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 — Two student jazz combos are set to blow up a storm Friday at East Ridge High School. The annual Jazz at the Loft concert features the Jazz I and Jazz II ensembles. The setlist includes music by Count Basie, Billy Strayhorn, Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder. There will be a special guest appearance by a band led by trombonist and composer Dean Sorenson, whose day job is director of Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota. All three will take the stage for the finale, a rendition of "Hurricane Season" by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews.
WOODBURY — Few who knew Bill Hargis should have been surprised that his funeral service will a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." The longest-serving mayor of Woodbury, who died April 10 at 68, had a true believer's gusto for the National Pastime. He spent 28 years as a volunteer assistant coach for his beloved Bethel University Royals baseball team, where he did everything from scouting to raking the infield. Hargis Park, a baseball field at the University, is named in honor of he and his late wife, Joan.
COTTAGE GROVE — The stinking snow and cold has postponed the big reveal for the renovated Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park.
COTTAGE GROVE — After nearly eight years of litigation, 3M Corp. has forked over money to fix municipal and private wells polluted by the company's chemicals in Cottage Grove, Newport, Woodbury and other east metro communities. Now, those communities are lining up for their share of an $850 million settlement paid by the company to settle a lawsuit filed by the state in 2010. The suit accused 3M of contaminating the drinking water supply with perfluorochemicals, or PFCs, that leached from company disposal sites.
WASHINGTON COUNTY — Washington County Attorney Peter J. Oprut will run for another four-year term in November. "I feel like made some pretty good strides toward public safety but I have some more opportunities," he said April 9. "I really want to pursue some more programs and some more ideas. If the public will give me another opportunity to keep performing, I'd like to have it."
WOODBURY — South Washington County Schools is fortunate to have a districtwide orchestra program, Breanna Casper said. And not just because it gives her gainful employment as orchestra director at Oltman and Woodbury middle schools. Casper, who plays the violin, had no school orchestra program when she was growing up. "I did some community orchestras when I was in high school," she said.
STILLWATER — Washington County is seeking the public's help for an upcoming exhibit at the Historic Courthouse in Stillwater.
MINNEAPOLIS — The East Ridge High School robotics team lost a heartbreaker this past weekend at the North Star Regional Tournament at the University of Minnesota. The robots took over the hardwood at the 3M Arena at Mariucci March 28-31. The tournament often resembled a summer camp game like the egg carry relay, with robots scrambling to pick up cubes off the floor and place them on one of three scales.
Even the die-hardiest shopper might balk at the idea of visiting over 100 local businesses in one day - unless it's the day of the Woodbury Community Expo. April 7, the East Ridge High School gym will morph into a giant indoor market, with 175 display booths staffed by local merchants, health clinics and social service organizations. Since its creation by the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce, the expo has provided a convenient one-stop shop for those who want to see what products and services are available in their community - no GPS required.
A two-car crash Thursday evening in Woodbury was so violent that one of the vehicles came to rest on its roof. But the accident, which occurred shortly before 5 p.m. at the intersection of Lake Road and Radio Drive, resulted in only minor injuries, Woodbury Public Safety spokesperson Michelle Okada said.