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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While growing up Andy Rist knew wanted to "create" and "teach" -- but wasn't sure exactly what. "If I were creating ant farms I think I'd be happy as long as 'create' is there," said Rist, of Woodbury, who founded a ballet academy and production company more than 20 years ago. Rist, who currently serves as the artistic director for Ballet Minnesota, founded the company in 1987 along with the Classical Ballet Academy. Both are located in St. Paul. Ballet Minnesota will produce its fall concert, which celebrates the music of Gershwin and Mozart, on Nov. 6-7 at the Fitzgerald Theater.
Woodbury High School students kicked off Halloween early on Friday, Oct. 30 with a "Zombie Mayhem" event to raise funds for a local elementary student. Theresa VonRuden's Community Outreach students organized a lunch-time Halloween fundraiser where they sold food from Noodles & Co., Jamba Juice, Classic Pizza and Cold Stone Creamery, in order to raise money for fifth grader Donovan Carlson, a fifth grader at Royal Oaks Elementary, who has muscular dystrophy. "The whole event was a lot of fun," VonRuden said.
The people of Five Oaks Community Church put on their hard hats and built an orphanage for a group of orphans in Fedja, a small town in Haiti. The ribbon cutting for the new building was last month. "When you go down there and you see these kids -- you can't help but feel for them," said Five Oaks' outreach director Jerry Meras. "Seeing the building up is great, but it still comes back to kids -- you want nothing more than to go down and help." A total of 58 orphans have moved into the new building that is complete with individual bunk beds, showers, a kitchen and a school.
District 833 officials asked an incumbent school board candidate to stop sending campaign e-mails to district staff today, a day before the election, and called the actions inappropriate. District officials said school board member Marsha Adou sent election-related e-mails, from a private e-mail account, to teachers and staff at Woodbury High School. That is against district policy, said Barb Brown, District 833 communications director. Adou said she wasn't aware that she couldn't e-mail teachers or staff members. After being told on Monday, Nov.
Zillah is a young orphan girl living in ancient Persia who has a birth mark on her face that causes her to be tormented by those around her. Zillah's future doesn't look bright until the three shining Magi come into the story and Zillah embarks on a long journey and adventure with the three wise men. A young girl named Zillah may not sound familiar for those who know the biblical story of the Magi because Zillah is a product of Afton resident Lois West Duffy's imagination.
Teens have a new Tuesday night destination -- the R.H. Stafford Library. The Stafford Library is offering a new teen program called "Teen Third Tuesday." Every third Tuesday of the month the library will be offering two different evening programs for teens -- a poetry slam and game night. Stafford librarian, Julia Carlis started the program last month because she felt that the library needed to offer more programs for teens, not just for children and adults.
To be or not to be? That is a legitimate question Woodbury High School students have to tackle in Phil Bratnober's Shakespeare class. "Shakespeare is the apotheosis of music, poetry and drama," Bratnober said. "Shakespeare really pulls you." Bratnober said he brought the work of the Bard of Avon to WHS last fall because he wanted students to see the importance of Shakespeare's works beyond the one or two plays that high school classes traditionally read. "The kids love the poetry...it's provocative, eye opening and revelatory," Bratnober said.
Mike Thissen Age: 39 Residence: Woodbury Family: Married with three sons and one daughter Occupation: Health inspector Why he's running: He wants to be more involved with the decisions the school board makes involving his kids. Mike Thissen is clear on why he believes he would make a good school board member. "What separates me is that I kind of tell it how it is, I respond to people and I listen to people," said Thissen, a Woodbury resident.
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During the Oct. 20 meeting of the Afton city council, the city council discussed how to replace retiring office manager Connie Slaten. Slaten gave her resignation Oct. 8. The personnel committee, made up of council members Peg Nolz and Joe Richter, suggested to the council advertising for a part-time "deputy clerk," rather than a 30-hours per week office manager position. Depending on what applications they receive, the city may also look at either a second deputy clerk or an office assistant position.