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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It's hot in Iraq, Maj. Noelle Racette told the students at Armstrong Elementary School. "If you can take a handful of sand and mix it with talcum powder and take a hair dryer and blow it into your face, that's what it's like living in Iraq," she told the audience. Racette shared her experiences at the Nov. 8 Veterans Day observance at the school. She described her job in military intelligence as "trying to think like the enemy." Students got to pass around a chunk of plaster from a palace that was built by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
The lights dimmed, drums sounded and a bagpipe keened at the start of the Nov. 10 Veterans Day ceremony in the Park High School gym. Wolfpack Air Force Junior ROTC MN-871 presented the 11th annual program. Park senior and cadet Alisia Johnson, 17, sang "God Bless the USA," while accompanying herself on guitar. Vietnam veterans in attendance included Bud Schmidt and Ervin Schlorf of Cottage Grove and Jed Swenson of Woodbury. Korean War veteran Mel Hottman also attended.
To hear her tell it, Leah Restad had a modest goal when she prepared to take the ACT test. "I was just hoping that I would get a high enough score to not have to take the test again in the spring," she said. The East Ridge High School junior earned a perfect score — 36 — on the standardized college readiness exam. District 833 juniors and seniors took the ACT last month. One-tenth of 1 percent of test-takers achieve a perfect score, according to the ACT website.
Army Major Noell Racette outfits Armstrong student Max Kaplan with gear she wore when she served in Iraq. Racette and Seaman E-3 Laura Cloose were the featured speakers at the Nov. 8 Veterans Day observance at the School. Racette answered questions and told students about serving in Iraq in 2009 as a military intelligence officer.
He came on down. He saw. He conquered. Joshua Ryan of Farmington won almost $13,000 as a contestant on a recent episode of "The Price is Right." The longest running game show on television features Drew Carey as emcee. Contestants try to guess the price of various consumer goods. Publicist Raven Tait said that Ryan won a trip to Jackson Hole ski resort in Wyoming, including a stay at the Lexington Hotel, roundtrip airfare for two from Los Angeles, ski lessons and lift tickets and equipment. He also won a his-and-hers sunglasses set from Givenchy.
Military veterans are given their due as part of an annual quilt exhibition at the R.H. Stafford Library in Woodbury. This year, the River Valley Quilters Guild invited their members to include charity quilts as part of their annual show. President Sue Bay of Newport said the 40 quilts on display include those that will go to pediatric units at area hospitals as well as to women's shelters.
Army veteran Patrick Nickle didn't have a story to tell. He had dozens. For documentary maker Justin Atkinson, it was a matter of finding the right one. "I was trying to find the story," Atkinson said. "When he started talking about his first deployment to Afghanistan he got very emotional. I thought, 'Whoa, that's the story I want to tell.'" Nickle is one of three local veterans who are featured in "A Salute to Veterans" on local cable channel SWC-TV, where Atkinson works. The series premieres Nov. 6 on Channel 18.
A crew of volunteers didn’t allow a virtual nor’easter keep them from their mission: rebuild a backyard deck at the Cottage Grove home of a disabled veteran. Employees of area Home Depot stores and members of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Cottage Grove braved gusting wind and slashing rain Oct. 21 to replace the structure at the home of Sheletta and Shawn Brundidge.
There’s a lot more to the movie “Singin’ in the Rain” than that iconic scene of Gene Kelly dancing with a lamp-post in a downpour. For example, there’s….well, just what is that movie about, anyway? “Not a lot of people know the plot,” said director Janette Bach, a drama teacher at New Life Academy in Woodbury, where a student cast is rehearsing for the stage version of the classic musical. It opens 7 p.m. Nov. 3.