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 lawsuit against Afton resident Jeffrey Walker and his allegedly illegal airstrip will be delayed once again. New Afton city attorney Fritz Knaak informed the city council at its May 19 meeting that the jury trial has been postponed until June 15 so that he can acquaint himself to the case and prepare for the trial.
It was a sea of blue and white at Woodbury High School May 14 when soon-to-graduate seniors took the first step towards their commencement march when they collected their caps and gowns. The cafeteria overflow was alive with students anxiously anticipating their futures, but also reminiscing with friends and faculty about everything the last four years has brought them. For graduating senior Alexis Swanson, the quickly approaching end to her college career still seems like a blur. "It all seems really surreal," she said.
Ever since the H1N1 Virus, or Swine Flu, has taken to the streets, Americans are concerned for the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones. For international pandemics such as this, everyone is turning to their officials and their city to help prepare them for the worst. In Afton's case, they are turning to their Public Health Preparedness Plan. Afton's Public Health Preparedness Plan, which was approved in December by the City Council, was drafted by Afton's Community Health Emergency Preparedness Committee, which has since dissolved.
Military veteran and singer-songwriter Mathew Griswold's dreams of fame and a successful music career have been abruptly put on hold. He has been recalled back into the United States Army for another tour. Griswold, a Woodbury resident, returned in December after spending five years in the Army in hopes of pursuing his music, but six months later, his plans changed when the unwanted letter arrived in the mail. "For over two hours it was a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions -- I experienced just about every emotion possible," Griswold said.
Woodbury Elementary School students got up close and personal with several critters from tropical rain forests May 13 when the Minnesota Zoomobile rolled into Woodbury. For a feature story and numerous photos about the Zoomobile's visit to Woodbury Elementary School, see the May 20 Woodbury Bulletin print edition.
With summer already on the horizon and students anticipating a summer without classes and full of video games, television and summer treats, District 833 Community Education offers a healthy alternative. For the second year running, Community Education will be offering the Kids International Wellness Initiative (KIWI) with Red Rock Kid's Club for six weeks this summer, starting on July 6. "It's just a whole person wellness initiative," Sue McKeown, from Community Education, said.
Millions of Americans are expected to tune in for the "American Idol" finale for this TV season on May 20. A local foundation has decided to do some good while having fun in connection with the event. For the second year, the Madison Claire Foundation will host their American Idol Finale Bash fundraiser at the Lake Elmo Inn Event Center in hopes of raising money for the construction of Madison's Place, a completely handicapped accessible playground to be built at the Bielenberg Sports Center.
The Afton City Council has ended its relationship with both SEH and Jensen, Bell, Converse and Erickson PA when the council hired two two consultants, city attorney and city engineer, at a recent special meeting. Frederic W. "Fritz" Knaak of Knaak & Kantrud P.A.. will be replacing Mitch Converse as city attorney, whereas Diane Hankee of WSB & Associates will be replacing John Perotti. Knaak is currently the city attorney in Newport and Hankee is the city engineer for Grant. Knaak and Hankee made their first public appearance at the April 21 council meeting.
Towers. This one small word comes with a lot of emotions attached to it in Afton. They can be called eyesores or monstrosities, but in the end are they necessary? It was for these towering issues and concerns that the Afton Planning Commission recommended approval of several amendments to their ordinance that addresses telecommunication towers at their May 4 meeting. Ever since the infamous "stealth tower' was erected up on Afton Hills Court by the Washington County sheriff's department, residents have continued to voice frustration with the tower and the future of towers in Afton.
Once upon a time, the Woodbury Royals hosted a ball for all the fairest princesses and princes in the land. Everyone's fairy godmother dressed them in their best, but when the clock struck 12, the night became a memory for a lifetime. It was a fairytale come true for all those students who attended Woodbury High School's Prom on May 9 at the Crowne Plaza in downtown St. Paul. For a feature story and photos about Woodbury High School's prom, see the May 13 Woodbury Bulletin print edition.