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 — 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 — 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.
Ralph Marquardt of Cottage Grove owns bragging rights as the owner of a 1963 Ford Falcon Cayuse. If the name of that car doesn't ring a bell, that's probably because there were only two or three made. As Marquardt tells it, his Cayuse is a "concept car" or prototype that Ford designed but never mass-produced. "What attracted me to the car was the fact that it was so rare and so little known," Marquardt said. "I had no idea what it was until my friend came over with the (Hot Rod) magazine article with the Cayuse picture in it."
Everyone has a song inside them. Jeff Dayton works to bring them out. When he's not touring, recording and playing on other artists' records, the Minnesota singer brings his six-string into elementary schools, where he teaches a songwriting course called "Makin' Music, Nashville-Style." Dayton spent last week at Pullman Elementary School, where he showed fifth-graders how to compose a song, punch it up and perform it.
WOODBURY — If it's not exactly like pulling teeth, it still takes some effort to extract information from Thomas Crist. The retired Woodbury dentist comes across as modest and low-key. There's almost a perceptible shrug in his voice as he talks about his work filling cavities for orphans in Ukraine, or providing free dental care to the poor and homeless as a volunteer for Hope Dental Clinic in East St. Paul.
Carter Bannwarth got invited back to the party. The Woodbury teen returns to Carnegie Hall April 30, when the New York Pops celebrates its 35th birthday gala. Bannwarth, 15, will perform as part of the Camp Broadway Kids Ensemble, an all-star cast of 60 musical theater students from across the country. They were chosen from over 500 online applicants to the three-day performing arts day camp. Candidates were required to submit online videos that showcased their singing and dancing chops.
COTTAGE GROVE — After nearly eight years of litigation, 3M Corp. has forked over money to fix municipal and private wells polluted by the company's chemicals in Cottage Grove, Newport, Woodbury and other east metro communities. Now, those communities are lining up for their share of an $850 million settlement paid by the company to settle a lawsuit filed by the state in 2010. The suit accused 3M of contaminating the drinking water supply with perfluorochemicals, or PFCs, that leached from company disposal sites.
MINNEAPOLIS — The East Ridge High School robotics team lost a heartbreaker this past weekend at the North Star Regional Tournament at the University of Minnesota. The robots took over the hardwood at the 3M Arena at Mariucci March 28-31. The tournament often resembled a summer camp game like the egg carry relay, with robots scrambling to pick up cubes off the floor and place them on one of three scales.
The Newport Transit Station will serve as a park-and-ride lot for this year's Minnesota State Fair. The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved an agreement with the Metropolitan Council March 13. Metro Transit, a service of the Metropolitan Council, operates expanded park-and-ride services throughout the Twin Cities to provide easier and more frequent public access to and from the fair.