‘Mama Mia!’ tickets on sale

The musical ‘Mama Mia!’ will perform on Thursday and Friday evenings on July 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 7 p.m.in the Pine City High School Auditorium. 

All tickets must be purchased online through the Heritage Players website (www.pinecityheritageplayers.com) or in-person at the Pine City Chamber Office, 315 Main Street South during regular business hours. Seating will be limited to just 250 guests per performance, so advance purchase is encouraged for this production. Tickets will go on sale July 1. Adults are $15, Seniors are $12 and Students are $10.

Director Rachel Bigelow said the cast and crew are working hard to get ready to hit the stage. 

“This ensemble plays a huge role in the success of this production as they will have to master a lot of choreography and vocals in a short time,” said Bigelow, “But after a difficult year with no theater, they’ve all risen to this challenge with energy and commitment that will bring us across the finish line.”

“We’ve been in rehearsal now for just two weeks and it has been fun watching the cast members connect with each other and develop their characters,” said Nick Basta, stage manager for the production. “We are all just happy to be back on the stage doing what we love.” 

‘Fight Like a Girl’ returns

The Fight Like a Girl Motorcycle Ride is back for its ninth year on Saturday, July 17, starting with 9 a.m. registration at Kountry Kettle in Bock. This motorcycle ride and community event to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer, begins at 11 a.m. and continues to Bailey Ray’s Roadhouse in Santiago, Sunrise on Englund Shores in Isanti and Crow’s Nest in Mora, before the return trip to Kountry Kettle.

The Fight Like a Girl Motorcycle Rally also includes a bike and classic car show, food and live auction at Kountry Kettle. The community is invited to attend the ride and event for a fee of $20 per person. All proceeds will be donated to the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA), a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization providing ovarian cancer research, offering support to women and families and educating the public and medical community about this disease. MOCA has provided nearly $9.6 million dollars to ovarian cancer research dedicated to early detection, better treatments and one day—a cure for this disease. There is currently no test to detect ovarian cancer. The symptoms of bloating, fatigue, trouble eating or feeling full quickly and urinary urgency or frequency mimic other common problems—so awareness is critical.

The Fight Like a Girl Motorcycle Rally was created back in 2012 in honor of Claudette Falk, who has since passed away from ovarian cancer. Falk’s friends and family members continue to host the event to celebrate her memory and to raise awareness and critical research funds.

For more information contact Renee Fochs at reneef@scicable.com or call Laura at 320-556-3531 or Elaine at 320-290-7563. For more information on Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, visit mnovarian.org or contact MOCA’s Communications Manager Jody Ambroz McArdle at jambroz@mnovarian.org.

Register now for free grape grower workshop

Here’s a chance to learn about beginning grape growing  - both table and wine grapes. Do this at a Beginner Grape Grower Workshop on Saturday, Aug. 14 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. check-in) at the Ann River Vineyard and Winery south of Mora. It will be presented by University of Minnesota Extension Horticulturists Annie Klodd, Extension Educator in Vegetable and Fruit Production, and Matthew Clark, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist and Grape Researcher.  

Learn about the University of Minnesota grape breeding program and the industry in Minnesota, native grapes, and cold hardy varieties. In the vineyard, see how grapes grow and learn vine terminology, vine structure, and how vines are attached to trellising. Vine spacing, planting, site selection, insects, diseases, and variety selection will be covered. Ripening and when to harvest, including how to use a refractometer, will also be covered. 

Steve, Kathy, Luke, and Jamie Watrin will host the workshop.  They will offer an optional winery tour following the vineyard workshop.

Preregistration is Required by Aug. 2 – There is no cost, but space is limited. If registration fills, you will be put on a waiting list. To register: call 320-679-6440 or send an email to Kelsey.schiferli@co.pine.mn.us  or register online at  z.umn.edu/FallForAll2021.  

Blood shortage continues

The American Red Cross continues to experience a severe blood shortage that is negatively affecting blood product availability across the country. Donors of all blood types – especially type O and those giving platelets – are urged to make an appointment to give now and help ensure hospital shelves are stocked with blood products over the Fourth of July holiday and beyond.  

Right now, the Red Cross is working around the clock to provide blood products to hospitals responding to an unusually high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants. As a result of the blood shortage, some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes, delaying crucial patient care.

In addition, while summer is traditionally a time when blood donations decline, this year is particularly challenging as many Americans receive their vaccinations and resume summer activities after more than a year of limited interactions and travel, leading to lower donor turnout. The need for blood doesn’t take a holiday break − patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions.

Donations are needed now to prevent further delays to patient care. Schedule an appointment to give blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

As a thank-you, all those who come to give July 1-6 will receive a Red Cross embroidered hat by mail, while supplies last. And, donors who come to give July 7-31 will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email, plus a chance to win gas for a year (a $5,000 value). (Terms and conditions apply; visit rcblood.org/fuel).

In most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility.

Rule change could reduce license suspensions 

Minnesota News Connection (www.newsservice.org) reports that Minnesota is poised to prohibit drivers’ licenses from being suspended when a person fails to pay a traffic ticket or appear in court for a violation. Backers say the change will prevent lower-income people from being trapped in a cycle that limits their ability to work – from making the difficult choice of driving when they shouldn’t, or taking a risk to maintain their income.

Catherine Johnson of the Inter-County Community Council said in rural areas, a license suspension can be especially problematic.

“Most folks don’t often work in the same community that they live,” Johnson said. “And so, having a suspended driver’s license just enables them to not get to their job.”

The proposal saw bipartisan support in the Legislature, and also has the backing of a number of legal groups, including the Minnesota County Attorneys Association and Minnesota State Bar Association.

New law modifies tax-forfeited land sales

A new law extends protections for property in foreclosure in current law to tax-forfeited property, common interest communities and contracts for deed.

Effective July 1, 2021, the Department of Revenue must issue a quitclaim deed to the record owner upon receipt of the certification of the county auditor after tax-forfeited land has been sold.

The deed must state the record owner’s estate as grantee if a tax-forfeited sale is made to a personal representative, heir or devisee, and the owner is deceased at the time of the redemption period or certification.

A state deed must also name the assignee as the grantee if the owner at the time of the expiration of the redemption period assigns an installment contract to repurchase and the assignment is registered or recorded.

The law requires a quitclaim deed subject to an installment contract be sent to the county auditor, who must record it before forwarding it to the grantee. Failure to make an installment payment will constitute default, making the sale subject to cancellation.

Unemployment impacts MNsure coverage

Minnesotans who received unemployment income for at least one week in 2021 may be eligible to enroll through MNsure for extremely low-cost health insurance. If you qualify for this benefit, you may be able to find a plan through MNsure with a $0 per month premium cost.

Minnesotans who qualify for the unemployment income benefit through MNsure and enroll in a silver level plan will see greatly reduced out-of-pocket costs for in-network services.

To learn more, visit https://bit.ly/2Ud1HQh or call 855-366-7873. 

July is ‘Hire a Veteran Month’ in Minnesota 

More than 300,000 U.S. military veterans call Minnesota home and more than half of them are of working age. Unfortunately, veterans returning from recent military deployments face higher unemployment and more challenges entering the civilian workforce and advancing in their careers. To help raise awareness about the resources available for veterans and their spouses, as well as the many benefits of employing current and former U.S. military members, Governor Walz has proclaimed July 2021 as Hire a Veteran Month.  

Current and former U.S. military members interested in learning about Veterans Employment Services available to them, as well as employers interested in finding out more about the benefits of hiring veterans, are encouraged to view the resources at CareerForceMN.com/Veterans

Minnesota reaches 200 traffic deaths

Preliminary figures from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety show 202 people have died on Minnesota roads since Jan. 1, compared to 148 last year at this time.

The state reported its 200th traffic death (preliminary) on July 1. This is the earliest date the state reached 200 traffic fatalities since 2009.

For the first 202 traffic fatalities, preliminary information shows:

• 80 speed-related deaths compared with 49 this time last year.

• 45 alcohol-related deaths compared with 60 this time last year.

• 5 distracted-related deaths compared with 9 this time last year.

• 46 unbelted motorist deaths compared with 37 this time last year.

“Exactly halfway through 2021, and I’m at a loss for words. What is it going to take for drivers to understand the importance of driving smart?” asked Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “Two hundred traffic fatalities by July 1 is just unacceptable. You’re at much greater risk of planning a funeral now than in the past because of what’s happening on our roads. We all need to drive smart to help protect each other while out on the roads.”

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