make to Crookston?

Adding Lots of downtown housing, a downtown eatery OR TWO, an activity/community center, more gov. transparency ie. EVERYTHING on the web. More things for the UMC students to do so that there is less of a wall between the city and the college. Look at the memories section of, look at what people are writing about now, from back then. How many of those things are we doing today so that they will be memories in 30 or 40 or 50 years.

Knowing everything that's happened would you do it all over again?

IN A HEARTBEAT! The only thing I would have wished was different was that it wasn't made public, until we rolled it out in the Crookston Times. Based on my 30 years in the media, I kinda felt that it might be something the Times would be interested in, but Lori at the Chamber was so enthusiastic about it, that it sort of slipped out a few days sooner than I had planned. OH well, we roll with the punches.

Why do you think some people reacted so aggressively and so negatively?

They are TOTALLY UNINFORMED! They started making accusations that weren't founded in any facts and that kind of caught like a grass fire on the prairie. It's Ironic, a simple internet search or email request and they could have gotten the CORRECT information, but I guess some folks get some kind of weird kick out of going off 1/2 cocked.

Why don't you have your name on the site, why are you HIDING?
I find that so laughable. Any simple search of the domain registry websites would show that I'm the owner, they give my name, address, email address even my phone number. Yet NO ONE to date, and I emphasize NO ONE has sent an email to the address on the site, asking who I am, or who's behind this, or who I'm connected to, or being critical in any way!! I'd be happy to let you look at the entire inbox!! It's a google email address so EVERYTHING is kept both in and out!!!

Why do you want to know who's writing the comments before you'll put them on the website (that popular political word "vetted")?

I don't know where people got that idea, it says QUITE CLEARLY, If you want me to put YOUR NAME with your comments, THEN I am going to have a back and forth with you to satisfy me that you are really who you say you are. I think that's just common courtesy since there are a whole lot of folks who have figured out that it's easy to pretend do be someone you're not on the internet. And I reserve the right to edit what people say, both to correct grammar and to make comments more logical. If you don't want that, then there's a simple fix. DON'T CONTRIBUTE.
So that's a LOT of my opinions in a short text. I think I'll take some time and expand on different pieces of it as time goes on.