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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When most Tiger hockey fans come back to Schmitz-Maki Ice Arena for the first games of the 2010-11 season, they really won't notice anything different. The colors are the same inside. The words "Home of the Tigers" are still spelled out of the far wall. The bleacher seating will still be, well, bleacher seating. They'll notice the new dasherboards around the ice. Those will be a sign improvements were in fact made to the arena during the off-season. What they won't see is the intricate maze of plastic piping and wire mesh that sits below the ice floor.
Two weeks after an improvised explosive device went off next to him while he was on walking patrol in Afghanistan, 26-year-old Kyle Malin is reportedly doing well at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Malin arrived at Walter Reed on July 18, after being initially cared for in a hospital in Germany. Malin lost both of his legs in the explosion. Over the past week, Malin has undergone multiple surgeries, according to his mother, Deb Malin, who is in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Jon Malin, and Kyle's wife, Alicia.
Most of the time, Travis Sundvall and his dog, Bosco, have a typical boy-and-his-dog relationship. Sundvall feeds his dog and cleans up after him. They go for walks, and they play outside. And then, they go to work. "When we go to work, he knows," Sundvall said. "When he sees me putting on my uniform, he understands it's time to go to work." A lively 1 1/2-year-old German Shepard from Slovakia, Bosco is Farmington's first K9 officer. He's been on patrol with Sundvall since graduating from the St. Paul Canine Training Facility May 27.
Like a recurring nightmare, the long delayed Vermillion River Crossings development is haunting the Farmington City Council once again. Originally proposed to be a commercial development that would bring a hotel, a "big box" anchor and multiple stores to the site just south of County Road 50, the project has more or less ceased to be. The infrastructure is in place, but the businesses that were supposed to pay for it are not. That means the city council is facing a pretty big problem - to the tune of more than $700,000 - when it comes to planning the 2011 city budget.
If you've ever entertained the thought of running for the Farmington City Council, it's time to start thinking a little more seriously. Due to the new Military Overseas Voter Empowerment Act - which moves the primary elections ahead so there is more time between the primary and general elections to allow overseas military voters the time to get and return ballots - the city of Farmington has moved up its city council candidacy filing dates. Farmington residents 21 and older may file for one of two, four-year terms on the city council from Tuesday, Aug. 3 through Tuesday, Aug. 17.
Every so often, I do something that reminds me that I'm getting older. When, for instance, I bought my home nine years ago, I figured it was time. I was 33, and it seemed like something a responsible adult would do. Thinking I'd like to be considered a responsible adult, I became a homeowner. When my sister and my sister-in-law announced they were having babies within a month of each other three years ago, I decided the time had come to be the doting aunt and make baby blankets, so I taught myself to crochet. I've always known how to bake.
Everyone wants to make a good first impression. Apparently, Farmington has, but now city officials need to figure out how to market it. Earlier this summer, the city of Farmington's planning staff played host to city planners from Apple Valley, Golden Valley, Burnsville, South St. Paul, and the Metropolitan Council. On a warm June afternoon, just as the Dew Days celebration was about to kick off, the guests took a two-hour tour of Farmington. They were participating in a First Impressions Survey. The planners were asked to look at the community and give their honest, outside opinion.
A 2002 Farmington High School graduate is in stable condition and preparing for transportation to Walter Reed Army Medical in Washington, D.C. after he was injured in an explosion in Afghanistan earlier this week. Kyle Malin, 26, son of Deb and Jon Malin of Lakeville, was injured when an improvised explosive device went off while he was on walking patrol in Afghanistan last weekend. Two other soldiers with him were injured. One died. A member of the Army's 101st Airborne out of Fort Capmbell, Ky., Malin was in surgery earlier this week, preparing for transportation to Walter Reed.
It's pretty hard not to notice the large, shady trees along Akin Road. They've been there for what seems like forever, so no one really pays too much attention to them, right? Wrong. Two Farmington church congregations do, and their efforts to save what turns out to be an endangered habitat were acknowledged by the city of Farmington Monday night. When Bible Baptist Church and Farmington Lutheran Church planned out the landscapes on their respective properties, both made an effort to disturb as little of the natural wooded area around their buildings as possible.
Though community volunteers plan Farmington's annual Dew Days celebration, the festival also relies on some help from the city of Farmington. Besides the events city staff plan, there are extra police on duty, the sanitation crews have to keep the community clean and seasonal staff help with events like the Dew Run. It's not a burden - it's just the way it is in Farmington. But how much does that extra help actually cost? Outside of police officers and liquor store clerks, not too many city employees work weekends. Working Dew Days also means overtime or comp time for several staffers.