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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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.
CubERRt the robot showed off its motor skills at the June 21 South Washington County School Board meeting. Manning (or womaning) the controls was Iaong Lor, captain of the East Ridge High School robotics team, who call themselves the East Ridge Robotics Ominous Raptors (ERRORs). She was assisted by team members Kennedy Uzpen and Alex Gerber. The ERRORs designed and built CubERRt to compete against other robots in tournaments here and in Detroit. They finished in second place May 19 at the Minnesota State High School League Championship at the University of Minnesota.
For the record, it wasn't blue paint that volunteers Wade Luhman and Jodi Witte rolled and dabbed on the walls of a classroom at Park High School — it was Sea Sprite. Down the hall, others workers from PPG, Andersen Corporation and the South Washington County School District were busy transforming a classroom in shades of Lullaby Blue and Cajun Spice. "A lot of science goes into color," PPG manager Bernie Ackerman said during the June 20 gathering. "How it affects the brain, how it is received by the eye."
The pickings were slim, but Sarah Fournier of Woodbury still found some greens to purchase at the June 21 opening of the Cottage Grove Farmers Market. The weekly market opened late this year due to a wintry spring. Some growers are still playing catch-up, market manager Kim Heilmann said, but she said she expects the number of produce vendors at the market to increase in coming weeks.
COTTAGE GROVE — It's a measure of the life lived by Steven Duane Cozad that his unexpected death affected so many. Cozad, 48, of Cottage Grove died June 20 after he was found unresponsive at his home, Newport Fire Chief Steve Wiley said. Cozad served with Wiley on the Newport Fire Department for over 20 years. Cozad's family lost a husband, provider, father and grandfather. The Newport Fire Department lost a capable and courageous comrade. Needy children and families from Newport to Kenya lost a benefactor and advocate.
COTTAGE GROVE - About 85 runners and walkers got their first look at the renovated Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park during the June 24 Run the Ravine 5K. The race capped a weekend of events that included a craft party Friday and goat yoga sessions Saturday. The festivities also included a kids' fun run.