A look at stories that transcended beyond Pine City…
1. Pine City mom works to release son detained in Iraq
Hearts went out to a Pine City mom, Cindy Hickey, after her son, Shane Bauer, along with Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, were taken into custody and accused of espionage in Iran. Bauer’s future mother-in-law, Nora Shourd, lived with Hickey until her daughter Sara was released on bail. The hikers await trial.
2. Isaackson drafted by Sabres
In June, Pine City’s Christian Isackson was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL draft in Los Angeles. Isackson spent the past season playing at St. Thomas Academy where he finished second on the team in scoring with 57 points (25g, 32a) in 26 games with the Cadets. He led the team in powerplay goals with nine. Isackson has already committed to attend the University of Minnesota.
3. True ambassadors, “Jerry’s kids” Nick and Aubrey Olson, laid to rest
Within two months of each other, Nick Olson, 21, and Aubrey Olson, 23, died of complications from Friedreich’s ataxia. In 1998 and 1999, Nick and his older sister, Aubrey, were named MDA National Goodwill Ambassadors. They were the first siblings to be named MDA Ambassadors since 1964. The brother-sister team traveled extensively across America, representing MDA and the families it serves. Following his high school graduation in 2007, Nick attended Pine Technical College with his service dog, Henry. Aubrey was completing her bachelor’s degree in child psychology at the University of Minnesota with plans to attend law school.
4. Fallen soldier, MSGT Daniel Fedder, honored Statewide
A well-loved Pine Citian and decorated Marine, Master Sgt. Daniel Fedder, 34, died in Afghanistan in a bombing attack. Fedder, a Pine City High School graduate and wrestler, was an explosives ordnance disposal technician who enlisted in the Marines in December 1994. He was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and in 2006 and then deployed with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2007. In that time, Fedder was awarded more than a dozen personal service awards, including the Purple Heart.
5. Man rescued by a deputy’s hunting dog dies
94-year-old William Lepsch died despite his rescue by off-duty sheriff deputy Brett Grinde’s intuitive hunting dog, Effie, who insisted on leading the deputy to where the elderly man was frozen to his driveway.
6. Pine City hangs on in recession
Homebuilding is still down in Pine City but the community continues to grow at a faster pace than neighboring towns; six (6) homes were built in Pine City this year. In comparison, North Branch—last decade’s fastest-growing community in Minnesota—built just one.
7. Following national trend, local Blockbuster Video closes
Following the trend, the Blockbuster in Pine City closed earlier this year. The company reports that by the end of 2011, the video rental chain will try to reverse its losses by closing as many as 20 percent of its stores, in hopes to fend off rapidly growing rivals, Netflix Inc. and Redbox. In the near future, Blockbuster will begin to have video rental kiosks within other retail locations, similar to the Redbox concept. The closure left some prime commercial space at 880 Main Street S., with some of Pine City’s highest traffic counts along the fronting Main Street.
8. East Central Minnesota Pride trend setting
East Central Minnesota GLBT people, their family and friends met in Pine City to celebrate rural pride for the seventh consecutive year. Now, other Outstate Minnesota communities, including Grand Rapids and Brainerd, have followed suit and are hosting pride events of their own.
9. Horizons program pays off
The community received a BIG check from Northwest Area Foundation in the amount of $10,000 for meeting all thresholds of the Horizons program to date. The programs relates to eradicating poverty and building community locally.
10. A trail on the way
Pine City was successful in receiving a $600,000 appropriations request, on top of a $225,000 DNR trails grant, to begin to establish a trail that will eventually tie the Willard Munger Trail (in Hinckley) with the Sunrise Prairie Trail (in North Branch), completing the link from the Twin Cities to the Twin Ports (Duluth-Superior, Wis.).