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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Within a few years Taylor Penshorn could possibly be the one cutting or styling your hair at a local salon. The East Ridge High School junior is currently studying cosmetology at Century College as part of the Metro 916 college program. "Ever since I was little, I've been doing my own makeup and my hair -- it's something that I really enjoy doing," Penshorn said. "I love getting to express your imagination." Penshorn has been studying at Century College for two trimesters where she is learning the basics of cosmetology, from hair styling to manicures and pedicures.
One person's junk is another person's jewel. East Ridge High School will be getting in the garage sale spirit May 15 when the National Honor Society holds a garage sale in conjunction with the annual Woodbury Lions Club Garage Sale. "I'm pretty sure we've had a guest in our household during the Lions Garage Sale every single year," NHS vice president Joaquin Valdes said.
Heidi and Greg Case have received a lot from the March of Dimes Foundation. Primarily their daughter's life. Ellery, now 19 months, was born with a condition called Hydrops which is the accumulation of fluid in two or more body compartments. The mortality rate of Hydrops is 98 percent. The life saving treatments the Children's Hospital and March of Dimes provided to Ellery saved her life. "The March of Dimes is the champion of babies," Heidi Case said.
Woodbury Middle School eighth graders are gearing up for the state standardized test later next month. And one of their science teachers is pulling out all the stops to ensure they do their best. He's challenging them to be the best in the state. Last year WMS students had the ninth best overall composite score, not including private or charter schools, in the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment II test. Nick George wants them to be number one. "I'm not one to say that ninth isn't good enough, but we want number one," said George, who teaches eighth grade science at the school.
After months of discussions, the Afton Planning Commission is finally ready to bring the proposed wind energy ordinance to a public hearing. "I think that could be a full house," planning commission chair Barb Ronningen said, regarding the agenda item which is scheduled to be discussed during the Monday June 7 planning commission meeting. The commission fine tuned the proposed ordinance that would address wind turbines last week.
Valley Crossing Community School has finalized plans for its school calendar after the elimination of the alternate calendar option in March. Principal Mary Anderson notified families through letter April 29-30. Whereas the alternate calendar had two three week vacations, and went year round, the new calendar will be very much a traditional calendar, Anderson said The calendar will start after labor day, include the traditional holiday breaks. However, instead of the traditional one week spring break, Valley Crossing will have a two week break.
The Afton City Council is urging Washington County and the Washington County Sheriff's Office to take up a new initiative for prescription medication disposal. During the Afton City Council's April 20 meeting council member Randy Nelson invited a Hudson Township resident to speak about a new initiative that has begun to grow in western Wisconsin communities. The program, the pharmaceutical take back program, sets up police guarded depository sites, or drop off boxes, for prescription medications -- whether expired or unused -- rather than discarding them in the trash or the drain.
The 2010 Relay for Life of South Washington County will be hitting the track June 4 at East Ridge High School and there will be quite a few youngsters from around Woodbury fielding teams for the event. Ciara Wohlford has been participating in Relay for Life since 2006 with her family in honor of her aunt who is a cancer survivor. But this year, Wohlford, an East Ridge High School student, is fielding a new team.
The Afton House Inn has embarked on a new endeavor with the opening of the new combination wine shop and wine bar Swirl. The store will be located in the area across from the Afton Bean coffee shop. The concept of Swirl is that it will house around 70 or so wines for sale by the bottle, and it will sell six different wines by the glass which will change every week. Every Friday there will be a wine tasting of the "wines of the week." In addition to the wines, Swirl will also sell tapas, small plates and homemade desserts. The menu will change every month.
The Afton City Council has found replacements for two staff positions --just in time before outgoing city administrator Jim Norman's leaves for a position in Albert Lea next week. The City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday, April 20, to approve the appointments of both a deputy clerk and an interim city administrator.