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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Afton prides itself on its rural character and therefore it's continually trying to find new ways to preserve its land. Afton Planning Commission discussed conservation easements and how the city wants to approach them during its May 6 meeting. A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values, such as open space, habitat, vegetation and scenic views. "In general we have been using conservation easements as a way to preserve open space," City Administrato
Afton is getting closer to identifying how to regulate what's known as agri-tourism. The city's Planning Commission discussed the issue, specifically farm wineries and vineyards, during its May 6 meeting. For the past several months Planning Commission has discussed how to regulate agri-tourism businesses such as wineries, event venues, apple orchards and other types of businesses as a way to keep large agricultural properties within the city viable.
What was intended to be a routine public hearing for Afton's proposed facility plan quickly turned into a battle between communities last week. Afton City Council held a public hearing May 6 over its proposed facility plan, which details the city's proposed communal subsurface wastewater treatment system. The public hearing drew so many residents from Afton, Lake St. Croix Beach and St.
Woodbury High School loves its love songs. Those tunes will be showcased next week at WHS' 2013 cabaret, "What's Love Got to do With it," running May 21-23 at the school. The cabaret is a song-and-dance concert performed by all WHS choirs. This year's choirs include a total of 160 students. All songs featured in this year's cabaret will be love songs. "The songs are all about love and different kinds of love," WHS choir director Daryl Timmer said. "We've got good love, bad love, love gone wrong, new love.
Later this month, Woodbury High School senior Kayla Doherty will showcase her artistic talent when she displays her artwork, primarily ceramics, in the school's annual art show. However, one of Doherty's pieces will be getting national attention also. One of her ceramics pieces, a raku egg, received a Silver Medal from the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and a photograph of her piece will be on display May 30-June 1 at Carnegie Hall in New York City during the awards ceremony. "I thought it was really nice that I got all the way up there with my egg," Doherty said. She qualified
Over the past five to 10 years, more and more women have turned to careers in science and engineering, but there's still more room to grow. "We have a whole population of students that are under represented in our science classes," Woodbury High School assistant principal Rob Bach said.
At the beginning of this school year, Lake Middle School science teacher Logan Carstensen thought the back wall of his classroom could use a little something extra, so he approached parents about painting the periodic table of elements on it. "I thought it would be nice," he said. "I didn't have much on the back wall, so I thought we could have something to look at that would serve a purpose." In stepped longtime parent-volunteer Karen Seiffert, whose children are in eighth grade.
This year marked the last year that Woodbury High School senior Yemi Ajagbe could compete in the Poetry Out Loud competition and she finished her run just the way she wanted to. Ajagbe competed in the National Poetry Out Loud competition April 29-30 in Washington D.C., where she advanced to the top nine finalists. She received a $1,000 scholarship and WHS received $500 to go toward the purchase of poetry books. "I didn't have any disappointment in not winning," Ajagbe said.
New Life Academy took a tour around the world last week. The school's International Club hosted both a Chinese Festival and a Festival of Nations early last week. The Chinese Festival, held April 29-30, included food samples, face painting, temporary tattoos, Chinese character lessons, speaking practice, a dragon dance and a video. The Festival of Nations, which took place May 1 during the school's weekly chapel, included a video explaining International Club and its members, a testimony from the school's international students and a chapel song sung in Korean.
Woodbury natives Adam Schindler and Brian Netto were in sixth grade when they picked up their first camera. "We were bored, so we picked it up on a whim," Schindler said. "It's been 100 mph since that day - it was intoxicating." The first movie the duo ever worked on was a retelling of the horror film "Child's Play," where they used a Cabbage Patch doll for the possessed doll of Chucky. "Our storytelling got a little more elaborate after that," Schindler said.