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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In choosing a subject for his sixth-grade history project at Oltman Middle School, Caleb Craig traveled down a dark corridor in time. Caleb, who lives in St. Paul Park, became intrigued by the Nuremberg trials, the international military tribunal convened by the Allies in 1945 to bring Nazis to justice following World War II. "I really didn't know many things about World War II," Caleb, 12, said.
This year's District One Act Festival features a trio of decidedly downbeat plays from Park, East Ridge and Woodbury high schools. "They tend to be that way, I think, because a lot of times, in a high school setting, you don't get to do all those types of heavy shows," said Leah Jensen, director of East Ridge's one-act "Women and War."
For Julia Reimann, the trip home to Cottage Grove for Thanksgiving involved a bit more than a short jaunt over the river and through the woods. It meant flying back from Malaysia, a 30-hour journey in which she crossed at least nine time time zones on three different planes. Reimann, 23 spent 11 months in southeast Asia on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, where she taught English to middle school and high school students.
When Tracy Caponigri says "Everybody out of the pool!" she's not working as a lifeguard. She's a theater director at Park High School. The English teacher is trying to keep the swimming pool in the middle of the stage clean. Which means, no shoes. After all, who wants to act while standing in dirty water? "One more time," she says, addressing the cast at a recent rehearsal. "Can we stay in the pool with our shoes on?" "No!" replies the cast.
Patti Wiens returned to New Life Academy Nov. 17 for its 40th anniversary celebration. The non-denominational Christian school and church was founded in 1977 by a group that included Wiens and her husband, the late Pastor Dick Wiens. The congregants met in a church in St. Paul before moving their present location in Woodbury for the 1979-80 school year. They now have 750 students in preschool through grade 12, who represent a total of 85 different churches.
Local lawmakers and preservationists gathered Nov. 8 at the Miller Barn in Woodbury to celebrate a $160,000 state grant that will pay for the restoration of the nearly century-old structure. The money was appropriated from the state arts and cultural heritage fund through the efforts of State Sen. Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, and state Reps. Kelly Fenton, R-Woodbury, and JoAnn Ward, DFL-Woodbury. The Woodbury Heritage Society will use the funds to replace the roof, paint and repair the siding and to install a new metal cupola on the roof.
The organizers of a local 5K are not thankful another race has been scheduled in Cottage Grove two days after their Turkey Day event. Since 2010, the annual Hale to the Bird 5K run/walk on Thanksgiving morning has drawn local runners and walkers to the 3.1-mile course that begins and ends in Hamlet Park. Over 550 participated in last year's pre-gobble gallop, which raised $6,000 for the Friends in Need Food Shelf. This year, however, race organizers have competition: The Cottage Grove Turkey Trot 5K debuts two days later in Kingston Park.
John "Jack" Lanners was Woodbury's secret weapon. The businessman, volunteer and civic leader usually did his best work behind the scenes. But he was hardly a wallflower. In 2013, the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce selected him Citizen of the Year. He served as the grand marshal in the 2015 Woodbury Days Grand Parade. And it was his charisma and energy that brought family members together, whether for pickup football or his annual Memorial Day picnic, where he'd take out last year's Christmas tree and used it as kindling for the bonfire.
To hear her tell it, Leah Restad had a modest goal when she prepared to take the ACT test. "I was just hoping that I would get a high enough score to not have to take the test again in the spring," she said. The East Ridge High School junior earned a perfect score — 36 — on the standardized college readiness exam. District 833 juniors and seniors took the ACT last month. One-tenth of 1 percent of test-takers achieve a perfect score, according to the ACT website.
He came on down. He saw. He conquered. Joshua Ryan of Farmington won almost $13,000 as a contestant on a recent episode of "The Price is Right." The longest running game show on television features Drew Carey as emcee. Contestants try to guess the price of various consumer goods. Publicist Raven Tait said that Ryan won a trip to Jackson Hole ski resort in Wyoming, including a stay at the Lexington Hotel, roundtrip airfare for two from Los Angeles, ski lessons and lift tickets and equipment. He also won a his-and-hers sunglasses set from Givenchy.