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.  

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.

“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.

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.

East Central Pride selected as 2011 Minnesota Community Pride Showcase winner

East Central Minnesota Pride, Minnesota’s small-town gay pride, was selected as one of 30 showcase winners from among 67 inspiring entries to the 2011 Community Pride Showcase.  It was shared–along with three other local initiatives–as one way the community of Pine City is moving beyond the current economic challenges with creative and proactive community and economic development innovations.

A photo taken from the 2006 regional pride in Pine City's Voyageur Park.

As a winner, the regional pride event will receive $500 from the Minnesota State Fair Foundation, exhibit space to share about the event and it will be formally recognized at Community Pride Day at the Minnesota State Fair on September 3rd.

The other Pine City initiatives that were nominated were the rainwater gardens of Woodpecker Ridge, the Horizons’ Pine Poker community blog site and the Pine City Library renovation project–certainly all worthy of showcasing at the “Great Minnesota Get Together”. 

“I’m more than proud of the GLBT community in East Central Minnesota,” said Dennis Burns, owner of DB Signs in rural Pine City.  “They all work very hard every year to put together the Pine City Pride Picnic.  The event is growing in attendance and fun each year.”

“This event is one of the ways that the small town GLBT community can help to bring harmony to us all no matter where we live in this great state of ours,” he said.  “I urge everyone to attend the picnic next summer.”

East Central Minnesota Pride is held the first Sunday in June each year.  2012 will mark the eighth year of the highly unique event.

For more information, please contact the Minnesota Community Pride Showcase Coordinators at 612.520.1756 or by email:

National Night Out – August 2

Pine City to join cities nationwide for ‘America’s Night Out Against Crime’

Photo taken at a recent NNO event, an outdoor film in the backyard of Pine City resident Brad Mariska

On Tuesday, August 2nd, neighborhoods throughout Pine City are being invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the “28th Annual National Night Out” (NNO) crime and drug prevention event.  National Night Out, which is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) and co-sponsored by several local agencies and organizations, will involve over 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world.   In all, over 37 million people are expected to participate in ‘America’s Night Out Against Crime’.  NNO 2011 is being supported in part by TARGET, a national corporate sponsor.

National Night Out is designed to:  (1) Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; (2) Generate support for, and local participation in, local anticrime efforts; (3) Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and (4) Send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Beginning at 7 p.m. on August 2nd, residents in neighborhoods throughout Pine City and across the nation, are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police.  Many neighborhoods throughout Pine City will be hosting a variety of special events such as block parties, cookouts, flashlight walks, visits from police, contests, youth activities and anticrime rallies.

For those hosting a neighborhood event who would like to register it so that others in the neighborhood can find out about it, and so a deputy or community leader can stop by, please do so by calling Pine City’s Neighborhood Watch co-chair and National Night Out coordinator, Jody Pangerl, at (320) 629-7553.

At 9 p.m. in Voyageur Park, all block parties and the rest of the community are invited to an open-air movie, “How to Train Your Dragon”, at Voyageur Park at Main St. N and 1st Ave. NW, behind the VFW.  Bring lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy the outdoor film with others in the community.

“How to Train Your Dragon” is a 2010 computer-animated fantasy film by DreamWorks Animation loosely based on the 2003 book of the same name.  The family film stars the voices of Craig Ferguson and Kristen Wiig, among other humorists.   The story follows a young Viking teenager named Hiccup who aspires to follow his tribe’s tradition of becoming a dragon slayer.  After finally capturing his first dragon, and with his chance at finally gaining the tribe’s acceptance, he finds that he no longer has the desire to kill it and instead befriends it.

National Project Coordinator Matt Peskin said, “This is a night for America to stand together to promote awareness, safety and neighborhood unity.  National Night Out showcases the vital importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement in our fight to build a safer nation.  On NNO, we invite neighborhoods nationwide to join us in Giving Crime & Drugs A Going Away Party.”

Contact:  Coordinator Jody Pangerl at (320) 629-7553 or City Planner Nathan Johnson at (320) 629-2575.

Optional:  National Association of Town Watch / (610) 649-7055 /


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.

Downtown Survey Results Shared

The Downtown Leadership Group, a.k.a. DLG, has been around a few years now and, last year, generated mission and vision statements.   When thinking about the future of downtown Pine City, we knew that it was an area of the community that belongs to all of us, the whole community.  But we also realized that we had to seek out input from downtown merchants so, to address that, a survey was circulated amongst the downtown merchants and building owners, seeking their opinions on various issues that affect downtown. 

Respondents want more to do downtown after 5 p.m., especially more entertainment options, and they have concerns about the lack of retail and variety and what they called “sparkle” as its buildings are starting to show their age.  These were some of the more prevalent results, along with much other information that points out the strengths of downtown as well as what could be done to improve it.  

Surveys were made available to all of the property owners in the downtown area property owners—87 in all.  We had 35 respondents or just over 40 percent.  Of these, there was a mix of downtown business owners, managers and residents.  Results were presented at an informational event June 9 whereby the DLG offered dessert and coffee to anyone who attended.  I told the handful of people who came what survey respondents thought about our precious downtown.  

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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 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.”