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 — The Lake Middle School math team posted a strong finish at the MathCounts State competition March 8-9 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth. The team — Justin Luan, Arul Banerjea, Ivy Lin and Kevin Song — finished eighth out of 29 teams. Luan finished seventh out of 132 competitors in the written competition and placed second in the countdown round. The problems consisted primarily of geometry and algebra, he said. During the sprint round, students had to answer 30 math questions in 40 minutes, using only a pencil and scratch paper.
COTTAGE GROVE — She posted a Minnesota welcome to Michelle Obama — not on social media, but with an honest-to-goodness poster on the garage of her Cottage Grove home.
Got snacks? Many kids don't. First-world problem, some might say. Three girls in Woodbury Scout Troop 55128 discovered otherwise. "Kids are given breakfasts and lunches, but there's a time in between that they don't have food and they're hungry," said Girl Scout Lila Youngdahl, a ninth-grader at East Ridge High School. "In elementary schools, there's a designated time for snacks and sometimes when they don't have snacks, they feel left out."
WOODBURY — Trial. Error. Repeat. That's the unspoken methodology of a group of Math and Science Academy students. Next month, their team, the Rhythm Packed Mechanics (RPM), will compete at the FTC (First Tech Challenge) World Championship in Detroit. The second-year robotics team has been focused on improving the design of their sole nonhuman teammate, a zippy little cube with claws named Phillip D. Lander. "Once we get closer to the competition, we meet a lot more frequently and lengthen the amount of practices," co-captain Anita Chetty said.
Monkeys made mischief monkeys at Middleton Elementary School, courtesy of author and illustrator David LaRochelle. He held hourly sessions Feb. 27 in the school library, where he shared his creative process with students by telling a story and drawing it on the spot. The subject: Why you should never give a book to a monkey. LaRochelle began by writing numbers one to 10 on an easel. He then turned each digit into a picture that moved the story along.
ST. PAUL — A new market could emerge for Minnesota's licensed hemp farmers. A bipartisan legislation introduced Feb. 18 in the state Senate would allow hemp farmers to sell their product to in-state medical cannabis manufacturers. Sen. Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove, who co-authored the bill, said it would give local growers another source for their product, which typically is used in food, clothing and rope.
COTTAGE GROVE — The good news: technology is making firefighter protective clothing more lightweight, breathable and effective. The bad news: it's not cheap. Consider a recent donation of 57 protective hoods to the Cottage Grove Fire Department by the city's public safety board. In an unusual move, the board footed the entire $5,800 cost. Fire Chief Rick Redenius, who initially requested around $1,000, isn't arguing.
WOODBURY -- Their performnce of “Alice” earned the cast of New Life Academy 2nd place In Section 4 of the Minnesota State High School League One Act Play Festival. The play, written by Jerome McDonough, is a one-act mashup of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll. The play, which was set in an urban subway station, was directed by Janette Bach and Gina Kortuem.
NEWPORT — Newport Collision Center has new owners. Steve Adams and Heather Hegi bought the business in December. Previously, they owned Crystal Auto Spa and Auto Body in Crystal. They closed that location and merged the two businesses. "Otherwise, it's business as usual," Adams said. "All the same staff has stayed on." They bought the shop from Dave and Kathy Baker, who retired after running the business since 2001. Newport Collision Center has operated in the same location since 1982.
Eight teachers in District 833 have have been nominated for the 2019 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Education Minnesota, who organize and underwrite the contest, released the list of nominees Jan. 18. The candidates are: • Scott Alton, first and second grade teacher at Pine Hill Elementary School • Linnea Balderrama, English language learning, Grey Cloud Elementary School • Karen Buckeye, special education, Park High School • Linnea Gamache, reading specialist, Cottage Grove Elementary School