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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The Englishman hoisted himself out his wheelchair and onto a high swivel chair next to the karaoke machine. He tested the volume on his mic. "Hi, I'm Simon," he told the audience at Broadway Bar and Grill in St. Paul Park. "I arrived in the country about two hours ago." With that, Simon Kindleysides, 33, made his American concert debut June 29. He overcame nerves and a wonky sound system to deliver a set that included a heartfelt version of "Imagine" by John Lennon.
For Lenore Weir, directing "Legally Blonde: The Musical" for Woodbury Community Theatre is a bit like going shopping with its irrepressible heroine, Elle Woods. It's not always easy to keep with such a force of nature. "The way it's written, it never, ever stops," said Weir, who lives in Cottage Grove. "It's not like an old-fashioned show where you have end-of-scene plus a blackout and you change the set. That's not how it works."
Phil Thompson is a pretty dapper dude. The Woodbury vocalist/pianist usually sports a suit and tie. He styles his hair and evidently owns a razor. In his Man About Town segment on WCCO-TV, he’s a suave tour guide to weekend happenings around the Twin Cities. Thompson has performed at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the MGM Grand in Macau and the US Open Tennis Tournament in New York. He’s played on cruise ships in Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean and Alaska.
It began with a single square of paper, creased and folded into the shape of a crane. Then Jeanne Reeve made a second. And a third.
Beginning next month, free produce will be available select Thursdays at Transfiguration Catholic Church in Oakdale. An anti-hunger project called the Produce Fair will distribute greens and vegetables from 10-11:30 a.m. July 27, Aug. 10 and 24, Sept. 14 and 28, and Oct. 12. The free farmers market is a collaboration between Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shel in Woodbury and Second Harvest Heartland in St. Paul. Second Harvest collects surplus food from retailers and farmers.
The inaugural Unified Prom at East Ridge High School was a big deal for special needs students. For many, it was their first prom, their first chance to dress up, dance and dine. The April 29 party featured a red carpet procession, where each kid, escorted by a classmate, wore a sash that was emblazoned with their name. Nothing could have kept Kiley Robertson away from the party. Not only because she had so many special needs friends, but because the prom was her idea.
South Washington County School Board members and District 833 staff honored Joe Slavin with a moment of silence at their June 8 meeting. The death of Slavin, the South Washington County School board member and Oakdale principal found dead in a Woodbury park June 7, was ruled a suicide. "Joe was a colleague and a friend," board Chairwoman Katy McElwee-Stevens said in prepared remarks. Slavin offered the board great insight by having been a teacher, principal and a board member, McElwee-Stevens said. She also recalled his "amazing sense of timing" and clever humor.
John Tennis turned trash into treasure. In 1966, he and his brother Wayne founded Tennis Brothers Sanitation in St. Paul Park. His wife Joan answered the phones and did the books. He later drove a truck as the company's only trash collector. Meanwhile, he worked a full-time job in the stockyards in South St. Paul. "He was just a hard-working guy," his son Willie said. John Tennis died May 7. He was 83.
It didn't take long for the Films in 5 Festival to attract talent beyond its Cottage Grove borders. Last year's sophomore event drew at least two filmmakers from Minneapolis. They included John Akre, who took second place for his film "Minneapolis Beneath the Asphalt Part 1: The City Changes."
Dan Starry was sworn in May 2 as the new Washington County Sheriff. Tenth Judicial District Judge Gregory G. Galler administered the oath while Starry’s wife Jeanice held the Bible. The former chief deputy was appointed by the board of commissioners to succeed Bill Hutton, who retired last month to take a position with the state’s sheriff’s association. Starry will serve out Hutton’s term, which will expire in January 2019. His salary was set at $145,043 for 2017.