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 walls of Laura Mitchell's new preschool are a sunny yellow. The shelves have colorful labels identifying spots for glue sticks and finger paints. The rest of the room, well, that's kind of a work in progress. There are shelves that need assembling, toys that need organizing and an outdoor play area that looks a little lonely with just one small item for kids to play with. Mitchell is in the process of building Rising Stars Preschool in a space at 115 Elm Street.
Up until about 9 p.m. Monday I had a pretty good idea what this column was going to be about. I was going to write about being unusually tall. And about buying a new bike. And about the challenges that arise when those two things come together. It was going to be funny and observant and, had circumstances allowed, it would have included a brief but tasteful nude scene. But if there's one thing I've learned in the nearly 13 years I've been doing this job, it's that things don't always go the way you planned.
Downtown Farmington drew rave reviews for the last big party it held this summer. Now downtown business owners want Farmington residents to come back. Call it a re-Dew, but on a smaller scale. On Saturday the Farmington Downtown Business Association will host its second annual Downtown Day. The four-hour event, which will take place from 5 to 9 p.m., will include a classic car cruise-in, music by Standing Room Only, one of the bands that played at last month's Dew Days, and a number of other attractions.
A new system should give Independent School District 192 some better options when it comes time to get in touch with large numbers of parents in a short time. District communication specialist Aaron Tinklenberg said a new mass-notification tool, called SchoolConnects, is more powerful and more flexible than the aging Phone Master system it will replace.
There was a moment on July 4 when Jordan Dibb wondered if maybe he'd walked as much as he needed to walk. It was cool. It was rainy. And, well, technically once he'd passed the city limits he'd met his goal of walking from Minneapolis to Miami. Did it really matter if he didn't finish things out on the steps of city hall?
An observant parent who had a bad feeling about another patron at the Robert Trail Library last month led Rosemount police to a 38-year-old man with a camera filled with surreptitiously taken photos of young girls. Police first had contact with Dean Kenneth Lindo June 12 after receiving a report of a suspicious individual. When police arrived at the library they were given a camera and a cell phone taken from an individual later identified as Lindo.
The call started with concern for a driver's well-being and ended with a 28-year-old Farmington man facing drug-possession charges. Farmington police found Michael Alan Wilson in his car at the corner of Fourth and Willow streets around 9 a.m. June 27 after receiving a call from someone concerned about the man's welfare. According to a complaint filed last week in the Dakota County Attorney's office police tried to talk to Wilson, then yelled at him but couldn't get his attention until they touched his arm.
For most of the past two decades Tony Weng has helped his cousins run a successful restaurant. Now he and a few family members figure it's time to do the same for themselves. For 18 years Weng worked at Peking Garden, a St. Paul restaurant owned by his cousins. He's been a waiter. He's been a manager. He's handled just about every part of the operation. So when a friend told Weng he was looking to sell Farmington's New Moon Buffet, he saw his chance. He knew the restaurant business. He knew the Farmington area didn't have a lot of options for Chinese food.
Farmington's municipal pool has long been a source of summer fun for Farmington kids, but this season the city wants to open up the opportunities to a new age bracket. The Farmington Parks and Recreation Department is making an increased effort to draw adults to the pool this year as something other than chaperones. They have added adult swim times from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday and a new water aerobics class just wrapped up the first of three summer sessions last Thursday. Kids have always had their open swims and their special parties.
A pair of $200,000 grants should help Dakota County get a handful of polluted properties ready for redevelopment in the next three years. The county will use the Environmental Protection Agency grants to identify and evaluate so-called brownfields, areas where pollution left over from previous uses is preventing development, and figure out which are good candidates for cleanup and construction. The county is currently using existing mapping information and working with cities countywide to identify properties that are good candidates for the program.