William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009.
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When it comes to their Catholic faith, actions speak louder than words for Sharon and Michael D'Agostino of Woodbury. If there's something to be done, be it serving Easter brunch at Little Sisters of the Poor, supporting the Woodbury Life Resource Center or raising money for the Nyumbani Orphanage in Kenya, they step up. "We learned it from our parents," Sharon D'Agostino said. "We both were raised in homes that give back a lot to the community."
If the idea was to light a "Firebird" under the seats of District 833 students, the Minnesota Orchestra hit the mark. An invited audience at East Ridge High School on Sept. 15 heard a stratospheric performance of Stravinsky's "Firebird" by the full orchestra, led by musical director Osmo Vanksa. Band and orchestra students from East Ridge, Park and Woodbury high schools and Lake Middle School also heard "Roman Carnival Overture" by Berlioz and "Pavane pour une infante défunte" by Ravel.
Robots invaded East Ridge High School Saturday, Sept. 16, during the East Metro Collaborative Competition, which included 26 visiting robotics teams from around the state. The offseason tournament was hosted by Woodbury, East Ridge, Park high schools and Woodbury Math & Science Academy. It was inspired by the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) program, which encourages kids to apply science, technology, engineering and math to build their own remote controlled robot. High school teams squared off two by two on a special playing field.
You don't have to be a martial arts champion in order to be a Marvel superhero. But it helps. Woodbury High School graduate Mike Moh will unleash his fists of fury in "Marvel's Inhumans," a fall series that debuts Sept. 29 on ABC. "I've definitely been a fan of the movies and that whole cinematic universe every since I saw the first 'Iron Man,'" said Moh, who holds a fourth-degree black belt in Taekwondo. "That was a game-changing movie."
Mark Drommerhausen spent nearly two years as part of a team helping to plan the design, construction and staffing for the new Brookview Elementary School, where he serves as principal. Where should the building orient, to the north or south? Where will the playground be located? Should the bus drop-off area be separate from the place where parents pick up their kids? Those were among the many questions the team faced. Now the real work begins.
The enthusiasms of the late Scott Pengelly were nearly as numerous as his friends. Pengelly, who died Dec. 29, received a sitting ovation Aug. 23, when a wrought-iron "Tree of Life" bench was dedicated in his honor at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Friends, family and former colleagues at the Department of Natural Resources gathered to celebrate the man described on the bench inscription as "dedicated DNR spokesman, outdoorsman, conservationist, State Fair enthusiast and friend."
The Rev. John Magee is now a member of the pancreatic cancer survivors club. He hopes it's a lifetime membership. "I'm humbled," Magee said. "Some may call it a miracle, I call it a blessing. I'm just grateful." Last year, the pastor of Light the Way Church in Cottage Grove was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, the most common form of pancreatic cancer. "My wife was told by one clinician that I would die from this. He said, 'You will die within 18 months.' That was hard for her to hear."
The Washington County 2018 budget could include the biggest property tax hike in nearly 10 years. A proposed $102.7 million levy would add about $35 to the annual property tax bill for the owner a home assessed at $257,000 — the median value in the county. The 6.9 percent levy increase would be the largest since 2008. Deputy Administrator Kevin Corbid made the levy request at an Aug. 8 budget workshop.
Jackie Biederman walked into her bedroom closet on July 27, closed the door and launched her first podcast. “It’s the quietest place in the house with a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old,” the Woodbury work-from-home mom said. “I had been getting pretty into podcasts over the years,” Biederman said. “I kept going back to the idea to help other people and how do I use the skills I have to do that?”
"A little to the left, that's the spot, ahhh." That may be what Layla the calf was thinking as Caitlyn Wagner, 16, hosed her down opening day at the Washington County Fair. Layla belongs to Megan Olson, 14. The 146th annual fair features demonstrations and exhibitions by more than 500 members of Washington County 4-H clubs as well as rides, the Swinetime Pig Races and live music. It runs through August 6. For a complete list of Washington County Fair activities, visit www.washingtoncountyfair.org .