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 — She posted a Minnesota welcome to Michelle Obama — not on social media, but with an honest-to-goodness poster on the garage of her Cottage Grove home.
Got snacks? Many kids don't. First-world problem, some might say. Three girls in Woodbury Scout Troop 55128 discovered otherwise. "Kids are given breakfasts and lunches, but there's a time in between that they don't have food and they're hungry," said Girl Scout Lila Youngdahl, a ninth-grader at East Ridge High School. "In elementary schools, there's a designated time for snacks and sometimes when they don't have snacks, they feel left out."
ST. PAUL — A new market could emerge for Minnesota's licensed hemp farmers. A bipartisan legislation introduced Feb. 18 in the state Senate would allow hemp farmers to sell their product to in-state medical cannabis manufacturers. Sen. Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove, who co-authored the bill, said it would give local growers another source for their product, which typically is used in food, clothing and rope.
COTTAGE GROVE — The good news: technology is making firefighter protective clothing more lightweight, breathable and effective. The bad news: it's not cheap. Consider a recent donation of 57 protective hoods to the Cottage Grove Fire Department by the city's public safety board. In an unusual move, the board footed the entire $5,800 cost. Fire Chief Rick Redenius, who initially requested around $1,000, isn't arguing.
About 50 people joined together for a hands-on barn-building demonstration Jan. 13 at the Woodbury Central Park Amphitheatre. Audience members were invited to join preservationists in assembling a scale model of a 19th century vintage barn. The educational event and ice cream social was intended to promote preservation efforts in regard to the historic Miller Barn in Woodbury.
Cottage Grove police believe an adult male and three juvenile males entered unlocked vehicles and used garage door openers to burglarize two homes in the northwest portion of Cottage Grove near 65th Street South. In a statement, police said they responded to a 911 call from a vigilant homeowner early Jan. 4. Cottage Grove and Woodbury police officers arrested the four after a traffic stop. They were taken into custody without incident. The four were booked under probable cause first-degree burglary and theft from motor vehicle.
The "Elwell Elves" came bearing gifts to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital on Dec. 10. Dolls, toys and games were handed out by volunteers from Newport Masonic Lodge 118 and Queen Esther Chapter 26 of the Order of the Eastern Star. They bought the items earlier this month as part of their annual Santa Project, which is funded by donations from individuals and businesses. This year, they also purchased a PlayStation system and games that hospital staff can lend out to patients.
Three hundred and sixty-four days a year, this stretch of West Point Douglas Road is a place most people rush past on their way to somewhere else. That won't be the case Monday, Dec. 10, however, when the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolls into Cottage Grove. The train is expected to arrive at 5:15 p.m. along West Point Douglas Road just south of the 80th Street bridge, near the Youth Service Bureau building. Once the train stops, a boxcar door will drop open to reveal an elevated stage with live entertainment by Canadian hard rockers the Trews and blues guitarist Willy Porter.
NEWPORT — There were no reported injuries from a Monday afternoon fire, Nov. 26, 2018, at a truck maintenance and storage facility in St. Paul Park, but the blaze kept multiple fire agencies busy until well after dark. “We had it knocked down in about an hour,” Newport Police Chief Steve Wiley said Tuesday. “But we were chasing hot spots for another four or five hours.”
Guddu Chinta spent the month of August getting his feet wet in a tent in Rhinebeck, N.Y. The Woodbury High School sophomore joined 60 other students from around the world at Rising Sun Camp, an intensive four-week, leadership program. "Every morning it was humid so the ground would be completely wet," he said. "I went through 15 pairs of socks in four days because of ... all the dew."