A Place for You overcomes another obstacle at Planning Commission Meeting

Over the recent months there has a very lively discussion regarding ‘A Place for You’ transitional shelter. The discussion begun in the end of August when the group applied for a conditional use permit required to operate in the Allina Clinic building. At the time, there had been no previous public meetings regarding the shelter and minimal information was known by the community. During the August planning commission meeting, citizens expressed their concern with a shelter opening downtown.  Shortly following, ‘A Place for You’ to held three information sessions. The group also met with the Lions Club, ministers from around Pine County, and will be meeting with the Chamber of Commerce next week. Additionally, A Place for You released extra information specifically outlining their intake procedures.  Releasing this information was done in order to ease community concerns that individuals will be drawn from the surrounding five-county area, gather in Pine City, and become a safety concern for local residents. The info sheet can be found by clicking here.

 At last night’s planning commission meeting, the group faced two obstacles in order to allow the shelter to move forward with its plans. First, the approval of an ordinance amendment was required.  The amendment would allow for a community living arrangement within the designated area. Some commission members held strongly to the idea that the ordinances be upheld, arguing that a lot of time and effort had gone into creating the ordinances. Despite this, the majority of the members voted in favor of amending the ordinance, thus allowing for the discussion to continue and directly address the topic of the transitional shelter.

 During the discussion surrounding the conditional use permit, several issues were addressed. In order to receive the permit, guidelines must be set in place to ensure that the shelter is respectful to its neighboring residents as well as the overall health of the city.  The commission discussed multiple items, such as staffing and loitering, and then made the necessary recommendations to minimize any potential negative effects. However, the main point that the commission discussed was regularly reviewing the permit and making alterations.  By requiring a frequent review, the commission could add additional conditions that would need be met by A Place For You. This review process would ensure that A Place for You maintains its position as a respectful and positive organization in Pine City-just as its founders intended.

Out of Pine City comes trees and… dogs?

Governor Mark Dayton recently added another dog to his family.   Itasca was born in Pine City on Aug. 16, coincidently the governor’s father’s birthday.  Dayton, an apparent dog-lover, already has a black male German Shepard, Mesabi, who is aging, and a younger female dog named Mingo (short for Wanamingo) who reportedly has a high energy level. 

Mingo, born in Clara City, Minn., has a Facebook page and the public was invited to guess the name of her new sibling pup before it was announced.  The winner, Emily Flesch, guessed “Itasca” and won dinner at The Bachelor Farmer, a restaurant opened by the governor’s two sons, Eric and Andrew Dayton, in Minneapolis.

Typically, Christmas trees come from the Pine City area to decorate the lawn of the Governor’s residence each holiday season.  Apparently dogs now make their way from here to there too.

Operation Community Connect Returns to Pine County

How do you prepare for the winter?  For many people, the process is fairly simple.  Pull out the sweaters, scarves and hats from storage. Make sure that the snow-blower and shovels are ready to go.  However, for those individuals who are homeless, low-income or “living on little” the process is very different.  Often times for these individuals, preparing for winter involves spending beyond their budget or going without the necessary items. 

To assist Pine County residents prepare for the approaching cold weather, Pine City Horizons has organized Operation Community Connect (OCC). This is the second year in a row that the event will be held in Pine City. The goal of OCC is to connect low-income, homeless, and at-risk households to local resources and services. OCC provides an opportunity for a “one-stop shop” by helping individuals access all the resources and services that they need in one location.

The theme of this year’s OCC is to provide warmth. The services provided at the event reflect this goal at a variety of levels.  A free soup and sandwich lunch will be offered to each individual who attends.  Sweaters, jacket, blankets, mittens and other warm clothing will be given away. Lastly, a wide variety of county organizations will be on hand.  Public, private and non-profit agencies will be present covering topics such as housing, nutrition assistance, financial assistance, medical, mental health info, veteran services, and education and employment opportunities.

The effects of OCC can be felt well beyond this single day event. Previous OCCs have been used by researchers to strengthen their homelessness data for Pine County and Greater Minnesota. For example, the Wilder Foundation has used OCC and other drop-in service events as an opportunity to improve their homeless counts. Their findings have been used to increase funding and further address the issue of homelessness in Greater Minnesota.

This year, Pine County OCC will take place on October 13th from 12pm-6pm at the Lighthouse PCEFC in Pine City. Additionally, Arrowhead transport will be operating county-wide the day of the event. For further questions, to donate, or get involved please contact Lauren Ellmers at (320)629-2575ext 115 or by e-mail at lellmers@pinecitygov.com

Cast Announced for musical “Charlie Brown”

  • PCHS seniors Sean Kehren, Renee Schminkey lead veteran cast

A veteran cast will bring classic “Peanuts” characters to life on the Pine City stage this November.  “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” features all your favorite characters, including Snoopy, Linus and Lucy, Schroder, and Peppermint Patty.

Heading the cast will be senior Sean Kehren as Charlie Brown.  Kehren has been an integral part of the PCHS thespian family since 7th grade, when he had debuted in “I Never Saw Another Butterfly.”  Tormenting Charlie Brown at every turn is Lucy, who will be portrayed by junior Courtnie Blazek.  

Of course, a story about Charlie Brown wouldn’t be complete with his loyal sidekick Snoopy, which will be played by senior Renee Schminkey.  Schminkey is not only a veteran to the local stage but is also an up-and-coming songwriter who has been performing extensively both locally and in the Twin Cities over the past year.

Other lead roles were awarded to junior Adam Martin (Schroeder), junior Ben Miche (Linus), and senior Laurel Anderson (Sally).

A total of 26 students received roles through a competitive audition process, with an additional 30 students serving as members of the crew.  The production is directed by Bradley Mariska, and assisted by Beth Steinleitner, Jennifer Krinke (music), Beth Dempsey (choreographer), Jay Schueller (tech), and Pat Martin (costumes).

2011-2012 also marks the 30th anniversary of the premiere performance of “Charlie Brown” in Pine City, when the musical was staged by June Nichols.  That production starred Pat Doran as Charlie Brown, Mike Westerman as Snoopy, and Suzie Lindig and Jackie Artymiuk as Lucy.

Performances of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” will be November 10, 11, 12, 18, and 19 at 7pm and November 14 at 2pm.  Tickets will go on sale in mid-October at several area businesses and from cast and crew members.

The A-list: Sept. 17-18

Sporting Events

  • Prep Football, Pine City Dragons (2-0) at Rush City Tigers (0-2), Jacobs Field, Fri. 7 p.m.


  • Farmers’ Market in the Park, Robinson Park, Fri & Sat., 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Special Events


  • A Moment Without (hard-rock, heavy metal), Froggy’s, Sat. 9 p.m.  Free admission.  21+
  • Tim Mahoney (acoustic jam), Running Aces, Sat. 7 p.m.  $15 (Benefit concert to help fight hunger in Minnesota; bring canned food item or cash donation)  18+
  • Terry G. Hall (southern gospel)  Evangelical Free Church Lighthouse, Sat. 7 p.m.  Free-will offering.  All ages.


  • Elizabeth (Eli) Maukstad, Danny C’s BeachRocks Pub & Supper Club, Sat. 2 p.m. (casual attire)

Building your Small Business Toolbox

This fall, Pine Technical College will be offering a series of seminars that are geared towards small business owners and entrepreneurs.  The classes which start next Tuesday September 13th, will run weekly until mid-February.  A total of twenty-three sessions will be held and each will have a different topic and focus.  Topics will cover some of the most fundamental business lessons, such as creating a business plan, while other classes, such as Social Media Strategy and Marketing Green are geared towards already existing businesses.  With such a wide range of classes, there is something for every type of owner and entrepreneur.

The cost of attending a class session is $49 and attendees may pick and choose subjects based on topics. For more information and a listing of classes click here.

Minnesota’s Small-town Pride Recognized in Community Showcase at State Fair

Pictured left to right are Wendy Johnson, Nathan Johnson, Emma Schroeder, Barb Schroeder, Don Quaintance and Phil Schroeder.

Don Quaintance and Nathan Johnson accept the award and check on behalf of East Central Minnesota Pride at the State Fair’s annual Community Showcase Saturday, Sept. 3.  Johnson was interviewed on a panel afterward by The UPTAKE.