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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Last Friday the air conditioning went out in the Independent offices. As the thermostat climbed to 80 degrees and above, things got a little bit uncomfortable. It was the most you'll see modern journalists sweat in a situation that didn't involve either a deadline or the words "about those circulation numbers." We toughed it out, though.
The United States Post Office has played an important role in Jim Weir's life. The postal service kept him employed for much of his life, for one thing. Weir spent 35 years working for the government, starting as a substitute carrier and eventually working his way up to management. But that's not the important part. The post office also helped Weir find the woman with whom he would spend nearly 60 years. With whom he would raise two children. The love of his life. Weir grew up on a farm in Windom. He attended country school and Windom High School.
I've had my share of pets in my life, and I understand the appeal. I've had dogs I could run and play with, birds that chirped pleasantly and cats that ... well, the cats all kind of did their own thing. But they would occasionally acknowledge my presence with a not entirely unpleasant reaction. Once, one of the cats ate one of the birds. But I don't like to think about that. I've loved all of my pets -- well, love might be too strong a word for the rats, which were mostly there to be fed and occasionally run along my arm -- but I'm far from an animal fanatic.
Farmington students scored better than their peers statewide at most grade levels on this year's Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment test, but fell short of state averages at three grade levels. Farmington scores fell short of statewide averages among eighth graders and high school juniors taking the MCA math test and among sophomores taking the MCA reading test. Farmington eighth graders and juniors also fell short of state averages on last year's math test. Results for the state-mandated test were released late last week.
From Eden Prairie to Australia, small-plane pilots around the world arrive safely at their destinations thanks to a small company based in Farmington's industrial park. Stein Air, which makes custom-built instrument panels for personal airplanes, got its start among a group of guys used to working on much larger aircraft. Stein Bruch was a manager and a former mechanic for Northwest Airlines in the late 1990s, when that company started having financial troubles.
For the first time since becoming a Farmington resident I missed the winning moment of the Kiss the Pig contest. For me, it was worse than missing Christmas. I missed Christmas for real last year due to a family medical emergency, so I know what I'm talking about. Luckily nothing as serious as a medical emergency tore me away from watching pig kissing. I missed the crowning moment of the Dew Days festival due to a simple case of overwork. This semester I experienced the perfect storm of a heavy class load swirling around a sucking vortex of responsibility at work.
The city of Farmington is expanding its social network, 140 characters at a time. On June 16 the city posted its first message on Twitter, an invitation to Farmington residents to check out the Dew Days celebration. That message largely fell on deaf ears -- as of Monday the city had just 11 followers on the site, which allows users to post brief text updates, and it had even fewer then. But human resources director Brenda Wendlandt hopes Twitter will become an effective tool for getting the city's messages out to residents. Twitter is the city's second attempt at social networking.
When your job is business development, a bad economy is not your friend. But for most of the past five years that's been life for Tina Hansmeier, Farmington's economic development specialist since joining the city full-time in 2005. It's her job to market Farmington to potential new business tenants, and to serve as a kind of one-stop shop for both existing businesses and businesses looking to relocate or open for the first time. The business environment appears to be picking up a bit, though. There are several new projects in the works.
Like a scene out of CSI -- minus the flashy computer graphics -- the Farmington police have used a few drops of blood and a DNA database to find the man suspected of breaking into a truck last year. The break-in occurred June 24, 2009. According to a complaint filed in the Dakota County Attorney's office someone broke the window of a truck parked in the driveway of a Farmington home. The thief took items including golf clubs, a GPS unit, two cordless drills and a belt sander.
Two Farmington churches will come together under the summer sun on Sunday morning. One will stick around outside for the rest of the summer. Light of the World Lutheran Church pastor Deb Stehlin said the idea to join Farmington Lutheran Church for a Fourth of July grew out of casual conversation between two pastors. "We just threw it out as an idea," Stehlin said.