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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One of the biggest thorns in Afton's side -- its lawsuit with GJ&M -- could be resolved this week. The case of GJ&M Development Inc. v. Afton began Monday, Nov. 30 at the Washington County Courthouse in Stillwater. Judge Mary Hannon heard the case. The initial lawsuit between Afton and GJ&M was filed in 2007 by developer Gordy Jarvis, who claims that a moratorium on downtown development, which stopped his proposed Afton Center project, was illegally executed.
Every family has a history. Every family has a heritage. Every family has stories that make them who they are. For Afton resident Diane Dettman, her family's history became the basis for her book "Miriam daughter of Finnish immigrants." "I didn't know that much about my own family until I actually did this project," she said. "Miriam" tells the story of Dettman's grandparents who emigrated from Finland to Babbit, Minn., and how they lived with seven children during the Great Depression through a series of short stories and vignettes.
A cat wandered into Afton City Hall during the Afton City Council meeting last week. Coincidentally, or not, the council voted on several new animal control issues relating to cats. During the Nov. 17 meeting the city council approved several changes to their animal control ordinances including approval of a new impound facility, approval of a cat licensing policy and approval of a trap/neuter/release program.
Who exactly are middle school students? They're not quite high school students but they're not elementary students either. How do they live life in middle school? These are just a few of the questions the Lake Middle School theater showcase participants are trying to answer with their performance of "Who We Are." The performances, held Nov. 12-13, included several short skits and pieces that were created by the students themselves. "It was the theme of what it's like to be us," said theater director Robin Bartell.
The city of Afton's lawsuit with GJ&M Development, could come to a conclusion Monday, Nov. 30 when legal the battle finally goes to trial. "Our attorneys are wrapping up the final trial preparations now and have assured us they will be ready to go on November 30th," said Mayor Pat Snyder. The initial lawsuit between Afton and GJ & M was filed in 2007 by developer Gordy Jarvis, who claims that a moratorium on downtown development, which stopped his proposed Afton Center project, was illegally executed.
The Afton Area Business Association is offering a chance for people to get away from the holiday craze, forget about finding the hottest toys and get back to the holiday traditions that originally made the season fun. On Dec. 4-6 downtown Afton will be transformed into a winter wonderland full of old-fashioned small town fun for its annual Afton Village Holiday celebration. "It's just an old fashioned holiday, it's just a sweet tradition," said event organizer and public relations coordinator Deb Larson.
As many high school teachers will admit, it can sometimes be difficult to get a student to be quiet. American Sign Language teacher Kristin Kohner is trying to do just that with the second annual Silent Night Deaf Event she organized and held Thursday, Nov. 19 at Woodbury High School. "Some students spend thousands of dollars to immerse themselves in the culture of the languages they have learned, but for ASL students the culture is right here," Kohner said.
The Cedar Bluff saga has finally come to a close -- almost. The Afton City Council voted Tuesday to approve an amendment to the development agreement for the 25-unit residential project.
Red Rock Elementary and Woodbury High School showed their appreciation for Woodbury's veterans and soldiers on Nov. 11 during their Veterans Day ceremony. During the first ever Veteran's Day celebration at Red Rock, the Woodbury High School Airforce Junior ROTC posted the colors, there were musical performances of "God Bless America" and TAPS and several veterans were honored guests and were recognized during the program. Fourth and Fifth grade students also shared essays about what a veteran is to them. Guest speaker, Master Sgt.
Within the next couple months, cats in Afton may soon have a safer place to live. Since the summer, the Afton City Council has been discussing possible revisions and amendments to the city's animal control ordinances and contracts with animal control services. The discussions arose after some concerned residents spoke about recent experiences with animal control picking up their cats and euthanizing them because they were deemed to be feral. The ordinance requires that the Animal Humane Society of Woodbury must hold an animal for at least five days.