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 — Cottage Grove City Council declared a state of emergency March 20 in anticipation of an increased flood threat. Newport will consider its own emergency declaration at this evening’s council meeting. It sounds dramatic, but it’s more of a just-in-case scenario, Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey said.
WOODBURY — The Lake Middle School math team posted a strong finish at the MathCounts State competition March 8-9 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth. The team — Justin Luan, Arul Banerjea, Ivy Lin and Kevin Song — finished eighth out of 29 teams. Luan finished seventh out of 132 competitors in the written competition and placed second in the countdown round. The problems consisted primarily of geometry and algebra, he said. During the sprint round, students had to answer 30 math questions in 40 minutes, using only a pencil and scratch paper.
Newport Mayor Dan Lund declared a state of emergency at the March 21 City Council meeting. Council approved the measure, which was enacted due to the potential for severe flooding from the nearby Mississippi River. Upriver, at Lock and Dam 5 in St. Paul the river is rising at about a foot per day.
Snowmelt has turned Pine Tree Valley Park into a lake. But it looks worse than it is, city communications manager Scott Seroka said. City engineers said the park is designed to accommodate even higher levels of snowmelt. “They’re monitoring it but aren’t concerned at this point,” he said. “There is an overflow structure in place at the south side of the pond.”
COTTAGE GROVE --A stretch of Manning Avenue between 70th and 80th Streets is closed due to flooding. The flooded roadway, also known as CSAH 95, extends into Denmark Township, according to a press release from MNDot. It will be closed for several days until the water subsides.
COTTAGE GROVE -- Work begins in early May on a roundabout that will replace the four-way stop at the intersection of 70th Street and Hinton Avenue. Washington County and Cottage Grove will share the cost on the $3.4 million project. The county will provide project details at an open house March 15 from 4:30-6 p.m. at St. Luke Lutheran Church, 7000 Hinton Avenue.
COTTAGE GROVE — She posted a Minnesota welcome to Michelle Obama — not on social media, but with an honest-to-goodness poster on the garage of her Cottage Grove home.
Got snacks? Many kids don't. First-world problem, some might say. Three girls in Woodbury Scout Troop 55128 discovered otherwise. "Kids are given breakfasts and lunches, but there's a time in between that they don't have food and they're hungry," said Girl Scout Lila Youngdahl, a ninth-grader at East Ridge High School. "In elementary schools, there's a designated time for snacks and sometimes when they don't have snacks, they feel left out."
WOODBURY — Trial. Error. Repeat. That's the unspoken methodology of a group of Math and Science Academy students. Next month, their team, the Rhythm Packed Mechanics (RPM), will compete at the FTC (First Tech Challenge) World Championship in Detroit. The second-year robotics team has been focused on improving the design of their sole nonhuman teammate, a zippy little cube with claws named Phillip D. Lander. "Once we get closer to the competition, we meet a lot more frequently and lengthen the amount of practices," co-captain Anita Chetty said.
She's not old enough to drive, but singer and guitarist Hailey James has released her first single. "Live Your Life" is available on iTunes, Spotify and other digital music services. James, 15, of Cottage Grove, recorded the self-penned song at the Sartell, Minn., studio of producer and songwriter Greg Michael Huberty. "I'm so excited," she said. "It took a little longer than I expected because I don't have any experience with recording, but it was very easy, honestly."