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 3 weeks
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.
People who grew up with the "Chronicles of Narnia" books by C.S. Lewis know about the Pevensie children, Mr. Tumnus and the great Lion "Aslan." Now fans of this fantastical world will be able to meet these characters in the Woodbury Community Theater's production of "Narnia: The Musical" when it opens for the general public on July 8. "Narnia" relates the beloved classic "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" through the addition of music.
It was a Relay to remember on June 19 for the Relay for Life of Woodbury at Ojibway Park.
There will be another new face at Afton City Hall -- an "assistant administrator" has been hired. Sara Irvine of Mound, Minn. will take up the responsibilities of the assistant administrator, pending a background and reference check. The council first began discussing the possibility of hiring an assistant administrator at its May 26 workshop as a way to save on services that get sent out of house. Irvine received a 3-2 approval vote from the council. Council members Randy Nelson and Bill Palmquist dissented.
Ever had a rock collection? How about a leaf collection? Are you interested in fossils or insects? Well the R.H. Stafford Library has the place for you this summer -- the Collectors' Corner. In cooperation with the Science Museum of Minnesota, the library will be the first to bring a satellite location of the Collectors' Corner Trading Post outside the museum. Library manager Chad Lubbers said he hopes to instill a love of science in young readers. "We wanted to set up a program to encourage work in the natural world for kids," library manager Chad Lubbers said.
It was home on the range in Afton last weekend when the buffaloes roamed at the Belwin Conservancy near Afton. A herd of bison was released into the Belwin Conservancy's prairies on June 13 while hundreds of onlookers watched as buffalo stampeded out of their trailers onto the open land. The bison are part of a unique partnership between NorthStar Bison and Kowalski's Markets. Belwin first hosted a herd of bison last summer when nearly 300 people came out to view the animals. New this year is an observation tower erected for spectators.
Kevin P. O'Hara has been an artist for 36 years, ever since he was a freshman in high school. "In high school they have the different groups, the jocks, the freaks, the nerds and I didn't really hang out with any of them, I just hung out in the art room," he said.
Most college students plan trips to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico or Florida for their summer vacations. Woodbury resident Joy McBrien and her best friend Kaitlin Durkin from Oakdale, however, have other summer plans -- they will be spending a month, from July 15 to Aug. 15, in Chimbote, Peru to help start up a battered women's shelter. "I feel like we're both so gifted with what we have that we need to give back somehow and now it's the perfect opportunity," Durkin said.
The lawsuit against Afton resident Jeffrey Walker and his allegedly illegal airstrip will be stuck on the runway for a bit longer. A jury trial was set for June 15 at 8:30 a.m., but prior to the trial, Walker's attorney made a motion to be removed from the case. The motion was granted.