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 - Nearly 500 faithful flocked to the annual Woodbury Prayer Breakfast May 1 at the Envision Center in Oakdale. The keynote speaker was Greg Speck, a youth specialist with Reign Ministries, a teen-oriented mission. The theme of this year's event was Answer the Call: Living with Purpose. Submitted photo courtesy of Lisa Boe
The Cottage Grove Random Runners team won the Female Division of the Eau Claire Marathon Relay on May 6 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Teammates Jennifer Lucas, Emily Firchaur, Solvei Baylis and Bridgitt Looney (pictured) posted a combined time of 3 minutes, 15:27 seconds. They beat 112 other teams in the 26.2-mile race, which took runners along the lakes, parks and streets of the Chippewa River valley. Submitted photo courtesy of Carol DeBlieck
COTTAGE GROVE — The first time Greg Gutterman rode in a plane was in 1984. The newly minted Park High School graduate boarded a flight to Colorado Springs to begin his first year at the United States Air Force Academy. Thirty-four years later, the United States Air Force Brigadier General is director of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate, which is headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. He oversees sales of military weapons to 110 foreign countries.
SCHOOL DISTRICT 833 — Park High School junior Mason Kimbell has been chosen to sing with the Minnesota All-State Mixed Choir. Kimbell will sing baritone in the choir during their 2018-19 season, which includes a weeklong All-State camp in August at Saint Olaf College. Next February, he will perform with the choir at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
NEWPORT — You have to be truly courageous - or is it certifiably bonkers? - to quit your job as a business executive and devote your golden years to catching and raising snakes. Such is the path chosen by Martin Vanderhof, the sly and jovial patriarch of the decidedly eccentric Sycamore family.
WOODBURY — Less than three weeks after they don a cap and gown, twins Kate and Anna Sawyer of Woodbury will be marching in formation at separate military service academies. Anna Sawyer has accepted an appointment to the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, Maryland. Kate Sawyer has accepted an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
WOODBURY — The trafficking of deadly opioid painkillers - and what can be done to prevent their onslaught - is the primary focus of a public forum May 1 at East Ridge High School in Woodbury. “A Night to Know the Truth” will give attendees a sobering look at the drug problem from a variety of perspectives, including those of police, prosecutors and the addicts themselves.
WOODBURY — On his way out of East Ridge High School, senior Collin Brown patted his friend on the back. "Ready to show them what democracy looks like?" he asked. Brown was one of about 70 students staging a walkout at East Ridge on April 20 — the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre. They joined more than 2,500 schools across the country who registered their protests on the official National School Walkout website.
Carter Bannwarth got invited back to the party. The Woodbury teen returns to Carnegie Hall April 30, when the New York Pops celebrates its 35th birthday gala. Bannwarth, 15, will perform as part of the Camp Broadway Kids Ensemble, an all-star cast of 60 musical theater students from across the country. They were chosen from over 500 online applicants to the three-day performing arts day camp. Candidates were required to submit online videos that showcased their singing and dancing chops.
WOODBURY — Chances are, everyone in the audience at "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" will have the same thought: Thank the Lord it's not me up there. It's easy to see why the musical comedy, with music and lyrics by William Finn and book by Rachel Sheinkin, has remained a favorite since it opened on Broadway in 2005. Who couldn't relate to the agony of six middle-school misfits trapped together onstage, each in various degrees of desperate dorkiness, trying to overcome stage fright they compete for that spelling trophy?