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Harry's gang: From our family to yours, a letter on our past year

Greetings from the Pine Knot News family in Carlton County. It’s been quite a year for the family, so we’re excited to share this with our friends and extended family during this holiday season.

We had some great news in January. We won the coveted Mills trophy for being the best weekly newspaper in Minnesota from the Minnesota Newspaper Association. And we we competed against some pretty big weeklies with much higher circulation. That’s a career-defining honor, Jana said, and is quite an achievement in only our second year of operation. Not only that, we won 33 newspaper and individual awards in multiple categories, which is more than most state journalism historians can remember. We’re so grateful for all the stringers, photographers, and contributors, as well as the entire community. We couldn’t do this without you.

Spring brought us some sad news. Pete’s brother Bill passed away. They were very close, and he appreciated the outpouring of support from all of you during that difficult time. So many of you sent cards, letters, and donations to Bill’s charity. It was so kind.

Mike lost his mother, which was hard. She lived in southern Minnesota and we were able to be flexible in our staffing so he could spend a lot of time down there before her passing, catching up with family and friends. Loss is inevitable, and we carry on.

The Pine Knot gave away trees in May. We gambled on whether we’d see the more than 10,000 conifers go, but they did in a flash. It was a fun way to give back to the community.

Jana became an empty nester of sorts as her twin boys graduated from Cloquet High School in May. She also got to visit her father in Indiana more than once this year as vaccinations allowed her to travel with much less worry.

We had a great summer. We babysat a kitten, and it was fun to have another creature in the office, albeit one that liked to pounce on the desks and create general mayhem in the usually quiet confines there. He went on kitty sleepovers at Rose’s house. Having a pet in the office is one of the benefits of a small business.

In July, we welcomed a new employee, Darrell, to help us with CAT-7. He’s young, clever and fun to have around. You’ve probably seen some of his slides on the channel.

We all liked the small-steps return of summer festivals, including a crazy night of Fourth of July fireworks and lightning in Cloquet.

We ended the summer in September with Ivan’s brainchild: the West End Flourish street party. It was a fun-filled, daylong event all along old downtown with music, art, vendors, and food. It was cooler than we would have liked, but our West End neighbors didn’t seem to mind and the turnout was awesome. As Ivan said that evening, “It looks like we’re having another West End Flourish next year, too.” Linda was extremely helpful during the event (and all yearlong) and we’re counting on her to help again next year.

This month, we joined some of our West End business neighbors for a collective open house, including our Knot Gallery photograpy exhibit curated by Ann, and greeted customers, neighbors, and subscribers to our various businesses, just like an old-fashioned downtown event. So much fun.

Sorry to brag so much, but it’s been a great 2021 for our Pine Knot News family. We know everyone claims to have the jazziest family around in holiday letters, and we join in that gladly.

We hope 2022 brings prosperity and good fortune to all of you and to our entire community. Merry Christmas, all!