Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages. Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and is the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing.
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When the five candidates for city administrator came to city hall Friday, the Farmington City Council wasn't the only group they had to impress. Before the candidates sat down with council members, they were interviewed by an eight-member advisory panel.
Fate does funny things to people. It brings them together, it gives challenges, it provides successes. Fate can tear some apart, but it can make others so much stronger than they ever knew possible, too. Just ask Kyle and Alicia Malin. They know all too well how big an impact a split second can have. They learned the hard way almost a year ago, when Army Staff Sgt. Kyle Malin, a Farmington High School graduate, stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Malin had already been deployed to Iraq three times before last July's IED explosion.
He was born here. He was raised here. He went to high school here, and has spent all of his life as a resident here. Now, David McKnight has been asked to work here, as Farmington's new city administrator. McKnight is currently city administrator in Mendota Heights. Farmington City Council members met Wednesday afternoon to pare down the list of candidates for the position from five to two or three. But just a few minutes into the meeting, it became evident they favored the same candidate.
Where did it go? I'm at my desk. It's Monday. I'm looking out the window (again) and I'm looking at Oak Street, just the same as it is every Monday. And I wonder, where did Dew Days go? I saw the picnic tables being hauled away this morning. I know we had a city celebration around here, but it's amazing how fast it went by this year. I celebrated an anniversary in Farmington June 10. It marked 17 years since I started covering the community -- which also means I have 17 Farmington city celebrations under my belt. I remember my first Mountain Dew Days.
Though the field of candidates has narrowed to five, the Farmington City Council is still spending Friday conducting interviews for the next city administrator. Interviews began at 10:15 a.m., when Newport city administrator Brian Anderson sat down with an eight-member community advisory panel.
Somewhere around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Farmington Dew Days committee members made a decision: the Grand Parade would go on, rain or shine. Though the shine never really came and the rain barely stopped in time, Mother Nature went easy on Farmington parade goers. By the end of the parade, the rain had subsided enough that umbrellas were put away and spectators stayed dry while waiting to see who would earn this year's Kiss the Pig honors.
A member of the Farmington Fire Department and a Dakota Electric employee, Tim Vanderlinde was crowned as the 2011 Kiss the Pig winner Saturday. It wasn't as bad an experience as he thought it might be, but Vanderlinde's still not sure why he was asked to be a contestant. Once he was named the winner, though, he stepped right up to the challenge and gave the crowd a good laugh at the same time. Kiss the Pig has been a mainstage attraction at Farmington's city celebrations for at least a decade. All of the proceeds from Kiss the Pig go to the Rambling River Center.
It might not be too long before paper copies of the Farmington City Council agenda packets are a thing of the past. Council members are considering doing away with the traditional paper copies of biweekly council packets and instead opening the documents on a laptop or iPad. Going paperless isn't a new concept these days. Farmington School Board officials have made the switch, so have several communities around the state. The reason? Because paper and ink cost money, and making all the copies and assembling the packets takes time.
Farmington mayor Todd Larson is excited for Friday - and not just because he's looking forward to the weekend. On Friday, Farmington City Council members will conduct the first round of interviews for the vacant city administrator position. With six candidates to choose from, Larson is looking forward to getting started. The candidate names were released last Wednesday after all six agreed to interviews.
Every once in a while, life gets going so fast it's hard to sit back and remember what you missed -- especially when life throws a big old curveball and you have to rely on the help of others just to make it through. That's something the Malin family knows all too well. Last July 12 Army Staff Sgt. Kyle Malin, a 2003 graduate of Farmington High School, lost his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan. It was July 12 when the lives of his wife, Alicia, his kids, and his parents, Jon and Deb Malin, completely changed.