Staff and community members at Skyview Elementary School in Oakdale are pitching in to help a family displaced by a townhouse fire on April 9.

The Vang family lost everything, a North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District news release said.

A daughter attends Skyview Elementary, and supporters there are planning a fundraiser on Tuesday, May 14, that will include a silent auction and a bazaar with many student-created craft items. The event runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the school at 1100 Heron Av. N.

The family lived in a townhouse in the 1100 block of Hillvale Av. N. in Oakdale, not far from Skyview school. The home, which sat on a corner lot, is no longer there. The townhouse next door also sustained fire damage and is unfit for occupancy, according to a sign on the door.

In addition to the silent auction and bazaar, the fundraiser will include a dance, open gym, bingo and an inflatable jump house donated by the North St. Paul Fire Department.

Wristbands will be sold at the door for $5 to cover admission to the dance, open gym and inflatable house. Purchases of items from the bazaar and the silent auction, as well as concessions and bingo games, are to be made separately.


St. Thomas student wins merit scholarship

Kevin Riehm, a Stillwater resident who attends St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, has won a National Merit Scholarship.

He was Washington County's lone recipient of the $2,500 award, the second in a series to be announced by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. First-round winners of corporate-sponsored scholarships were named on April 24, and included seven county residents.

Recipients also are to be named on May 29 and July 15, a news release said.

Students qualified for the scholarships by taking the 2011 PSAT. In September, about 16,000 were named semifinalists, and about 8,000 will be chosen to receive scholarships totaling more than $35 million.

As for Riehm, he is likely to pursue a career in computer science, the news release said.

Students participate in capture of deer

Stillwater Area High School students curious about the movements of urban deer had the experience recently of helping to capture a yearling doe and fitting it with a radio collar.

The deer's movements are to be monitored for a year, after which the battery in the collar will expire and the collar will release itself, a school district news release said.

The students were led by teacher Andy Weaver as part of his field biology and Advanced Placement biology classes.

A team of experts from the Wildlife Science Center in Columbus, Minn., also assisted in the project.

A slideshow is available on the district's Facebook page.


Student makes finals in national poetry tilt

Woodbury High School senior Yemi Ajagbe made a strong showing in the National Poetry Out Loud event in Washington, D.C., on April 29-30.

She advanced to the nine-person finals on the event's second day, but did not qualify for the championship round, which featured three contestants.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts website, Ajagbe recited "Give All To Love" by Ralph Waldo Emerson and "I Am the People, the Mob," by Carl Sandburg.

In March, she repeated as Poetry Out Loud state champion. As one of nine national finalists, she collected a $1,000 award, and Woodbury High is to receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books, a South Washington County School District news release said.

Anthony Lonetree