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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There's movement at the corner of Ravenna Trail and Glendale Road, and there's some big equipment at the center of the activity. But the excavator, bulldozer and skid steer aren't there to prepare the land for new development. They're there to play. Randy Stenger of Farmington is the owner of the new business, named Extreme Sandbox. The concept is to give adults with no construction experience an opportunity to try their hand at operating heavy equipment. "Our motto is, 'let the kid in you play,' and that really speaks volumes," Stenger said.
Life takes you funny places sometimes. Every once in a while you look up and wonder about the decisions that led you to where you are. Why are you do you live where you live? Why do you work the job you work? Why are you sitting in a casino theater surrounded by teenage girls screaming for an American Idol winner and a country star who looks like he might have shaved for the first time right before the show? It's like I imagine Adam Sandler must have felt the first time he dressed as a woman for his new movie, Jack and Jill. In Sandler's case, I assume there was a bet involved.
Farmington residents should see a reduction in their property tax bills once the Farmington School District completes the refinancing of more than $20 million in construction bonds. The bonds, used for the construction of an elementary school, had an original interest rate between 4 and 5 percent. But finance director Carl Colmark said a similar sale today will have an interest rate of about 2.2 percent. That difference will save the district between $280,000 and $290,000 per year for the 11 years remaining on the life of the bonds.
It was one of the biggest night's ever for the Farmington Fire Department's annual turkey Bingo fundraiser. A crowd estimated at more than 1,800 filled Fire Station No. 1 Saturday night for a few hours of Bingo, prize drawings and other fun. The department estimates this year's event brought in about $14,000, significantly more than any previous FFD turkey Bingo event. The fire department uses its turkey Bingo fundraiser to cover expenses not in its budget.
Apryll Powell might be a good choice if you need someone to get your piano ready to play a pretty tune. Just don't ask her to sit down at the keyboard once she's done. Powell, a Farmington resident, has made her living for the past seven years tuning pianos and getting them back in working order when something has broken. But like many people who took piano lessons when they were kids, the ability to read music and play a song has long ago disappeared.
October was a bad month for cars and deer on Dakota County roads. Of the 57 accidents involving deer this year in the county, 14 took place last month. That's slightly less than a quarter of the year's total in one 31-day stretch. Last year there were 59 car-deer accidents all year on Dakota County roads, and sheriff Dave Bellows said the accidents tend to be more common toward the end of the year. "The fall, especially from about late September, October, November tend to be high total months," Bellows said. "The deer are in rut, so we seem to have more accidents.
The wall is hard to miss. At roughly 14 feet by 14 feet, it is part tribute, part marketing tool. Called the Wall of Heroes, it is decorated with dozens of photos, glossy 8x10 snapshots of men and women who are far from home, possibly in dangerous situations, serving their country. The wall is a constantly changing catalog of fresh young faces. Annette Kuyper hauls the wall with her to a number of events over the course of the year.
Halloween has come and gone. Daylight Savings Time is about to end. Cold weather is inevitable in Minnesota once the leaves start to fall, and it's important to be prepared. Farmington Plumbing and Heating has been helping Farmington residents prepare for winter longer than many current Farmington residents have been alive. Current president Dan Thelen has been with the company since 1970. We talked with him about the family business and about getting ready for winter. Farmington Plumbing and Heating has been around since 1963? Is that about right? Yep.
Another Halloween has come and gone. My eyes were misty as I folded up my giant paper cut-out of the Grim Reaper and packed it away with my glow-in-the-dark skeletons. Although Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, for me it's Oct. 31. There's candy and cheese pizza for dinner. There's handing out peanut butter cups to my neighbor's adorable little kids. There's my dog wearing his cute little pumpkin costume. But best of all, on Halloween you get to be anyone you want to be for one magical day of the year.
It's been less than a week since kids in Farmington went door to door in search of Halloween candy, but in retail terms that means we're deep into the heart of the Christmas season. Stores all around the area are putting out Christmas displays. And in Farmington, one new store is dedicating itself entirely to the most wonderful time of the year. In a long-vacant space on Elm Street, Christmas has taken over. There are shelves full of holiday decorations and racks full of ornaments.