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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It's a common question for anyone who has adopted a child: "Mommy, did I grow in your tummy?" For some parents that may be among the hardest questions to answer, but Cameron and Vachelle Johnston think they've found the perfect answer: "No honey, you grew in our hearts." "Just because you didn't come from my tummy, that doesn't mean I am not your mom," Vachelle said. The Johnstons, who are members of King of Kings Lutheran Church in Woodbury, have released their first book, "You Grew in Our Hearts," a children's book to help talk to children about their adoption.
Afton's annual Fourth of July Parade could be less political this summer. Afton City Council approved two recommendations during its April 19 meeting presented by the Fourth of July Committee. The first recommendation was to increase the vendor fee from $30 to $50. "Compared to other parades, this is not unreasonable," Mayor Pat Snyder said. The second recommendation City Council voted on was to charge politicians a $50 fee to march in the parade. Previously Afton did not charge politicians and according to Council Member Peg Nolz Afton was the only parade that didn't.
Now that the agreement for the Merill Community Arts Center, which will be attached to East Ridge High School, has been approved by District 833 School Board, it's time to move forward for Arts Connection. "It's been a long road," Arts Connection vice president Michelle Witte said. Witte said the arts center will be a great asset for the arts community since it will give opportunity to showcase local artists. "The No. 1 benefit is to provide a home for showcasing the artists in our community," Witte said.
High students have graduations, elementary students have carnivals, but what do early education students have for recognition? Some local educators attempted to answer that question last week during "Week of the Young Child." "I don't think enough recognition happens," said executive program director Kathy Sjursen with Kinderberry Hill Child Development Center. "It really does highlight the value of early childhood education and celebrate the lives of children." What is WOYC?
Woodbury resident Trina Dawkins Patterson can add the title "author" to her resume. Patterson's first book, "A Tale of Two Cookies," was released in early March. "This is my first time going down this path and it's been a good experience," Patterson said. "What I've enjoyed most is just seeing the children and how they respond to the book." Patterson visited Liberty Ridge Elementary, where her son is a fourth-grader, on April 8 for a reading of her book. Small book, big message "A Tale of Two Cookies" tells the story of Lydie, a lemon cookie, and Ola, and oatmeal cookie.
It was prom night for East Ridge High School students Saturday. East Ridge High School held its second-annual prom, "Casino Royale," at the Prom Center in Oakdale on April 16. This year's prom included appetizers, desserts, drinks and even casino games to go along with the "Casino Royale" prom theme. The décor also played up the casino theme with dice, cards and poker chip accents. Dealers from the company Aces High had Blackjack and Texas Hold 'Em tables set up during he prom. Students were played for raffle tickets to win picture frames, gift cards and East Ridge apparel.
When Woodbury resident Jeana Steigauf was little, she dreamed of becoming a Woodbury ambassador. W "I remembered as a little kid seeing the ambassadors, so that kind of got me," the 18-year-old said. "Surprisingly, when you put that crown on people turn and look at you. "It's a great way to keep people involved." Steigauf, who reigned as Miss Woodbury from 2009 to 2010, is hoping to add another crown to her collection now that she is a candidate for the Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes competition. The Aquatennial runs July 17 to July 23.
Every year, the Pioneer Press' annual Peeps diorama contest draws hundreds of submissions. Well, this year Royal Oaks Elementary decided to get in on the fun in its own way. Royal Oaks teachers held their own Peeps diorama contest. Students voted on their favorite. "A few of us who have seen the Pioneer Press contest brought it up to the principal and she agreed that it would be a good idea to kind of perk everyone up," media specialist Lisa Lutton said.
The Stillwater Area School District officially has a new superintendent. District 834 School Board finalized the hiring of Corey Lunn as the district's new superintendent at its April 14 School Board meeting when the contact was approved.
Once upon a time a girl named Goldilocks wandered upon the cottage of the three bears. Goldilocks, who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, sits in three chairs, eats from three bowls of porridge and sleeps in three beds in order to find the one "that was just right." This may not be the "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" you are familiar with, but the new telling shares a different message. "Further Fidgety Fairy Tales" will be performed April 17 at 2 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church.