If Pine County Commissioner Mitch Pangerl has his way, there will be no electronic sign on land owned by the county because a local LGBT Pride event might use the sign, a group he called a "bad apple."
In Pine County wary about community sign, Tim Franklin of the Moose Lake Star Gazette reports:
The Pine County board could have heated meetings in the months ahead, according to one commissioner, if it allows an electronic sign on land owned by the county.
Commissioner Stephen Hallan of Pine City brought forward a request for a group to lease space in front of the old county courthouse in Pine City to advertise community events.
The sign would cost $30,000 and the group would pay for all costs associated with it. Hallan said the fundraising would probably be spearheaded by Kevin Anderson and the Pine City Chamber of Commerce. Hallan said the sign would be used for advertising events such as the Lions pancake breakfast, fishing contests, fair and Arts in the Park.
Fellow Commissioner Mitch Pangerl of Pine City stated he was against the proposed lease of land.
Having an electronic sign in the community has been controversial in the Pine City school system, which formerly had a sign outside the elementary school that was used for community events. In 2000, the sign was erected, with $10,000 coming from the Greater Pine Area Endowment, to promote school and community events.
It was used by more than 20 community groups until this year when Pride in the Park wanted space to promote their event on the sign. Soon thereafter, the school board decided to only use the sign for school events, stating that some members of the public did not support the Pride in the Park message in front of the school.
Pangerl, who said “one bad apple that advertised on that sign,” said he got 30 phone calls on it. The school district, after limiting the message on the sign, refunded the $10,000 donation.
Mitch Pangerl ran for the Minnesota House of Representive seat in 11B in 2012, telling the Kanabec County Times that he understood the " the importance of keeping the House of Representatives 11B seat in conservative hands. " Pangerl had won a controversial mail-in endorsement sent out by then Pine County Republican chair Rudy Takala. Pangerl supported the "sanctity of marriage," code for the amendment to restrict the freedom to marry to heterosexual couples.
He lost the primary to Ben Weiner; general election voters picked DFLer Tim Faust.
Faust voted to legalize marriage equality last spring, gaining national attention for his moving floor speech, in venues like the Huffington Post.
The East Central Minnesota Pride picnic, which will celebrate its tenth year this summer, is a high profile rural rainbow event. Last summer's entertainment included:
. . . Chastity Brown, a 30-year old Minneapolis-based, internationally-recognized musician who has released three full-length albums and, despite being named “Best Folk Singer” of 2012 in City Pages’ “Best of the Twin Cities,” she straddles multiple genres.
Former Minnesota Viking Esera Tuaolo will also be present to debut release his new smash single “Stronger” on the East Central Minnesota Pride stage. Tuaolo played in the National Football League for nine years and since shocked the world in 2003 with his announcement on HBO REAL SPORTS with Bryant Gumble that he is part of the LGBT community. . . .
Pangerl and others might not like those apples, but tabling a project for a community sign isn't going to stop the fun. There's a worm in Pine County, but it's not the local Pride picnic.
Photo: Mitch Pangerl, 2010.
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