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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It was a normal day refereeing a basketball game at Fridley High School in 2007 for Woodbury resident Dale Wakasugi when all of a sudden he hit the court floor. He suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Wakasugi was fortunate enough to have a girl by the name of Lindsay Paradise in the stands.
School boundaries might seem like old hat for families of the South Washington Schools, but for the Stillwater Area School District, it's just beginning. District 834 has begun work on revising its attendance boundaries as part of its Vision 2014 since the district currently has two elementary schools -- Lake Elmo Elementary and Rutherford Elementary -- that are over crowded. Lake Elmo Elementary currently has 778 students enrolled, which is at 104 percent capacity, and Rutherford Elementary has 766 students which is at 103 percent capacity.
Wind turbine discussions in Afton have finally started to die down. The City Council approved an amended wind energy ordinance at its Nov. 16 meeting. "We've tweaked and caught all of the little problems that were in it before," Planning Commission chair Barb Ronningen said. The amended ordinances passed with a 4-1 vote. Mayor Pat Snyder passed the sole "no" vote. "I still object to the 135 feet," she said. "And I'm still unclear on the whole noise aspect of it." Council member Bill Palmquist said he was pleased with the revisions. "I think you did a good job fixing it," he said.
With Thanksgiving just a day away, some people have already started thinking about Christmas, such as the Woodbury Community Theatre. Woodbury Community Theatre's holiday show, "Amahl and the Night Visitors" will debut Dec. 4 on the Loft Stage at East Ridge High School. "Amahl and the Night Visitors" tells the story of Amahl, "an imaginative boy, three kings and a miracle," director Marcie Berglund said.
With the countdown to the end of his last month in office underway, the retiring Woodbury Mayor Bill Hargis gave his final "State of the City" address Friday, Nov.
The topic of cats in Afton came clawing back in last week during the Nov. 16 Afton City Council meeting. Afton resident Danielle Gathje came to the City Council to request the city waive a $121 impound fee she was charged to pick up her cat at the Hillcrest Animal Hospital. Gathje said her cat was picked up at a neighbor's house after it was reported to animal control. "I'm confused to why cars are being impounded," she said. "And I'm confused as to why I had to drive all the way to Maplewood to pick up my cat." The City Council did not waive Gathje's fee.
Woodbury resident Cassie Deilke, 27, has lived most of her life on the surface she loves the most: ice. "I got my first pair of ice skates and was never able to stop," Deilke said. For a decade now, Deilke , a 2001 graduate of Woodbury High School, has been living her passion out as a career with "Disney on Ice." "I love going out there and getting an audience," Deilke said.
Conventional wisdom may say that art and math are as different as night and day, but Bailey Elementary art teacher Jessica Frisco is hoping to prove that's not true. Frisco offers a before school art club called "Art in the Content Areas" where she shows the connection between art and other subject areas such as math, history, social studies and English. "The students don't realize that these connections exist anyway," she said.
The Afton City Council has granted an one year extension for the Cedar Bluff Development project during its Nov. 16 meeting. The extension passed with a 3-2 vote, with council member Peg Nolz and Mayor Pat Snyder casting the "no" votes. The development agreement originally called for phase one of the project, which included road construction and construction of a model, to be completed by Oct. 31 and Dec. 31 respectively. Now phase one will be completed by Oct. 31, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2011.
Afton City Council members appear to have reached a consensus on a proposed conservation design ordinance. The City Council discussed the ordinance last month. The idea of adopting a conservation design ordinance developed out of the city's 2008 Comprehensive Plan. The city is looking at a model which will allow for four dwellings for every 40 acres. However, each property would only receive 2 1/2 acres for development and the remaining 30 acres would be put into a conservation easement with the Minnesota Land Trust. The easement could only be instituted on an 80-acre development.