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 is better to give than to receive. That's the message of Christmas that a group of confirmation students at King of Kings Lutheran Church have been working on for the last few weeks. The church's seventh and eighth graders put together and wrapped 261 "Shoeboxes of Love" for the Salvation Army in an event on Dec 15. "For kids, here in Woodbury especially, it's hard for them to understand that there is poverty not that far away from here," said Heather Hultgren, the confirmation coordinator at King of Kings.
Winter has more than arrived, but if you've already laced up those blades to hit the outdoor ice you'll have to keep those skate guards on for just a few more days. Woodbury's 12 ice rinks, at seven locations, will not officially open until Dec. 26 due to the heavy snowfall that took place earlier this month. "It is very disappointing that the rinks aren't open," Parks and Recreation specialist Reed Smidt said.
Third graders at Liberty Ridge Elementary are in the giving spirit this holiday season. "In terms of service learning, you should be doing things all year long instead of just at Christmas time," third grade teacher Diane Masloski said. Masloski's third graders, as well as the other classes, are in the process of knitting, on knitting looms, winter hats to donate to Sharing and Caring Hands homeless shelters. "We thought it would be a great idea to do more of a service learning project instead of always saying 'Mom and dad can you bring this to me,'" Masloski said.
For many actors portraying one of Shakespeare's great characters is a dream. For many musicians it's a dream to play one of Mozart's greatest. For many ballet dancers it's a dream to portray Clara in "The Nutcracker." Woodbury resident Olivia Verdick, who is an eighth grader at Woodbury Middle School, is currently living out her dreams of portraying Clara in Ballet Minnesota's production of the classic holiday ballet. "It's really exciting to be Clara, it's a huge honor," she said.
Family and friends of a 2009 Woodbury High School graduate are remembering the University of St. Thomas student who died in a St. Paul house fire early Saturday morning. Michael Adam Larson, 20, was an easy going, laid back person who was never judgmental, said his father Tom Larson. "I think he was the type of person we're supposed to be," he said. Larson and three other housemates were inside their Selby Avenue residence when fire broke out on the porch around 3 a.m. on Dec. 11, said St.
Conservation conversations are back in Afton -- sort of. The Afton Planning Commission discussed the topic of conservation easements with Sarah Strommen, the associate director of the Minnesota Land Trust, during it's meeting on Dec. 6. The topic of conservation easements is nothing new for Afton, since the recently approved Cedar Bluff development will contain an easement, however the topic gained new ground recently when the city began looking into drafting a conservation design ordinance.
The Afton Planning Commission is still in limbo on making any recommendations to proposed amendments to its kennel ordinance even as the resident who initiated the proposed changes will be on the trails of Alaska come February. Afton resident Mille Porslid proposed changes to the ordinance after applying for a conditional-use permit to build an outdoor kennel to house her 19 sled dogs. The Planning Commission discussed Porslid's amendments at its Dec.
When Megan Blake was in kindergarten she was busy playing school in her basement. "I pretended I was a teacher when I was little, since we had an old fashioned desk in our basement so I just always played school," she said. "I kind of knew when I was little that I wanted to be a teacher since my mom's a teacher." Blake, who is a Woodbury resident, has stopped playing and has started doing the real thing now that she is a kindergarten teacher at Bailey Elementary. "I've always kind of been excited about being a teacher," she said.
What can be improved in Woodbury? Not a whole lot according to results from a Woodbury Community Foundation survey. The Wilder Research Foundation, which the WCF contracted last year to conduct the survey, presented the results Monday at a community event at Woodbury Lutheran Church. A total of 938 residents responded to the survey for a 24-percent response rate.
It was a snow-filled weekend in Woodbury after a winter storm accumulated well more than a foot of new snow around town. And the impact of the blizzard conditions was felt across the community as several activities were either postponed or canceled altogether. The snowfall began late Friday evening and lasted through Saturday evening, said Tim Thurmes, assistant street supervisor.