Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.
- Member for
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Brad Meeks, who resigned unexpectedly last week of superintendent of Farmington's Schools, is one of seven finalists for the vacant superintendent's position in the Stillwater Area School District. The Stillwater School Board announced its finalists following a Monday night meeting. Interviews for the job will begin Wednesday of this week. The board hopes to narrow its field to two or three candidates by the end of the week.
Farmington teachers on the fence about retiring this year might have gotten a healthy nudge Monday when the District 192 School Board approved a retirement incentive that would pay eligible teachers $20,000 if they step away. The retirement incentive is part of the district's efforts to make cuts to its budget for next year. By replacing older, higher-paid teachers with younger teachers the district can save money on salaries.
Prevention and intervention are two key words when discussing reducing juvenile crime. For Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, the two words have led to action and programs. Backstrom is a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national organization committed to informing policy makers and the public about the importance of youth-crime prevention and early intervention efforts. "I believe the most effective thing we can do to reduce crime in America is to invest our time, resources and energy in our nation's children," he said.
A 30-year-old Rochester woman faces charges of criminal vehicular operation, child endangerment and driving while impaired after she reportedly drove drunk with her five children in the vehicle Feb. 28 and crashed her car on Highway 52 near Hampton. Four of the children suffered minor injuries. The accident occurred around 2:45 a.m. as Kyra Larae Lindsey was southbound on Highway 52. According to a complaint filed in the Dakota County Attorney's office Lindsey crashed into a guard rail, suffering "severe damage" to the front and back ends.
Three years ago, Dan Oberer had a lot of uncertainty in front of him. The pastor of the brand-new Hope Lutheran Church had a congregation of three -- his wife and their two children -- and a lot of work to do. Three years later, that gamble appears to have paid off. Hope Lutheran has grown steadily over the years, and on Sunday the church will celebrate its incorporation with a special ceremony and an open house at their new worship center, 319 Fourth St., at which they'll serve lunch to the community.
There was smoke, but no fire early Sunday morning in Desiree Kramer's home, but it was still enough to raise some heart rates and cause a major disruption. Kramer woke at around 2:15 a.m. Sunday to the sound of smoke detectors blaring. The air in her bedroom was thick with smoke. "It was pretty crazy. We couldn't really see anything, because it was so smoky," Kramer said. "It was just grab your cell phones and get out the door." Kramer grabbed her 1 1/2-year-old daughter and made sure her mother and her aunt were able to get out.
A former Dakota County employee, Aleathea McWilliams, 52, has been charged with theft of more than $5,000 and possession of stolen property valued between $1,000 and $5,000, both felonies. She allegedly stole funds and bus passes from Dakota County while she was employed as a case aid in Dakota County Social Services. McWilliams had been employed with the county since 2002 and resigned last May.
A new program in Farmington's middle schools aims to make the transition to a big, new building a little less frightening for next year's sixth graders. Called Where Everybody Belongs, the program, which will launch in the fall, is designed to make new middle schoolers feel comfortable in an environment that can be intimidating to a group of students making one of the biggest academic adjustments of their lives. The program provides students an introduction to their school and connects them with older mentors who are there to make them feel welcome.
The Farmington School Board got an early look at some of the cuts that could come if the district is forced to make budget adjustments over the next few months. The list includes the elimination of a night custodian position at Farmington High School, a $10 increase to fees for all co-curricular programs and the elimination of at least five and maybe as many as nine teaching positions. All told, the list presented at Monday's school board meeting adds up to $1.9 million in reductions and revenue increases.
With a 5-1 vote Monday night the Farmington School Board brought a sudden if apparently protracted end to the more than seven-year tenure of superintendent Brad Meeks. The board and Meeks agreed Monday on a separation agreement that will have him serve as a transition superintendent until Aug. 31, one year before his contract was set to expire. He is also free to leave the district earlier if he finds a new job.