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 — 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?
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.
COTTAGE GROVE — The stinking snow and cold has postponed the big reveal for the renovated Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park.
COTTAGE GROVE — For her efforts as a wellness ambassador to elementary school children throughout the district, Brianna Mullan is this year's recipient of Washington County Youth Public Health Achievement Award. Lowell Johnson, director for the Washington County Department of Health, presented Mullan with the award April 3 during a surprise visit to her classroom.. He headed a delegation that included Park Principal Ginger Garski, County Commissioner Jack Lavold and her parents, Don and Cheryl. She certainly wasn't expecting the visit.
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.
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.
COTTAGE GROVE — The April 7 KidFest brought more than 700 people to the Cottage Grove Ice Arena. Every spring, the city's Parks & Recreation Department musters a children's menu of youth sports, reading and nature programs and other activities for young bodies and minds.
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.