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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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.
There won't be any changes in Afton after the Nov. 2 election. At least the ones that were posed on the ballot. Mayor Pat Snyder, who was unopposed, was re-elected to a second term. Council member Peg Nolz, unopposed in her ward, was re-elected to a third term. Council member Joe Richter was re-elected for a second term after he defeated challenger Kuchen Meyer with 63.74 percent of the vote. "Joe has done an excellent job of representing the city and the residents of Ward 2 and I look forward to working with him again," Snyder said.
The District 834 School Board will have three familiar faces, and one new face, on the school board next year after the results of the Nov. 2 elections. Incumbents George Hoeppner, Natalie Fedie and Natasha Fleischman have all been re-elected to the District 834 School Board, additionally challenger Tom Lehmann has earned a seat. Incumbent Scott Papke did not generate enough votes to be re-elected. "It's always surprising when you lose an incumbent and a good board member," District 834 superintendent Tom Nelson said.
It's a musical that defined and romanticized 1950s New York City. And it's coming to the stage at New Life Academy. The school's production of "West Side Story" opens Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. "We've never done a serious tragedy before, so this show is something new for us," said NLA theater director Carole Brumley. "Plus 'West Side Story' is one of my favorites." The Tony-award winning musical is essentially a retelling of "Romeo and Juliet" through the eyes of rival gangs -- the Jets and the Sharks.
District 622 will have two new faces, one familiar, on the School Board next year after the results of the Nov. 2 elections. Incumbent Mark Wheeler, re-elected to a third term, and challengers Amy Coborn and Michelle Yener have each earned a seat out of the eight candidates who ran. Coborn, of North St. Paul, came in first with 24.08 percent of the vote. "It was really fun to watch the results come in," she said. "I worked really hard so I was very happy to see that it paid off.