Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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This time of the year, our daughter Margie is submerged in all things strawberry as all local cooks should be doing to get ready for the Top Chef Contest during Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest. The best part of the contest is at the end when everyone in the audience is invited to taste the best offerings of all ages of Cottage Grove cooks for free. There is a youth division as well as those for teens and adults. Recipes have to contain strawberries and everything has to be made from scratch.
South Washington County Schools will see additional state funding for the first time in five years, but there is no consensus among District 833 School Board members on whether to pull back any of the $2 million proposed cuts for next year, School Board Chairman Ron Kath said following a budget discussion last week. The district faced a $6 million deficit for 2013-14 when it began planning the budget earlier this year.
Two Armstrong Elementary School students arrived at school on the last day of year in style. Like famous people arriving at the Oscars on the red carpet, Jada Walsh and Ella Nienow were greeted by their friends and classmates. The reaction was due to the fact that Walsh arrived with two friends in a Cottage Grove squad car driven by police officer Gail Griffith. Nienow arrived in a Cottage Grove fire truck driven by Fire Chief Rick Redinius. Both girls earned the honor by being top fundraisers in a spell-a-thon sponsored by the school's parent teacher organization. Walsh, a first-grader,
firstname.lastname@example.org Bubba is not an Oltman Middle School student but when he visits four or five times a year, students treat him as a friendly student who's not at school every day. Bubba, an American Staffordshire terrier, is a therapy dog who comes to school led by his owner, Dan Lemke, a special education teacher at the school. Lemke found Bubba six years ago on Valentine's Day, after the dog was abandoned, Lemke said. The former owner cut off Bubba's ears and neglected him.
It was commencement weekend in south Washington County as area high schools handed out diplomas to the class of 2013. Park High School seniors became graduates Saturday afternoon at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood. They are now headed their separate ways as they try to fulfill their class motto: "To Infinity and Beyond." Park Principal Kerry Timmerman presented the class, administrators and District 833 School Board members. He also presented "honored staff members," who included teachers selected by the graduates as the people most influential in their lives.
With no action from the Legislature to give Crosswinds Arts and Science School to the Perpich Center for the Arts and reject School District 833's interest in acquiring it, parents of Crosswinds students and five legislators took their case to the East Metro Integration District School Board last week to try and stop the closure of Crosswinds on July 29. With an EMID decision to close Crosswinds, all of its tenured teachers and the principal already have found jobs in the 10 member school districts. Dan Larson, a Crosswinds parent, said no action by the Legislature was "devastating for us,"
When the Class of 2013 graduates this weekend, it will be the last year District 833 high schools designate and recognize their top two students. Park, Woodbury and East Ridge high schools have agreed to do away with class ranking. For Park and Woodbury that will mean no more valedictorian and salutatorian beginning next year. While class ranking was in effect at East Ridge, the school has never designated a valedictorian or salutatorian.
When parents and friends gather in the New Life Academy gymnasium on June 2, they will honor 45 graduating seniors, including the top three students. Though the school keeps student data on class rankings, the information is not released to students, parents or colleges. Modest about the honor, Matty Steele, Michele Burzynski and Kolin Kiekhoefer, all of Woodbury, are happy to be the top three graduates.
With a new coach finishing her second year, the Park High School Speech Team is celebrating its revival by finishing the year with fourth place in Section 3AA. The team put six members in section finals and had two winners in state competition. Section finalists included: Kemi Olukoga, second place in poetry; Molly Moran, second place poetry; Justin Hiemstra and Troy Lowry, fourth place in duo; Gina Carson, fifth-place prose; Lexi Kleinschmidt, fifth-place drama, and Maddie Franz, fifth-place, creative expression. In state competition, Molly Moran took eighth place in humorous and Kemi Oluk
They promised her they wouldn't forget her brother, a Marine who was killed serving his country. They made good on their promise as men and women on 70 Harley Davidson motorcycles rode into Cottage Grove on Saturday, May 8, which was Armed Forces Day. Dawn "Dee" Meyers stood in front of the home she shares with her husband, Darin, and their two children, Zach and Cameron, as she heard sirens from Cottage Grove police escorts followed by the rumbling of motorcycles. Tears were welling up when she saw the group, all of them arriving to honor the memory of her brother, Adam VanAlstine, who was