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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Grab a paintbrush, some crayons and head to your neighborhood park because Art in the Park is back. For the second year Woodbury's Parks and Recreation Department will be bringing a weekly program to Woodbury's parks to offer children the chance to produce some artwork while enjoying the outdoors. Art in the Park begins July 11. "This is just something different than what you think of as a parks and rec program," Recreation Specialist Ann Ringgold said. "It's not your typical arts and crafts kind of art, but it's in the park." Last year's program drew nearly 1,200 students.
Back in 1975 when Afton's annual Fourth of July parade was in its first year, Ken and Linda Johnson had a front row seat. The Johnsons have two entrances to their driveway so the parade utilized that as the spot to turn around to go up the opposite side of the street. "They actually turned around through our yard," Linda said. "We sat in our yard and watched the parade go through just for us." Since that fist year the Johnsons have never missed a parade. But this year they will be front and center like never before. Ken and Linda Johnson are this year's grand marshalls.
Rising floodwaters are an issue most years in Afton, but the city is now taking steps to combat flooding before it happens. For the last year Afton has been working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on a flood hazard mitigation grant. City Council held a public hearing on the grant at its June 21 meeting. "This is just the start of the process," said Todd Hubmer of WSB & Associates, the city's engineering firm. Combating flooding Afton began discussions about levee and drainage improvements about a year ago when the U.S.
A group of New Life Academy students will be hitting the track for the Life Time Minneapolis Triathlon on July 9 at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis. A total of 11 New Life Academy freshmen - Kyle Linton, Tom Hunt, Chloe Westhund, Miranda Lockner, Sarah Rahimi, Molly Saum, Hailey Brumley, Emily Bolduan, Reagan Rice, Aislinn Kavanagh and Natalie Hager - and one sibling - Nicole Hager - will be competing in the event this year as part of the newly formed North American Junior Invitational. A total of six parents will also compete in the triathlon.
Summer is in full bloom, and so is the Woodbury Farmers Market. Sunday morning dozens of people browsed the many produce stands at the farmers market, located in the Central Park parking lot. The produce included: strawberries, lettuce, potatoes, snap peas, rhubarb, broccoli, radishes, jelly, salsa, honey and maple syrup. Woodbury is home to two farmers markets - both part of the St. Paul Growers' Association and offshoots of the St. Paul Farmers Market. The Central Park market has been open eight years and is open Sundays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 10 to Oct. 30.
Afton's 2008 Comprehensive Plan still isn't quite ready to go into effect, at least in the eyes of Afton City Council. During a June 21 meeting Afton City Council members discussed the changes that had been presented to them by the Afton Planning Commission. A city's comprehensive plan represents its vision of how the community should grow and how it will develop or redevelop.
For Red Rock Elementary fifth grade teacher Diane Munson, school is almost like a melting pot. "All of these students come into a school with different experiences," she said. "It's almost like the immigrants coming to America and building that community." Munson's view on education, and most importantly social studies, has earned her the title of Minnesota History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute. "It was very humbling," she said. "I was very honored to be the recipient." In addition to recognition, Munson also received $1,000.
Editor's note: This is the first in an occasional series on teachers' unique summer plans. School's out for summer - and not just for the students, but for the teachers, too. For some teachers, the break means time off from school and time with family. For Lake Middle School social studies teacher Paul Krumrie, summertime means time for a road trip. Krumrie will be hitting the road in mid July with his daughter Abby, 15, for a month-long cross-country road trip. The two will start their trip in Georgia and travel along the Appalachian Trail all the way to Maine.
Years ago, bullying was associated with the big kid in the class who stole his classmates' money or shoved them into lockers. Today, bullying has taken on a very different look. "Bullying has changed," Jennifer Rockhill, from the Youth Service Bureau said. "It's not the same kids it was." Trinity Presbyterian Church hosted a bullying workshop June 13 to shed some light on what bullying encompasses today. During the event, Rockhill spoke to roughly a dozen parents about what bullying is, the effects of bullying and what can be done.
Children can often be found playing restaurant in their basements, but over at Kowalski's Markets in Woodbury, they're getting a taste of the real thing. This summer, Kowalski's will be the site of a kids cooking class, taught by Way-Cool Cooking School. Way-Cool Cooking School is a four-day long summer camp, in the morning and afternoon where children ages 3 to 18 prepare an assortment of dishes. This is the first summer Way-Cool Cooking School has been in Woodbury. Classes began June 2 and run through early September. Each week has a theme and all of the dishes center around that.