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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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.
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.
In what would turn out to be the last day of her life, Amber Pugh made sure to look out for her younger sister. On March 4, 2004, she and Jacque Viall, 22, were enroute to Burnsville on a Saturday afternoon shopping excursion "I only remember her picking me up and we stopped at Erickson's gas station," Viall said. "I remember we turned out onto Route 46. I didn't have my seatbelt on and she told me to put my seat belt on. I kind of looked at her like, 'eh.' I put it on. That's all I remember,"
"What ye sew, so shall ye reap" might be the motto for the Quilters Club at River of Life Church in Hastings. Their Monday night quilting bees double as a prayer group, where needle and thread assume a life their own under skilled fingers, stories are shared and hearts are bared. Quilters need not be affiliated with the church, instructor Jeanne Schanink said. "It's a community outreach, meaning that anyone within the community who wants to come, can," Schanink said. "We don't throw the Bible at people as they're walking in the door. We just give them a taste of it."
After two years of uncertainty, a homeless shelter for single men in Dakota County will close Dec. 1. Cochran Recovery Services in Hastings announced it will discontinue its residential housing program, citing losses of up to $80,000 per year. The move will affect 32 residents. "They'll be transitioned to other long-term programing," executive director Richard Terzick said. "We're not just dumping them." Terzick said they will try to place shelter employees in other jobs at Cochran.
The enthusiasms of the late Scott Pengelly were nearly as numerous as his friends. Pengelly, who died Dec. 29, received a sitting ovation Aug. 23, when a wrought-iron "Tree of Life" bench was dedicated in his honor at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Friends, family and former colleagues at the Department of Natural Resources gathered to celebrate the man described on the bench inscription as "dedicated DNR spokesman, outdoorsman, conservationist, State Fair enthusiast and friend."
A Rosemount High School graduate died in a four-vehicle crash Aug. 21 in Omaha, Neb. Joan R. Ocampo-Yambing, 19, was one of four college students in a 2013 Toyota Prius. They reportedly were en route to view the solar eclipse in Lincoln when they were rear-ended shortly before 10 a.m. by a semi-truck driven by Robert J. Richmond on westbound Interstate 80. Police said Richmond, 69, failed to notice that traffic on the interstate had backed up. Richmond was not injured and an investigation is underway.
For Lenore Weir, directing "Legally Blonde: The Musical" for Woodbury Community Theatre is a bit like going shopping with its irrepressible heroine, Elle Woods. It's not always easy to keep with such a force of nature. "The way it's written, it never, ever stops," said Weir, who lives in Cottage Grove. "It's not like an old-fashioned show where you have end-of-scene plus a blackout and you change the set. That's not how it works."
It didn't take long for the Films in 5 Festival to attract talent beyond its Cottage Grove borders. Last year's sophomore event drew at least two filmmakers from Minneapolis. They included John Akre, who took second place for his film "Minneapolis Beneath the Asphalt Part 1: The City Changes."
Extreme Sandbox began as a recreation center that turned work machines into play. Instead of swinging at fastballs in a batting cage simulator or circling the go-cart track, folks could blow off steam at the controls of a bulldozer or wheel loader. But the 10-acre "sandbox" in Hastings has gained popularity as a training ground for students who might be interested in a career in the construction industry.