History in This Spot

Sunday, January 14th at 2PM is your next opportunity for Discovering and Sharing Pine City History with the Pine City Area History Association.

Individuals interested in the study and preservation of local history are encouraged to attend the next meeting of the PCAHA.  The meeting will be held at 2PM in the Pine City Public Library meeting room on Sunday, January 14th.

The main focus for this quarterly session will be a review of the projects completed in 2017 as part of the “History in This Spot” series.  Topics may include addresses in Block 19, the Jonas Gray and Emil Hoefler homes on 8th Street and Pine City gets Electric Lights.  Audience preference will determine which topics we cover.

For more information on the Pine City History Association, call 320.322.9208 or email pcahistory@gmail.com

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Pine County Horticulture Day, March 24

Whether you are new to gardening or have been gardening all your life, there will be something for everyone at the 16th Annual Pine County Master Gardener Horticulture Day on Saturday, March 24th.  The day begins with registration, coffee and exhibits at 8 a.m. and runs to 2 p.m. at the Pine City High School.

“Minnesota Forests are Changing with the Climate” will be the keynote presentation by Lee Frelich, Researcher and Director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology and Institute of the Environment

There will be two rounds of breakout sessions on the following topics.

“Growing Healthy Vegetables” by Michelle Grabowski, University of Minnesota Extension Plant Pathologist

“Beyond Basics: How to Get the Most from Your Perennial Garden” by Kate Netwal, U of M Extension Master Gardener, Hennepin County

“Pruning Trees and Shrubs” by Donna Tatting, U of M Extension Master Gardener, Chisago County

“Growing Blueberries in East Central Minnesota” by Diane Patras, U of M Extension Master Gardener, Chisago County Master Gardener

The registration fee includes the educational sessions, morning refreshments, lunch, handouts, door prizes and time to visit with exhibitors featuring garden items, plants and bulbs.  Bring your gardening questions for the “Ask a Master Gardener” table and visit with experienced Pine County Master Gardeners.

Register by March 20th for $21 to save money and to be entered in a Grand Prize Drawing.  Print a Horticulture Day Registration form from the Pine County Extension office home page at www.extension.umn.edu/county/pine and click onto “Pine County Horticulture Day”. After March 20, the fee is $25. Or, request a form by calling 1-800-657-3813 Ext. #4 or call 1-320-591-1651. Forms are also available from the Extension office at the Pine County Courthouse at 635 Northridge Dr. in Pine City, and at the Flower Box in Pine City; Beaver Meadows Garden Center south of Hinckley; Brown’s Greens & Beans in Sandstone and Village Floral in Grantsburg, Wisconsin.

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.  

National Night Out — August 6th

Wind down your last days of summer with a great family friendly night out on August 6th. Pine City will be participating for the 4th year in the National Night Out event, just one of over 15,000 communities across the nation to be holding registered events.  The purpose of National Night Out is to promote police-community partnerships in an effort to get the community involved in crime prevention as well as an opportunity to raise awareness of programs offered by your community.

Pine City celebrates this event with a gathering in one of the local city parks — this year the event will be held in Robinson Park — and brings together a variety of groups that promote safety, health & fitness, community awareness, and family activities.

Beginning at 7PM families can meet members of the Sheriff’s Dept, Pine City Fire Dept, Pine EMS First Responders, Fairview Clinic nurses, Pine City Lifeguards and more!  A variety of fun activities will be offered and the evening concludes with an outdoor movie showing of Madagascar 3.

NNO 2013 Flyer

Facts about the Pine Innovation Center

The Pine Entrepreneurship Center and Technology Business Incubator, now shortened to the “Pine Innovation Center” is set to open some time in 2012.  Some may ask, what is an incubator?  Do they work?  Here is a run-down of info so you’ll be in the know…

What is an incubator?

Business incubators nurture the development of entrepreneurial companies, helping them survive and grow during the start-up and expansion periods, when they are most vulnerable. These programs provide their client companies with business support services and resources tailored to young and growing firms.

The most common goals of incubation programs are creating jobs in a community, enhancing a community’s entrepreneurial climate, retaining businesses in a community, building or accelerating growth in a local industry, and diversifying local economies.  Incubators are a combination of a physical facility and the services provided.  Often, the rent is reduced for the first 1-3 years of occupancy for a business locating in an incubator, and the services initially are either free or at a reduced price.  There are over 1,400 incubators in North America, and the strategy originated in the late 1970’s.

Do they work?

  • The National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) estimates that, in 2005 alone, North American incubators assisted more than 27,000 start-up companies that provided full-time employment for more than 100,000 workers and generated annual revenue of more than $17 billion.
  • Business incubators reduce the risk of small business failures. Historically, NBIA member incubators have reported that 87 percent of all firms that have graduated from their incubators are still in business.
  • NBIA members have reported that 84 percent of incubator graduates stay in their communities.
  • A study by the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that incubators provide up to 20 times more jobs than community infrastructure projects such as industrial parks.  The U.S. Economic Development Administration rates incubators as their most effective investment in terms of job creation.

What is the Pine incubator?

  • 7,800 square feet of new, open,  and adaptable space designed to house advanced technology manufacturing companies.
  • Designed to house up to three companies at a time, with two interior office spaces for incubator occupants along with the open light industrial advanced technology floor.
  • Connected to Pine Technical College Customized Training and Continuing Education (CE/CT) offices (in the former East Central Energy building to be remodeled).
  • Located at the corner of Hillside and Main Street to create a compelling entrance experience.
  • Targeted at advanced technology companies providing high wage jobs.
  • Integrated with Pine Technical College to provide students with internships and to provide incubator occupants with access to faculty expertise in a number of disciplines.
  • Connected to PTC CE/CT for management and for access to customized training for employees.
  • Connected to the Pine City fiber optic backbone for high-speed internet.
  • To be served by a network of local professionals for advice and guidance in accounting, legal services, financial expertise, marketing assistance, and other services at free or reduced costs.

What are the benefits for the region?

  • Creating high-wage jobs for area citizens.
  • Attracting technology-based companies to locate in area industrial parks after incubation.
  • Strengthening the commercial/industrial tax base.

Fire Chief encourages community to help with firefighter memorial

The Minnesota Fire Service Foundation is working to create a new memorial at the State Capitol to honor Minnesota firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty.  Below is a link to their webpage where one can see the planned memorial and make donations to support the cause. 

They’re hoping to raise the funds by December 31, 2011.   Donations can be made in honor of Jeremy Jylka of the Pine City Fire Dept., who passed away while enroute to a grass fire on April 29, 2008. 

“Please forward [this link] to anyone who may be able to help out this project,” wrote Tom Miller, Fire Chief, in a recent email to several folks in the community.

“Give to the Max” and support your favorite charitable organization today!

If you’ve been considering making a donation to a nonprofit organization, today would be a great day to do it.  Hundreds of nonprofits throughout Minnesota are participating in the third annual “Give to the Max Day“, a 24-hour online fundraising blitz sponsored by Give MN that will match your donation and award grants to the organizations that receive the most donations.

Last year’s fundraiser collected more than $10 million for over 3,500 Minnesota nonprofits, and helped the Pine City Library with its challenge match to expand and enhance its facility.  It can be tough to choose who to give to, so here’s a snapshot of just a handful of the dozens of worthy organizations in the Greater Pine City area.

  • GPS 45:93, formerly Northern Technology Initiative (N.T.I.), is a regional consortium for economic development.  It works to attract business and high-paying jobs in the region.
  • PHASE provides employment-based services to adults with a diagnosis of a developmental disability, traumatic brain injury, or severe and persistent mental illness.
  • East Central PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of the area’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through support, education, and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights.
  • East Central Habitat for Humanity is a housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action.  The organization’s goal is to build safe, decent, affordable, energy efficient houses for low-income families.
  • Pine Center for the Arts or the Pine City Heritage Players.  The arts center provides a place downtown Pine City to stir up the arts in everyone; whereas, the Heritage Players produce quality community theatre.
  • Pine Technical College Foundation stands for expanded opportunities for students at the college and for those who wish to become students.  Your support of the Foundation helps students achieve dreams.
  • Pine Community Food Shelf offers many services to the community including volunteer and donation opportunities, information and referral and food shelf services for those in need.  The organization’s director, Julie Werner, also serves on many committees in the community such as Pine County Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, and Community Health Services.

“Give to the Max Day” begins at midnight on Nov. 16 and continues through midnight the following day.  Perhaps you have a favorite organization you wish to share about.  Please comment and share about it with us and our readers.

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, http://www.gps4593.com.  There, one can find useful links, testimonials, and information on the members of the consortium.

This Weekend in Pine City: Autumn “Stay-Cation” Ideas

Economic hardship is still forcing many to cancel travel or vacation plans and instead make the most of “Stay-Cations.”  

Anderson's Rock Creek Relics 2011 Corn Maze

Definition of Staycation:  A vacation spent at home or near home, doing enjoyable activities or visiting local attractions.  – Dictionary.com

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Here are some ideas to offer the perfect solution: Activities that not only will please everyone and are close to home, but are either free to the public or nominally priced…

Stay up-to-date with other goings on in Pine City at the Area Chamber of Commerce Web site.

Habitat for Humanity Home opens in Pine City!

This weekend marks the successful completion of a Habitat for Humanity home for a local Pine City family. The home, which was was built for Kelly O’Brien and her son, was possible because of a collaboration between the East Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity, her family, as well as many volunteers located right here in the community. To celebrate the completion of the home, a combined open house and blessing will be held this Saturday, August 27th at 1pm.  The event will be held in the home which is located at 610 Second Street SE.

 Some background about Habitat for Humanity and their selection process:

Each family that receives a home from Habitat for Humanity must meet several criteria. For this particular home, Habitat received 12 applications. Those applicants were narrowed down based on several guidelines or questions. These include, is the family currently homeless or living in substandard housing? This could includ anything from living in a home that is in a state of disrepair to living with other family members because they cannot afford their own housing. Secondly, is the family willing to help partner with Habitat for Humanity? The partnership requires 256 hours of volunteer time to be put forth by the family. And lastly, does the family have the ability to repay the home loan?  One benefit of receiving a home from Habitat is that the home loan is greatly reduced and interest free. More info is also available here, on the East Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity Website.