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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Singer Gabby Bruestle 12, took first place in the preteen division of the talent show at last week's Washington County Fair. Her winning rendition of "Time to Say Goodbye," which she sung in Italian, earned her a spot in the semifinals at the Minnesota State Fair later this month. No date has been set. Bruestle, who took second in her division at last year's talent show, already is rehearsing for her state fair performance with her vocal coach Lesa Jacobsen of Woodbury.
One of the year's biggest and most colorful road shows will pass through South Washington County this weekend. The 11th annual Ragnar Relay Great River is an overnight, 200-mile race that begins Friday morning in Winona and runs through the St. Croix Valley in Wisconsin before crossing back into the Gopher State. It will pass through Cottage Grove Saturday on its way to the finish line in Minneapolis. Over 400 teams have signed up, including, nearly 100 runners from Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park and Woodbury.
Say this about rabbits: They're quiet. Geese, hens, roosters and ducks? Not so much. The load-in for the poultry and rabbit judging at last week's Washington County Fair was a study in contrasts: peaceful at one end of the building, pandemonium at the other. It was a bit like college move-in day, with parents and kids lugging cages and crates from vehicles in the sweltering heat.
On paper, it was a six-way skirmish for a vacant seat on the Washington County Board of Commissioners. The reality was less dramatic, as candidates Stan Karwoski and Cheryl Anderson easily captured the first and second-highest vote tallies in a special election Tuesday that ran concurrently with the state primary.
New standardized test scores indicate that literacy continues to be the strong suit in South Washington County Schools. But math scores were flat, science scores dipped slightly and achievement gaps persist at some schools with a high number of black, Hispanic and low-income students, as well as those who are learning English.
The chickens have come home to roost. This year’s Washington County Fair features the return of the crowing and egg-laying set -- namely, roosters, hens and other poultry that were banned last year due to a multi-state avian flu outbreak. The festival runs from Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 3-7. If features the popular Swinetime Pig Races, police K-9 demonstration, carnival, equestrian events and demolition derby.
A military Retiree Appreciation Day is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, at the National Guard Armory and Community Center, 13885 S. Robert Trail in Rosemount. Preregistration is required by Monday, Aug. 8. Admission is $16 which covers a snack and lunch. For details, visit www.mccoy.army.mil/Services/ACAP_Documents/2016_RAD_REGISTER.pdf or call 507-961-1177. Attendees will be limited to 300.
Applications are being accepted from vendors for the 15th-annual Washington County Bluegrass Festival, 2-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. The festival is free and open to the public. Last year's event drew more than 4,000 people. For details and to download an application, visit www.co.washington.mn.us/bluegrass .
The Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department held its annual Coin Carnival last Friday at Ojibway Park. The fair featured games, prizes, bounce house, temporary tattoos, food and Puppet Wagon shows. By early afternoon, temperatures had soared into the mid-90s, making for a lot of sticky faces and hands as kids licked their rapidly melting frozen treats. Colette Miller, 4, of Woodbury enjoyed her popsicle in the shade of a tree with mom Sarah. She seemed a bit mystified at the carnival's name. "I didn't see any coins," she said.
Anyone doing business with Washington County Public Works, including the county's parks, transportation, and survey and land management staff, may return to seeing county staff in the county's North Shop at 11660 Myeron Road N. in Stillwater Township. The North Shop has been undergoing renovation and expansion for the past 18 months. A public open house for the building will be Saturday, Aug. 20. This is the primary facility for maintaining the more than 300 miles of county highways, 100 traffic signals, and 600 vehicles in the county fleet.