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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While a budget didn't get passed, plenty of other things did during the 2011 Legislative Session. Here is a list of several of the laws that went into effect July 1, according to the Minnesota House of Representatives information services. Synthetic marijuana has been banned. It is a gross misdemeanor to sell synthetic marijuana or to possess it. The drug has a number of names including K2 or Spice. A new law requires repeat DWI offender and first time offenders whose alcohol concentration is at least double the legal limit to use an ignition interlock device to drive in Minnesota.
Underneath the University of Minnesota's UMore property lies 170 million tons of sand and gravel.
Sustainability has become a buzzword these days in reference to a green lifestyle, but the term means different things to different people.
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.