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MN Voters head to the polls: Federal offices up for grabs

by Ailene Croup and Theresa Dawson

for PiCK News
The regular primary election will be held on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at precincts throughout Pine County.
Each of the cities and all 33 townships will be voting for candidates for two Federal offices, United States Senator and United States Representative.

Four parties, Republican Party, Democratic Party, Legal Marijuana Now Party and Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party will have candidates on Tuesday’s primary ballot. Voters will be choosing the party and candidate of their choice.
Here are the list of candidates on the primary ballot.


Republican Party
Jason Lewis
John L. Berman
Cynthia Gail
Bob “Again” Carney Jr.
James Reibestein

Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Paula Overby
Steve Carlson
Christopher Lovell Seymore, Sr.
Tina Smith
Ahmad R. Hassan

Legal Marijuana Now Party
Kevin O’Connor

Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party
Oliver Steinberg




Republican Party
Pete Stauber
Harry Robb Welty
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party

Quinn Nystrom                                                                      
Legal Marijuana Now Party

Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party
Judith Schwartzbacker

Be prepared to travel long distances, wait in long lines for MN Driver's License

by Theresa Dawson for PiCK News
Any driver from the Pine County area looking to take the written exam or driver’s test may face as much as an 80-mile drive or more to find a testing facility.
“We don’t do driver’s exams here. You will have to go to St. Cloud, Duluth or Arden Hills,” may be heard or posted at the local offices. Because of COVID-19, long lines and possible long drives can be expected.

 As usual there will be a host of documentation necessary based on your licensing needs. It is best to consult the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) site when considering what documentation to take. There is even a preregistration which can help to make your processing smoother.


photos by T. Dawson for Pick News.

Top: St. Cloud Midtown Square DMV site is 74 miles from Pine County is the site for driver's tests. Above: Gerriann Kolles waited in line with her son so he could take his driver's test. He did all his driver's instruction online.

Resident shows appreciate for Pine County law enforcement

Ailene Croup for PiCK News
Peace officers are an isolated group of men and women.
PiCK News reporter Ailene Croup spoke with a family member about his experience as a veteran police officer. He said officers stay to themselves and mingle with their own. He said he always recommends to new officers that they expand their contact group to people who aren’t a part of the law enforcement community so the public can see them outside of work.
Law enforcement is a profession where it’s rare for the public to be happy to see them. The nature of their job such as giving tickets, stopping cars, breaking up fights and domestic intervention makes the public distrust their presence. But, and this is a big but, when they are needed, there is no one else who can do their job.
Theresa Dawson showed her appreciation to Pine County Law Enforcement by delivering treats to them at work on Thursday, June 25, 2020.
Dawson, a new resident of the county, said she intends to be supportive and vocal about the job the sheriff, chief deputy, deputies, correction officers/jailers and 911 dispatchers perform for the community.
Thanks to all the law enforcement personnel who continue to protect and serve.

photos by A. Croup for PiCK News

Above left: Pine County Deputy Troy Griffith, Sheriff Jeff Nelson, Sheriff's Dept. personnel Lena Veldhouse and Katy Beck, Chief Deputy Paul Wiedenstrom, Assistant Jail Administrator Heather Immel and Hinckley resident Theresa Dawson. Above right: Deputy Borchardt and K9 Chaos, Deputy Tim Vaagenes and Sgt. Scott Grice and Hinckley area resident Theresa Dawson.

'Social distancing at its best'

photo by A. Croup for PiCK News

These riders stopped at Victory Station, Just off I-36 at Sandstone, MN, about 7 p.m., Monday March 30, 2020. Snow is still visible in the background after a 6-inch accumulation in the area Sunday evening. Undeterred by the 48 degree temperature, they went to see property they were interested in Askov, MN.. The riders came all the way from Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie.

All essential workers and completing required business, they could only say, though chilly, "It's social distancing at its best."

What's wrong with Socialism?

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders patted Castro on the back. Maggie Ickes tells the real story with her first-hand review of Castro's socialism

by Ailene Croup for PiCK News

Reporter’s note: I met Magaly “Maggy” Ickes in 2003 when I interviewed her while working for the Bedford Gazette in south central Pennsylvania. She was a Cuban refugee. Her story began with Fidel Castro’s six-year revolution culminating in 1959 with the overthrow of Cuban Prime Minister Fulgencia Batista. Under Castro, Cuba became a socialist state.


Maggie’s story

Thanks to a woman Magaly (Falcon) Ickes calls her guardian angel, she is able to tell her story and express her gratitude for the gift of freedom.

Her guardian angel made it possible for her to survive three brutal years in Fidel Castro’s labor camp where she worked cutting sugar cane and picking vegetables, awaiting her turn at America and freedom.

Maggie, who is now a resident of Dutch Corner, in south central Pennsylvania, was only 6-years-old when Fidel Castro became dictator of Cuba. The date was July 26, 1959.

“It was a day I won’t forget. He called it our independence day,” she mocked.

“Everything was rationed. You were given a passport-type book and you could get a pound of coffee, one of meat, sugar, rice and other staples per person, plus a liter of milk for a family to last a month.”

She and her father, Jesus Falcon, supplemented those rations by using slingshots to hunt for frogs and small birds, “Like the ones you see on cows backs,” she explained...more

MN Board of Animal Health releases notice of CWD on Pine County hobbyist deer farm

by Ailene Croup for PiCK News
A Pine County deer hobbyist farm will be required to depopulate and test all the deer remaining on its farm since the discovery Chronic Wasting Disease in its deer.
Michael Crusan told PiCK News they cannot, by law, reveal the Pine County farm where the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was detected. Crusan is the Communications Director for the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.
He said the farm is classified as “hobbyist” which means they have one species on the property and do not sell products obtained from the deer such as antlers or animal urine. The hobbyist must pay a fee to the state of $250.
On commercial deer farms, they pay a $500 fee and can have a combined herd of more than one species such as elk and deer and they can sell products derived from the animals, Crusan said.
There is always mandatory testing when an animal dies on a deer farm whether commercial or hobbyist. They are required to send biological samples to the state for testing if the deer dies of natural causes or is killed.
PiCK News asked Crusan if there will be restrictions on deer hunting or hunters testing for CWD during the 2020 deer season.
Crusan said that is a question for the Department of Natural Resources.
Crusan did say it is common for the DNR to set up surveillance around an area where there have been positive tests for CWD and it likely already in the planning.
= Here is the Minnesota Board of Animal Health press release from Jan. 10, 2020:

MN Board of Animal Health
The ongoing chronic wasting disease investigation of farms tied to the Douglas County detection first reported in December 2019 has led to a CWD-confirmed doe on a Pine County farm. The herd in Pine County was being investigated because it provided animals to the Douglas County herd in the past, including the CWD positive doe that initiated the disease investigation.
“We identified the Pine County herd as high priority early in our investigation because our records showed it provided deer to the Douglas County herd,” said Board Assistant Director, Dr. Linda Glaser. “At this point in the investigation CWD has not been detected in any of the other herds connected to Douglas County.”
The Douglas County herd is completely depopulated, and the site is not allowed to have any deer or elk for five years. The owner must also maintain fencing to prevent wild deer from accessing the empty pen and post biohazard signs on the fencing for the entire five-year period.
The Pine County herd owner must also depopulate and test all remaining deer on the farm and maintain fencing with biohazard signage for five years. The investigation is continuing beyond this herd to discover additional movements of deer between it and other locations in the past. Any additional farms identified will be quarantined and their movement records will be reviewed.
CWD is a disease of the deer and elk family caused by prions, which can damage brain and nerve tissue. The disease is most likely transmitted when infected deer and elk shed prions in saliva, feces, urine, and other fluids or tissues. CWD is not known to naturally occur in other animals. The disease is fatal in deer and elk, and there are no known treatments or vaccines. Consuming infected meat is not advised.


News Shorts

Nov.1, 1849

Minnesota's First Session of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Minnesota adjourned

It has been 150 years since the Territory of Minnesota conducted its First Legislative Session. It would be another 10 years before the first State Legislature would convene.

In that first territorial session, on Nov. 1, 1849, Chapter 3 , Section 2 outlined  the establishment of each county's government in the territory.

"At the general election in November of this year there shall be elected in each county organized for county purposes, three county commissioners, one sheriff, one register of deeds, three county assessors, and one coroner, for the county, and such other territorial, district, county or precinct officers as may be prescribed by law, and two justices of the peace and two constables for each election precinct."

Who was eligible to vote?

Chapter 4 states that all free, white, male inhabitants over the age of 21 and having lived in the territory for six months were eligible.

Chapter 30 gives Elam Greely the authority to build a dam on the Snake River near the outlet of Cross Lake and use it for 12 years.

Chapter 30

For more information about these events:

- County Board meeting August 18, 2020, North Pine Government Center, Sandstone, at 10 a.m. Click on the link above to get details regarding social distancing


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.

Support OUr Vetterans

Consumer tips

and best buys



- Wishing you had a coupon to lower  medical costs? Here's a tip that's just as good as a coupon.

- Pay less for prescription medications

- Consumer tips for

a more enjoyable holiday outdoors


click for more info

Sheriff's report

This week's Pine County Sheriff's Blotter

Pine County Townships push back over county controlled assessing

by Ailene Croup for PiCK News
The threat of the largest one-day November snowfall in nearly two decades did not stop 40 Pine County Township officers, supervisors and assessors from filling the North Pine Government Center, two days before Thanksgiving,
They had received a notice, on Nov. 6, 2019, the Pine County Board of Commissioners would be holding a special meeting on

Nov. 26, 2019, for the purpose of “exploring the implementation of a true county assessing system.”
Pine County Assessor-Recorder Lorri Houtsma said, true county assessing would have to be implemented by Dec. 31, 2019, for the county to begin assessing in October 2020 or they would have to wait another year.
PiCK News reporter asked why townships were not notified earlier of this move since Houtsma and Commissioner Steve Hallan had both spoken October 26, 2019 at the Pine County Township Association meeting, where they gave updates on county news...

Minnesota's over 65 residents want to know why they are being profiled

by Jean Priest for PiCK News

Licensed Minnesota drivers over the age of 65 may be surprised to find the state’s license bureau has taken the liberty of adding the word “senior” to their renewed license. Some may not even realize it until they have carefully inspected their card. Some seniors are saying they are being profiled.

The state of Minnesota is requiring all drivers to have an enhanced drivers’ license by 2020. The enhanced drivers’ license is needed for air travel within the U.S. only.

However, a passportwill cover all travel requirements and there would be no need for an enhanced license.

The author of the enhanced drivers’ license bill was Dennis Smith, a Republican from Maple Grove, Minn. Minnesota was the last state to comply with the federal security standard for the Real I.D. Act of 2005 which was mandated legislation in response to the 9/11 attacks.

When applying for the enhanced license, the government is asking for a significant amount of additional information  drivers did not have to provide before. The State apparently wants to establish the driver’s identity. The enhanced drivers’ license has its own look with different lamination and more holograms...more

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


Veterans, HCS share

in generous donation

Just a thought

Jill Pertler...

Adventures in houseplants

Ailene Croup...

The publicly funded train to nowhere


Windemere Twp. Board gets no gold stars


NLX: The train to nowhere supported by taxpayers

Editorial: Permits, fees and fines "Oh My'

Windemere Township Board chastised for bad behavior by resident

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.

~ Rural reporter derails Star Tribune on new Amtrak train to Duluth.

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