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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Over the last year, Twitter has exploded amongst internet-users and has added to the popularity of all social networking sites. But for many folks who are still getting used to Facebook and LinkedIn, the prospect of embracing yet another social networking phenomenon brings with it some apprehension. That's the latest from officials at Stafford Library in Woodbury, which is offering a Saturday, Sept.
District 833 has been working hard to manage their budget and keep costs down, and this includes the heads of Community Educations' "K Plus" all-day kindergarten program. The K Plus program has made fairly substantial cuts to the supply budget from $1000 per classroom to $250 per classroom. There are currently 35 sections, housing nearly 700 students, at all 16 elementary schools in the district. "Because this is a fee-based program, we try really hard to keep the costs down as best we can for parents," said Ernie Pines, District 833 Community Education director.
In less than a week the days of summer will be a distant memory. Instead of barbeques, there will be school lunches. Instead of sunny days at a beach, there will be long afternoons in the library. The fall will also bring about a lot of changes to District 833 -- new attendance boundaries, new grade configurations, a transition from a junior to a middle school and a new high school -- that have been met with a variety of positive and negative reactions.
Everybody's favorite beagle, Snoopy, has found himself a new home in Woodbury outside the Kissing 2 Lips flower shop. "Snoopy is going to be the new face of the flower shop," owner Christie Lewis said. The Snoopy statue was delivered to the flower shop on Thursday, Aug. 27. Snoopy has always been part of Lewis' family having been displayed prominently outside their previous establishment, Shamrock's Bar and Grill, in all his Irish glory.
Two local youth are a few official steps away from having their names and hands entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for longest handshake. On Tuesday, Aug. 31,Woodbury High School juniors Nathan Herzberg and Kyle Swanson unofficially broke the world for the world's longest hand shake of 10 hours. "I'm so unbelievably excited right now," Herzberg said. "I can't believe we actually pulled it off." Herzberg and Swanson decided to break the record for handshaking because they said they have a habit of handshaking and they were curious to see what the world record was.
Hundreds of people came out last weekend, Aug. 28-30, to enjoy all of the fun festivities during Woodbury Days. Woodbury Days offered fun entertainment for everyone of all ages, whether it was the family fun at the carnival, making friends with some animals at the petting zoo, visiting the many community businesses at the business fair, playing a few hands in the bingo tent, enjoying the parade, or even just relaxing on the grass with some delicious food from the Taste of Woodbury.
In recent months, some residents of Afton have had to say farewell to their feline friends a bit sooner than they should have because of the animal control laws in Afton. During the Afton City Council workshop last month, council members discussed possible changes to their animal control ordinance and implementing some new programs.
A group of local kids met some of their neighbors, Aug. 10-13, during the Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department's Minnesota Wildlife camp. "A lot of kids know about all of the cool exotic animals, but they don't know about the really cool animals that are right in their backyard," said Sue Dahl, a naturalist from the Dodge Nature Center. The Minnesota Wildlife camp was cooperative effort between Woodbury Parks and Recreation, as well as the Dodge Nature Center, in St. Paul, as a way to connect children to nature in an introductory way.
Minnesota is no stranger to being in the Hollywood spotlight -- Juno, Fargo, North Country and Prairie Home Companion. One local film student will be hoping to join the ranks of Minnesotans in movie stardom with a new movie he is directing and producing called "My Senior Year." "My Senior Year" is a comedy/romance/drama that tells the story of Brian, a boy who has been home schooled his entire life by his truck driver father, but one day decides that he wants to try going to a public high school and try being a normal kid.
Planning in Afton has always been a difficult and touchy subject, but it's about to get a bit more challenging now that the council has decided to terminate their contract with its city planner, Chuck Marohn, and Community Growth Institute. The Afton City Council discussed the termination of the contract during its Aug. 18 meeting. "I think we should start the wheels moving -- he's too expensive," Afton City Council member Peg Nolz said.