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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We as a society have become increasingly accustomed to a daily onslaught of videos of people we will never actually meet. We can hardly check our e-mail or scan our Facebook pages anymore without seeing a video of a sneezing kitten, a dog running into a wall or some unfortunate guy getting whacked in his privates, a home-video favorite since well before Bob Saget was televising crotch-related tragedies for all the country to see. It can all start to feel like a bit much when you're on the receiving end. When you're on the other side, though?
A collision involving a Farmington school bus and a compact car caused considerable damage but no injuries Friday afternoon. The accident occurred shortly after 3 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 52 and 200th Street in Vermillion Township. The school bus had just dropped off its last student on the west side of Highway 52 and was turning around to pick up students at Farmington Elementary School when it was hit by a compact-type car heading southbound on the highway. There were no students on the bus and no passengers in the vehicle.
As far as Laurie Manley is concerned, pets are family, and she believes they should be treated with the same respect as any other relative. In life, and in death. Manley does most of her business at the one-year-old Heaven Scent Floral Design creating memorial arrangements for funerals. But she'd like to offer the same service to people who have lost a beloved pet. With input from customers, she can create tributes either lasting or temporary to animal companions that have passed on. The business specialty was born from Manley's experience with her own pet, an English Bulldog named Oreo.
As an assistant to the superintendent, Nancy Bjerke spent more than a decade running elections for the Farmington School District. She's retired now, but you'll still find her at the polls on Election Day. Bjerke is one member of the crew of election judges that kept things running during Tuesday's election. From setting up polling places to counting ballots to packing everything up at the end of the day, she and others like her are responsible for making sure everybody who wants to vote gets a chance to.
In the daytime, it doesn't look like much. But for two nights last weekend the patchwork construction of two-by-fours and black plastic that sprawls across Matt Philpot's backyard became the scariest place in Farmington. Philpot's creation -- he calls it the Tunnel of Terror -- is quickly becoming a Halloween tradition in his north Farmington neighborhood.
In a rare defeat of an incumbent judge, Red Wing resident Larry Clark unseated Judge Timothy Blakely in the First Judicial District. Clark, an assistant Dakota County attorney, said called the victory "an extreme honor." "This is the highest honor I think an attorney can achieve," he said early today. Late poll figures showed Clark leading Blakely 58 to 42 percent.
Dakota County Sheriff Dave Bellows was elected to a full four-year term Tuesday, defeating Apple Police Sgt. Mitch Scott by a 54- to 45-percent margin, 67,377 votes to 56,216 votes. The Dakota County Board of Commissioners appointed Bellows sheriff in February after former sheriff Don Gudmundson announced his retirement from the position. Bellows has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience and had been chief deputy with Dakota County for 10 years before his appointment as sheriff. "I am very gratified with winning this election and the support I received," said Bellows.
The name on the door will change this year in Senate District 36, but the political party of the person working behind that door will not. Republican Dave Thompson beat DFL opponent Steve Quist Tuesday in the race to replace longtime state Senator Pat Pariseau, who did not seek re-election after 20 years in the Senate.
On a night when the Farmington School Board was guaranteed at least two new members, voters opted instead for a clean sweep. Newcomers Tera Lee, Brian Treakle and Melissa Sauser all won seats on the board in Tuesday's election. Veronica Walter, the only incumbent who defended her seat, finished fourth in balloting. Lee was the top finisher with 4,565 votes. Treakle had 4,187 votes, Sauser 3,643 and Walter 3,245. Ron Groves was a distant fifth with 2,420 votes, Rebecca Keeler was sixth with 2,173 and Carol Kappes was seventh with 1,893.
Pat Garofalo won his fourth term in the Minnesota House of Representatives going away. Garofalo, a Republican, received nearly twice as many votes as DFL challenger Sigrid Iversen, 12,317 to 6,381. The win provided one familiar face in a sea of change on election night. Garofalo, a Farmington resident who won his first election to take a vacant seat six years ago, was in front from the beginning of Tuesday's vote count.