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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COTTAGE GROVE — It's been a short summer for Nick Falde. July 5 was his first day of work as the new principal of South Washington County Alternative High School. "I like being part of the alternative learning type environment because every kid has a story," Falde said. "And I think you can get more in depth into their story and really get to know them as individuals. It helps with goal setting and it helps them get to their next step, whatever that next step may be, college or the military."
OAKDALE — The Metropolitan Council is moving ahead with the public engagement phase for the Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit project. Last week, the council hosted the first of a series open houses intended to gather community comment on the nine-mile, round-trip route that will run from St. Paul to Woodbury. About 60 people attended a July 18 open house at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Oakdale. The Gold Line will run from Union Depot through the East Side of St. Paul, Maplewood, Landfall, Oakdale and Woodbury.
Pete Potyondy, 35, of Cottage Grove, plays the title character in the Locally Grown Theatre production of "Sherlock Holmes." The show is free and runs 7 p.m. July 25-29 at the outdoor amphitheater at Cottage Grove City Hall. The play was written by Ashley Martinson based on the stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. For more information, visit www.locallygrowntheatre.org . William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia
If you go: "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" runs at the Loft Stage at East Ridge High School, 4200 Pioneer Dr., Woodbury. Performances are 7 p.m. July 20-21 and 27-28 and 3 p.m. July 22 and 29. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at https://merrillartscenter.org/ It may have Disney in its pedigree, but Woodbury Community Theatre isn't putting on a kids show. Their production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," which opens Friday at the Loft Stage at East Ridge High School, embraces the dark witch-burning delirium of medieval Paris.
COTTAGE GROVE — A new farmers market debuted July 10 at Crossroads Church in Cottage Grove. The market runs 3:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays in the church parking lot near the intersection of 80th Street and Jamaica Avenue. "We've been talking about it for a long time," church member and volunteer Heidi Lovro said. "We thought, 'What better way to get people together in the summer and in the fall, and have the farmers make some money?'"
NEWPORT — Nature gave its blessing for the 65th annual Booya celebration at Newport Fire Station #1. The event unfolded under blue skies and warm breezes. The main event, as always, was the doling out of hundreds of gallons of the titular stew, which Newport Firefighters had been simmering overnight. At the 11 a.m. start, a line of hungry customers had already formed. They carried pots, coolers and other containers to be filled with traditional and Cajun booya.
Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Yetter was honored June 26 at the Washington County Commissioners meeting. Yetter was selected by the Lakes Center for Youth and Families to be the 2017 recipient of the James Trudeau Law Enforcement Award. With Yetter is Sheriff Dan Starry, commissioners Stan Karwoski, Gary Kriesel, Lisa Weik, and Fran Miron, Lakes Center executive director Matt Howard, Carol Trudeau, Rep. Bob Dettmer and Commissioner Jack Lavold. Submitted photo courtesy of Washington County
COTTAGE GROVE — The planets seem to be aligning for the former Home Depot space in Cottage Grove. A TJ Maxx/HomeGoods store is on track to be open this fall, the first occupancy of the building since the Home Depot closed in 2008.
COTTAGE GROVE — The safety campers had a lot of questions for Cottage Grove Police officers Ryan Pierre and Andrea Lindeen. How much does your bulletproof vest weigh? (10 pounds.) Have you used a stun gun on someone? (Yes.) Have you been shocked by a stun gun and pepper sprayed? "Yes because if I pepper spray someone and it comes back on me I have to know what it feels like," Lindeen said. Do the pieces of an AR-15 fit together like Legos? (Yes, kind of.) Can you put handcuffs on me?
WOODBURY — While other children her age probably were splashing in a pool or riding their bikes, 11-year-old Norah Badroos stood in a rehearsal studio at Merrill Community Arts Center, with one eye on her script and the other on her fellow actors. "We're learning to use our emotions when we act, to have fun doing our performance," she said. Norah and her young castmates had signed up for The Play's the Thing, one of several summer day camps at the center. They spent the week rehearsing "Just Like Us," a play by Craig Sodaro.