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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HASTINGS — A family of five escaped a fire that destroyed their home early Monday morning, Sept. 17 in Hastings. There were no reported injuries to civilians or firefighters. Shortly after 4 a.m., the Hastings Fire Department responded to a report of a structure fire at 7774 South St. Croix Trail Lane S. The blaze, which started in the garage, is under investigation, Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt said. "When we arrived the garage was fully involved and the fire had spread to the kitchen and attic," Schutt said. "It's a total loss."
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.
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.
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.
Army veteran Marilyn Anderson of Farmington was honored with a Veterans Voices Award Sept. 11 at the University of St. Thomas Anderson Student Center in St. Paul. She is one of 13 legacy veterans in the 40-and-over category to be honored by the Minnesota Humanities Center for their community contributions that extend beyond their military service. "Everything that she's learned in the military about leadership, teamwork, concern for others, she applies across the whole community in extraordinary ways," Humanities Center president David O'Fallon said.
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.
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.