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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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.
COTTAGE GROVE - State Senator Karla Bigham brought an official Senate resolution to Park High School April 27. Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove and a Park graduate, secured the recognition in honor of Park's attaining the distinction of becoming the first AVID national demonstration high school in the state. AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, is an accelerated college-level system that is taught in 6,400 middle and high schools nationwide. However, only schools that pass a rigorous three-year application process are afforded national demonstration status.
COTTAGE GROVE — When there's no running water, you walk for it. Day in and day out. It may take an hour. It may take four, depending on how far away the well or river is. The parched predicament of the poor in underdeveloped countries has been the subject of a yearlong service learning project at Cottage Grove Middle School. You can only learn so much in the classroom, however. April 25, teachers Mary Brandvold and Jennifer Strong took students outside to let them experience a day in the life of a thirsty third world household.
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.
ST. PAUL PARK — Park High School graduate and Brigadier Gen. Gregory Gutterman will speak April 27 at American Legion Post 98 in St. Paul Park. Gutterman will retire as director of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. According to the U.S. Air Force website, he administers the Air Force's $161 billion security assistance budget supporting foreign military sales to 108 countries, operating more than 6,700 aircraft and other weapon systems.
ST. PAUL PARK - Saturday's Stone Souper Bowl party will be a pajamboree. Pajama Party is the theme for the April 28 bowling bash at Park Grove Bowl in St. Paul Park. Organizers Stone Soup Thrift Shop hope to raise $50,000. It's still not too late register a team, board president Vickie Snyder said. There will be a winning team for each of four 90-minute shifts,which start at 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. A prize will be awarded to the team with the most creative and colorful PJs. Skimpy lingerie is discouraged, unless it's worn over an adult onesie.
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.
COTTAGE GROVE — For her efforts as a wellness ambassador to elementary school children throughout the district, Briana 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.