Pine City resident Helen Chalupnik turns 100

Pine City’s Helen Chalupnik was born July 1, 1911, and last weekend celebrated her 100th birthday a wee-bit early at her daughter’s farm just outside of Rush City, Minn.

Chalupnik grew up in Nebraska and her husband Henry swept her away to Pine City in her midlife for a new career opportunity.  She reluctantly accepted but has since learned to appreciate the long winters and life among the lakes and pines. 

“I remember thinking, ‘Oh please don’t make me move to Minnesota'”, she recalled.  

While enjoying their retirement years, Helen made thousands of cake decorations as a hobby and side business.  She fondly recalls when a neighborhood child rode his bike to her house to get some decorations.

“He said, ‘My mom is not feeling well and I’d like to bake her a cake to cheer her up,” she remembered.  “He came several times and I’d pour him a glass of lemonaid and let him look at all of the decorations.”

Helen has been widowed since Henry passed away in November of 2003 at the age of 92.  Today, she lives at Golden Horizons and enjoys flowers and having visitors as well as solitude in prayer.

Let’s hope the cake she had at her centennial birthday was lovely, full of decorations–including flowers–and brought a lot of cheerfulness to her life as well!

Be sure to check out Donna Heath’s wonderful story about Helen this week in the Pine City Pioneer.

Incidentally, does anyone know who the oldest living Pine City resident is?

Learn how to make Moose Moccasins

Traditions of the Trading Post:  Moose to Moccasins Event

Where: North West Company Fur Post, Pine City.

When: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday

What: Watch and help as costumed experts explain how to turn a moose hide into moccasins. It’s part of an ongoing demonstration series about lost arts such as hide scraping, sewing birch bark and making twine.

How far: About 1.5 miles west of Pine City.

Details: $8 adults, $6 senior and college students, $5 children ages 6-17; free, 5 and under and Minnesota Historical Society members. 320-629-6356,

Aspen Ideas Festival echoes in Pine City

For over 60 years, the Aspen Institute has been the nation’s premier gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times.  Participants at the festival and those listening and contributing from afar through social media, are invited to be involved with seminars, workshops, tutorials and discussions on big topics, big problems and big solutions.

Minnesota Public Radio has been broadcasting 3 minute clips from various contributors this afternoon and I wanted to attempt to bring some of this discussion home to Pine City.

In my last post, “Pine City students respond to what do we need the most?” students illustrated through their responses some things that they would like to see fixed in Pine City.  Lets categorize this post as “Defining the Problem.”

For todays post, with inspiration from the Aspen Institute and the Aspen Ideas Festival, I would like to focus on the “Fixing the Problem” category.  To get ourselves into that fixing state of mind, I offer the following quotes from a variety of speakers at the Ideas Festival.  These are quotes I found interesting, on a variety of topics, and with luck, they will spur you to contribute your own “Big Idea” to this blog posting, through your comments.

Be brave and think BIG!

(For more information on the Aspen Ideas Festival, visit their website at

Pine City students respond to “What does Pine City need the most?”

Celebrate Community at Pine City’s Freedom Fest

Pine City has a reputation for providing great events, activities and places for residents and visitors to experience throughout the year.  So many of these events are coordinated by a single organization with a small volunteer group and yet provide big results.  The Pine City Arts Council organizes the Art Fest event each year, Pine Center for the Arts hosts gallery openings every month on the second Friday, Mike & Patrice Palmer organize the Solid Rock in the Park event each year in June…the list goes on and on.

On June 24, 25 & 26 the community will host the annual Freedom Fest weekend in Pine City.  What makes this event truly unique is that there are a dozen or so organizations across the community that each have their own little piece of this event.  Not only are we able to take the opportunity to celebrate something that we often take for granted – our Freedom – but we also have an opportunity to celebrate this community and our ability to come together to make a great event happen!

A complete line-up of the Freedom Fest activities is available on the Chamber website, but here are a few of the highlights:

The Classic Cruiser Car Club will host their annual Car Show beginning at 9am.  This event draws a number of car enthusiasts every year.  New this year – t-shirts will be sold to commemorate this event and a portion of the sales will go toward the community fireworks display.

The Pine Dragons PTO and Kettle Kinship will host a number of Children’s Activities from 12:00 – 2:00 PM at the Fairgrounds.  There will be game booths, face painting, crazy hair and more!  The Pine City Lions will be on hand with their train to provide rides to the young and young-at-heart! Pine City Parks & Recreation will host the annual Bike Parade and thanks to the generosity of Wal-Mart, all children that partcipate in these activities will have an opportunity to register and win a new bike!

New this year…House of Hope will host a Horseshoe Tournament at the Pine City Beach beginninat at 1 PM and will host two Bean Bag Tournaments at the Pine City Fairgrounds at either 9AM or 4PM.  For more information on these tournaments, call Mike at 651-332-6003.

Check out a little bit of the arts with a musical perfomance by the 4-H Arts In at 2:30 PM followed by songs from the upcoming community theater production of “Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at 3:30 PM to be performed by cast members of the production.

There will be food booths throughout the day at the Pine County Fairgrounds, providing a wide selection of food items to please the entire family. Menus include: Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Hot dogs & Coney dogs (Cross Lake Association); Sloppy Joes, French Fries, Pickles and Freeze Pops ( Pine City Youth Hockey); Nachos, Sundae’s Lemonade & Coffee (Pokegama Lake Association) and Taco in a Bag and Pizza by the slice (Pine City Wrestling Boosters). 

The evening will continue with a Free Admission Street Dance sponsored by the Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce. The “Inside Out” Band will perform from 8PM to Midnight at the Fairgrounds.  The band will break at 10:00 PM for the annual Community Fireworks Display presented by Hollywood Pyrotechnics. 

While the vast majority of the events for Freedom Fest are free, we are asking for the community’s support in reaching our fundraising goal for the fireworks display.  The community fireworks display is a $6000 expense each year that is paid for entirely through donations.  Local businesses, organizations and individuals have stepped up to make the fireworkds display possible, but we need community members to help us raise the final $800. 

If you are able to make a donation, please send to the Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce at 315 Main Street, Pine City MN 55063.  Additionally, we have Freedom Fest wristbands for sale a the Voyageur Bottle Shop and Pizza Pub and the Chamber Office.  Sale of these wristbands ($3 each or 2/$5) go directly to the cost of the fireworks.

Secrets to effective time management discussed at June P.A.N.E.L.

On Wednesday, June 15th, the Pine Area Networking & Entrepreneurs’ Luncheon (PANEL) welcomed back author and effectiveness trainer Michael Monroe Kiefer to discuss effective time management.

MIchael Monroe Kiefer is the founder of the POWERMIND project on human potential, a full-time trainer and best-selling author. He can be reached at

During the workshop, Michael discussed several facets of time-management including goal setting, organization, avoiding procrastination and more.  He began this workshop by defining time management as “the planning and organizing of your time so you can accomplish the most important goals as soon as possible.”

Continue reading

Snapshots of recent goings on

Robinson Park's Art in the Park

Lawn chairs began to fill Robinson Park Friday, June 10, just before 6 p.m. A summer tradition in Pine City, the Pine City Art Council's Art in the Park this night brought to the bandshell Sons of the Beach and, believe it or not, Elvis.

The week of June 6, some area photographers participated in an intergenerational program to photodocument the community of Rush City. A similar program was successfully conducted in Pine City last year and those photographs are now a part of the Minnesota State Historical Society's record. Pictured here are Wendy Johnson, of Pine City, and her latter-generation partner, Ashley, of Rush City.

Rush City/Pine City Regional Airport
The annual Fly-In/Drive-In was held Sunday, June 12 just south of town at the regional airport. Many people came out for the pancake breakfast, airplane demos and rides, helicopter rides, to fly remote control aircraft and take part in the many other activities featured.
Pine City’s Downtown Leadership Group (DLG) hosted an historical walking tour through downtown Pine City Thursday, June 9, after which they served up some delicious pies of various variety. The event was for future downtown planning as well as to show appreciation and recognition of the support in creating a strong, attractive downtown and to share survey results recently gathered by the DLG.

With  the warmer weather, lots of things are happening in and around Pine City.  From time-to-time, the Pine Poker is going to highlight some of them for you, in case you missed them, or in case you were caught by one of our photographers. 

With the Pine City bakery recently closed, perhaps locals who still have a sweet tooth have noticed the (cont. below)   renovations at the World famous With the Pine City bakery recently closed, perhaps locals who still have a sweet tooth have noticed the renovations at the World famous Tobie's bakery 10 minutes up the road. In early May, an extensive remodeling project was completed for 3,600 square feet of the Tobie's space, including new flooring, booths, display cases and restrooms.Tobie’s bakery 10 minutes up the road. In early May, an extensive remodeling project was completed for 3,600 square feet of the Tobie’s space, including new flooring, booths, display cases and restrooms (See display case at the left).


PLAY BALL! Minnesota Youth Clinic Takes Place in Pine City on FRIDAY, JUNE 24TH

The Minnesota Twins offer free baseball and softball clinics to youth in Pine City on Friday, June 24, 2011, at 2:00 PM and 3:30 PM at Pine City Public Fields or in the case of inclement weather at Pine City Civic Center Arena.

The Play Ball! Minnesota Youth Clinics program provides boys and girls from throughout the Upper Midwest with the opportunity to enhance their baseball and softball skills, while also hearing positive messages about staying in school and away from drugs and alcohol. Play Ball! Minnesota Youth Clinics are funded and administered by the Twins Community Fund.

Clinics are open to boys and girls ages 6 to 16 and are divided into two 90-minute sessions; the first session is for 6 to 9-year-olds and the second for 10 to 16-year-olds. Clinics focus on hitting, fielding and throwing. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children. Children ages 6 to 9 years should report Friday, June 24, 2011 at 2:00 PM; children ages 10 to 16 should arrive at 3:30 PM.

Created in 1961 by longtime Twins scout Angelo Giuliani, the clinic program serves as a way for the ball club to promote the games of baseball and softball to boys and girls throughout the region. Since the program’s inception, more than 800,000 youth have taken part in Twins clinics in the Upper Midwest and Southwest Florida.

Play Ball! Minnesota is a collaboration among the Minnesota Twins Community Fund and Minnesota youth baseball and softball organizations. Play Ball! Minnesota’s focus is to promote and improve the games of baseball and softball for Minnesota youth through increasing participation, communication and volunteerism; and improving fields, instruction and sportsmanship. For more information about Play Ball! Minnesota visit

For more information and the complete 2011 Play Ball! Minnesota Youth Clinics schedule please visit or call 1-800-33-TWINS.

Established as a nonprofit organization in 1991, the mission of the Twins Community Fund is to enrich local and regional communities by providing resources for the healthy development of children and families through and association with baseball, softball and the Minnesota Twins. The Twins Community fund is governed by a board of directors representative of the Upper Midwest.

MSGT Daniel Fedder honored, Rank recognized

MSGT Daniel Fedder will never be forgotten.  Most Pine Citians know that but now the State will remember his legacy as well, as he is a part of a new Memorial Wall honoring Minnesota service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The wall was the idea of Lt. Col John C. Nowicki to honor 67 men who paid the ultimate sacrifice and was dedicated Saturday at the 934th Fort Snelling Officers’ Club.  A touching KSTP interviewwith Fedder’s wife revealed how emotional it can be to lose a loved one in the military.

Heather Rank of Pine City

The Minnesota Twins are recognizing Yellow Ribbon Volunteers that go above and beyond in their respective communities this season.  May 23, they paid that recognition to Heather (Hallan) Rank, of Pine City.  According to Jessica Paulson of the Pine City Yellow Ribbon Community Task Force, they bestowed upon Rank four tickets to see the Twins that day and during the pregame,  she was brought onto Target Field’s field and the following was announced over the PA system: 

Heather Rank, the wife of an Air National Guard member, knows what it’s like to keep a family going during deployment. She is one of the founding members of the Yellow Ribbon effort in Pine City. She spoke at the city’s Kickoff event, and has tapped into the education steering committee to ensure they are meeting the needs of military kids. She has been a great spokespersons for Yellow Ribbon, appearing in a training video that is shown state wide at all Yellow Ribbon Kickoffs.  

When Pine City lost a member of their community last August, a soldier serving in Afghanistan, Heather coordinated the community to line the streets with flags during his memorial service in support of his mother and family. She is currently working hard on the deployment ceremony for the Pine City Army National Guard unit that will deploy Memorial weekend. 

Cast selected for “Technicolor Dreamcoat”

  • “Joseph” performances are July 21-31

Residents of Pine City and several surrounding communities showed up in droves last week during two nights of auditions for the popular musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” 

Over 90 adults and kids received roles in the cast and children’s choir, with another 14 selected for the pit orchestra.  Dozens of additional volunteers will serve in backstage roles, everything from rehearsal babysitters to set painters, hair and make-up artists to ticket takers, and sound and light controllers. 

Andrew Cox

Receiving the lead role of Joseph was Andrew Cox, a 2010 graduate of Pine City High School who is currently studying math education at Winona State University.  Cox previously appeared in several PCHS productions, including the role of Orin the Dentist in the acclaimed production of “Little Shop of Horrors” in 2009. 

Samantha Seuntjens

The show’s Narrator will also be portrayed by talented young local, Samantha Seuntjens, who is a 2008 graduate of PCHS.  Seuntjens is remembered for her role as Reno Sweeney in Pine City’s splashy production of “Anything Goes” in the fall 2007.  Seuntjens is currently a student at Gustavus Adophus College in St. Peter.

Dion Scott

The role of Pharaoh, a hilarious spoof on Elvis Presley, will be portrayed by Dion Scott.  Scott has lived in Pine City for about five years and serves as an Assistant Manager at Home Depot.  Scott participated in last year’s Pine County Fair Talent Show and has previously appeared in the musicals Finian’s Rainbow and My Fair Lady.  Scott and his wife Katrina live in rural Pine City and have eight children.

Tickets will be available soon at several area businesses or from any cast member.  Performances are at 7:30pm on July 21, 23, 29, 30, and 31.  A 2:00 matinee will be performed on Sunday, July 24.  The show is directed by Bradley Mariska. 

Anyone wanting to get involved or volunteer for crew can contact Volunteer Coordinator Cindy Foster via email:

The cast features residents of Pine City, Hinckley, Mora, Braham, Rush City, Grantsburg, and Siren.  A full cast list can be seen by visiting the Pine City Heritage Players page on Facebook: