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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Greg and Heidi Case of Woodbury were like any expectant parents -- thrilled and excited for their bundle of joy to arrive. But when Heidi was 30 weeks into her pregnancy, she had a premonition something was wrong. "I just felt like something's not right and 'I just don't feel comfortable,'" she said. Heidi was right. Their baby girl, Ellery, had too much fluid in her chest cavity. There could have been a number of reasons for this, but one thing for sure was that it was serious and it needed to be addressed immediately.
Little girls are often told that they're princesses by their fathers, and on Feb. 19 they all had a chance to prove this true at District 833 Community Education's "Cinderella Swing" -- the daddy-daughter dance -- at Woodbury Junior High School. "It is one of the few special dress-up opportunities for dads and their daughters. It is a great way to create special memories," youth programs coordinator Sue McKeown said. "And the little girls love the opportunity to dress up and be a princess." The dancing and the live band The Dweebs drew 1,000 daddies and daughters.
Students who graduate from Woodbury Junior High this year and move on to East Ridge High will see a familiar administrator at their new school next year. Current WJHS principal Dennis Roos is joining the ERHS team as the second assistant principal. He will join Matt Kraft, the other East Ridge assistant principal, starting July 1. "I look at this position as a head coach job," he said. "But I don't necessarily want to leave Woodbury." Roos said his decision to move to East Ridge was influenced by District 833's plan to transform Woodbury Junior High into a middle school.
For three Woodbury High School students the 2008 election is going to be extra memorable -- despite the fact that they didn't have the opportunity to vote -- because they will be attending the 2009 Inauguration and an inaugural ball for President Barack Obama on Jan. 20. Sophomore Kiera Eaton, freshman Ben Gotz and junior Heather Mohr will be in Washington, D.C. to be part of the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference as members of the National Youth Leadership Forum. "I'm hoping to come away from this with a bit more understanding of politics.
The District 833 Kids Club program has cleared a major hurtle now that it has received accreditation from the National AfterSchool Association. Kids Club is a child care program before or after school in each elementary building and provides care to children k-6. Children can participate in a variety of activities such as arts, crafts, games, science, computers, physical activities and quiet time. Currently there are 1,500 students enrolled in the Kids Club program at all district elementary schools.
After spending five years as a member of the United States Army, Woodbury resident and musician Mathew Griswold, 26, made his triumphant return to the stage on Dec. 29 at the Fine Line Music Café in Minneapolis. Griswold's performance is a pre-release party for his newest album release, Lets Do It, which will be officially released on Jan. 20. "Every time I get up I really strive to make that personal connection and I hope they can use an experience that I've been through, or any insight that I have gained," he said.
Most singers dream of fame and fortune, but Woodbury resident Karen Pavlicin has a different dream, she dreams of helping people cope through music. "Whatever anybody is going through when they listen to it, I hope they feel like they're not alone, there's somebody out there who's been through something similar and made it," she said. "That's why I really wanted to do the CD for, I know how much the songs helped me, and I hoped they would help somebody else, too." Pavlicin is not a musician by trade. In fact, she is a writer.
Afton's "stealth" tower -- one that masquerades as a pine tree -- has finally taken root in Afton. The radio communications tower, which hasn't exactly been welcomed with open arms in Afton, is located at 15326 Afton Hills Court. A work crew endured a frigid blast of winter weather to begin installation of the main portion of the tower on Dec. 15.
Mathematics can be a daunting subject for many students. The amount of numbers and sequences floating around students heads could give anyone a headache. Woodbury High School now offers students some extra help when it comes to mastering math skills with the seven-week long PLATO Math after school program.
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.