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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Two West St. Paul men face felony drug charges after a Dakota County Sheriff's deputy found marijuana plants in their car during a Sept. 28 traffic stop. The deputy stopped the car for speeding in Castle Rock Township. According to a complaint filed last week in the Dakota County Attorney's office, during the stop the deputy saw what appeared to be raw marijuana plants in the car. According to the complaint, both the driver of the vehicle, 73-year-old Nicholas Salvador Ramirez, and the passenger, 45-year-old Carlos Salvador Cordona, both claimed the marijuana was for medicinal use.
Howard Rapp was in a rush to find out if he was a lottery winner, but he took his time claiming his prize. Maybe he was doing some financial planning. Rapp won $1 million in the Nov. 18 Mega Millions lottery drawing. He claimed his prize Dec. 5 at the Lottery's office in Roseville. Rapp found out about the win two weeks ago while he was buying groceries. He scanned the ticket using a checker at the store and got a message informing him he needed to claim his prize at the Lottery office. That got him excited. "I hurried up and bought a newspaper and ran home," he said this week.
Are you ready for it? Are you ready for this holiday season? With Thanksgiving out of the way, you have little over a month to get ready for the craziness of Christmas, but are you prepared for it? Prepared for all the gift wrapping, the holiday shopping and the pounds a-gaining? All the snow, ice and decorating to do? I sure hope so, because it is just around the corner. With the Thanksgiving weekend being so beautiful, I hope you all started to put up your outdoor Christmas lights; who likes to do that in the freezing snow we got a quick glimpse of a few weekends ago?
I spent part of last Saturday morning using my lawn mower to mulch the leaves that remained in my yard. The mulching mower, as you perhaps know, is the lazy man's rake. But that's not really the point. The point is, as I watched those leaves disappear under my mower only to be chopped to tiny bits, I couldn't help but think about Black Friday. In this case, the leaves getting mulched were a stand-in for basic human dignity.
Players in Farmington's youth basketball program got to learn from the Farmington High School varsity teams Thursday night, then got to meet the players and get their autographs. Varsity players from the Tiger boys and girls teams ran drills for the youth players, then scrimmaged and held a slam dunk contest. Farmington Youth Athletic Association president Kevin Hunt worked out the annual event with the high school coaches as a way to provide some instruction for the younger players and remind the high school students they have people looking up to them.
A 43-year-old Farmington man faces gross misdemeanor charges of malicious punishment following a July incident in which he allegedly hit two girls, ages 11 and 13, with a belt. According to a complaint filed in the Dakota County Attorney's office, Dakota County Sheriff's deputies started investigating Ronald Green July 20 after receiving a report that he "whooped" the girls for not properly supervising his children. The girls told deputies Green would hit them with a leather belt with a silver buckle.
Dozens of military families in the Farmington area will get some help indulging their holiday sweet tooth thanks to a group that's willing to turn Christmas baking into a good deed. Farmington's Warrior to Citizen group will hold its third annual cookie walk Sunday at the Trinity Terrace senior apartments.
Snowmobilers have only had a small window for riding so far this winter, but one Farmington man has already gotten himself in trouble with police. He can blame a wet wallet for giving him away. According to a complaint filed last week in the Dakota County Attorney's office, Robert Astgen, 35, was racing his snowmobile up and down 180th Street Nov. 19, much to the annoyance of residents in the area. They called police, and when officers showed up they watched a snowmobiler drive across Pilot Knob Road without slowing to look for traffic.
What's charity but something good done to help someone in need? Then again, some people flinch at the sound of the word. To them it means weakness, pity and being degraded. They couldn't be more wrong. We all fall at times, some harder than others. There's no doubt times are tough, but the only thing you can do about it is to keep your head held high and take help when appropriate. If you're fortunate enough to have a roof over your head and food on the table, then give back. It can be as simple as putting your change in the Salvation Army bucket or volunteering.
Dakota County is planning to once again hold steady its share of residents' property taxes for 2012. The preliminary levy, as set in September, is at $129.4 million. But some taxpayers may already have seen some increases in their property taxes for the next few years, because of what the Minnesota State Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton did this past summer to balance the state's budget. Dakota County's tax rate remains the lowest county tax rate in the state.