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 — The Health and Emergency Response Occupations (HERO) Center is on track for its scheduled October opening, despite winter storms and spring floods that cost construction crews 21 days of work. City, state and county officials received a project update April 30 at Cottage Grove City Hall. The $20 million, 47,000-square-foot complex will be jointly owned and operated by Cottage Grove and Woodbury. It will serve as a professional development and training facility for police, fire and EMS.
COTTAGE GROVE — A Cottage Grove woman allegedly had a blood-alcohol level of 0.12% when police found 12 children at her unlicensed day care facility, according to court papers. Megan Martin was given a preliminary breathalyzer test Feb. 25 after an officer smelled alcohol on her breath, according to an initial complaint report. Minnesota law considers a driver impaired at 0.08%. The Washington County Attorney's Office announced Monday that it has sued Martin to prevent her from endangering other children.
SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY — Car show season began last week with a gathering of classic convertibles, coupes and pickups at the Culver's Car Show in Cottage Grove. The club meets Wednesdays in the parking lot between Culver's restaurant and US Bank. It runs 5 p.m. till dark. Dan Spilde of Woodbury talked shop next to his 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible. "It's my high school car," he said.
A Woodbury High School student has published his biological research paper in a science journal affiliated with Harvard University. Sayuj Saresh, 17, discovered a better way of bonding an enzyme called catalase to calcium alginate. The results appeared March 31 in the Journal of Emerging Investigators, a science journal run by graduate students at Harvard. He is the lead author on the paper, which he wrote with the help of teacher Herb Struss. The journal features the work of middle and high school students.
Matt Everson, who led the East Ridge Raptors wrestling team to a section title and its first ever state appearance last year, is out as varsity head coach. The District 833 School Board voted unanimously at its April 25 meeting to approve a resolution of nonrenewal of Everson's coaching contract. School district attorney Mick Waldspurger listed eight reasons for the decision. They included insubordination, possible recruiting violations, ignoring the chain of command and unprofessional conduct. Among them:
COTTAGE GROVE — William Hallock is destined for digestion. In the Park High School Musical "Little Shop of Horrors," he plays Seymour, one-third of a love triangle involving a girl and a man-eating plant. Not only is it Hallock's first lead role in a musical — it's also the first time as an actor that the scenery will chew him. "I'd say it's a little bit weird, especially acting with a puppet that eats you," he said.
You may not know about the Pineridge Garden Club, but chances are you've seen their work. The volunteer group designed and maintains the garden at Cottage Grove City Hall. As the weather warms, members will get their hands dirty tending to the garden's blooming Russian sage, petunias, zinnias, marigolds and other floral varieties. The club also created and tends the Triangle Garden at the intersection of Hyde Avenue and East Point Douglas Road.
WOODBURY — Hindus intoned the traditional "Om" chant to open the Chinmaya Colorweave at East Ridge High School on April 20. The annual Holi Festival commemorates the victory of Krishna over evil and marks the end of winter. Devotees from Woodbury, Chaska and Shakopee wore native clothing and colored powders, which symbolize unity in diversity. A choral group called Hindustani Classical Music performed a series of ragas. The term, which derives from the Sanskrit word for color, refers to the music's power to paint the mind.
SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY SCHOOLS—Numbers released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Education show an overall four-year graduation rate of 92.08% for the four high schools in District 833. That's a fraction below the previous year's rate of 92.4%, but still well above the 2018 statewide graduation rate of 83.2%. "The state of Minnesota set a goal of trying to have all students at a 90 percent rate by 2025," said Brian Boothe, director of professional development and accountability. "We're already well above that."
WOODBURY — Several New Life Academy students earned awards at recent regional science contests, including the 2019 Regional and Minnesota State Science Fair. Award winners include: Junior Nancy Wang for her project, Disaster Resistant House: • Winner of 3M Film/Material division and was invited to display project at 3M and meet 3M scientists and engineers • Winner of 3M Young Inventors Recognition Award • Winner of NOAA's Taking the Pulse of the Planet's Award • Blue Ribbon (first-place project) at the Regional Science Fair