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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Stealth towers, monopines, monopoles, telecommunication towers -- call them what you will in Afton, just don't call them gone. At the May 19 meeting of the Afton City Council, the council approved amendments to the telecommunication tower ordinance designating where and what kind of towers can be erected in Afton since the tower moratorium is set to expire in June. "I understand that the goal is that we would like to have as few towers as possible in the city limits of Afton," city planner Chuck Marohn said.
What started out as a simple application for several variances to construct a non-conforming accessory structure, turned into a lengthy discussion about residents of Afton acting illegally. At the May 19 meeting of the Afton City Council, the council reviewed an application from Mike and Trudy Berggren requesting several variances so that they may tear down three dilapidated accessory structures and construct one new 940 square-foot structure. The structure is proposed to be a story and a half in height.
Afton's settlement agreement with FOC, LLC and Atomic Properties will have to wait until the June meeting before it is official. A lawsuit was brought upon the city in 2007 after the plaintiffs had purchased 69 acres of land that had been rezoned as industrial in the city's comprehensive plan, but then the city adopted ordinance amendments establishing regulations on the property.
Perhaps District 833 and the frustrated residents of the Wedgewood Point neighborhood have finally reached a compromise over the boundary changes scheduled for next year. In February Woodbury residents Kendra and Tim Goertzen filed a lawsuit with the Minnesota Court of Appeals over their neighborhood being divided and the fact that their appeal to the district for boundary amendments was denied. The Goertzens previously attended Middleton Elementary, which is a little over a mile away from their home, but the boundary decision moved them to Bailey Elementary, roughly three miles away.
Clowns -- you either love them or you hate them, but for Middleton Elementary students, they got to be them. On May 17, Middleton fourth grade students donned big shoes, goofy wigs and colorful makeup as part of their Compas artist-in-residency program. For a feature story and numerous photos about the Middleton Elementary students learning the art of clowning, see the May 27 Woodbury Bulletin print edition.
The lawsuit against Afton resident Jeffrey Walker and his allegedly illegal airstrip will be delayed once again. New Afton city attorney Fritz Knaak informed the city council at its May 19 meeting that the jury trial has been postponed until June 15 so that he can acquaint himself to the case and prepare for the trial.
It was a sea of blue and white at Woodbury High School May 14 when soon-to-graduate seniors took the first step towards their commencement march when they collected their caps and gowns. The cafeteria overflow was alive with students anxiously anticipating their futures, but also reminiscing with friends and faculty about everything the last four years has brought them. For graduating senior Alexis Swanson, the quickly approaching end to her college career still seems like a blur. "It all seems really surreal," she said.
Ever since the H1N1 Virus, or Swine Flu, has taken to the streets, Americans are concerned for the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones. For international pandemics such as this, everyone is turning to their officials and their city to help prepare them for the worst. In Afton's case, they are turning to their Public Health Preparedness Plan. Afton's Public Health Preparedness Plan, which was approved in December by the City Council, was drafted by Afton's Community Health Emergency Preparedness Committee, which has since dissolved.
Military veteran and singer-songwriter Mathew Griswold's dreams of fame and a successful music career have been abruptly put on hold. He has been recalled back into the United States Army for another tour. Griswold, a Woodbury resident, returned in December after spending five years in the Army in hopes of pursuing his music, but six months later, his plans changed when the unwanted letter arrived in the mail. "For over two hours it was a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions -- I experienced just about every emotion possible," Griswold said.
Woodbury Elementary School students got up close and personal with several critters from tropical rain forests May 13 when the Minnesota Zoomobile rolled into Woodbury. For a feature story and numerous photos about the Zoomobile's visit to Woodbury Elementary School, see the May 20 Woodbury Bulletin print edition.