Now accepting nominations for lighting contest

Beginning today, the Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce is taking NOMINATIONS for the 2010 Holiday Lighting Contest for both residential and business entries.  Do you know a home in your neighborhood, a friend or family member that has a holiday lighting display worthy of recognition?  Is there another business in town that should be recognized for a festive window display or exterior lighting display? 

Send your nominations by Friday, Dec. 17.  Please include the individual or business name, address and phone number if possible.  Nominations can be sent via email to: OR by phone at 320.322.4040.

PCHS to perform “The Arkansaw Bear” one-act

  • Award-winning children’s play will compete, perform in January
  • PCHS is two-time defending Sub-Section Champions

Fresh on the heels of their most successful fall musical ever, Pine City High School has announced its selection for the Minnesota State High School League’s One-Act Play competition, a beautiful and emotional children’s play entitled “The Arkansaw Bear.” 

Written by acclaimed children’s playwright Aurand Harris, the selection premiered at the University of Texas in 1980 and has since become an important play for teaching children about death, dying, and the grieving process. The play is seen through the eyes of a young girl named Tish who learns that her grandfather is near death.  Tish is scared and confused and runs away into the woods where she meets friends and forest creatures who teach her about about the circle of life and how to grieve when losing a loved one. 

The poignant story will sure to be a hit amongst students and judges alike, when the play comes to competition in late January. The play’s director will be Brad Mariska, who has led Pine City to Section Finals three years running. 

“This play is truly powerful,” says Mariska.  “It is a beautiful story that treats a difficult issue – death and dying – in a most respectable and honorable way.  Children and their parents will be moved by the beautiful storytelling and dancing.  This is one of those shows that is unique and will remain not only in the consciousness of those who see it, but also linger positively in the minds of the judges at contest.” 

Pine City is looking to defend their Sub-Section Championship at contest on Saturday, January 29, here in Pine City.  There will also be a public performance of “Arkansaw Bear” on Friday, January 28 at 7:00pm in the Elementary Auditorium.  Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and will be available at the door. 

To prepare for the public performance and Sub-Section Festival, the students will also attend practice festivals in Sauk Rapids, Cambridge, and Mora. 

Casting for the show will be announced next week.

Holiday Madness, Friday December 3rd

holidaymadness.jpgPine City will celebrate the beginning of the holiday season during the annual Holiday Madness and Christmas Carol Parade scheduled for Friday, December 3. This year’s event schedule has some new and exciting additions once again!

The Pine City Chamber is hoping to encourage all of the Pine City residents to make a donation to the Pine Community Food Shelf or the Pine County Toys for Tots drive. In that effort we are asking that a food or toy donation be made on Friday, December 3rd to help deserving families in our community. Drop off your donation at one of the participating locations and you will be entered into the prize drawings. Northwoods Bank of Pine City, Cabin Coffees, Discover Serendipity, Voyageur Bottle Shop and Java Joe’s Bistro will accept donations from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM on Friday. The winners of the drawings will be announced in Robinson Park following the tree lighting.

The Pine Center for the Arts will partner with MINPACK again this year to provide photos with Santa. There is a new location and starting time for the photos this year, so start off your night with Santa from 3:00 – 5:00 PM at Cabin Coffees. This year the photos will be a 5×7 portrait for just $3 per photo. Photos will be available for pick up on Friday, December 10th.

Outdoor festivities will begin at 5:30 pm in Robinson Park. Enjoy the singing talents of Pine City’s finest as the high school choirs, led by Jennifer Krinke, will put us all in holiday spirits with their holiday sing-a-long.

The 9th Annual Christmas Carol Parade begins at 6:00 PM. There will be a new parade route this year beginning at the corner of 8th Avenue & Main Street next to Waxberg Clinic. The parade route will travel north on Hwy 61 to 3rd Ave SE, then go to Robinson Park in downtown Pine City. The parade features a variety of lighted floats with Christmas Carol themes; the Mayor of Pine City, Pine City Royalty, Heritage Players, Pine Riders ATV Club and Wings North are among this year’s entries.

The lighting of the Christmas tree in Robinson Park will take place immediately following the end of the Christmas Carol Parade, so hurry on down! A special presentation by the Elementary School choir, led by Jennifer Hansmann, had been added to this year’s line-up. Pastor Joel Preston from the Evangelical Free Church and Pine City Mayor Jane Robbins are scheduled to speak at the tree lighting ceremony. Pine Center for the Arts and the Pine City Heritage Players return this year with a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to close out the evening in the park.

The Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the events, invites everyone in East Central Minnesota to enjoy this day of Christmas cheer by taking advantage of the many events. Throughout the evening we encourage members of the community to use this evening as an opportunity to shop or dine at one of our local businesses. Look for the Holiday Madness flyers at local businesses over the next week to find coupons for discounts at local retailers and restaurants that will only be valid on Friday, December 3rd.

Area hunter wants lesson known

KSTP reports that a deer hunter near Pine City wants others to learn from his experience.

See story by clicking here.

Local tree to grace governor’s residence

A 55-foot white spruce tree from the Chengwatana State Forest will grace the Minnesota governor’s residence this holiday season.  Staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have cut down trees from this area before, which is about 15 miles east of Pine City.The tree will go up at the governor’s residence on Summit Avenue in St. Paul on Monday.

Community Fundraiser Cards Now Available!

The Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce along with local businesses have partnered once again to create the 2010 Community Fundraiser Card. The cards have a new look this fall and are small enough to fit into your wallet or checkbook, making it easier to carry them with you.

There are three organizations in Pine City that are currently selling the cards: Pine City Seniors, Pine Dragons PTO and Pine City Youth Hockey. The cards went on sale yesterday and will be valid through May 15, 2011. Pine City Seniors will have a table set up at the high school and Pine Dragons PTO will have a table set up at the elementary school during the last night of conferences on Thursday, November 18th. Those interested in supporting Pine City Youth Hockey should pick up their card at Voyageur Bottle Shop beginning today.

The cards are just $10 and 60% of the sales are used to support the programs for the selling organizations and 40% is returned to the Chamber to cover printing and administrative costs.

Participating busineses include: A&W Restaurant, Java Joe’s Bistro, Mitchell’s Landing, Pizza Pub, Wings North, Bob’s Tire & Auto, Campbell Auto & Tire, Eide Auto Center, Discover Serendipity, PHASE Furnishings, Sprouts Hometown Market, Voyageur Bottle Shop, All Breed North Dog Training & Handling, MINPACK, Old Oak Inn, Pine City Car Wash & Detailing Service, Shear Obsession Hair Salon, Wag More Bark Less Grooming, and Wild River Veterinary Clinic.

Pine City schools succeed in vote

  • Other area schools are unsuccessful in levy attempts

The votes have been counted, and the renewal of the 10-year operating levy attempt in Pine City School District history passed on Nov. 2 by quite a margin, 2,651 to 1,619.

Over 62 percent of area voters favored the property tax levy renewal of $838 per student, which has been in place since 2002.  That levy was due to expire in 2011 so members of the Pine City School District Board chose to put the decision before voters this year rather than hold a special election next fall.  The renewed levy remains in effect until 2021, and results in no increase in property taxes.

Voters in other area school districts voted against similar measures by about the same percentage that Pine City’s was approved by.  The neighboring district to the south, Rush City, defeated a $500 per pupil increase by 1,513 to 738.   All three levy questions failed in North Branch (5,215 to 3,073; 5,247 to 2,811; and 5,425 to 2,522).  And Ogilvie, which had already cut back to four-day school weeks, defeated an additional $900 per pupil increase 884 to 582.

Here is a look at the success of levy referendums across the state, according to the Minnesota School Boards Association:

• 43 school districts out of 77 passed at least one operating levy question. Of those, 30 districts passed all questions and 13 had mixed results.

• 34 districts failed to pass an operating levy question.

• The 56 percent passage rate is much better than the 42 percent passage rate from the last congressional year of 2006, but lags behind the 72 percent passage rate of last year.

• The 77 districts asking for a levy was the highest number since 2007, when 101 districts requested levy referenda.

The 3/50 Project, by the numbers

The Agurban sent out a great ezine this week mentioning Cinda Baxter and the 3/50 Project movement.  Below are the key points of The 3/50 Project, as outlined on their home page.

3 – What three independently owned businesses would you miss if they disappeared? Stop in. Say hello. Pick up something that brings a smile. Your purchases are what keeps those businesses around.

50 – If half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. Imagine the positive impact if ¾ of the employed population did that.

68 – For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures.  If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays local. Spend it online and nothing comes home.

1 – The number of people it takes to start the trend – you!

The Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Leadership Group have been long time proponents of supporting your local businesses and have each discussed the 3/50 Project at recent meetings. What a great idea that Cinda has put together! 

Your challenge:  Pick 3 and Spend 50, to Save your local economy.

“Guys and Dolls” opens big

-Performances continue Friday and Saturday

Pine City High School’s fall musical opened this weekend and even the season’s first snowstorm couldn’t keep audiences from flocking to see “Guys and Dolls” at the Pine City Elementary Auditorium.  Nearly 1,200 people came out to the first weekend of performances, and shows continue this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.  The musical, directed by Brad Mariska, features classic show-stopping songs like “Luck Be a Lady” and “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and is lavishly performed by a cast of 40 and a 14-piece orchestra.

Reserved seats for this weekend’s performances can be purchased by calling
320-629-4013 or general admission tickets can be bought for a discounted
price at Cabin Coffees in Pine City.   Tickets will also be available at
the door.