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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I had a conversation last week about the importance of getting kids interested in science and technology at an early age. The person I was talking with was passionate about ensuring there is a future generation of researchers and inventors. Sparking an early passion for science is especially important, he suggested, given the number of soldiers coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan missing arms and legs.
Roger Pedersen can only think of a handful of Farmington businesses that have been in the same family longer than the auto repair shop he opened in 1960. There's Gerster Jewelers. Sauber Plumbing. Farmington Greenhouse. And he's pretty sure that last one has just a few years on Pedersen Auto Shop, which celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this month. Pedersen grew up around machines. His parents were farmers, and he learned his way around an engine at an early age. He built his first car, a 1907 Brush he put together from parts around the family farm, when he was 10 years old.
Enrollment this fall in Farmington schools is 125 students below projections, according to information presented Monday to school board members. It's a change that will cost the district money. As of Oct. 20 there were 6,422 students enrolled in Farmington schools. That's well below the 6,558 projected for the 2010-11 school year and nine below the enrollment on Oct. 1. Because schools receive state funding based in large part on the number of students enrolled, the student shortfall means the district will receive $637,436 less than expected from the state.
The Farmington School Board will get an official report on student enrollment, hear school improvement plans from Farmington Elementary School and Dodge Middle School and vote on a contract for the district's school nurses, among other actions at their Oct. 25 meeting. The enrollment report will present the district's student population as of Oct. 1. It is the number the district will send to the state and will serve as the basis for state funding.
Middle Creek Vineyard Church is small, but its members are doing what they can to have a big impact in Farmington. In recent years church members have reached out to the community with activities pastor John Guist said are designed to help people who are in need. Last winter, church members offered free gift wrapping on a few occasions, and over the summer they sometimes bought free drinks for customers at local coffee shops. On Saturday, the church's outreach involved free oil changes for anyone who stopped to see them at M.R. Auto downtown Farmington.
In my ninth grade honors civics class we were given an assignment to base an essay and speech on the thesis statement, "Does my generation have a role in America's future?" It's a part of the Voice of Democracy contest and the school's winning speech will be presented when we have the Veteran's day celebration at the high school in November. It wasn't until a few weeks into working on the essay that I realized the importance of the question. What is our role in the future of this country? How can we make a major difference in the advancement of our lives and the lives of others?
Last week the Internet connection went AWOL at my house. Thank you, Qwest, for accidentally cutting a fiber optic line. I had to leave a voicemail for a director at work explaining why I couldn't log into the company system to run a report. I felt like a kid sheepishly telling the teacher my dog ate my homework. Thankfully the Farmington Independent ran a story on the Internet outage, so now I have a piece of paper to back up my excuse.
The Dakota County Sheriff's office has arrested a 30-year-old Minneapolis man in connection with a pair of robberies that took place early Tuesday morning along Highway 52. Sheriff's deputies arrested Abdirahman Hassan Samatar in Minneapolis on Wednesday with help from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Minneapolis Police Department. The first robbery took place at 5:52 a.m. Tuesday at the Hampton Pump. The suspect told the clerk he had a gun and left with an undisclosed amount of cash from the register.
More attorneys have weighed in on the First Judicial District election, with the vast majority throwing their support behind Larry Clark. According to a press release from the Dakota County Bar Association, the organization conducted a plebiscite among its 168 members. Of the 98 who responded, association members supported Larry Clark over incumbent Timothy Blakely 85-7. The polling represents the second known plebiscite issued in the race.
For years there has been no food service operation at the Dakota County Government Center campus in Hastings. But that could soon change, thanks to a recently approved joint powers agreements between Dakota County and Intermediate School District 917. The Dakota County Board of Commissioners approved that agreement at its regular meeting this week.