The New Year arrives under a cloud of coronavirus across the land. There is a sense of despair and wonder. A sense of hope.

And there is a feeling it is time to write notes of thanks for Christmas gifts.

There is challenge. The charge is to look out on the Red River down by the Sorlie bridge. Then make an estimate of how thick the ice will be on the Red River there on Feb. 12.

The challenge is to guess the ice thickness down to two-tenths of an inch. The contest is sponsored as a benefit for the Empire Arts Center.

The website for entries is www.empireartscenter.com

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Entries are $20 apiece. And contestants may make as many entries as desired.

Welcome 2021

The New Year moves in as the last strains of Silent Night fade from the scene.

There is music and there are guests scheduled for the Great American Folk Show coming up Sunday. The broadcast at 5 p.m. in this time zone with Tom Brosseau now of Grand Forks as emcee.

The program can be heard on radio. Or it is found online by visiting the Prairie Public website – PrairiePublic.org.

Local artist Mollie Douthit will be on talking about her painting process. Other guests include Eliza Blue, a musician and writer from Bison, S.D. They are among six musicians and writers on the show.

Thickness of ice

Looking down the icy road of January, there’s a Blizzard Bash ahead on Jan. 18. Sponsored by the Grand Forks Parks, it will include open skating and a movie.

Looking way down the road to June, Art on the Red is returning to University Park. The dates are June 12 and 13. It caters to art lovers and festival goers from around the region.

It will be back with two full days of art, food and children’s activities. And there will be entertainment.

Hoops time

There will be limits on spectators and space required between them. Still it is time this weekend for hoops at UND in the Betty. The basketball games are with teams from Kansas City on Saturday. And it will be a chance for fans to watch Filip Rebraca.

Clair and Angie

Cheerful people of the week: Clair Zirnhelt and Angie Jonasson.