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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It's the most they can do. Last month, District 833 schools collected 21,253 groceries and toiletries for 10 Days of Giving, the annual charity drive that runs in conjunction with the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. Of the 19 participating schools, students at Pine Hill Elementary collected the most items — 3,248 snacks, cans of soup, paper towels, shampoo, toothpaste and soap for needy families.
Instead of geometry or algebra, eighth-grade math students at Oltman Middle School devoted five hours of class time Dec. 19 to making fleece blankets for sick and homeless children. Teresa Willkom's math classes crafted the tie blankets to donate to Children's Hospital and local shelters.They got help from teachers, donations from student council and Thrivent Financial. Submitted photo courtesy of Teresa Willkom
Students in District 833 schools collected over 21,000 items for "10 Days of Giving," the annual charity drive sponsored by Merchants Bank and run in conjunction with last week's Canadian Pacific Holiday Train whistle stop in Cottage Grove. Students collected 15,253 paper towels, shampoo, toothpaste, soap and cash for the Friends in Need Food Shelf in St. Paul Park and raised $181.The items were packed in large cardboard boxes, which were picked up Dec. 13.
Addison Pyrz, 11, got some coaching on how to research her history project from Bob Ferguson, (left) a retired teacher who works as a mentor for the Minnesota Historical Society. Pryz joined students from Park High School and Lake, Oltman and Woodbury Middle schools for a History Hullabaloo Dec. 12 at R.H. Stafford Library in Woodbury. Ferguson said he advised Pyrz to include historical context in her project, which is about the Berlin Wall. The Hullabaloo was part of National History Day, an interdisciplinary research competition for students in grades 6-12.
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.
No plans for Christmas dinner? You’re invited to Rose of Sharon Lutheran Church. The Happy Wanderers at Rose of Sharon Lutheran Church are hosting their second annual dinner beginning noon Dec. 25. Even for couples, the holidays can accentuate feelings of loneliness, organizer Lois Stolte said.
The 15th annual Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stop in Cottage Grove raised enough money to push cumulative donations past the $1 million dollar mark. Event co-chair Mary Slusser raised the giant check above her arms as the crowd cheered. Her efforts first brought the Candian Pacific Holiday Train to Cottage Grove in 2003. This was her last year as chair of the event, which raises money for the Friends in Need Food Shelf.
Water and traffic are both flowing again on Grey Cloud Island. The new bridge on County Highway 75 opened to vehicular traffic Oct. 30, but some follow-up work remains, project manager Nathan Arnold said. "We're going to look at adding some additional guardrail," he said. Some ornamental railing is also being fabricated, he said. Fresh water is also flowing under the bridge, thanks to culverts installed by crews. For decades, the earthen causeway had effectively acted as a dam, creating a stagnant Mississippi River backwater known as the slough.
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.