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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Whenever the 451st Army Band comes to town, it's a pretty good bet there will be lots of clapping going on. Based out of Fort Snelling, the 451st Army Band is a group of musicians who serve in the US Army. While many of them are deployed from time to time, these soldiers serve for a different reason - to bring entertainment and education to their audiences. The 451st Army Band played before a local audience two years ago, shortly after the current Farmington High School opened.
Proposals for veterans memorials in Farmington have come and gone over the years, but the latest might just be here to stay. This week, planners of a veterans memorial are unveiling a model of the memorial, and announcing the beginning of their fundraising efforts. The memorial model is on display at Farmington City Hall, and will be a featured piece during Thursday's Patriotic Day event at Farmington High School. And if everything goes as planned, a year from now, residents will be able to appreciate the real thing. The memorial features a statute of a soldier saluting a folded flag.
The driver of a Toyota 4-Runner will have to find another vehicle to drive after his car was totaled in a Wednesday afternoon rollover on Highway 3. Farmington police sergeant Jim Murphy said the 67-year-old driver was southbound on Highway 3 around 12:15 p.m., when he drifted off the right side of the road. From the initial assessment at the scene, the man over-corrected, causing the SUV to overturn. The driver, who is from Eagan, wound up upside down, his vehicle coming to a stop in the middle of the Eighth Street frontage road and Oak Street intersection.
Odds are, Jared Hubbard has one of the more unconventional jobs of anyone in his Farmington neighborhood. He plays online poker for a living, and he plays it well. Sometimes, for a change of pace, he'll sit in on a couple of live games. Chances are, he'll do pretty well there, too. Take, for instance, the Fall Poker Classic held at Canterbury Park earlier this month. Hubbard emerged at the top of the heap, earning a cool $70,769 from the tournament. Not bad for three days of work. Mostly, though, Hubbard works from his home. He's got four monitors set up, all connected to one computer.
There was a whole lot of excitement at Farmington Elementary School last Wednesday, and it wasn't just because kids had the next few days off from school. Most of the student body was gathered in the auditorium space at FES for a Minute to Win It-style challenge. The kids were there, cheering on classmates who were competing for a calculator. Yep, a calculator. It wasn't just any calculator, though - the calculators that were awarded Wednesday were special ones.
Piecing together the Farmington city budget is kind of like putting a big puzzle together. It takes time and planning. That's what the Farmington City Council is trying to do for the 2012 budget and levy. They filled in another couple of pieces this week, but there are still a few more pieces to sort through before the budget is complete. Council members held a Monday budget workshop to decide what to do with an anticipated $537,000 in fiscal disparities funds in 2012.
Farmington firefighter Todd Kindseth just happened to be in the right place at the right time Saturday. Kindseth was near the Conoco station at the intersection of Highway 3 and County Road 50 around 4 p.m. Saturday when he noticed thick, black smoke curling from an area not too far away. As assistant chief of the fire department's rescue crew, Kindseth knew what that kind of smoke meant. It wasn't a recreational fire. It wasn't someone burning leaves. There was a house on fire somewhere close by, so he went to find it. He was right.
Get ready to scream next weekend because there will be plenty of tricks and treats to thrill visitors at Farmington fire station 1 Oct. 29-31. The Farmington Fire Explorers Post will hold a haunted house at the downtown fire hall. With the help of advisor Christopher Matek, the post members are decorating one of the bays in the building. They plan to set it up with different age groups in mind, so the further in visitors go, the scarier it will be. "There will be a couple different levels, depending on the age group," Matek said. "The younger kids will have an escort.
No one in Harold Roy's hometown of Charles City, Iowa was really surprised when he decided, nearly 60 years ago, that he wanted to jump out of planes for a living. "People used to say they weren't surprised I became a paratrooper," Roy said from the comfort of his Farmington living room. "I was the kid who always took chances." Roy is one of Farmington's World War II veterans. At age 88, he's one of the guests of honor at this year's Patriotic Day celebration Nov. 3, at Farmington High School. He's earned that honor.
Not everyone gets a nickname from the former President of the United States, but Ken Hendrickson did last week. Ken - or Kenny, as folks may remember him - is a wounded Navy Seabee veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In June of 2006, Petty Officer first class Hendrickson was riding in a Humvee as a gunner in a convoy security team when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Iraq's Al Anbar region. The force of the explosion catapulted him about 35 feet in the air and approximately 100 yards down the road. Two teammates were killed in the explosion, a fourth member sustained shoulder injuries.