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 Art in the Park has been a popular fall-time activity for the past 31 years since it gives people the opportunity to enjoy the artistic talents of the vendors, but also enjoy all of Afton has to offer. "They make an event day out of it," said Kathy Jarvis, one of the organizers from the Afton House Inn. "They go to the park and look at the art, maybe stay here over night, have dinner at one of the restaurants in town and visit some of the local shops -- they can really make a whole event day out of it, not just an hour thing." The 31st Annual Afton Art in the Park will be Sept.
The hours of studying that the students and teachers have put in at Minnesota Math and Science Academy has paid off in a big way; the school has been designated a blue ribbon school by the U.S. Department of Education for their continued superior student achievement. "The award is about the achievements of the students and teachers," MSA director Paul Simone said.
The Woodbury Royals, the East Ridge Raptors and the Park Wolfpack all came together last Friday for the Freshman Frenzy dance at Woodbury High School. The dance, which took the form of a sock hop, followed the Woodbury-Park football game and was sponsored by the WHS Link Crew as a fundraiser to help the group recoup costs. "The thing that really stuck out to me was how excited everyone was to see all of their friends they may have been separated from," said Chris Dease, a teacher and Link Crew advisor at Woodbury High School.
The long awaited opening of East Ridge High has finally arrived, and everyone is wondering how did it go? The Woodbury Bulletin recently sat down with ERHS principal Aaron Harper to discuss the first week of school. Woodbury Bulletin: What was the first day of school like? Aaron Harper: It was just running around being crazy and all the emotion attached to it -- kind of all that rolled up into one. It was emotional, it was draining, super exciting, energizing, crazy. But also trying to take a moment to live in the moment and realize that it's a special day.
Every fall, lords, ladies, gypsies, pirates and all sorts of other medieval characters assemble in Shakopee for the annual Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Woodbury has one of its own participants, whose job at the event, which runs through Oct. 2, is to bring juggling and danger. Mick Lunzer is a member of the festival's three-person juggling and knife throwing act, the "Danger Committee." Lunzer has been juggling for the past 25 years.
Among the 10 candidates who filed for the Nov. 3 District 833 School Board election, six new faces have thrown their hats into the race for the four available seats. Four of the challengers -- David Kemper, Mike Thissen, Laurie Johnson, Edward Nowak, live in Woodbury and bring with them a variety of career backgrounds ranging from business to education. The other two challengers, Walt Lyszak and Gina Taft, are residents of Cottage Grove. Lyszak is a former principal at Park High School.
The 80-member Woodbury Marching Royals was "glammed up" during Friday night's football game against District 833 rival Park High School with the debut of their new uniforms. "It just gives us a greater sense of an official group, as opposed to just the band in the stands," said Royals band director Brent Comeau. Being able to show off the new uniforms has been a year-long process for the three-year-old marching band with their "Glam the Band" campaign. When Comeau took over as band director last year, he said he noticed something missing for this very young marching band.
With all of the changes facing the district this year, there's bound to be challenges that will rear their ugly heads, but there are some challenges that may go overlooked by many -- school lunches. "People in nutrition services are the hardest working people in the district when you think about it," said Barbara Osthus, District 833 Nutrition Services director. "Who else has a time schedule that they have to meet like food services, when the kids come here, the food has to be ready.
The Afton City Council approved the preliminary budget and tax levy for 2010 last week during a special meeting. Only three council members were in attendance at the Tuesday, Sept. 8 meeting. Council member Peg Nolz was out of town on vacation and Mayor Pat Snyder was ill. The preliminary budget was approved at $1,660,519, which is an increase of 1.2 percent over the 2009 budget. The preliminary tax levy was approved at $1,516,258 which is a 3.9 percent increase over the 2009 levy.
The Cedar Bluff Homestead saga is steadily nearing the finish line as long as everything goes as planned. The Afton City Council was scheduled to discuss the development during its meeting last night, Sept. 15, but has decided to postpone the decision until next month. If approved, the Cedar Bluff Homestead would be Afton's first clustered-housing development, which would include 25 private lots and a 70-acre conservation easement with the Minnesota Land Trust in hopes of preserving open space.