Posted 5/10/16 (Tue)
By Jody Michael
More than 100 members of the North Dakota Newspaper Association (NDNA) descended on Crosby last weekend for its annual convention, and the city proved itself to be up to the task.
Staging a convention in Crosby was the suggestion of Journal publisher Cecile Wehrman, whose one-year term as NDNA president concluded at the end of events Saturday morning.
It was particularly a gamble for the Guardian Inn, the Bypass Restaurant and Lounge and the Crosby Community Center, which were in charge of accommodating attendees for most of their time here.
But any cynicism seemed to have dissipated not long after those visitors arrived in Crosby, with many expressing positive impressions.
“To be honest, I loved it,” said Sara Plum, editor of the Benson County Farmers Press and Lakota American. Plum is Wehrman’s successor as NDNA president.
“I’m so glad we backed Cecile on this,” Plum added. “It was a perfect venue for what we wanted to accomplish, which was a tight-knit convention where people could get to know each other.”
“We had a great time,” said Jill Friesz, publisher of the Grant County News in Elgin. “It was a really casual convention, which was great.”
Mike Jacobs, retired publisher of the Grand Forks Herald, said he has been attending conventions for 40 years -- mostly held in big-city hotel ballrooms.
This year, “The venue was really good,” Jacobs said. “We really felt welcome.”
NDNA members had especially rave reviews of the Bypass, which catered grand hors d’ouvres Thursday evening, breakfast buffets Friday and Saturday and the awards banquet Friday evening, all in addition to keeping their dining room open for customers.
A Friday lunch of rink burgers and cheese fries, cooked by the Crosby hockey moms, was a hit as well.
“I don’t know why we’d have a convention anywhere else,” said Mike Gackle, of a Garrison-based publishing company. “There’s no way we’d get fed like that anywhere else.”
“I’ve been going to the conventions since 2010, and this was by far the best food,” Plum said.
It was a first trip to Crosby for many of the NDNA members, and the group did have opportunities to explore the town after each night’s events, and on Friday afternoon after a session at the Dakota Theatre and a group photo on the steps of the Divide County Courthouse.
“That’s such a beautiful, picturesque end to your Main Street,” Friesz said.
Stems and Salvage was a popular place to visit, and Gackle and his wife, Jill Denning Gackle, said they also stopped in the Homestead Saloon and enjoyed the wildlife display at J.D. Electric.
And, they added, they intend to return some time and play a round of golf at the Crosby Country Club.
“Those suspension bridges look interesting,” Gackle said.
Gratitude for the Crosby community’s embrace of their convention was another common refrain.
“We appreciated the hospitality of the store owners everywhere we went,” Denning Gackle said.
“The people of Crosby have been absolutely great to everybody who came,” Jacobs said. “and we all feel richly rewarded for it.”