Pine Island-Oronoco

Wed
28
May
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Pine Island Cheese Festival begins June 6

PINE ISLAND – The 78th annual Pine Island Cheese Festival begins at noon on Friday, June 6. On Main Street in Pine Island, enjoy a variety of carnival foods, live music, special events, fireworks, and sporting events.

Cheese Festival buttons and wristbands are on sale at several merchants.  A button or wristband will enter you in the many drawings going on throughout the weekend. They also get you into special events going on all weekend long. Carnival ride tickets are available in advance as well and can be purchased at a discount at Pine Island Bank or First American Insurance.  

There will be a ton of things for children to enjoy including a special Kids Day at Collins Park featuring kids’ games, face painting, and much more on Friday.  And Kids Day at the Carnival is Saturday from 1-6 p.m. with discounts of one ticket each per ride.

Wed
21
May
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Pine Island students place second and third in Stock Market Game


Pine Island teams took second and third place in the state competition in the Stock Market Game this year. Third place winners are, front row: Lauren Meurer, Robin Talbot, and Marissa Walters; second place winners are, back row: Coltin Stadler, Garrett Hinrichsen, and Tanner Simon.

PINE ISLAND – Pine Island seventh grade students recently concluded the Stock Market Game. For the past five years Pine Island teams have placed teams in the top three in the state. This year was no different with one team placing second and another third. Pine Island finished with five of the top seven middle school teams in the state. The entire program involved some 1,578 teams from across Minnesota. Olson Middle School in Minneapolis took first. 

The Stock Market Game is a virtual investment competition which first started in 1977. It helps develop student skills such as critical thinking, decision making, cooperation, communication, research, and saving and investing. Students use real internet research and news updates, making the simulation an even better mirror of the real marketplace. While the competitive game play creates student excitement, the educational experience delivers the biggest impact. 

Wed
21
May
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Pine Island passes both questions in school bond referendum election

By Alice Duschanek-Myers

PINE ISLAND – On May 13 voters passed both questions on the referendum ballot for the Pine Island Public Schools. Question #1, which includes building a new PreK-4 school and renovating the existing building for middle and high school, passed 1537-830. Question #2, which included a 600-seat auditorium at the existing site and nine-lane competitive track encircling an athletic facility at the new school site, passed 1464-898. 

There was a good turnout at the referendum election. 62% of those registered voted. Superintendent Tammy Berg-Beniak said voter turnout has usually been about 40%. Question #1 was passed with 65% of votes, and Question #2 was passed with 62% of votes.

Wed
14
May
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Dugstad takes first at Riverland carpentry contest


Pine Island High School carpentry contestants at Riverland Community College on April 25 are, from left to right: Hunter Lienau, Brandon Miller, Brendon Dugstad (first place winner), Kevin Poliszuk, and Matthew Ellefson.

By Audra DePestel

AUSTIN – Five Pine Island students – Matthew Ellefson, Kevin Poliszuk, Brandon Miller, Hunter Lienau, and Brendon Dugstad – competed in a carpentry competition at Riverland Community College in Austin  on Friday, April 25. Brendon Dugstad took first place for the second year in a row. This is also the third time out of the four years of the contest that Pine Island has finished first. 

The skills contest involved reading a transit level, tool identification, a written test, and a custom trim cutting. Also featured at the event were residential construction guest speakers, commercial construction guest speakers, career and industry opportunities, and a tour of the house currently being built by Riverland carpentry students. 

Tue
13
May
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Pine Island School referendum passes

Pine Island -- Voters approve both Pine Island School bond referendum questions one (65%) and two (62%) with 2,367 votes cast on Tuesday, May 13. This will provide funding for a new elementary school, track and athletic field, auditorium, and remodel of the existing school.

Wed
07
May
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Pine Island speech team wraps up 2014 season


Pine Island speech team members at the HVL Conference Meet at Kasson High School on Monday, March 17, are, front row, from left to right: Coach Melissa Kaffine, Noah Kneeland, Sara Cramer, Laura Torgeson, Kelly Leibold, and Coach Lezli Kuster; back row: Adeline Angst, Katelynn Leibold, Siriwimol Narongkidpanit, Chelsey Haugen, Caleb Kopp.

PINE ISLAND – On Saturday, April 26, the Pine Island speech team concluded its season with the banquet. Awards were given to various members of the team. The top five speakers throughout the season were determined based on how many meets each student competed in combined with how well they performed. These top five speakers were Noah Kneeland, Kelly Leibold, Caleb Kopp, Siriwimol Narongkidpanit, and Sara Cramer and Laura Torgeson, who competed in Duo Interp-retation together.  The other awards given were Best Rookie – Siri-wimol Narongkidpanit; Most Improved – Kelly Leibold; Most Dedicated – Noah Kneeland; Most Promising – Caleb Kopp, and Most Valuable Player (as voted on by the team) – captain Kelly Leibold.

Wed
07
May
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DMC presentation coming to Pine Island

PINE ISLAND – A great deal of media coverage has been focused on Destination Medical Center (DMC) over the past two years which has caused considerable discussion about future impacts to communities surrounding Rochester. The Pine Island EDA has invited Jerry Williams, interim Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce President and spokesperson for DMC, to give a presentation to the Pine Island community. This will be an opportunity to hear first-hand about the vision for the future of the region and to ask questions about the DMC project and process.  The program will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21 at the Pine Island American Legion.  

Wed
30
Apr
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Pine Island choir competes in subsection contest

ROCHESTER – On Thursday, April 10, students from the Pine Island High School choral department performed at the Sub-Section 3 Solo/Ensemble contest held at Rochester Lourdes High School.  

A duet by Allison and Jacob Higgins was awarded an “Excellent” rating by their adjudicator.  The vocal solo performances of Mitch Leland, Siera McNallan and Laura Torgeson received “Superior” ratings.  In addition, these ensembles were also designated as “Superior” by the judges: vocal duet of Madeline Sorum and Lauren Rupprecht; vocal duet of Laura Torgeson and Sara Cramer; TBB ensemble (Jake Barr, Brandon Haze, James Kroll, Mitchell Magnuson, Duku Moses and Garrett Talbot); and a mixed ensemble (Taylor Baker, Nick Cain, Sara Cramer, Caleb Kopp, Mitch Leland, Siera McNallan, Kevin Polizsuk, Garrett Talbot and Laura Torgeson).

Wed
30
Apr
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Katilynn Swanson wins 2014 Cheese Fest button design contest


Katilynn Swanson’s winning design has a farming theme that features a mouse family walking together to the carnival. The 2014 Cheese Fest buttons will be available for purchase at local businesses by the end of May.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – The Pine Island Cheese Festival Committee is proud to announce Katilynn Swanson as the 2014 Cheese Festival button design winner. Swanson is an eighth-grader at Pine Island Middle School and is the daughter of Lisa and Keith Swanson.

Swanson will receive a check for $50 and the first Cheese Fest button featuring her design. She was very excited and surprised she won. Her design was inspired by this year’s farming theme and the idea that her family always walks down to the carnival from their home during Cheese Fest. 

Wed
30
Apr
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Pine Island and Rochester schools plan to collaborate on career and college readiness

By Alice Duschanek-Myers

PINE ISLAND- On April 21 the school board approved the Pine Island Integration and Achieve-ment Plan. Pine Island plans to collaborate with Rochester Public Schools to improve career and college readiness starting in middle school.

The Integration and Achievement program was established by the Legislature to close academic achievement and opportunity gaps.  From the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) for 2014, “The purpose of this program is to pursue racial and economic integration, increase student achievement, and reduce academic disparities in Minnesota’s public schools.”

The district’s achievement and integration plan must include goals for reducing disparities in academic achievement among all students, and for students included in the following subgroups: American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Black, and free or reduced price lunch. 

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