A new year a new resolution


Well here we are the very last day of the year, and what a great year it has been. I am not a big one for making resolutions, but this time of the year that seems to be the thing to do. The main ones seem to be, lose weight, exercise more, eat less, eat better, and on and on. This year I am challenging you to make a new resolution- to get involved in our community. Make Pine City a place you want to live by getting involved.

There are so many ways to get involved, one way is to join on of the 4 Horizon work teams, the goal of these teams is to reduce poverty, build community, and help Pine City prosper. It can’t be done without you! Not only will you feel great about the place you live, you will meet great people, help others in our community, feel a sense of belonging. If any of these sound like something you would like to get involved with please get in touch with Lezlie Sauter at 1-800-832-6082 ext. 123 or lezlieb@lakesandpines.org

I don’t want this to sound like a commercial but when you have found a great program like Horizons it is hard not to try and get everyone involved. Making a resolution to get more involved in our community is a lot easier than loosing those extra 20 pounds! Remember as Nathan Johnson’s voice mail says ‘Only You Can Make A Great Pine City Happen’:)

People Helping People

– Bring a “Trade, Barter, Buy Store” to Pine City
– Develop a program for Emergency and Homeless Housing needs
– Establish a Food Program for Nutritious Meals at Affordable Prices

Youth…Looking Forward
– Create a Before/After School Options Task Force
– Research Mentoring Opportunities for Youth
– Coordinate Parent
Education Opportunities

Pine City Prospers
– Educational Classes in: finances, car repair, resume building, etc.
– Develop a Micro Loan Program
– Research & Development for a Community Center

Everything Pine City
– Develop & Distribute a Comprehensive Resource Directory for Pine City
– Host Networking Events for Community Resources to learn about each other
– Create a Distribution Center for Information

Duskwind Farm

A look back at ‘09

  •  NEWS

1.      A Pine City mom grieves as son is detained in Iraq

Hearts went out to Cindy Hickey after her son, Shane Bauer, along with two other hikers were taken into custody and accused of espionage in Iran.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the accusations ‘unfounded’; the world awaits the results of their trial.

2.     Lakeland Finance failure causes ghost developments

Cross Lake Preserve and Fawn Meadows were two developments that promised to become thriving new neighborhoods, but ended up jumbles of weeds, buckled roads and construction debris.  Those who bought into these neighborhoods now live near empty houses and an abundance of vacant lots because Lakeland defaulted on their bank loans in projects across Minnesota.


3.      No. 32 Dragon hockey jersey retired

25 year-old Beau Berglund may have lost the battle to brain cancer but he won the hearts of the community.  A tribute to all he was, his jersey – No. 32 – will be on display at the Pine City Civic Center for generations to come.

4.      High profile tennis coach hails from Pine City

’96 PCHS graduate Jon Rydberg went onto become one of the top-ranked wheelchair tennis players in the world, competing in the last two Paralympics.  Most recently, he accepted the position of head coach of Minnesota’s newest high schools girls’ tennis program, East Ridge in Woodbury.


5.      A radio Pioneer, Mesa Kincaid, laid to rest

In the 70s, “The Fox that Rocks” or “The Cheetah” (a.k.a. Cheryl Hoeft) was doing her part to break the glass ceiling as one of the first women deejays in the Twin Cities market.  Her final years while living in Pine City were spent as an environmental advocate.

6.      Fallen firefighter, Jeremy Jylka, honored nationally

Pine City Firefighter Jeremy Jylka was one of 98 men and five women remembered at the 28th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Service in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Jylka died at the age of 34 after suffering a medical problem enroute to a wildfire in 2008.


7.      Downtown shows signs of revival with opening of several businesses

After the blows of losing downtown’s clothing store, photo shop and post office in ’07, this year downtown welcomed an arts center, new retail stores and a couple of new eats.   And, Sauser’s Hardware celebrated its 100th year of operations downtown through three generations of the same family.

8.      Gone are Denny Hecker Auto Mall and Horizons Bank

Denny Hecker files for bankruptsy, packs up and leaves town.  Pine City, once home to all of the “Big Three” auto dealerships, is left with just a Ford dealer.  Additionally, the Federal government shut down the most banks in one day in American history, on Jun. 26, including Pine City’s Horizons Bank.

9.       Following national trend, local Domino’s closes

Also due to the national economy, this year saw 27 Starbucks close across Minnesota; 19 Ritz Cameras (out of 26 total); and all four Krispy Kremes.

Some chains find ways to succeed in industry shakeout
No. of units opened or closed during 12 months ended in spring of 2009 in U.S

Wingstreet 913 Quiznos Subs -414
Subway 645 Bennigans -192
Dunkin’ Donuts 590 TCBY -189
Little Caesars 299 Domino’s Pizza -151
Five Guys 157 Dairy Queen -135
Jimmy John’s 157 Blimpie -131
Panda Express 110 Cold Stone -120
Tim Horton’s 104 T.J. Cinnamon’s -112



10.      East Central Minnesota Pride celebrated its fifth anniversary

East Central Minnesota GLBT people, their family and friends met in Pine City to celebrate rural pride for the fifth consecutive year.  Other Outstate Minnesota communities, including Willmar and Brainerd, have followed suit and are now hosting pride events of their own.

11.      Horizons program begins to pay off

The community received its first check from the Northwest Area Foundation, in the amount of $1,500 – with more on the way – for meeting all thresholds of the Horizons program to date.  Horizons aims to eradicate poverty and build community in Pine City.


12.  There’s substantial job growth in Pine County amidst recession

According to the Rural Yonder, job growth is all about “Location. Location. Location.”.  A recent post showed maps and supporting figures that Pine County had some of the most substantial job growth in the nation since the recession began in December 2007.

  • For a look back at ’08, click here.

Omnibus Spending Bill Includes $600,000 for Trail through Pine City


The red line denotes a 32-mile missing trail link between the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) and the Twin Ports (Duluth-Superior, Wis.)

According to Congressman Oberstar’s Web site, the Twin Cities-to-Twin Ports trail project was one of 22 Minnesota projects to receive nearly $30 million in funding from an appropriations bill that won final approval from the U.S. House of Representatives last Thursday.   Earlier this year, the House passed individual appropriations bills to fund the various projects; however, the Senate consolidated the appropriations legislation into one bill so it would have more time to focus on health care legislation.

Congressman Oberstar advocated for the inclusion of the project, which will begin to connect the Sunrise Prairie Trail (in North Branch) with the Willard Munger Trail (in Hinckley), in the appropriations bill.   The entire  missing link is 32 miles and, once connected, it will be of the longest trails in the world connecting the Twin Cities with the Twin Ports.  

It is estimated that six-to-nine miles of trail can be created with $600,000, and that the trail will be established somewhere near the southern Pine County border and run through Pine City’s municipal limits.

Other area projects to receive funding through the Omnibus Bill (Transportation- Housing-Urban Development):

$   500,000   Northern Lights Express
$   400,000   Cambridge-Isanti Bike-Walking Trail
$1,200,000   City of Isanti Pedestrian Bridge over TH 65   

43rd Annual Ice Fishing Derby


  •   Sponsor:  Snake River Valley Conservation Club
  •   Date & Time:  Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010, 1:00 – 3:00 P.M.
  •   Location:  South side of Pokegama Lake by Mitchell’s Landing
  •   Door Prizes:  $300, $200, $100 and $50 Cash, …and many more!

Hot Web sites

For Technology Tools in 2010

Technology magazines are coming out with their top trends for 2010. The following is an annotated list of some of the most frequently mentioned trends and tools. Add one or more to your 2010 online toolkit.

  1. Twitter (http://www.twitter.com) – a real time, text-based chat service. Members can read and send message through the web, cell phone or other handheld device. It’s not new, but it is reaching more and more people every day.
  2. Midomi (http://www.midomi.com/) – a musical search engine where you can sing or hum a song to perform a search. Hum a tune and it will get more information for you.
  3. Layar (http://layar.com/) – a cell phone application that shows real time geographic digital information through the camera of your mobile phone. Use it when you visit a new town; point your phone’s camera down a street and laid over a digital map will be information such as street names, building names, names and details of local businesses and even reviews from sites such as Yelp (http://www.yelp.com), when available.
  4. Square (https://squareup.com/) – a gadget that allows you to accept credit card payments through any device with an audio input jack. It’s a great soon to small businesses; imagine the artist at a craft fair now able to accept payments quickly, easily and cost effectively.
  5. Google Latitude (http://www.google.com/latitude/intro.html) – a GPS-fueled application that can track your location from your cell phone. Sign up to find or be found by friends and family.
  6. Google Wave (http://wave.google.com) – an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. Currently you must receive an invitation to download Google Wave, but it’s an application to watch especially if you work remotely or have colleagues in different locations.
  7. Zynga (http://www.zynga.com/) – a collection of online games. Gaming is consistently noted as one of the fastest growing online applications. Zynga is just one example.
  8. Hulu (http://www.hulu.com) and Epix (http://www.epixhd.com) – collections of online television shows and movies available for download; many available for free.
Hot Sites is produced by Blandin Foundation’s Broadband Initiative to introduce rural citizens to online tools that can help them save time, save money, learn about a topic or have fun. Visit www.blandinfoundation.org for more information.

Pine City Horizon Team November Minutes

Well since another meeting is coming up, it is about time I posted these minuets- I apologize they are so late.

Pine City Horizons Team
Meeting Minutes
Monday, November 16th 2009
5:00 pm Pine Tech

Purpose: Sustain the vision of building prosperity, reducing poverty – keep the “fire alive”- and coordinate Work Team activities in the community.

Vision: Welcome to Pine City where people live, work and play. Our beautiful city offers many recreational choices, community events and an active arts community. Youth are healthy, active and drug-free and a part of a positive multi-generational culture. Energy is renewable & sustainable. We welcome change that makes our community better and we welcome you to visit or stay and live here with us.

Present: Cyndy Cohen, Kathy Doenz, Kris Engh, Marcia Howard, Jan Nettleton, Sydney Rydberg, Lezlie Sauter, Becky Schueller, Becky Macki, Jennifer Peterson.

Absent: Kayla Defenbaugh, Jennifer Erdmann.

Learning About:
Marcia presented on giveMN.org
• Once an organization is a 501c3 they can be listed on this site
• Allows people to donate online to their favorite non-profits
• Secure

Minutes from 10/19/09
No changes needed.

Work Team Reports (Activity since last meeting)
• Everything Pine City: Becky networked with Mike Gainor, editor of the Pine City Pioneer. The Pioneer publishes the information guide each year so Becky and Mike discussed the similarities and differences between the guide that EPC wants to put out and the one the paper publishes. Becky sent the spreadsheet to the paper to help incorporate the information that EPC had collected. As a thank you, the EPC team would like the HWT to consider placing an ad in the information guide. Tabled for discussion under “Other” in the agenda, later in the meeting.
• Looking Forward – Youth: Becky reported that they are looking into before and after school programs and working with the PTO on this. The PTO and LFY team have parallel ideas but different as well.
• People Helping People: Kris & Jan reported that they met the Wednesday before and talked about have the medical/dental mobile, results of the Resource Luncheon, Pine Tech as a fiscal agent, the grant writing workshop, having the Healthy Teeth club come to town, Evergreen Church is working on being the Angel Food distribution site, Love Inc. which brings churches together. The PHP team also talked with Julie at the food shelf to start tracking homelessness, Julie agreed to begin to tract this in January of next year (2010). The PHP team has also contact Nathan at City Hall about using the old jail as a shelter, the PHP team is also going to contact the County (who owns the building). The PHP team is also looking into USDA grants for shelters. Cyndy suggested the team first start a task force around the idea. Marcia suggested contacting Pathways (has a shelter in Cambridge) for ideas on how they got started.
• Pine City Prospers: Marcia reported that Sarah from Rural American Bank agreed to conduct the More $ More Sense on Thursday November 19th. PCP team put the class in the Happenings section of the newspaper. At the class Sarah will be touching on ID theft and debt collection practices. Marketing for the class also included passing out flyers. Cyndy suggested to bring up the micro-loan program idea at the next PCP meeting because Cyndy has possibly found Brian with the UM Extension office that could help team the PCP team about it.

Fiscal Agent
Our Fiscal Agent has still not been determined. It is likely to be Pine Technical College. Cyndy met with Dr. Robert Musgrove last Tuesday, he had questions about the work plan and needed to discuss the decision with others. Dr. Musgrove had stated that the 1st year could be done at no cost, but subsequent years would be dependent on activity. Stephanie from Dr. Musgrove’s office emailed the City and Communities Investing in Families suggested either would be a good candidate as the fiscal agent, not knowing that both had already been contacted by the HWT to do so, and were turned down. Cyndy reported that the $$ is on the way because the workplan was approved by the NW Area Foundation- great news! Treasurer would work with the fiscal agent to get paperwork ready for the deposit.

The work team asked Becky Maki to serve as the Treasurer and she accepted. Becky will follow up with the fiscal agent and will be responsible for monthly reports, deposits, payments, and annual reports.

Grant Writing Workshop
Please help spread the word about this workshop on Saturday November 21st from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM at the Hinckley High School. Cyndy has emailed everyone the flyer, contact Cyndy ASAP if you or someone you know would like to attend.

MN Non Profit Conference
• Marcia stated that Kathy from the Initiative Foundation will be presenting in Little Falls on 11/20/09 and she will ask her about the micro loan program
• Becky shared about the Emerging Leaders workshop she attended and how they talked about choosing the right “face” of your organization, implementing programs and evaluating positions. Anyone that wants more information can ask Becky.
• Jan said that the information from the conference is available online and she will email everyone the link.
• Cyndy shared that other Horizons communities were present and shared their struggles with the new Horizon communities.

Resource Luncheon
Cyndy said that the Luncheon had a good turn out with good contacts and important people in attendance. Becky shared that she sat at the table with the elected officials and that they were shocked about the poverty statistics that Cyndy presented. Becky also recommended that we conduct something similar again because a lot of important people and groups were also missing. Becky also suggested that Cyndy to the work team introductions first to aid along conversations at the tables.


Cyndy informed the HWT that there will be no Horizon program for new communities, so this means that there will be no funds for coordinators. She stated that they do not know what the future holds except that there will be funds for a Horizons Alumni Program.

Becky passed around the Funding Review Form with the point value system. She asked that everyone keep a copy in their binder. One sheet would be used per organization. Cyndy asked where comments would go.

Becky mentioned the monthly Chamber/PTC networking & learning opportunity which will be held the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. called PANEL. The event cost $10 to attend, and it includes lunch. This month’s event will be held at Wings North.

Becky and Lezlie presented the costs of placing a Horizons ad in the information guide:
• Full page black and white = $280.00
• Half page black and white = $190.00
The team voted with no members opposed to the idea. It was discussed that Pine City Horizons be at the top, with a category for each of the work teams within the advertisement. The contact should be the PR Representative, Lezlie.

Blogging was mentioned, and Jennifer Peterson has agreed to be the HWT official blogger. Everyone that has be deputized is encouraged to blog, guest bloggers are welcome and we’d especially like to see some blogs about teen issues.

Cold weather and Sweet Potato Pound Cake

I have been meaning to give another recipe but this week has flown by. We have been busy here on the farm. With this cold, cold weather we have been having things take twice as long to get done, with many extras needing to be done. With Thanksgiving checked off the list there are just a couple more holidays and we are home free- well that is until February. My husband is also a college student and finals are on the calendar then he is free to work on the farm for at least three weeks straight. A week or so ago we finished the root cellar, we are really excited to see how it works, hopefully we can enjoy all the great produce we grew or bought at the Farmers’ Market. One of the things we are storing is wonderful sweet potatoes we bought from Melon Vine, again at the Farmers’ Market. I tried this recipe out last year on some brave friends and they loved it and I hope you do to- let me know what you think!


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (about 4 to 5 medium-size potatoes)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sweet potatoes; beat well.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg; gradually add to sweet-potato mixture, beating well after each addition. Batter will be stiff. Stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans if adding. Spoon batter into a well-greased 10-inch tube pan or 2 standard-size loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes; remove from pan and let cool completely.

Happy Eating!
Duskwind Farm

Recycle your holiday lights


Statewide Effort to Recycle Christmas Lights

This year there is an opportunity to recycle your non-working holiday lights.  The Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) is hoping to collect more than 50,000 pounds as it launches the first major statewide effort to recycle Christmas lights.  One of the group’s main goals is to promote energy savings and efficiency.  It is estimated that recycling copper from Christmas lights uses only about 10 percent of the energy it would take to extract and process copper ore.  RAM also hopes to encourage people to consider buying LED lights as part of this effort.

Recycling 50,000 pounds of lights in Minnesota would save about 530,000 kilowatt hours, or about 960,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. That’s assuming 20,000 pounds of lights are replaced by LEDs and that homeowners with lights use them for about six hours a day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

If you and your family or your organization would like to participate, it is recommended that you set up a collection box for your employees or customers.  Then, simply bring any of your non-working holiday lights to the local Pine City collection site through January 15, 2010.  The lights will be collected here and then sent to a recycler where the lights are removed, the pvc insulation line is shredded and the wire separated for recycling.

For more information, click here.

To find out where the collection site nearest you is, E-mail:  ram@recycleminnesota.org

Information taken in part from the Initiative Foundation “Things to Know”.

ECMN Communities = BFF


  • East Central Minnesota exudes regionalism at its finest

Studies show that the most effective strategies for economic development are technology based and regionally focused.  What happens when you have both?  In East Central Minnesota, the public and private sector, together with a technical college, rally behind economic development for the good of the entire region.

Dr. Musgrove, President of Pine Technical College, chairs a regional consortium to improve economic development and technology business recruitment in East Central Minnesota, called GPS 45:93.  It was awarded one of four grants statewide to do integrated regional workforce and economic development planning.

In the four-county region of East Central Minnesota, communities, counties, agencies, colleges and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe have banded together to prove that regional collaboration for economic development is not only possible but productive.   One such project, Mariah Power, is already under way.   GPS 45:93 played a role in linking a member’s lead to landing Mariah Power in the region.  The basic funcion of GPS 45:93 is to provide resources to help its membership with economic development efforts.

The idea is that, when one community benefits, the entire region benifits; much like when one area school benefits, the surrounding communities send their praises.  Remember when Braham had their three-peat in the State Basketball Tournament?  …Cambridge, Isanti, Mora and Pine City all were excited for the Bombers.  With Hinckley-Finlyason’s Amber Dvorak now on the Gopher Basketball  squad, more Sandstone and Pine City ball fans are tuning in or heading to the ‘U’ to take in a game.

The aforementioned examples are great for the entire region, just as each of the partners of GPS 45:93 are (one of which is Pine City).  Each member is an asset, or a strength, and is able to compel a company to locate here.  It just might take us all working together to do that.