Free income tax help in Pine City

Those who earned less than $50,000 last year are eligible to receive free tax assistance beginning in January.  The Aitkin Age reports that appointments are available starting Jan. 15, Tuesday through Saturday, in Pine City.  Call (800) 832-6082 ext. 159 to arrange an appointment.  This service is provided by local volunteers who are trained to electronically prepare income taxes, made possible by Lakes and Pines Community Action Council.

A look back at 2012

A look at stories that transcended beyond Pine City…


1. Soldiers return; post office renamed

215 Minnesota National Guard soldiers returned home after a yearlong mission to drawdown U.S. troops in Iraq; it was the second-largest Minnesota contingent deployed since World War II.  This fall, the Pine City Post Office was renamed to honor fallen soldier Master Sergeant Daniel L. Fedder.  Eighth District freshman Congressman Chip Cravaack carried the bill to rename the post office, his signature work for Pine City prior to being ousted by DFLer Rick Nolan in November.

2.  Forest Lake and Pine City exchange robbers

In February, a Forest Lake man was arrested in connection to Pine City burglary at a home near downtown.  Then, in May, a Pine City woman was charged with shoplifting at the Forest Lake Menards, after allegedly taking from the store and getting caught in a nearby swamp…  There.  Are we even?

3.  Transgressions

A woman with great misfortune–whose 18 year-old son was killed in a car crash just two years ago–was shot in standoff that ended with her ex-husband dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and her hospitalized.  Separately, a man convicted of killing Pine Co. Deputy Michael Morrow Sr. was released from prison again.  Scott Lange served a 20-year sentence after beating the 53-year-old deputy to death with a flashlight.

4.  Sheriff’s Dept. fights blemished image

First, the Pine County Sheriff’s office launched an internal misconduct probe, investigating the actions of 15 employees of the department.  Then, in a separate matter, one particular deputy was charged with stealing prescriptions drugs while on duty.


5.  Isackson starts ablaze for top-ranked Gophers

Pine City’s Christian Isackson helped the Golden Gophers open their preseason with a blowout win behind his hat-trick performance.   The sophomore was a major factor in the men’s 2012-13 season opener with a 7-0 exhibition win.


6. ‘Mayor Jane’ no longer

Pine City’s longstanding and first female mayor, Jane Robbins, didn’t file for re-election and will be replaced by Mayor-elect Paul Janssen Jan. 7, 2013.  She served in the capacity of mayor for over 20 years and was mayor before Minneapolis elected its first female as mayor, Sharon Sayles-Belton.

7. Only the good die young:  Haylie Samuelson and Derek Rootkie

Twin Cities’ media reported that texting and driving may have caused fatal crash that left 16 year old Haylie Samuelson dead.  Leukemia was what took No. 56 off the playing field.  Randy Shaver’s Tackle Cancer was held in September to honor Derek Rootkie.  Samuelson and No. 56 signs and car stickers remain prevalent in the vicinity of Pine City.


8. Three different city admins as economic recovery begins

Holly Wilson resigned as Director of Public Works for the City of Willmar in September to replace Kim Moore-Sykes, the interim Pine City administrator who replaced Don Howard earlier this year.  Several new businesses opened in Pine City in 2012 which occupied half a dozen or so vacancies.  Meanwhile, despite economic recovery, Moody’s downgraded to A2 from A1 the rating on Pine City’s outstanding general obligation debt in conjunction with new sale of $610,000 GO Improvement Crossover Refunding Bonds.  Good luck, Holly!


9.  Stoffel Museum, rural life highlighted

Channel 5’s Jason Davis brought “On the Road” to the Stoffel Farm.  Most families save a few keepsakes from their past, he said.  But, few can hold a candle to the Stoffels.

10. ‘A Place for You’ opens

Homelessness is one step closer to being solved locally.  With the help of many, “A Place for You” transitional shelter opened its doors just in time for the cold weather.

11.  Locals run for House

Hometown advocate Nathan Johnson and County Commissioner Mitch Pangerl ran for Minnesota House of Representatives.  No one from Pine City has won the office since the mid-70s (Roy Carl Carlson).


12.  Ames speaks, couple found, new drive-through

St. Cloud State Spring Commencement was held in May at the Halenbeck Hall Gymnasium.  The commencement address was given by Pine City High School alum Alex Ames.

A Pine City couple was found after a night missing in Ontario.  Authorities located the couple after they spent more than 24 hours missing on a lake northwest of Thunder Bay.

An impromptu drive-through: A van crashed into KFC in Pine City and the remodeling wasn’t in the works until it happened.

  • For a look back at ’08, click here.
  • For a look back at ’09, click here.
  • For a look back at ’10, click here.
  • For a look back at ’11, click here.