Michelle Leonard started covering the Farmington community in June, 1994. 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 Farmington American Legion Auxiliary Unit 189, and acts as 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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It was a small group of nine people that met Monday afternoon in the North Trail Elementary School media center. A small group that hopes to accomplish a huge task. The group included a couple of School District 192 representatives, a few members of the Farmington Lions Club and representatives from the Farmington VFW, American Legion and Warrior to Citizen. The meeting was the first of maybe half a dozen that will be spread out between now and Nov. 4.
They were there. The mothers. The grandmothers. They were there, wearing yellow ribbons pinned over their hearts. Each ribbon bore the name of a loved one who is serving or has served his or her country. Some wore pins with the faces of sons and daughters in uniform. Others wore sweaters of red, white and blue. Still others had sweatshirts proclaiming their affiliation: "USAF." "A Proud Navy Mom." This was the Warrior to Citizen Mother's Luncheon Saturday. In one corner of the social hall at St. Michael's Catholic Church, the Red Hat Ladies chorus sang standard favorite patriotic tunes.
Now that he's retired, Ted Dau has the time to sit back and visit. To tell his stories. To reflect on his 30 years as a police officer. He has time to realize the impact one person can have on an entire community. Of course, Dau being the type of guy he is, will gladly share his stories, but he'll humbly shrug off the kudos. He was just doing his job, he'll tell you. And it was a job he loved to do. Hired as a reserve officer while he was still in college at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Dau joined the Farmington Police Department on April 8, 1980.
Everybody has a hobby. Some people collect stamps. Some people have gardens. And some people crawl across the ground on their stomachs and point guns at other people. That's what the reenactors of the World War II Historical Reenactor's Society do. It's a hobby, says reenactor Jon Boorom, for "history nerds." And he's one of them. Boorom is the go-to guy for this weekend's World War II Reenactment, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Dakota City Heritage Village on the Dakota County Fairgrounds.
You know what? I love to clap my hands. I really, really do. Seriously, think about it. Every time you clap your hands, it's for a good reason. Even when the occasion is a somber one, clapping means someone somewhere has done something that deserves recognition. And it can be anywhere, at any time. Last Friday, I clapped my hands and cheered on my 2-year-old niece Emma as she finally learned how to lift her little feet off the patio and successfully complete the art of jumping up and down.
The term "hit the ground running" isn't lost on the city of Farmington's new finance director, Teresa Walters. She's been here just about a month, and already she's completed the city's 2009 audit, and is now gearing up for the 2011 budget season. Walters came to Farmington from Waseca, where she was the finance director. Prior to that, she worked for about 10 years in the city of Bloomington's finance department. Farmington's a much better drive for her, since she's a resident of Elko.
And so, it begins. Another season of number crunching, prioritizing and making difficult decisions. Next Monday, the Farmington City Council will start on its biggest task of every year - building a budget for the next year. In preparation for the first 2011 budget workshop, council members have been asked to gather for a May 10 workshop to draw up a list of concerns.
Spend enough time with someone, and you're bound to know what makes him or her tick. You know a personality, you know where strengths lie. And when it comes to being part of a team, that's usually a pretty good asset. Take the eighth grade Destination Imagination team, JAM2K - five young ladies who have been a team for several years already. They know each other well. They know what each person is good at. They know how to feed off one another and they know they're funny. Well, they're pretty sure they're funny. They're funny to each other. And that's probably all that matters.
There are a few more tweaks that need to be made here and there, but a community survey to gauge support for a parks referendum this fall is just about ready to go. On Monday, the Farmington City Council got its first look at the proposed survey, which would be conducted starting later this month. In its original form, the survey contained 28 questions, but following a council review a few will be pulled before residents are asked for their opinions. The city has contracted with Leisure Vision to conduct the survey.
When Farmington celebrated Arbor Day last Friday, it wasn't a lot different than any other Arbor Day celebration the city has held. There were kids in a park, learning how to plant trees. The kids picked up shovels and rakes, pushed the earth around the root ball then covered it all with mulch. Some were a little unsteady with the shovels, some just chose to use their hands to push the dirt into the hole.