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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If you're a witch, you would be wise to stay away from Woodbury High School on April 30-May 2 because you may just get swept up into a witch hunt. WHS will be presenting "The Crucible," Arthur Miller's Tony Award-winning drama about the Puritan purge of witchcraft in old Salem during the famous Salem witch trials. For the detailed feature story and photos about the WHS production of "The Crucible," see the April 29 Woodbury Bulletin.
Pets are always there for their owners, but now they need someone to be there for them. Over the last year, the number of pets having to be surrendered to the Animal Humane Society or rescue organizations has skyrocketed because of inabilities to care fully for their families, let alone their pets, in the poor economy. This is why AllBreed Obedience and Behavioral School has started a food drive to help collect pet food to donate to both Christian Cupboard and the White Bear Lake Area Food Shelf.
Families came out in full force for the Liberty Ridge Elementary and Royal Oaks elementary school carnivals held on April 18. Both carnivals offered a lot of the same fun for its students, including a variety of carnivals games with prizes, an assortment of food, moon bounces, silent auctions and face painting. For the detailed feature story and photos from the two schools' carnivals, see the April 22 Woodbury Bulletin.
The Afton City Council has ended their relationship with both SEH and Jensen, Bell, Converse and Erickson PA when the council approved plans to hire two consultants, city attorney and city engineer, at a special meeting on April 20. Hiring of the new consultants is contingent upon acceptance of the positions. Frederic W. "Fritz" Knaak of Knaak & Kantrud P.A.. will be replacing Mitch Converse as city attorney, whereas Diane Hankee of WSB & Associates will replace John Perotti as city engineer. Knaak is currently the city attorney in Newport and Hankee is the city engineer for Grant.
Valley Crossing Community School second grade students welcomed home Tech Sgt. John McCoy from Iraq when he visited the Woodbury school April 8. Beginning last October, the students sent letters and care packages to McCoy in Iraq during his deployment there with the U.S. Air Force. McCoy spoke to classes about his experiences and expressed his greatest thanks for the gifts he had received. The idea for the project was suggested by a parent of one of the students, who is a relative of McCoy.
Colombian-born Detective John Santana from St. Paul is hot on the trail of an assassin who killed two prominent leaders of St. Paul's Hispanic community -- the owner of the largest Hispanic newspaper in the Midwest and a prominent immigration lawyer, both of whom were born in Mexico. This is the setup for "White Tombs," the debut novel from Woodbury author Christopher Valen, who's real name is Jerry Peterson. "White Tombs" is the first in a series about Santana. The majority of the book takes place in St. Paul's West Side.
The city of Afton has reached a settlement agreement with FOC, LLC and Atomic Properties in the lawsuit against the city. The settlement agreement was approved at a special meeting Tuesday, April 14. The 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.
Who doesn't love a dog? With floppy ears, sad eyes and a usually friendly disposition, it's no wonder they're nicknamed "man's best friend." But people still need to be careful around them, because under that cute canine face can be a set of decidedly-sharp teeth. The Hudson Road Animal Hospital is offering a free "Dog Bite Prevention Program," which gives tips and lessons about how to act around a dog to prevent getting bitten. "Dogs are fun, they love to play, they're happy animals," Marcella Ward, practice manager at Hudson Road Animal Hospital, said.
Afton is taking steps to become greener than it already is, and becoming more innovative in the process. At the April 6 meeting of the Afton Planning Commission, commissioners heard a presentation from Peter Vujovich, a representative from the design and review committee, about the Minnesota GreenStar Program.
Once again, the River Valley Riders (RVR) are galloping towards the finish line after the Afton Planning Commission approved the application for a conditional use permit to construct an outdoor riding arena. The planning commission originally sent the application to the city council at its March meeting. But prior to the meeting, the applicants asked to be remanded back to the planning commission because of substantial changes to their application. Rather than having RVR re-apply, the council approved their request to be remanded.