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

Ground breaking takes place for Pine City’s performing arts center

Groundbreaking took place Thursday, July 18, 2013 for the performing arts center and auditorium at Pine City Jr./Sr. High School.

New Auditorium in Pine City

A conceptual design of the new auditorium.

New Auditorium Groundbreaking

A large crowd gathered for the ceremonial ground breaking.

The auditorium, once completed, is expected to seat nearly 800 people.  New Independent School District 578 offices will be constructed in coincidence with the project.  Excavation work is expected to begin by July 26.  Occupancy is expected in the 2014-’15 school year.

The city has been gaining a reputation as an arts community.  In 2010, 2011, and 2012, it was named one of the “best communities in America for music education” by the NAMM Foundation.

Pine Center for the Arts opened its doors downtown nearly five years ago, and the community has had a long history of promoting the arts with Friday-night concerts in the park (Arts Council), theater productions (Heritage Players), and the annual Art Fest each July.  This year’s Art Fest is the 36th Annual and it happens to take place this Saturday, July 20, in Robinson Park.

For more information, contact

Apply for Small Business Consulting!

The Pine City Economic Development Authority has a new opportunity assist local business owners and entrepreneurs. Through a partnership with the MN Small Business Development Center at Central Lakes College, the EDA is pleased to present small business consulting as a new resource.

 Having begun in January 2012, two-hundred hours of consulting are available at no-cost to local entrepreneurs. Skills such as business plan development, access to financing, cash flow management, and marketing are available to assist entrepreneurs. Consulting is not just limited to new businesses; existing businesses can take advantage of this service.

The consultants for the Pine City area will be Jill Bolejack. Jill received her MBA in International Business from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA. Her experience includes an extensive background in consulting and real estate, and she has been a small business owner herself. She currently teaches business classes at Pine Tech. The EDA is pleased to be partnering with her and the SBDC to offer this opportunity.

For more information, please contact Nathan Johnson,, 320-629-2575. Or, you can apply online, the application can be found here.

Housing Forum Participants

The Housing Forum which is scheduled for this Thursday, March 15th at 6:30 pm will bring a variety of speakers each offering their own perspecitve on the hosuing market and foreclosures.  The speakers range from local real estate agents up to State agencies and non-profits. For more information, a list of participants is below:

  1. Mary Kay Brautigan
    Coldwell Banker Results, Broker/Owner
    Mary Kay will provide an overview of the market, stats in the immediate Pine City school district area.  She will discuss in a broad sense the bifurcated market of the “traditional seller” and the “foreclosure seller”, describe a short sale – and the differences between that and a foreclosure.  Also, why “white papers” on the door of a foreclosed home might mean another 6 months before home is on the market.
  2.  Jan Carl
    Coldwell Banker Results, Sales Associate specializing in Lender Owned, Foreclosure and REO properties
    Jan will provide overview of “who is the invisible lender” in foreclosed properties.  What are the series of events that lead to a property getting on the market – and ultimately getting trashed out and marketed. What are the differences between “Asset Manager” and “Lender”.
  3.  Teri Heggernes
    Stearns Bank N.A., Mortgage Lender
    As a Mortgage Lender for Stearns Bank N.A. in Pine City, Terri works with current and new customers on their consumer real estate loans-whether it be purchases, refinances, or renewals. She will provide overview of the local foreclosure scene , what happens to a local bank when it is taken over by the FDIC, how do those properties reach the market, and what involvement does FDIC have in the actual decision making of sale prices
  4.  Pastor Vicki VanderVegt
    Pine County Service Extension of Salvation Army, Treasurer Voucher Writer and Board Member
  5.  Wayne Eller
    East Central MN Habitat for Humanity, Executive Director
    East Central Minnesota Habitat For Humanity is a self help home-ownership ministry.  Habitat’s mission is to end poverty housing by building modest, decent, safe, energy efficient and affordable homes with and for people who are currently living in substandard housing.   As a Christian organization, Habitat brings communities of caring people with resources and skills together with families in need regardless of their faith, race, creed, age or sex, to create home ownership opportunities.
  6.  Ed Nelson
    MN Home Ownership Center, Marketing and Communications Manager
    Ed will present information on the Minnesota Homeownership Center, a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and advancing successful homeownership in Minnesota.   Ed will speak about the tools, resources and materials for real estate, lending professionals and home buyers the Center has created, and will share about the current foreclosure situation in Minnesota and where to refer struggling homeowners to trustworthy sources of information on preventing foreclosure.
  7. Tal Anderson
    MN Housing Finance Agency, Community Development manager, Single-Family Division
    Minnesota Housing is proud of its record of addressing Minnesota’s basic housing needs and helping build stronger communities. Minnesota Housing has invested more than $8.7 billion and assisted more than 750,000 households since its establishment in 1971. The Agency is a leader in an alliance of government, private sector, non-profit and faith-based community interests working with affordable housing in Minnesotans. As the state’s affordable housing financial institution, Minnesota Housing is a state agency that will invest more than $658 million in 2012 to address a continuum of affordable housing needs.
  8. Nathan Johnson
    City of Pine City, City Planner
    Nathan will offer an overview of the comprehensive plan and what work has been done by the City thus far to address our housing needs.

Chris’ to bring new Opportunity to Local Non-Profits

To download the application, click here.

Pine City to Host Housing Forum

The City of Pine City has partnered with Mary Kay Brautigan of Coldwell Bank Results to address the housing needs within our community. The Housing Forum will take place on Thursday, March 15th at 6:30pm in City Hall.

The increase in the foreclosure rate has occurred at both a national and local level. In 2010, there were 83 homes that were sold as foreclosures in the Pine City School district. This number of foreclosed homes has increased nearly 300% over the past four years.

The forum will be an opportunity for local and regional housing partners to discuss the problem and some potential solutions. The forum will combine the expertise of local real estate agents, mortgage lenders, and non-profit leaders. Each of these organizations and sectors reflects a unique knowledge and approach to the housing sector. The housing forum is an opportunity to learn about their specific knowledge and the work that has been done in foreclosure prevention.

We encourage members of the community to attend the forum as we discuss the challenges to home and property owners. Further questions may be directed to Lauren Ellmers, or 320-629-2575.

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.

“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,  There, one can find useful links, testimonials, and information on the members of the consortium.