Pine Island-Oronoco

Wed
24
Sep
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SELCO Fall Author Tour will stop in Pine Island


Kent Nerburn, the author of “The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo,” will be visiting Pine Island as part of the SELCO Fall Author Tour.

PINE ISLAND – On Monday, October 6, at 7 p.m., Van Horn Public Library, in conjunction with Better Brew Coffeehouse, will host an open house with Minnesota-based writer Kent Nerburn. Nerburn will discuss his newest book, “The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo,” at Better Brew as part of the SELCO Fall Author Tour and will sign copies of his book. Copies for sale will be available at the event. Van Horn Library currently has copies available for borrowing as well.

Van Horn’s Book Club will also be meeting on Wednesday, October 1 at 6 p.m. (also at Better Brew Coffeehouse) to discuss “The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo” prior to Nerburn’s visit. Please note that this is one week earlier than the Book Club normally meets.

Wed
17
Sep
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Officer Jeff Sjoblom is new Pine Island School Resource Officer


Officer Jeff Sjoblom said he feels very fortunate to be part of the community as the new Pine Island School Resource Officer.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – Pine Island Public School welcomes Goodhue County Officer Jeff Sjoblom as the new School Resource Officer. Sjoblom replaces Deputy Josh Stehr who left to pursue a different position within the department. Stehr served as the Pine Island School Resource Officer for the past five years. 

Wed
10
Sep
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Pine Island School receives over $8,000 in school supplies

By Alice Duschanek-Myers

PINE ISLAND – At the school board meeting on September 4, Pine Island Superintendent Tammy Berg-Beniak recognized and thanked Land O’ Lakes, United Way, Kraus-Anderson Construc-tion Company, and the local Girl Scouts for donating school supplies. 

She said, “Land O’ Lakes coordinated with the United Way to donate $8,000 of supplies specifically to the Pine Island School.”

She also recognized a donation from a grandchild of a resident of 125th Street “who saved her money and donated it for the new school.”

PBIS and bullying 

Berg-Beniak and dean of students Josh Westphal reported on updates for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Bullying Prohibition.

Wed
10
Sep
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M&M Lawn & Leisure is inducted into Polaris Hall of Fame


Proud to be inducted into the Polaris Hall of Fame, M & M Lawn & Leisure owner Mike Burns, center, is joined by longtime employees Brent Rouhoff, left, and Jeremy Anderson. Anderson has been with the dealership for over 17 years and Rouhoff 13 years. Both now work at the Pine Island location.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – M & M Lawn & Leisure was inducted into the Polaris Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Polaris national sales meeting in Minneapolis on July 29. During the ceremony, Polaris Industries, Inc. inducted three retired employees, including two executives, three premier dealerships, and a key supplier into the Polaris Hall of Fame. They were honored for their significant contributions to the company’s success. 

M & M Lawn & Leisure operates two dealerships, one in Rushford and the other in Pine Island. The dealerships, owned by Mike Burns and his wife Christie, have enjoyed long-term success through a commitment to customer service. M & M first opened in Rushford 18 years ago, and in January of 2012 they opened their second dealership in Pine Island.

Wed
03
Sep
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Culbertson has her likeness sculpted in butter at State Fair


Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist Annie Culbertson of Pine Island poses with her butter sculpture at the State Fair on August 26.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – The Minnesota dairy industry kicked off the State Fair with the coronation of the 61st Princess Kay of the Milky Way on August 20. This year, Jeni Haler of Carver County was crowned.  Annie Culbertson of Pine Island was one of the twelve finalists who went through judging a few days before coronation.

On opening day of the fair, August 21, the newly crowned princess had her likeness carved in butter by artist Linda Christensen, who is in her 43rd year of creating these sculptures. Christensen has sculpted more than 460 butter sculptures in her life, including the likenesses of David Letterman, former Minnesota First Lady Mary Pawlenty, and Big Bird. The sculpting continued throughout the fair for the other eleven Princess Kay finalists.

Wed
27
Aug
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Sparks fly over permit issue at Oronoco City Council meeting

By Karen Snyder

ORONOCO – Whether you call it fur or fireworks, it flew at the August 19 Oronoco City Council meeting. The flashpoints of contention were permits, one to add a second driveway and the other to operate a business from a home in a residential zone. 

The meeting began with decorum. “Can I talk now?” Haeng Heng, the seeker of the permits, asked the council during the public forum portion of the meeting. (Public forum is the time – the only time – for members of the public to speak. When public forum closes, the council devotes itself to city business.) 

Heng said she appreciated Councilor Nathan Hartung’s help in explaining her case to other council members. “Thank you for being my voice,” she told him. 

Wed
27
Aug
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PI School accepts Tower Investment offer to change the site of the new school


On August 18, the Pine Island School Board approved a purchase option with Tower Investments that will move the new PreK-4 school site. The original 38-acre site was on the corner of 125th Street and New Haven Road. The approved 40-acre site is adjacent to the original site on 125th Street.

By Alice Duschanek-Myers

PINE ISLAND – At the meeting on August 18, the Pine Island School Board unanimously approved accepting an offer from Tower Investments to change the site of the new PreK-4 school. 

Chair John Champa said that to start the new PreK-4 building construction this September and be ready to open for students in September 2015, the site must be changed. “There are complexities in the title transfer for the 38 acres of land on 125th Street,” he said. The title issues would stall the project. He added that Tower had paid all the taxes on the property.

Wed
13
Aug
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PI School Board will vote on ZED expansion on August 18

By Alice Duschanek-Myers

PINE ISLAND – On August 7, the Pine Island School Board reviewed the proposal and options to expand the Zumbro Education District (ZED) K-12 facilities. The board will make a decision on the ZED expansion on August 18. Chair John Champa said to board members, “Go through all of the information because this is a big responsibility of the board.”

The ZED board plans to decide on the expansion on August 21. All seven member districts of ZED must approve the expansion. Each was asked to choose from one of three options to address space issues and future growth. The only way to fund the project is for each school board to approve a lease levy for twenty years. The options the member districts are considering are: 

Wed
13
Aug
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Land O'Lakes helps Pine Island students get a "Running Start for School"


Land O’ Lakes plant manager Bill Taylor along with staff members, from left to right, Julie Ware, Sara Benda, Melissa Hessenius, and Linnea Weiser, hold up some of the backpack supplies that will be distributed to eligible students at Pine Island Public School on August 14. Not pictured are representatives from United Way of Olmsted County, Erin Reidelbach and Renee Schaefer, who also helped organize the “Running Start for School” project in Pine Island.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – Land O’ Lakes employees gathered at the Pine Island American Legion on August 7 to help fill close to 200 backpacks with school supplies that will be donated to eligible students who have already been selected by Pine Island Public School system. Land O’Lakes teamed up with “Running Start for School,” sponsored by United Way of Olmsted County, to help students in need start the school year with all their supplies.

Wed
13
Aug
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Oronoco Gold Rush Days wins international acclaim

By Karen Snyder

ORONOCO – Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days’ hat is sporting another feather, and this plume is international. TheCulture Trip.com, a website that covers the best of art, food, culture and travel around the world (even Antarctica), has named Gold Rush one of “Minnesota’s 10 Unmiss-able Events and Festivals in Summer 2014.”

CultureTrip, which claims 450,000 website visitors per month and another 150,000 to its Facebook page, says Oronoco’s “tiny population of 800 swells during the festival to accommodate more than 50,000 antique buffs looking for bargains. Visitors will find everything from 18th century muskets and farm wagons to glassware and embroidery.”

Four years ago, Country Living Magazine gave kudos to Gold Rush as a Top 12 Midwestern Antique Show. 

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