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 Farmington School District's selection as an innovation zone is exciting. Probably. It's hard to say too much about the designation at this point, because nobody seems sure exactly what it means. In theory, it will lead to a loosening of some regulations if it appears the rules will hold the district back. But it's not clear yet just how flexible the Minnesota Department of Education is willing to be. Are we talking a nudge here and a tweak there, or full-on, throw-out-the-rule-book freedom? If we were to guess, the reality will probably be closer to the former than the latter.
Farmington superintendent Jay Haugen has some big ideas about the future of education, and now he has support from the state to help turn them into reality. Along with its partner district in Spring Lake Park, the Farmington School District received Minnesota Department of Education approval last week as the state's first innovation zone, a designation meant to encourage new ways of thinking about helping students learn. Exactly how that will happen is not yet clear, but it appears the department of education will allow the district more flexibility and freedom from some rules and regulation
Dakota County Drug Task Force agents found drugs, syringes and a "large sum of cash" when they searched a Farmington home shortly after Christmas. The Dakota County Attorney's office has charged 26-year-old Michael Marshall Simmons with a felony drug offense as a result of the search. According to a complaint filed last week in the county attorney's office, task force agents conducted the search on Dec. 27. They found a bottle of methadone, three syringes and "miscellaneous drug paraphernalia" in the house. They also found marijuana in several places.
With plates of spaghetti and trays piled high with brownies, Christian Life Church is reaching out a hand to the community. On March 27 the church held the first of what will be at least three monthly community meals, inviting in anybody looking for something to eat or a little company. The meals -- what the church is calling its Community Unity meals -- will continue on the last Wednesday in April and May and could continue beyond that if the response is good, pastor Kent Boyum said. "We wanted to offer something to the community that's free," Boyum said last week.
I'm sorry to see the Lenten season come to an end. Easter Sunday is wonderful, but I enjoy all of the delicious fish dishes on the menu on Fridays during Lent. While I don't belong to a religious tradition that requires me to avoid meat on Fridays, I indulge in fish every Friday because I love seafood. Plus, fish is heart healthy. I've been enjoying the fish on Friday routine for years now. The whole thing started back in 2002 when I worked at a big regional medical center. The hospital cafeteria served a seafood entree every Friday, not only during Lent, but year-round.
It's possible that by the time you read this the University of Minnesota men's basketball team will have a new coach. It's also possible bikini model Kate Upton will show up on my doorstep tomorrow, but I'm not going to set out a tray of appetizers just yet. I will do a Google search to find out what kind of appetizers bikini models prefer, though. It pays to be prepared. I should know.
Dakota County Technical College is a very different place today than it was when Dr. Ron Thomas took over as president 13 years ago, and you don't have to look hard to spot the differences. They're there in the athletic fields outside, in the thriving nanotechnology program inside, even at the front door, where a welcoming entranceway has replaced what was once a nondescript and sometimes hard-to-find doorway.
When a gunman opened fire last December at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Kristy Rhoades had the same thought a lot of people did: I should do something. For most, those thoughts were gone almost as soon as they came, but Rhoades is following through. As soon as she heard the news, the Farmington resident sent a Facebook message to several of her friends. She wanted to make sure nothing like the Sandy Hook shooting ever happened in Farmington. And she wanted their help. "I was overcome with emotion and thoughts ...
The Farmington School Board has given its approval to sell an easement necessary for the construction of a long-planned power line running across the state. The district agreed at a Monday night board meeting to sell the six-acre easement at the southern border of a 176-acre property it owns in Castle Rock Township to the group behind the CAPX2020 project. The district will receive $50,000 for the easement. Even if board members hadn't approved, the easement was likely to happen.
The Farmington School District's five department directors got a new contract Monday that includes a 5 percent increase to salary and benefits over its two years. The contract affects finance director Carl Colmark, community education director Heidi Cunningham, educational programs director Barb Duffrin, special education director Carla Nohr Schulz and human resources director MaryAnn Thomas. The new deal, approved by school board members at their Monday night meeting, is retroactive to July 1, 2012 and runs through June 30, 2014.