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 Afton Planning Commission will be holding a joint work session with members of the Afton City Council tonight at Afton City Hall. Currently Mayor Pat Snyder and city council member Peg Nolz were scheduled to attend, as well as planning commission chair Barb Ronningen. On the agenda for the work session is discussion of the recently-approved Afton wind energy systems ordinance which regulates wind turbines within the city.
A two-week candidate filing period for local office begins today. Afton mayor Pat Snyder is up for re-election, as are city council members Joe Richter and Peg Nolz. Richter serves Ward 2, Nolz serves Ward 3. Mayor Pat Snyder said she intends to file for re-election. The mayoral term is two years and the city council members terms are four years beginning the first Tuesday in January, 2011. The filing period will opened today, Aug. 3,and will close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 17. The filing fee is $2.00. All candidates must be at least 21 years of age when assuming office.
The goal for Nick George's eighth grade science students was to finish in the top spot on a state comprehensive assessment test. But second place isn't so bad, the Woodbury Middle School teacher admitted last week. In 2009 Woodbury Middle School ranked ninth out of all public middle schools in the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) II science test, with nearly 65 percent of students testing as proficient. Charter schools and specialty schools were not included in the ranking.
Katie Rivard, of New Brighton, has battled cancer two different times, but each time she has three close friends by her side -- her dogs. Rivard owns three Australian Cattle Dogs -- Zander, Asa and Tattoo -- who have been by her side every step along the way helping her through treatment in Woodbury "My dogs were important through it all," she said. "They were great motivation to keep me going." All three of Rivard's dogs are rescues. "I rescued them and they rescued me right back," she said. Rivard was the honorary speaker during Saturday's Bark for Life event at Colby Lake Park.
Armed with two wheels and the open road, a Woodbury High School science teacher is making his way cross country on bike. Rick Light is hoping to travel across the entire country in four summers. So far he has traveled from St. Paul to Illinois, Washington to Montana and Illinois to Washington DC. "I couldn't finish it all in one summer," Light said. "I could have squeezed it in if I wanted to, but it takes so much time away from the family -- it wasn't practical." To date, Light has biked a total of 2,016 miles with about 1,000 remaining.
During the summer months, some may think that sitting out on the patio with a glass of wine may seem relaxing. But the idea is not so pleasant sounding for Afton officials. The new Swirl Wine Bar in Afton, owned by the Afton House Inn, has run into a roadblock regarding the business. At the end of last month, the city sent a letter to Dave Jarvis, who manages Swirl, and mandated that the newly poured concrete be removed because it exceeds the allowable impervious surface area. The city ordered Jarvis to remove the concrete by July 15.
Michael Frome Academy is no more -- at least in name and location. For two full school years, the self-proclaimed "green" charter school, has been housed next to Math and Science Academy at Pioneer Road and Radio Drive. But, however, within the last month the building housing the school has been vacant and that's because on July 1 the Michael Frome Academy packed up its classrooms and moved to a new facility in St. Paul Park. "We needed to find a bigger spot," director Kirsten Kinzler said.
A little more than a decade ago Woodbury did not have a hospital. But officials at HealthEast had plans to bring one to the growing east metro community. Plans called for the new hospital "to be the innovative, unique and preferred resource for health by fundamentally creating the health care experience in a way that has not been done before." Woodwinds Health Campus opened its doors to the community Aug.
It would be difficult to argue that Afton hasn't made efforts to conserve land and keep things rural and green. However, the city wants to take it one step further by implementing a conservation design ordinance. The Afton Planning Commission discussed the ordinance at its July 12 meeting. The Afton City Council directed interim city administrator Ron Moorse to draft an ordinance. The reason for the ordinance would be to encourage development, but do so in such a way that there are conservation easements in place.
Forget the family picnics. How about a community picnic complete with games? That was the environment last Thursday when the Woodbury Parks and Recreation-sponsored Adult Yard Games League came to a close. Fourteen two-person teams shared some food, some laughs and played some games. On July 15, the yard games league had its championship game. The winners received a T-shirt. The Adult Yard Games League made its debut this spring.