Come lend a hand with Operation Community Connect (OCC)

Operation Community Connect (OCC) is a service day to those in our community who are in-need.  This event provides food, clothes, personal items and assistance information from local and regional service providers.  Last year, the Pine County OCC served 192 individuals.

Pine City Horizons is coordinating OCC again this year and we are putting out the call for anyone to join our efforts for this years event.

We will be meeting on Monday, August 8th at 5pm in the Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce meeting room, which is located at the old courthouse at 315 Main St. South in Pine City.

If you or your group cannot attend this meeting but would like to learn more, please contact Pine City Horizons at (320) 629-2575 ext 115 or email us at


Homelessness “Point in Time” Count: Wed July 27th

The Central Minnesota Housing Partnership, in coordination with assistance organizations in 4 other states, are conducting Minnesota’s first summertime “Point-In-Time” count of unsheltered Minnesotans.  The completed surveys will help the Central Minnesota Housing Partnership and Central Minnesota Continuum of Care accurately report the extent of homelessness in Central Minnesota, apply for funding from HUD and provide direct assistance.

The Point-In-Time count is a simple 9 question survey and includes no contact information from the unsheltered individual.  In the event that an individual doesn’t elect to complete the survey, but indicates to a friend, family member, clergy, medical provider or anyone else that they will be without shelter on the day of the count, their numbers can still be counted.

Point-In-Time Survey

Wednesday, July 27th

A copy of the survey can be downloaded here, for individuals facing homelessness to self-report or for providers to submit on behalf of someone whom they know is going to be without shelter on July 27th.  

MN's summertime Point in Time Survey


Aspen Ideas Festival echoes in Pine City

For over 60 years, the Aspen Institute has been the nation’s premier gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times.  Participants at the festival and those listening and contributing from afar through social media, are invited to be involved with seminars, workshops, tutorials and discussions on big topics, big problems and big solutions.

Minnesota Public Radio has been broadcasting 3 minute clips from various contributors this afternoon and I wanted to attempt to bring some of this discussion home to Pine City.

In my last post, “Pine City students respond to what do we need the most?” students illustrated through their responses some things that they would like to see fixed in Pine City.  Lets categorize this post as “Defining the Problem.”

For todays post, with inspiration from the Aspen Institute and the Aspen Ideas Festival, I would like to focus on the “Fixing the Problem” category.  To get ourselves into that fixing state of mind, I offer the following quotes from a variety of speakers at the Ideas Festival.  These are quotes I found interesting, on a variety of topics, and with luck, they will spur you to contribute your own “Big Idea” to this blog posting, through your comments.

Be brave and think BIG!

(For more information on the Aspen Ideas Festival, visit their website at

Pine City students respond to “What does Pine City need the most?”

Secrets to effective time management discussed at June P.A.N.E.L.

On Wednesday, June 15th, the Pine Area Networking & Entrepreneurs’ Luncheon (PANEL) welcomed back author and effectiveness trainer Michael Monroe Kiefer to discuss effective time management.

MIchael Monroe Kiefer is the founder of the POWERMIND project on human potential, a full-time trainer and best-selling author. He can be reached at

During the workshop, Michael discussed several facets of time-management including goal setting, organization, avoiding procrastination and more.  He began this workshop by defining time management as “the planning and organizing of your time so you can accomplish the most important goals as soon as possible.”

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Frequently Asked Questions about the VISTA opportunity in Pine City

It’s hard to believe, but almost a year has passed since Sean Stevens came to Pine City in support of the City of Pine City and Pine City Horizons through  AmeriCorp VISTA.  His term nearing completion, I wanted to ask him some questions that might help inform interested parties about his position, AmeriCorps and several other topics.

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Available position with the City of Pine City

The AmeriCorps VISTA position in Pine City will remain open until June 9th. This position is a great opportunity for anyone wanting to build their resume, provide service to their country or work with our issue areas of housing, jobs and anti-poverty campaigns through Horizons.

Successful candidates receive a living allowance, child care assistance, travel allowance, awesome training and can select an end of service cash bonus or education award to fund previous education or help pay for college. Upon completion, VISTA members also have non-competitive eligibility for government jobs.

More information, including a position description and more details can be found in the City Jobs section at the Pine City website. That address is:

Horizons Video

Although this has been posted here in the past, we wanted to re-issue this to get feedback from you, the viewers.  Please feel free to leave your comment and also discuss what you would like to see done in Pine City to help eliminate poverty.

Pine City Horizons’ Spring Spruce Up

Spring Spruce Up Volunteers

Volunteers for Horizons' Spring Spruce Up included (from left to right): Sean Stevens, Kris Engh, Jenny Erdmann, Delphin Cruz, Rhianna Cruz, Heather Cruz, Nathan Johnson & Tyrel Bergmann

On Saturday, May 14th, Pine City Horizons hosted a Pine City Spring Spruce Up Day.  The goal of this effort was to build relationships, have fun and build pride in our community.  “When the Spring Spruce Up was conceived, we wanted to identify someone who could benefit from not only the spruce up, but would also see this effort as a way to form new relationships.  Having relationships with those that can help when you need it is a very important part of being happy and healthy,” said Kris Engh with Pine City Horizons.

“When Mark Madison of the Pine Terrace manufactured home park contacted Horizons about cleaning up some of the vacant lots, we saw this as a good opportunity for a win-win,” continued Engh.

Pine Terrace also provided a donation to help buy trash bags, lunch for the volunteers and a dumpster to remove the garbage.

Garbage collected from the volunteers at Horizons Spring Spruce Up

Trash collected from Spring Spruce Up

“This was a great event”, said Sean Stevens also with Pine City Horizons, “we collected lots of garbage, met new people, helped beautify Pine City and created some new partnerships that will continue to build social capital for all those involved.”

The best part of this event is what has happened as a result.  Heather Cruz, one of the volunteers for this event, has already mobilized a youth group from her church to continue this clean up effort.  As a result, she and her family and members of her church will return to the area next weekend to continue the goal of this program which was clean up, build camaraderie and connections.

“The first Spring Spruce Up felt so good that I just wanted it to continue,” said Cruz.  “Anyone is welcome to join us for the second Spring Spruce Up and I guarantee you will have fun, meet new friends and feel great about Pine City.”

Spring Spruce Up 2 will take place this Sunday, May 22nd at 4-8pm.  Anyone interested in participating can call Heather Cruz at (612) 423-3469 or just meet at Pine Terrace (near the mailboxes) on Sunday at 2pm.

Pine City Horizons seeks data on Comprehensive Planning

One of the missions of the partnership between the City of Pine City and Pine City Horizons is to include the whole community, regardless of socioeconomic status,  in the process of constructing the new Pine City Comprehensive Plan.  The Comprehensive Plan is a document which thoroughly addresses the current state of the community from many different perspectives and then addresses issues like growth, development, economy, housing, recreation, tourism and more.

Many individuals and organizations have and will contribute to the comprehensive plan.  To date, these have included but are not limited to, the Parks & Recreation committee, the Chamber of Commerce, Pine City Economic Development Authority, the Branding Committee, Pine City Trails committee, Pine City Horizons, the Downtown Leadership Group, the Planning Commission, Pine City Environmental committee, Pine Technical College Green Club & many more.

If you are a member of any of these groups or have contributed to conversations regarding the Pine City Comprehensive Plan, we would like to ask that you answer the following poll as it relates to your household income.  This information will be used to assess how inclusive the planning process has been in including low income perspectives.  Your responses will NOT include any personal information are your response is completely anonymous and not tied to you or traceable in any way