Weekend Best Bets, June 1-3

  • Country music, war, rodeo, relay and gay pride on tap

Friday, June 1

6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Pine City Arts Council’s “Art in the Park” ft. Al Godage and Sundown

Enjoy BBQ turkey sandwiches sold by St. Mary’s School beginning at 5 p.m. in the gazebo.  The country music will play from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.  Bring lawn chairs or a blanket and have some fun and relaxation, or dance!  No admission charge.

Venue:  Robinson Park | 200 5th Street SE | Pine City

Rain Venue:  Pine City Elementary School

Saturday, June 2

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Voyageur Militia Day

Costumed re-enactors portraying North West Company agents will be enlisting all able-bodied voyageurs (visitors) to help defend the business of the fur trade when the United States declares war on England in 1812. Learn how to march in formation, make a militia hat to take home and experience military camp life in the early 1800s.  Volunteers from two local reenactment groups, Western Lakes Station and La Compagnie des Hivernants, will be on hand to talk about the War of 1812 and the important role fur traders played in influencing the outcome.  Fee:  $9 adults, $7 senior and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MHS members.

Venue:  North West Company Fur Post | 12551 Voyageur Lane | Pine City

6 p.m. 

Pine City Invitational MBBA/UBBI Bull Ride and Bucking Bull competitions ft. Minnesota Vikings’ Jared Allen

Never attended a Pine City rodeo?  All-Pro NFL Player Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings will be attending this one, representing his Jared Allen Homes 4 Wounded Warriors.  There will also be a 50/50 Drawing for breeders entering bulls in the event, benefiting Homes 4 Wounded Warriors.  It’s only $10 to attend for adults, $5 for kids 4-12, and kids 3 and under are free.

Venue:  Heidelberger Arena | 3923 State Hwy 70 | Pine City

6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Pine County Relay for Life

Pine County Relay for Life will take place all evening Saturday with an overnight, powerful, luminary walk beginning at 6 p.m. and going until 6 a.m.   Activities and other fundraisers are planned throughout the night.  A local high school band will be playing at 10 p.m., and there will be a DJ playing music for the rest of the night.  There will also be concessions until 2:30 a.m.  Other portions of the event include a dunk tank and a raffle for prizes donated by local organizations.  The money raised will fight cancer nationally, but also locally.

Venue:  Pine City High School Track | 1400 Main St S. | Pine City

Sunday, June 3

Noon to 5 p.m.

8th Annual East Central Minnesota Pride Presents “Equality Matters:  A Rainbow Rendezvous”

One of America’s only rural prides, a celebration of GLBTQ rural life.  There will be vendors, a silent auction, food, homespun fun and entertainment. Scheduled to perform live are Yasen Marie and Harley Wood, who has ventured into a solo career after leaving Far From Falling; as well Nobody’s Weddin’.  Headlining is Chastity Brown, a 30-year old Minneapolis-based musician who has released three full-length albums and straddles multiple genres.

Invited to come are several public officials, including Gov. Mark Dayton who attended in 2010, and other candidates vying for political office.  Besides picnicking in a gorgeous setting, there is plenty else to do:  Frisbee golf, browse vendor booths, bid on a silent auction, have your photo taken, and meet your neighbors.  Last year, the event was honored at the Minnesota State Fair in the “Community Pride Showcase”.

Venue:  VFW and Voyageur Park | 600 1st Ave NW | Pine City

Pine City Lodging Information

Gail Motel – Pine City 320.629.2559; Old Oak Inn – Pine City 800.524.2512; Grand Casino Hotels – Hinckley, Minn. (13 miles) 800.468.3517
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Business Export Summit

On Wednesday, June 27th there will be a business export summit held by GPS45:93 and the East Central Regional Development Commission. The summit is designed to offer information, skills, resources, and contacts needed to successfully export goods and services world wide to grow your business! The summit will be held at the Spirit River Community Center in Isanti.

This event is FREE and open to the publc. For more information and a complete agenda click here. To RSVP call 320-679-4065 x29 by June 25th.

Pine City Jazz Band plays first ‘Art in the Park’ of the Season

This Friday’s Jazz Band concert will feature three dozen talented students, including the four students pictured here, who were named to the Two Rivers All-Conference Jazz Ensemble in February. All four of these students will also be performing solos on Friday night. They are Bay Pangerl, Matt Gallik, director Mariska, Cody Tchida, and Jacob White.

Friday evening, May 25, the Pine City Arts Council kicks off its summer concert series, “Art in the Park.”  Held in downtown Pine City’s Robinson Park, the series of free concerts brings a variety of musical entertainments to area residents throughout the summer.  This Friday, the concert series kicks off with the sounds of the Pine City Jazz Bands at 6:30pm.  But come a bit early and enjoy a sloppy joe meal served by the Pine City Music Boosters starting at 6pm.  The meal costs only $5 per person and all proceeds benefit the Music Boosters.

The music begins with Jazz Too, directed by Kevin Cahill.  Jazz Too will perform a variety of music, including several standards, such as the Nat King Cole classic “Route 66” and “Jazzman,” recorded by Carole King.  Soloists for Jazz Too include Matt Scott, Jared Montague, James Pixley, Jeremy Dyksman, Connor Clark, James White, Ian McClellan-Johnson, Alyssa Bursott, and Rachel Krautbauer.

Jazz One follows, under the direction of Bradley Mariska.  They will perform audience favorites like the “Beer Barrel Polka,” featuring Cody Tchida on accordion, as well as big band standards like “Fly Me to the Moon” (featuring Adam Martin) and Jumpin’ at the Woodside (featuring Sam Roberto).  They will also play popular movie favorites like “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “A Whole new World.”

So grab a chair or blanket and come on out to Robinson Park this Friday for the sights and sounds of summer, featuring the Pine City Jazz Bands.

In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held at the Pine City Elementary Auditorium.

Veterans’ Career Fair held in the Area

Veterans Career Fair Flyer 2012

[Click on the above link]

Vote in latest poll

Plenty to see and do at Pride

‘Equality Matters:  A Rainbow Rendezvous’ in East Central Minnesota

Soloist Harley Wood

Looking for a little summertime fun?  Ready to get outside and enjoy the warmth of the season, hear some music and meet friends?  Look no further than pride.

For the eighth-straight year, Pine City’s Voyageur Park will be the setting to East Central Minnesota Pride, a LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) pride event to be held Sunday, June 3, 2012 from Noon to 5 p.m.

“I think about how similar the reasons for our gathering are to the reasons the voyageurs and trappers and native populations gathered annually in their day,” suggested Julie Redpath, of Chisago City, about 40 miles northeast of Minneapolis.  “Each group—each culture—brought the best of themselves to the Rendezvous to share and trade with their extended community.   Each of these population groups brought the best they had to offer and took back with them the best from their larger communities.”

She said, “During the trading and celebrating process, they got to know each other.  Maybe preconceived ideas were proven untrue.  Maybe each group departed feeling a bit less isolated in a large world.  As each group departed, they took with them the goods that will allow them to survive for another year.  They also took with them the life giving spirit of community.”

“When I depart from a GLBT Pride event, I come away with a boat load of stickers, buttons, books and everything rainbow,” Redpath stated.  “I also hold on tight to the gift of extended community that I need to feed my spirit.”

City Pages’ Folk Singer of the Year 2012, Chastity Brown

The band lineup this year returns Yasen Marie as well as Harley Wood, who has ventured into a solo career after leaving Far From Falling; and Nobody’s Weddin’ will perform.

Headlining is Chastity Brown, a 30-year old Minneapolis-based musician who has released three full-length albums and, despite being named “Best Folk Singer” of 2012 in City Pages’ “Best of the Twin Cities”, she straddles multiple genres.

Jim Walsh of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has commented, “…for those who appreciate songwriter-fueled jazz and a sense of organic greatness in the making, she is nothing short of a massage therapist for the ears and soul.”   More information about Chastity Brown can be found at www.chastitybrownmusic.com.

The Snake River touches the park that the event is held in and beckons to canoeists.  Organizers say to bring your own canoe or use one that East Central Minnesota Pride has provided courtesy of Snake River Outfitters (www.snakeriveroutfittersmn.com).  Paddle the 15-minutes it takes to arrive ‘back in time’—to 1804—to the North West Company Fur Post, and watch for bald eagles, loons, bears and deer while paddling upriver.

The NW Company Fur Post, a Minnesota Historical Society site, has activities planned throughout pride weekend, allowing folks to step out of the modern visitor’s center there into the recreated world of 1804.  Learn from costumed guides, stop at an Ojibwe encampment and take a short hike to the reconstructed post.  More information can be found out at www.mnhs.org/places/sites/nwcfp.

Besides picnicking in a gorgeous setting, there is plenty else to do:  Frisbee golf, pet alpacas, browse vendor booths, bid on a silent auction, have your photo taken, and meet your neighbors.

Minnesota’s Small-Town Pride kicks off summer of pride

  • East Central Minnesota Pride held June 3 in Pine City

For the eighth-straight year, Voyageur Park in Pine City, Minn. (pop. 3,123) will be the setting to East Central Minnesota Pride, a LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) pride event to be held Sunday, June 3, 2012 from Noon to 5 p.m.  There will be music, food and—this year—an all-inclusive ‘rendezvous’ of friends and community.

The event began in 2005, aiming to give LGBT people, those questioning, and their friends, family and allies an opportunity to meet and build community in an otherwise isolated part of the state.

“The hard part is the distance in rural areas, to meet people… where and how?” suspects Don Quaintance, of Isanti, Minn., one of the event organizers.   “The annual picnic allows us to gather together to celebrate how far we’ve come,” he said.

Without the event, he and other organizers believe there may not be as strong of an LGBT community in East Central Minnesota.   They say the event serves as a mechanism for civil rights engagement, as LGBT people across Minnesota are currently banding together for civil rights.

“The endeavor promotes tolerance through a community dialogue about LGBT issues,” said Nathan Johnson, of Pine City, and a candidate for State Representative in House District 11B.

Invited to come are several public officials, including Gov. Mark Dayton who attended in 2010, and other candidates vying for political office.  The band lineup this year returns Yasen Marie and Harley Wood, who has ventured into a solo career, as well as newcomers to the event, Chastity Brown and Nobody’s Weddin’.

Perhaps there are several ways in which East Central Minnesota Pride has improved the quality of life in this part of the State, taking on the weighty task of building a more LGBT-friendly atmosphere in rural Minnesota—specifically, the area ranging Forest Lake to Moose Lake, and from Milaca to Siren, Wis.

“Equality means being equal,” explained Quaintance, a senior and veteran.  “It is everyone being given a chance for the same thing.  Hopefully, pride allows those folks who are still living in the closet to come out, stand up and be counted.”

Given the measure on the ballot this fall to redefine marriage to discriminate against same-sex couples, Quaintance feels this year’s event is especially important.

“We are family, have families, and deserve the same respect and equality as all other loving couples.  This has nothing to do with the church.  This is a legal right,” he said.

Summer of Pride Kickoff

This, the first pride in the State to be held each year during Pride Month—June—really kick-starts the marriage debate leading up to the November amendment ballot.

Richard Carlbom, the campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, said, “Minnesotans United is proud to participate in East Central Minnesota Pride.  Each summer, hundreds of Minnesotans gather to celebrate the belief that we should treat our friends and neighbors how we want to be treated.”

“This annual community event gives Minnesotans the opportunity to stand united together saying that freedom means freedom for everybody.   As former Mayor of Saint Joseph I know the importance of building supportive, rural communities,” said Carlbom.  “East Central Pride is a hallmark event that brings Minnesotans together to celebrate our diverse communities.”

Quaintance said that pride is about being “proud of whom you are.  God created us this way, this is His plan.  Take pride.  Vote ‘no’ on this year’s constitutional marriage amendment!”

Bigger cities across the globe, from Sydney, Australia to Minneapolis, have had prides for decades.  The gay pride in Pine City began when it was just one of two rural prides in the nation to be held.  The need has been evident in the event’s growth, from record attendance numbers to a record number of vendors, sponsors and supporters.

More than ever in the event’s history, there is a collaboration to bring about East Central Minnesota Pride, one that involves East Central Minnesota Men’s Circle, East Central Minnesota Purple Circle, East Central Minnesota chapter of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Rural Aids Action Network, Rainbow Health Initiative and Out-Front Minnesota.  Several businesses throughout the region support and help sponsor the event as well.

The entire event is innovative in that it isn’t being done elsewhere in a small town, to this scale, and therefore, it was recognized at the Minnesota State Fair last year as an award-winner in the annual “Community Pride Showcase”.  It was shared as a way the Greater Pine City area is moving beyond current economic challenges with creative and proactive community and economic development innovations.

The other Minnesota gay prides are in Duluth-Superior, Fargo-Moorhead, Mankato, Rochester, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, each of which are in metropolitan areas.  Since Pine City’s pride has proven successful, other Outstate cities such as Brainerd and Willmar have tried their hands at pride as well.  The event and the ways in which it is planned and organized have served as a model for other small-town gay prides that have formed across the State and elsewhere in the U.S.

The next steps, according to organizers, are to evaluate the event and determine what improvements can be made, and how it can reach a wider LGBT audience in the East Central Minnesota area.  Also, organizers hope to make the event nonthreatening for those who are closeted living in the region, who may also wish to come out and meet other LGBT people living nearby.

A Pine City business owner, Dennis Burns, of DB Signs said, “I’m more than proud of the GLBT community in East Central Minnesota.  They all work very hard every year to put together the Pine City event.”

A Rainbow Rendezvous

This year’s event, themed “Equality Matters:  A Rainbow Rendezvous”, pays homage to the French Voyageurs who traveled long distances centuries ago to gather at the wintering post just 1.5 miles upriver from the park.

Before the United States was a country, voyageurs trekked through the wild woods of the future Minnesota, trapping and trading, and blazing a trail that would be walked upon by subsequent generations.  So important is the mark they left that Pine City has erected a 35-foot-tall carving along the picturesque Snake River’s North Shore.  The voyageur’s redwood shadow falls across the park that bears his name.

But, on June 3, that shadow will touch men and women who honor the voyageur’s spirit in their own way.

About Pine City

Pine City (pop. 3,123) is located just north of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, on I-35, between St. Paul and Duluth.  It was named “Outstanding Community” of 2009 by the Initiative Foundation and in 2010 and 2011, has been named a “Best Community in America” for music education by the NAMM Foundation.  Known for its progressive spirit, it is the county seat of and largest city in Pine County, which borders the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Pine City, Minnesota, makes a woodsy getaway so close by.  With its forests, river and lakes, the area appeals especially to outdoor enthusiasts.  Water lovers will find activities on the Snake River and several lakes, including 1,536-acre Pokegama Lake and 938-acre Cross Lake.

The Snake River beckons to canoeists.  Bring your own canoe or use one that East Central Minnesota Pride has provided courtesy of Snake River Outfitters (www.snakeriveroutfittersmn.com).  Paddle the 15-minutes it takes to arrive ‘back in time’—to 1804—to the North West Company Fur Post, and watch for bald eagles, loons, bears and deer while paddling upriver.

The NW Company Fur Post, a Minnesota Historical Society site, has activities planned throughout pride weekend, allowing folks to step out of the modern visitor’s center there into the recreated world of 1804.  Learn from costumed guides, stop at an Ojibwe encampment and take a short hike to the reconstructed post.  More information can be found out at www.mnhs.org/places/sites/nwcfp.

Area Sporting Goods Retailers/Bait Shops

  • Walmart SuperCenter, 950 Evergreen Sq SW
  • Tall Tales Bait & Tackle, 540 Main St S
  • Holiday StationStore, 715 13th St SW
  • Holiday StationStore, 570 Main St S

The dock on the Snake River at Voyageur Park makes a productive waterway to cast your line for muskie, walleye, bass, pike, catfish, perch, crappie and sunfish.   Be sure to buy a Minnesota state fishing license at a sporting goods store or a bait shop in Pine City before you cast your line.

Pine City is the county seat of Pine County.  Of the 87 counties in Minnesota, Pine County has the third-highest proportion of same-sex couples in the state behind just Hennepin and Ramsey Counties.

Nathan Johnson, Pine City’s city planner, noted that Pine City’s proximity to the Twin Cities, as well as its openness, has contributed to an increase in same-sex couples choosing to locate in the area.  Another reason for the concentration of gay couples in the Pine City area might be that the city lives up to its motto: “North. Nice and close.”

“People are coming here from the Twin Cities area, primarily, because of the great quality of life,” said Johnson.  “We are home to a health food store, gyms, a community theater and an arts center.”

“…Not to mention the recreational aspects of the Snake River and nearby lakes,” he added.  “And, one can buy anything from hummus to sushi here.”

The community has a long-held tradition of celebrating its richness.  Other annual Pine City community events highlight the culture of the area as well, such as the Czech and Slovak Booya Festival at the Sokol Camp just east of town, and the Festival of the Voyageur Fall Gathering and Rendezvous at the North West Co. Fur Post.

The 81st annual Booya Festival will be held Aug. 19 and the 34th annual Fall Gathering will be held Sept. 15-16, 2012. 

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Planning Commission changes dates, adds new faces

  • Teich and Ovick appointed; Rinden, Kirchberg step down

Steve Ovick

The Commission passed a resolution at their last month’s meeting, April 24, whereby setting a new date for meetings—the fourth Tuesdays of each month—and officially declaring the Pine Government Center as the place for meetings.

Trevor Teich

New to the Commission is longtime Pine Citian Steve Ovick, 58, who will carry out the remainder of Mary Rinden’s term.  Rinden, whose term officially expires at the end of this year, will serve through the month of May.  She has served on the Commission since January, 2006.  Previously, she served from September, 1996 through 2000.

“In total, Mary has served nearly 10 years on the Commission,” said City Planner Nathan Johnson.  “She has had a great perspective, not only as a business owner and resident, but also as an advocate for downtown and for the betterment of the community.”

“Rinden was recognized as Citizen Planner in 2010 for her commitment to and effect on planning in Pine City,” Johnson said.

Ovick graduated from Pine City High School in 1971, after which attending the University of Minesota-Duluth where he earned a degree in sociology and criminology.  After, he returned to Pine City to work for the Pine County Sheriff’s Department in law enforcement.  He worked for the Department for 33 years, first as a patrol deputy working on the night shift, then promoted to sergeant lieutenant and, for the last 10 years, as chief deputy.  He retired in November of 2011.

“I have lived on the corner of Third and Tenth Street Southwest since 1978,” he said.  “When Mayor Robbins asked if I would like to serve on the Planning Commission, I did not hesitate to say yes.  We all live in a small town because we enjoy the lifestyle that a small town offers.  A city planning commission is an essential part of maintaining that quality of life.”

“Five generations of my family have called Pine City home,” said Ovick.  “I look forward to giving back to a community that has provided me with so much.”

Earlier this year, Trevor Teich, age 24, replaced Joe Kirchberg on the Commission.  Kirchberg served from 2006 until December 2011.

“I will miss Joe’s general interest in planning-related issues,” commented Johnson.  “He would commonly stop in [to City Hall] and want more details on agenda items.  I knew he was genuinely interested.”

Teich is a 2007 graduate of Pine City High School and resides in Pokegama Township with his wife, Larissa (Anderson) Teich.  He is employed by Lee’s Pro Shop where he specializes in trophies and plaques, and in his spare time he enjoys horseshoes.

During high school, Teich was on the student council and served as a student representative on the Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce as well as the school’s Wellness Committee.

Teich has taken an interest in planning and zoning matters, and says he looks forward to the experience of being on the planning commission.

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