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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Any musical comedy that has cannons that shoot confetti has got to be a lot of fun to watch. The cast of Park High School's "Once Upon a Mattress," thinks so, too, because during rehearsals and backstage, actors are smiling, having a good time and are full of joy. A take on the fairy tale, "Princess and the Pea," the production is set in a fairy tale kingdom ruled by devious Queen Aggravain and King Sextimus the Silent who is mute. All marriages are on hold until a princess can be found to marry Prince Dauntless the Drab.
A question facing Cottage Grove City Council members is whether to allow homeowners in urban areas to keep chickens and other poultry on their property. City officials posed that question to members of all of the city advisory commissions at a meeting Saturday at Cottage Grove City Hall. The city has conducted several surveys about allowing chickens in residential areas, a request proposed by people interested in sustainability, introducing farm animals to children and raising their own food. The majority of people surveyed are opposed and responded strongly in the negative objecting to odo
More than 500 students and School District 833 staff members celebrated the life of Rita Ruiz Friday in the Park High School gym.
After he retired 30 years ago, Rod Hale wanted something to do in the spring. It's not time to go hunting or fishing or to work on the lawn, he said. So he started tapping a few of the maple trees near the home he shared with the wife, Mary, on the Cottage Grove part of Lower Grey Cloud Island. Hale started the hobby by heating the sap on a small camp stove until it became maple syrup. Every year, the operation got a little bigger until the spring hobby for the retired School District 833 administrator became a small business.
Jen Rockhill of the Youth Service Bureau, Cottage Grove police officer and school liaison Gail Griffith, and Cottage Grove Middle School Vice Principal Jason Schultz led a cyberbullying program last week.
Crestview Elementary School fifth-grader Samantha Field is an early riser. Getting up before the rest of her family, she'll take a bike ride or watch television. While flipping through the channels, she watched "Green Screen Adventures," a ME-TV children's show on KSTC Channel 45. At the end of the show, there was a spot asking for children's stories. Field wrote "Eating Healthy" and emailed it to the show's website. It was a short spot about two girls, one who ate a hamburger and the other a healthy sandwich, Field said.
A year ago, a Washington County certified master gardener told me that I could grow bedding plants in a snowbank. This sounded crazy but I followed her directions, supplemented by information on the Internet, and it worked. It turned out that she was of sane mind, and by planting time, I had plants ready to put in my garden that I grew myself. It's called "winter sowing." Every spring, I spend a lot of money at garden stores buying plants.
Student conferences between parents and teachers have long been a mainstay in schools. But the time of teachers being in charge of student evaluations has changed in recent years with more schools adopting student-led conferences in School District 833. Oltman Middle School's student-led conferences have a three-year history and Principal Becky Schroeder said they are here to stay. Students meet with their advisory teachers (formerly called homeroom) about the portfolios they've assembled to show their parents.
While a waning winter has yet to morph into spring-like weather, fifth-graders needed something fun to do. There is so much material to cover in fifth grade, said Pine Hill fifth-grade teachers Missy Lidtke, Pat Oslund and Melissa Rahn, that it's good for kids to take a break. Eight years ago, creativity with Peeps filled the need and they have been doing it every year since. Dioramas made with Peeps, the marshmallow treat that started as yellow chicks at Easter and grew to include Peeps for every season and holiday, are very popular.
It wasn't what she wanted to hear, but knowing that her father and aunt had colon cancer, it wasn't a surprise when a doctor told Katy McElwee Stevens that she had colon cancer. During a colonoscopy a month ago, a tumor was discovered and was surgically removed on March 7. Appointed to the District 833 School Board in January, she missed a board meeting that night but board members paused at the end of the meeting to wish her well. Her father was diagnosed when he was 72, but McElwee Stevens is 50.