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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Within the next couple months, cats in Afton may soon have a safer place to live. Since the summer, the Afton City Council has been discussing possible revisions and amendments to the city's animal control ordinances and contracts with animal control services. The discussions arose after some concerned residents spoke about recent experiences with animal control picking up their cats and euthanizing them because they were deemed to be feral. The ordinance requires that the Animal Humane Society of Woodbury must hold an animal for at least five days.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. But for Lexis Galba Christmas has been on her mind for the past couple months. The 12-year-old Woodbury resident is part of the Guthrie Theater's production of "A Christmas Carol" which opens Nov. 21 in Minneapolis. "I just love Christmas and the feeling of Christmas -- it's my favorite holiday," Galba said.
What makes a good mascot? For East Ridge High School cheerleading coach Cindy Lambert, she said it's energy, school spirit and a willingness to have fun. "They need to be willing to make a fool out of themselves," she said. ERHS held tryouts for the ERHS mascot, Rowdie the Raptor, on Nov. 5. Only one girl tried out. Junior Serafina Axdal said she decided to audition because she loves to act goofy and entertain her friends. "I love the idea of being out there every day showing school spirit," she said.
East Ridge High School can add one more thing to its list of firsts this year -- the first ever school musical "We only get one chance to start a program, to develop a curriculum and establish traditions -- we only get one chance to do it right," said ERHS theater director Amanda Hestwood. "It's been the greatest opportunity and the greatest challenge of my life -- it's been overwhelming and stressful, amazing and beautiful." "Seussical: The Musical" had its grand opening on Nov. 6. "Seussical" is a collaboration of 18 Dr.
Animals can be very loving and affectionate, they can even help lift spirits, but they also need some help of their own. That's the message a local cat adoption organization is trying to send to the public. Stray Cat Rescue Associates of Minnesota, or S.C.R.A.M, has taken it upon itself to find homes for defenseless cats that have nowhere else to go. "The cats that are generally taken in are cats that nobody wants -- it's a lot of sad stories that go with these cats," said Vicki Lachelt, a local S.C.R.A.M volunteer. Looking for homes For the past five years S.C.R.A.M.
Local musician Matthew Griswold will have his plate full the next couple months -- with two new albums and a slew of live performances. Griswold, of Woodbury, is set to release both a compilation Christmas album and a new album this winter. An Army veteran, Griswold has been struggling to find time to focus on his music for the past several years since he has had to balance his musical aspirations and his military career. Griswold spent five years in the Army which included a tour in Iraq that ended last December. He returned to Woodbury only to be recalled.
Think back to when you were a child. Did you ever drum on your mother's pots and pans? "Everybody wants to bang on something," said East Ridge High School music director Chris Tank.
While growing up Andy Rist knew wanted to "create" and "teach" -- but wasn't sure exactly what. "If I were creating ant farms I think I'd be happy as long as 'create' is there," said Rist, of Woodbury, who founded a ballet academy and production company more than 20 years ago. Rist, who currently serves as the artistic director for Ballet Minnesota, founded the company in 1987 along with the Classical Ballet Academy. Both are located in St. Paul. Ballet Minnesota will produce its fall concert, which celebrates the music of Gershwin and Mozart, on Nov. 6-7 at the Fitzgerald Theater.
Woodbury High School students kicked off Halloween early on Friday, Oct. 30 with a "Zombie Mayhem" event to raise funds for a local elementary student. Theresa VonRuden's Community Outreach students organized a lunch-time Halloween fundraiser where they sold food from Noodles & Co., Jamba Juice, Classic Pizza and Cold Stone Creamery, in order to raise money for fifth grader Donovan Carlson, a fifth grader at Royal Oaks Elementary, who has muscular dystrophy. "The whole event was a lot of fun," VonRuden said.
The people of Five Oaks Community Church put on their hard hats and built an orphanage for a group of orphans in Fedja, a small town in Haiti. The ribbon cutting for the new building was last month. "When you go down there and you see these kids -- you can't help but feel for them," said Five Oaks' outreach director Jerry Meras. "Seeing the building up is great, but it still comes back to kids -- you want nothing more than to go down and help." A total of 58 orphans have moved into the new building that is complete with individual bunk beds, showers, a kitchen and a school.