National Alpaca Farm Days

Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) invites you to visit their member farms and ranches on National Alpaca Farm Days on September 29th and 30th. This is a unique opportunity for the public to explore the many aspects of the alpaca livestock industry in the United States and Canada.  From meeting these beautiful, inquisitive animals in person to experiencing luxurious alpaca products at individual farm stores, there will truly be something for everyone.  Visitors can also learn how alpacas are a green business opportunity, as they are animals that are sensitive to their environment in every respect!  While most alpaca farms welcome visitors throughout the year, National Alpaca Farm Days are sure to include special activities and educational opportunities.  For a complete list of participating farms and ranches, visit  Website:

New businesses in Pine City bring jobs and point to economic progress

A recent upturn in new business in Pine City could point to signs of an economic recovery.  The City of Pine City is delighted about the addition of two new businesses that rehabilitated and occupied otherwise vacant buildings, one in the industrial park and the other downtown.

Hoyt Lakes, Minn.-based Premier Plastics, an affiliated business of Premier Pontoons in Wyoming, Minn., purchased the building at 1020 Industrial Street NE (formerly Shafer Electronics) in Pine City’s Technology Park, to manufacture pontoon furniture there.

The president is Bob Menne III and Jamie (Teich) Miklya, a Pine City native, is vice-president of the company, which is branded Leisure Designs, Inc.  20 employees are anticipated to work at Leisure Designs, where they will perform customized, rotational molding and thermoforming of plastic goods which are sold primarily in the marine and recreation industries.

Pine City Mayor Jane Robbins hands a check for $50,000 to President Bob Menne IIII. Photo’d left to right are City Planner Nathan Johnson, Interim City Administrator Kim Moore-Sykes, Menne III, Mayor Robbins, and Vice President Jamie Miklya.

Additionally, Alto Cheese, Inc., owned by Tom Hegge and Alec Demos, is making its home at 300 1st Avenue SE (formerly B&D Repair).  There will be five employees to start and the cheese processing company, which is affiliated with Gourmet Products in adjacent Pine City Township, will add employees as needed.

Both Leisure Designs and Alto Cheese received loans from the City’s revolving loan fund as a part of their respective financing packages.  Each has received $50,000 from the gap financing fund, established by the City’s Economic Development Authority (EDA).  Leisure Designs opened earlier this month and Alto Cheese is planning an October opening.

Pine City Mayor Jane Robbins releases a $50,000 check to Owner Tom Hegge. Photo’d left-to-right are Interim City Administrator Kim Moore-Sykes, Mayor Robbins, Hegge, and City Planner Nathan Johnson

The City of Pine City EDA seeks to improve the economic condition of Pine City. Focusing on appropriate commercial and industrial development, the EDA works to establish a higher tax base and additional job opportunities for the citizens of Pine City. The EDA provides resources and tools, including loans and grants, to support this kind of development.

For more information about the EDA and its incentives, visit or call City Planner Nathan Johnson at (320) 629-2575, ext. 105.


Recovery from Mental and/or Substance Use Disorders is Possible


All around us in Pine City, many people are in recovery from mental and/or substance use disorders. They are contributing to our businesses, connecting with their families, and giving back to the community. But if we want more people to join them on a path of recovery, we need to take action – now. Too many people are still unaware that prevention works, and that these conditions can be treated, just like we can treat other health disorders such as diabetes and hypertension. We need to work together to make recovery the expectation.

I have seen firsthand the benefits of recovery. Individuals who embrace recovery achieve improved mental and physical health, as well as stronger relationships and a sense of self-worth. Mental and substance use disorders do not discriminate – they affect people of all ethnicities, ages, genders, geographic regions, and socioeconomic levels.

We can’t get discouraged by the prevalence of these problems, because help is available. In fact, in 2010, 31.3 million adults aged 18 or older received services for mental health problems in the past year, and 2.6 million people aged 12 or older who needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem received treatment at a specialty facility in the past year.

These individuals have achieved healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally, and contribute in positive ways to their communities. They need the support of a welcoming community to help them on their path of long-term recovery. Fortunately, most people say they would think no less of a friend or relative if they discovered that person is in recovery from a mental and/or substance use disorder.

To further educate communities about the pathways to recovery and to support people in recovery, every September, people throughout the Nation celebrate National Recovery Month (Recovery Month), an initiative sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

I urge local businesses, community organizations, colleges, schools, administrators, and government agencies to get involved. Let people know that help is available 24 hours a day through SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or 1-800-487-4889 (TDD). Additionally, you can provide information about local treatment and recovery resources on your website and link to additional information available at

These are small and easy steps to take, and they can make a tremendous difference in the lives of many in our community. We shouldn’t think twice about getting involved. As this year’s Recovery Month theme says, “Join the Voices of Recovery: It’s Worth It.”

Pine City Youth Hockey

Thank you to all the people who took time out of their schedules to get kids signed up

for youth hockey today, You are all AWESOME! Pine City is so lucky to have all of you!

Our children are fortunate to have your experience in Hockey to coach them and give them good life lessons of playing on a team.  Hats off to all of you who worked the registration today! It was a fun experience and the kids all seemed to enjoy the bowling & pizza! 🙂


Ag in Action: Threshing Show, Corn Maze, Museums and More

Pine City may have lost some of its agricultural underpinnings over the years, but the area still highlights the rural way of life.  This weekend, be sure to check out these goings on:

Anderson’s Rock Creek Relics Threshing and Sawing Show – Large displays of antique farm machinery, threshing, sawing, antique tractor and car parades, souvenirs, food and music.  Also, for the kids, the corn maze.

Stoffel Family Memorabilia Museum – Open much of the weekend and by appointment, tour the Stoffel farm with a wide array of items from days gone by.  Recently featured on a Jason Davis’ “On the Road” segment, the museum has generated a lot of interest.

Other “rural” places to visit in Pine City:

  • Dist. 69 Rural School Museum, 7th Street SW
  • Farmers’ Market in the Park, Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., town square
  • Sauser’s Hardware, family owned for over 100 years, downtown on historic 5th Street

Play and discussion on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment scheduled Sept. 29 in Isanti

This November 6, 2012, voters go to the polls to vote on a constitutional amendment which, if approved, will prohibit the freedom of some Minnesotans to marry.   East Central MN PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) are hosting an event which will provide the opportunity for you to hear from those most impacted by this historic vote.  On Saturday, September 29, from 2-4 p.m.,  PFLAG is inviting those interested to a play at the Isanti Community Center.

Citizens from across east central MN will gather in Isanti to view a live theatre production of Families ValuedFamilies Valued is a short, 45-minute play which weaves together the stories of more than a half dozen gay and lesbian couples into a dramatic presentation to educate and transform hearts and minds.  The play gives audiences a glimpse into the full range of these couples’ lives, from their falling in love, to their commitment ceremonies, to their ongoing lives together.  The play demonstrates the ordinary domesticity of these couples’ lives as well as the unfairness of the discrimination they have to endure.  Being the true stories of actual couples gives the drama an added degree of authenticity.

The director is William Randall Beard, a nationally recognized playwright.  He has staged productions with the History Theatre and Park Square Theatre in St. Paul and the Red Eye Theatre in Minneapolis.   As an arts journalist, he regularly contributes theatre and music reviews to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and is the theatre writer for Mpls/St. Paul Magazine.

Following the performance, a facilitated discussion on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment will take place.  This is the opportunity to join the discussion, find answers to your questions and become an educated voter.

This event is free and open to the public.   Refreshments will be provided. The Isanti Community Center is located at 121 Norellus Street, Isanti, MN.  Go to, email,  or call 320/272-0069, for more information.