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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Luke Macke knows how to return a favor. The 9-year-old had a wish — that money collected by his fourth-grade class at Liberty Ridge Elementary be donated to Make-A-Wish, the nonprofit that helps seriously ill children live out a favorite fantasy. "It brings hope to kids," Luke said. "My brother got a wish."
Darlah Krug has ended her short tenure as executive director at Woodbury Leadership Academy, the charter school she helped found in 2012. In an end of year update sent to families earlier this week, the board of directors at the charter school said that Krug had resigned, along with manager of operations Becky Kullman and office manager Dekontee Lombel.
The threat posed by prowling thunderstorms last Friday night did not stop hundreds of walkers, volunteers, spectators and supporters from turning up at East Ridge High School track for the annual Relay For Life. The dusk-to-dawn walk raised more than $155,000 for the American Cancer Society. Perhaps more importantly, it allows survivors to tell their stories and to encourage others still fighting the disease. Survivor Bridget Olson, 20, the daughter of co-chairman Dave Olson, lit the torch to begin the event. Olson's wife and mother-in-law also beat cancer, he said.
Sequels can be dicey propositions, but not when it's Cottage Grove's very own film festival. The Cottage Grove Arts Commission is accepting submissions for the second annual Films in 5 Festival, which returns Oct. 1 to the Park High School auditorium. The competition is open to the public, who are invited to enter original films, videos or cartoons five minutes or less in length. All genres and formats are welcome, so long as they observe the bounds of good taste. Entry fee is $5.
Raucous Raptors rocked the rafters at the conclusion of Sunday’s commencement at East Ridge High School. Nearly 450 giddy grads tossed their hats in the air at the conclusion of the ceremony in the school’s gymnasium, as Principal Jim Smokrovich introduced the class of 2016 to the world. In her remarks to her classmates, class president Haley Webb recalled her anxiety during her first year at East Ridge. She wondered if kids from Cottage Grove would mix with kids from Woodbury.
Gary Johnston didn't choose the flamingos. They chose him. He's the man who tends the ever-shifting flock of kitschy lawn ornaments that greet motorists along the east side of Highway 61 between 80th Street and Summit Avenue in Cottage Grove. Johnston, whose property abuts the highway, recently rearranged the colony of flamingoes — also known collectively as a flamboyance — to reflect the biological imperatives of the season.
East Ridge High School launched the local 2016 prom season with a dance Saturday evening at A'bulae in St. Paul, following the grand march in the afternoon in the high school gym. (Staff photos by William Loeffler)
The robotics teams at East Ridge, Park and Woodbury high schools each received $5,000 from Northern Tier Energy in March. The donations to the District 833 schools are part of a strategy to work more closely with the robotics programs, said Paul Anderson, Northern Tier's vice president of public relations. "Over the past couple years we've taken on, I guess you'd say, a higher level look at our contribution within the community, he said. "We're trying to make sure we're fully involved and engaged in the community."
The damp and dreary evening is classic horror movie weather, with lashing rain and gusting wind. It's the kind of night when a couple's car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road and they're forced to seek help by knocking on the door of the only sinister gothic mansion for miles around. The wet gloom lends an appropriately spooky vibe to the proceedings inside a small storefront in St. Paul Park, where auditions are under way for a locally produced slasher film.
A Newport man was convicted March 4 of stealing funds from the family trust of his mentally impaired father. Jeff Allen Johnson, 61, pleaded guilty to Washington County District Court to two felony counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail, with credit for one day served and the option to serve out the remainder on work release. Johnson was ordered to pay restitution of $84,785.15 to Woodbury Health Care Center—$100 a month. He will also serve 10 years of probation.