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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Ever wonder what to do with those old, dirty, stinky, smelly tennis shoes? Just ask any North Trail Elementary School student - they'll take 'em. At least, for the next 10 days or so, they'll take them. NTES students are hoping to find as many pairs of old tennis shoes as possible. There's extra phy-ed time in it for them. Through May 13, North Trail Elementary students are collecting old tennis shoes for the GreenSneakers EcoChallenge for Education. For every pound of tennis shoes collected, GreenSneakers will pay 50 cents.
They say one man's trash is another man's treasure. That explains a lot when it comes to the treasure hunters who come to town annually about this time of year. You see them everywhere, especially on Thursdays and Fridays. Men and women in trucks with trailers attached, driving slowly up and down the streets. They'll find a pile of discarded items set out for Farmington's annual cleanup days. They'll get out, survey the pile and pick through the items. They'll toss some into their vehicles, leave some behind.
More than 200 volunteers battled the elements just so they could clean up their community Saturday morning. The annual Park and Pond Cleanup Day was marred by cold temperatures and rain Saturday, but Farmington natural resource specialist Jen Dullum said the weather didn't dampen the spirits of volunteers. "There were some people who came in their jackets and their boots. They were prepared for the elements," Dullum said. "We had about 550 volunteers RSVP, and about 200 of them showed up. I'm still happy we had 200.
It might be hard to think of the warm, sunny days of summer during these gloomy, rainy days in Farmington. But summer isn't all that far off - and neither is the opening night of Farmington's annual farmer's market. Organized by city of Farmington staff, the market will begin its third season June 16, though it's the first time executive assistant Cindy Muller has been in charge. She's made a few changes to the market, too. This week, she talked about some of those changes and the upcoming season. Tell me what's new with the farmer's market. This year, we have a new location.
Warmer weather has finally arrived in Farmington and residents are starting to get outside and enjoy all the amenities offered by the Farmington Parks and Recreation Department. Did you know that Farmington has 876 acres of parkland and 22 parks that are available to the community? There are also 45 miles of trails - paved, nature trails and boardwalks - that make up the city's extensive trail system. The parks and recreation department recently presented its 2010 annual report to the Farmington City Council.
They don't really want to say "I told you so," but they certainly could. For the past decade, the city of Farmington has used one method to calculate the community's population growth. The Metropolitan Council used something else. When the 2010 Census results came back, the city's numbers were more accurate. That means Farmington has officially crossed the 20,000-resident mark.
I am pretty sure I need a new alarm clock. Either that, or a nice, long vacation that doesn't include packing or unpacking boxes. Maybe it was the sniveling weather outside. The damp, dark, dreary weather. The steady patter of raindrops on the roof. Whatever it was, I just slept right through my alarm Tuesday morning. I've had this alarm clock for a little over a year. Its predecessor had this annoying bright blue light that illuminated the numbers. It was huge, but then again, I got it when I was 13 years old and things weren't quite as compact as they are these days.
A World War II veteran who never stopped serving will be laid to rest next week. Howard Miller, 88, died Monday, April 25, 2011. Miller was inducted into the United States Army Air Corps, now the US Air Force, in 1943. It was the beginning of a military career that changed his life and, ultimately, impacted the lives of hundreds of Farmington students. Miller was stationed on the east and west coasts of the United States for two years before he was shipped to Germany in February, 1946.
One of the signs of spring around Farmington seems to be the onset of vandalism season. This year, though, the Farmington Police Department has a plan try to curb activity. Police are taking notes. They're compiling a database of teens spotted roaming around downtown Farmington, in particular. Vandalism seems to start up annually as the days get longer and warmer. Individuals who are out and bored at night have already done all kinds of damage this spring. One vandal slashed tires on city vehicles outside city hall in March.
The make-up of the Farmington Economic Development Authority is changing - again. Just short of five years ago, the Farmington City Council changed the membership of the EDA by dismissing the residents who had served on the board and assuming the role of EDA members. Now council members are taking a step in the other direction. Council members are not planning to step out of the EDA entirely, at least not yet.