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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Liberty Ridge Elementary welcomed a very formally dressed guest last week. A penguin, accompanied by a zoologist from Como Zoo, stopped by Liberty Ridge on Feb. 18 to give a presentation to second graders at the school. The penguin visited Liberty Ridge as the culminating event of a penguin unit in the second-grade classes. Each student researched a specific type of penguin and then wrote a report. The penguin who visited Liberty Ridge last week was an African penguin named Cupid. Cupid received his name after hatching on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 25 years ago.
Growing up in St. Paul, and then moving to Woodbury, Dasom Ham has seen firsthand the impacts socio-economic differences can have. “The situation where I grew up made me kind of realize the differences and made me want to come up with solutions and ways to mediate those,” the East Ridge High School senior said. Ham will have the chance to see how change happens this week when she travels to Washington as part of the U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP).
Woodbury High School’s Chinese Club wished everyone a Happy Chinese New Year, Gong Xi Fa Cai, last week. Throughout the week the Chinese Club offered a variety of Chinese New Year activities including food sales, a bubble tea sale, calligraphy writing, paper folding, bracelet making and sale, and games. The celebration culminated on Friday, Feb. 19, with a dragon dance.
Sitting outside by the river with a drink is a pastime enjoyed by many in Afton. And now there might be more options. Afton City Council updated its liquor license ordinance during its Feb. 16 meeting to include a higher number of liquor licenses.
Later this spring Valley Crossing Community School is hoping to bring the noise. Valley Crossing has launched a new Family Band, which is made up of students, parents, teachers and community members. The Family Band will perform together in concert on May 12. “We’re having a great time,” Valley Crossing music teacher Deb Graf said. Family Band The Family Band first began rehearsing in January after Graf thought up the idea of bringing adults and students alike together through music.
Lake Middle School has crowned its 2016 Lake Idol. LMS eighth grader Grace Amos took home the title during LMS’ annual singing competition, which was held Feb. 16 after school. Amos performed Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” “You’re crazy talented is what you are,” LMS science teacher and Lake Idol judge, Brian Eberhardt said. Amos walked away with a $100 Amazon gift card. “It’s probably not the best thing to buy, but I’m buying shoes,” she said.
When Woodwinds Health Campus first opened its doors in 2000, Woodbury resident Julianne Degenhardt was one of the first people to visit the facility. “I live close to Woodwinds, so I watched its construction,” Degenhardt said. “It was fascinating. I wanted to be a part of it. It didn’t matter in what way.” So Degenhardt became a tour guide at Woodwinds and she has been there ever since. “I’m just so grateful that they found a place for me and welcomed me with open arms,” she said.
Vanity. Strength. Judgement. Labels. Rumors. Bullying. Self respect. Gender roles. These words don’t always go hand in hand, but in the life of a girl, they certainly do. Crosswinds Arts and Science School welcomed students from the University of Minnesota who presented a play called “Girls LIke That” on Feb. 10. “‘Girls Like That’ was an honest performance of what it is like to be a teen today,” said Stephanie Nusser, the community development representative at Crosswinds.
A new restaurant in Afton is hoping to get back to the roots of the area. Afton City Council approved a liquor license for the Lumberyard Pub during its Feb. 16 meeting following a public hearing. “Thank you for coming to Afton,” Mayor Dick Bend said, “and welcome.” The Lumberyard Pub received approval for both on- and off-sale liquor, as well as Sunday sales. The Lumberyard Pub will be moving in the former Sail Away Cafe’ location at 3121 St. Croix Trail South.
Cottage Grove resident Joe Filipovich, 30, began playing music at age 7, but in seventh grade he was introduced to a style of music that would change the course of his life. “I was first introduced to the sounds of Jimi Hendrix after my older cousin gave me the CD for a Christmas present,” he said. “The sounds from that guitar blew my mind and I was obsessed with the music ever since.” The only downside to Filipovich’s love of the blues was that not many other people were playing it. “There’s not a lot of people my age playing that music,” he said.