What’s with the warning label about lead on Christmas lights?

Soon enough, Thanksgiving will have passed with Christmas just a month away.  For many, while making their list and checking it twice, they realize they need more Christmas lights to decorate with.  But, now apparently every box of Christmas lights on the market has lead in it, most with a new label called a “Prop 65 Warning” similar to this one:

There are traces of lead on the lights?  Actually, they are in the PVC insulation and, evidently, the manufacturers of these products consider this a good thing because it helps to make the PVC fire retardant, as well as protecting the PVC from degradation due to airborne pollutants.  Reportedly, this isn’t a new phenomenon; there have always been these trace amounts of lead in the PVC insulation of Christmas lights (as well as PVC piping, electrical cords, and many others items).

Even if Christmas lights do not have this warning, one should not assume that they are lead-free.  Take precautionary measures whenever handling Christmas lights, and always wash hands after handling.  Naturally, for this and other safety reasons, do not allow children to handle or play with the lights.

Fire Chief encourages community to help with firefighter memorial

The Minnesota Fire Service Foundation is working to create a new memorial at the State Capitol to honor Minnesota firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty.  Below is a link to their webpage where one can see the planned memorial and make donations to support the cause. 

They’re hoping to raise the funds by December 31, 2011.   Donations can be made in honor of Jeremy Jylka of the Pine City Fire Dept., who passed away while enroute to a grass fire on April 29, 2008. 

“Please forward [this link] to anyone who may be able to help out this project,” wrote Tom Miller, Fire Chief, in a recent email to several folks in the community.

Governor Dayton summons tree from near Pine City

As has been reported in many recent news stories, once again, a giant Christmas tree was cut down from the Chengwatana (pronounced ‘Shang-wa-tonna’) State Forest and shipped to the Minnesota Governor’s Residence.  Thanks, Gov. Dayton, for continuing in the tradition of getting your tree from near Pine City!

For those who wish to see the tree, which was placed there today (Monday), it sits on the front lawn of about 1.5 acres at 1006 Summit Avenue in St. Paul.  The mansion is over 16,000 square feet in size, has nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms and nine fire places.  It is open for tours 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Dec. 1, 8 and 15 but closes promptly at 1 p.m.  Tour guests should arrive no later than 12:30 p.m. to ensure enough time to tour.  More information can be found here.

Santa Bob and Mary

Dozens of people showed up at the Community room at the library, Sunday afternoon for a farewell to Santa Bob & Mary. The tables were covered in red for Santa & coffee, punch & cake was served to all. Bob assured us that he would be back for the Holiday Madness parade. We are holding you to that Santa!!  Wishing you happiness in your new home & know that you will both be missed very much.

Wendy J, Santa Bob & natalie Johnson


“Give to the Max” and support your favorite charitable organization today!

If you’ve been considering making a donation to a nonprofit organization, today would be a great day to do it.  Hundreds of nonprofits throughout Minnesota are participating in the third annual “Give to the Max Day“, a 24-hour online fundraising blitz sponsored by Give MN that will match your donation and award grants to the organizations that receive the most donations.

Last year’s fundraiser collected more than $10 million for over 3,500 Minnesota nonprofits, and helped the Pine City Library with its challenge match to expand and enhance its facility.  It can be tough to choose who to give to, so here’s a snapshot of just a handful of the dozens of worthy organizations in the Greater Pine City area.

  • GPS 45:93, formerly Northern Technology Initiative (N.T.I.), is a regional consortium for economic development.  It works to attract business and high-paying jobs in the region.
  • PHASE provides employment-based services to adults with a diagnosis of a developmental disability, traumatic brain injury, or severe and persistent mental illness.
  • East Central PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of the area’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through support, education, and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights.
  • East Central Habitat for Humanity is a housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action.  The organization’s goal is to build safe, decent, affordable, energy efficient houses for low-income families.
  • Pine Center for the Arts or the Pine City Heritage Players.  The arts center provides a place downtown Pine City to stir up the arts in everyone; whereas, the Heritage Players produce quality community theatre.
  • Pine Technical College Foundation stands for expanded opportunities for students at the college and for those who wish to become students.  Your support of the Foundation helps students achieve dreams.
  • Pine Community Food Shelf offers many services to the community including volunteer and donation opportunities, information and referral and food shelf services for those in need.  The organization’s director, Julie Werner, also serves on many committees in the community such as Pine County Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, and Community Health Services.

“Give to the Max Day” begins at midnight on Nov. 16 and continues through midnight the following day.  Perhaps you have a favorite organization you wish to share about.  Please comment and share about it with us and our readers.

Horizons to host WordPress Blog Training

For anyone interested in learning how to blog, Horizons will be offering a crash-course in using WordPress. The meeting is open to anyone that has an interest in taking part of the Pine Poker Blog. As we work to expand the topics that the Pine Poker covers, this training will help get some new contributors integrated with the WordPress process as well as offer a few tips and trips. 

 The class will be Wednesday, Nov. 16th, from 5-6pm and will be held in the Pine City Government Center Chamber Office. Anyone interested in participating, please contact Lauren at lellmers@pinecitygov.com by Monday the 14th to sign-up.

“Charlie Brown” and the gang come alive this weekend

The PCHS fall musical is always a highlight of the year to area residents and this year’s production will be no exception.  The cast and crew of of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” released their official trailer today and remind audiences that tickets can be purchased in advance at several Pine City locations, by phone at (320) 629-4013, or at the door.  Performances are Nov. 10, 11, 12, 18, and 19 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 13 at 2 p.m.  

For a preview, check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hkt3kiKL7Bk

Congressman wishes to honor fallen marine, Daniel Fedder

  • Post Office at Evergreen Square may be renamed

To demonstrate Congressman Chip Cravaack’s gratitude and honor for a courageous fallen marine, Master Sergeant Daniel L. Fedder, he recently introduced H.R. 3220, co-sponsored by the entire Minnesota Congressional Delegation, to designate the Pine City post office as the “Master Sergeant Daniel L. Fedder Post Office.”

Yesterday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform unanimously agreed to H.R. 3220 and discharged the bill to the House for consideration.

Master Sgt. Fedder, a Pine City native, was killed by the blast of an improvised explosive device Aug. 27, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan when he was 34 years old.  He was a 16-year veteran of the Marine Corps., with completed combat deployments to Iraq in 2004 and 2006, and an overseas deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2007.

He was on his first combat tour in Afghanistan when he was lost in combat operations.  Master Sgt. Daniel Fedder was assigned to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.