Plethora of choice for your Pine City weekend!

Friday, Oct. 4

  • Farmers’ Market in the Park
    • 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Robinson Park, town square – Enjoy it homegrown and handmade!
    • Peaceful Pines Pumpkin Patch
      • 3 p.m. – Dusk, 13650 Government Road – Acres of pick your own pumpkins.   Pick your own $4 each; pre-picked and priced pumpkins too.  Apples, gourds, Indian corn, broom corn, corn stalks, displays and decorations for photos opportunities.
      • Old Highway 61 – An Evening to Remember
        • 4 – 6 p.m., Pine Technical College, 900 4th Street SE – Tour virtual Old Highway 61, and see what it has to offer, and hear from MPR’s Cathy Wurzer, author of “Tales from the Road Highway 61”.
        • Highway 61 Film Festival
          • 6 p.m., various show times, Pine Technical College Auditorium, 900 4th Street SE – The Highway 61 Film Festival is a three-day celebration of the magic of movies that was established in 2011 as a means of supporting and promoting independent films and filmmakers from all along Highway 61, and beyond.  
          • Photos on Buildings
            • Dusk, back of Pine Plaza, along 4th Street SE.    Collections of photographs from area photographers will be shown in a unique way:  “Photos on Buildings” exhibits the talent of photographers by projecting photos onto the backside of Pine Plaza.
            • Pine City Dragons Football Homecoming
              • Tailgate 5 p.m. – 6:45 p.m., east of 7th Grade Commons Area, Pine City High School, 1400 Main Street S. –From 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., enjoy an outdoor BBQ, door prizes, music, and an appearance by the PCHS pep band.  Rain site:  7th Grade Commons.
              • Kick-off at 7 p.m., Saunder’s Field, Pine City High School, 1400 Main Street S. – Wear your Kelly Green and White and cheer on your Dragons (1-4) under the Friday night lights as they take on Crosby-Ironton (2-3). 
              • Late-Night Film Session
                • 10:30 p.m., Danny C’s BeachRocks Supper Club, 10762 Lakeview Shore Dr – A fun-filled evening of an eclectic mix of movies not for the weak of heart!

Saturday, Oct. 5

  • Farmers’ Market in the Park
    • 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Robinson Park, town square – Enjoy it homegrown and handmade!
    • PTO Fall Carnival
      • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Pine City Elementary School, 700 6th Avenue SW – The Pine Dragons Parent-Teacher Organization will host their annual Fall Carnival, featuring food, prizes, games, crazy hair, a bounce house and more!
      • Peaceful Pines Pumpkin Patch
        • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., 13650 Government Road – Acres of pick your own pumpkins.   Pick your own $4 each; pre-picked and priced pumpkins too.  Apples, gourds, Indian corn, broom corn, corn stalks, displays and decorations for photos opportunities.
        • Highway 61 Film Festival
          • 1 p.m., various show times, Pine Technical College Auditorium, 900 4th Street SE – Day two of the festival brings a great variety of films to the community.  The Film Festival Board is made up of a group of passionate film enthusiasts and artists that have worked to create an outlet for emerging new voices and ideas.  
          • Photos on Buildings
            • Dusk, back of Pine Plaza, along 4th Street SE.   Yet another reason people will find Pine City to be an exceptional arts destination.
            • Late-Night Film Session
              • 10:30 p.m., Danny C’s BeachRocks Supper Club, 10762 Lakeview Shore Dr – Another fun-filled evening of an eclectic mix of movies not for the weak of heart!

Sunday, Oct. 6

  • Lions Spaghetti Dinner
    • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., American Legion Post No. 51, 525 Main Street N. – The community is invited to a spaghetti dinner sponsored by the Pine City Lions.  A freewill offering will be taken at the door and proceeds will benefit the Pine Community Food Shelf among other local projects.
    • Peaceful Pines Pumpkin Patch
      • 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., 13650 Government Road – Acres of pick your own pumpkins.   Pick your own $4 each; pre-picked and priced pumpkins too.  Apples, gourds, Indian corn, broom corn, corn stalks, displays and decorations for photos opportunities.
      • Highway 61 Film Festival
        • Noon, Pine Technical College Auditorium, 900 4th Street SE – For the final day of the festival, there will be a special presentation with films selected by Pine City native and Twin Cities film legend Al Milgrom. 
        • A Place for You Benefit Concert
          • 2 p.m., The Light House, 1045 Main Street S. – A benefit concert for “A Place for You” transitional shelter.   Music and fellowship featuring local church musicians.  Cost is $10.00.
          • Photos on Buildings
            • Dusk, back of Pine Plaza, along 4th Street SE.    The final night of Photos on Buildings 2013, exhibiting the talent of area photographers.
            • Citizen of the Year Reception
              • 4 – 5:30 p.m., North West Company Fur Post, 12551 Voyageur Lane – The 2013 Citizen of the Year is Harvey Lindstrom, a longtime city employee and an avid community volunteer.  

Upward mobility opportunities possible for Pine Citians

horizons logoA recent study by Harvard University and University of California Berkeley economic researchers proves that where you are born and raised still matters if your idea of the “American Dream” is to rise out of poverty.

Turns out, despite Pine City’s poverty rates that are higher than the Minnesota average, the small-town is a good place to come from to be able to rise out of poverty.

Pine City area children raised in households where parents have less than $25,000 in annual income, or the bottom 20 percent of U.S. household income, have an 11.9-percent chance of moving above $107,000 in annual income as they mature, joining the ranks of the nation’s top 20 percent, according to the data base assembled by Harvard’s Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren and Berkeley’s Patrick Kline and Emmanuel Saez, and their colleagues.

“Those figures not only fare well for a small town, but they are better than any major city in the United States,” said Nathan Johnson, City Planner for the City of Pine City.  “Salt Lake City, Utah, offers the highest upward mobility, at 11.5-percent.”

Among the nation’s 30 most populous areas, the Twin Cities metro came in at a nine-percent chance of moving above $107,000.  But the industrial centers of Marshall, Thief River Falls, Roseau, Hutchinson, Fairmont, Willmar, Fergus Falls, Little Falls and St. Cloud all topped 15-percent odds.  Redwood Falls has the highest upward mobility odds in Minnesota, at 17.3-percent.

Other Minnesota cities, besides Pine City, that fare well are Rochester, Mankato, International Falls, Brainerd, Austin, Bemidji and Duluth.

In national comparisons, Atlanta has the most locked-in poverty.  Just four percent of children move from the bottom to the top 20 percent cohorts for incomes, with Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati only slightly better with 5 percent odds for such upwards mobility.

“The Harvard-Berkeley economists showed what our mobility rate was,” said Johnson, adding, “I believe we fare well because our community leaders, parents and public policy makers jumped in, and explored the conditions that trap people in poverty through Horizons.”

From 2008 to 2010, Pine City participated in the Northwest Area Foundation’s Horizons Program to reduce poverty and build social capital in the community.

Johnson said, “Horizons helped people identify logical goals to help our community achieve some measurement of “the American Dream”, not only by household income but by other achievements.”

“It also helps that we have access to high-quality education in Pine City, with stellar, award-winning schools and Pine Technical College with low tuition rates right here in our backyard,” explained Johnson.

“In addition, people here roll up their sleeves and are involved with volunteer work, church activities and social causes.  We help one another succeed,” he said.

“We must build on what has been documented by these economists,” said Johnson.  “Our mobility numbers are only good in comparative rankings, not in real, human terms.  We still have a ways to go.”

Other findings of the study, which can be viewed at, were the absolute upward mobility for Pine City:  46.6-percent; and the relative upward mobility was 29.1-percent.

The “Pine City” identified in the study is one of 741 “commuting zones” around the U.S.  It had a population of 41, 526.

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!

A Place for You overcomes another obstacle at Planning Commission Meeting

Over the recent months there has a very lively discussion regarding ‘A Place for You’ transitional shelter. The discussion begun in the end of August when the group applied for a conditional use permit required to operate in the Allina Clinic building. At the time, there had been no previous public meetings regarding the shelter and minimal information was known by the community. During the August planning commission meeting, citizens expressed their concern with a shelter opening downtown.  Shortly following, ‘A Place for You’ to held three information sessions. The group also met with the Lions Club, ministers from around Pine County, and will be meeting with the Chamber of Commerce next week. Additionally, A Place for You released extra information specifically outlining their intake procedures.  Releasing this information was done in order to ease community concerns that individuals will be drawn from the surrounding five-county area, gather in Pine City, and become a safety concern for local residents. The info sheet can be found by clicking here.

 At last night’s planning commission meeting, the group faced two obstacles in order to allow the shelter to move forward with its plans. First, the approval of an ordinance amendment was required.  The amendment would allow for a community living arrangement within the designated area. Some commission members held strongly to the idea that the ordinances be upheld, arguing that a lot of time and effort had gone into creating the ordinances. Despite this, the majority of the members voted in favor of amending the ordinance, thus allowing for the discussion to continue and directly address the topic of the transitional shelter.

 During the discussion surrounding the conditional use permit, several issues were addressed. In order to receive the permit, guidelines must be set in place to ensure that the shelter is respectful to its neighboring residents as well as the overall health of the city.  The commission discussed multiple items, such as staffing and loitering, and then made the necessary recommendations to minimize any potential negative effects. However, the main point that the commission discussed was regularly reviewing the permit and making alterations.  By requiring a frequent review, the commission could add additional conditions that would need be met by A Place For You. This review process would ensure that A Place for You maintains its position as a respectful and positive organization in Pine City-just as its founders intended.

In Greater Minnesota, Census Bureau finds Pine City area to be the most gay

Census:  Pokegama is the township with the highest proportion of same-sex partners in the state; also Rock Creek and Pine City are among gayest cities Statewide

In the last 10 years, Minnesota saw quite the surge in the number of same-sex households and the brunt of the growth, 80% of it, took place beyond Minneapolis and St. Paul—in the suburbs, exurbs and the least likely of small towns—places like Pine City. 

Or is Pine City the least likely of places?

According to the U.S. Census, which recently released its second-ever count of same-sex partners in Minnesota, the Greater Pine City area is home to some of the most concentrated same-sex coupled households among any of the areas of the State, outside of metropolitan areas.

There are 1,786 townships in Minnesota and the “gayest” of them all is Pokegama Township (pop. 2,743), which surrounds the city of Pine City on three sides.  White Bear Township (pop. 10,949) is the only township that has more by sheer numbers—just eight more households—but Pokegama by far has the highest percentage, 2.1% of all of the households, more than twice that of the average across the State.  In Minnesota, there were 13,718 same-sex couples in 2010, accounting for about one percent of couples statewide.

Pine City itself, within the relatively-small municipal limits, has eight such couples, a 14.3% increase from the previous Census, which even then was higher than the State average.   The city had the equivalent or more same-sex coupled households than a handful of cities over twice its size, including St. Joseph (pop. 6,534), Victoria (pop. 7,345), Big Lake (pop. 7,386), Baxter (pop. 7,610), Mahtomedi (pop. 7,676), Crookston (pop. 7,891), Cambridge (pop. 8,111) and Waconia (pop. 10,697) – even Hennepin County’s Minnetrista (6,384).

And, Rock Creek, just 1.5 miles down the road, has twice as many same-sex coupled households as Pine City.  Yet just 20 miles to the west, in Mora, a community of similar size and distance from the Twin Cities, there weren’t any same sex couples reported to be living there. 

As far as counties are concerned, only Hennepin and Ramsey have more same-sex couple households per thousand households; Pine County comes in third out of all 87 counties.

Some may ask, “Why does this rural part of the state have a higher concentration of same-sex couples?”

Continue reading

Opportunities Galore

Minnesota Community Pride Showcase

We told them about four ways in which our work is helping to improve Pine City.  Now, will the Minnesota Community Pride Showcase select one or more of the works to display in-person, and receive a plaque and $500 cash award on Community Pride Day September 3 at the Minnesota State Fair?  Be sure to sign-in with your Facebook to “like” or comment on the Iniatives, from the Horizons’ blog to pride, from the library renovation project to the City’s rainwater gardens.

Open Idea Challenge

Also, the Woodpecker Ridge rainwater gardens initiative was nominated for the Open Idea Challenge.  If Pine City is selected, $15,000 will be awarded to our community to further help raise awareness of and address water issues locally.  Again, your Facebook log-in will allow you to “like” and comment on this.

Miscellaneous Grant Opportunities

Rural Housing Preservation Grants are now available.  They provide qualified public agencies, private nonprofit organizations, which may include but not be limited to Faith-Based and Community Organizations, and other eligible entities grant funds to assist very low- and low-income homeowners in repairing and rehabilitating their homes in rural areas. In addition, the HPG program assists rental property owners and cooperative housing complexes in repairing and rehabilitating their units if they agree to make such units available to low- and very low-income persons.

Also, the Rural Business Opportunity Grants Program offers support for activities designed to promote sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs through the provision of training and technical assistance for business development, entrepreneurs, and economic development officials and support to assist with economic development planning.

Pine Citians invited to People’s Ball


Governor Dayton on a recent trip to Pine City

Governor Mark Dayton invites you to join him for the

“People’s Inaugural Ball”

Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011

6 p.m. to Midnight

All are welcome. 

Reception and dance.

Minneapolis Convention Center

1301 Second Avenue S., Minneapolis, Minnesota

$30 per person | $15 for students and low-income

“Blue jeans to black tie!” 


Video: Intro to Horizons in Pine City

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Cast and crew trick-or-treat for food shelf

-6th Annual Community Service Project

The cast and crew of “Guys and Dolls,” the fall musical being presented by Pine City High School, may be knocking on your door this Halloween evening (Sunday, Oct. 31).  But the students won’t be asking for candy, they will be looking for donations of non-perishable food items to be donated to the Pine Community Food Shelf.   This is the sixth year of the community service project, with last year’s effort bringing in over 2,000 items.  The students will identify themselves as members of the production and will not be wearing traditional Halloween costumes.

According to director Brad Mariska, the event serves several purposes.  “First and foremost, this is a chance for students to connect with the community and think about the fact that many families are struggling financially and our Food Shelf serves a vital community purpose.  It’s also a great opportunity for the community to see students engaged in service projects and to spread the word about our upcoming performances.  We hope that the community will donate if they are able, and see these students not just as talented actors, singers, and dancers, but also as young people who care about others in their community.”  The tradition began back in 2005, when Mariska directed his first musical in Pine City, “Godspell”.

Performances of Guys and Dolls are November 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, and 20.  Tickets are now on sale at several businesses or by calling  (320) 629-4013.  Group reservations can be secured by calling (320) 629-4129.

Pine City Horizons September Board Minutes

Pine City Horizons Board Meeting Minutes Monday, September 20, 2010 5pm at Horizons/Chamber Office

Purpose: Sustain the vision of building prosperity, reducing poverty-keep the fire alive and coordinate work team activities in the community.
Vision: Welcome to Pine City where people live, work and play. Our beautiful city offers many recreational choices, community events and an active arts community. Youth are healthy, active and drug-free and part of a positive multi-generational culture. Energy is renewable and sustainable. We welcome change that makes our community better and we welcome you to visit or stay and live here with us.

Present: Jenny Erdmann (Co-chair), Lezlie Sauter (PR), Wendy Johnson (Co-Chair), Jan
 Nettleton, Nathan Johnson, Becky Maki (Treasurer) & Sean Stevens (Note-Taker).

Learning About….No learning events on this months agenda

August Meeting Minutes: Approved

Work Team Reports:
• Everything Pine City: Awaiting branding recommendations to tailor look of kiosk. Continue
to make suggestions to Information Guide for style & content. Next meeting=10/13, 5pm
• Youth: Met with AmeriCorps volunteer with Kettle Kinship in consideration of partnering with
them for mentoring. Next meeting=10/7, after ECC meeting which begins at 3:15pm.
• People Helping People Prosper: Last work team meeting was spent prioritizing work plans. Homelessness,MicroloansandOCCweretoponthelist. Jenny Erdmann and Wendy Johnson have been very active with quickly approaching OCC (Oct 26). 80 letters for donations were recently sent out and will need follow up calls soon. 9 vendors on board to date. Wendy is working with local churches for donations. She also wondered about asking for help with facebook. Sean updated the Board on Family Pathways and questioned whether PC Horizons should appeal to Family Pathways to participate in programming in PC, instead of just raising funds here. Next meeting=10/7, 5pm.

Old Business/Other:
• Pop Vox Video: Video is shot, Sean will send out the final edit when completed
• School Drive: Served 53 families, 122 kids. The remaining supplies went to ALC, CLC and
then on to OCC
• Pioneer Article: Many Horizons members were interviewed and Judy will have article out next
• Community Garden Fencing: Board suggested Ryan, Mike and Aaron as possible volunteers
for this quick project. Becky Maki also suggested the Area Learning Center. Sean also wanted
to price a sign for this area & the Board agreed to look at pricing.
• Funding Requests/Reimbursements: A request was made of the Board to consider its
system for funding requests and reimbursements. Board agrees that two signers should be available in case of absence of a single member (Wendy Johnson is 2nd signer). Sean will draft a form and research a policy for funding requests. Treasurer will provide a balance report at each meeting. Additionally, a request was made of the Board to reimburse Jenny Erdmann for postage used to mail donation requests for OCC. Board votes to approve request.
• Laptop: Board is interested in attaining a laptop for Horizons/public use. Sean will research opportunities to attain this from grants, Pine Tech or manufacturers.
• Homeless Shelter: Board is interested in investigating the use of the old Sherriff’s office as a shelter and partnering with an existing program to run it. Sean and Nathan will report at next meeting.
• Comprehensive Plan: Horizons will present information at the City Open House as to its perspective on Comp plan. Goals and Strategies? Board mentions Housing as a chief concern, especially high rents as mentioned in recent Pioneer article. Lezlie Sauter will provide material from previous meetings on this topic.
Upcoming Events

9/25 Horizons Regional Training Workshop @ NW Fur Post, 830am to 530pm
10/26 Operation Community Connect @ Lighthouse Church, 10am to 6pm
10/27 Pine City Comprehensive Planning Open House