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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Coming up on his fifth anniversary, Farmington city administrator will have to wait a couple more weeks for his annual performance evaluation. Herlofsky's anniversary date is May 1, but Farmington City Council members typically do his performance evaluation prior to that date. The evaluation was scheduled for this Monday, but the absence of council member Terry Donnelly at this week's meeting, and his planned absence at the April 4 meeting, meant council had to delay the evaluation until Monday, April 18. Council members are each asked to fill out a review form prior to the evaluation.
One Farmington resident found a bullet hole in their home. The neighbor went to jail for drug possession. Charges of fifth degree drug possession and reckless charge of a firearm are pending against 22-year-old Bounma Xayachack of Farmington, who has been in custody in the Dakota County jail since March 21. According to Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist, a resident living in a townhouse on the southeast section of Farmington called police around 9:30 p.m. Friday night to report they had found bullet holes in a wall and ceiling in their home. Police responded to the home.
Sometimes, it just helps to have a good, open discussion. So that's what Farmington City Council members and city staff did last Saturday. A week after council members held their own, separate retreat, they met again to discuss goals for the rest of the year. But before they got too far into discussions of how to restructure the city's budget process or prioritize equipment and project needs with staff, staff members addressed goals of their own. Specifically, the group talked communication. Or the lack thereof, at times.
A stuck relief valve on a gas pipeline forced Farmington firefighters to close down a portion of southbound Pilot Knob Road Monday morning. The Farmington Fire Department was summoned to the natural gas pumping facility at the corner of 190th Street West and Pilot Knob Road around 9:30 a.m., after a neighbor reported hearing a hissing sound coming from a pipe, Farmington fire marshal John Powers said. Upon inspection by Minnesota Energy Resources technicians, it was discovered that a relief valve on one of MERC's lines had been frozen in an open position.
Farmington police are looking for tips regarding the identity of a person who slashed tires on five city vehicles parked outside of Farmington City Hall Sunday night. Six tires were slashed around 9:30 p.m. Sunday by an individual police detective sergeant Lee Hollatz described as a younger male or teenager. The activity was caught on a video surveillance camera outside of city hall. Though police have no suspects at this time, Hollatz said the young man in the video appears to be wearing a hood and riding a bicycle.
Just three days after Farmington City Council members cast a 4-1 vote to take franchise fees off the table as a way of paying for seal-coating, council member Christy Jo Fogarty asked, "What if?" In her scenario presented at the March 10 council retreat, Fogarty laid out a scenario. What if, she asked, the state of Minnesota decides to impose levy limits for 2012 and 2013? If the city of Farmington is counting on the ability to increase property taxes to cover the costs of seal coating, what happens if the governor or the legislature enact levy limits and remove that ability?
About two dozen households were without water late Monday afternoon, as Farmington maintenance crews repaired a water main break near Fourth and Maple streets. A Farmington police officer on patrol spotted water coming up out of the street Sunday, municipal services director Todd Reiten said. The area was inspected later Sunday, but the leak was slow enough that it could wait until Monday to be fixed. The water main in question serves Farmington Elementary School, as well as several surrounding blocks. City workers were able to dig down and find the break earlier in the day.
Fresh, natural eggs are a pretty hot seller at just about any farmer's market. If a proposed city ordinance goes through, there might be no shortage of those fresh eggs in Farmington. Last week, the Farmington planning commission got its first look at a draft ordinance that would allow for chickens, chicken coops and chicken runs in residential neighborhoods. It's in its very early stages, assistant city planner Tony Wippler said, but the ordinance is one people have been asking for. "We do get probably a handful of requests from time to time.
State Representative Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) is not at all pleased with the news of Farmington's license center being closed down. Garofalo introduced a bill Monday to override decisions made by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Driver and Vehicle Services division last week.
There are a lot of television shows out there these days that use forensic science as the basis of their storylines. Those are cool, sure, but imagine being able to use forensic science in real life. Cooler, right? Farmington High School senior Bryana Brower thought so, too. And Brower was actually able to prove that theory when she participated in the Cedar Valley Science Symposium at Wartberg College in January. Brower was one of five Minnesota students to participate in the weekend workshop, which gave students the choice of nine different areas of forensic investigation to study.