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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At one time or another, all Farmington students have learned about the importance of giving to those less fortunate than they are. Regardless of grade level or school building, students have been asked to help others by donating change, clothing, toys or food. So the food drive at Dodge Middle School is nothing new to students.
Last month, Farmington economic development specialist Tina Hansmeier provided the city's economic development authority with a list of all of the local businesses that had opened and those that closed in. Hansmeier provides the list to keep city officials apprised of development activity in the community, so we decided to take her reports one step further and visit with her on the subject. She and city administrator Peter Herlofsky sat down with us Tuesday afternoon. In 2010, 15 news businesses opened and 17 closed. Is this anything to be alarmed by? Tina: I don't think so.
Choirpalooza isn't just a cool sounding name for a concert. It's a cool concept for one, too. The annual Choirpaloooza concert is Thursday night at Farmington High School. And while it will feature several of the high school choirs, it's really all about the younger performers -- the sixth graders of Dodge and Boeckman middle schools. The younger students are working on songs of their own -- Dodge Middle School students were busy perfecting The Star Spangled Banner earlier this week -- but they'll perform a few with the older students, too.
The temperature may have been chilly Monday afternoon, but kids on recess at Farmington Elementary School kept plenty warm while getting in a little extra ice time.
At the next meeting of the Farmington City Council, a representative from the ALF Ambulance, a division of Allina Medical Transportation, is scheduled to give a report of the 2010 ambulance activity. A copy of that report was included in this week's council agenda. Among the highlights: In 2010, the ALF units of Allina Medical Transportation responded to 490 emergency calls in Farmington, 39 in Castle Rock, 20 in Eureka and 50 in Empire township. The average response time for Farmington calls was 10:04 minutes.
No more traveling to neighboring communities to get your driver's license renewed - just head down to Farmington City Hall. Farmington City Council members have approved a contract with Quick-Serv, the company that runs the licensing center in South St. Paul. The company will run Farmington's new registrar's office, which was also approved this week. Farmington city administrator Peter Herlofsky has been named deputy registrar for Farmington. In his absence, human resources director Brenda Wendlandt will be the alternate. The registrar's office should be opened by the end of the month.
Taxpayers like to know where their money goes, and rightfully so. To help them understand who makes the most money at city hall, the State of Minnesota, in 2005, ordered that all cities with a population of more than 15,000 annually notify residents of the positions and base salaries of its three highest-paid employees. In accordance with the law, the city of Farmington has posted that information on its web page, www.ci.farmington.mn.us . It was posted on Jan. 24, and, according to the law, must remain posted for a period of 90 days.
It takes a lot of time and planning to make a garden grow. You plow the land, you choose the seeds. You plant them, you water and fertilize the garden. And if you're lucky, you'll soon reap the benefits of your hard work. That's kind of what folks over at Farmington City Hall are hoping for -- to reap the benefits of a successful growing season. Only, they want to grow Farmington's business base. Hence, the Grow Farmington meetings, one of which was scheduled for Wednesday night.
Nora Lenz doesn't really have much time to get homesick, even though she's been away from her home in Germany for almost half of a year. No, this 17-year-old from Daurenheim -- a small village of about 2,000 in the German state of Hessen -- has plenty to keep her occupied right here in Farmington. And when all else fails, she's got Skype and the Internet to touch base with her family and friends back home. Lenz arrived in Farmington on Aug. 27. She's been staying with Nancy and Kenneth Stein of Farmington, and she's got her 20-year-old host sister, Teresa, to spend time with.
My parents gave me a lot of what I consider to be good qualities. They taught me to work hard for the things I want. They taught me to respect others, and to give back to my community. What they didn't teach me was how to say "no" and mean it. That's a bit ironic, too. In my baby book, my mother chronicled my first words as "no" and "mama." I'm pretty sure she liked the "mama" part. But I'm thinking she probably started discouraging the use of "no" from the beginning, simply because she was hoping to avoid raising a sassy, headstrong teenager.