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 — 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.
A single-vehicle crash killed a Newport man early Sunday morning. Christopher Kelly, 33, was driving south on Highway 280 and exiting to Eastbound I 94 around 3:18 a.m. Kelly apparently lost control of his Dodge Dakota pickup truck, which hit the median wall near the bottom of the ramp. The Minnesota State Patrol said he was ejected from the vehicle after it began to roll. It came to rest on its roof. Kelly, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene, according. It was unclear if alcohol was a factor, a State Patrol spokesperson said.
WOODBURY — Students and staff at Woodbury Middle School can now claim membership in a fairly exclusive club. March 1, they received national recognition for successfully adopting and implementing a college readiness system known Advancement Via Individual Determination or AVID. That makes three District 833 schools, including Oltman Middle and Park High schools, that have been certified as AVID national demonstration sites.
Ava did not look happy about having to wear an oxygen mask. But the brown and white Cavalier King Charles Spaniel submitted to the fitting with a minimum of fuss. Her owner, Mary Francis, demonstrated the life saving device Feb. 15 to fire and emergency medical technicians at the temporary Cottage Grove Fire Station. The masks can be used to help resuscitate pets that are rescued from a structure fire or car wreck.
WOODBURY — Authorities have determined that two juveniles who posted alleged shooting threats last week had neither the intent nor the means to carry them out. The juveniles, who attended East Ridge High School, have been arrested and charges could be pending. They were identified after District 833 schools alerted Woodbury Police, who consulted with the FBI.
Those making a pilgrimage to the Feb. 9 opening of "Nunsense II" at the Merrill Community Arts Center should expect a hefty dose of ham - Fridays excluded, of course. If you didn't get that joke, don't fret. You don't have to be Catholic to hang out with the starstruck sisters at Mt. St. Helens School in Hoboken, N.J. These ladies christened the Black Box when Woodbury Community Theatre did the first "Nunsense" revue five years ago. "It was the first show we did in the Black Box," director Lenore Weir said.
By small steps and one giant leap, Newport Elementary School has been closing the achievement gap, that disparity in test scores between themselves and the more affluent schools in District 833. In November, an analysis by the Minneapolis Star Tribune listed Newport on their "Beating the Odds" list. The annual report identifies "high poverty" schools who did better than expected on reading, math or the combined scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA).
The preparations for Super Bowl LII include the construction of a new regional highway system - in the skies over Minnesota and Wisconsin. Sunday's game will bring an estimated 1,100 additional private aircraft into Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, as well as six satellite airports in the region. To relieve potential congestion, an air traffic team spent a year devising new air routes and training air traffic controllers to handle the extra volume.