Economist gives his outlook

Paul Anton, of Anton Economics, addressing a small crowd at the Financial Resource Summit at Pine Technical College March 30, 2011.

The economic outlook isn’t as grim as some might expect, that according to Paul Anton of Anton Economics.  In fact, as he explained at a financial resource summit at Pine Technical College this week, in a variety of ways, the economy was rebounding as he was giving his keynote address. 

“We are in a U-shaped recession,” he said, explaining that the bottom of the ‘U’ was hit in late- 2009.

Bringing the best available economic reasoning and research methods, Anton came to Pine City with a message that was met with surprise to some, and optimism for others.  The message was a part of a larger program aimed at having various agencies and departments learn from one another about the financial resources available in the region.

Anton was on-hand to help the audience analyze the issues and evaluate programs and public policy.    He claimed the U.S. economy would be worse off had the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) not been signed into law by President Obama in early 2009, but he went onto say that he didn’t support the automaker bailout.

Anton spoke of whether to raise taxes or cut spending in a recession, a topic economists debate.  The fact that tax cuts have historically led to greater deficits was something that didn’t seem to sit well with Anton, who suggested that many economists agree that rasing taxes to provide for continued spending in key areas can help the economy pick up necessary steam, or at least not falter.

He brought the tools of economics to bear on a variety of topics and he informed those decision-makers present representing profit-making business, non-profits, foundations and governments.  About the housing industry, he said we can expect growth again in mid-to-late 2012.

Anton is currently Chief Economist of Anton Economics, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm, and has over 30 years experience in corporate economic analysis, financial forecasting, industry analysis, economic development issues and government policy advising.

His views on economic issues have been widely quoted, appearing in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Star TribunePioneer Press and Los Angeles Times; and carried on Cable News Network, CBS Radio and National Public Radio.  Anton serves on the Council of Economic Advisors for the State of Minnesota and is a member of the Star Tribune’s Board of Economists. 

Pine City’s changing face

David Keno, age 19, a 2010 Pine City High School graduate living in Pine City at the time of the 2010 Census.


That was the total count for persons living in Pine City in 2010.  With just 80 more people living here than 10 years before (Census 2000 pop. 3,043), the new figure might come as a surprise to some with the visible new multifamily and attached housing developments that have added dozens of new housing units across town.  

At the same time, a fuller picture might suggest that the housing gains have been offset by foreclosures, family displacements, and a demographic shift toward empty-nest and non-family households, with fewer people per housing unit. 

Some of the most revealing changes for Pine City and Pine County weren’t in their growing numbers though, but rather in the number and percentages of minorities in the area.   For example, Pine City has 2% fewer White residents and Pine County has 2.4% fewer than a decade ago.  Who’s moving here?  Pine City has seen the biggest growth rate in new Asian residents (a half-a-percentage point growth).  Perhaps it’s not surprising that the New China and Wild Bamboo Vietnamese restaurants weren’t here a decade ago.

American Indian and Alaska Natives saw the next biggest influx in Pine City (from 29 to 48 people)–which is more than the State average–followed by gains in African American people and those with two or more races.  1.2% of the residents of Pine City now claim to be Hispanic or Latino as well. 

What implications does this change mean for residents of Pine City?  With the changing demographic can come some challenges but also some wonderful opportunities. 

Pine City has a vitality about it that attracts all types of residents–and students too.  At Pine Technical College, of their 1,000-plus students, approximately one-in-10 are people of color, according to recent data released by the college’s marketing director, Dani Chandonnet. 

The recent Census numbers will continue to be analyzed by city officials, and others, in the City’s comprehensive planning process, and then used to create a picture of Pine City, its current needs and its requirements for the future.  Who we are could influence initiatives going forward.

New blog launches

Welcome to the Horizons’ Pine Poker!

We hope you enjoy the new features of the blog at  We hope you find its contents fresh, informative and thought provoking.  It’s not just the editors of this site who make it that way… Successful blogs are interactive and rely on their readers to comment and sound off.

Please take a look.

As you begin to familiarize yourself with the new blog, the Horizons’ Pine Poker (yes, we brought back the Pine Poker), you will see that it is much the same yet improved.  All of the content from the past blog was transfered over.  A few links and RSS feeds have been added per your suggestions and we have brought them here for you to continue to use.

The new blog resembles the one it replaces but it has a more colorful Horizon and a new name.

Did we miss something?


We want to hear from you.  If you have ideas or suggestions, please comment to this post and let us know.  If you like to blog and want to be considered to be an editor, please leave your E-mail contact information within your comment. 

Be sure to subscribe.

Lastly, we know a lot of people followed the Pine City Community Blog over the past couple of years.  Since its beginning, over 30,000 hits to the site were logged.  Thank you for your continued following and interaction.  If you were a subscriber to our feedburner E-mail at, we encourage you to subscribe here (by entering your E-mail address near the field in the upper, right-hand corner).

Missing dog?

Pine City’s Public Works Dept. picked-up a dog from the Pine City Animal Clinic at 9:45 a.m. Mar. 16, 2011.  It is a male, Golden Retriever/Collie mix with long hair (white on chest), weighing 30-40 lbs.  The dog has a red collar and is approximately one (1) year old. 

Anyone missing a dog with this description or with information about its home should contact Lisa Dunbar at the City’s Public Works Dept. at (320) 629-6474 or at

Horizons Minutes-February 2011

Pine City Horizons Team

Monday, Feb 28, 2011

5:00-6:30 pm @ Chamber Office

[Minutes in red italics]

Continue reading

Your Family’s Money Matters: Make the Most of Your Finances In Tough Economic Times

US Senator Al Franken & the Federal Trade Commission host a free information event

Your Family’s Money Matters: Make the Most of your Finances in Tough Economic Times


The event will be held on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at the Wilder Center, located at 451 Lexington Parkway North, St. Paul, MN from 8:30 am to 11:30 am.

Participants may choose from 2 of the following workshops:

· Financing a small business
· Planning for Retirement
· Getting the most from your tax return
· Creating healthy financial habits
o Preventing home foreclosure
o Understanding your credit report

Space is limited! To register, send an e-mail to or call (651) 221-1016.

Please indicate which two workshops you would like to attend.


Minnesota Arts Count Census

The following article was originally distributed by the East Central Arts Council through their e-newsletter.  We wanted to take the time to share this information with all of you as well. Thank you!

Whether a personal or professional interest, arts are important to you – and to the quality of life in Minnesota. The Minnesota Legacy Amendment passed in 2008 helps support creative expression through grants dispersed by the East Central Arts Council and the Minnesota State Arts Board. 

 As part of dedicating funding to the arts from the Amendment, the state legislature has called for the Minnesota State Arts Board and the state’s regional arts councils to conduct a census of artists and artistic organizations to measure the far-reaching influence of the arts in the state.

 The East Central Arts Council, along with the Minnesota State Arts Board, invites anyone who, professionally or personally, engages in any and every form of creative expression to participate in the MN Arts Count census. Do you sing? Act? Dance? Write? Draw? Paint? Sculpt? Photograph? Weave? Play an instrument? Compose? No matter how well or how publicly you share your talents, be proud and be counted.

 Go to to complete the census. If you prefer, paper surveys are available by calling 800-748-3222 ext. 225.

 Help us spread the word. Tell your friends to be counted, too. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Pine County Relay for Life

Planning for the 2011 Pine County Relay for Life walk is in full swing and participating teams are amping up with excitement at being a part of such an important and worthy cause.  The walk is scheduled for May 14 – 15 from 6:00PM to 6:00AM at the Pine City High School Track.  At this time there are close to twenty teams that plan to participate.  The local committee has set a goal of raising $20,000 for this year’s event.  Each team member’s individual goal is just $100 for the American Cancer Society’s fight for a cure.

One way to raise this money is by having people make a $10 luminaria donation in memory of a loved one or in honor of a survivor.  Luminaria donations can be made to any team member or by contacting members of the planning committee.

Team captains will be meeting the second Tuesday of each month at 5:00 PM in the Elementary School Media Center.  Time is running short, but it is still possible for interested individuals to get a team together or consider joining an existing team. 

Questions can be addressed to the following committee members: Lisa Westeren (320) 629-3652; Sheila Hughes (320) 629-2699; or Diane Engelstad (320) 629-5025.

Spotlight on Upcoming Events

There are always good things happening in Pine City, and sometimes you just have to dig a little to find them.  So this week I thought I could share a few things that are coming up this weekend!

Parent’s Night Out – Friday, March 11th – Imagination Station Preschool will be hosting this evening.  There will be pizza, games, crafts, dancing and fun for kids. (Must be potty trained) 6PM – 10PM.  Cost if $15 per child or $25 per family.  Must have minimum of 15 kids registered. Please call 763-221-9601 to reserve a spot.

Gallery Opening for Peg Skalicky – Friday, March 11th – Pine Center for the Arts will host the monthly gallery opening for a local artist.  Stop in and see Peg’s original paintings from 6:00 – 7:30 PM

Love is in the Air – Saturday, March 12th – Pine Center for the Arts continues its Music Series events with an evening of poetry and song.  David & Marilyn Bengtson will perform at the North West Company Fur Post.  The evening begins at 7:30 PM and tickets are $15 and available at Pine Center for the Arts and Cabin Coffee’s.

Send your community events to for listing on the Community Calendar and Community Blog.  For more calendar of events items, visit the Chamber of Commerce community calendar at