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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Smart Choices, a Dakota County program promoting healthy choices for children, has earned some national recognition. The National Association of Counties has presented Dakota County one of its 2011 Achievements Awards. The plaque was presented to the Dakota County Board of Commissioners this week. In February 2009, 43 schools in five school districts in Dakota County formed an initiative known as Smart Choices. Four other school districts have joined since that time.
Thanks to my recent travels, I've been thinking a little bit more than usual about airport security. It can't be easy to be an airport guard in these days of heightened terrorism concerns. Every day you have to make decisions about what people are allowed to carry on an airplane and what constitutes a potential threat. You have to determine, for example, that the full-size tube of toothpaste I packed is acceptable for the duration of my trip, but that the shaving cream I had in the same bag was only good for the three flights prior to the final leg from Amsterdam to Minneapolis.
A 29-year-old Lakeville woman has been charged with taking jewelry and drugs including vicodin and hydrocodone from a Farmington woman she was caring for. Kristen Michelle Poppa's employer called Farmington police in April to report concerns that she had been stealing from a patient who has multiple sclerosis. The patient's husband told police Poppa spends most of the day with his wife while he is at work. He told police he tracked the number of pills his wife had, and noticed them disappearing faster than they should.
Two pairs of Farmington baseball fields are getting a fresh look thanks to a partnership among Farmington Youth Baseball, Farmington Travel Baseball and the District 192 Community Education department. The improvements are designed to improve safety and upgrade the overall quality of the fields. Projects include which include covers on the dugouts and extended fencing at the Dodge Middle School fields and similar work on the fields at Riverview Elementary School. "Right now they're not complete," said John Reed, director of fields for Farmington Youth Baseball.
Unless they can find new financing by the end of the year, the leaders of Farmington American Legion Clifford Larson Post 189 may be forced to sell the building they have occupied for more than two decades. The organization itself has no plans to close up shop in Farmington, but the club's leadership has started working with a realtor to find options for dealing with a more than $760,000 loan they took out to make repairs following a 2008 fire.
The Farmington School District and five of its schools have been identified for failing to meet Adequate Yearly Progress goals. The state's AYP measure sets minimum standards public schools and school districts must meet for all students. Results are based in large part on students' performance on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests in math and reading. Farmington students as a whole scored above state averages on the MCA tests, but progress toward AYP goals also takes into account the performance of subgroups that can be as small as 20 students.
In the back room of a small space in the Farmington Industrial Park, somebody's new counter top is taking shape. The long rectangle is being shaped by a large saw that spits water as it cuts through a 55-square-foot slab of granite. For a homeowner, the sound means a fresh look for a kitchen, or perhaps the finishing touch on a new home. For Dave Preston, it's the sound of a new business coming to life. Preston officially launched Town & Country Granite Aug. 15 at the Dakota County Fair. His showroom and the rest of the public space in his office were still taking shape earlier this month.
Barring weather problems, mechanical issues or significant international incidents, by the time you read this I'll be in Berlin. Given what I know about German culture, I assume that means I'll be spending my time eating cured meat products and sauerkraut and drinking strong beer. I assume I'll be wearing lederhosen. They issue those at customs, right? In theory, I ought to be well prepared for this trip. I took German classes from junior high through my freshman year of college. I learned ... well, that's the point, I guess. I'm not sure what I learned.
There was no easing into things when Josh Hampsher came to New Heights Christian Fellowship. The new pastor came to Farmington at a time when the church was trying to figure out how to deal with a roof in need of repair and the water damage that resulted from that leaky roof. The church has decided to sell the building and currently meets at Farmington's Rambling River Center while looking for a better solution. Hampsher has had to figure all of that out while settling in after moving from North Carolina.
Students in Farmington schools performed better than their peers statewide at nearly all levels on the most recent Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment math and reading tests. Only Farmington High School juniors, who took the MCA-II math test, met state standards at a rate lower than the state average. Fourth graders at Farmington Elementary School also trailed the state average on the MCA reading test, but fourth graders as a whole were above the state average. Students in third through eighth grade and high school sophomores took the MCA reading test last spring.