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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Eleven volunteers from Woodbury's Five Oaks Community Church who are in Haiti on a mission trip to assist with an orphanage project are safe after the 7.0 earthquake hit the country on Tuesday Jan. 12, according to their church pastor. The volunteers traveled to Haiti on Saturday, Jan. 9 to assist with the construction of All God's Children orphanage in Fedja, Haiti. Fedja is about 45 miles north of the country's capitol of Port-au-Prince. All volunteers are safe and the orphanage received no considerable damage, Pastor Henry Williams said.
Spc. Dan Drevnick, of Woodbury, was laid to rest on Saturday July 25 when friends and family came out to say their goodbyes at the fallen soldiers' funeral at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Woodbury. "We come here today with humble and grateful hearts," Pastor Timothy Hackbarth said. "Dan faced his life head on and fearless -- and he will forever be remembered." Drevnick, 22, died on July 16 in Basra, Iraq, while serving as part of the National Guard Red Bull 34th Infantry Division, when there unit was attacked by indirect fire. Two other soldiers from Minnesota, Carlos E.
Denise Minea grew up around music, as her family was a very musical one. Ever since she was a young girl, she has been singing in church choirs, too. Now Minea, a Woodbury resident, is hoping to reach others with her debut album of Christian folk music, "In This Life: Reflections on Birch Point." "It won't be everybody's cup of tea, but it will definitely speak to some people," Minea said.
Afton city attorney Fritz Knaak may have his work cut out for him in Afton, but there is another case currently commanding his attention -- Minnesota's U.S. Senate recount. Knaak, of the law firm Knaak and Kantrud PA, and a Vadnais Heights resident, is one of several attorneys working on Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's case against Democratic contender Al Franken. Both Coleman's and Franken's points of view are scheduled to be heard in the Minnesota Supreme Court on Monday, June 1. "It's about as important of a case that will be heard in the Supreme Court," Knaak said.
Greg and Heidi Case of Woodbury were like any expectant parents -- thrilled and excited for their bundle of joy to arrive. But when Heidi was 30 weeks into her pregnancy, she had a premonition something was wrong. "I just felt like something's not right and 'I just don't feel comfortable,'" she said. Heidi was right. Their baby girl, Ellery, had too much fluid in her chest cavity. There could have been a number of reasons for this, but one thing for sure was that it was serious and it needed to be addressed immediately.