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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The soccer World Cup kicked off last week, sending sports fans around the world into frenzies of patriotic pride and leaving millions of Americans wondering where the heck their baseball highlights are. Soccer, of course, is a huge sport in much of the world. According to a recent issue of Time magazine, the most recent World Cup championship game -- in 2006 -- drew 715.1 million viewers.
Amateur scientists, hobbyists and people just looking for an excuse to hike in the woods got a chance to work side by side with research scientists last weekend, and the work they did turned up an impressive range of wildlife on property in Empire Township. In the course of 24 hours the group identified six species of fish, five kinds of amphibians and 15 different mammals including something called a meadow jumping mouse, an adorable little thing with oversized hind legs that is capable of leaping as far as three feet.
The contestants showed off their dance moves, their fashion sense, their talents and their thoughts on the world around them and when they were finished Keri Pietsch had been crowned the newest Miss Farmington. Pietch was one of nine contestants competing for the crown, which comes with a $1,500 scholarship. Kristy Maguire was crowned First Princess and Haley Luhman was crowned Second Princess. In the Little Miss Farmington competition it was Ellie Seyfert who came out on top of the field of 12 hopefuls.
Terri Petter's grand plans for a restaurant and wildlife education center in Empire Township appear to be going the way of the dodo. Petter founded Wolves Woods and Wildlife in 2006 with the goal of teaching people about wild animals of all kinds. Her plan even then was to eventually expand into the building until recently occupied by Oak and Treasures, the Highway 50 furniture store owned by her mother, Eunice.
I realize retailers need to expand their offerings these days to attract larger crowds of shoppers. I've gotten used to walking through stores where diapers are on shelves next to digital cameras. Still, stores still come up with offerings that surprise me. Last weekend I was at Best Buy to shop for a wireless router, though I could just as easily have been there to by a CD, or a dishwasher or a GPS navigator. There were racks filled with video games and shelves stacked with air conditioners.
This was a big year at Farmington High School. The move to a new building, the addition of ninth graders to the building and the move to a new schedule -- with a brand new Zero Hour to start the day -- mean a lot of adjusting for students and staff. But principal Ben Kusch said things ran smoothly pretty much from the start. Now that the Year One at the new building is over, we sat down with Kusch to reflect on the year that just passed. Did things go well this first year? I think things went very well this year. I think it's fair to say it was a year of firsts.
Farmington School Board members got some good news Monday on the growth of students during the school year that just ended. Results of the spring Northwest Education Association test showed good progress for students from the fall administration of the test. The district gives the NWEA gives the test to students in second through ninth grades in the spring and the fall and uses the results to demonstrate how students have learned during the year and to find areas where improvement is needed.
Stealing a car typically works better if the person you steal from isn't able to give police your home address. 20-year-old Nathan Allen Guck faces charges that include theft, fleeing a police officer and receiving stolen property after he reportedly drove off from a May 30 bonfire party in Hampton Township with a vehicle that did not belong to him. The car was reported stolen around 4 a.m. The owner identified Guck and told police where they could find him. Hastings police spotted the car a short time later.
Many people use Farmington's Rambling River Center as a hub of their social lives. Farmington resident Deb Horne credits the senior center and its fitness facility for giving her life back. A little more than a year ago, Horne's body was a wreck. Four years of building and then losing the coffee shop she owned in St. Paul had taken its toll. She worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week standing behind the counter in addition to doing the accounting and other work she had to do. She was stressed and her body was showing the signs.
The Dakota Valley Arts Council is looking for artists to submit up to three pieces of artwork for the 2010 Dew Days Spring Art Show. The art show will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 19 and 20 at the Farmington City Hall. Artwork may be picked up after the show. Artists may also submit other artwork to be displayed that will not be judged. Artwork may be submitted to city hall on between 6 and 8 p.m. June 18. There is a fee of $5 per art piece, which may be applied to a 2010-2011 DVAC membership. Judging and awards will be at 8 p.m..