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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A fight that started over a mess made with makeup escalated to one sister choking another Aug. 18 in Farmington. The Dakota County Attorney's office has charged 32-year-old Kristen Michelle Graham with felony domestic assault after she reportedly choked her sister and threw dog bones at the woman's windshield until it broke. According to a complaint filed this week in the Dakota County Attorney's office, the fight started because Graham's niece made a mess with makeup. Graham said her sister offered to clean the mess, but that she refused and told her sister to leave.
The Farmington School District will use a $400,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Education to help students who are struggling with math and reading. The money, part of the state's Alternative Delivery of Specialized Education program, will pay for intervention specialists who work with struggling students to keep them out of the district's special education program.
For four Thursday nights in August the parking lot at Celt's Pub took on a very different look. The sensible sedans and pick-up trucks meant for getting people to dinner gave way to shiny hot rods and sleek motorcycles.
Elementary school students in Farmington got ready for next week's first day of school with open houses this week. Schools held open houses Wednesday and Thursday to give students a chance to find their desks, deposit their supplies and get to know their teachers. School starts Sept. 6 in Farmington.
One year after scoring below state averages on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment science test, students in Farmington schools have shown improvement across the board. Students at all levels met or exceeded state science standards at a rate better than students statewide.
Members of David McKnight's family might roll their eyes a little when they read this story. McKnight, who took over Monday as Farmington's new city administrator, said his relatives are tired of seeing stories about him in the newspaper. But that's the kind of thing that happens when a hometown boy comes back to take the top municipal job in the city where he grew up. People notice. McKnight has spent nearly all of his life in Farmington. He graduated from Farmington High School. But it wasn't always his plan to come back to work here.
There were no easy answers available, but parents who attended meetings to discuss class sizes in Farmington schools seemed happy just to have a chance to talk. Superintendent Jay Haugen held a pair of public meetings Thursday night to talk about an influx of students that has class size estimates as high as 29 students in some elementary school classrooms and 30 or more at the middle- and high school levels. Current enrollment estimates for the Farmington School District anticipate 6,652 students when classes start Sept. 6.
A few raindrops aside, Saturday was a warm and sunny late-summer day in Farmington, a good day for a walk through the Big Slough. The restored prairie on the south side of the Dakota County Fairgrounds is home to a wide variety of plants, and on this particular day it drew plenty of butterflies, bees and other bugs. The area that makes up the slough was part of a giant wetland early in Dakota County's history, but over time it was filled in for use as farmland. A few years ago local wildlife groups set about returning the area to its natural state.
Clarice Auluck-Wilson grew up in a house filled with music. Both her parents played the piano, and family members gathered regularly to sing. It's just the way things worked. Auluck-Wilson has stayed active in music in the years since. She sang in choirs and performed opera in college. She taught violin lessons. But she knows the kind of atmosphere that helped form her interest in music is harder and harder to come by.
Farmington school officials are continuing to examine class sizes in light of higher-than-expected enrollment. On Thursday, parents and other district residents will have a chance to offer input. The district will hold a pair of public meetings Thursday night. The first will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Farmington Elementary School. The second is scheduled for 7 p.m. at North Trail Elementary. Superintendent Jay Haugen will lead both discussions, answering questions and explaining the decisions the district makes as it tries to balance class sizes at multiple grade levels.