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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Some may consider geocaching a futuristic treasure hunt, but for others it's a fun afternoon enjoying the outdoors. Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department hosted a three-day geocaching camp last week at Tamarack Nature Preserve, Ojibway Park and Ravine Regional Park in Cottage Grove. A total of 13 students participated. "I think geocaching is so popular because people love treasure hunting," recreation specialist Michelle Okada said.
Now that Keith Ryskoski will be leaving the helm as superintendent for Stillwater Area Schools, the District 834 school board will have to find his replacement. Ryskoski has been superintendent for Stillwater Area School District for five years. "We are very sorry to see Keith go," school board chair George Hoeppner said. Hoeppner and School Board Vice Chair Natasha Fleischman said District 834 plans to hire an interim superintendent for the 2010-2011 school year before beginning a search for a permanent superintendent.
It's a sunny afternoon in one of Woodbury's dozens of neighborhood parks.. Maybe you and your kids are playing on the playground or having a picnic. The next thing you know, you see a wooden house rolling into the parking lot. The structure, decorated with Sesame Street characters, is home to some summertime friends. This is the Puppet Wagon. The Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department-sponsored Puppet Wagon has been putting on puppet shows in community parks for the past 27 years.
District 833 students channeled the likes of Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein last week for District 833 Community Education's "Camp Invention" at Liberty Ridge Elementary. Camp Invention is a day-camp that has students, grades 1-6, participate in a variety of creative and inventive activities. Camp Invention was started in 1990 by Invent Now. "The goal of Camp Invention is to get kids thinking creatively, thinking outside of the box," said Jodi Hansen a coordinator for the day camp and a teacher in Worthington.
Some people may think 1950s horror and science fiction movies belong on "Mystery Science Theater 3000," but Woodbury resident Josh Craig has spent his much life recreating what he felt made those "B movies" great. "The acting isn't so great, the effects are laughable and they're just so much fun," Craig said.
Afton's Fourth of July parade has earned a reputation for its traditional and festive atmosphere, but the parade had rather humble beginnings. The community held its inaugural Fourth of July parade at the turn of the century, but another one wasn't held for many years, according to officials at the Afton Historical Society. "That kind of died on the vine," said Stan Ross, the AHS president. Ross has been an Afton resident for nearly 58 years, so he remembers clearly the year the current Fourth of July parade made its debut in 1975.
When Meridith Henke was younger she enjoyed listening to her mother Joy's assortment of instrumental CDs. One instrument stood out among them all -- the harp. When Meridith was six years old, she went to a concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis where there was a harpist featured. She said she immediately fell in love. "I saw the harp there and it was just this beautiful instrument and it sounded amazing," said Meridith, now 13. "I just fell in love and I knew that was the instrument for me.
In addition to approving its first ever wind energy ordinance on June 15, the Afton City Council also voted to approve its first ever wind turbine. The council voted 3-1 at its most recent meeting to approve an application by Alida Messinger to erect a 100-foot wind turbine on her Stagecoach Trail property. The new wind energy ordinance isn't law yet, it needs to be published. As such the development application was filed under the old ordinance governing structures.
In the heart of the Afton's Old Village is a getaway for those who just a want a little pampering. The Calla Lily Day Spa has been a staple in Afton for the past 10 years. "This is just a sanctuary for your body and your mind to regroup and just to get away," owner Michelle Hovde said. "But a lot of people in Afton drive by and don't even know we're here." The Calla Lily offers a variety of services including massages, facials, body wraps and waxing. "We ensure that they come here and it's all about them." Hovde, of River Falls, said.
"Kiwanis" is American Indian for "to share" or "to build" and those are the driving principles of the Kiwanis Club. The Kiwanis Club is a service organization that has 650,000 members around the world in over 8,000 clubs. The first Kiwanis club was started in 1918. Woodbury has its own club that has been active since October 2006 when members from other clubs chartered a Woodbury chapter. "We think globally, but act locally," said Jim Malkowski, who is a member of the Woodbury Area Kiwanis Club and the West St. Paul Kiwanis Club.