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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The topic of expanding the Spanish immersion program is once again on the minds of District 833 leaders. Earlier this school year, the School Board initiated discussions on how to expand the elementary Spanish immersion program, known as Nuevas Fronteras and housed at Crestview Elementary School in Cottage Grove. Options included moving students out of neighborhood elementary schools so Spanish immersion could have a freestanding building, but discussions fizzled in December after parents expressed frustration with the options.
Politicians will have to pay to play in Afton's annual Fourth of July Parade this summer. The Afton City Council recently approved a policy requiring politicians and candidates to pay $50 to march in the popular holiday parade. It is free for other entrants. Previously, Afton did not charge politicians. "They really don't bring anything to the parade," Mayor Pat Snyder said. Council member Randy Nelson disagreed. "I do think they bring something," he said.
Gregory Seftick, the Afton native gone missing in Grand Teton National Park while skiing, was found dead Sunday. Seftick and his skiing partner, Walker Pannell Kuhl, were found buried under 15 feet of snow near a large boulder, according to Jackie Skaggs, public affairs officer for the National Park Service. The location was within avalanche debris in Garnet Canyon Meadows in the park. "It was a pretty dramatic find," Skaggs said. Seftick was a 1998 graduate of Stillwater Area High School and was living in Columbia Falls, Mont.
An Afton native and 1998 Stillwater Area High School graduate is missing after a hiking trip turned ugly at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. A search by the National Park Service has been under way since Sunday for Gregory Seftick, 31, after he and another man went missing. Seftick's parents, Afton residents Susan and Daniel, were at Grand Teton National Park on Thursday. According to Jackie Skaggs, public affairs officer for Grand Teton National Park, Seftick and Walker Pannell-Kuhl, 27, of Salt Lake City, set off on a ski trip Saturday afternoon at about 1 p.m.
East Ridge High School is hoping to emphasize the importance of community service to its students, so who better to hear from than a governor who made community service central to his inauguration speech. Gov. Mark Dayton visited East Ridge Tuesday to speak with students about community service. "Community involvement is the most meaningful part of anything I've done," Dayton said.
The St. Croix River is climbing toward flood stage in Afton. As of Thursday, The National Weather Service on Thursday measured the river height at 86.25 feet. Flood stage is 87 feet. "87 is our magic number," said Afton Public Works Director Ken Johnson. Predictions point to the St. Croix River hitting flood stage this weekend and cresting at 87.7 feet next Wednesday. It will represent the second crest of the spring on the St. Croix. The first crest was below flood stage at Afton. Gov.
Edward Jaworski, of Mahtomedi, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of criminal vehicular operation, one count of drunken driving and one count of driving after cancellation in Washington County District Court. Jaworski was involved in an Aug. 22, 2010, crash at Valley Creek Road and Woodbury Drive that severely injured East Ridge High School student Sean Fitzpatrick. Two other teens, Woodbury High School students Paige Plunkett and Chelsea Vadnais, were also in a car with Fitzpatrick when it was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by Jaworski.
Minnesota's oldest ice cream parlor is up for sale. Selma's Ice Cream Parlour in Afton has sat vacant since the winter of 2009, when it closed for the season and never reopened. Selma's eventually went into foreclosure and was bought by CorTrust Bank at a sheriff's sale for $746,611.60. CorTrust Bank, which is based in Mitchell, S.D., has a branch in Woodbury. Northmarq is handling the sale. The asking price is $299,000. Ronn Thomas, vice president of brokerage for Northmarq, said Selma's has been on the market for the last few months.
Ann Haering's fight has come to an end. The East Ridge High School senior, and Woodbury resident, died Sunday, Feb. 20 after her battle with leukemia. She was 18. "My best memory of Ann will be when she could just be herself in between when she was sick," said Samantha Greeley, an East Ridge senior and friend of Haering's. "I'll remember when she could just have fun with us." Haering's fight had been a roller coaster for the past four years. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Feb.
For past few weeks local parents have been advocating to save their neighborhood elementary schools from possible closure to make room for an expanded Spanish Immersion program. However, one group - students at the Gateway gifted and talented program - has been mostly quiet until now. A group of Gateway parents at Bailey Elementary, which houses the Gateway program, is circulating a petition requesting that no change be made to the schools.