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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I don't know if there is an unwritten rule when it comes to writing columns about NCAA tournament picks. That's one of the biggest problems with unwritten rules: they're really hard to keep track of. There's a reason we invented pens, folks. I think there may be an unwritten rule about writing NCAA tournament columns, though, and it appears to be that you do well with your NCAA picks you don't talk about doing well with your NCAA tournament picks.
The name on the title and the sign on the front of the building will change, but Farmington American Legion commander Leonard Weisbrich promises the club itself is not going anywhere. The Legion has signed a purchase agreement to sell its building at 10 Eighth St. Weisbrich didn't disclose the purchase price, but he said it will be enough to take care of a $760,000 debt from a loan the club took out to complete repairs following a 2008 fire. "We're going to come out of it free and clear so we don't have the burden of the finances anymore," Weisbrich said.
In honor of my first significant outdoor bike ride of the year, I'd like to take a moment to talk about a true pioneer in the bicycling world. Dan Henry, who died earlier this month at the age of 99, has made a number of important contributions to bicycling culture. He did early work on suspension systems for bicycles, and he created something called the sling saddle, which is a little like a hammock for your bike. He also gained notoriety, apparently, for a demonstration in which, riding a bicycle on rollers, he stripped down to his shorts, then dressed again.
A Wanamingo man's attempt to hide from police wasn't enough to keep him out of trouble with the law. Gerald Padelford caught a Farmington police officer's attention last Jan. 15 when his car reportedly drifted over the centerline. The officer turned around to follow and found Padelford parked in a driveway with his lights off. According to a complaint filed in the Dakota County Attorney's office, Padelford, 39, was sweating heavily and speaking very fast. He told the officer he had pulled into the driveway to turn around because he was lost.
Farmington superintendent Jay Haugen sees excitement growing around the idea of iPads and other new technology in the classroom. The result could be shiny new tablets for every student in the district as early as next fall. Earlier this year a group of district representatives joined a group from the Spring Lake Park School District on a trip to Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. When he came back, board member Brian Treakle called what he saw "the direction education is going." Others seem to feel that way, too.
Farmington firefighters dealt with two brush fires over the weekend, and the city's fire marshal believes conditions will be ripe for more in the days ahead. The first of the two fires was reported at noon Saturday in the woods behind Dodge Middle School. The second was reported at 4 p.m. Sunday in a rural area off of 220th Street. Fire marshal John Powers said both were under control within about an hour. While neither fire was particularly difficult to extinguish, Powers said getting to them was challenging. "One of them was in a swampy area," he said.
From improved air conditioning to upgraded science labs to bigger rooms for kindergarten students, several Farmington schools are in line for improvements following a Monday vote by the Farmington School Board. Board members voted at their regular meeting to approve roughly $8.2 million in projects around the district. The money will come from bonds originally intended for a sixth elementary school that is no longer needed because of a slowdown in growth. Farmington Elementary School, the district's oldest school building, will be the biggest beneficiary of the projects.
After going largely dormant over the winter, a local effort to drive business development is showing new signs of life for spring. Grow Farmington, a partnership of city and school officials with local business owners, drew more than 50 people to a meeting March 6 to talk about efforts to promote Farmington as a destination for businesses and shoppers. It was the first large-scale meeting the group has held since August.
There were some close races in Tuesday's township elections, including a couple in which there was only one candidate. In Eureka Township, incumbent Nancy Sauber lost her Supervisor 3 position by two votes to Mark Ceminski, 161-159. Gloria Belzer was the only candidate on the ballot for Eureka's Supervisor 4 position, but she lost to write-in candidate Steve Madden, who received 158 votes. Belzer received 149 votes. There was no incumbent in the Supervisor 4 race. There was no incumbent in the night's best-populated race, either.
The city of Farmington has a plan, and by this time next year, Farmington firefighters should have the new fire truck they've been looking for. Four of five council members offered support at a Monday night workshop for a plan that will allow the department to start the process of ordering the approximately $555,000 combination engine and rescue truck.