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 officially has a comprehensive plan -- finally. Afton City Council adopted its 2008 Comprehensive Plan during its July 19 meeting, thus implementing the document that has been three years in the making. "We officially have a comp plan," Mayor Pat Snyder said. A four-year process A city's comprehensive plan represents its vision of how the community should grow and how it will develop or redevelop.
Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series on teachers' unique summer plans. A vacationing teacher became the student last week during a unique conference in Washington, D.C. Lake Middle School social studies teacher Karl Jensen was one of 35 educators from across the nation selected to attend C-SPAN Classroom's 2011 Educators' Conference, held July 14 and July 15. "I've been a news junkie for as long as I can remember," Jensen said.
Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series on teachers' unique summer plans. Traveling across Europe is often something reserved for the college years, but for two East Ridge High School teachers it's something that never loses its excitement. French teacher Natalie Bird and Spanish teacher Julie Rekstad traveled to France and Spain with a group of 16 students June 15 to June 24. The trip included visits to Paris, Barcelona and Madrid. "Traveling to Europe really brings to life some of the things that we've seen in the texts," Bird said.
On any given day during the summer, one not-so-obvious Woodbury spot becomes a giant beach party, where dozens of people flock to it for some fun in the sun. Carver Lake Beach is located in Carver Lake Park at 3175 Century Avenue South. Carver Lake is a 150-acre natural resource-based park that includes woods, steep lakeshore bluffs and a 40-acre deep lake. Woodbury residents can access the park by taking Courtly Road west as it curls toward 494, turning into Century Avenue.
About a year ago, Woodbury resident and local deejay Tim Dao was hoping to showcase his skills at the annual Woodbury Days event. But the 2009 Woodbury High School graduated was disappointed. "They didn't really know what I did, so they didn't want to risk it," he said. However, Dao wasn't going to be disheartened. So he decided to take it upon himself to bring deejaying to Woodbury. "Sometimes when you want to do something, you just have to do it yourself," he said.
Many Minnesotans had their Fourth of July plans foiled when state politicians' failure to reach a compromise on a two-year budget resulted in a government shutdown and the closure of all of Minnesota's state parks. However, park-goers and campers weren't completely without a paddle over the holiday weekend -- Minnesota's regional parks and Wisconsin's state parks were still open for business. "There are definitely people who are frustrated," said Kelli Bruns, superintendent for Willow River State Park in Hudson.
This summer, Woodbury Lakes once again transforms from shopping destination into music venue. The Woodbury Lakes Summer Concert Series kicks off today with children's act Mister Jim and runs trough August. The concerts take place in the courtyard between Kay Jewelers and American Eagle. The Summer Concert Series started last year as a way to not only bring more traffic to the shopping center, but also to bring residents together in a town-square atmosphere, said Woodbury Lakes Marketing Director Laurie Mordorski.
After 43 years in education District 834 Interim Superintendent Tom Nelson is taking another stab at retirement. Nelson's last day in District 834 was June 26. Nelson, of Woodbury, came to District 834 in August of last year when then-superintendent Keith Ryskoski took the position of assistant superintendent for secondary education in District 833. District 834's new superintendent, Corey Lunn, starts this week. Nelson retired as superintendent from District 833 in 2009 after having spent four years in the district.
Two groups from Woodbury will be right in the middle of one of the Twin Cities' biggest summer events -- the U2 concert at TCF Bank Stadium. Both Woodbury and East Ridge high schools will be sending groups of volunteers to the concert to assist security and guest services for the July 23 event at the University of Minnesota. "Who doesn't want to do security for U2?" East Ridge theater director Amanda Hestwood said.
Footprints Academy is tracing the footsteps of Woodbury's past with a new mural. On June 3, the school debuted a mural that depicts Woodbury's history. The mural is comprised of seven large footprint-shaped pieces that include student artwork. "This takes us a step down the path of Woodbury's history," said Footprints Academy founder Nikki Robbins.