Pine Island-Oronoco

Wed
18
Jun
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Culbertson is a finalist for Princess Kay of the Milky Way


Olmsted County Dairy Princess and Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist Annie Culbertson poses with Star, a registered Holstein calf from their family farm, Macland Holsteins. Culbertson said that 98% of dairy farms are family owned.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – Twelve young women from dairy farm backgrounds were selected as finalists for Minnesota’s 61st Princess Kay of the Milky Way on Sunday, May 18, in St. Cloud. One of the finalists chosen after a three-day workshop attended by more than 70 county dairy princesses was Olmsted County Dairy Princess Annie Culbertson of Pine Island. 

Nineteen-year-old Culbertson is the daughter of Scott and Tina Culbertson. She graduated from Pine Island High School in 2013 and is currently a student at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities where she is majoring in agriculture education with an emphasis on leadership communications. 

Wed
11
Jun
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Sale of GO building bonds for PI School will be July 10

By Alice Duschanek-Myers

PINE ISLAND – On June 5 the Pine Island School Board adopted a resolution for the sale of $39,750,000 of voter-approved general obligation building bonds for the new PreK-4 school, athletic facility, and auditorium, and for the improvement of the existing school site and facilities. The school board plans to award the sale of the bonds at the board meeting on July 10.

Springsted, Inc. is the financial advisor for the school board regarding the bond sale. They will prepare the bond sale report statement. 

Administrative building reconfiguration study

Wed
11
Jun
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Pine Island School holds recognition breakfast


Elementary school teacher Jayne Hoffmann and art teacher Carolyn Blankenship are retiring from Pine Island School. Hoffman has been at the school since 1979, Blankenship since 1992.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – On Friday, June 6, Pine Island Public School held a recognition/retirement breakfast for staff in the cafeteria. The gathering honored those with significant years of service, outstanding staff and community members, those leaving to pursue other interests, and retiring personnel. 

Those who were recognized for ten years of service: Sandy Benike, Derek Brandt, Kristen Sinning, and Nancy Matzek; twenty years: Lynn Wiederanders; thirty years: Beth Kohner, Don McPhail, and Jeannie Rucker; and forty years: Margie Berg, Kathy Krause, and Jayne Hoffmann.

Ron Lenoch was congratulated for being chosen as Teacher of the Year for the 2013-14 school year. 

Wed
11
Jun
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PAPA Summer Concert Series begins June 15

PINE ISLAND – Pine Area People for the Arts kicks off its popular Summer Concert Series June 15 at the Pine Island Main Street Band Shell when the Turkey River All-Stars take center stage at 7 p.m. Area music lovers will enjoy eight Sunday evening concerts throughout the summer. Concerts begin each Sunday at 7 p.m. and will be held at either the Cheese Factory by the City Park or the Pine Island Main Street Band Shell located between the Rainbow Café and Borgy Boyz Pizza. 

Dates, performers, and locations are as follows: 

June 15 – Turkey River All-Stars (Band Shell)

June 22 – Rochester Big Band (Band Shell)

June 29 – Jukebox Cruisin with Paul Miller (Band Shell)

July 13 – CBB Jazz Combo (Cheese Factory) 

July 20 – Zumbrota Community Band (Band Shell)

July 27 – Cabin Fever (Band Shell)

Wed
04
Jun
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"Paws to Read" this summer at Van Horn Public Library

PINE ISLAND – Van Horn Public Library invites all area youth to participate in the summer reading program, “Paws to Read.” To register for the program, stop by during the library’s open hours from June 9-14. In addition to rewarding children for the books they read throughout the summer, the library has a full slate of engaging programs planned. 

Each week, the library invites all children 3 years and up to Story Time. From June 18 through July 23, Story Times will be held each Wednesday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (There will be no Story Time on July 2.) Kids will be enthralled for the entire 30-45 minute session as they listen as books are read, sing songs, dance, and make a themed craft to take home.

Wed
04
Jun
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PI School choir holds final choral concert

PINE ISLAND – The final choral concert was held in May for the vocal music department at Pine Island High School. Numerous awards were given to outstanding singers. Brianna Quintero Bungert was selected as the Rookie of the Year, which is given to the sophomore vocalist with the greatest potential. Most Improved was awarded to Adeline Angst and Director’s Awards were presented to Taylor Baker and Mitch Leland. The  National School Choral Award (given annually to the top senior female and male choir members) was presented to Laura Torgeson and Peter Beach, in the photo with director Doug Strandell.

Wed
28
May
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Pine Island approves rezoning for Dollar General Store on CSAH #11

By Alice Duschanek-Myers

PINE ISLAND – On May 20, the Pine Island City Council approved rezoning lot 2, block 2 of J&D Storage from I-1 (Heavy Industrial) to C-1 (Central Business District) for a proposed 9,100 square foot Dollar General retail store. The public hearing for the rezoning of the property was held by Planning and Zoning on May 13.

The council approved a request to vacate 19.64 feet of 1st Street NE directly abutting the property and replatting J&D Storage, First Addition for the store. The proposed building will be set back farther from County State Aid Highway #11 than other buildings to accommodate turning delivery trucks. 

Wed
28
May
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Celebrity tree gets a logo


The Moose Tree logo was created by NexGen Sign & Graphics, Rochester.

By Karen Snyder

ORONOCO – Soon a new sign with a Moose Tree logo will welcome visitors to Oronoco Park. The city council, at its May 20 meeting, unanimously agreed to Public Works supervisor Cain Dolan’s request to honor the tree, Oronoco’s largest, oldest, and most unusual resident.

Measuring 91 feet high and 192 inches around, the Moose Tree is Minnesota’s biggest basswood, dubbed by the DNR the “Big Tree Champion American Basswood” (dnr.state.mn.us/trees_shrubs/bigtree/deciduous.html). 

The 150-plus-year-old champ thrives in the center of Oronoco Park. Because of fluky limb growth, the tree looks as if moose heads – three of them – perch in it. 

The basswood is a celebrity. It’s been featured in newspaper stories, and three years ago, WCCO-TV aired a Moose Tree story. 

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. 

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