More than 100 students join fifth grade band

Pine City’s award-winning music program continues to grow, with more than 100 enthusiastic fifth grade students joining the band program last month.  Students are quickly learning the basics and will give their first concert at a free performance on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Elementary School Auditorium.   Pictured here are members of the french horn section:  Savannah, Emily, Jenica, Hannah, Alixe, and Lily.

Pine City was named to the NAMM Foundation’s “Best Communities for Music Education in America” for both 2010 and 2011.

Calling on the hikers’ release pays off

What do Desmond Tutu, Muhammad Ali, Alyssa Milano, Ashton Kutcher and President Barack Obama have in common? 

Photo taken by Sam Klemet at April 11, 2009 "Hope Vigil and Walk" in downtown Pine City. In the forefront are Cindy Hickey, Bauer's mom, and Nora Shourd, Sara's mom.

They, along with many other celebrities (and governments), called for the release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fataal, on grounds of inhumane treatment and lack of evidence that these two men were spies.  

Both were recently set free after being detained since July 31, 2009.  Shane’s mother, Cindy Hickey, who resides in the Greater Pine City area, also feels freer these days.   Hear her intereview with the Star Tribune’s Gail Rosenblum here.

Volunteers for OCC Needed!

Horizons is looking for some volunteers to help with OCC next thursday, October 13th.  Volunteers are needed to assist with room set-up, food prep, surveys and intake.

Any intereted volunteers can sign up for a 2 to 3 hour time slot. The times include; wednesday 5-6:30 pm, Thursday 10-12, 12-3, and 3-6.  Please contact Wendy Johnson at to get involved.

Roberto selected to Dakota Combo

Members of the high school jazz ensemble, the Dakota Combo, have been selected by the MacPhail Center for Music and the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education after recently completing successful auditions.

More proof that Pine City is a “best community for music education“, the seven muscians selected for this honor include Pine City High School’s Samuel Roberto.  The Combo will rehearse together and perform throughout the school year under the direction of Adam Linz, MacPhail’s jazz coordinator.

The public can enjoy their performances during the Twin Cities Jazz Society’s Young Artists Series, at the Dakota Jazz Club (Minneapolis) and the Artists Quarter (St. Paul).  Also, they will participate in the 2012 Twin Cities Jazz Festival among other events.

Besides Roberto, other members of the Combo are Thomas Strommen of Wayzata High School, Joshua Jones of Minneapolis Southwest, Patrick Adkins of Edina High School, Henry Misa of Avalon School (St. Paul), and Joe Suihkonen and Sam Wildernaurer, both of Minneapolis South.

We’re Expanding!

In order to diversify the topics and opinions that we discuss on our blog, the Pine Poker is looking for some new contributors!

Since this blog was originally set up as a community blog, the goal was to make this a place where Pine Citians could express their opinions and thoughts. In order to achieve this goal we are looking to include some more guest bloggers. If you have an idea for a series, a single post or even a topic that you want us to discuss-please let us know. You can send your ideas to And as always, you can leave feedback by clicking on “Leave a Comment” located under each post.  

Also, keep an eye out for our new minibook, or zine (pictured at right) that will soon be floating around Pine City.

Highway 61 Film Festival info, at a glance

Info at a glance about Hwy 61 Film Festival <–is available by clicking on this link.