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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Some Woodbury students have proven they are masters of knowledge. The fifth-grade Gateway students, at Bailey Elementary, placed first in the state in the Knowledge Master Open competition. The team placed third out of 206 teams in the nation. The Knowledge Master Open is a computer-based semiannual worldwide academic competition in which teams of students from many schools earn points by answering 100 multiple-choice questions quickly and accurately. The questions tap 15 subject areas ranging from American history to biology.
The Afton city staff has grown by one. Afton City Council approved a contract with former Interim City Administrator Ron Moorse to serve as a government affairs consultant for a trial three-month period. The vote passed 3-2, with Mayor Pat Snyder and Council Member Peg Nolz dissenting. Moorse will work 20 hours per week, as an independent contractor, at a salary of $58 per hour. Moorse started in the new position on Monday. "I'm excited about keeping Ron," Council Member Randy Nelson said.
Could Afton City Hall be going green? Yes, if Afton residents Clint and Bobbi Elston have their say. The Elstons, who own the Equaris Corporation, made a presentation to Afton City Council during its Feb. 15 meeting. The Elstons proposed to install their Equaris water-recycling technology in City Hall. The couple has retrofitted their own house into a self -contained wastewater system and self-sufficient water system.
We wear the mask that grins and lies. It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes -- this debt we pay to human guile. With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, and mouth with myriad subtleties." Those are just a few of the words Woodbury High School senior Ian Wesley Taylor will be reciting when he recites "We Wear the Mask," by Paul Lawrence Dunbar at the state Poetry Out Loud competition on March 7 at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.
Every year, the students in the school musical at Lake Middle School plead with their directors to do specific shows. "The kids always ask if we can do this show, or that show," LMS choir, and theater, director Gillian Teoh said. "'Grease,' 'High School Musical' and 'Wicked' come up every year." Since some of the shows are too difficult for a middle school theater production, Teoh said she decided to grant the students every show they want in this year's musical "The Mix." The musical, which opens Feb.
The 2011 Washington County Fair is still almost six months away, but Washington County 4-H is already planning ahead for 2012. Dan Dolan, president of the Washington County Agricultural Society, made a presentation during the Feb. 15 Afton City Council meeting requesting support for Washington County 4-H. "4H is very dear to my heart," Dolan said. Currently, Washington County 4-H is working on fundraising, seeking out grants and donations and seeking support for 2012, which is why Dolan came to Afton City Council.
There's an abundance of knowledge-based competitions out there for students, but one competition really gets to the root of the matter. The International Brain Bee has high school students answer questions about the brain. "The brain is the key to the human body," East Ridge High School student KC Preska said. A total of five East Ridge students competed in the state Brain Bee competition Feb. 9 at the School of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota. The top 30 students in the state competed.
In just two weeks, Afton resident Mille Porslid will be embarking on a four-month expedition to Alaska, but another task will be gnawing at the back of her mind: where is she going to live? Porslid, who currently houses 19 sled dogs on her property, has only one month to find a new home for her dogs since Afton City Council rejected her proposed kennel ordinance amendments. The topic of Porslid and her dogs was brought up during the Feb.
Ann Haering's fight has come to an end. The East Ridge High School senior, and Woodbury resident, lost her battle with leukemia on Sunday, Feb. 20. "My best memory of Ann will be when she could just be herself in between when she was sick," said Samantha Greeley, an East Ridge senior and friend of Haering's. "I'll remember when she could just have fun with us." Haering's family could not be reached for comment. A visitation for Haering will be held on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at St. Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic Church. Haering's funeral will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at St.
Armed with a comb, medicated mousse and a light, the Lice Finders are here to help. Woodbury resident Jina Saueressig and her sister Tonya Potter, of Stillwater, have developed a business that aims to help families work through the horrors of head lice. "Unless you go through it, you really don't know what lice is like," Saueressig said. Lice Finders, which started in November 2010, has the sisters responding to calls from distraught parents dealing with lice. The services include checking heads and taking care of an infested head.