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 you trim all the fat away, usually all that's left is the bones. And that's pretty much what the city of Farmington will operate with over the next couple of years - the bare bone necessities. In a complete reversal from last summer's proposal of a nearly $1 million increase in the tax levy, Farmington City Council members gave the nod to $162,500 in cuts from the proposed 2012 budget, and allocated $367,500 in one-time fiscal disparities money to next year's operating budget.
Farmington city administrator David McKnight and finance director Teresa Walters aren't likely to get much of a break this Thanksgiving weekend. They'll be spending much of their time trying to find $100,000 to $175,000 in last-minute budget cuts after the Farmington City Council did a 180-degree turnaround on the 2012 budget and levy at a Tuesday night budget workshop. And, they'll be building a "what if" scenario, as well, looking at the possibility of including $540,000 in one-time fiscal disparities funds to offset the 2012 operating levy. After nearly three hours of discussion, counci
Here's the thing about holiday weeks: there is usually far too much to do, in far too little time. Don't get me wrong. I'm gearing up for a nice, long four-day weekend with family and a couple hundred of my closest Black Friday shopping friends, just like anybody else. I'm going to eat far more than my stomach can handle, and then I'm going to lie around and groan for the next few hours. I'm going to decorate the Leonard Family Christmas Tree with my nieces and nephews, then teach my puppy how to leave the ornaments alone.
Boeckman Middle School eighth grade math teacher Kevin Waldbillig has been named the Teacher of the Year for Farmington schools. He's been teaching in Farmington for 25 years. He's coached multiple sports, he's taught hundreds of students. And yet, Waldbillig downplays his honor. What made you decide to become a teacher? First of all, in my family, I have probably have 33 cousins, and I think about 25 of them are teachers or in school. My sister's a school nurse. I have two band directors and a school nurse in my family of six - I'm one of six, and I'm the youngest in my family.
Farmington School District 192 food service director Peggy Anderberg is pretty pleased with her job these days. Last week, the company she works for, Chartwells, presented her with an award that not every school district gets to receive - the Center for Excellence distinction. The award isn't Anderberg's alone. It belongs to all of the food service employees throughout District 192, because it was their combined efforts that helped to make Farmington's food system as successful as it is. Being named a Center for Excellence didn't happen overnight.
Two Minnesota turkeys will be spared a Thanksgiving dinner fate after they receive pardons from President Barack Obama Wednesday. This week, North Trail Elementary School first and second graders got to meet one of the two Presidential turkeys. Tom the Turkey and friends from the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association stopped at North Trail Thursday morning to gobble up a little time with students before heading to Washington, D.C., to meet the President.
Most days Brandon Dion looks like any other Farmington High School sophomore. But come every Tuesday evening, something kind of cool happens to him. He turns into Cadet 1st Lt. Brandon Dion. It's not some sort of superhero status - though it does require a change of clothing - but he is, in fact, learning to fly. Brandon Dion is a member of the Air Force Civil Air Patrol Auxiliary 130th Composite Squadron that meets every Tuesday evening at a hanger at Airlake Airport in Lakeville. There, he's is learning far more than just how to be a good kid. Brandon, and his mom Jody - that's SM 1st Lt.
Riverview Elementary School art teacher Rafa Estrella didn't know how his new project would go when he came up with it last year. But now he does - it was a tremendous success. Estrella came up with the idea to make holiday cards from artwork done by fourth grade students. The thought was, he'd find a few students who would want to make pictures and would come up with the messages inside the cards. Maybe they would even be able to sell a few boxes this year. If they sold 100 boxes, well, that would have been a really good first run. Turns out, though, lots of kids wanted in on the action.
If you didn't win a turkey at the fire department's Turkey Bingo last Saturday, your odds just might be a little better this weekend at St. Michael's Catholic Church. The St. Michael's Knights of Columbus Council 2400 is holding its annual Turkey Bingo Saturday night. They've been doing their own -- albeit, smaller -- Turkey Bingo for eight years to raise money for local charities. For the fourth year in a row, proceeds from the KC event will benefit the Farmington Food Shelf.
What do you put on a really big Christmas tree? Why, really big decorations, of course. The Farmington Business Association will erect the community Christmas tree during the Dec. 3 Dazzle Day event downtown, but preparations for decorating that tree are starting this weekend at the Dakota County Library in Farmington. The Dakota Valley Arts Council is asking Farmington families to help decorate that tree by making decorations that will withstand the elements. DVAC president Beve Preece has a couple of projects in mind for Saturday's decoration construction at the library.