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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For a better part of the last decade Ashley Hurley has been perfecting her scaring skills at Zywiec's Haunting Experience in Cottage Grove. "Making people scream is my favorite thing," said Hurley, a 2010 graduate of Woodbury High School, who works as manager of the Haunting Experience. Participating in the ghoulish fun has been a family tradition for the Hurleys, as Ashley's father Brian was a haunter for many years. "My dad was actually the first person to take me through Zywiecs," Hurley said.
There is a City Council race in Afton this year, but another vote is on the minds of many residents - the Afton Charter. The Afton Charter Commission, who drafted the document, approved the proposed Afton City Charter earlier this summer. A charter city is one where the governing system is defined by the city's own charter document rather than by state, provincial, regional or national laws. There are more than 100 charter cities throughout Minnesota.
For some girls, being named homecoming queen is something they hope and dream of. But that hasn't been Ann Haering's focus as of late. The East Ridge High School senior is currently at the University of Minnesota Medical Center recovering from a bone/blood marrow transplant and subsequent complications related to her battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. As a result she was not able to take part in the Spirit Week festivities.
Crosswinds East Metro Arts and Science Middle School has a new, but familiar, face in the principal's office. Bryan Bass has officially taken up the position at Crosswinds after he served as interim principal for the past month and a half. "I'm proud to be here," Bass said.
When Michael Frome Academy shut its doors and moved to St. Paul Park earlier this summer it was uncertain what was going to happen with its abandoned building. Michael Frome Academy moved because of a growing student population. The "8500 building," as it is referred to, is once again abuzz with students now that neighboring Math and Science Academy is utilizing the space. MSA, which serves grades 6-12, has leased the building for three years. "It came as an opportunity for us to relieve the number of people in this building more than it is an expansion," MSA director Paul Simone said.
Think back to the first play you ever saw as a kid. Were you in awe? Did it feel like a magical world? Woodbury High School theater director Karen Seashore said that is the feeling many children get the first time they see a show. The Seashores, Karen and Jon, will be holding a theater workshop on Oct. 30 for second through eighth graders to show some of the inner workings of the theater. "Many of the students may go to a show, but they won't be able to see what's behind the stage and how it's all put together," Seashore said.
After having worked for the city of Afton in form or another from the past 17 years, one might think that current Afton City Council member Peg Nolz has served enough, but not Nolz. "I am committed to my city and there is much work left undone," she said. Nolz is running unopposed for the Ward 3 seat. During her eight years on the Afton City Council, Nolz assisted with the paving of all of Afton's roads, helped with the approval of Cedar Bluff Development project, helped develop the open space ordinance, among many more important issues.
Afton residents will have a fairly easy choice on the Nov. 2 ballot in terms of mayor; currently Afton mayor, Pat Snyder, is running unopposed for re-election to her second term as mayor. "I believe it is important to continue the progress we have made in the last two years toward managing development in a way that preserves Afton's unique character," she said. Snyder said she has no idea why she is unopposed this year. "I hope it is because the residents of Afton are satisfied with my performance as mayor and want an inclusive, effective administration to continue," she said.
It has been four years since Kuchen Meyer found herself sitting at the council table in Afton City Hall. Meyer served as the Ward 2 council member from 2002-2006, but in 2006 she lost her seat to current city council member Joe Richter. Now, Meyer said she is ready to get back into the council seat. Meyer said the biggest issue that has inspired her to serve once again is the pending possibility of Afton becoming a charter city. "The charter commission and the Afton charter has brought me back into the arena -- I'm a proponent of the charter," she said.
The 2010 race for the Ward 2 Afton City Council seat may seem somewhat familiar. Current council member Joe Richter will face off against challenger Kuchen Meyer, a former council member, who Richter defeated in the 2006 election. "I think people have a clear choice," Richter said. Richter said he decided to run for re-election for a second term because he felt that the city was in a good position and he wanted to see that continue.