Pine City Community Profile Updated

The Pine City Community Profile has been updated! The most recent version includes evaluation findings from Study Circles and LeadershipPlenty and copies of the community’s Horizons Team Agreement and workplans. (Keep in mind that the team agreement and workplans are subject to revision as community priorities and resources shift.)

Download a PDF version of the Pine City Community Profile. [updated 4/29 with missing work plan]

Pine City Recognized at Statewide Horizons Event

Pine City Horizons was recognized for community efforts at a statewide event held in St. Cloud on April 24th. Beverly Durgan, Dean of University of Minnesota Extension, presented each community with a plaque in celebration of their successful Horizons work.


Nisley places 6th at State Tournament

A great season came to an end at the Class A State Speech Tournament at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. last Saturday.  Schools from all around the state brought their best speakers to compete for the State Title.  Pine City had privilege of having three outstanding speakers compete at this prestigious tournament.

Trevor Clune and Josh Palmer, competing in their first state tournament as juniors showed the judges and fellow competitors why they were “the best in the business”.  Clune and Palmer’s season was a memorable one from the beginning:  back-to-back conference champions in dramatic duo and placing in the top-three in invitational at Ogilive, Braham, South St. Paul and Cambridge, and in the subsection and section tournaments.

“If there was a meet, these boys were in the top-three,” said Coach Beth Steinleitner.   “Trevor and Josh have been duo partners for two years and are looking forward to their senior year.  They started the State Speech Tournament off on a rocky start, but impressed the judges with placing third in their second round and second in their third round which honorable placed them in thirteenth.

Junior Aaron Nisley also competed at State, in the category of serious prose.

 “He started the meet off strong and never let up,” said Steinleitner.

Nisely’s preliminary rounds placed in him second, third and first, which landed him a spot as a state finalist.  He was competing against students from Mankato Loyola, Pipestone Area, Fairmont, Breckenridge, Hawley and Cass Lake-Bena.  The championship round was filled with talent from all over Minnesota.

 “Nisley gave it all he had,” said Steinleitner.  He placed sixth at the State Tournament in Serious Prose, an outstanding accomplishment that reflected the hard work and determination he had shown throughout the speech season.  Nisley’s outstanding season also prepare him for the state competition, earning his back-to-back conference title in serious prose at the Great River Conference, and placing in the top-eight throughout the season at invitationals with AA participants.

“These three young men are wonderful representatives to the Pine City Community,” commented Steinleitner.

“Aaron, Trevor and Josh have a talent that very few individuals have,” she said.  “With hard work and determination these young men will not only go far in competing, but in life.”

Softball Tournament Planned for Freedom Fest


Monster Energy will sponsor a Men’s and Women’s Softball Tournament as part of the 2010 Freedom Fest schedule of activities. Click on the image above for more details on how to register for the tournament.

Chamber Seeks Community Photos

The Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce is currently working on the development of the new Pine City and Pine County maps. The Chamber has chosen to work with local printing company, MINPACK, to print 3000 copies of each publication. Both maps are distributed at various local brochure racks including the Voyageur Bottle Shop, Chamber of Commerce Office, Sprouts Hometown Market, Pine City Library, and the Pine County License Center. In addition to the local area, the maps are also used by realtors in Pine City to share with prospective home buyers and through the Chamber for those considering a visit to the Pine City area.

The Chamber is currently seeking photo submission to be used on the cover of each of the two map publications. Avid photographers are encouraged to send their photos by April 30th to the Pine City Chamber. Photos can be submitted as a .jpeg file via email to: or can be mailed to the office at: 315 Main Street South, Suite 155, Pine City MN 55063.

Questions regarding the map publication should be directed to Becky at 320.322.4040.

Looking ahead: Time to plan the future

nathan-2010.jpgIMAGINE PINE CITY

Remember how it felt to dream about your future when you were a kid?


How many opportunities do you have to do that these days?


Never thought your opinion mattered?


This is your Pine City!



City Planner Nathan Johnson


City of Pine City Comprehensive Plan | Initial Community Forum | Apr. 26 | 7 – 8:30 p.m. | Our Redeemer Lutheran Church | Kid-friendly, coffee and snacks | Visit for more info

Pine County one of few in Midwest to see growth


As shown in the above map, Pine County, along with a ring of counties surrounding the Twin Cities area, are some of the few to gain a share of the U.S. population over the last 25 years.

With industry going by the wayside, much of the rural Midwest’s economic vitality is going with it.  The current recession is only accelerating a decline and traditional manufacturing jobs are leaving the rural Midwest.  And so are many of its best-educated and most talented young people.  While this may be true for much of the Midwest, it appears Pine County is bucking the trend.

Could Pine County have an economic future as bright as the Midwest’s vibrant past?  According to a recent article in the Daily Yonder, in order to do this, boosters must not only sell the area as a cheap place to make things, but also highlight the region’s many other economic assets—its natural resources, its hard-working people, its central location, its schools and colleges, among others —that could all be leveraged into a competitive new economy.

Speech advances three to State


  • Most successful season in recent memory continues this weekend -Juniors Trevor Clune, Josh Palmer and Aaron Nisley will compete on Saturday in St. Peter

A great season for Pine City Speech just got better.

One week after 18 Pine City High School students qualified for the Section Contest, three more have extended their season by punching their ticket to the State Speech Meet at Gustavus Adolphus College.  Juniors Trevor Clune and Josh Palmer will represent Pine City in the Duo Interpretation category after placing third with their selection, “The
Battle of Brown and Whitmore”.  Junior Aaron Nisley also advances by placing second in Serious Prose with a cutting from the classic novel “Fahrenheit 451”.

Clune and Palmer started the day off hot and never let up: they scored a perfect 100 in their first preliminary round and followed it up by two more strong rounds, comfortably landing them in the final round of eight.  The final round is critiqued by a panel of three adjudicators, which ranked the Pine City duo sixth, third and second, respectively.  This meld of 11 was good enough for third place and a berth at State, edging a duo from Dassel-Cokato by only a few hundredths of a point.  The win was especially huge for Clune and Palmer, who narrowly missed State a year ago by placing fourth.

Reflecting upon the meet, Clune stated, “The payoff for hard work is really impressive.”

The boys started the season earlier and worked harder, to great results.  Says Palmer, “The competition was really tough and it was a fun experience to see so many outstanding new acts.”

Amazingly, Clune and Palmer were not the only duo from Pine City in the final round.  Seniors Shauna Cronk and Leah Schminkey finished off their season in great form, by placing sixth.  Their day was highlighted by receiving a near-perfect score of 99 in their third preliminary round.  Their selection, “Joyful Noise”, is a poem for two voices by acclaimed children’s author Paul Fleischman.

In Prose, Aaron Nisley scored 98, 100 and 96 in his first three rounds, respectively, and awed the final round judges with score of 98, 96, and a perfect 100 in the final round.  Up against the most intense competition of the season, Nisley brought his “A” game and finished in second place.

Remarkably, a total of eight students qualified for the final rounds.  Renee Schminkey competed in the Creative Expression category with an original speech entitled “Hello
There”.  Schminkey had her best meet of the season, scoring 98, 98, 97 in
her three rounds and placing eighth in finals.  Only a sophomore, she will certainly be a formidable presence the next two seasons.

Senior Bri Engh, competing in Serious Drama, also received raves in her first three rounds and finished with eighth.  Remarkably, Engh was competing in her first complete season of speech.  Her piece was a challenging monologue entitled “Mississippi Mirror” by Alan Haehnel.  “I was so proud to make it as far as I did with such great competition,” said Engh.

In Informative Speaking, sophomore Laurel Anderson found great success for the second-straight season.  With a clever and inventive presentation on the topic of dreams, Anderson (who was Conference Champion one year ago), launched herself into the final round with scores of 98, 97, and 94, and finished in seventh place.   Anderson was quick to credit the team for staying focused on Saturday.  She said, “Since the meet was on the same day as prom, a lot of team members were really stressed and worried about being late to prom, but they put their performances first, and it paid off.”

Also participating were Andrew Cox and Christine Kraft (Humorous), Lauren Funkhauser (Drama), Sandra Wawersich and Jazz Dyksmann (Duo), Beth Maki and Jackie Martini (Extemporaneous Speaking), Allison Skluzacek (Great Speeches), Anthony Olson (Original Oratory) and Ashlee Martini (Storytelling).

Olson, only an eighth grader, values the friendships he has made with the other students who have mentored him throughout the year.  Olson competed this year with an original piece about teen suicide, saying speech is not just about winning medals and trophies.

“Speech is a great way to voice your mind and make a difference in the lives of people around you,” he said.

The team is coached by Beth Steinleitner and assisted by Amanda Thompson.  Following Saturday’s meet, Steinleitner was overcome with emotion, saying, “I’m so happy for these students and all they have accomplished is such a short amount of time.  Pine City has a lot to be proud of.”

Steinleitner, in only her second year as coach, has doubled the size of the team and
brought home more awards for the squad in recent memory.   Not since the
mid-90s has Pine City Speech found such success.

NOTES: The Section meet, held in Kimball, brought together students from 26 schools.  As a team, Pine City placed seventh.   Perennial powerhouse Milaca took the team title by scoring 39 points.   Second place went to Dassel-Cokato and St. Cloud Cathedral placed third.  Other area schools:  Braham tied for 21st and Rush City tied for 25th.

Jazz great Terry Peffer to present free concert

  • Sax player performs live with Pine City Band May 3

Twin Cities based freelance jazz musician Terry Peffer will be appearing in a free concert on Mon., May 3 in Pine City as part of the band’s annual Pops Spectacular.  Peffer will play a stunning arrangement of “Georgia on My Mind” with the Concert Band, as well as several tunes with Pine City’s Jazz One, including an original composition, “Jumpin’ and Swingin’.”

Peffer has played with bands, orchestras, and jazz ensembles throughout the Midwest, and has even toured as far as China with the Century Jazz Ensemble.  He brings a mix of old and new to his performances and is a versatile performer who will utilize both alto and tenor sax in his Pine City performance.

The concert takes place on Mon., May 3, in the Pine City Elementary Auditorium in downtown Pine City.  The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and all seating is general admission.   This is Pine City’s third annual guest artist concert.  For more information about this event, please contact Brad Mariska at 320-629-4129 or


Group looks to make a difference

  • Our Response sets town hall meeting in Pine City

In East Central Minnesota, there is building momentum to respond together in the fight against global poverty, disease and suffering.

Known as “Our Response”, this movement is about uniting residents of East Central Minnesota to work toward the transformation of the community of Kivuruga, Rwanda. Working in close partnership with World Vision and their long-standing child sponsorship program, Our Response is committed to seeing Kivuruga move toward self-sustainability in 15 years.

In November 2009, four area residents traveled to Kivuruga to meet the residents, community leaders, and World Vision staff.  They learned there is an amazing opportunity for East Central Minnesota to respond with compassion and impact.

Over the past few months, many amazing things have happened with Our Response including having 86 children sponsored in Kivuruga through their efforts.

The entire community is invited to the Our Response Spring Pizza & Info Session on Monday, April 19 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at the Pine City Public Library.  They will talk about the vision of Our Response, share memories from the trip, and allow attendees to hear about the next steps in this community-wide effort.

Family and friends are welcome to enjoy supper and find out more about Our Response.

For more information on Our Response, check out, join the Facebook group Our Response, or contact them directly at or (651) 587-5435.