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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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.
Farmington Elementary School students had a little fun with staff April 15. The students were challenged to read as much as they could in a two week span. Teachers of the classes with the most number of minutes got pies in their faces during Friday's assembly. All told, FES students read a total of 66,662 minutes, or 1,111 hours. Tom Murphy's fourth grade class read the most minutes, with 9,365. Even Principal Ben Januschka got into the festivities, taking a pie in the face, too.
In Farmington, spring cleaning isn't limited to cleaning out the house. On April 30, somewhere around 300 volunteers will spend a couple of hours outdoors, doing a little spring cleaning in Farmington's parks and around the community's ponds. For the ninth consecutive year, the city of Farmington is hosting its Park and Pond Cleanup Day, followed by its annual Earth and Arbor Day celebration. Snow goes a long way to covering up the garbage that seems to accumulate over the winter, but once it melts, all of the newspapers, cans and other discarded items can be seen all over the community.
A new ordinance allowing Farmington residents to keep chicken coops on their property is being scaled back a bit in hopes of ruffling fewer feathers. The Farmington City Council reviewed a proposed chicken ordinance that would allow residents with lots of 2 1/2 acres or larger to maintain a chicken coop on their property. In the original form, city staff proposed allowing 12 chickens per property. However, in reviewing the proposal, council members felt 12 may be too many for residential properties, mayor Todd Larson said.
With a goal of filling the city administrator position by Sept. 1, the Farmington City Council is now accepting applications to replace Peter Herlofsky, who resigned March 28. Council members have decided to conduct the search without the assistance of a search firm. Mayor Todd Larson and another as yet unidentified council member will act as the city administrator selection sub-committee. Human resources director Brenda Wendlandt will be the staff liaison.
There's a pretty good chance a lot of spring cleaning will take place around Farmington this weekend. Next Saturday kicks off the annual Curbside Clean-up Days, sponsored by the city of Farmington. It's that time of year when residents haul their miscellaneous pieces of broken furniture and old televisions to the curb, just waiting for city crews to come by and take the eyesore away. This is the tenth year for the curbside program, but the city of Farmington has been helping residents get rid of their bigger garbage since 1989, when it kicked off the community cleanup program.
Teaching 450 students at once might seem like a somewhat labor intensive process, but Farmington High School math teacher Daniel Pickens says that's not so. And prepping 450 juniors for the annual Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests this week was kind of a breeze, too. Pickens is teaching his students by doing the lessons he would ordinarily do, only he's doing the lessons before a video camera instead of filled desks. And guest speakers?