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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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.
The Woodbury Community Theater production of "Narnia: The Musical" will open July 8 at 7 p.m. at New Life Church, 6758 Bailey Road. The show will run through July 11. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and children 4 and over. Children 3 and under are free. Call (651) 730-4627 for more information.
The Fourth of July is considered by many as their favorite part of summer because it's a time for family, fun and fireworks. One community that knows how important the Fourth of July is to its residents is Afton. The city's Fourth of July celebrations come complete with a parade, fireworks, music and fun. "I think people really long for that old-fashioned experience without all that video game stuff," city hall office manager and Fourth of July coordinator Connie Slaten said.
Bison came out to roam at their new home on June 13 when they were released out into the Belwin Conservancy prairies. That day also marked the unveiling of the new observation tower overlooking the prairies. The new 20-foot tall tower, which gives spectators a panoramic view of the 150-acres of prairie, was constructed with the support and funding from Kowalski's Markets, the James Ford Bell Foundation, the Ten by Ten Foundation and members of the Belwin Conservancy.
Some people cook to relax after a long day at work, others may work out in the garden or go to their craft corner, but for Afton resident Ross Sveback these stress relievers are his job. Sveback's business Kon-tent encompasses all of these things and more -- cooking classes, party planning, crafts and gardening among others. Sveback has a daily blog that offers daily tips of the trade, but he also travels around the cities offering cooking classes.
It wasn't the two lawsuits on the June 16 Afton City Council agenda that received the most debate and emotions, it was Afton's roads that took center stage. During the meeting, council members Joe Richter and Randy Nelson had a lengthy discussion over the road reconstruction standards that were passed on Jan. 15. Richter proposed to eliminate the standards, whereas Nelson thought they should remain in place. Richter said he felt that in order to save money they should look at each project individually and address the need rather than reconstructing them to the same standard.
The Afton Planning Commission finally has all of its pieces in place now that the city council has appointed the final commissioner -- Tom Nolz. It has been some time since the planning commission has had a full nine-person status, because there were no applicants for the business member seat. The council approved a change to the makeup of the planning commission at its April 21 meeting when they approved an amendment to the ordinance to change the requirement for a member of the business community to simply an "at-large" representative.
The Afton City Council has taken hold of the reins to combat Washington County's discussion over horse boarding classifications. Council member Peg Nolz advised the council to jump on the wagon with this issue after the Washington County assessor's office reclassified properties where horse boarding and training occur from agricultural to commercial. This reclassification has resulted in significant increases in property taxes for those properties and could ultimately run horse boarders out of business.
The Afton City Council is one step closer to eliminating the lawsuit with FOC, LLC and Atomic Properties now that the settlement agreement has reached its final stages. At its June 16 meeting, the council approved the necessary ordinance amendments relating to impervious surface area, uses and architectural standards, despite the planning commission's recommendation for denial.