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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New Life Academy principal Nancy Wetsel will be retiring this year after 30 years at the private Christian school in Woodbury. Wetsel's last day will be June 30. "I love education, but I think I need to kind of transition out of it," said Wetsel, 60. "I've been here half my life, so it's time for someone new to come in." Wetsel's husband, Curt, is also a longtime member of New Life Academy as its activities director. He started at NLA the same time as his wife. "We wanted the children to love learning," Wetsel said.
Clint and Bobbi Elston of Afton believe they have set the bar high when it comes to sustainable living. They are hoping to take it one step further with their sewage system. They want the city of Afton to consider adopting their "green" ways. "It's like the green revolution right now -- everybody wants to be green --but what shade of green are you?" Bobbi Elston asked rhetorically. "There's so many ways to be sustainable, it just takes a little imagination." The Elstons have done just that.
Local musician Matthew Griswold was scheduled to perform at last year's Woodbury Relay for Life, but at the last minute the U.S. Army soldier was recalled to duty. "I felt really bad about that," he said. Although Griswold returned from his recall much sooner than he anticipated, he didn't make it back in time for last year's event. "I got back the day after the Relay so I just missed it," he said.
Leah Williams will be heading to the Nation's Capitol this summer, but not for a summer vacation. The Woodbury High School freshman will heading to Washington D.C. June 17 for the opening of the 2010 Congressional Art Competition exhibit, where her painting, "Footprints," will be on display. Williams' painting will be housed in the tunnel between the Canon House Office building and the U.S. Capitol. "I've heard that thousands of people pass through the tunnel every day," she said. Williams' piece will be on display for one year.
The Lake Middle School gym was transformed into a food packing facility Monday. LMS eighth graders came together to pack 70,000 packaged meals for the organization Impact Lives. The majority of the meals will be delivered to Haiti.
A local musical trio has made waves recently with their appearance at the Woodbury Prayer Breakfast. Not bad for a band that formed less than a year ago. Brohan is comprised of Woodbury resident Josh Putman and Stillwater residents Dale and Luke Gruber. Luke Gruber plays the mandolin, Dale Gruber plays the bass cello, fiddle, among other instruments, and Josh Putman is lead vocals and acoustic guitar.
Don't expect the East Ridge High School show choir students to get slushies thrown in their face like the kids on the hit television show "Glee." Theater director Amanda Hestwood and choir director Chris Russell have teamed up to offer show choir for students to display their talents, and have fun while doing it. The group began in March. "We want to offer opportunities to students where opportunities haven't been offered before in the district," Russell said.
With Afton's May Fair quickly approaching, and summer soon to follow, a longtime institution is noticeably quiet in town -- Selma's Ice Cream Parlour. For the last several months one of the revered landmarks of the St. Croix River Valley has remained empty. Selma's traditionally shuts down for the winter months. But when springtime rolled around and the historic ice cream parlor still remained closed, many residents began to wonder what happened. "People want to know what's going on," Dave Jarvis of the Afton House Inn said.
The Afton City Council decided during Tuesday's meeting that it will terminate its contract with city planner Chuck Marohn. Marohn was not in attendance during the meeting. The discussion of terminating Marohn's contract arose last week when the city council received notification that its 2008 Comprehensive Plan was returned by the Metropolitan Council and deemed incomplete. Marohn was in charge of the comp plan. Discussions continued during Tuesday's meeting. The council discussed the incomplete comp plan, Marohn's frequent absences as well as Marohn's seemingly high fees.
Third grade students from all 15 District 833 elementary schools came together May 13 for the "Great American Sing-A-Long at East Ridge High School. See the May 19 print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin for the full story.