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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For the better part of two decades, downtown Farmington's McVicker lot -- that space between the Farmington Steak House and Gossips -- has been for sale. There have been a few potential buyers for the lot, but over the years, those deals all fell through, and the lot still sits empty. But this time, it seems like the project will go ahead. Dr. Linden Dungy, owner of Immanuel Dental is interested in purchasing the open lot. He proposes to build a 3,000-square-foot building that would allow him to increase the size of his office space from three to six chairs.
A decision about whether to cut one or two city staff positions will have to wait. Farmington City Council members need a little more time to weigh the pros and cons. Up for discussion are two positions that would save the city close to $200,000 if they were both eliminated - the administrative services director post held by Lisa Shadick, and the economic development specialist position held by Tina Hansmeier. Council members identified those two positions during a Sept. 27 workshop as ones that could be eliminated.
Everyone can use a little help now and then. That's true in Riverview Elementary School, where Lisa Schlosser has been helping kids in kindergarten through third grade reach their reading goals through a new program, Minnesota Reading Corps. The program isn't new to Farmington schools -- it's been around Farmington Elementary School and Akin Road Elementary for a couple of years -- but this is the first year for Riverview.
So there we were in the Boeckman Middle School auditorium last Wednesday afternoon, a little clique of photographers. Gov. Tim Pawlenty was on stage, congratulating 12 other communities for their achievements. I was there in my blue American Legion Auxiliary vest and tie, representing one of our community's veteran's organizations. I was snapping pictures for the Independent, of course, but also for several other newspapers in our company. I was going with the whole two-for-one kind of thing.
Now, repeat after me," said Francis Kofi from the center of the music room at Meadowview Elementary School. "Ki. Ki. Lam-bey-bey-bey." Obediently, the room full of fifth grade students began to chant, "Ki. Ki. Lam-bey-bey-bey." They kept on with the chant for a few minutes. Once in a while one would shoot a sideways glance at the classmate sitting along side him or her. The chanting sounded a little funny, but they were establishing a rhythm. It was something the kids could hear. Something they could follow.
Farmington High School teacher Jason Kohlbeck isn't a speech coach. But that's not stopping him from organizing an oratorical contest for students this year. Kohlbeck is a member of the Farmington American Legion. He's an adjutant for Post 189, which means he's got a few extra things he's working on for the Legion. He's the guy who is working to build up membership, and he's the guy who is responsible for organizing many of the post's programs for students. Well, not too long ago, Rick Rottman of the Cannon Falls American Legion came to visit.
We've all been there and done that: something in the oven or in the stove gets just a little too hot. The smoke detector in the kitchen goes off. Sometimes you can just open a window and wave away the smoke, but sometimes pulling out the battery works just as well, right? Well, yes and no.
Two city of Farmington employees may be looking for new jobs if the Farmington City Council decides to cut their positions next Monday. During a 2011 budget workshop Monday, council members identified two staff positions they feel could be eliminated in order to save city programs and other departments. The positions in question are the economic development specialist post, held by Tina Hansmeier, and the administrative services director, held by Lisa Shadick.
Farmington's economic development authority learned Monday it is more or less broke because of tax increment financing decisions made more than a decade ago. EDA members got a crash course this week in TIF issues. A popular funding tool to woo businesses to a community in the 1990s, TIF was designed to give tax breaks to businesses. Those businesses would pay back the taxes over the years. The goal was to attract businesses to communities, spur new development and create new jobs. State rules require cities to use TIF funds only on the projects where those funds originated.
The Farmington High School 2010 homecoming court has been announced. Homecoming queen candidates are Devyn Alberts, Nicole Clifton, Madeleine Cook, Kaitlyn Habeck, Brianne Kashak, Brook King, Paige Lindrud, Janine Miller, Viktoriya Nesvetaylov and Emily Severson. Candidates for homecoming king are Sebren Baer, Blair Berg, Bryce Clark, Tyler Grubb, Matthew Kadrlik, Kyle Kapustka, Thomas Korbein, Trevor Lachance, Zachary Wallace and Zachary Wyatt. Candidates were chosen by a vote of the senior class. Students will be asked to vote on these candidates to choose the 2010 homecoming royalty.