A LOOK BACK AT THE STORIES THAT TRANSCENDED BEYOND PINE CITY…
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
|FASTEST GROWING||FASTEST DECLINING|
|Little Caesars||299||Domino’s Pizza||-151|
|Five Guys||157||Dairy Queen||-135|
|Panda Express||110||Cold Stone||-120|
|Tim Horton’s||104||T.J. Cinnamon’s||-112|
SOURCE: THE NPD GROUP/RECOUNT, SPRING 2009
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.