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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SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY - More than a dozen Memorial Day ceremonies will take place May 28 at cemeteries, parks and public squares throughout south Washington County. The public is invited. Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park Members of VFW Post 8752 will join American Legion Post 98 on a tour of cemeteries, beginning with an 8 a.m. ceremony at Grey Cloud Island Cemetery.
Everyone has a song inside them. Jeff Dayton works to bring them out. When he's not touring, recording and playing on other artists' records, the Minnesota singer brings his six-string into elementary schools, where he teaches a songwriting course called "Makin' Music, Nashville-Style." Dayton spent last week at Pullman Elementary School, where he showed fifth-graders how to compose a song, punch it up and perform it.
WOODBURY — If it's not exactly like pulling teeth, it still takes some effort to extract information from Thomas Crist. The retired Woodbury dentist comes across as modest and low-key. There's almost a perceptible shrug in his voice as he talks about his work filling cavities for orphans in Ukraine, or providing free dental care to the poor and homeless as a volunteer for Hope Dental Clinic in East St. Paul.
WOODBURY - Nearly 500 faithful flocked to the annual Woodbury Prayer Breakfast May 1 at the Envision Center in Oakdale. The keynote speaker was Greg Speck, a youth specialist with Reign Ministries, a teen-oriented mission. The theme of this year's event was Answer the Call: Living with Purpose. Submitted photo courtesy of Lisa Boe
COTTAGE GROVE — Jenny Gregor takes a photo of son Matthew 3, while he crouches behind a riot shield at the Cottage Grove Police Department Open House. The May 11 event featured refreshments, a SWAT vehicle and an appearance by K-9 officer Gunnar. Kids got to sit in the back of a police cruiser, and one somehow managed to trigger the siren. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia
The Cottage Grove Random Runners team won the Female Division of the Eau Claire Marathon Relay on May 6 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Teammates Jennifer Lucas, Emily Firchaur, Solvei Baylis and Bridgitt Looney (pictured) posted a combined time of 3 minutes, 15:27 seconds. They beat 112 other teams in the 26.2-mile race, which took runners along the lakes, parks and streets of the Chippewa River valley. Submitted photo courtesy of Carol DeBlieck
COTTAGE GROVE — The first time Greg Gutterman rode in a plane was in 1984. The newly minted Park High School graduate boarded a flight to Colorado Springs to begin his first year at the United States Air Force Academy. Thirty-four years later, the United States Air Force Brigadier General is director of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate, which is headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. He oversees sales of military weapons to 110 foreign countries.
SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY — Hundreds of hot rods finally emerged from hibernation at two local car shows. On April 25, the St. Paul Park-Newport Lions held the first of their Car Show Thursdays at Broadway Avenue and 5th Street. The weekly gatherings run from 5 p.m.-dusk through Sept. 27, weather permitting. The Culver's Car Show also opened last week in the parking lot of Culver's restaurant in Cottage Grove. It runs Wednesday evenings 5-9 p.m. through the summer.
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.