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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Supporters of fired East Ridge High School wrestling coach Matt Everson disrupted the South Washington County School Board meeting. Video by William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia
Park High School scarfed down a plateful of Spotlight Awards for "Little Shop of Horrors," the campy musical about a love triangle among a man, a woman and a man-eating plant. The spring production earned Park its first ever Outstanding Achievement in the Musical Theatre category from Spotlight Education, an annual student awards program sponsored by Hennepin Theatre Trust. Park students will join student casts from nearly 30 other Minnesota schools in a performance showcase at the annual Spotlight Showcase June 10-11 at the State Theatre in Minneapolis.
COTTAGE GROVE—Over 150 runners and walkers braved cold and wind to finish the Standing Strong 5K. The seventh annual event got underway May 18 at Hamlet Park. Bronson Stachowiak, 14, won the race in a time of 19:23. Andrea Winghart won the women's division. Winghart is a member of the St. Paul Lions Club and said she came to support the Cottage Grove Lions. "The temperature doesn't bother me as much as the wind," she said.
SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY SCHOOLS—The Great Gatsby was the theme at this year's Park High School Prom, with men looking dashing and ladies dazzling. The Grand March took place in the school auditorium, followed by the dance at Inwood Oaks in Oakdale.
COTTAGE GROVE — City Council approved the HERO Center Business and Operational Plan at its regular meeting May 15. The $20 million, 47,000-square-foot complex will be jointly owned and operated by Cottage Grove and Woodbury. It will serve as a professional development and training facility for police, fire and EMS. Woodbury City Council will consider adoption of the plan at its May 22 meeting.
COTTAGE GROVE — The Health and Emergency Response Occupations (HERO) Center is on track for its scheduled October opening, despite winter storms and spring floods that cost construction crews 21 days of work. City, state and county officials received a project update April 30 at Cottage Grove City Hall. The $20 million, 47,000-square-foot complex will be jointly owned and operated by Cottage Grove and Woodbury. It will serve as a professional development and training facility for police, fire and EMS.
Nathan Hawkinson, 5, came dressed for duty at the Cottage Grove Police Department open house. The May 11 event included photo opportunities with police and their vehicles, a Washington County Sheriff's Office rescue boat, McGruff the crime dog, K-9 Gunnar, and an appearance by the Police Explorers youth group. Nathan came with his father Adam and brother Charlie. Allison Rice, 10, (left) and sister Adriana, 6, got a view from inside a squad car at the May 11 Cottage Grove police open house. Photos by William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia
The annual Films in 5 Festival, scheduled for May 18 at the Park Grove Library, has been canceled. According to the minutes of the May 7 meeting of the Cottage Grove Arts Commission, who sponsored the event, there were zero submissions as of the April 30 deadline. Former Arts Commission member Shawn Foster-Huot, who chaired the festival, confirmed the cancelation. The festival, which debuted in 2015 at Park High School, invited people to enter original films, videos or cartoons five minutes or less in length. It was unclear if the festival will continue.
COTTAGE GROVE — For venturing where few have dared, two local "outhouse archaeologists" received the 2019 Preservationist of the Year award at the May 1 Cottage Grove City Council meeting. Brandon Lewanski and David Labno locate and excavate 19th and early 20th century outhouse sites. Before the advent of modern plumbing, these detached "privies" also did double duty as trash pits.
Discovery Community Church hosted the World Vision Walk for Water 6K on May 4 in St. Paul Park to raise money for Water Mission. A global charitable organization, Water Mission encourages communities around the country to host their own races every spring. Donations are used to dig wells and provide sanitation in developing countries.