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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A group of New Life Academy fifth graders got a taste last week of what the "real world" might be like when they participated in a simulation program called BizTown in Maplewood. The event is put on by an organization called Junior Achievement. Lake Middle School sixth graders also participated in BizTown recently. During the BizTown simulation, which is designed for grades 4-6, students are assigned a job that they will have, a list of responsibilities they will have as employees and citizens, work with money and they get to see a community at work.
After a somewhat frustrating meeting last month, the Afton City Council and developer Len Pratt came together for a work session Tuesday, Feb. 23, to discuss several of the concerns facing the council. The council was scheduled to vote on the final plat on Feb. 16, but postponed the decision in order to address further questions and concerns. Prior to the work session, Pratt had sent an e-mail to the council outlining, and addressing, many of the concerns he felt the council had expressed.
With politics heating up for the upcoming election season, East Ridge High School has become a ground for debate with dueling student groups -- the Young Republicans and the Young Democrats. However, even though the groups may share very different opinions and political views, members say they don't let that get in the way of school. "We know most of the people in Young Republicans as friends, so we kind of have these friendly debates on a daily basis in our classrooms," said Laura Peters, president of East Ridge Young Democrats group.
The Afton Planning Commission held it's regular meeting on March 1 where it elected the planning commission chair, vice-chair and secretary. Go to the Woodbury Bulletin's Area Voices news blog by clicking here to read more on this story.
The possibility of wind turbines in Afton were blown forward during the Afton Planning Commission meeting last week. Planning commissioners discussed issues related to the possibility of allowing wind turbines in Afton at a March 1 meeting where they directed city staff to craft a wind energy ordinance that would regulate height and noise, among other details. The issue of wind turbines arose last fall when a resident applied to erect a wind turbine on their property, but the city had no language addressing wind energy.
There won't be a re-trial for GJ&M Development Inc. v. the city of Afton. Washington County district judge Mary E. Hannon denied GJ&M's motion for a retrial at a hearing on Feb. 25 at the Washington County Courthouse. During the initial jury trial, which concluded Dec. 8 at the Washington County Courthouse, Judge Mary Hannon ruled that GJ&M did not present enough sufficient evidence to show that the city was liable for the actions of its employees. Therefore Hannon dismissed all of Jarvis' $6 million in damage claims.
One of Broadway's favorite characters, Mame, will bring her "joie de vivre" to the Loft Stage four times next month. The Woodbury Community Theatre's production of "Mame" will run March 6-7 and March 12-13. "I chose 'Mame' because we wanted something that was bright, fun, big --and 'Mame' is all of those things," "Mame" director Lenore Weir said.
While many rock stars got their start in the garage, Woodbury Middle School student Elliot Starke has found himself practicing in the attic. "I'm super addicted to music," said Starke during a recent drumming session in the tight space above his house. "I would die without it." Starke, 14, is a student at the Paul Green School of Rock in St. Paul. "What really inspires me about the School of Rock is that everyone is there for the same purpose," he said.
The Afton village has a lot of positive memories associated with it -- Selma's Ice Cream, the Afton House Inn, a small town-old time feel -- but also a lot of negative components -- such as flooding, poor roads, and the levee -- that the city is hoping to address. The newly formed Old Village Task Force held its first meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
Longtime Woodbury High School parking lot security guard Calvin Woody, or "Woody" as he was affectionately called, died on Feb. 17 after battling colon cancer for several years. Woody, 60, had been a part of the WHS family for nearly 10 years. Woody retired from the school this past fall. A memorial service will be held on Friday, February 26th at 11:00AM at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in St. Paul with internment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.