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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Folks driving down Trading Post Trail in Afton should be careful now that the speed limit has been decreased from 55 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour. The speed limit decrease came after the Minnesota Department of Transportation performed a speed study. MnDOT notified the Afton City Council during its Aug. 17 meeting that the speed limit has been decreased. The speed reduction will occur on Trading Post Trail between County Road 18 and Valley Creek Trail. The Afton City Council approved the placement of four speed limit signs.
The proposed After Charter has officially been placed on the ballot. The Afton City Council approved placement of the charter on the ballot for the November election. According to statute, a city council has no discretion on whether or not to place the charter on the ballot or how it reads. "I would just like to say that I'm really in opposition to this concept of a charter city because I feel it is a second tier of government that is not going to be beneficial to the residents," council member Joe Richter said.
It's no secret that Afton has some wonderful scenery, but the city needs someone to capture the beauty. Afton has launched a photography contest in order to find updated photos for the city's website. "Lots of people like to take photos," interim city administrator Ron Moorse said. Moorse said he decided to launch the photo contest after having a similar contest in the city of Orono, where he previously worked, and saw the success of it. For the photo contest, submissions will be accepted in three categories -- lakes and wetlands, nature and lifestyle.
The Afton City Council took the first step to approving its 2011 budget at a work session on Aug. 16 when the council discussed the preliminary budget. The preliminary 2011 budget is proposed to be $1,078,623, which is a decrease of 4,471, or .04 percent, compared to the 2010 budget. Some of the changes to the 2011 budget are: A decrease of $5,351, or 2.7 percent, in staff wages and benefits. An increase of $10,000 in general liability insurance. 2010 had a cost of $53,000. A decrease of $4,250 in election expenses due to a change in budgeting practices.
Editor's note: This is the third is an occasional series chronicling teachers' summer vacations. During the school year, John Hoven spends his days teaching his students about slopes and angles; however, during the summer he is experiencing his teachings first hand. The Woodbury High School algebra teacher recently returned from a 10-day vacation to the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada mountain range where he climbed to the summit of Mount St. Helens in Washington, as well as Mount Shasta and Mount Whitney in California.
Being a girl scout is more than just selling cookies. That's the way Woodbury residents Laura Chandler and Sarah Mittelstadt see it. The teens, both juniors at Stillwater Area High School, have been involved with Girl Scouts of the USA for the past 11 years and have done everything from selling cookies to camping to helping others. Both said it was their mothers who really pushed them into Girl Scouts. Mittelstadt's mother, Tamara, is the counselor for the girls' troop. "We actually ended up having a lot of fun," Chandler said.
New Life Academy's new elementary principal has traded in California sun for Minnesota nice. Brian Goodbar, who is replacing retired principal Nancy Wetsel, officially started at New Life Academy this month. Goodbar comes to the Woodbury private Christian school after having lived in California for most of his life. "I wanted a new adventure," he said. "It was time for a change of pace." Goodbar has been an elementary teacher, a vice principal and a principal for the past 15 years.
After two weeks without a superintendent, the Stillwater Area School District has found one -- former District 833 superintendent Tom Nelson. Nelson was hired as the interim superintendent during the Aug. 12 District 834 School board meeting. "We're really impressed with (Nelson's) wealth of experience," said School Board Vice Chair Natasha Fleischman said. "(Nelson's) experience as a superintendent is something that you can't buy," School Board Chair George Hoeppner said. "He's lived through being a superintendent." Nelson served as superintendent of schools in the Buffalo, Minn.
A total of five candidates have filed for one of four seats on the District 834 School Board. Filing began Aug. 3 and closed on Tuesday. All four incumbents - Natalie Fedie, of Lake Elmo, Natasha Fleischman, of Lake Elmo, George Hoeppner, of Oak Park Heights, and Scott Papke, of Stillwater - have filed for re-election to the Stillwater Area School District School Board. Tom Lehmann, of Lake Elmo, has also thrown his hat into the ring. A candidate has until Thursday at 5 p.m. to withdraw their names from the ballot.
After two weeks of filing, nine have filed for the three open seats on the District 622 School Board. Incumbents Scott Duddeck, of North St. Paul, and Mark Wheeler, of Oakdale, filed for re-election to the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District School Board. Incumbent Cathy Miller did not file for re-election. Seven other candidates added their names to the ballot for the November election: Arnoldo Curiel, of Oakdale, Amy Coborn, of North St.