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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Woodbury has its very own aspiring "Nashville Star" in singer/songwriter Lindley Wolfgram, 19. A Woodbury native and current Nashville resident, Wolfgram will be releasing her first album titled "Travelogue," on Dec. 22. She describes her musical style as "Folk/Americana." "I just don't connect to commercial music as well," she said. "Americana, it seems so real to me; I just like how real and gritty it is.
The Polar Plungers, a group of five third-graders from Liberty Ridge and Royal Oaks elementary schools, presented their robot "Mr. Roboto" to Daisy Troop 53002 at Liberty Ridge Elementary on Dec. 8. The Polar Plungers are part of the national organization, Lego League, in which elementary school-aged kids design robots and demonstrate what they have learned at a competition. Each year, there is a different theme for the Lego League, and this year's theme is climate change. The Polar Plungers designed a robot to help with snow removal.
At its Dec. 1 meeting, the Afton Planning Commission reviewed the moratorium on telecommunication towers. During their discussions, Commissioner Greg Pennella suggested to the Commission that the current ordinances related to this issue, should be replaced by an ordinance permitting communication towers only in the Industrial Zone, on Highline Towers, and in existing structures that would mask the towers from view. This proposed ordinance would not have any mention of "Stealth" towers, thus avoiding any and all confusion.
A daunting three-inch thick Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the Afton Center project was placed in front of the Afton City Council at its council workshop meeting Dec. 2. City engineer John Parotti, along with his assistant George Johnson, spent the next two hours giving a brief overview of what the 500-page document entails. "The effort of today is to make the council more comfortable with the document in front of you," Johnson said.
The Woodbury Chamber of Commerce has selected the 2008 Outstanding Educators.
Noel sits at attention with her ears perked waiting to hear the next exciting event in today's story at the R.H. Stafford Library. Once the story comes to a close, Noel's tail is wagging in approval. Noel, a 5-year-old Golden Retriever, is a trained therapy dog who's mission is to help improve the literacy skills in children through a comfortable and non-threatening environment. Noel will be all ears at the R.H. Stafford Library's "Dog Gone Reading " program, which started on Dec. 2 and will also be held on Dec. 9.
"Big Brother" is always watching; and now he's even watching the car. American Family Insurance offers the Teen Safe Driver Program which is a camera that can be installed into a teenager's vehicle and records any erratic driving activity. Once the device records any erratic behavior it is sent to DriveCam's Event Analysis Center where it is analyzed and then the video is provided to the parents along with helpful tips to improve the driving habits of the teen.
Everyone is familiar with the beloved children's fairy tale "The Ugly Duckling," but the Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis brought a different take on the story to Woodbury High School on Nov. 26 with their performance of "The Deaf Duckling" when they performed for both Woodbury and Park High School students. "The Deaf Duckling" tells the story of Sam, a duckling who was born deaf to hearing parents.
Monday's truth-in-taxation hearing in Afton became a tense one when several residents voiced discontent over not receiving the full city budget before the meeting. Some also contended that the budget summary they did receive was riddled with errors. "I think it's important citizens to look at a full budget, not one of these summaries," said Charlie Devine, former Afton mayor. "This is not something that is acceptable -- this does not meet the expectations of our citizens." Residents weren't the only ones unhappy with the hearing proceedings -- and the budget in general.
Hannah Lagoon, 19, of Woodbury, along with 18 other students and three teachers from Northwestern College, were stranded in Bangkok over the weekend after anti-government protesters laid siege on the two airports, causing them to shut down. Hannah's father, Steve, said that they have received confirmation that their daughter has left Thailand and is now in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where they are waiting for a flight to Japan. "We are just thrilled and excited," he said.