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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About 4 1/2 years ago, Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist put in an application to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. Last week, he came home after finally participating. Lindquist left for Quantico in September, not long after Labor Day. A full 11 weeks later, he returned to Farmington last Thursday and began the agonizing process of sorting through months of e-mails, newspapers, reports and other paperwork. "It's like coming back to a house you lived in and somebody went and moved everything on you," he said last Friday.
There are a lot of weird questions police are still trying answer after an accident involving a car and a train late Monday night. The railroad crossings at Elm and Spruce streets were closed for about three hours late Monday and early Tuesday as police and railroad officials investigated the accident.
Winter doesn't technically begin until tomorrow, but that doesn't seem to matter today. Due to the amount of snow that has fallen since this morning -- and will likely continue into the evening -- cancellation notices are starting to come in to our office. Local cancellations so far include: Farmington School District 192: After school and evening activities have been canceled for Dec. 20.
A little candle can do a lot of damage, as one Farmington homeowner learned Friday night. The Farmington Fire Department was called to a house fire on the 5100 block of Upper 182nd Street around 10:45 p.m. Friday. Fire chief Tim Pietsch said the initial call indicated there were flames visible, but when firefighters arrived they found a house mostly filled with smoke. The occupants of the home were able to get out before firefighters arrived. Reports at the scene indicated the fire had been started by a candle left burning.
Akin Road Elementary School students took a stroll back in time, so to speak, last week and got a little exercise along the way. Last week, artist in residence Sue Hulsether brought her American Traditional Dance and Music curriculum to the school. It's not the first time she's been there - she's taught at all of District 192's schools for the past seven years - but for the third graders in the building, Hulsether's class was a whole new experience. Hulsether's curriculum is based on the American folk dance genre.
Put a bunch of third graders in a room, give them tape, scissors and a present, and what do you get? Something along the lines of organized chaos. But it was good chaos. That's kind of what happened last Thursday at Riverview Elementary School, when the third grade students got to wrap presents for two families their classes adopted through Armful of Love and 360 Communities. RVES teachers sent a letter home with students in November, asking parents and the third graders to help out with the holiday giving program.
I don't know about where you live, but over in my neighborhood, I rarely have to lift a shovel full of snow. My home is part of an association, and as such, our association pays a local company to plow our roads and driveways when we have heavy snowfalls. Well, it turns out I know the guys who usually plow my neighborhood. They do a pretty good job, too, although I didn't have any room for my sister's dog to do her thing in my yard last winter because they piled up the snow so high. I was out of town last weekend so I didn't see the pile of snow in front of my house until Monday evening.
They say great minds think alike. If that's the case, then Farmington's economic future is looking good. On Dec. 8, city officials, business owners and residents held a brainstorming session at Celts Pub. A product of cooperation between the Farmington Business Association, the city of Farmington, residents, business owners and many others, the session was held to come up with ideas about how to improve the city's economic future. The city's economic development authority is currently working on a strategic plan for the coming years.
Farmington's girls hockey team came out on both sides of a pair of tightly-contested 3-2 games last week. The defending Missota Conference champions saw their comeback attempt fall short in a 3-2 loss at No. 10-ranked (Class 2A) Eden Prairie last Tuesday night, but came back to beat Section 1AA rival Owatonna on an overtime goal by Hannah Alexander Friday night at the Four Seasons Center in Owatonna. The Tigers trailed for much of the game against the Huskies despite posting a 42-17 advantage in shots on goal.
The Farmington wrestling team started and finished strong during a fifth-place team finish at Saturday's eight-team Big Lake Invitational. The Orange and Black scored 66 points in the opening round, then, after posting just five points in the second round, came back to win nine of 10 of their consolation matches en route to a total of 138 points. The Tigers filled 12 of 14 weight classes and 10 of those wrestlers placed in the top five of their brackets. "The young men on this team keep surprising us with how well they are handling themselves," head coach Chad Olson said.