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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Standing 40 feet in the trees with nothing but your partner to trust. This is what went through the minds of 95 sixth-graders from Royal Oaks Elementary during their three-day team-building trip March 11-13. Four sixth grade teachers -- Laurie Beebe, Andy Larson, Louise Hinz and Katie Ward -- accompanied their students to Camp Ihduhapi in Loretto, Minn. where students participated in a variety of team building and self discovery activities and tasks. "It's challenge by choice," Hinz said.
During its March 17 meeting, the Afton City Council ratified a recommendation to dissolve the Lower St. Croix Water Management Organization. Afton's representative to the Lower St. Croix board of managers, which includes representatives from Afton, Cottage Grove and Denmark Township, informed the council that the recommendation to dissolve the LSCWMO had been approved. The agency is a product of a joint powers agreement among the three cities, as well as Hastings, and will now merge Afton into both the South Washington Watershed and Valley Branch Watershed districts.
The River Valley Riders have been reined in for the time being. The group's proposed outdoor riding facility in Afton was remanded to the Afton Planning Commission by the Afton City Council during its March 17 meeting. RVR is a non-profit corporation that provides horse-related activities, including therapeutic riding and driving to children and adults, by addressing needs in the areas of physical, sensory, neurological and mental health At the March 2 meeting of the planning commission, the proposed outdoor arena got the green light from commissioners to move forward with their conditional
Students and teachers had an opportunity to share their family stories with others on March 10 and 12 during the family share days at Woodbury Elementary. Eight students shared their family stories during the two days. "For us to get along and relate on more than a fundamental level we need to know about one another," first grade teacher and event organizer John Flavin said.
Researchers are slowly taking steps towards solving the mystery of cancer. One youthful scientist, Prithwis Mukhopadhyay, a tenth grade student at Woodbury High School, has joined the fight.
It was a night to "open your heart" and give a helping hand at the Prom Center in Oakdale on March 12 for the Woodbury Guild of the Children's Hospital Association's fifth annual "Open Your Heart" benefit. "It's a full-blown extraordinary night," guild president Lance Wiersma said. "It's an exciting night and it's all going to a good cause." The Open Your Heart benefit provided a catered meal, a fashion review from some of Woodbury's favorite shops, live music from the "Road Crew" and an auction.
Some of history's most famous and iconic figures came to life March 13 during Middleton Elementary's annual HistoryFest. The history festival is an open house showcasing fifth grade students' research on any American important in the country's history. Students presented their display boards by reciting a speech while in costume and speaking as their subject.
Students are often times compared to balls of clay that need to be shaped and molded by their parents, teachers, peers and their experiences. For one Woodbury High School student, senior Brody Steineck, he likes to do the molding and shaping -- of clay that is. "I like clay because you can do anything," he said.
A Woodbury family frustrated by the edicts of a District 833 school boundary decision are taking a stand in court. Kendra and Tim Goertzen have filed a lawsuit with the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Feb. 17 over issues stemming from the school boundary decision District 833's school board made in April 2008. "Filing a lawsuit was the last thing we wanted to do, but we couldn't get them to listen to reason," Kendra Goertzen said. The Goertzens live in the Wedgewood Point neighborhood of Woodbury, a little over a mile from Middleton Elementary.
The Afton Planning Commission had its first meeting with a quorum, the first since the group's January meeting, on March 5 with three new members, a new vice-chair and a new chair. Marcia Dahleen, Kitty Kilmer and Scott Patten took the oath of office and were sworn into their new positions and Barbara Ronningen was re-sworn into her current position. The commission also elected a new chair, Ronningen, and a new vice-chair, Patten, since Jim Fox no longer had the desire to remain on as chair. Ronningen was his vice-chair.