College grad rate rising faster than U.S.

  • Only two out of five counties in America–including Pine County–have a rising college graduate share.


Source:  Georgeanne Artz: “The Rural Brain Drain: Is It a Reality?”

The above map shows the competitive share of the college-educated population as a percent of total population over age 25, from 1970 to 2000.  For some 60% of counties (those in red, mostly rural), the competitive share is negative, indicating that the college graduate share is rising more slowly than the national average.  Moreover, this map indicates that, by-and-large, metro areas are seeing their share increase while rural areas are not. Locally, Pine County bucks that trend.

See a full post on this topic here.

Energy Assistance Available

  • Funding available for Minnesota families (See Red Rock Radio link below)

Reusing bags reduces plastic bag waste


Last year, Walmart announced that it would work to reduce the weight of its global plastic shopping bag waste by an average of 33 percent per store by 2013.  With the millions of dollars they spend each year purchasing plastic shopping bags and more than 176 million customers visiting their stores each week, reducing the number of plastic shopping bags they give away demonstrates Walmart’s unique position to drive change across an entire industry for the benefit of business, customers and the environment.  Should Walmart Achieve this goal, the company claims it could reduce plastic bag waste by 9 billion bags per year from existing stores.

One of the measures Walmart has incorporated in achieving its goal is to increase the availability and affordability of reusable bags; such bags are also available at Sprouts and at the Pine City Farmers’ Market.

* Congratulations to Brenda Skluzacek!  For replying to this post, she won a  Buy Fresh Buy Local reusable bag.

Scholin to be honored for planning efforts


Pine City Council Member Brian Scholin will receive the City’s third annual “Citizen Planner” award at the third-annual planning open house Wednesday, Oct. 28, to be held in conjunction with the American Planning Association’s “National Planning Month”.

Scholin will be honored by Mayor Jane Robbins for his commitment to planning for the City of Pine City and his contributions to the city’s comprehensive plan adopted in 1998 and municipal development ordinance (M.D.O.) adopted in 2006.

Of the M.D.O., Scholin said, “I think we have a better ordinance now than we had when I started, we follow it more of the time and the Council confirms [the Commission’s] judgments more often.  I’m not sure how much of the credit I can take for that, but I have focused most of my effort into those areas.”

Scholin’s leadership is recognized in the various committees he serves on:  Ordinance/Policy Review, Insurance, Executive Committee, Net Plan Joint Powers Board and Library Board/Web Page.

He has worked professionally in the field of education throughout his time in public service.  As a planning commissioner, he says he has tried to bring rationality to the process to replace personal feelings.  “It hasn’t always worked,” he admitted.

Scholin was appointed to the planning commission in 1989, and currently serves as Secretary.  He has been on the Council since 1993 and is presently the acting mayor.  During his tenure, he has served on numerous committees and has been present at more than 200 Planning Commission meetings, and more than 300 Council meetings, with perfect attendance over the last year.

The open house will be from 5:00 – 6:30 P.M.  For more information, contact

Here is what the award says:

The award of


is proudly presented to


for his level of involvement, overall positive effect on the community, length of commitment, and leadership in the realm of planning.

Economic downturn’s affect on housing


Counties shaded in darker colors have higher rates of vacancies.
  • Pine County’s vacancy rate above 30%.

According to data collected by ESRI, more than one-third of Pine County homes are considered vacant.  In their recent edition of Government Matters, ESRI claims that governments are stretching to provide more services to more people while collecting less money due to reduced property values and lower sales tax revenues.  Nationally, the vacancy rate averages at 11.2%.

The article states that the upside is that favorable prices of foreclosed homes and low interest rates in some areas are attracting the first-time homebuying market.

Bella Café opens in Pine City


Proof that Pine City is becoming more touristy?

Bella Café Fudge Shoppe recently opened in Nelson’s Market’s Pine City location (1035 Main Street S.).  Orders can be made online for great, tasty confectionery gifts for friends, families or coworkers.  See what others are saying about it and other Pine City eateries here. Bella Cafe on Urbanspoon

Downtown Leadership Group yields vision

dlg.jpg downtown-logo.JPG

The DLG meets the 2nd Wedsnesdays at Sprouts Hometown Market

At their meeting Wednesday, the Downtown Leadership Group (DLG) adopted a vision and a mission to carry them forward.

Vision:  To support historic downtown Pine City as the proud heart of our community, where our heritage is preserved and celebrated in a visually attractive, thriving Main Street business district; a place where the community and visitors alike come for dining, shopping, services and entertainment weekdays, weekends and evenings.

Mission Statement:  The mission of the Downtown Leadership Group is to celebrate downtown Pine City’s identity and heritage, retain and enhance its unique sense of place, foster a center of activity and ensure economic stability through concentrated efforts of design, organization, revitalization and promotion to entice businesses, customers, visitors and residents.

To become involved in the DLG, contact

“Little Shop…” tickets on sale

  • Tickets for “Little Shop of Horrors”, the PCHS fall musical, are on sale.  The show opens Friday the 13th, and runs two weekends.


The cast has been learning lyrics and lines over the past five weeks, as well as lots of dance moves from choreographer Beth Dempsey, of Maplewood, Minn. 

The musical comedy “Little Shop of Horrors” has been a staple of high school and college theatre programs for the better part of three decades and Greater Pine City area residents will get their chance to see this gem of a show starting on Fri., Nov. 13.  Tickets for “Little Shop” are on sale at several area businesses.

The students and staff are especially excited for this musical, which features infectious songs, great jokes, and unique special effects that will entertain the whole family. In fact, many may have seen the movie starring John Candy and Steve Martin or remember a Pine City High School production of the show in the 1990s.

Advanced tickets are highly recommended.  Last year, more than 1,600 people packed the Pine City Elementary Auditorium for performances of the fall show, “A Christmas Carol.”  Businesses that will be selling advance tickets include Nelson’s Market-Pine City, Cabin Coffees, Sauser’s Hardware and the Flower Box.  Advance tickets cost just $4 for students and $6 for adults.  Tickets to all performances will also be sold at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.  Tickets at the door are $7 for adults and $5 for students.

Performances of “Little Shop of Horrors” are Nov.13-14, and 20-21 at 7:30 P.M.  There will also be a matinee performance on Sun., Nov. 15 at 2:30 P.M. with a special backstage tour starting at 1:30 P.M.  The backstage tour will allow audience members and families to see the “Audrey II” puppets close up.  The professionally-designed and built puppet pods were acquired through a grant received from the East Central Regional Arts Council.

For more information about “Little Shop…” or to make a group reservation, contact director Brad Mariska at (320) 629-4129 or 

Preservation Alliance has local presence


The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota has a two-week display in the vestibule of City Hall in Pine City to showcase preservation and protection of Minnesota’s historic resources.   Everyone is encouraged to stop by, sign the guest book and pick up a brochure to learn a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ about preservation.

Senate Capital Investment Committee to visit Pine City

The Senate Capital Investment Committee will take a tour and meet with people in the coming days to get a firsthand view of projects where a roughly $3 billion of state dollars may be invested.  Tough decisions will surely have to be made with the current economic situation.

As reported in the Proctor Journal, a bipartisan delegation of state senators and staff will be visiting several potential capital investment projects throughout East-Central and Northeastern Minnesota in the coming days.  Led by State Senator Keith Langseth (DFL-Glyndon), the chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee, the group will get a firsthand look at a number of projects seeking state funding in the 2010 Legislative Session.  A site in Pine City is included on the tour, which will be visited the morning of Mon., Oct. 12.

The local site is the Military Affairs office (at Pine City’s National Guard Armory, 1305 Main St. S.) and the tour will stop there at approximately 9:30 A.M., after visiting nearby North Branch’s City Hall at approximately 8:30 A.M.  Afterward, the delegation will continue on toward Duluth and the Iron Range, where they will stay overnight in Hibbing.  From there, the tour will wind its way back down to East Central Minnesota, with stops Weds., Oct. 14 at Mora’s City Hall and, afterward, at Princeton’s School Bus Garage.

The local visit is part of a  regional visit — the third of four tours of Greater Minnesota being taken between now and the start of the 2010 session.  In past tours, information gathered has been very important once the legislative session starts and tough decisions need to be made about which projects will be funded.

In 2009, the House’s and Senate’s capital investment package passed and funded nearly $300 million in state investment projects.  It was expected to create a total of 3,000 Minnesota jobs.  More specific information on 2010 capital investment requests can be found at the Minnesota Management and Budget Web site.