Year in Review: Farmington’s year included bulls, budgets and bingo

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Perhaps the biggest story in Farmington during 2013 happened in August when Dakota County residents flocked to the fairgrounds.

It was mostly a week of food, livestock shows, carnival rides, smiles and laughter during the Dakota County Fair, but for one night it was chaos.

A bull named “Red 43” broke through his pen and ran into a crowd of fair attendees during Wednesday night’s festivities, injuring eight bystanders and a Dakota County deputy who fired two contact rounds into the bull before being trampled.

One victim Barbara Goggins of Cottage Grove was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center with a head injury.

The bull was captured by staff after running through the grounds for 10-15 minutes, and was euthanized a few days later.

Area Explorers, who were part a program introducing young adults to law enforcement and criminal justice careers, were on the scene.

Gage Litzner, of Rosemount, helped stabilize Goggins’ head during the incident while others helped with crowd control and emergency personnel.
Budget wrangling

The Farmington City Council raised the city portion of property taxes 1.92 percent for 2014 after spending much of summer working on it.

Because of new rules adopted by the Minnesota Legislature stating cities could only raise levies to pay debt, the council spent the summer chopping away at its original proposal, which was nearly three times as high. In the end, the city cut one patrol officer from the police department’s budget and bonded for road repair projects.

The city received Local Government Aid for the first time in nearly a decade and used much of the funds for the Fire Department.
Dew Days

The annual Dew Days celebration in early summer was a hit. With new events – such as Beer, Brats and Bingo; Flavors of Farmington and a bean bag tournament – the festival brought out bigger crowds.

In 2009, the Dew Days organization needed to borrow $26,000 from  Farmington and Empire Township after failing to pull in enough profit. The group paid the loan back one year early because of the success of 2013’s celebrations.
Rule changes

Citing citizen complaints, the city updated a couple of ordinances in the fall concerning golfing in city parks and property maintenance.

In November, the city passed an ordinance banning golfing in all city parks. Residents complained that golf balls were hitting their property and were potential safety hazards to other park attendees. In October, the city updated the property maintenance code to make sure citizens were keeping up the exterior of their property. Using a complaint-based system, citizens are notified if the exterior of their property if 25 percent of the paint, siding, roof or brick work requires repair.
Yellow Ribbon

The Farmington Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign celebrated five years in December. Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Rep. John Kline and members of the military spoke at celebration at Farmington High School.

Farmington was the first Yellow Ribbon community in Minnesota. The 25-member group volunteers its time to help returning service members and their families. They hold monthly dinners and provide services to military families.
Ramble Jam

In early fall, country music fans descended upon the Dakota County Fairgrounds for the biggest Ramble Jam yet. Featuring Rodney Atkins and Jerrod Niemann as the headliners for the two-day festival, the event drew thousands.

It’s the main fundraiser for the Farmington Rotary Club, which has held five Ramble Jam music festivals.

For the first time in Dakota County Fair history, organizers brought a major musical act to the grandstand. Love and Theft, a country music duo from Nashville, played during Thursday night at the fair. Attendance was below what fair organizers had hoped, but fair board member and grandstand director Chris Wright said that won’t deter them from holding large concerts again in the future.
Bank theft

Leah Marie Bremner, age 32 and formerly of Farmington, was sentenced in October to 30 days in jail, 90 days of electronic home monitoring, and probation for up to 20 years in connection with the loss of $95,000 from a bank in Lakeville where she worked in 2010.
Stocked twice

In an unusual move, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources stocked the Vermillion River with 1,000 more rainbow trout in June 21 marking the second stocking of 2013. The river was already stocked during the spring with 1,000 fish, but with concerns that the fish floated downstream because of excess rain and a surplus of fish at the hatchery, the DNR added more.
Ground Round

Farmington became  home to a Ground Round taking the place of the old Blondie’s Tavern in the Tamarack Ridge Shopping Center in the fall. Serving American food, Ground Round is among the few national franchises in the city.
Library move

The Farmington Library moved to the second floor of City Hall in late 2013 and is scheduled to undergo exterior and interior renovations. It’s scheduled to open back up in July. Barbara Svoboda took over as the new branch manager in the spring.
Farmers market

With 20 vendors, the Farmington Farmers Market grew to the largest yet since it started five years ago. Every Thursday, hundreds of shoppers browse locally produced meat, vegetables, fruit, soap and plants in front of city hall.
Trouble at park

Reports of vandalism and unprovoked assaults during the fall drew the concern of many neighbors near the northern Farmington park. Police are confident they identified the juvenile suspects.
Car chase

Patrick Christopher Armstrong, 28, of Rosemount, led police on a chase that resulted in damage to three Farmington police cars in August. After calling police stating he was at park, armed and suicidal, Armstrong led officers on a chase on Highway 3. He was eventually caught and charged with three felonies.
Other highlights

Liquor Operations Director Blair Peterson reported that the overall net profit by the end of August was approximately $168,000, nearly double from a year ago.

In the fall, the city adopted a new 11-step wage scale for nonunion city employees that eliminated merit-based pay, put a freeze on the top salaries, and created a scale that’s more in line with other city government employees at similar cities.

The fire department added a new 2013 Pierce Impel Pumper Fire Engine in the spring to serve as both a fire engine and method to carry rescue equipment replacing a 1986 Ford Rescue Truck.

Foreclosures were down significantly in 2013 in Farmington decreasing by about 80 percent.

Farmington child care worker Rebecca Lynn Graupmann was charged in May with manslaughter relating to the death of a 3-month-old baby who stopped breathing while in her care in 2012.