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 served as 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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One way or the other, Farmington residents will have to pay extra for road maintenance next year. At a city council workshop this week, council members said they would support increasing the city's tax levy to build up funds to pay for seal coating road maintenance. City officials are still not interested in utilizing franchise fees to pay for the work. Seal coating has been put on hold for this year due to budget constraints, but interim city administrator/city engineer Kevin Schorzman recommends getting back into the program soon.
For more than a decade, groups in Farmington have talked about building a Veterans memorial somewhere in the city. Now, the idea might finally become a reality - and within a couple of years, too. A group of Farmington residents has been meeting for a couple of years to develop a plan. They've had a few setbacks, but they've still made progress. They have a rough idea of where it will be located. They have a design in mind. They have a plan.
The city of Farmington won't get out of the liquor business anytime soon, but city officials intend to look at other options for the future. At its June 6 meeting the Farmington City Council approved a plan to downsize its Pilot Knob liquor store by 1,262 square feet. At the same time they approved a fixed, five-year lease at $3 per square foot less than the city had paid in the past.
"Be strong." Two little words, printed on little red bracelets, made a big impact this year at Dodge Middle School. The bracelets were just one of the fundraising efforts the school's new Red Ribbon Crew tried this year. The sales, and the Red Ribbon Crew, were both successes. Designed like a modern-day DARE drug and alcohol awareness program, Red Ribbon Crew encouraged DMS students to make a pledge to stay away from tobacco, drugs and alcohol. The members taught positive messages meant to help their peers decide to live healthy lifestyles.
Six candidates, including one former Farmington City Council member, have accepted interviews for the vacant Farmington city administrator position. The names of the six candidates were made public early Wednesday afternoon.
The city of Farmington hasn't given up on opening a licensing center just yet. It may take some time, but the concept is still alive and well. City staff has been working to get a revised application to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services division. They have the go-ahead to do Department of Natural Resources licenses -- fishing and hunting and such -- and they can also issue license plate tabs.
Farmington's third annual Farmer's Market kicks off early this year. The first market will take place June 16 as a lead-in to Dew Days. It's in a new location on Third Street between Elm and Spruce. It's starting earlier in the season. The hours will be from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. One of the great features of the local market is that quite a few of the vendors are from the area. And that means the items they bring are grown around Farmington. Empire Township resident Aaron Brand has been one of those vendors since the local market began.
Any gardener knows, if you're going to plant something, you have to plan on some maintenance - mainly, pulling weeds. It's one of the least desirable aspects of landscaping projects, but it's a necessity. Weeds aren't picky about where they grow. When it comes to the weeds growing out of some of the city's boulevard landscaped areas, it seems they've had free reign.
Flowers can make someone's day. Apparently, flowers can also be frustrating. Over the past couple of weeks - and particularly in the week leading up to Memorial Day - someone has been stealing flower baskets off of graves at the St. Michael's and Corinthian cemeteries. St. Michael's Cemetery caretaker Erwin Hagen has received a handful of complaints of flower arrangements and baskets disappearing. In one case, someone took both the flowers and the basket hanger.
Former Farmington city administrator Peter Herlofsky will receive approximately $32,500 in severance pay after leaving his post at the end of May. Terms of Herlofsky's contract specified he would be eligible for up to six months of severance pay in the event he was either terminated or asked, either formally or informally, to resign.