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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About 50 people joined together for a hands-on barn-building demonstration Jan. 13 at the Woodbury Central Park Amphitheatre. Audience members were invited to join preservationists in assembling a scale model of a 19th century vintage barn. The educational event and ice cream social was intended to promote preservation efforts in regard to the historic Miller Barn in Woodbury.
Cottage Grove police believe an adult male and three juvenile males entered unlocked vehicles and used garage door openers to burglarize two homes in the northwest portion of Cottage Grove near 65th Street South. In a statement, police said they responded to a 911 call from a vigilant homeowner early Jan. 4. Cottage Grove and Woodbury police officers arrested the four after a traffic stop. They were taken into custody without incident. The four were booked under probable cause first-degree burglary and theft from motor vehicle.
The "Elwell Elves" came bearing gifts to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital on Dec. 10. Dolls, toys and games were handed out by volunteers from Newport Masonic Lodge 118 and Queen Esther Chapter 26 of the Order of the Eastern Star. They bought the items earlier this month as part of their annual Santa Project, which is funded by donations from individuals and businesses. This year, they also purchased a PlayStation system and games that hospital staff can lend out to patients.
WOODBURY -- CityPlace shopping center in Woodbury has a new owner. Oak Brook, Ill.-based Inland Retail Property Fund, LP, acquired the retail center for $77.8 million. The closing date was Dec. 18. The retail portion comprises about 30 percent of the total of the 100 acre site. Nothing will change for residents or shoppers, Woodbury Senior Planner Eric Searles said.
The District 833 School Board approved the final tax levy for 2019. The unanimous vote at its Dec. 13 meeting followed a public hearing where two residents presented questions to the district. The increase means the owner of a home worth $250,000 would pay about $49 more in the school portion of their property taxes in 2019, finance director Dan Pyan said. The increase was driven by a slight jump in enrollment, which necessitated more levy dollars, and by more than doubling funds for the alternative teacher compensation program from $700,000 to $1.5 million.
Three hundred and sixty-four days a year, this stretch of West Point Douglas Road is a place most people rush past on their way to somewhere else. That won't be the case Monday, Dec. 10, however, when the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolls into Cottage Grove. The train is expected to arrive at 5:15 p.m. along West Point Douglas Road just south of the 80th Street bridge, near the Youth Service Bureau building. Once the train stops, a boxcar door will drop open to reveal an elevated stage with live entertainment by Canadian hard rockers the Trews and blues guitarist Willy Porter.
"A Minnesota Holiday Vol. 10" Charity CD features songs by Bob Dylan, Owl City, Brian Setzer and Kat Perkins. The seasonal compilation was organized by Woodbury singer/pianist Phil Thompson, who is among the 15 artists represented on the CD. Contributors also include Jeremy Messersmith, The New Standards, Davina & The Vagabonds, GB Leighton, and the Blenders. Thompson created the Minnesota Holiday series, whose past nine CDs have helped raise about $450,000 for local nonprofits.
SCHOOL DISTRICT 833 — Chloe Strom, a fourth-grader at Pine Hill Elementary School, isn't pulling the wool over your eyes when she says that the scientific name for llama is lama glama. She ought to know. Strom and classmate Samantha Behrends spent their extra time compiling facts about the llama, which may look like a cuddly stuffed animal but is actually a valuable meat and pack animal in Chile, Peru and other South American countries.
COTTAGE GROVE — Random: (adj.) occurring without order or reason. Go to nearly any 5K, 10K or trail race in the region, and you're likely to see a member of the Cottage Grove Random Runners in the starters' corral. What started in 2014 with a handful of runners now has established a size-12 footprint, which includes some 400 friends on its Facebook page.
SCHOOL DISTRICT 833 — For now, about 35 pre-kindergarten and school readiness instructors will remain in the collective bargaining unit of local 1125 of the United Teachers of South Washington County. The South Washington County School Board approved a memorandum of agreement with the union Nov. 15. The union's executive board approved the agreement Oct. 10. The agreement lasts through the 2018-19 school year.