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 is 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 Farmington firefighters went into the icy water at the Prairie Waterway Greenway near Prairieview Park Sunday, they were wearing rescue suits and had ample equipment there for their cold-water rescue practice. They were ready to go into the icy water. Most people who fall into the cold winter waters aren't as lucky. That's a concern in Farmington, where there are more than 100 ponds, none of which his likely frozen over enough to sustain a person's weight right now. When firefighters cut through the waterway's ice, they found it to be about three inches thick.
The text message Barbara Menoch sent her family on the evening of June 17, 2011, read: "If you want me to kill myself, I will," and then, "You do not want me anymore." The response to that message now has three police officers, Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist and the city of Farmington at the center of a lawsuit. Menoch's message alarmed a member of her family, who asked the Farmington Police Department to check on Menoch's welfare.
Puppies are funny creatures. I got my first kitten for my 10th birthday. I was 23 when my dad had to take her to the vet for the last time. Michke, my last cat, was my companion for 14 years. Suffice it to say, I understand cats. If I'd been asked, even three months ago, I'd fall under the "Cat Person" category. But now, Rissa's come to our house, and she's really messing with that whole label. We'll have had her for a month this weekend, and it's been one interesting -- and trying -- month. For the most part, she's been an angel, but then again, she sleeps a lot.
For more than 20 years, the annual Christmas program has been an important part of Christian Life School's holiday season. It's the "shining star" of the season, so to speak. But for the past eight years or so, that program - which, ultimately centers around Mary, Joseph and the birth of baby Jesus - has been presented nontraditional ways. Take, for example, this year's program. Titled "Arrest These Merry Gentlemen," it's a Dragnet-themed program that will be presented Thursday in the church sanctuary.
Farmington City Council members may have figured out a budget solution for 2012, but that solution does not address the Farmington Fire Department's need for a new fire engine. While the budget approved Monday is conservative, it leaves fire chief Tim Pietsch unclear, but optimistic, on the possibility of getting a new engine sometime in the next few years. Even though no money is currently set aside, Pietsch has asked his crew to start looking for new rigs. He's got a committee researching new trucks, demonstration trucks and even some used trucks.
They come from a generation where hard work and dedication were not options - they was a way of life. If they wanted something, they had to work hard to get it. That's probably why, after just 2 1/2 years, the members of Rambling River Center have raised almost $80,000 of the $90,000 they were required to raise as part of an agreement made before the current Rambling River Center opened in 2009. They started out with $10,725 in June, 2009. Now, they owe less than that: only $10,205 remains to be collected.
Farmington superintendent Jay Haugen sees school officials as public servants, so he really doesn't see providing homemade pie as that unusual when he talks about the state of School District 192 next week. "It's really part of who I am and how we serve our communities," Haugen said. "I think it's important to gather people together, give them a forum to hear about the schools and gather input." Haugen plans to start his roundtable discussions, Dialogue and Desserts, with three open visits with the community next week. It's something he plans to do on a fairly regular basis.
With just over a week until the cut off to accept names, the folks at the Farmington Police Department are confident 2011 will be a record year for Toys for Town. On Nov. 22, 57 families with 157 kids had been placed on the list of families needing assistance this holiday season. Not even one week later, there were 66 families representing 176 kids on that same list. One family added to the list on Monday brought the number of kids from 170 to 176 - just like that.
The lack of snow might make a snow sculpture contest a little harder, but Dazzle Day organizer David Hartnett is far from disheartened. In fact, it's kind of getting his creative juices flowing. Farmington's Dazzle Day committee has looked at several options for making the sculpture contest happen -- from transporting ice shavings from the Schmitz-Maki Arena to downtown to using marshmallows.
The Farmington City Council's sudden decision to abandon its 2012 budget plans and direct city staff to find $175,000 in cuts came less than two weeks before the city's Dec. 5 truth in taxation hearing. It's an about-face that came after 2012 proposed property tax statements arrived from Dakota County. The city of Farmington had proposed tax increases that would have helped pay down debt and create funds to pay for city projects.