“Seasons in Pine City” book available


Looking for last-minute gifts? Give “Seasons in Pine City” and support the Pine Center for the Arts!
We’re proud to announce that a new book celebrating Pine City has just been released, and all profits will go to Pine Center for the Arts.
The 102 pages of “Seasons in Pine City” feature the writings of Pine City Pioneer contributors Mary Andersen, Mike Gainor, Dale Kuzel and Margaret Marty, and are also filled with images of Pine City from Mike Gainor.
Only 120 were printed, and only 95 copies are left!  Your only chance to get it before Christmas will be to stop by the Pine City Pioneer office Thursday until 5 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.  If you can’t make it, contact Mike at editor@pinecitymn.com and we’ll try to deliver a copy or copies to you.
Merry Christmas!

Art Center Celebrates 4th Anniversary in July

The Pine Center for the Arts has been serving the community for the last four years and will host their annual Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, July 27th in Robinson Park and the Art Center.

2013 Board Chairman, Heidi Briski-Gainor, has coordinated this event each year since it began and the participation level continues to grow each year.

One of the favorite activities of the event is the “Creative Cake Contest” in which entries are judged on theme and visual creativity of their cake.  Once the winner is selected, the remaining cakes are given as treats to the attendees.

The community is invited to celebrate with the Pine Center for the Arts from 11am – 2pm.


Songs of Pine County’s Irish Lumberjacks

St. Paul, MN — March 22nd, 2013:  When itinerant lumberjack Michael Dean arrived in the newly incorporated village of Hinckley in 1885 he must have felt right at home. Like Dean, many of the town’s businessmen and civic leaders were Irish-Americans who had followed lumbering jobs west to Minnesota. Soon, Dean made a life as a well-loved saloon-keeper and farmer who went fishing with Irish mill owner James J. Brennan and Irish lumber baron William O’Brien and lived in Pine County for 32 years (he moved to Pine City in 1907). Dean was also an avid singer who had a large repertoire of songs, from the old Irish folk tradition and from the unique musical tradition that flourished in northwoods lumbercamp bunkhouses in those years.

Bemidji-native Brian Miller has spent the past five years researching Dean’s life and, along with musical partner Randy Gosa, reviving Dean’s songs and the music of other Irish lumberjacks from the Upper Midwest. The duo presents these fascinating songs and stories in concert on Friday, April 12 at 7:30 PM at the North West Company Fur Post, 12551 Voyageur Lane, Pine City.  The show is presented by the Pine Center for the Arts and has been made possible by a grant through the East Central Regional Arts Council.  Tickets are available for a reduced cost of just $10 and can be purchased at the Pine Center for the Arts, Chris’ Food Center and the North West Company Fur Post.

Brian Miller and Randy Gosa have been featured on TPT TV’sMinnesota Original and MPR’sDaily Circuit and they have toured nationally to festivals including The University of Chicago Folk Fest, Milwaukee Irish Fest and the Arizona Highland Celtic Fest. Brian Miller is a two-time recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board grant for his work with the music of Irish lumberjacks. In concert, Miller and Gosa mix old world music with colorful local lore and creative arrangements, using voice, guitar and a variety of unusual folk instruments.

Their Pine Center for the Arts concert will feature stories about Mike Dean’s life in Pine County drawn from Brian’s forthcoming Dean biography (including how Dean’s was the only farmhouse to survive the Hinckley fire). The duo will also perform several songs from Dean’s repertoire and others, including the rousing bunkhouse song “Kettle River” which recalls the daily lives of men who worked in Johnny O’Brien’s lumbercamp on the Kettle River. The performance draws on recently discovered unpublished transcriptions and lost audio recordings of Mike Dean’s singing and the duo is excited to bring these songs back to the place they were sung over 100 years ago.

This activity is funded, in part, with a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council through an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State’s general fund.

The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund came into being as part of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that Minnesota voters overwhelmingly passed in 2008.  Because of the work the State Legislature has done to direct this funding to the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Council System, it has ensured that this money is bringing access to the arts in every corner of the state.  The Pine Center for the Arts is grateful and proud to have received this funding.

Art Center offers Singing Valentines

Singing ValentinePine City has been blessed with three very unique and wonderful arts organizations as well as a school district that is developing quality music, art and theater students each and every day.  In just five short weeks of 2013 there have already been a number of opportunities for residents in the community to experience some type of art event…and the next five weeks are no exception!

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, the Art Center will continue their traditional “Singing Valentines” fundraiser.  For just $20 individuals can send a singing valentine to a friend, family member, or co-worker to brighten their day.  Our troupe of singers are talented volunteers like Kris Seuntjens, Caron Peters, JoLynn Howard, and Carol Nyrhinen.  A few new faces have been invited to join in the fun this year as well in hopes of expanding the reach to as many as 50 valentines delivered in just three short days.

The $20 fee includes singing valentine, personalized card and flower — all delivered anywhere withing the Pine City school district boundaries.  The only exception is that the valentines cannot be delivered to students or staff during school hours.

The Art Center is also teaming up with The Flower Box and Cabin Coffees this year.  If you would like to have flowers or cupcakes delivered along with your valentine… simply make arrangements with either The Flower Box or Cabin Coffees and they’ll get in touch with the Art Center.

The Art Center is open Monday – Friday from 3-6 PM and Saturdays from 10am – 1pm.  Stop by to get your valentine registration form and personalize the card for delivery.

For more information visit the Pine Center for the Arts online at http://www.pinecenter.org


“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.

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


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.

Highway 61 Film Festival rolls in Oct. 14-15

Movie lovers from all over Minnesota are getting ready to settle down to a feast of films this weekend at the first ever Highway 61 Film Festival in Pine City.
The festival will feature comedies, action, horror, drama, documentary and animation in 39 short and feature-length movies over Oct. 14-15. 
Doors open at the Pine Technical College Auditorium (900 4th Street SE) at 6 p.m. Friday for the first session of films, with a late-night session to follow at Danny C’s BeachRocks (10762 Lakeview Shore Drive) at 10 p.m.
On Saturday morning at 11 a.m., another session of films begins with a family-friendly selection of movies for young and old at Pine Technical College. 
Saturday goes back to the grown-ups at the 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. film sessions, and the night will be capped off with a horror double-feature and celebration at Danny C’s BeachRocks starting at 10 p.m.
Tickets for each daytime session of films at Pine Technical College are only $5, while there is free (donation requested) admission to the late-night shows at Danny C’s BeachRocks. All funds go to the nonprofit Pine Center for the Arts.
Each session of films promises its own highlights. Some of these include: 
  • Friday night’s 6:30 p.m. session includes a film by Shane Bauer, one of the American hikers who was recently released from Iran after two years in captivity. “Songs to Enemies and Deserts” was co-directed by Bauer and David Martinez. A special message from Bauer’s mother, Pine City native Cindy Hickey, will be read before the film. 
  • Friday’s late-night session at Danny C’s BeachRocks will feature “All Over the Walls,” a documentary featured at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival. The short film “Night Surf” won directing and screenwriting honors at the MCTC Excellence Awards.
  • On Saturday at 2:30 p.m. the session includes a variety of intriguing dramas and comedies capped off by “Lambent Fuse,” the winner of the 2011 Twin Cities Film Fest for Best Minnesota Feature. 
  • On Saturday at 6:30 p.m., a series of exciting thrillers and hilarious comedies will come to an end with “Ghost from the Machine,” a psychological horror film which was recently picked up by Universal Studios to be remade into a major motion picture. 
  • Saturday’s late-night session at Danny C’s BeachRocks is a horror double-feature including “Attack of the Moon Zombies” by legendary Minnesota director Christopher R. Mihm and the horror/comedy freak-out “Potpourri.” 
For a full listing of films and their descriptions go to www.highway61filmfestival.org or visit the Highway 61 Film Festival Facebook page. 
Also, on Friday and Saturday nights, drivers and pedestrians will see the walls of Pine City come to life with photos projected by local photographers in “Pictures on Buildings.”
Come to one film session, or come to all – but don’t miss the Highway 61 Film Festival!
Read on to see more about the program and the films that will be shown.

Things every Pine Citian should do in 2011 (and beyond)

With 40,000 extra people around town over the next few days–thanks Pine County Fair–perhaps folks are looking for other things to do while in Pine City.  In fact, there’s still plenty of summer left to enjoy a plethora of warm weather activities if you don’t get to it fair weekend.   Whether you are new to the community or have lived here your entire life it’s always great to be reminded on how much there is to do in Pine City.

The Pine Poker reached out to people who were out and about for ideas on what every Pine Citian and visitor should try in 2011 (and beyond).  Here’s what made the list…

  • Check out this list of 10 things to do, and be sure to comment and share some of your own below.
  1. Nap or read a book at a city park.   There are a dozen of them throughout the community with a wide variety of offerings from disc golf to skateboarding; from swimming to sand volleyball; from fitness trails to fishing; from horticulture to history; the list goes on and on.  City maps showing where all of the parks are located are available at the Chamber of Commerce office at 315 Main St. S.
  2. Eat Booya  The annual Czech heritage booya festival takes place at the historic Sokol Camp on the east shores of Cross Lake, this year–the 81st annual–on Aug. 14.  Attend and submerse yourself in other Czech and Slovak cultural activities.  Try their famous “Booya”, a hearty concoction of meaty soup.   
  3. Explore nature in another era.  Step back to the recreated world of 1804, and walk the trails at the Northwest Co. Fur Post.  Stop at the Ojibwe encampment and learn how the seasonal living of the Ojibwe changed when Europeans arrived.  Meet a fur trade clerk who explains the system of barter that moved beaver fur from the hands of Indian hunters onto the heads of fashionable Europeans.
  4. Cruise Main Street.  Wash the car, roll down the windows, turn the radio up (not too loud) and cruise ‘Main’.  Nothing beats the nostalgia of cruising a traditional main street through a bustling small town; even better, ours is on a national scenic byway.  Pull into the carhop at the All-American A&W for a frosty rootbeer along the way.
  5. Take your photo with François  The 35-foot tall French voyageur statue looks over downtown Pine City from Voyageur Park on the north shore of the Snake River.   Thousands of tourists have had their photo with the roadside distraction.  Have you?
  6. Investigate a real, live Ghost Town   Explore near the Chengwatana Dam, find traces of “Chengwatana”, originally an Ojibwa village (Zhingwaadena), a popular site with trappers and traders, and in 1856 platted to be the largest village between St. Paul and Duluth on the government road; it was used as a military post in 1862-’63.  There are visual traces of foundations of buildings that once stood.
  7. See Devils Lake   Local legend has it that the lake, viewable by the community fitness trails (note: minimally maintained, some private property), once swallowed a train that has never been found since.  In the 1800’s a circus train derailed into the lake and as late as 2010 scuba divers have had unsuccessful searches for it.
  8. Browse the gallery at Pine Center for the Arts.  Amidst your shopping along historic Fifth Street, stop into the Center to see the artwork on display by the people of the region.  You will be delighted and amazed at the imagination and talent of the artists in our backyard.  While there, sign up for an art class with a friend or loved one.
  9. Dine at a new restaurant.  Certainly with 30 eateries to choose from, the Pine City area has something for everyone, and likely something you’ve yet to try.  Newer to the restaurant scene are Wild Bamboo, which dishes up some of the best Vietnamese cuisine in Minnesota, and WingStreet, for those who like flavored chicken wings.  Staples are Nicoll’s Cafe and Pizza Pub, both downtown. 
  10. Shake your tailfeathers at Froggy’s.  Like to dance?  Every Saturday night, Deejay Tuck plays some of the hottest new music, and throws in some Pine City sound-flair from time-to-time.  21+.  Mom’s late-night menu is available from Midnight-to-3 a.m. for after the fun.

It’s time to create your 2011 Pine City bucket list and get going.

Weekend Update

Friday, June 10

Saturday, June 11

Sunday, June 12

Also, while out and about this weekend…
Be on the lookout for those with a missing dog:

The dog on the left went into the City Pound on June 6, 2011.  It is a Male with medium, curly hair, about six months-t0-one-year old.  He is believed to be a Spaniel/Lab mix.  Notifications to the radio stations and both local veterinarian clinics had not yielded results as of June 10, 2011.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of this dog’s owner should contact Pine City Public Works at (320) 629-6474.

Arts Center wants your membership


The Pine Center for the Arts is welcoming the community to their Membership Extravaganza, featuring a silent auction, wine tasting, appetizers and more.  The tickets are $5 ea. and two (2) free tickets will be given to those who currently are members.

The membership form and more information can be found at the Pine Center for the Arts’ Web site.