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.
- Member for
- 2 years 8 months
After roughly three years of intense work, the Afton's comprehensive development plan will likely be approved at the Afton City Council's March 16 meeting. Afton is currently one of five Minnesota cities, out of 189, that have yet to submit an approved comp plan to the Metropolitan Council. The Met Council recently notified Afton officials that it will not reimburse the city for the second part of its $15,000 payment for the costs associated with development of the comp plan. "I think its unfortunate that we're being penalized by the Met Council," said Afton Mayor Pat Snyder.
Belwin Conservancy has worked to preserve and restore the 1,400 acres of land in Afton to provide a scenic and peaceful getaway for nature enthusiasts. However, until recently there was one small piece missing. The Wilson Tract is an 8-acre parcel -- adjacent to the Kettlekamp Prairie, which connects the north and south partitions of the conservancy -- that Belwin had not previously been able to acquire. Belwin finally acquired the land at the beginning of month by purchasing the land for $265,000.
For the second year in a row, Five Oaks Community Church has been transformed into a packaging facility for a Feed My Starving Children packing event. Kicking off on Thursday, March 4 and running through Sunday, March 7, 2,000 volunteers will work towards packing 400,000 meals to be sent to starving children in Haiti. The 400,000 meals is enough to feed 1,096 children for a year. Read the full story about the Feed My Starving Children event in the March 10 print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin.
I hate you truly. Truly I do. Everything about me hates everything about you. The flick of my wrist hates you. The way I hold my pencil hates you. The sound made by my tiniest bones were they trapped in the jaws of a moray eel hates you. Each corpuscle singing in its capillary hates you. Those are just some of the emotionally charged words that Woodbury High School junior Shellie Erdman will utter when she recites "Hate Poem" by Julie Sheehan at the Poetry Out Loud state poetry recitation competition at the Fitzgerald Theater Monday, March 8.
A group of New Life Academy fifth graders got a taste last week of what the "real world" might be like when they participated in a simulation program called BizTown in Maplewood. The event is put on by an organization called Junior Achievement. Lake Middle School sixth graders also participated in BizTown recently. During the BizTown simulation, which is designed for grades 4-6, students are assigned a job that they will have, a list of responsibilities they will have as employees and citizens, work with money and they get to see a community at work.
After a somewhat frustrating meeting last month, the Afton City Council and developer Len Pratt came together for a work session Tuesday, Feb. 23, to discuss several of the concerns facing the council. The council was scheduled to vote on the final plat on Feb. 16, but postponed the decision in order to address further questions and concerns. Prior to the work session, Pratt had sent an e-mail to the council outlining, and addressing, many of the concerns he felt the council had expressed.
With politics heating up for the upcoming election season, East Ridge High School has become a ground for debate with dueling student groups -- the Young Republicans and the Young Democrats. However, even though the groups may share very different opinions and political views, members say they don't let that get in the way of school. "We know most of the people in Young Republicans as friends, so we kind of have these friendly debates on a daily basis in our classrooms," said Laura Peters, president of East Ridge Young Democrats group.
The Afton Planning Commission held it's regular meeting on March 1 where it elected the planning commission chair, vice-chair and secretary. Go to the Woodbury Bulletin's Area Voices news blog by clicking here to read more on this story.
The possibility of wind turbines in Afton were blown forward during the Afton Planning Commission meeting last week. Planning commissioners discussed issues related to the possibility of allowing wind turbines in Afton at a March 1 meeting where they directed city staff to craft a wind energy ordinance that would regulate height and noise, among other details. The issue of wind turbines arose last fall when a resident applied to erect a wind turbine on their property, but the city had no language addressing wind energy.
There won't be a re-trial for GJ&M Development Inc. v. the city of Afton. Washington County district judge Mary E. Hannon denied GJ&M's motion for a retrial at a hearing on Feb. 25 at the Washington County Courthouse. During the initial jury trial, which concluded Dec. 8 at the Washington County Courthouse, Judge Mary Hannon ruled that GJ&M did not present enough sufficient evidence to show that the city was liable for the actions of its employees. Therefore Hannon dismissed all of Jarvis' $6 million in damage claims.