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 flu has found its way into Royal Oaks Elementary -- as of last week 10 percent of the school's 600 plus students are out with an "influenza-like illness," according to school officials. Royal Oaks reported to the Minnesota Department of Health on Oct. 7 as is required when a school has more than five percent of their student population out sick. Several teachers are also out sick.
The city of Afton has had to pay $60,000 to GJ & M Development after a judicial order stated city staff failed to produce requested documents related to company's lawsuit against the city in a "timely fashion," city officials confirmed. City officials said they will appeal the order. Washington County District Judge Mary Hannon ordered the city to make the payment to Gordy Jarvis, who co-owns the company. Jarvis also owns the Afton House Inn. The lawsuit, file in 2007, claims a moratorium on downtown development that stopped Jarvis's proposed Afton Center project was illegally executed.
The public will have an opportunity to travel through the arts Friday, Oct. 16, with the "Passport to the Arts" concert from the local K & S Conservatory of Music at Five Oaks Church in Woodbury. K&S Conservatory executive director Chaz Fautch started planning a concert series several years ago as a way for the faculty to come together and showcase their talent for the students at the conservatory. "Everyone just kind of did their own thing," Fautch said.
The Afton City Council continued its wind turbine talk during a work session last month. During a Sept. 8 work session two experts in the field, Brian Ross from CR Planning and Sean Wagner from the architecture firm Meyer, Schere & Rockcastle, spoke to the council about wind turbines and turbine ordinances. "We need to hear how the community feels about this issue," Afton City Council member Bill Palmquist said. Ross shed some light on the specifics of turbines, such as the different types -- utility, small and micro -- and the height requirements for wind turbines.
Physical education teachers in District 833 have adapted a new teaching model that uses technology to help students better gauge their physical activity. As part of the $800,000 Physical Education Programs grant from the U.S. Department of Education that District received in July 2008, the district has purchased 600 heart rate monitors for use in the middle schools as a way to monitor the students physical activity and physical health.
Over the last 10 years, the students and staff at Woodbury High School have had a dear friend in an unlikely staff member -- the parking lot security guard.
Afton Town Square Park was alive with art and fun last weekend, Sept. 26-27, for the 31st annual Afton Art in the Park. Around 50 vendors, selling products ranging from homemade jellies and jams to jewelry to metal work to paintings, were on hand for the hundreds of people to walk around and enjoy. One vendor, Simply Nuts & More from excelsior, has been participating every year at the event because of the beautiful community and the fun atmosphere, said owner Sheila Johnston. "We've been coming every year," Johnston said.
Woodbury High School showed off their Royal pride during their homecoming last week, Sept. 21-25, with a variety of school spirit activities and events. Kicking off the week was the homecoming royalty coronation -- Profit Idowu took the crown for king, and Gina Bruno is this year's queen. Throughout the week students showed off their WHS school spirit by participating in a variety of different spirit days -- jersey day, 80's day, safari day and super hero day -- where students dressed up according to the theme.
In the coming weeks, Afton may be moving forward with a study into the feasibility of designing municipal wastewater services for downtown Afton. Currently, Afton functions under on-site wastewater treatment systems. The Afton City Council discussed the study and the proposals they received during a work session on Tuesday, Sept. 15 immediately preceding the regular meeting where it was also discussed.
The Afton City Council had to face the results of a lawsuit the city settled this summer at the council's Tuesday, Sept. 15 meeting when it voted to approve a co-pay and deductible of $114,702.88 to the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust now that the case developers had against the city has been settled. "We certainly knew that there were legal fees accruing in the defense of these lawsuits and only got the final numbers on the FOC lawsuit last week," Mayor Pat Snyder said. The lawsuit was settled in June after two years of litigation.