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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Farmington schools have found reason for at least a little optimism in the budget proposed last week by Governor Mark Dayton. Dayton's budget, introduced Feb. 15, includes flat funding to school districts' general fund as well as new money targeted to programs like all-day kindergarten and early childhood education.
If you were really paying attention Sunday you might have heard a sound that chilled you to the core. A noise sadder than a lonely coyote's howl, and even more terrifying than the latest single from Justin Bieber. I'm talking about the sound of thousands of Minnesota hearts breaking. You had to really listen, though. All that snow muffles a lot of sound. If you missed it, it sounded like an entire state collectively booking flights to Arizona.
Apparently, young people were in a more law-abiding mood last year in Farmington. According to the Dakota County Attorney's office the number of charges filed against juveniles fell by 41 percent last from 2009 to 2010, from 93 to 55. That number mirrors a downward trend countywide.
Last week, Governor Dayton unveiled a seven-point plan to improve education in Minnesota. While details of this effort will be known in the weeks and months ahead, it is hard to disagree with the principles in the plan. The research is clear that investing in early childhood education pays dividends long-term and that the achievement gap must be lowered for all students in our state.
Dan Scheuermann, a 22-year-employee with the Dakota County Sheriff's Office, has been promoted to commander. His appointment became effective Monday, Feb. 14. Scheuermann's most recent position has been captain in the patrol division, During his career, he has held a variety of assignments, including jail administrator, patrol sergeant, and seven years as detective with the Drug Task Force. Scheuermann, teamed with his canine partner, Rajah, was recognized as one of the top drug detection canine teams in the United States.
Some Dakota County residents will soon have the opportunity to share their opinions about what values they consider most important living in Dakota County. Dakota County will send a survey to find out what's important to residents and learn how they feel about Dakota County. Dakota County has been surveying residents every two to three years for the past 20 years. Survey results are used to gather information about residents' perceptions of their quality of life, the quality of services and their overall satisfaction with county government.
A 24-year-old Farmington man's attempt to replicate some of his favorite marijuana plants in his downtown back yard has landed him in trouble with the law. Agents from the Dakota County Drug Task Force searched Matthew Snyder's downtown Farmington home May 20. Snyder wasn't home at the time, but his mother, who lives in an adjoining house, was. According to a complaint filed in the Dakota County Attorney's office, agents found 265 marijuana plants in a wheelbarrow and on the ground in the yard.
The Farmington School Board voted Monday to approve the sale of $5 million in bonds to help the district pay its bills while it waits for delayed state payments. Called aid anticipation certificates, the money will act as a kind of payday loan for the district, covering expenses now until the state money comes in later. In recent years the state has delayed a growing percentage of its funding to school districts in an attempt to manage its own budget. For the 2008-09 school year the state paid 90 percent of funding in the current school year and 10 percent the following year.
The good news is the number of felony charges against individuals in Dakota County decreased last year. Drug offenses continue to be the most common category of cases charged by the Dakota County Attorney's office. According to a report released this week, the number of adults charged with felony offenses in Dakota County decreased by 3 percent in 2010, compared to the previous year.
Castle Rock Township is going to court with one of its residents over an unlicensed scrapyard that sprung up last year and has drawn numerous complaints from neighbors. The township started getting complaints in July of last year about the property on Biscayne Avenue. According to court documents the property is owned by J. Empey Development, which is owned by three brothers.