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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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.
For the past 10 years, Ashley Hurley has been haunting and scaring at Zywiec's Haunting Experience in Cottage Grove. "Making people scream is my favorite thing," she said. Hurley, who now acts as the Haunting Experience manager, learned to scare from her father, who was also a haunter. "My dad was actually the first person to take me through Zywiec's," Hurley said. "I loved it and from there on out, I loved everything about Halloween." Now in its 21st year, Zywiec's has grown to become one of the best haunted houses in Minnesota.
During the day Brenda Stanton, of Woodbury, is a paraprofessional at Pine Hill Elementary School in Cottage Grove, but during her off time, Stanton can be found experimenting in her kitchen. Stanton sells all-natural energy bars and gourmet popcorn with her business Driving Force Energy Co. Stanton sells such flavors of popcorn as blueberry, chocolate, peanut butter, peppermint, jalapeno, strawberry, rhubarb, caramel and even spicy habanera.
When fall rolls around, it brings with it cooler weather, changing leaves and fresh, crisp apples. "When you bite into a fresh Minnesota apple, it doesn't get much better than that," said John McPherson, who is the orchard director at the Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings. For many families, heading out to the apple orchard is a tradition, whether it's to pick a few apples, drink some hot cider or maybe just go for a hayride. "It's a chance for some people to be outside," said Alice McDougall, owner of McDougall's Apple Junction in Denmark Township.