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 City Council has acknowledged its mistake in putting out a request for proposals for an infrastructure study and decided during its Oct. 20 meeting to take a different approach "I think we should take a different course of action," said city administrator Jim Norman. The request for proposals state the reason to move forward with the study is to determine whether or not it would be feasible to develop a municipal wastewater service since on-site systems may not provide the high-degree treatment required to ensure that the groundwater and surface water are no adversely impacted.
One more name will be added to the Tuesday, Nov. 3 District 833 School Board election, sort of. Current school board member Denise Kapler has started a write-in campaign for re-election. Kapler chose not to file for re-election earlier this fall. But over the last several weeks, Kapler, who was first elected to the school board in 2001, said she began to hear from supporters who encouraged her to start a write-in campaign. "People are asking me to step up to the plate to help -- they were telling me 'We need you to step up, we need your voice,'" Kapler said.
Halloween is fast approaching and that means it will soon be time for Halloween parties complete with delicious goodies and fun games. For some Woodbury High School students, though, it means a chance to help someone in need. The Community Outreach class at WHS will be hosting a fundraiser called "Zombie Mayhem," on Oct. 30 as a way to raise money for a Royal Oaks Elementary student who has muscular dystrophy.
Two high schools in Woodbury will be staging musicals this fall...on the same weekends. Woodbury High School will be producing "The Music Man" and East Ridge High School will be producing "Seussical: The Musical." Both shows open Friday, Nov. 6. Making the "Music Man" WHS theater director Karen Seashore said the school's theater program chose "The Music Man" because it's a classic play that everyone knows. "I thought it was well suited for the students we have, and we have a lot of new students trying out for the first time this year" Seashore said.
Parents of students at Bailey Elementary are hoping to provide an upgrade to their kids playground equipment. "Recess Rocks" is a campaign started by the Bailey Elementary PTA which aims to raise money to purchase a new playground, while encouraging more active children in school and at home. "Kids love to play and it's an important part of their education," PTA member Susan Trapp said.
During Afton City Council meetings, council member Joe Richter said he tries to be a down to earth guy with his feet planted firmly on the ground. But away from city hall, Richter often has his head in the clouds... as a commercial airplane pilot. "All pilots will say they enjoy that aspect of leaving the ground -- kind of the three-dimensional feel you get," said Richter who captains international flights for Delta/Northwest Airlines.
Armed with scissors, glue, pictures and their own creativity students at East Ridge High School have the opportunity to materialize their favorite memories of their first year at the new school with a new scrapbook club. "People's activities outside of work is very important to them -- they want to cherish those memories," said ERHS teacher and scrapbook club advisor Diana Mallat.
The city of Afton has had to pay $60,000 to GJ & M Development due to the city staff's failure to produce requested documents relating to the company's lawsuit against the city in a "timely fashion," city officials confirmed. City officials said they plan to appeal the order. "The order was an issue with the timeliness of the response," said Afton attorney, George Hoff. Washington County District Judge Mary Hannon ordered the city to make the payment to Gordy Jarvis, who co-owns the company and also the Afton House Inn, on Aug. 11. The city paid the $60,000 on Sept. 28.
Mark Andrews and Zach Ludvigson are both teachers at Woodbury High School. But they also had never met before, until they learned that they both had completed the Twin Cities Marathon on Oct. 4. The Twin Cities Marathon was Ludvigson's first attempt at the distance. For Andrews, a social studies teacher, the race represented the 57th time he has crossed the finish line at 26.2 miles. Ludvigson, a math teacher, said he decided to set the goal of running a marathon because he saw it as a challenge, something he craves.
For the past two years, fourth grader Nick Plank has been Woodbury Elementary School's weatherman -- delivering the weather every Friday morning during the Wolverine News broadcast. But on Oct. 9, Plank had to share the weatherman spotlight with none other than WCCO's Chris Shaffer. Plank approached Shaffer during this year's Minnesota State Fair if he would be willing to come to Woodbury Elementary and be the guest weatherman for an episode.