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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If you've ever been to an Afton government meeting, you've witnessed the pride the city has for its community, but some residents are asking where's that same pride when it comes to keeping their parks clean? At the June 29 meeting of the Afton City Council, council members discussed the poor shape of Steamboat Park, located off of St. Croix Trail South in downtown Afton, and ways to maintain it. Afton resident Rich Myhers brought these concerns to the council.
The Afton City Council, and Afton residents, have always had contrasting opinions on issues, but recently these strong opinions have been starting to slow the meetings down and cause tensions to flare. Mayor Pat Snyder decided to address these problems at the June 29 council workshop when she initiated a discussion about proper meeting decorum. "I have noticed that things have been getting difficult," she said. "And it's been going that way for a while." Snyder said she was concerned about both the audience speaking out of turn, and the way council members behave towards each other.
In a new business venture, Leather & Lace Motorcycle Apparel, in Afton, will be branching off and offering their customers a "ride in peace," once they have reached the end. Ride in Peace, a new company from Leather & Lace owners Jim Kaempfer and Donna Schndele will offer a motorcycle hearse for memorial services. "Some people are a little shocked when they first see it, but then they understand what it is," Kaempfer said. This is the first motorcycle hearse in Minnesota.
A little Fourth of July rain didn't dampen the spirits of the hundreds of people who came out for Afton's annual parade. Throngs of people lined St. Croix Trail in Afton as they watched the many businesses and people parade down the street. Children were armed with their bags and baskets as they jetted in and out of the street collecting as much delicious loot as they could. East Ridge High School even got in on the fun when the ERHS cheerleaders danced their way down the street in the parade.
Leather & Lace Motorcycle Apparel and Selma's & Paninos Ice Cream-Restaurant will be riding for the cause Saturday, July 11 with the first ever Homeward Bound Motorcycle Run. The goal of the ride will be to raise money for the Homeward Bound Dog Rescue. Homeward Bound is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the sheltering and fostering of homeless and unwanted animals. During the motorcycle run participants will pay $15 for single riders, and $20 for riders with a passenger, for a roughly 100 mile ride from 10 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. starting at Leather & Lace.
A Woodbury man, along with 17 other defendants, have been charged in federal court in connection with an indoor marijuana growing operation. Dat Thai Tran, 27, of Woodbury was charged on Wednesday, July 2 with one count of conspiracy to manufacturer at least 1,000 marijuana plants. The criminal complaint alleges that Tran, and 17 other defendants, conspired to manufacture marijuana plants from February through June. Search warrants were executed on June 30 for various locations throughout the Twin Cities.
[Editor's Note: This is the second in a series chronicling some of the more interesting plans local teachers' have planned for their summer break ] More often than not, European vacations consist of living out of a suitcase, jet-setting from place to place, sleeping on tour buses and not really being able to enjoy the beauty of their surrounding or the chance to immerse themselves in the culture. It was these fast-paced tours that inspired Lake Junior High guidance counselor Jim Hesley to book a six-week vacation in Berlin, Germany.
A bit of sparkle was brought to Central Park on June 24 when Minnesota magician Star Michaelina brought her dazzling magic act to the amphitheater. Michaelina was brought to Central Park by the R.H. Stafford Library as an entertaining way to get across their summer message of "Be Creative." "The neat thing about these sort of library events is that whatever the topic of the event is -- animals, magic, juggling, insects -- our collection of books on that topic is completely depleted after the show," library manager Chad Lubbers said.
Whether they care to admit it, the fact remains many people have preconceived erroneous notions regarding American Indians and their culture. A summer camp for young people ages 6 to 12 is aiming to dispel those opinions and reveal the truths. South Washington School District, in cooperation with the South St. Paul School District, the Indian Youth enrichment Program and St. Paul Area Council of Churches, recently wrapped up a two-week summer program called "The Native American Camp" that taught children the values and the ways of both the Dakota-Lakota people and the Ojibway people.
The Fourth of July is the time of year for food, fun, family and fireworks. Whether it's a parade, playing games with family, having barbeques or camping out under the stars watching fireworks light up the sky, the Fourth of July is a highlight of summer. Some area Fourth of July celebrations include: Woodbury's Fourth of July celebration. During the celebration at Ojibway Park, 2695 Ojibway Drive, the Red Rock Swing Band will perform at 7 p.m. before fireworks light up the night sky at 10 p.m. Concessions will be sold on site.