Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.
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When Dakota County voters approved a $20 million funding for the Farmland and Natural Area Program in 2003, their goal was to protect farmland and natural areas as development grew up around the county. Much of that goal has been accomplished in the past nine years. As of 2012, the estimated value of land protected or in the process of being protected is more than $75 million. Program manager Al Singer provided a status report to the Dakota County Board of Commissioners this week. The county has dedicated $19,845,015 for county land protection.
Castle Rock Valley Cemetery is a peaceful place on a sunny spring afternoon. The rows of stone monuments are arranged on a low hill surrounded by farm fields, the grass neatly trimmed and greenery dots a landscaped area at the property's entrance. It's picturesque, but the group that manages the cemetery's operations are increasingly worried about how long they can keep it that way. They're not alone, either. Cemeteries around Farmington and around the country are facing trouble paying the bills.
Southern Dakota County residents who provide a residence or location for people younger than 21 to come together and consume alcohol will be held responsible as of June 1, according to a newly-adopted social host ordinance. At its regular meeting this week, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners adopted a social host ordinance effective in cities and townships in the southern part of the county.
Sometime between now and the first week of June, Shidor, a secondhand store located at the corner of Third and Oak streets, will move half a block south to a new location. The new spot, a former Dueber's department store most recently occupied by a pair of churches, is twice the store's current size. Before it can open for business, though, there is work to do. On Monday, boxes and piles of items were spread around the room. Two volunteers and store owner Michelle Overbey sorted through them, trying to bring some kind of order to the collection.
Farmington's representatives at the Minnesota capitol were on opposite sides of the highest-profile issue of the recently completed legislative session. Rep. Pat Garofalo voted for the bill that provided state funding for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium. Sen. Dave Thompson voted against it. Thompson has been a longtime opponent of state funding for a Vikings stadium. "I've been on record not only as a legislator, but in my former life (as a radio talk show host)," Thompson said.
Spring is nearly over, and with it, garage sale season. Late April through Memorial Day is the peak season. The Last Hope garage sale, one of my favorite annual sales, is happening right now in Farmington. The Last Hope sale runs through 3 p.m. Saturday in the strip mall at 18400 Pilot Knob Road. The garage sale is indoors, right next door to Akin Hills Pet Hospital, so rain or shine it's a good place to shop.
We've gotten to the time of the year that kids are getting anxious for the summer, but to our disappointment it is important to keep up with our grades, because they are what count in the long run. In all my classes, kids are slowly starting to get sidetracked on non-school related topics and are just in general more carefree and crazy. Do not get me wrong: I am one of them as well. I'm just stating a fact. I even think some teachers are feeling the same way.
The iPads are coming. Well, some of them are, anyway. The Farmington School Board voted unanimously Monday to spend $303,684 on a three-year lease for 630 iPad 2s, eight classroom carts and software to outfit all of the district's teachers over the summer. It is the first step in a process that could eventually put one of the popular tablet computers in the hands of every student in the district. Superintendent Jay Haugen laid out a familiar timeline for the implementation at Monday night's meeting.
Back at the beginning, Farmington's Trinity Lutheran Church didn't look much like it does today. There was no big stone building. There was no building at all, actually. Early on, there wasn't even a name. There was just a pastor, six families and a few locations around town where church members could meet. A lot can change in three quarters of a century. The church will celebrate its 75th anniversary throughout 2012, starting May 20 with a hymnfest service and an indoor picnic.
The Farmington School Board restructured superintendent Jay Haugen's cabinet Monday night, eliminating four positions and replacing them with at least one and probably more. Monday's vote eliminated the positions of assistant superintendent, director of teaching and learning and secondary literacy coach teacher on special assignment as well as one of the district's technology integration teachers on special assignment.