Pine Island-Oronoco

Wed
17
Dec
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Oronoco Township wins Local Government Innovation Award

MINNEAPOLIS—The Humphrey School of Public Affairs on December 10 announced winners of its eighth annual Local Government Innovation Awards. Among the recipients was Oronoco Township, which was awarded $5,000 for being the overall winner in the township category for its Kings Park Sewer Project.

As local governments struggle with cutbacks at state and federal levels, these awards – organized in partnership with the Bush Foundation and co-sponsored by the League of Minnesota Cities, the Association of Minnesota Counties, the Minnesota School Board Association, and the Minnesota Association of Townships, —recognize local entities that are most creative in providing services to Minnesotans. From the ways they provide farm fresh foods to school children and help youth develop careers to how they regulate septic systems, 20 government entities are being recognized for their innovative ways of doing business. 

Wed
17
Dec
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Groundbreaking at Pine Haven will be in the spring


Pine Haven Care Center residents, staff, and board members gathered on December 5 for the groundbreaking announcement that featured a picture of the new 25,000 square foot addition. Front row, from left to right: Milo “Bud” Hickey, MaryJane Sanborn, Marlen Hundorf, Eugene Gullickson, Mary Esterlen, John Feil, Margaret Pendergrass, Virginia Durst, and Fred Kreinheder; back row: Steve Ziller, Connie Oldham, Judy Sanford, Rodney Myer, Laura Andrist, Wendell Zwart, Gene Rossow, Brian Hale, Shawn Jensen, Jennifer Kolsrud, Kati Tri, Char Tewalt, Lisa Marx, Jay Wobig, Lori Stenhovden, and Jodi DeWitt.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – On December 5, Pine Haven Care Center residents, staff, and board members celebrated the announcement of the upcoming groundbreaking ceremony for the new addition that will take place in early spring. The long-awaited public announcement is a proud moment for board members past and present who have spent the last ten years planning the expansion, renovation, and growth of the Pine Haven Community.

The board worked with WAI Continuum architects and the USDA Rural Development offices for financing. Schoeppner Inc., based out of Rochester, is the contractor for the project. The addition and remodel brings new technology, new equipment, new services, and new skills. 

Wed
10
Dec
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Chartwells makes food program changes to address complaints

By Alice Duschanek-Myers

PINE ISLAND – On December 4, John Durtshi and Joni Quamm reported on the improvements Chartwells made to the food service program at Pine Island School to address earlier complaints from students and parents about menus and serving sizes. Both recently attended a workshop about improving student participation in meal programs.

Durtshi said Chartwells surveyed the middle and high school students. They are making some changes from their input to include items that appeal to students and continue to meet federal nutrition guidelines. 

The lunchroom has been rearranged for more convenience for the students and to improve the environment. They are trying new events, like deli and pizza days. These received positive feedback from students. Cooks made homemade meatloaf. Homemade items are popular with the students.

Wed
10
Dec
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Dollar General holds grand opening in Pine Island


Vickie Thompson of Zumbrota, left, and Lori Baker of Red Wing were among the first 100 shoppers who attended the grand opening of Dollar General in Pine Island. At the checkout counter is store manager Mike Swearingen.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – Dollar General celebrated a grand opening at its new location at 214 Center Drive East in Pine Island on Saturday, December 6. The first fifty adult shoppers at the store received a $10 gift card, and the first 200 received a tote bag, among other items.

“Dollar General is committed to delivering a pleasant shopping experience that includes a convenient location, a wide assortment of merchandise and great prices on quality products,” said Dan Nieser, senior vice-president of real estate and store development. “We hope our Pine Island customers will enjoy shopping at Dollar General’s new location.”

Wed
03
Dec
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Unverzagt wins Pine Island Lions Peace Poster Contest


Pine Island winners in the Lions Peace Poster Contest are, from left to right: third place winner Alex Stalker, second place winner Emily Kellner, first place winner Allison Unverzagt, and Lion Mike Haider, chairperson of the contest.

PINE ISLAND – Allison Unverzagt, a sixth grade student at Pine Island School, has taken the first step in the 27th annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest. On November 25, her poster was awarded first place among eighteen entries submitted at Pine Island. An estimated 375,000 entries are submitted worldwide in the annual contest. Ultimately, one grand prize winner and 23 merit award winners will be selected by Lions Club International.

Unverzagt’s poster was selected for its originality, artistic merit and portrayal of the contest theme, “Peace, Love and Understanding”. She said, “My poster shows a young girl wanting to know and learn more about peace, love and understanding.”

Wed
26
Nov
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Pine Island Fire Department will bid on aerial firetruck

By Alice Duschanek-Myers

PINE ISLAND – On November 18, the Pine Island Fire Department requested that the city council authorize making an offer of $500,000 to Eden Prairie for a used 2003 mid-mounted platform truck with a 95-foot ladder and equipment. After discussion the council approved the request.

Fire Chief Jon Eickhoff told the council that in the ISO (Insurance Service Organization) audit in 2011 it was recommended that the PIFD add this type of truck for high rescues and to fight fires in large or multi-story buildings. The truck can be used to reduce the risks for firefighters when venting roofs to release heat, for access to chimney fires, to evacuate residents above the first floor, for rescues at the elevator and grain bins, to elevate water streams on large structures, and to pump water from other trucks. 

Wed
26
Nov
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Miranda Hawkinson advances to district oratorical competition


Pine Island Legion Oratorical Contest winner Miranda Hawkinson will advance to the district level competition held in Montgomery on January 10.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – The Pine Island American Legion announced the winner of its  annual Legion Oratorical Contest on Wednesday, November 19. Miranda Hawkinson, a junior at Pine Island High School, won the contest with her presentation about the Constitution and its application today.

Longtime coordinator of the contest, Tom Bollman, assisted Sheri French and Loraine Vettel in judging the contest. High school teacher Patrick Smith also helped coordinate for the event from within the school.

Hawkinson was the only one who came forth to present for the contest and was awarded $100 from the Legion. She now advances to the district competition on January 10 in Montgomery.

Wed
26
Nov
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Benefit for Shane Ellefson is December 6


At St. Marys Hospital on June 19, Shane Ellefson was happy to get a visit from his children Anna and Tanner. Ellefson said this has been very trying on his family and asked everyone to keep them in their prayers.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – Shane Ellefson of Hastings, the son of Donna and James Ellefson of Pine Island, is in need of a kidney transplant and is currently on the kidney transplant list. A benefit is planned for him on Saturday, December 6, at the Pine Island American Legion Post 184. From 4:30-7:30 p.m. there will be a spaghetti dinner, silent auction, and bake sale. Proceeds from the benefit will go towards helping Ellefson pay bills and medical costs. An account has also been set up for Ellefson at the Pine Island Bank and anyone wishing to make a monetary donation can do so there.

Wed
26
Nov
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Pine Island students travel to Galapagos Islands


On June 28, their first day in Quito, Pine Island visitors stood together at the middle of the world. From left to right are Brooke Salfer, Erin Rupprecht, Jeff Leland, Mitch Leland, Megan Schimek, Adam Barsness, and Kayla Sneller. While at the equator, they were able to balance an egg on the head of a nail and see how water circulates in different directions as it goes down a drain in the northern and southern hemispheres. The travelers also did their best to walk on the equator, a task which Schimek said is a lot easier said than done.

PINE ISLAND – Five Pine Island High School Students and two adults walked in the footsteps of Charles Darwin as they traveled to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, June 27 through July 6. Biology teacher Megan Schimek, who organized the trip, was joined by Jeff Leland, and students Mitch Leland, Brooke Salfer, Adam Barsness, Erin Rupprecht, Kayla Sneller.

The crew spent the first day seeing the sights of Quito, Ecuador, where they toured Independence Plaza and the Basilica Del Voto Nacional and explored the equatorial line. Students got to experience putting one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern.

Schimek said, “Being a biology teacher, I have read a lot about the islands that were made famous by Charles Darwin.  Never did I think I’d be able to observe the same species Darwin did while developing his theories of evolution and natural selection.” 

Wed
26
Nov
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As Christmas approaches, Pine Island will host a number of holiday events

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – Pine Island businesses and other organizations will be hosting a number of events this holiday season. Here’s a glimpse of what’s happening.

The Pine Island Holiday Progressive Lunch will be held on Saturday, December 13. Businesses will be promoting the Christmas season with prizes, sales, and a variety of holiday goodies and refreshments. (Look for the upcoming ad in the Zumbro Shopper for a full list of times and locations.)

On Thursday, December 4, at 7 p.m. at The Olde Pine Theatre, Cornerstone Baptist Church will host A Cornerstone Christmas (with pie). Come enjoy a choral Christmas concert, followed by a Christmas message and dessert pies. Admission and pie are free.

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