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.  

GPS 45:93 looks back, plans its future

With the belief that strategic planning for regional economic development is critical, members of GPS 45:93 set out to do just that on Sept. 23 around a large table in the Isanti County Courthouse in Cambridge, Minn. 

GPS 45:93 is a regional coalition working to promote dialogue and collaboration among the region’s public and private agencies in an effort to foster economic development.  Its location, four counties in east central Minnesota (Pine, Isanti, Chisago and Kanabec) places it within two hours of over 80-percent of the state’s population.

The organization’s need to plan was fueled by some regional factors that have come to be, including a higher-than-the-state-average unemployment and poverty rates, and lower-than-the-state-average diversity and educational attainment rates, as well as regional dependence on state aid, decreasing property values, and lack of venture and other sources of capital, among others.

The strategic planning process outlined those perceived weaknesses as well as the regions’ strengths and competitive advantages:  growth, quality of life, available—and affordable—land and workforce, natural amenities, existing regional collaboration, a history of successes, and a strong manufacturing base, among others.

The Initiative Foundation’s Dan Frank and Sandy Voigt were on-hand to facilitate the meeting.  Frank is the program manager for community development and Voigt is the business development specialist at the foundation.

They suggested that the group look beyond the region’s characteristics and look internally, into the organization of GPS 45:39, now in existence in its twelfth year, though first as Northern Technology Initiative.  The organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats became apparent and were discussed.

“Though we have a credible history, what does GPS 45:93 mean outside of the organization?” asked Sam Griffith, city administrator of Sandstone, Minn.  “There exists a lack of awareness.  What does our name say about us?”

Some of the goals that came out of the session included focusing more on economic development and marketing, and less on workforce development and organizational development. 

“Workforce development is being done elsewhere, in other agencies,” said Sara Trieber, current president of GPS 45:93 and a staffer for the Corporate Commission of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.  “And, we’ve already established our organization.  It’s no longer in development stage,” she added.

Now, GPS 45:93 can turn its energies to economic gardening, economic strategy and the like.  It has already completed business retention and expansion visits in its respective communities, as well as a network of ‘go-to’ people in each community.

Now that the group has a new name and identity, and all that goes along with that—a logo, tagline, Web site, etc.—it can create and implement a marketing plan. 

“We’ve come a long ways in a relatively short time,” said member Dr. Robert Musgrove, president of Pine Technical College, adding, “And, we realize we have a bright future if we are all working together.  We are of the philosophy that if one wins, all win.”

The tagline for GPS 45:93 is, “Your point of opportunity”.  Its precise coordinates, 45-degrees North (latitude) and 93-degrees West (longitude), when extended to their full six digits, lead to a point on the map near where four partner counties—Pine, Isanti, Chisago and Kanabec—touch.  Abbreviated, it leads to a simpler URL for its website,  There, one can find useful links, testimonials, and information on the members of the consortium.

Building your Small Business Toolbox

This fall, Pine Technical College will be offering a series of seminars that are geared towards small business owners and entrepreneurs.  The classes which start next Tuesday September 13th, will run weekly until mid-February.  A total of twenty-three sessions will be held and each will have a different topic and focus.  Topics will cover some of the most fundamental business lessons, such as creating a business plan, while other classes, such as Social Media Strategy and Marketing Green are geared towards already existing businesses.  With such a wide range of classes, there is something for every type of owner and entrepreneur.

The cost of attending a class session is $49 and attendees may pick and choose subjects based on topics. For more information and a listing of classes click here.

Battle of the Boards V Rescheduled

Several skateboarders showed up ready to compete in the fifth annual Battle of the Boards, set for last Sunday in West Side Park, but it was rescheduled to Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, beginning at 11 a.m.  Pictured, from left to right, are some of who you can expect to be there, including Kenny Lee, 14; Tanner Thompson, 15; London Williams, 10; Jordan Satter, 15; Colton Darwin, 15; and Shannon Drury, 15.

The youngest of these, Williams, had recently won a championship in a Crystal, Minn.,  competition, edging out a 16-year old by a mere .02 points.   According to Williams, his best trick is the “180”, but he would like to eventually master what’s called the “cape flip” or the “900”.

Lee, from nearby Grasston, is a regular at Pine City’s skate park since Grasston doesn’t have one of its own.  He said, of the quality of the park, “It’s pretty good for how small it is.  It’s laid out pretty good.”

Lee has competed in the last two Battle of the Boards and took second and third, respectively, in his first and second showings.  His board features Krux trucks and Spitfire wheels as well as a random assortment of stickers.

When asked whether skateboarders get a bad rap, Satter said, “A lot of times.”  He is competing in his fourth competition in Pine City, taking third place in his first two years and improving to second place last year.  His goal for 2011 is to simply skate and have fun.

When asked how he became interested in skateboarding, Drury said, “My dad gave me a skateboard when I was little.”  His present skateboard was one he earned on his own initiative, however, trading in his longboard and kicking in $20 of his own.  He said his goal for this year is to “not die.”

The event, co-hosted by 3rd Lair and Pine City’s Parks and Recreation Dept., has grown in interest each year.   It features tricks, competitions, demos, music, snacks and door prizes. 

Attention Cities, Restaurants, Schools and Hospitals: Save Energy, Water and Money!

The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) have launched an innovative grassroots campaign this summer to help restaurants, schools, hospitals, living complexes and other cafeterias and commercial kitchens in Pine City save water, energy, and MONEY.  The “Make a Splash with the Water Saving Bulk Buy!” campaign will help folks in Pine City and across Minnesota increase their profits with water-saving equipment upgrades.  Now through September 1, 2011, people can sign up to take advantage of bulk-rate prices on efficiency upgrades to efficient pre-rinse spray valves and faucet aerators, dramatically cutting their water and energy use with these simple, inexpensive upgrades.

What does this mean?  Pre-Rinse Spray Valves (typically $68) cost $28 with the CERTs bulk buy, and are brought down even further to $14 with a rebate from Minnesota Energy Resources (MERC).  Typical energy and water savings for a restaurant are oftentimes $400 per year, resulting in a one-month payback–it doesn’t get any better than that!

The handiest resources for learning more are:

And MERCs’ latest press release is available at!

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.

Learn how to make Moose Moccasins

Traditions of the Trading Post:  Moose to Moccasins Event

Where: North West Company Fur Post, Pine City.

When: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday

What: Watch and help as costumed experts explain how to turn a moose hide into moccasins. It’s part of an ongoing demonstration series about lost arts such as hide scraping, sewing birch bark and making twine.

How far: About 1.5 miles west of Pine City.

Details: $8 adults, $6 senior and college students, $5 children ages 6-17; free, 5 and under and Minnesota Historical Society members. 320-629-6356,

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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PLAY BALL! Minnesota Youth Clinic Takes Place in Pine City on FRIDAY, JUNE 24TH

The Minnesota Twins offer free baseball and softball clinics to youth in Pine City on Friday, June 24, 2011, at 2:00 PM and 3:30 PM at Pine City Public Fields or in the case of inclement weather at Pine City Civic Center Arena.

The Play Ball! Minnesota Youth Clinics program provides boys and girls from throughout the Upper Midwest with the opportunity to enhance their baseball and softball skills, while also hearing positive messages about staying in school and away from drugs and alcohol. Play Ball! Minnesota Youth Clinics are funded and administered by the Twins Community Fund.

Clinics are open to boys and girls ages 6 to 16 and are divided into two 90-minute sessions; the first session is for 6 to 9-year-olds and the second for 10 to 16-year-olds. Clinics focus on hitting, fielding and throwing. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children. Children ages 6 to 9 years should report Friday, June 24, 2011 at 2:00 PM; children ages 10 to 16 should arrive at 3:30 PM.

Created in 1961 by longtime Twins scout Angelo Giuliani, the clinic program serves as a way for the ball club to promote the games of baseball and softball to boys and girls throughout the region. Since the program’s inception, more than 800,000 youth have taken part in Twins clinics in the Upper Midwest and Southwest Florida.

Play Ball! Minnesota is a collaboration among the Minnesota Twins Community Fund and Minnesota youth baseball and softball organizations. Play Ball! Minnesota’s focus is to promote and improve the games of baseball and softball for Minnesota youth through increasing participation, communication and volunteerism; and improving fields, instruction and sportsmanship. For more information about Play Ball! Minnesota visit

For more information and the complete 2011 Play Ball! Minnesota Youth Clinics schedule please visit or call 1-800-33-TWINS.

Established as a nonprofit organization in 1991, the mission of the Twins Community Fund is to enrich local and regional communities by providing resources for the healthy development of children and families through and association with baseball, softball and the Minnesota Twins. The Twins Community fund is governed by a board of directors representative of the Upper Midwest.

Pine City recording artist now has local studio access

Michael Mooney (a.k.a. Kronic) and American Hustle Records owner, Michael Hale, look on as Dream Child finds a suitable beat.

Access to recording arts opportunities were, until recently, found mainly outside of town typically in the metro, and are now available in Pine City.

In his sophomore year of high school, Michael Mooney a.k.a. Kronic, was hopping a weekday bus to St. Paul to get alternative educational programming at High School for the Recording Arts, attempting to build on his rapping abilities.  Now 17, Kronic is spending a bit more time in Pine City these days thanks in part to a new studio, American Hustle Records, that set-up shop in town.

Owner Michael Hale has more than a dozen years of experience in the music business and says, “Kronic is prolific, creative and has mad skills.”

Despite Pine City High School repeatedly being named one of the “Best Schools for Music Education in America” by the NAMM Foundation, individualized, project-based learning for aspiring recording artists seemed limited to Kronic, who said, “It means a lot that I can do studio right here.”

Is Kronic up-and-coming?  Time will tell, but Hale defends Kronic, saying, “He is young, gifted and has great talent. I think he can go far.”