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Breaking News at PiCK News


Grass fire on rifle opener eve fueled by high winds

by Ailene Croup for PiCK News
On Nov. 5, 2021, the eve of the Minnesota deer hunting rifle season opener, volunteer fire fighters were called to a grass fire at approximately 6 p.m., 8 miles east of Hinckley, south of State Highway 48 and east of Black Willow Road.
Nightfall, combined with a strong west wind, fueled the fire and kept firefighters on scene to control any flareups.

fire on black willow 2.jpg

For more information about these events:

-  County Board meeting Nov. 16,, 2021, North Pine Government Center, Sandstone, at 10 a.m.

Hinckley Volunteer Fire Department, Brook Park Volunteer Fire Department, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Pine County Sheriff’s Officers were on the scene.Conditions are ripe for fires with warmer temperatures, high winds and lack of rainfall.Hunters are cautioned to be aware of the conditions while spending time in the woods this season.

Pine County Law Enforcement recognized for valiant service in extreme situation


photo by A. Croup for PiCK News

Above: Pine County Sheriff Jeff Nelson gave letters of recognition to: (left) Deputy Josh Pepin, Deputy Aaron Borchardt and Conservation Officer Ben Karon at the Oct. 19, 2021 Pine County Board meeting. Below: the board room was filled with citizens in support of the deputies efforts' on behalf of residents.

Deputies'/Officer's exemplary actions acknowledged

by Ailene Croup for PiCK News
Pine County Deputies along with a local Minnesota Conservation Officer were honored for their precision and command of a deadly and threatening situation a year ago.
At the Oct. 19, 2021 regular meeting, Pine County Board of


Commissioners and Pine County Sheriff Jeff Nelson recognized four men for their precision under pressure and for their quick response to a situation, which took place on Oct. 9, 2020, that could have meant tremendous loss of life and property.
The call for help came from Grand Casino Hinckley. Officers were dispatched and responded to a domestic involving a gun. The situation expanded and unfolded as officers pursued the suspect’s vehicle which was driving southbound in the northbound lane of I-35.
Sheriff Nelson acknowledged the brave efforts of four men. They are: Deputy Josh Pepin, Deputy Troy Griffith, Deputy Aaron Borchardt and Conservation Officer Ben Karon.
Sheriff Nelson told the commissioners and the public attending the meeting:
“On Oct. 9, 2020, Pine County Deputies responded to a domestic involving a gun call at the casino. The suspect had fled in a vehicle prior to the deputies’ arrival. The suspect was located driving in the area and there was a short pursuit. The suspect’s driving conduct showed that he was willing to injure or kill others to get away. Deputies ended the pursuit when he drove the wrong way on northbound I-35 and then stopped his vehicle. Deputy Pepin proceeded to get in front of the suspect. As he stepped out of his squad, the suspect drove towards him and into oncoming traffic. Deputy Pepin used deadly force to stop the threat to himself and the traveling public. Other deputies and assisting agencies began arriving on scene.
“Once the threat was no longer apparent, Deputy Pepin and Deputy Aaron Borchardt secured the suspect and began rendering aid. Deputy Troy Griffith and Conservation Officer Ben Karon joined in the resuscitation efforts. The suspect did not survive.
“I am not here to suggest, in any way, that we celebrate the loss of any life. I am here to recognize these officers for their role in protecting the public. They showed quick decision-making in a rapidly evolving scene. They showed the ability to process the entire scene, to protect themselves and the traveling public in the chaos of the event with the backdrop of heavy freeway traffic. They showed compassion to the suspect and attempted to maintain his life after he was no longer a threat. Each of these points is worthy of noting - accomplishing all at the same time is truly a feat.
“I want to thank each of you for the professional way you carried yourselves. I am proud to serve with you in Pine County.”

Pine County Deputies arrest suspects
in rash of burglaries, thefts, vehicle prowls

Provided by Pine Co. Sheriff’s Office for PiCK News
A Pine County Deputy on patrol in the City of Sandstone, at about 1 a.m., on August 19, 2021, observed some suspicious people walking around dressed in dark clothing and wearing a backpack.
The deputy made a subject stop on them and started to speak with them. As the deputy was speaking with them, he identified indicators that they may be involved in criminal activity. Because of this, officers asked the male what was in the bag. The male began to empty the contents of the bag which included a sawed-off shotgun. Deputies asked the man to drop the gun and he did and was arrested. They were then able to continue their investigation into their behaviors. During this, they were able to identify vehicles that the suspect entered with the intent of stealing items from them.
Pine County Investigators were notified and continued the investigation. This investigation led to search warrants in which they were able to recover several stolen items.
Deputies were also able to solve several crimes in the area of Hinckley and Sandstone which includes burglary, theft, vehicle prowls and vehicle thefts.
One of the subjects arrested and charged was Beaulieu, Damien Lee, age 18. There were additional people involved which includes juveniles and their names will not be released. The case is still being investigated and there will be no additional information that will be released at this time.

From the editor's desk: 2021

Tolerance: What's in a word?

NLX: The train to nowhere supported by taxpayers

Editorial: Permits, fees and fines "Oh My'


of the week

Lori's Loomed Rugs

Styles and sizes to fit any decor. These loomed creations can be purchased at craft fairs and festivals or contact Lori at 320-245-2718.

Hwy 123 reconstruction work in Sandstone has begun

flagman sign.jpg

by Ailene Croup for PiCK News

Work has begun on reconstruction of Highway 123 through Sandstone.

It is a 2-year project that ijcluded purchase of property through eminent domain.

Highway 123 will be realigned and rebuilt at the Highway 23 intersection. Sidewalks will be extended and ADA improvements installed.

Work will continue through the fall and begin again in the spring of 2022.

There will be rerouting to the north entrance of Sandstone's business district and expect lane closures. There will be delays and use caution around flagmen.

- From MnDOT -

For project maps, to sign up for the email list, and more information visit the website:
Important reminders for motorists regarding work zone safety:
   •    Slow down when approaching every work zone, then navigate through with care and caution.
   •    Stay alert; work zones constantly change.
   •    Watch for workers and slow moving equipment.
   •    Obey posted speed limits. Fine for a violation in a work zone is $300.
   •    Minimize distractions behind the wheel.
   •    Be patient; expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
For more information on projects in northeast Minnesota, follow us on Facebook at and Twitter at @mndotnortheast. For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit

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Lovgren brings 2nd Amendment resolution back to board for stronger language

by Ailene Croup for PiCK News

Petitions with pages of signatures asking Pine County Board for a resolution supporting the Second Amendment to the Constitution circulated through the county last winter.
In March, the board passed a Second Amendment resolution. The language in the resolution did not declare the county a Second Amendment sanctuary county or commit county law enforcement resources to uphold the residents’ right to bear arms.
Commissioner Terry Lovgren was not satisfied with the resolution. She approved the resolution when Chairman Steve Hallan agreed to bring itt back before the board for discussion and a chance to amend the language.
Residents of Pine County have requested televised county board meetings over several decades.
The meeting was live-streamed on the internet and there were phone numbers for residents to call in, listen and comment...

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co bd2 for pick news.jpg

photos by A. Croup for PiCK News

Top: (l to r) Commissioner Josh Mohr, County Administrator David Minke, EDA Director Lezlie Sauter, Chairman Steve Halln. Bottom: (l to r) Commissioner JJ Waldhelm, Zoning Director Caleb Anderson and Commissioner Terry Lovgren.

Find these stories on our new military page, 'Our Veterans'


Veterans, HCS share

in generous donation

Immaculate Rosehill Cemetery grounds require donations of time, talent, money

by Ailene Croup for PiCK News

photos by A. Croup
Friends, neighbors and relatives will be renewing acquaintances, sharing family stories and tales of past adventures with long lost classmates when Corn and Clover Carnival comes to town in July.
The Carnival will open on Friday the 9th of July and run through Saturday, July 10.
Sometime during the weekend, fairgoers may pay their respects by making a trip to Rosehill Cemetery, east of Tobies, to place flowers on the graves of family and friends as they pause to reminisce.
Rosehill Cemetery would be a sorry sight if it weren’t for people like those on the cemetery board, Judy Hopkins, the Hopkins family and Steve Grinsteinner.

The cemetery is seen by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year as they exit the freeway on their way to Tobies, the casino or one of the fast food venues nearby...more

Sheriff's report

This week's Pine County Sheriff's Blotter

Cemetery Angels appear for Memorial Day

photos by A. Croup for PiCK News

Cemetery Angels Donna Wheelock, Jeannie Priest, Lynette Schaefer, Cheryl Meagher and Ailene Croup honor the military and those forgotten by placing.

Untended but not forgotten, Cemetery Angels dress up graves

by Ailene Croup for PiCK News
Cemeteries across the United States lay in quiet repose until the last week in May.
Brilliant colors draw the attention of those who rush by on their way to work or to their cabins for a long holiday weekend.
We remember, Memorial Day.
On dewy mornings before the holiday, every brilliant color imaginable will dot the manicured lawns of hidden cemeteries and those cemeteries that boldly salute travelers at the edge of town.

The unimposing miniature American Flags symbolize the reason for the holiday - to honor the military men and women who have died in the service of our country, add order and reverence to the jumble of colors.
Remembering those who have been forgotten or who have no one left to remember them, clearing off untended graves along with a private prayer or a splash of color from an artificial bouquet is the mission of the Cemetery Angels’ and their way of honoring the dead.
For many decades, four or five old friends begin the trek of more than 100 miles from cemetery to cemetery, visiting as many as they can in a day. A car full or sometimes two of old and news friends, with a trunk load of artificial flowers, bug spray and bottled water transport the Angel team.
Donna Wheelock comes all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska. This year Cheryl Meagher, from Minneapolis, joined the group. Jeannie Priest came from Duluth, Lynnette Schaefer, from Hinckley, and Ailene Croup, from Cloverdale.
Relatives’ graves get the first dash of color. Then, the search begins for unremarkable, unremembered graves. Old soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are usually easy to spot by the bronze star that marks each serviceman.
Aging knees bend to view the names and weathered hands clear the debris from the stones.
As the Angels travel, they share memories and sometimes the story of a forgotten soul from years passed or of a favorite teacher. This sends the group on a search to pay their respects and honor the memory of that person. Other times, they happen across the grave of someone from the past and the Angels share memories of that person.
This year, three of the Angels remembered a favorite piano teacher - Hattie Skinner. They talked about her cats and the conversations Hattie would have with the felines as the students diligently went through their scales.
The septuagenarians talked about their jobs. Cheryl is a chiropractor. Her insight into what keeps us upright will hopefully inspire us all to stay healthy for another year so we can continue to be someone’s Angel. What we eat has everything to do with how we feel, she said, as we all indulged ourselves with a fantastic meal at Tobies.
From Finlayson to Hinckley, Danbury to Grantsburg the Angels press on to place the final bouquet of flowers as the long rectangular shadows stripe the ground and melt into dusk.
The Cemetery Angels ask that each person who visits a cemetery this year, and every year, to bring one additional bouquet. Find an untended grave and be an Angel. There is a purpose and a value to every life.
God Bless America and our unending thanks to the military who have sacrificed and served and continue to serve and protect us all.

What PiCK News doesn't cover, this website does. Featuring great writers with tons of information about this great state. This isn't spoon-fed news. It's real n e w s.

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