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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Among the 10 candidates who filed for the Nov. 3 District 833 School Board election, six new faces have thrown their hats into the race for the four available seats. Four of the challengers -- David Kemper, Mike Thissen, Laurie Johnson, Edward Nowak, live in Woodbury and bring with them a variety of career backgrounds ranging from business to education. The other two challengers, Walt Lyszak and Gina Taft, are residents of Cottage Grove. Lyszak is a former principal at Park High School.
The 80-member Woodbury Marching Royals was "glammed up" during Friday night's football game against District 833 rival Park High School with the debut of their new uniforms. "It just gives us a greater sense of an official group, as opposed to just the band in the stands," said Royals band director Brent Comeau. Being able to show off the new uniforms has been a year-long process for the three-year-old marching band with their "Glam the Band" campaign. When Comeau took over as band director last year, he said he noticed something missing for this very young marching band.
With all of the changes facing the district this year, there's bound to be challenges that will rear their ugly heads, but there are some challenges that may go overlooked by many -- school lunches. "People in nutrition services are the hardest working people in the district when you think about it," said Barbara Osthus, District 833 Nutrition Services director. "Who else has a time schedule that they have to meet like food services, when the kids come here, the food has to be ready.
The Afton City Council approved the preliminary budget and tax levy for 2010 last week during a special meeting. Only three council members were in attendance at the Tuesday, Sept. 8 meeting. Council member Peg Nolz was out of town on vacation and Mayor Pat Snyder was ill. The preliminary budget was approved at $1,660,519, which is an increase of 1.2 percent over the 2009 budget. The preliminary tax levy was approved at $1,516,258 which is a 3.9 percent increase over the 2009 levy.
The Cedar Bluff Homestead saga is steadily nearing the finish line as long as everything goes as planned. The Afton City Council was scheduled to discuss the development during its meeting last night, Sept. 15, but has decided to postpone the decision until next month. If approved, the Cedar Bluff Homestead would be Afton's first clustered-housing development, which would include 25 private lots and a 70-acre conservation easement with the Minnesota Land Trust in hopes of preserving open space.
The State Fair has come and gone, but for a few locals the memories of the "Great Minnesota Get Together" will live on. Here are some of the Woodbury-area connections you may have bumped into at the fair: Making mini donut magic If you've been to the fair at all since 1950, there's a good chance you've tasted the little treats sold at the Tom Thumb Donuts stand.
An Afton woman, who for the last several years has been pursuing her own path to priesthood, was recently ordained in a ceremony last month by the Roman Catholic Womenpriest organization. Linda Wilcox went through her ordination ceremony Aug. 16. The Roman Catholic Womenpriest group is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church.
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.