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 — Students in the fourth and fifth grades flexed their intellectual muscles during the annual Battle of the Books at Liberty Ridge Elementary School. Each team spent four months reading 10 selected books. At the Feb. 27 competition, which was held in the school gym, the twenty teams quizzed each other on their knowledge of the material. The questions had been submitted by each team in advance. The winning fourth-grade team was The Lightbulb Readers, including Sarvani Mutnuri, Reina Dasi, Sara Sobokssa, Lidya Sobokssa, Arsema Worku, Camila Osuna, and Ana Pratt.
COTTAGE GROVE — When the newly-renovated Cottage Grove Regional Park opens later this spring, visitors will be able to drive into the park for free until July 1. The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved the park vehicle fee waiver at their March 13 meeting. Vehicle permits usually are $7 daily and $30 annually.
A single-vehicle crash killed a Newport man early Sunday morning. Christopher Kelly, 33, was driving south on Highway 280 and exiting to Eastbound I 94 around 3:18 a.m. Kelly apparently lost control of his Dodge Dakota pickup truck, which hit the median wall near the bottom of the ramp. The Minnesota State Patrol said he was ejected from the vehicle after it began to roll. It came to rest on its roof. Kelly, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene, according. It was unclear if alcohol was a factor, a State Patrol spokesperson said.
WOODBURY — Students and staff at Woodbury Middle School can now claim membership in a fairly exclusive club. March 1, they received national recognition for successfully adopting and implementing a college readiness system known Advancement Via Individual Determination or AVID. That makes three District 833 schools, including Oltman Middle and Park High schools, that have been certified as AVID national demonstration sites.
Woodbury Community Theatre cranks the volume for Stars Rock Broadway, a rock opera retrospective, at the Loft Stage. The show features over 60 songs from rock operas through the decades.
SCHOOL DISTRICT 833 — Those who wish to show solidarity with students protesting gun violence March 14 will have to do so off of school grounds. Last week, District 833 director of communications Shelly Schafer emailed a statement to families regarding possible walkouts at Park, East Ridge and Woodbury high schools.
A young woman performed Bharatanatyam dance March 3 when the Indian community turned out for the Hindu spring festival of Holi at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Oakdale. Also known as the festival of colors, Holi signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and the end of winter. The celebration, which opened with the traditional “Om” chant, featured food, music and the traditional wearing of colored powders, which symbolizes diversity and acceptance. It was organized by Chinmaya Mission Twin Cities, a Hindu spiritual organization.
Ava did not look happy about having to wear an oxygen mask. But the brown and white Cavalier King Charles Spaniel submitted to the fitting with a minimum of fuss. Her owner, Mary Francis, demonstrated the life saving device Feb. 15 to fire and emergency medical technicians at the temporary Cottage Grove Fire Station. The masks can be used to help resuscitate pets that are rescued from a structure fire or car wreck.
WOODBURY — Authorities have determined that two juveniles who posted alleged shooting threats last week had neither the intent nor the means to carry them out. The juveniles, who attended East Ridge High School, have been arrested and charges could be pending. They were identified after District 833 schools alerted Woodbury Police, who consulted with the FBI.
Authorities are investigating the death of a woman whose body was discovered Feb. 10 along the 6600 block of Keats Avenue in Cottage Grove.