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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Being a deejay might look like a lot of fun from the dance floor. But for Tim Dao piecing together the perfect music set is a challenging art. "There's really a science to being a deejay -- if you don't pull it off right, you just have a gap there in between the music," said Dao, a 2009 Woodbury High School graduate, who is pursuing a career as a deejay while he studies music technology at Inver Hills Community College.
The Afton 2008 Comprehensive Plan is finally on its way to the Metropolitan Council for review after three years of discussions. The Afton City Council approved the 2008 Comprehensive Plan at Tuesday's meeting. Cities across the metro are required by state statute to update their comprehensive plans every 10 years and submit the draft document over to the Metropolitan Council for inspection. Afton was one of five cities that had not submitted its plan to the Met Council.
After over a year of discussions, changes and disagreements, the Afton City Council finally approved the final plat for the Cedar Bluff development at Tuesday's meeting. The project, which would be Afton's first clustered-housing development, will include 25 individual housing lots, with an average lot size of 2 1/2 acres, individual septic systems and a 70-acre conservation easement with the Minnesota Land Trust to preserve open space. The initial development agreement, which saw 36 lots with an average lot size of 3/4 acres, and a communal septic system, was approved in 2006.
Lynne Jonell decided she was going to become an author in sixth grade after she read "A Wrinkle in Time." "I've been writing pretty much my whole life, but after I read ("A Wrinkle in Time") I said to myself 'That's what I want to do -- I want to write books just like this for kids like me,'" she said. "I want to write about ordinary kids who stumbled into amazing adventures." Jonell, a Plymouth resident, visited Red Rock Elementary March 11 to talk students about what it's like to be an author. "It's just a privilege to be able to write," Jonell said.
"Animal Farm," the George Orwell classic about barnyard animals speaking out against communism and dictatorship found its way to the stage last weekend at Crosswinds East Metro Arts & Science School. The production, which ran March 12-14, was put on by Crosswinds students for the first time. "I remember reading it as a kid and it was one of those stories that I always remembered," The show included 16 Crosswinds students taking on the roles of the famous barnyard characters -- Old Major, Napoleon, Snowball, Boxer, Clover, Muriel, Moses and Benjamin.
Valley Crossing Community School officials announced Thursday that the school will be discontinuing its alternate calendar option. Principal Mary Anderson said the decision was made because of financial reasons. "I have decided, due to financial constraints, that Valley Crossing will be going to one calendar," Anderson said. The school could not afford the financial implications of running two different calendars, she said Students enrolled in the alternate calendar option begin school mid-August and go through mid- to late- June, with two three-week vacations throughout the year.
Students at Red Rock Elementary are taking up their knitting needles for the after school program "Red Rock Knits." The program kicked off its seven-week curriculum on March 3. Red Rock media specialist Carla Petersen leads the group and said she's noticed a youth movement in knitting. "I've been a knitter since I was a kid and I've just noticed that there's really a lot of interesting knitting around the country and around the world right now," Petersen said.
The Woodbury Community Theatre's production of "Mame" hit the stage on March 6 with a upbeat and comedic show. Bulletin staff writer Amber Kispert got a chance last week to check it out. What did she think of the performance? Find out at "Beyond the Beat" blog
After roughly three years of intense work, the Afton's comprehensive development plan will likely be approved at the Afton City Council's March 16 meeting. Afton is currently one of five Minnesota cities, out of 189, that have yet to submit an approved comp plan to the Metropolitan Council. The Met Council recently notified Afton officials that it will not reimburse the city for the second part of its $15,000 payment for the costs associated with development of the comp plan. "I think its unfortunate that we're being penalized by the Met Council," said Afton Mayor Pat Snyder.
Belwin Conservancy has worked to preserve and restore the 1,400 acres of land in Afton to provide a scenic and peaceful getaway for nature enthusiasts. However, until recently there was one small piece missing. The Wilson Tract is an 8-acre parcel -- adjacent to the Kettlekamp Prairie, which connects the north and south partitions of the conservancy -- that Belwin had not previously been able to acquire. Belwin finally acquired the land at the beginning of month by purchasing the land for $265,000.