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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- 1 year 11 months
I've been at five counties, two cities, and had one overseas assignment, and I've had to walk away from all of them for one reason or another," Farmington city administrator Peter Herlofsky said Tuesday morning. That was the explanation Herlofsky gave for turning in his resignation to Farmington City Council members following a Monday night economic development authority meeting. Just short of his five-year anniversary on May 1, Herlofsky leaves the city of Farmington with no new position lined up.
Farmington survived yet another successful year in 2010, and mayor Todd Larson will share the good news with the community starting March 26. On Monday of this week, Larson taped his annual State of the City address, instead of doing it live before a group of people.
Chances are, if you're out driving around Farmington on any given day, you'll pass at least one police squad car. The officers might pass you by, they might have someone pulled over. They might be responding to a call, or they might just be getting lunch or coffee. But there are a few officers around town who are less visibile than those out on patrol. Take, for instance, detective sergeant Lee Hollatz. He joined the Farmington Police Department in 1995, but has spent much of the past decade in investigations. As sergeant, he oversees the investigations division.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?" It's a question kids are asked when they're little, and they've usually got hundreds of answers. By the time kids are high school seniors, though, that question can be pretty daunting. After all, next year, it's time to grow up. But Farmington High School senior Katrina Costa isn't worried about her future. She knows what she wants to be after high school. She wants to be a nurse.
Coming up on his fifth anniversary, Farmington city administrator will have to wait a couple more weeks for his annual performance evaluation. Herlofsky's anniversary date is May 1, but Farmington City Council members typically do his performance evaluation prior to that date. The evaluation was scheduled for this Monday, but the absence of council member Terry Donnelly at this week's meeting, and his planned absence at the April 4 meeting, meant council had to delay the evaluation until Monday, April 18. Council members are each asked to fill out a review form prior to the evaluation.
One Farmington resident found a bullet hole in their home. The neighbor went to jail for drug possession. Charges of fifth degree drug possession and reckless charge of a firearm are pending against 22-year-old Bounma Xayachack of Farmington, who has been in custody in the Dakota County jail since March 21. According to Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist, a resident living in a townhouse on the southeast section of Farmington called police around 9:30 p.m. Friday night to report they had found bullet holes in a wall and ceiling in their home. Police responded to the home.
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?