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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Walk into Al Cooper's house and it quickly becomes clear where his passion lies. A wooden sculpture of a bald eagle decorates his front walk, and inside pictures of eagles hang on nearly every wall. Eagles are a big part of Cooper's life. For the past 30 years he has volunteered much of his spare time to work with the birds, first at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center and currently at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. He travels the 60-odd miles south as often as he can to help at the center, giving presentations.
The 2011 edition of the Tour de France came to an end Sunday as 167 men in stretchy shorts pedaled their expensive bicycles onto the streets of Paris for a few ceremonial laps, the presentation of trophies and celebratory drug testing kits. You think it's a coincidence the leader's jersey is yellow? There were far fewer riders at the finish than there were when the Tour started in early June. A lot can happen in 2,100 miles of biking. Several riders broke bones in crashes. A few suffered concussions.
Looking at his calendar Friday, new Farmington superintendent Jay Haugen counted 27 meetings in his first week on the job. He spent time getting to know his employees and setting up his office. He met one on one with staff members when he could. He learned the system for approving leaves and got familiar with the district's technology. He also got familiar with the district's hiring procedures. That will be important, because one of Haugen's first big jobs will be to hire directors for the district's human resources and finance departments.
When Christian Life Church held its first Life Fest 10 years ago, it was a small community event. There was food. There were inflatable games for the kids. It was a fun opportunity for the church to invite the community in for an afternoon. Funny the way little things can grow when you give them a decade. Christian Life pastor Kent Boyum figures there were about 600 people, including volunteers, at that first Life Fest. Last year there were about 2,200.
The budget Minnesota legislators approved last week included more money for the state's school districts, but a change to the schedule on on which that money is paid could create some challenges in the Farmington School District.
When the opening ceremony of Farmington's Relay for Life kicks off Friday night at Boeckman Middle School, Tony Schneider will be in the crowd. He'll be there to hear a friend talk about his wife, Tamara. The woman he calls the light of his life. The woman who in December lost a two-year battle with cancer. As he listens, Schneider won't think much about his wife's death. He'll think about her life. About the way she tried to help others even as the strength was draining from her body. "She did a lot," he said.
Cancer survivors, cancer patients and the people who love them will hit the track at Boeckman Middle School next Friday for Farmington's second annual Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The event started last year as a replacement for the city's long-running Ramble and Amble, a similar but shorter fundraiser. For 12 hours, walkers will circle the track at BMS. As they do, they will spend time thinking about loved ones they've lost, or about friends who are fighting the disease.
It's been uncomfortably hot this week in Minnesota. You probably knew that already, seeing as if you're reading this you probably live here and you probably have skin and you also probably have the ability to sweat in social situations where it is less than acceptable to suddenly sprout rapidly expanding damp spots on your clothing. How hot has it been? I'm glad I imagined you asked. It's so hot I broke into a sweat Monday afternoon just driving my car, which does not currently have air conditioning.
Just how big the evergreen tree was, Janet Stein couldn't tell for sure. What she did see, though, was her mischievous son, Adam, climbing it. It was Monday night and the Stein family household just south of New Trier had filled up with Adam's friends and with the Steins' family. Adam had died tragically early Sunday and everyone gathered to keep the Steins company and to talk about Adam. It was then Janet saw the video of Adam, on an annual snowmobiling trip to Wyoming, scaling that tree. As he advanced up the tree branch by branch, he was encouraged by his friends to keep going.