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 millions of Monarch butterflies migrate south this autumn, their number may include a few who were born and raised in Woodbury. Rachel Drost, 16, can't get enough of the orange-is-the-new-black beauties. For several years, she's raised and released Monarchs at her Woodbury home. Last year, she successfully hatched and released 13 butterflies.
The Black Box Theatre is a suitably somber setting for the fall production by Woodbury Community Theatre. "Songs for a New World," which opens Friday at the Merrill Community Arts Center at East Ridge High School might be subtitled "There but for the grace of God, go I." Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown wrote the musical revue, which examines that gut-check moment when a sudden disaster obliterates the familiar and bounces us into unknown terrain. The "new world" in this case is a place to be avoided.
Voters - too few of them - heard from a pair of aspiring county commissioners Tuesday evening at Central Park amphitheatre in Woodbury. Candidates Cheryl Anderson and Stan Karwoski each are seeking election to the District 2 seat that was left vacant by the death of County Commissioner Ted Bearth earlier this year. They spoke at a candidates forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Woodbury-Cottage Grove. The audience numbered about a dozen.
Homecoming season got under way last week in Woodbury. New Life Academy and Woodbury High School celebrated with pep fests and parades. The rally featured Roar, the Royals' mascot, and a soundtrack that included "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince. The school band, cheerleaders and drumline whipped up the crowd, and even some of the teachers got into the act with a choreographed dance routine.
A pedestrian bridge will connect Radio Drive in Woodbury to Inwood Drive in Oakdale and allow cyclists, runners and walkers to cross safely over Interstate 94. At their Sept. 20 meeting, Washington County Board of Commissioners hired the design firm of Kimley Horn and Associates. They approved a $667,490 contract for the preliminary design and due diligence phase of the project. The stand-alone span will run parallel to Radio Drive (aka County Road 13). It will connect with the current pedestrian trail network along the route.
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.