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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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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
Selma's is expected to be in the hands of new owners soon. Afton Mayor Julia Welter said Thursday that Chet Kurtz, the owner of two existing restaurants in the Twin Cities, was poised to take over Selma's Ice Cream Parlour on St. Croix Trail. "It's a very exciting situation," she said. "I met with him today... "It sounded like the improvements he wants to make [to Selma's] are very, very minor -- he has just fallen in love with Afton... "He would like to open as soon as possible." Kurtz is the owner of existing Panino's Restaurants in North Oaks and Roseville.
The man responsible for bringing the sounds of Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" to life has died. Woodbury resident Tom Keith, the sound-effects wizard for the popular radio show and former Minnesota Public Radio host, died Sunday, Oct. 30 after collapsing in his home. He was 64. Keith appeared on his final "Prairie Home Companion episode" Oct. 22. In an Oct. 31 email statement, Garrison Keillor said the cause of death was a heart attack. According to Keillor's statement, Keith had complained of shortness of breath earlier in the week but did not see a doctor.