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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Leroy Van Brunt owes his beard to what he calls the fastest growing shooting sport in the world. Van Brunt, who sells insurance from an office in Farmington, started growing his beard about six years ago when he got involved in something called cowboy action shooting, a competition that's one part target shooting, one part reenactment and one part shootout at the OK Corral. Participants dress in Old West-style clothing and fire period-appropriate pistols, shotguns and rifles, either originals or replicas, at steel targets. The rifle Van Brunt shoots is 138 years old.
It's hard for an American to fully understand the magnitude of the wedding that will take place this week in England. The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, I mean. I don't know if other weddings are legally allowed to take place this week in the British Isles. We have our celebrity weddings, of course. But those usually just involve some ambitious paparazzi trying to get pictures of guests arriving and official wedding photos sold to People or Us Weekly.
The Farmington School Board approved a preliminary 2011-12 budget Monday night that includes $1.25 million in budget adjustments. The adjustments are largely the same as those finance director Jeff Priess has presented before, plus the addition of four position cuts added by the board in March. Those positions were among cuts recommended by accounting firm Baker, Tilley Virchow, Krause. The preliminary budget approved Monday also removes a proposal to increase class sizes by one student.
Plenty of new college graduates find themselves entering an unfamiliar world, but for Jeremy Johnson the adjustment has been a little more extreme. Johnson, a 2006 graduate of Christian Life School who graduated in December from Northwestern College, is currently serving as a public relations intern for Yuwa, a non-governmental organization working with girls in the rural state of Jharkhand, India. Home these days is a village where most people live in mud huts. Electricity is sporadic, but nearly everyone has a satellite dish.
A long-vacant downtown property could have a new occupant by October if things go according to plan. The Farmington Economic Development Authority voted Monday to sell the property long known as the McVicker lot to Dr. Linden Dungy. Dungy, who since 2005 has operated Immanuel Dental in downtown Farmington, plans to build a 3,000-square-foot dental clinic on the property, located on the 300 block of Third St. For Dungy, the move was necessary to accommodate a growing practice. "We need to move," he said. "We need to expand here.
Farmington School Board members hope a sometimes stormy night of discussion will clear the air for future interactions. The agenda of the board's April 20 retreat talked about "developing mutual expectations," but the night turned into a mix of identifying board members' strengths and airing complaints that in some cases had been simmering since January. Board member Julie Singewald said she was blindsided at the first meeting of the year by a decision to elect new board member Tera Lee as the board's chair.
Seven years after he brought a young church to Farmington, Mike Barnett is headed back west. Barnett came to Minnesota nearly a decade ago to launch New Heights Christian Fellowship. He brought the church to Farmington in 2004. But now, he's going home. He'll head to San Diego this summer to start another new church. Since this is a significant time of year for pastors, we caught up with Barnett last week to talk about the church and what Holy Week means for him. How are things at the church?
If you own a residential property in Dakota County, chances are the market value decreased this year. The annual 2011 market value report released this week by Dakota County Assessing Services shows that market value changes varied across property types for assessments for taxes payable next year. Most apartment values were unchanged. Residential properties decreased an average 2 to 4 percent. About half of the commercial properties were unchanged. The other half were reduced 2 to 4 percent.
The Farmington School District will put a plan in place this year to make sure it's doing everything it can to get its message out to residents. Communication specialist Jim Skelly introduced the idea at the Farmington School Board's April 11 meeting.
Farmington High School's Youth Development group held its second annual Games for Change Friday night at the school. The overnight event is intended to raise awareness of poverty in Farmington and to collect food and money for the Farmington Food Shelf. This year's event drew teams of students, alumni, staff and community members to compete in games like floor hockey, volleyball an capture the flag. Participants paid $20 per person to compete and were encouraged to bring food donations.