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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East Ridge High School's fall musical, "Les Miserables" opens Friday, Nov. 9 and runs two weekends through Nov. 18. "Les Miserables" chronicles the journey of French peasant and ex-convict Jean Valjean as he tries to build a new life and be a surrogate father to a little girl named Cosette. But he also must stay one step ahead of Javert, the relentless police inspector who is determined to put him back in prison.
ST. PAUL PARK — A neighborhood Halloween attraction signed off Oct. 31 after more than 30 years. The Nelson family's tricked-out yard display in St. Paul Park attracted generations of costumed kids with its rows of tombstones, hanging skeletons and gallery of glowing jack o' lanterns. Family members would dress up as witches and vampires. "I've never been at my own home for 33 years to pass out candy," said Dawn Walker of Hastings. "'Cause I'm the head witch here."
ST. PAUL — DFL Challenger Anne Claflin came from behind to unseat GOP incumbent Keith Franke in the race to represent state house District 54A. Final but unofficial results show Claflin, of South St. Paul, with 9,300 votes. Franke, of St. Paul Park, finished with 8,925 votes. Her victory flips the district back to its tradtional blue. Franke, the former mayor of St. Paul Park, won the seat in 2016, a victory that, while close, nevertheless helped the House GOP pad its majority and turned House District 54A red for only the second time in decades.
Republican incumbent Tony Jurgens beat DFL challenger Tina Folch in the state house race to represent District 54B. Jurgens, an insurance agent who lives in Cottage Grove, finished with 9,951 votes. Folch, a Hastings City Council member, received 9,531 votes. As a member of the state house, Jurgens helped to carry the HERO Center, for which bonding was approved this session, into the bonding bill as members of the capital investment committee.
COTTAGE GROVE — Incumbents Steve Dennis and Dave Thiede each won handily in a six-way race for two Cottage Grove City Council seats. With over 90 percent of total votes tallied in the non-partisan contest, Dennis had 7,821 votes, Thiede had 7,291 votes. The nearest challenger, Jerret Wright, garnered 2,321. Chad Poitra and Dwayne D. Brauch received 1,872 and 1,827 votes, respectively. The fourth challenger, Evan Kolstoe, received 1,477 votes. Thiede has served two terms on City Council, and had filed for candidacy in hopes of a third.
SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY — Voters flocked to the polls in today's state general election, braving rain, sleet and a bitter cold wind that seemed to echo the country's acrimonious political divide. As of midday, a polling place at Newport Elementary School had been averaging about 85 ballots an hour, according to one election official. By 1:12 p.m. Tuesday, 537 ballots had been cast, election clerk and assistant to Newport City Administrator Travis Brierley said. By 6:30 p.m. the number of ballots had swelled to nearly 1,200, he said.
Representatives from Old National Bank presented teachers, staff, students and parents with a $1,000 grant Oct. 24 at Pine Hill Elementary School. The grant was awarded thanks to the efforts of the school's parent teacher association. They collected the most online votes in the bank's Tools for Schools competition, which took place in September. One school from each of the bank's 17 regions in the Midwest received a $1,000 grant based on the number of votes they generated. Pine Hill was the only school in Minnesota to win.
COTTAGE GROVE — Following the 1895 premiere of "The Importance of Being Earnest" in London, critic William Archer deemed the play "to be empty of meaning" since it did not address social issues of the day. He added, with apparent lack of irony, that it was "nothing but an absolutely wilful (sic) expression of an irrepressibly witty personality." Misguided but accurate, sir. Subtitled "A trivial comedy for serious people," Oscar Wilde's comedy of manners continues to enthrall and amuse, with its farcical take on marriage, mores and money.
COTTAGE GROVE — East Point Douglas Road became the haunted highway during the Oct. 27 Monster Bash parade in Cottage Grove. The annual Halloween celebration is sponsored by the city's Strawberry Fest Committee and brings out costumed spectators, the Park High School marching band and ghoulishly-decorated floats. Some two dozen organizations marched down the mile-and-a-half route from the District 833 Service Center to the District 833 Program Center under a spooky gray sky. Photos by William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia
For 65 years, John Bartl Hardware in Newport was the go-to place when you needed just one of something: say, a beveled washer for a home faucet repair job, a copper pipe fitting for a furnace, a float valve for a balky toilet. And you could pay for it with pocket change. That aforementioned beveled washer would set you back a grand total of 65 cents.