Network 2 Learn Training Session Offered by Pine City Chamber

On Wednesday, May 18th the Pine City Area Chamber will host the next Network 2 Learn opportunity.  These training events are provided at a low cost to any business in the region interested in taking part in the event.  This month’s session will focus on “Uncovering Your Business Challenges” and help owners and managers to navigate the growth of their company with successful outcomes.   Contact Becky to get registered by Monday, May 16.05.18BusinessGrowth

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East Central Minnesota Pride Moves, Scheduled for June 5

Sunday, June 5, the small town of Pine City, Minn. will again be the setting of one of the few rural LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) pride celebrations in the world, ‘East Central Minnesota Pride.’

2016 marks the twelfth anniversary of this event which offers music, food and a rendezvous of friends, family and community in a new location—downtown Pine City in the Robinson Park town square.  Having moved from across the Snake River in Voyageur Park to the heart of Pine City, this year’s gathering promotes the theme “Pride in the Heart.”

Take it With You Live Radio Theater“We’ve managed to overcome all of the obstacles thrown our way by the people who are less open-minded than us, and yet we’re still here,” said Ariel Dunbar of Pine City, a member of the East Central Minnesota Pride Board.  “We’re still growing stronger”.

Neighberz Band

The Neigherz Band

Headlining Pride is Minneapolis-based, British singer-songwriter Katy Vernon.  Also performing are North Branch-based The Neighberz Band, no stranger to East Central Minnesota, and Duluth-based “Take It With You” live radio theatre.  Twin Cities Public Television’s Val Mondor returns as this year’s emcee and Geo Montecillo will deejay.

This celebration serves the five county region of East Central Minnesota, Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec and Mille Lacs Counties, and attracts attendees from the hubs of the region such as North Branch (pop. 10,087), and even its tiny villages, like Denham (pop. 34).

Geo Montecillo

Deejay Geo

East Central Minnesota Pride involves many collaborators including East Central Minnesota Men’s Circle, East Central Minnesota Purple Circle, East Central Minnesota chapter of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Rural Aids Action Network, Rainbow Health Initiative and OutFront Minnesota, among others.

Katy Vernon

Katy Vernon

Several businesses throughout the region support and help sponsor the event as well, and this activity is funded through a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council through an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State’s General Fund.

This rural part of Minnesota has seen much change over the last twelve years.  Most recent Census data show that in 2010 Pine City and its surrounding townships have become some of the gay strongholds of Minnesota, with the most same-sex coupled households of anywhere else outside of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Val Mondor

Val Mondor

East Central Minnesota Pride kicks off the first such celebration in Minnesota each year during what President Obama has declared as “Pride Month,” June.  The other Gay Prides in the state are in Fargo-Moorhead, Duluth-Superior, Mankato, Rochester and the Twin Cities, all of which are in metropolitan areas.

“Our goal has always been to provide caring support and friendship for LGBT people living in the rural area of Minnesota,” said Don Quaintance of Centerville, a founding Pride Board member.  “This event brings people from all walks of life together in friendship, community and progress in understanding.”


Key Details

  • Date: Sunday, June 5, from Noon to 5p.m.
  • Location: Robinson Park, 200 5th Street SE, Pine City, MN
  • Performing: Katy Vernon, The Neighberz Band and “Take It With You” live radio theatre
  • Admission: $10 suggested donation for food
  • For more information, visit

Pride Flier Final.jpg

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Pine Technical & Community College now offers MMSC training courses

PINE CITY, Minn. – Motorcyclists, or those looking to get their motorcycle endorsement, have a new training site to go to for Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center rider courses. Pine Technical and Community College in Pine City, Minn. started offering the Basic Rider Course, Intermediate Rider Course and Moped Rider Training this season.

Last year, 61 motorcyclists were killed in 57 crashes on Minnesota roads, according to preliminary reports. That’s up from 46 fatalities in 2014. Thirty-three of those crashes were single-vehicle, involving only the motorcycle. All of these crashes are preventable.

Training is vital to motorcycle safety. The Basic Rider Course helps riders with no experience learn essential motorcycle control skills and earn their motorcycle license. The Intermediate Rider Course helps riders build upon their existing skills and help turn them into better riders. Courses start running in May.

Why take the Basic Rider Course?

  • Riders can get a license and learn essential motorcycle control skills in one course.
  • It’s designed for beginning riders with no previous riding experience and helps returning riders.
  • It’s thorough: Riders spend 4.5 hours learning motorcycle basics in the classroom and 10 hours practicing and mastering basic rider techniques on the range.

Why take the Intermediate Rider Course?

  • It covers skills crucial to safety: Control, finesse, counter steering, cornering, swerving and braking.
  • It’s affordable: The course is $55 for five hours of riding time.
  • Practice makes perfect: This is a great opportunity to tune up your skills early on in the riding season.
  • It opens the door for more advanced courses: After you master the Intermediate Rider Course, the MN Advanced and Expert Rider Courses are next on the list. These courses will turn you into an expert rider, using the same techniques designed to train and keep police motor officers safe in any riding or traffic situation.

How do Riders sign up?

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Pine City Community is Awarded Top Sponsor for 2015

The Pine City Community Blood Drive received an award for being a Top Sponsor on April 19, 2016 at the Memorial Blood Centers Sponsor Appreciation Luncheon.

‘Pine City Community’ has hosted blood drives with Memorial Blood Centers (MBC) for nearly 12 years.  A variety of local businesses take turns hosting the Memorial Blood Centers bloodmobile in their parking lot.  These businesses include: Chris’ Food Center, Walmart, Frandsen Bank & Trust, Pizza Pub, and the American Legion.  Collectively, the drives donated 274 units of blood during the 2015 year.

“Pine City is a very dedicated community and we have so many very dedicated blood donors who give every chance they get.  As a local non-profit organization, we rely on our local partners to host regular blood drives.  This allows us to collect an adequate supply for patients in our local hospitals.  Blood donors are truly special people for giving of themselves so that others might live,” noted MBC Lead Donor Recruitment Representative, Michele Keil.

“We are very proud to be recognized for donating to the Memorial Blood Centers’ efforts.  It’s a group effort.  A big thank you to Diane Babolik, Linda Defenbaugh and Mary Holetz for their help with calling donors to schedule for the blood drive.  You never know when it could be you or someone you love that needs blood.  Memorial Blood Centers is the sole supplier of blood products to Essentia Health in Sandstone and Duluth, along with Children’s Hospital in the Twin Cities,” explained Dave Hill, Volunteer Coordinator for the Pine City Community Blood Drive.

To schedule a blood donation appointment or to host a local drive, visit

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New Way to Help Minnesota Veterans Get Started in Small Business

Special thanks to the Pine City Yellow Ribbon Community for sharing this news release for posting on the community blog.  If you know of a Minnesota Veteran interested in starting a business, please share this article with them. 

MINNEAPOLIS – For the first time ever, Minnesota’s veterans will have access to a free entrepreneurship training course called Boots to Business Reboot (Reboot). Hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), with help from several local and national partners, Reboot is a two-step training program that helps veterans learn what it takes and prepares them to dive into business ownership.

Minnesota veterans are invited to take the first step of Reboot at a class held on two consecutive Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 13 and May 20, 2016, at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul Campus, 700 East 7th Street, Library Rooms 301&302 Saint Paul, MN 55106.

The sessions are free but space is limited and registration is required. Register at:

Boots to Business has been designed specifically for transitioning Service members. It caters to all pay grades, enlisted and officer, as well as military spouses. Participants include Service members transitioning after initial service commitments all the way through those retiring from a career of service.

In step one of Reboot, veterans will get an overview of business ownership and business plan development, a practical exercise in spotting opportunities and an introduction to available public and private resources.

Veterans who complete this two day course will then be eligible for step two: an eight-week online Foundations of Entrepreneurship course led by the Institute of Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.

Partnering with the SBA to present the Boots to Business Reboot program are Metro State University, SCORE, Small Business Development Centers, the Veterans Business Outreach Center and the Women’s Business Centers.

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Be the first to tour/taste both “Pine City” wineries

Wine Tour

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Whad’ya Know? They threw a dart and it landed on Pine City, Minn.

When Pine City set out to establish something sleak, clever and that separated Pine City from the “Up North” pack, it came up with “North. Nice and close.”  It has many meanings and interpretations but maybe none as funny as what’s heard in this segment on Wisconsin Public Radio:

By the way, the tagline rationale is officially:

  • North – conceptual metaphor, not just directional
  • Nice – good community/nice people/nice small town
  • Close – close knit community/close to large metropolitan area(s)
  • “And” – Nice and close (nice people with a close knit community) Or Nice plus close (location/proximity)

Santa Bob Haedt (not “Haedp”) adds some humor of his own.  Enjoy!





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Brook Park Fire Department Hosts Spaghetti Dinner

The Brook Park Fire Department will host their annual Spaghetti Dinner at the Brook Park Lion’s Hall this Sunday, April 3rd. Community members are invited to attend, free will donations will be accepted, and all proceeds benefit the Brook Park Fire Department.


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PTCC Hosts Poetry and Prose Reading

PINE CITY, Minn. – All are welcome to A Poetry and Prose Reading at Pine Technical & Community College at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 13. The event will feature Ann Boldt, author of a poetry collection entitled Night Shift, published by Finishing Line Press.

Following the feature presentation, students from the American Sign Language program will present, and then everyone is encouraged to join an open mic by reading published or personally written poems and prose. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held on PTCC’s back lawn or in Room 800 in case of inclement weather. Refreshments will be available. The Poetry and Prose Reading is hosted by the Pine Technical & Community College Liberal Arts Division.

Boldt, currently teaches English and reading courses at PTCC, where she was recognized as an Outstanding Educator by the Minnesota State College and Universities Board of Trustees in 2012. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Arts in Technical Communication and Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Minnesota State University-Mankato. Boldt has published poems in The Mankato Poetry Review and Minnesota River Review.

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Planning Commission recognizes ‘Citizen Planner’ and Gives Site Improvement Award

Frank and Mayor

Planning Commission Chair Frank Christopherson was awarded ‘Citizen Planner’ honors by Mayor Carl Pederson

The Pine City Planning Commission has named another Citizen Planner, Frank Christopherson, and has recognized another business for improving its appearance, Wiedemann Plumbing & Heating L. L. C.


Christopherson, manager of Pine City’s US Bank branch, was appointed to the Planning Commission January, 2005, by former Mayor Jane Robbins.  He was elected chair in January, 2013, succeeding Mary Kay Sloan when she was elected to the City Council.  He also serves on the Pine City EDA.

“Planners are not just those in the profession,” said Nathan Johnson, Community Development Director/Planner.  “It takes a community.”

Wiedemann Building

305 3rd Avenue SE – Before

Wiedemann Plumbing & Heating L. L. C. was recognized for vastly improving the building at 305 3rd Avenue SE.  The proprietor, Weylon Wiedemann, purchased the building from Robert Buckley in 2013 and has been steadily making façade improvements ever since.



Johnson said, “The Commission had a number of sites it debated recognizing this time.  It is great to see so many investing in their properties and storefronts.”

Wiedemann - after

305 3rd Avenue SE – After

“It’s great to see renovations of local business establishments,” added Mayor Carl Pederson.  “It presents an expression that Pine City is a thriving and vibrant community.  It is an honor to present this award on behalf of the City to recognize Wiedemann’s for their improvements to their business.”

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