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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Visitors to Washington County parks should expect to pay more next year for vehicle permits. The permits are required for cars to enter some county parks, including Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park and Lake Elmo Park Reserve. At their Sept. 6 budget workshop, county commissioners considered a request from public works director Don Theisen to increase the annual pass from $25 to $30 and the daily pass from $5 to $7. The hike was part of the funding requests submitted by Theisen for his proposed 2017 department budget.
Things were bad for Kellen Giddings. Until they got worse. A brain tumor robbed him of his vision in his left eye. Doctors removed most of the tumor, but Kellen contracted meningitis after the surgery, which triggered a stroke. He essentially had to relearn how to use his arms and legs. All this for a kid who is barely four years old.
Everyone from Shakespeare to the Beatles has written about the sun. Less celebrated is the photon, that elementary particle that transmits light from the sun through space to billions of eyes on Earth. If it's never gotten the credit it deserves, perhaps it's because singing "You are my photon, my only photon," doesn't have quite the same ring to it. But the humble photon recently got its day in the sun, thanks in part to couple of Woodbury teens who contributed guitar and melodies to "The Solar Suite."
Washington County plans a modest bump in its property tax collections in 2017. The increase is included in the 2017 preliminary budget, which Washington County commissioners unanimously approved Sept. 13.
Gabrianna Bruestle of Woodbury got her own version of the blue ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair. Bruestle, 12, won first place in the preteen division at the Amateur Talent Show Sunday night. She sang an Italian translation of "It's Time to Say Goodbye" on the Grandstand at the State Fairgrounds. When it came time to announce the winners, the judges prefaced the name of each contestant by stating their hometown. "They said, 'From Woodbury,' and I freaked out," Bruestle said.
South Washington County Schools will pay an environmental consulting firm to test for lead in its school water systems.
An art installation at East Ridge High School involved 16 students, one day of work and thousands of Post-Its. The team collaborated with 3M and the PR firm of Zeus Jones to create four mosaic murals on school windows.
Tastes are changing and so is the senior dining program at the DPC Community Center. Beginning Sept. 12, nutritious hot lunches that were formerly available to those 60 and older can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Instead of catered meals, the food will be prepared on-site by staff from the Nutrition Services Department of School District 833. "We are changing what we're offering," said Rebecca Kropelnicki, marketing and intergenerational activities coordinator at the DPC. "The program used to be a federally funded program for 60 and over."
It's no small feat to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. But Akul Seshadri did it one better when he also earned the Hornaday award. Seshadri, 16, a member of Woodbury Boy Scout Troop 60, accepted the dual honors Aug. 28 at a ceremony at the Lutheran Church of Peace in Maplewood, the charter organization for the troop. If you've never heard of the Hornaday award, which recognizes outstanding conservation efforts, it may be because it's rare as tigers in the wild.
Washington County officials are requesting more staff next year to address increased caseloads for social service programs. The Washington County Board of Commissioners conducted their second 2017 budget workshop after their Aug. 23 meeting. The board heard budget requests from Community Services, Public Health and Environment, and the Library System. Dan Papin, community services director, submitted a budget request of $43,890,700. His department's workload is growing, he said, and state dollars are not keeping pace.