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During the annual Go Pine River dinner Monday, Oct. 8, hosted by the Pine River Chamber of Commerce, the PineandLakes Echo Journal was drawn for the $1,000 grand prize. Selected for the two annual $500 prizes were Mike Prososki and Neil Smith. The event was held at Bites Grill & Bar in Pine River. Buy a new Go Pine River ticket by calling the chamber at 218-587-4000.
If you are walking around Pine River and you happen upon a stone with a message that brings a smile to your face, it's probably partially thanks to Barb Beck, who brought the national Kindness Rocks project into Pine River. "I heard about it because I came across a story linked on Facebook," Beck said. "It was also a podcast on NPR (National Public Radio) and it's a gal who lives on the East Coast. Her name is Megan Murphy. She started the whole thing. It's sort of a national movement, so to speak. She says the purpose is to pass along kindness to other people.
Wild food is a passion not all people have, I'll admit, but I can't help but feel like foraging revives some of the culture we may have left behind long ago. At one time, before the Industrial Revolution and even more so before humans began cultivating, survival was very much dependent on community. Yes, there were people who survived alone, but for those people the difference between life and death often hinged on whether that would provide drinkable water and make edible woodland plants thrive (as well as dictate wildlife migration).
The Emily City Council heard of concerns with the State Aid Highway 6 and County Road 1 intersection, according to unapproved draft meeting minutes for September. There were concerns that construction of bollards on the west side of Emily Meats might prohibit customers from exiting Emily Meats' small parking area. Local resident Fran Barrett requested the city work with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for another option. Customers have been exiting the parking lot using the pedestrian crosswalk ramps, which is not safe or legal.
The Backus City Council decided to move forward cautiously when approached about selling property that once adjoined the old city dump site. Micah Eveland approached the council Monday, Oct. 1, with a request to buy a 10-acre section of a lot the city once owned for dumping. The property is outside of city limits, but still belongs to the city. Eveland would also like to apply for one of the city's revolving loans to construct his building and get started.
Pine River-Backus High School athletes had a good reason to be proud Friday, Sept. 28, as students in kindergarten through sixth grade stood in line for their autographs. Student athletes represented sports from all over the spectrum, including rodeo, cross country, volleyball, fishing and football. Royalty from last week's homecoming court were also present to dish out autographs to their adoring fans.
Branch Manager Muriel Erickson, who has been the face of the Pine River Public Library for the last 32 years, will retire at the end of November, but don't let that fool you. She will still volunteer with the library and other groups. "I'm not going to disappear," Erickson said. "I'm already part of the community. I'm a Lions member. I work with them and volunteer. People will still see me around, just not every day at the library."
"If you were telling me I could take a log and turn it into something people would pay money for, I would have called you crazy, especially coming from no art background and little confidence," said Ben Semler, reflecting on his chainsaw carving career. "Now it is second nature to me. It's one of those things I don't know how I am able to do it."
Amy McLain knows how to count her blessings, perhaps because she knows how fast life can change. At the age of 20 (nearly 20 years ago), she and her husband were planning a trip to Germany where he would advance his education. They had both just quit their jobs and were on the verge of the big move when Amy came down with some sort of illness. In three days, she was in a coma.
I received a phone call last week from someone claiming to be with the IRS, threatening me with prison time if I didn't settle my debt with them quickly. I thought now was a good time to share with our readers a heads up. Local police departments will agree with me on this one: The IRS will never call you to settle debts, so please do not allow these callers to scare you into sending them money.