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.
- Member for
- 1 year 10 months
Sometimes, it just helps to have a good, open discussion. So that's what Farmington City Council members and city staff did last Saturday. A week after council members held their own, separate retreat, they met again to discuss goals for the rest of the year. But before they got too far into discussions of how to restructure the city's budget process or prioritize equipment and project needs with staff, staff members addressed goals of their own. Specifically, the group talked communication. Or the lack thereof, at times.
A stuck relief valve on a gas pipeline forced Farmington firefighters to close down a portion of southbound Pilot Knob Road Monday morning. The Farmington Fire Department was summoned to the natural gas pumping facility at the corner of 190th Street West and Pilot Knob Road around 9:30 a.m., after a neighbor reported hearing a hissing sound coming from a pipe, Farmington fire marshal John Powers said. Upon inspection by Minnesota Energy Resources technicians, it was discovered that a relief valve on one of MERC's lines had been frozen in an open position.
Farmington police are looking for tips regarding the identity of a person who slashed tires on five city vehicles parked outside of Farmington City Hall Sunday night. Six tires were slashed around 9:30 p.m. Sunday by an individual police detective sergeant Lee Hollatz described as a younger male or teenager. The activity was caught on a video surveillance camera outside of city hall. Though police have no suspects at this time, Hollatz said the young man in the video appears to be wearing a hood and riding a bicycle.
Just three days after Farmington City Council members cast a 4-1 vote to take franchise fees off the table as a way of paying for seal-coating, council member Christy Jo Fogarty asked, "What if?" In her scenario presented at the March 10 council retreat, Fogarty laid out a scenario. What if, she asked, the state of Minnesota decides to impose levy limits for 2012 and 2013? If the city of Farmington is counting on the ability to increase property taxes to cover the costs of seal coating, what happens if the governor or the legislature enact levy limits and remove that ability?
About two dozen households were without water late Monday afternoon, as Farmington maintenance crews repaired a water main break near Fourth and Maple streets. A Farmington police officer on patrol spotted water coming up out of the street Sunday, municipal services director Todd Reiten said. The area was inspected later Sunday, but the leak was slow enough that it could wait until Monday to be fixed. The water main in question serves Farmington Elementary School, as well as several surrounding blocks. City workers were able to dig down and find the break earlier in the day.
Fresh, natural eggs are a pretty hot seller at just about any farmer's market. If a proposed city ordinance goes through, there might be no shortage of those fresh eggs in Farmington. Last week, the Farmington planning commission got its first look at a draft ordinance that would allow for chickens, chicken coops and chicken runs in residential neighborhoods. It's in its very early stages, assistant city planner Tony Wippler said, but the ordinance is one people have been asking for. "We do get probably a handful of requests from time to time.
State Representative Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) is not at all pleased with the news of Farmington's license center being closed down. Garofalo introduced a bill Monday to override decisions made by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Driver and Vehicle Services division last week.
There are a lot of television shows out there these days that use forensic science as the basis of their storylines. Those are cool, sure, but imagine being able to use forensic science in real life. Cooler, right? Farmington High School senior Bryana Brower thought so, too. And Brower was actually able to prove that theory when she participated in the Cedar Valley Science Symposium at Wartberg College in January. Brower was one of five Minnesota students to participate in the weekend workshop, which gave students the choice of nine different areas of forensic investigation to study.
Sometimes you have to crawl before you can run. And baby steps are just part of the process. That's kind of how the Grow Farmington initiative is coming along. There are dreams and plans of making great strides one day, but members have to develop their plans step by step, first.
Farmington City Council members covered a lot of ground at a March 10 goal setting retreat and set out several goals for the year ahead. Meeting in Lakeville, four of five council members aired their thoughts, concerns and ideas for 4 1/2 hours Thursday. Council member Terry Donnelly was not present. No Farmington city staff members were in attendance, and though the meeting was open to the public, no residents attended.