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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It was a winter wonderland down in Afton this weekend during the annual Afton Village Holiday. The three-day event offered such family-fun activities as horse and wagon rides, strolling carolers, holiday crafts and breakfast with Santa. This year's event hit some obstacles however, event organizer Deb Larson said. The heavy snowfall on Friday resulted in many of the planned events to be late or canceled entirely. One major problem the Afton Historical Society Museum ran into was the failure of its Victorian-era train to be brought to the museum.
Most 16-year-olds dream of sitting in the driver's seat alone for the first time, but East Ridge High School sophomore Morgan Maxwell had other dreams -- sitting solo in the cockpit of her Cessna 152 plane. Maxwell took her first solo flight on Nov. 7, her 16th birthday, at the Lake Elmo Airport. "It's really rare for anyone to solo on their 16th birthday," she said.
In recent months the topic of bullying has come to the forefront on the national scene. School officials within District 833 are making sure that their issues with bullying don't reach those extremes. "Bullying is on the forefront of everyone's minds," Woodbury High School assistant principal Todd Herber said. "There's bullying going on out there, we're not naïve; I think it is an issue for all of our students at one point or another.
Kinderberry Hill Child Development Center of Woodbury will be blowing out five candles on Dec. 5 when it celebrates its fifth birthday. "We always call them our birthday because it's something that the children can make that connection with and relate to," executive program director Kathy Sjursen said. We opened Dec. 5, 2005 and it's kind of funny because our address is 1205 and we opened on 12-05 -- that's kind of a good omen." On Dec.
Afton is inviting families to take a step back in time and enjoy the annual Afton Village Holiday Dec. 3-5. "It's a nostalgic old fashioned celebration," Deb Larson, of the Afton Area Business Association, said. This year's Afton Village Holiday includes such activities as crafts, holiday shopping, breakfast with Santa, going business to business collecting treats in stockings, strolling carolers, ice skating, horse and wagon rides and even a wine tasting. "We've just got a great schedule this year," Larson said.
It was a normal day refereeing a basketball game at Fridley High School in 2007 for Woodbury resident Dale Wakasugi when all of a sudden he hit the court floor. He suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Wakasugi was fortunate enough to have a girl by the name of Lindsay Paradise in the stands.
School boundaries might seem like old hat for families of the South Washington Schools, but for the Stillwater Area School District, it's just beginning. District 834 has begun work on revising its attendance boundaries as part of its Vision 2014 since the district currently has two elementary schools -- Lake Elmo Elementary and Rutherford Elementary -- that are over crowded. Lake Elmo Elementary currently has 778 students enrolled, which is at 104 percent capacity, and Rutherford Elementary has 766 students which is at 103 percent capacity.
Wind turbine discussions in Afton have finally started to die down. The City Council approved an amended wind energy ordinance at its Nov. 16 meeting. "We've tweaked and caught all of the little problems that were in it before," Planning Commission chair Barb Ronningen said. The amended ordinances passed with a 4-1 vote. Mayor Pat Snyder passed the sole "no" vote. "I still object to the 135 feet," she said. "And I'm still unclear on the whole noise aspect of it." Council member Bill Palmquist said he was pleased with the revisions. "I think you did a good job fixing it," he said.
With Thanksgiving just a day away, some people have already started thinking about Christmas, such as the Woodbury Community Theatre. Woodbury Community Theatre's holiday show, "Amahl and the Night Visitors" will debut Dec. 4 on the Loft Stage at East Ridge High School. "Amahl and the Night Visitors" tells the story of Amahl, "an imaginative boy, three kings and a miracle," director Marcie Berglund said.
With the countdown to the end of his last month in office underway, the retiring Woodbury Mayor Bill Hargis gave his final "State of the City" address Friday, Nov.