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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Afton Hills may soon be getting the road that it needs, but where the money comes from is still a question that needs to be answered. At the Tuesday, July 21 meeting of the Afton City Council, the council directed the city engineer, Diane Hankee, to start advertising for bids for the project. During the meeting Hankee was not in attendance due to vacation, but a substitute engineer would pass on the decision. The proposed reconstruction of Afton Hills Court would cost $286,000 for the first 2 1/2 inches of improvement.
[Editor's Note: This is the fourth and final in a series chronicling some of the more interesting plans local teachers have planned for their summer break] Current Lake Middle School and future East Ridge High School science teacher Nancy Berg and her husband Ryan set a goal for themselves nearly 31 years ago to visit 100 countries in their lifetime. They will reach that goal by the end of this summer. "This is just a crazy goal that we set for ourselves 31 years ago, but we're almost there," Nancy said.
Walking down the halls of the still unfinished East Ridge High School, it's hard to imagine that in just a few short months the halls will be alive with students running to class, teachers offering an encouraging smile and the morning bells marking the first chapter in a new story. "Everything is so detail-oriented that it's hard to focus on the big things right now like the first day of school," ERHS principal Aaron Harper said.
The Cedar Bluff Homestead saga may be finally coming to end, but possibly not a happy one for developer Len Pratt. At the Tuesday, July 21 meeting of the Afton City Council, Pratt gave a presentation and an update on the proposed development, which would be Afton's first clustered housing development and would include 29 lots and a 70-acre conservation easement with the Minnesota Land Trust in hopes of preserving open space. "This is just an update from where we left it before," he said.
After months of waiting and wondering, Minnesota finally has its second senator, Sen. Al Franken. But what Franken's staff doesn't have, is an office. Since the Franken staff is currently working out of each other's kitchens, cars and file boxes, the decision was made to take the office on the road for 66 stops, in 3 weeks, open forum tour. "Rather than just sitting around waiting, Franken though we should take the office out on the road," said Greg Buhr, constituent service director for Fraken, said.
The Washington County Road 18 East-West construction project got underway on July 16. The construction project will total the amount of $4.02 million. The project will be built in stages, with work beginning between Trading Post Trail and downtown Afton. A one-lane roadway will be kept open during construction. The remainder of County Road 18, from Trading Post Trail to State Highway 95, will remain open to two-way traffic during the first stage of construction. The majority of construction should be completed by mid-November.
Spc. Dan Drevnick, of Woodbury, was laid to rest on Saturday July 25 when friends and family came out to say their goodbyes at the fallen soldiers' funeral at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Woodbury. "We come here today with humble and grateful hearts," Pastor Timothy Hackbarth said. "Dan faced his life head on and fearless -- and he will forever be remembered." Drevnick, 22, died on July 16 in Basra, Iraq, while serving as part of the National Guard Red Bull 34th Infantry Division, when there unit was attacked by indirect fire. Two other soldiers from Minnesota, Carlos E.
The Cedar Bluff Homestead saga may be finally coming to end, but possibly not a happy one for developer Len Pratt. At the July 21 meeting of the Afton City Council, Pratt gave a presentation and an update on the proposed developments, which would be Afton's first clustered housing developing and would include 29 lots and a 70-acre conservation easement with the Minnesota Land Trust in hopes of preserving open space. Several council members voiced their frustration with Pratt's failure to ensure that all lots were at least 2.5 buildable-acres.
The newest member of the Afton family, assistant city administrator Sara Irvine, comes with both gains and losses. The Afton City Council approved the job description at is July 21 meeting. Irvine will be bringing a wealth of experience in city administration and zoning and variance enforcement to her to position. However, Irvine's addition will also come with the elimination of two familiar faces in Afton -- office assistant Pat Joyce and city planner Chuck Marohn -- since Irvine will be taking up a majority of their duties and responsibilities.
Shawna Boren found herself not being able to keep up with her four young children and not having the same energy and strength she used to. Boren said she had tried to maintain her physical fitness, but something always seemed to get in the way. "I just didn't feel like I was in shape and I certainly need the energy to run around with four kids," she said. "I knew there would always be excuse, but I was just ready to get my energy back and my strength back -- just get back active.