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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In any type of theater performance, it is typically the cast that draws the applause and the praise of the audience, but the unsung heroes who would make a performance almost impossible without them are the technicians and the musicians. Woodbury Community Theatre's production of "Amahl and the Night Visitors" is no exception, especially since the show is an opera and the music is more or less the star of the show. "Amahl and the Night Visitors," which tells the story of an imaginative boy and the three wiseman, opened Dec. 4 on the Loft Stage at East Ridge High School.
The Afton City Council had one of its final budget discussions during a work session on Nov. 29. During the work session, council members reviewed which 2010 line items were over budget, which line items were under budget and what line items need to be accounted for in 2011. "We need to start looking at what's happening in 2010 and how that will affect 2011," interim city administrator Ron Moorse said Back in September the City Council approved the 2011 preliminary budget at $1,078,623, which is a decrease of $4,471, or .04 percent, from the 2010 budget.
The last piece of the Belwin restoration puzzle has been placed. The Belwin Conservancy, in Afton, recently acquired the last 30 acres of nearly 130 total acres that were previously owned by the Science Museum of Minnesota. Belwin officially acquired the last parcel, located north of Lake Edith, in November. The land is included in Belwin's "Oak Savanna Restoration Project." "This is the last piece of the puzzle to complete that project," said Steve Hobbs, executive director for Belwin. Currently Belwin has roughly 1,300 acres of dedicated conservation land.
It was a winter wonderland down in Afton this weekend during the annual Afton Village Holiday. The three-day event offered such family-fun activities as horse and wagon rides, strolling carolers, holiday crafts and breakfast with Santa. This year's event hit some obstacles however, event organizer Deb Larson said. The heavy snowfall on Friday resulted in many of the planned events to be late or canceled entirely. One major problem the Afton Historical Society Museum ran into was the failure of its Victorian-era train to be brought to the museum.
Most 16-year-olds dream of sitting in the driver's seat alone for the first time, but East Ridge High School sophomore Morgan Maxwell had other dreams -- sitting solo in the cockpit of her Cessna 152 plane. Maxwell took her first solo flight on Nov. 7, her 16th birthday, at the Lake Elmo Airport. "It's really rare for anyone to solo on their 16th birthday," she said.
In recent months the topic of bullying has come to the forefront on the national scene. School officials within District 833 are making sure that their issues with bullying don't reach those extremes. "Bullying is on the forefront of everyone's minds," Woodbury High School assistant principal Todd Herber said. "There's bullying going on out there, we're not naïve; I think it is an issue for all of our students at one point or another.
Kinderberry Hill Child Development Center of Woodbury will be blowing out five candles on Dec. 5 when it celebrates its fifth birthday. "We always call them our birthday because it's something that the children can make that connection with and relate to," executive program director Kathy Sjursen said. We opened Dec. 5, 2005 and it's kind of funny because our address is 1205 and we opened on 12-05 -- that's kind of a good omen." On Dec.
Afton is inviting families to take a step back in time and enjoy the annual Afton Village Holiday Dec. 3-5. "It's a nostalgic old fashioned celebration," Deb Larson, of the Afton Area Business Association, said. This year's Afton Village Holiday includes such activities as crafts, holiday shopping, breakfast with Santa, going business to business collecting treats in stockings, strolling carolers, ice skating, horse and wagon rides and even a wine tasting. "We've just got a great schedule this year," Larson said.
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.