Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
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"Change." It was the buzzword used by Barack Obama is his campaign during the presidential election. Change is also a concept the discussion group titled "Faith Meets Feminism" hopes to impart in the coming weeks in Lake Elmo. "I feel like the place where we are now is encouraging a much-needed shift in our culture," theologian Kjersti Moline of Lake Elmo said. Moline and fellow theologian Carolyn Germaine are hoping to assist women who want to embark on a journey of change with their eight-meeting discussion group. "I see the whole group as a coming home to one's self," Moline said.
At the Jan. 20 meeting of the Afton City Council, the council and the residents in attendance heard a presentation from Tim Power, the Afton representative to the Lower St. Croix Watershed Management Organization (LSCWMO,) about the future of LSCWMO. Discussions about the possibility of merging LSCWMO, which is a joint powers agreement between Afton, Denmark Township, Cottage Grove and Hastings, into either the Valley Branch Watershed District (VBWD) or the South Washington Watershed District(SWWD) have been ongoing since 1999. Afton is currently part of LSCWMO, VBWD and the Middle St.
Could a Bailey Elementary student be the next Columbus or Magellan? Well, time will only tell, but sixth grade student Chris Murphy, from Valerie Lehman's class, took home the title at the Bailey Elementary Geography Bee on Jan. 12. "It is a great opportunity to build on student interest of geography and what they are learning in the classrooms," Nicci Pribyl, fifth grade teacher and Geography Bee organizer, said of the event.
Bridget Grandas and Miles Wangensteen, Woodbury High School students, are well on their way to becoming master artists after both received honors from the Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards. "I think, as an art teacher, (it's) a very personal award for them because it's a chance for them to decide which painting they think is the very best, it shows their talent and it shows their personality," WHS art teacher, Karen Seashore, said.
New Afton Mayor Pat Snyder isn't wasting anytime taking the city under her wing -- she already has a lot of changes and improvements she wants to make in order to better the city in the coming year. The Afton City Council met on Jan. 13 for their goal setting workshop and all of the council members came armed with a list of goals. Decrease costs Just like everyone during these hard times, Afton is looking for ways save money and lower costs.
One of the last pieces of the East Ridge High School identity -- the school song -- needs to be put into place. While a melody has already been chosen, the lyrics are being left up to the ones who are the most important part of a school's identity, its students. "The school song is as important as any other aspect of the identity of the school, a school song captures the values, spirit, energy, and attitude of a school, particularly if all the students know the song," ERHS choir director Chris Russell said.
For three Woodbury High School students the 2008 election is going to be extra memorable -- despite the fact that they didn't have the opportunity to vote -- because they will be attending the 2009 Inauguration and an inaugural ball for President Barack Obama on Jan. 20. Sophomore Kiera Eaton, freshman Ben Gotz and junior Heather Mohr will be in Washington, D.C. to be part of the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference as members of the National Youth Leadership Forum. "I'm hoping to come away from this with a bit more understanding of politics.
The last month has seen the findings of WSB & Associates' hydrologic study bounce back and fourth between the Afton City Council and the Afton Planning Commission and it has finally come to a stop. The study was originally presented at the December meeting of the Commission before being passed onto the Council because of uncertainty of what steps to take with the information.
"C" is for "cookie" -- and it's also for "cash." That is what Woodbury Elementary students are hoping to raise with the "Cookie Dough Fundraiser" which had its kickoff event on Thursday, Jan. 8. This is the second year that Woodbury Elementary has taken on this fundraising opportunity. Last year, students raised $8,000.
It's a new year and a new City Council for Afton, who met for the first time at a special council meeting on Jan. 5 to make some necessary decisions before they could start serving the city. Before the Council could even begin discussing the agenda, Mayor Pat Snyder and Council member Bill Palmquist had to first be welcomed into the Council by taking the oath of office. The first major decision of the new year that mayor Snyder brought before the Council was changing the start time of the regular council meetings from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.