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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Local and county officials hoisted gold shovels at the Aug. 9 groundbreaking for the Grey Cloud Island channel restoration project. The South Washington Watershed District is leading the $1.8 million dig. Crews will replace the barrier causeway on County Road 75 with a bridge that will allow the free flow of water for the first time in decades. The Mississippi River backwater - known as the slough - has been degraded by weeds and algae as a result of being dammed up by the causeway.
An extension to the Washington County trail network in Cottage Grove is expected to open at the end of this month. The trail starts at County Road 74 (65th Street) near Cottage Grove Middle School and will run to the west side of County Road 13 (Hinton Avenue), where it will connect with an existing section of trail that intersects with 70th Street. Work will start later this month on another new trail that will run along County Road 19 (Keats Avenue) from 80th Street to Indian Boulevard.
The community turned out to help support Stone Soup Thrift Shop during its annual fashion show fundraiser at the John P. Furber Farm. Volunteers modeled fashions that were drawn from the shop's inventory, including gowns, T-shirts and capri pants. Vickie Snyder, executive director of the Basic Needs, Inc. nonprofit that runs Stone Soup, was among the models strutting on the runway at the Aug. 10 event. So was her granddaughter, Lydia Thomson, 12, who came from Rochester to participate in the show. "We've had a better turnout than we thought we would," Snyder said.
The Washington County 2018 budget could include the biggest property tax hike in nearly 10 years. A proposed $102.7 million levy would add about $35 to the annual property tax bill for the owner a home assessed at $257,000 — the median value in the county. The 6.9 percent levy increase would be the largest since 2008. Deputy Administrator Kevin Corbid made the levy request at an Aug. 8 budget workshop.
Sun was the only thing missing from the Aug. 13 Pioneer Day in Newport. More than a century old, the annual civic party drew hundreds to Heritage Memorial Park, which had sprouted striped tents, food booths, inflatables, a merry go round and bushels of sweet corn.
Police and fire and rescue personnel responded to a one-car crash August 15 along Manning Avenue in Cottage Grove. There were no reported injuries, Cottage Grove Fire Chief Rick Redienus said the two passengers were wearing seatbelts.
Members of the Cottage Grove Lions Club pitched in July 29 to help build the Woodridge Park Inclusive Playground. Alene Colvin, a member of the inclusive playground task force, said they built a climbing wall and painted a tunnel. The playground will include a zip line, swings, a sensory garden and oversize musical instruments. Children who become stressed by the crowds or noise, such as those with autism, can take a break from the bustle by ducking inside a cozy dome, a plastic sphere that functions as a sort of tortoise shell.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, (left) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker helped Evie Kozlowski, 7, cut the ribbon at a ceremony Aug. 2 for the St. Croix Crossing. Evie's father is Stillwater mayor Ted Zuzlowski. The $624 million bridge spans nearly a mile and connects St.Joseph in Wisconsin with Oak Park Heights in Minnesota. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia
"A little to the left, that's the spot, ahhh." That may be what Layla the calf was thinking as Caitlyn Wagner, 16, hosed her down opening day at the Washington County Fair. Layla belongs to Megan Olson, 14. The 146th annual fair features demonstrations and exhibitions by more than 500 members of Washington County 4-H clubs as well as rides, the Swinetime Pig Races and live music. It runs through August 6. For a complete list of Washington County Fair activities, visit www.washingtoncountyfair.org .
When Thor is angry, the Earth trembles. The nine Norse realms are roiled by the theft of Thor’s hammer in “Nordrsaga,” this year’s student showcase at Circus Juventas in St. Paul.