Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening.
You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'.
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A key element of the University of Minnesota's UMore Park project is creating a sustainable community. Project planners hope information gathered in an April 7 public forum will help them better define what that means. The vision for UMore Park is for a sustainable, modern, University-founded community of 20,000 to 30,000 people developed over 25 to 30 years. The public forum will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 7 at the Rosemount Community Center.
Are you a poet who knows it? The Dakota County Library System is taking submissions for its annual poetry contest through the end of March. Farmington Library manager Mary Scheide said the contest is a good way for aspiring writers to get their work out into the public. "It's a shot to get creative work out there," said Scheide. Poets of all ages can submit original poems. Awards and prizes will be given to the top three entries in five age groups: children age 6-9; children age 10-11; teens age 12-14; teens age 15-18; and adults age 19 and older.
Daniel Olson is a 17 year-old Farmington High School student. He's a good student, who has a passion for German and history. He's also autistic. As a little boy doctors told Daniel's parents he may not ever speak. The family didn't accept that and have worked tirelessly with Daniel to defy that prognosis. "He's worked so hard to get where he's at," said his mom, Peggy Olson. The family's hard work has paid off. Daniel is in mainstream classes at Farmington High School. He lettered in marching and concert band. And his dad says he's an exceptional artist.
2011 will be a big year for the UMore project on several levels. In the next year there will be an environmental review that will essentially establish the capacity of the 5,000 acres owned by the University of Minnesota, much of which is in Empire Township. The city of Rosemount will also establish an ordinance to govern gravel mining operations on the property and the university will get more specifics about its plans for the sustainable living project. The university owns the property, which straddles the Rosemount-Empire Township border.
Tough times call for tough decisions and the Dakota County Board of Commissioners has had to make plenty of those this year. One of those decisions was to cut funding for the popular Dakota County Master Gardner program. On Dec. 14 the Dakota County Commissioners approved their 2011 budget. Part of that process was cutting funding to the University of Minnesota Extension, which pays for a staff person, Barbara Stendahl, to coordinate the master gardener program. "We're sad this happened, but we understand it.
It will take years to come to fruition but eventually residents will be able to walk, bike or run around Dakota County. With the help of cities within it, county planners have put together a plan to interconnect green areas countywide. The plan, called the Greenway Collaborative, calls for government agencies within the county to work together to create 200 miles of trails. The trails, some of which already exist, will connect large natural areas to others within the county through an eco conscious system.
The Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce will host a candidate forum from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at city hall. The first hour of the forum will focus on the on legislative races. The candidates for the District 36 State Senate race are Dave Thompson (R) and Steve Quist (DFL). Both seek the seat vacated this year by the retiring Pat Pariseau. The State Representative candidates in District 36B are incumbent Pat Garofalo (R) and Sigrid Iversen (DFL). The second hour will focus on the city council race. Two seats are open on the Farmington City Council.
The Dakota Communications Center has postponed hiring a new executive director until after the New Year. Interim executive director Diane Lind will continue to lead the 911 dispatch center until then. "The board has decided to take a step back and go into a holding pattern," said Lind. The board made the decision July 14 after months of searching for a replacement for Kent Therkelsen.
A young man was shot and killed early Monday night at the Car Spa Car Wash. Police responded to the incident shortly after 6 p.m. According to information from the city, officers found a 22-year-old male dead at the scene. The victim, whose name was not released, was from Apple Valley. Witnesses reported seeing a suspect leave the scene in a 1997 to 2000 gold or tan Mercury Sable. The suspect is described as a light-skinned black male, 25-30 years old and possibly 6'3" or taller. Detectives are interviewing witnesses to determine the events leading up to the shooting.
The Dakota Communications Center executive committee has recommended Diane Lind be named the interim executive director for the center. The board of directors will vote June 17 on whether to approve the recommendation. A few delays have pushed back the decision on a new executive director for the center until mid-July. Current executive director Kent Therkelsen's last day is June 30, so the board has to pick an interim director. Therkelsen said Lind, who is the center's operations director, is in the best position to take over in the interim after his departure.