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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COTTAGE GROVE — A golf outing July 26 at River Oaks Golf Course will raise money for a local citizen group that pays for equipment and training for police and firefighters in Cottage Grove. The First Responders Golf Benefit is an all-day event that includes golf, food and silent auction. Organizers said they hope to raise $25,000, which could be used to pay for a second K-9 police dog, an enclosed off-road vehicle for patrolling parks, or a set of turnout gear for full-time firefighters.
COTTAGE GROVE — RiverTown Multimedia's Sally Shepherd used a drone July 12 to provide an aerial preview of the new $7.2 million Ravine Parkway. The road runs from Jamaica Avenue to Keats Avenue, north of 70th Street near the border with Woodbury. The roadway is designed with one-way sections bordering a landscaped portion in the middle which intersects Military Road, cutting the sides off from each other. It will provide access to several new residential developments on the northern end of the city. It will replace Military Road as a link between Jamaica and Keats avenues.
Police who responded to a call about an alleged assault July 17 discovered a bleeding woman inside a storage unit at Park Place Storage on West Point Douglas Road. Brass shell casings were also found in the unit, according to Cottage Grove Police Chief Pete Koerner.
COTTAGE GROVE — State Sen. Karla Bigham said she's mostly pleased with the bipartisan budget deal that passed last month by the DFL-controlled House and the GOP-controlled Senate. Bipartisan legislation included a hands-free driving law, middle class tax relief and $21 million to fight the opioid crisis. They also eliminated the "marriage defense" in cases of marital rape and provided $52 million to cities and counties through local government aid and county program aid, a move Bigham said will stabilize property taxes.
COTTAGE GROVE -- A standoff Friday evening between SWAT team officers and a wanted fugitive ended with the arrest of the suspect and a woman, according to Cottage Grove Police. Officers from Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Woodbury and Washington County surrounded a residence in the 8000 block of Jensen Avenue around 7:30 p.m.
Two Woodbury teens reached a spiritual and artistic milestone July 6, when they danced before family and friends in the auditorium at Oltman Middle School. Sisters Swetha and Akshaya Ganeshkumar performed their first concert as official exemplars of the Indian classical dance form known as Bharatanatyam. Their graduation, or Arangetram, marked their formal presentation as qualified dancers by their teacher, or guru.
COTTAGE GROVE — Collecting teddy bears can be a grizzly business. Nobody has to tell Trey Wilhelm. He's spent the better part of the summer promoting his Operation Share-a-Bear initiative. "It's really tough," he said. That was him handing out fliers at last month's Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest parade. He said he spent about four hours at the parade before moving on to the vendors at the carnival at Kingston Park.
COTTAGE GROVE -- On the Fourth of July, while many will be grilling, boating or watching fireworks, Heather Hedden will be spending her last full day with her family before deploying to Kuwait. Hedden, of Hastings, is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve. June 29, she led a 5K run that was organized in her honor by the Cottage Grove Random Runners.
COTTAGE GROVE — K-9 Gunnar demonstrated his takedown technique on Cottage Grove police officer Scott Shaver at the June 25 Safety Camp at Hamlet Park. The annual two-day camp drew at least 82 kids, who learned about bike, gun, kitchen and electrical safety, 911, fire prevention, and first aid. Gunnar's handler, Cottage Grove Police Sgt. Nils Torning, told kids that Gunnar's main function is to sniff out drugs or contraband and to find people who are lost. "They have an overwhelmingly good sense of smell," he said.
Skoolie, the charismatic, psychedelic colored school bus that has served as a traveling prom dress boutique and mobile classroom, will deliver free dinner to folks this summer. Skoolie Family Fun Nights run 5:30-6:30 p.m. Mondays at Royal Oaks Elementary in Woodbury Tuesdays at Newport Elementary, Wednesdays at Pullman Elementary in St. Paul Park and Thursdays at Armstrong Elementary in Cottage Grove. If you