Mark your 2012 calendars

Major Pine City Area Events for 2012

  • (Ice) Fishing Derby, Pokegama Lake – January 15, 2012 (43rd Annual)
  • East Central Minnesota Pride– June 3, 2012 (8th Annual)

    A recent Freedom Fest street dance.

  • Freedom Fest – June 29-30, and July 1, 2012
  • Art Fest in Robinson Park – July 21, 2012 (35th Annual)
  • Pine County Fair – August 1-5, 2012 (120th Annual)
  • Czech Booya Festival, at Sokol Camp – August 19, 2012 (81st Annual)
  • Pine City PRCA Championship Rodeo, Labor Day Weekend, 2012 (6th Annual)
  • Northwest Co. Fur Post’s “Rendezvous” Fall Gathering – September 15-16, 2012 (34th Annual)
  • Holiday Madness and lighted parade – November 30, 2012

A recent Fall Gathering at the fort.

Besides hosting one of the state’s largest flea markets, an ever-expanding farmers’ market, a fun run, health fair, and a lifestyles show, Pine City hosts a number of other annual festivals and events, as mentioned above. There is truly something for everyone.  Be sure to send your favorite photos of the events you attend in 2012 to  Happy New Year!

Pine City in the midst of comprehensive plan update

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A look at Pine City’s comprehensive planning journey thus far

April 2010, work groups formed and met over the next six months to discuss Pine City’s future.

Nathan Johnson, Pine City’s city planner, wanted to involve community clubs, organizations, and City workgroups for several months to collect their input for what the Pine City of the next 20-30 years should look and feel like.  They displayed their goals at an open house a year ago, October.  Over the past year, their work has been melded into a draft of the next comprehensive plan, which is sure to receive a fair amount of scrutiny in the coming months.  The Planning Commission has been discussing some of the goals at several of their most recent meetings in late 2011.

Stay tuned here, in the Pioneer and on the radio for the status of the plan and for how you can offer input before its consideration by the City.  Questions can be posed to Pine City’s Building, Planning & Zoning office at 315 Main Street S., Suite 100.

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The following was posted with permission of the author, Lisa Krahn:

Tenants of Mrs. Broad's Tavern

Gentle reader, enjoy the new kitten pics and please forward to potential adoptive parents in your circles.

The next installment of the “NWCo Fur Post kittens” saga begins with the two Lady tenants of Mrs. Broad’s Tavern (our home garage) returned mortified from their excursion to the local physician, Friday last, their age having been determined to be seven months.  But the Ladies are in fine health, sassy with string, climb ladders with ease and love elevation, peep-holes, and the game of Under. (Knotted string drug slowly under a towel — irresistible for pouncing.) Today’s reward today was pork roast scraps; greatly preferable to kibble.

Lady Blackwell

Lady Whitechapel has a certain confidence in her social skills and an easy manner, so that she tends to monopolize all human attention, perhaps jealously.  The first inclination of thoughtful Lady Blackwood is to retreat from society, but with some patience and light teasing, she flowers into her own and can be silly with abandon like her sister.

My first communication suggested the two should be adopted together, but I now amend that observation to suggest that a good separation would allow them each to develop a personality more focused on & suitable to their particular new human family.  So we’re looking for two willing families in the New Year…

Lady Whitechapel

Have you fallen in love yet?? Which one will you be inclined to choose when you visit rural Pine County, Minnesota?  Did I mention Lady Whitechapel strolls on a leash?  That both have the softest, most extravagant fur??

Both Ladies have a date with Dr. Webster on the 30th of December for a final round of shots and “the surgeon’s visit.”  By five in the evening that day, both will be recovering Teletubbies, and will look forward with some urgency to their eventual relocation to a home in the New Year — yours??  We could deliver, if needed…

City begins to review 2010 Census data to mount challenge

Volunteer Jules Atangana, a Master's student at the Humphrey School for Public Affairs, is helping with Pine City's Census challenge.

Earlier this year, the City of Pine City decided it wanted to challenge its population number that the Census Bureau came back with, 3,123.   The Census Bureau’s Count Question Resolution (CQR) program allows State, local and Tribal area elected officials to challenge their jurisdiction’s Census counts.

They began accepting 2010 Census challenge submissions on June 1, 2011 and will accept them through June 1, 2013.  Jules Atangana, in his Master of Urban and Regional Planning at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs (University of Minnesota) is offering his help to City Planner Nathan Johnson, to look over the data and verify any possible inaccuracies.  Atangana is originally from Cameroon and lives in Northfield, Minn.

Prior to the 2010 Census count being taken, the Pine City Council passed a resolution partnering with state, local and tribal governments across the nation to help ensure a complete and accurate count.  According to the Census Bureau’s Web site, the Bureau’s goal was to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.

“There are historically a small percentage of cases where a wrong geographic boundary or coding of a housing unit was used to produce the official census population and housing counts for a local area,” the site says.  “There may also be processing errors.”

If a challenge results in a change, the Census Bureau will issue official revised counts to City officials.  These changes can be used  for future programs that require official 2010 Census data.  They would then also be used to calculate subsequent population estimates for Pine City.  The current list of jurisdictions that have submitted a 2010 CQR Challenge stands at over 100, with the majority listed in “pending status”, four that have changed, and seven with no change.

Gov. Dayton heads north to proclaim Pine City an official Yellow Ribbon city

After doing some early Christmas shopping in Pine City (for a Christmas tree to adorn the lawn of his residence, and for a new dog named Itasca) Gov. Mark Dayton came to Duluth, Minn., yesterday to proclaim the city an official Yellow Ribbon city.

On his drive through Pine County, toward Duluth, the fog increased as he traveled north past the “Finlayson/Askov” Banning Junction exit.  Ironically, Askov Finlayson is the name of his sons’ (Eric’s and Andrew’s) new men’s clothing store in Minneapolis.  Growing up, the boys traveled past the sign on their way home from Lake Vermillion, where the family has a cabin.

At the Depot in Duluth, the Pine City community had the majority of people in attendance, twice as many as Hibbing, Chisholm and Grand Rapids, larger towns also being recognized that are about equal distance from the Twin Ports.  The depot is where the proposed Northern Lights Express passenger rail line would likely terminate.  The Master of Ceremonies was a familiar face to those involved in the NLX meetings.

Links to news coverage of the event:

Others in attendance included Pine City Mayor Jane Robbins and Duluth City Council Member Jeff Anderson, who is one of four people running for Congress in Congressional District 8 (the district Pine City is in).   The current congressman, Chip Cravaack, had a representative there in his place.

After the ceremony, Gov. Dayton, Commander-In-Chief of the Minnesota National Guard, posed for a photo with the Pine City Yellow Ribbon’ers.  He then showed Mayor Robbins photos of his three dogs, and she requested his attendance at the welcome home celebration for the troops of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, sent off last spring.  Details of the celebration have not yet been finalized.

House Passes legislation honoring MSGT Fedder

According to an E-newsletter sent out today by U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack (MN-8), the House unanimously passed H.R.   3220 (351-0) last night.  The legislation was introduced by Rep. Cravaack to designate the facility of the  United States Postal Service located at 170 Evergreen Square SW in Pine City as the “Master Sergeant Daniel L. Fedder Post Office.”

Master Sgt. Fedder died last year at the age of 34.  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. Fedder was assigned to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine  Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

His military awards and decorations include the Purple Heart,  Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal,  Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action  Ribbon, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, Marine Corps  Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign  Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal,  Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Sea  Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy-Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, Marine  Security Guard Ribbon, and the NATO Medal.

Master Sgt. Fedder grew up in Pine City and he is survived  by his parents, Robert and Jackie McKellar, who still reside in the  area.  Master Sgt. Fedder is further survived by his wife, Diana Fedder,  former spouse Susan Fedder; and their two children, daughter Danielle, and  son Strom.

The legislation now moves to the Senate for their consideration.

Yellow Ribbon Proclamation Ceremony

  • What:
Yellow Ribbon Proclamation Ceremony with Governor Mark Dayton.
  • Where:
The Depot, 506 W. Michigan St., Duluth, MN 55802.
  • When:
December 14, 2011 at 3 p.m.
  • Description:
Proclaiming Chisholm/Hibbing, Pine City, Grand Rapids and Duluth as Yellow Ribbon Cities!

Casting Announced for One-Act Play

  • PCHS will present backwards comedy in late January

The One-Act Play at Pine City High School has been one of the district’s most successful extracurricular activities in recent years, having advanced to the Section Finals each of the past four season, including finishing a single point from the State Festival with last year’s “The Arkansaw Bear.”

This year’s play is sure to draw attention, if for no other reason, it’s unusual title: “slasreveR neveS.”  Turn it around and you get the words “Seven Reversals.”  The play by Alan Haehnel is a hilarious reversal of expectations, with students inverting not only dialogue and blocking, but also theatrical conventions and emotions as a whole.

Under the direction of Bradley Mariska, the play is considered one of the most challenging undertakings the theatre program has ever attempted.  But according to the director, the students will rise to the occasion.  Says Mariska, “The students got a chance to read this script over a year ago and are more excited about the script than any play I’ve directed in recent memory.”  Published in 2005, the play is relatively new and has only been performed a couple dozen times nationwide.

Casting for the play was recently announced, and rehearsals are already underway with lead roles awarded to Lauren Funkhauser (Mama), Hannah Kloeckl (Gwen), Adam Martin (Villian), and Derek Prokott (Hero).  This foursome will appear in three of the play’s seven scenes – remarkably, all four leads are making their One-Act Play debut.

Also landing roles were seniors Laurel Anderson, Jazz Dyksman, Rachel Sparling, Jorie Williamson, Ben Miche, Kathleen Hrdlicka, and Renee Schminkey.  Underclassmen include juniors Jacob White and Cody Tchida, sophomores Ashlee Martini and Lindsey Kline, and freshmen Ben Anderson and Amanda Basta.

Crew for the show are sophomore Anthony Olson (lights) and junior Alex Zemek (sound).

Public performances of the One-Act Play are scheduled for Thursday, January 26 and Friday, January 27 at 7:00pm in the Elementary Auditorium.  Admission to these shows is a $2 suggested donation that will be contributed to the Pine Community Food Shelf.

The thespians will also be taking part in several festivals to prepare for Sub-Section Contest on January 28.  They will travel to St. Cloud on January 16, Cambridge on January 20, and host an exchange with Mora on January 24.

A look back at 2011

A look at stories that transcended beyond Pine City…


1. All three hikers, including Shane Bauer, return home; Pine City mom relieved

Hearts went out to a Pine City mom, Cindy Hickey, after her son, Shane Bauer, along with Josh Fattal, was finally released from custody.  Bauer’s fiancée Sarah Shourd was released earlier; all three had been detained after being accused of espionage in Iran.  Bauer’s documentary film “Songs to Enemies and Deserts”, about the rebels of Darfur, was featured in the first-annual Highway 61 Film Festival in Pine City.

2. Fallen soldier, MSGT Daniel Fedder, may be honored in post office renaming

Eighth District Congressman Chip Cravaack carried a bill to rename the post office in Pine City to the “Master Sergeant Daniel L. Fedder Post Office”, after a well-loved Pine Citian and decorated Marine who died at the age of 34 in an Afghanistan bombing attack.  The bill is under consideration to honor Fedder, who was awarded more than a dozen personal service awards during his service, including the Purple Heart.


3. Sabre-draft Isaackson plays for Gophers; Bischoff commits to Minnesota too

Pine City’s Christian Isackson, who was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2010 NHL draft, began playing for the prestigious University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.   Though Isackson was from Pine City, he was a St. Thomas Academy graduate, second on the Cadet team in scoring (first on the power play).  Another Pine City Youth Hockey ex-student, Jake Bischoff, son of former Gopher standout Grant Bischoff, was recently recruited to play for the Gophers by Coach Don Lucia from his present high school team, Grand Rapids (where Lucia is alum).


4. ‘Santa Bob’ moves to Red Wing; Governor’s tree scout retires

Pine City’s most illustrious Santa Claus, Bob Haedt (better known as ‘Santa Bob’), and his wife Mary (Mrs. Claus), announced they were moving to Red Wing, Minn.  Longtime Pine City residents, Haedt’s woodworking fingerprints were left all over town, most notably in the train depot restoration and in the new library renovations.  DNR Forester Art Widerstrom cut down his last Governor’s Christmas tree near Pine City.  He was the unofficial ‘caretaker’ of the Chengwatana and, over the years, found several trees from the Pine City area to grace the Governor’s Residence in St. Paul, including a 50-foot balsam fir this year.

5. Longtime Marshall, Minn. mayor, Bob Schlagel, laid to rest

Marshall, a regional hub in southwest Minnesota, the headquarters of Schwan’s, owes its wonderful park system to Robert J. Schlagel, who died at his Pine City retirement home August 1, 2011. Schlagel was mayor of Marshall for 15 years, from 1973 to 1988, and was instrumental in putting together the town’s park system.  Perhaps there is a correlation between the Marshall’s great public spaces and the fact that the town is home to Minnesota’s oldest living person?!

6. National Guard soldiers leave for Kuwait; the Pioneer shadows them

A ceremony was held at the Pine County Fairgrounds over the summer that sent off members of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division on a yearlong deployment supporting the drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq, the second-largest in Minnesota since World War II.  Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other dignitaries spoke.   The Pioneer’s editor, Mike Gainor, went to Kuwait late in the year to journalize the troops’ experience away from home this holiday season.


7. Pine City hangs on in recession, shows resiliency

Homebuilding is still down in Pine City but the community continues to grow at a faster pace than neighboring towns.  Seven (7) homes were added to Pine City this year.  In comparison, North Branch—last decade’s fastest-growing community in Minnesota—built just four (4), and Mora and Moose Lake didn’t build any.  Cross Lake Preserve, a virtual ghost development that promised to become a thriving new neighborhood in the housing boom, finally sold and two new homes are already underway.

Additionally, a longtime Pine City supermarket, Nelson’s Market, closed its doors in Pine City, North Branch and Mora.  However, a Sandstone-based grocer, Chris’ Food Center, re-opened the Pine City location.

8. Ruby’s Pantry opens its 30th location; industries show growth; Pine Tech advances

 “Everyone who eats qualifies” is Ruby’s Pantry’s motto.   Now the Pine City-based non-profit has over 30 distribution centers throughout the northern portion of Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Also, a new medical clinic, FirstLight, opened its doors in Pine City and Advance Design and Systems added on in Pine City’s Technology Park.

Pine Technical College unveils the design of its new Innovation Center, an entrepreneurial center and technology business incubator.  The college also now offers a 3-D, virtual reality training program.  Role-playing exercises can teach nurses how to respond on the job to common situations involving older patients.


9. East Central Minnesota Pride in Pine City wins State award

East Central Minnesota GLBT people, their family and friends met in Pine City to celebrate rural pride for the seventh consecutive year.  It was named a “Community Pride” showcase award-winner, as a unique way to cultivate economic development in Greater Minnesota and was recognized at the Minnesota State Fair.

10. ‘A Place for You’ establishes itself; Pine City homeless man killing unsolved

Homelessness knows no urban boundaries and Pine City is one Greater Minnesota community that is rolling up its sleeves to do something about it.  ‘A Place for You’, a non-profit aiming to provide a regional homeless shelter, secured a building and grant money to establish itself.  Related, police upped the reward to $4,000 for information in the death of a Pine City homeless person, Danny Wright (age 54).  He was believed to be killed intentionally by a driver who shouted at him and struck him down in the parking lot of the Union Gospel Mission.


11. Former notable resident, Bob Mould, publishes autobiography

Bob Mould, best known as the lead singer of Hüsker Dü, lived on a farm by Pine City in the late 80s, where he wrote the songs for his best-known solo album, “Workbook”.  See a Little Light came out this year and Chapter 7 focuses on his time spent in Pine City.

  • For a look back at ’08, click here.
  • For a look back at ’09, click here.
  • For a look back at ’10, click here.

A Place for You Develops its Strategy

After several busy weeks of public meetings, hearings, and working to overcome zoning regulations, A Place for You(APFY)  has settled into the back of the conscious for many local Pine Citians. While there hasn’t been any monumental announcements as of late, that doesn’t mean all is quiet for the board of APFY.  Here are some recent accomplishments and updates describing what the group has been working on:

  • The opening date has been pushed back to the beginning of April/May. Due to cold weather restrictions, the shelter will not be able install an additional water line needed to sprinkler the building. This means the group will have to wait until March/April to get the added water line necessary for the building. While this is a setback for the group, it does give them an additional two months to prepare for the opening.
  • What about food?  Board and co-chairs have been busy looking into partnerships with local groups in order to develop a meal delivery system.
  • Churches are getting involved. Local churches are being contacted as the first step in the group’s fundraising plan. They have the opportunity to provide the shelter with support coming from the immediate area.
  • What is strategic Planning? Strategic Planning is a process that most Non-Profit groups go through to create a roadmap for the upcoming year(s). The process includes outlining the group’s mission, vision, values and goals. This process is essential because it is this plan that the group will compare all future decisions to. APFY has recently completed a multi-day strategic planning session, a very crucial part to the success of the group in order to them to move forward.

 Overall, the work of the group has been very successful. As they push forward they certainly will be met with some challenges, however the group is in an exceptional place and  they have a strong group of individuals to lead them!