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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WOODBURY — Woodbury High School graduates and Marine Academy Midshipmen Gavin Bradley and Andrew French recently completed a journey around the world by ship.
COTTAGE GROVE — Two candidates for House District 54A debated the issues at a Thursday, Sept. 13 forum hosted by the League of Women Voters at Cottage Grove City Hall. Democrat Anne Claflin is challenging Republican incumbent Keith Franke in November for the House District 54A seat, which covers portions of Woodbury, White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi, as well as the entireties of Oakdale, Landfall, Pine Springs, Birchwood and Willernie. The candidates answered 16 questions submitted by the audience. Comments have been edited for clarity.
About 25 people attended a Sept. 13 forum that featured the two major party candidates for House District 54B. Democrat Tina Folch of Hastings is seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Tony Jurgens of Cottage Grove. The forum was sponsored by the Minnesota League of Women Voters. House District 54B includes the eastern half of Cottage Grove, Denmark Township, Afton, Hastings and Nininger Township. Topics, provided by the audience, included legalized recreational marijuana, medicaid work requirements and the achievement gap in high schools.
WOODBURY — Come for the movie, stay for the discussion. The Grove United Methodist Church will host a screening of the film "Love, Simon" Sunday, Sept. 30 at the YMCA in Woodbury. Following the film, the public is invited to stay, share and learn with teen members of the LGBT community. The event, which runs 4 to 7 p.m., was organized by the church's LGBT + Pride Team.
COTTAGE GROVE — Some parents and preschool teachers denounced a move by District 833 to eliminate the licensing requirement for early learning teachers. They spoke during the public comments period at the Sept. 20 South Washington County School Board meeting at the District Service Center in Cottage Grove. District 833 teachers are represented through local 1125 of the United Teachers of South Washington County.
ST. PAUL PARK— Live music and dance are on tap for this year's Stone Soup Fall Fashion and Variety Show. The annual fundraiser runs Thursday, Sept. 27, at John P. Furber Farm in Old Cottage Grove. Since it opened in 1997, the scrappy thrift store in St. Paul Park has sold or given away tons of gently used furniture, clothing and household items to the homeless and financially distressed. The shop has also attracted thrifters, those savvy fashionistas on the prowl for bargains on secondhand scarves, pants, tops and shoes.
COTTAGE GROVE — It's a long way to the top for those who aspire to country music superstardom. But for Hailey James, maybe not. In a little over a year, the Cottage Grove singer/songwriter has gone from playing local talent shows to the regional finals of a national PBS talent search that could send her to Los Angeles, and into the showbiz orbit of agents and music producers.
HASTINGS — A family of five escaped a fire that destroyed their home early Monday morning, Sept. 17 in Hastings. There were no reported injuries to civilians or firefighters. Shortly after 4 a.m., the Hastings Fire Department responded to a report of a structure fire at 7774 South St. Croix Trail Lane S. The blaze, which started in the garage, is under investigation, Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt said. "When we arrived the garage was fully involved and the fire had spread to the kitchen and attic," Schutt said. "It's a total loss."
When the call came in for an active structure fire, Jeremy Bourasa responded as any dedicated St. Paul Park firefighter would. He joined first responders from Cottage Grove, Newport and Woodbury to contain an ugly inferno that all but destroyed a home at Hidden Valley Terrace in Cottage Grove.
There's the lingering tang of fresh paint, but the new $72 million dollar Oltman School is an impressive facility.