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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The Afton staff has finally become whole - just in time for interim city administrator Jim Norman's departure at the end of the month. During last night's meeting, the Afton City Council approved the hires of both a deputy clerk and an interim city administrator. The new Afton deputy clerk will be Stillwater resident Kim Linner who will bring with her experience as a former building inspector for the city of Woodbury, an architect and as a former Grant city council member. Linner will be paid $20 hour for a 30 hour week.
Every year, the students at Lake Middle School have asked theater director Robin Bartell if they can do "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" for the spring musical. And every year Bartell has said 'no.' "To be honest, we have a very small stage, and the set (for the Willy Wonka production) is so big," Bartell said.
If you ever went to middle school, odds are you were witness to bullying in one way or another. Maybe you had things whispered about your behind your back. Or maybe you were the one doing the whispering. Or maybe, you were just watching the bullying without taking action. "Bullying is a problem in every school; it's a problem with everybody," said Lake Middle School sixth grade counselor Jodi Danielson. Danielson and other school staff are working to take steps toward stopping bullying in the school with the creation of a Bullying Prevention Committee.
The city of Afton is still talking wind turbines as its planning commission continues to work on developing a wind energy ordinance.
There are plenty of events that celebrate elementary through high school students -- graduations, school carnivals, award ceremonies -- but what about early childhood education students? That's where the 'Week of the Young Child' (WOYC) comes into play at St. Ambrose Catholic School. St. Ambrose of Woodbury Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) will be celebrating the WOYC April 12-16. "Not all centers do celebrate it, but it's basically a celebration of, or recognition of, the importance of quality early childhood programs," ECEC director Anne Huber said.
Larry and Anne Headrick, of Afton, don't consider themselves wine connoisseurs, or even avid wine drinkers for that matter, but they are heavily involved with the wine making process -- growing the grapes. The Headricks have recently started Marquette Vineyards of Afton where they grow Marquette variety grapes and sell them to the St. Croix Vineyard winery in Stillwater. "We're not heavy wine drinkers at all, but we do like the wine that is produced from these grapes," Larry said.
The Afton City Council had a brief budget discussion at a March 30 work session over how the city will cover its legal bills associated with the GJ&M lawsuit. "We've got some big legal bills," council member Peg Nolz said. The bill that the city received is $271,000. The city currently has $178,000 budgeted in its Audit/Legal Reserve fund. Mayor Pat Snyder raised the question of how the city will cover those expenses. "We need to prepare for the worst case," she said. Currently it is pending whether or not GJ&M plans to appeal the decision.
There's plenty of events that celebrate elementary through high school students -- graduations, school carnivals, award ceremonies -- but what about early childhood education students? That's where the "Week of the Young Child (WOYC)" comes into play at St. Ambrose Catholic School. St. Ambrose of Woodbury Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) will be celebrating the WOYC April 12-16. "Not all centers do celebrate it, but it's basically a celebration of, or recognition of, the importance of quality early childhood programs," ECEC director Anne Huber said.
The Afton City Council agreed to donate at least $1,000 to the Lower St. Croix Valley Fire District for the purchase of a new, life-saving device. The Lower St. Croix Fire District has gone to the five cities in its joint powers agreement -- Afton, Lake St. Croix Beach, Lakeland, Lakeland Shores and St. Mary's Point -- for contribution. The new equipment, a LUCAS 2, which costs $15,000 , is an electrical device that can administer automated CPR to patients. The fire district is hoping to buy at least one device, if not more and is asking all cities to donate $2,000.
It was a battle of the minds last weekend at Mariucci Arena, at the University of Minnesota, for the state FIRST Robotics Competition. Three Woodbury teams were on the battle field -- East Ridge High School, Woodbury High School and Math and Science Academy. During the competition each team works behind the scenes prepping their robots and gearing up for the competition before heading out onto the field. It's almost difficult to know where to look first if you are a spectator up in the stands because the 63 team pit areas, the practice arena and the field all hold their own excitement.