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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Two Woodbury High School teachers have been named finalists in Education Minnesota's Teacher of the Year competition. WHS English teacher Phil Bratnober and Social Studies teacher Regina Seabrook are two of 10 finalists. Bratnober has taught at WHS for seven years. Seabrook has taught at WHS for five years, but has been with District 833 for 11 years.
Life imitated art, and the Bible, during the Maundy Thursday mass, on April 1, at King of Kings Lutheran Church when the Last Supper came to life. During the "Living Last Supper" members of the church choir portrayed the parts of Jesus Christ and his Disciples and imitated the Last Supper before offering First Communion to 120 young church goers. "The families that come, they have never seen anything like that before so that becomes very special for them," Rev. Ralph Olsen said.
National studies show that women fill about one-fourth of the available science-based jobs across the country. But Madeleine McDonnell is proof that gender gap could shrink in the coming years. The St. Ambrose Catholic School eighth grader recently appeared in an episode of the locally-produced PBS television series, "SciGirls" -- where young girls are showcased using science and engineering in their every-day life. The show allows girls to design their own experiments. "It's coming from them, so they take ownership," St. Ambrose science teacher Julie Caspers said.
Afton's in house staff will be undergoing a dramatic makeover within the next month with people leaving and new faces coming in. In addition to interim city administrator Jim Norman leaving at the end of he month, to take a job as city manager in Albert Lea, newly-hired deputy clerk, Connie Nelson, has submitted her resignation after only a few weeks on the job. "Sara you're staying right?" Mayor Pat Snyder jokingly asked assistant city administrator Sara Irvine during a March 30 special meeting.
Easter came early to Woodbury last weekend for two family-friendly Easter events -- the city's annual egg hunt at Carver Lake Park and an Easter Bunny event at Valley Creek Mall. On Saturday, March 27, the Easter Bunny came hopping down the bunny trail to visit both Valley Creek Mall and the annual Easter egg hunt. At Valley Creek Mall, the Easter Bunny was on hand to take pictures with the little ones. Mall merchants participated in the fun as children walked with their Easter basket in tow from shop to shop collecting candy and prizes. Balloon animals and crafts were also available.
If anyone in Woodbury ever tries out for a network reality television show, they may see a familiar face sitting behind the audition table. Woodbury native Kat Wolffe is a casting director in Hollywood. Along with her husband, Tazariah, she has worked on such shows as "Supernanny," "The Mole," "Wipe Out," "Intervention" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." "You get to meet the most amazing people," said Wolffe, a 1997 graduate of Hill-Murray High School. "But it's not like you're necessarily meeting celebrities like you do in other types of casting.
Going once, going twice, sold to the family in the front. Liberty Ridge Elementary art students auctioned off their artwork on March 20 during the school's annual carnival. The art auction has been held in conjunction with the carnival for the last three years. "It's a great way for students to share their artwork as a whole class," Liberty Ridge art teacher Tess Soucheray said. "It's great for parents because it's a great keepsake -- they can see all of the students in their child's class." The art auction was delivered in a silent auction formant.
After a year of discussions, changes, delays and disagreements, the Afton City Council approved the final plat for the Cedar Bluff development at its March 16 meeting. But not without a few last-minute disagreements among council members. "This is the final step in what has been a long and difficult process," city attorney Fritz Knaak said. The council voted 5-2 to approve the final plat plan.
Could historic Selma's Ice Cream Parlour be closing its doors again? Those are the rumors circulating around Afton. For more on this story visit Beyond the Beat , the news blog of the editorial staff at the Woodbury Bulletin.
Afton interim city administrator Jim Norman will be leaving Afton in the coming months to take the position of city manager for Albert Lea. Norman will begin his position on May 3. Norman was actually the second choice candidate, however an agreement could not be reached with the first choice. Norman and Albert Lea reached a a verbal agreement on March 22. A special Albert Lea City Council meeting will be held on March 31 to approve Norman's contract. See the March 31 print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin for more on this story.