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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Choirpalooza isn't just a cool sounding name for a concert. It's a cool concept for one, too. The annual Choirpaloooza concert is Thursday night at Farmington High School. And while it will feature several of the high school choirs, it's really all about the younger performers -- the sixth graders of Dodge and Boeckman middle schools. The younger students are working on songs of their own -- Dodge Middle School students were busy perfecting The Star Spangled Banner earlier this week -- but they'll perform a few with the older students, too.
The temperature may have been chilly Monday afternoon, but kids on recess at Farmington Elementary School kept plenty warm while getting in a little extra ice time.
At the next meeting of the Farmington City Council, a representative from the ALF Ambulance, a division of Allina Medical Transportation, is scheduled to give a report of the 2010 ambulance activity. A copy of that report was included in this week's council agenda. Among the highlights: In 2010, the ALF units of Allina Medical Transportation responded to 490 emergency calls in Farmington, 39 in Castle Rock, 20 in Eureka and 50 in Empire township. The average response time for Farmington calls was 10:04 minutes.
No more traveling to neighboring communities to get your driver's license renewed - just head down to Farmington City Hall. Farmington City Council members have approved a contract with Quick-Serv, the company that runs the licensing center in South St. Paul. The company will run Farmington's new registrar's office, which was also approved this week. Farmington city administrator Peter Herlofsky has been named deputy registrar for Farmington. In his absence, human resources director Brenda Wendlandt will be the alternate. The registrar's office should be opened by the end of the month.
Taxpayers like to know where their money goes, and rightfully so. To help them understand who makes the most money at city hall, the State of Minnesota, in 2005, ordered that all cities with a population of more than 15,000 annually notify residents of the positions and base salaries of its three highest-paid employees. In accordance with the law, the city of Farmington has posted that information on its web page, www.ci.farmington.mn.us . It was posted on Jan. 24, and, according to the law, must remain posted for a period of 90 days.
It takes a lot of time and planning to make a garden grow. You plow the land, you choose the seeds. You plant them, you water and fertilize the garden. And if you're lucky, you'll soon reap the benefits of your hard work. That's kind of what folks over at Farmington City Hall are hoping for -- to reap the benefits of a successful growing season. Only, they want to grow Farmington's business base. Hence, the Grow Farmington meetings, one of which was scheduled for Wednesday night.
Nora Lenz doesn't really have much time to get homesick, even though she's been away from her home in Germany for almost half of a year. No, this 17-year-old from Daurenheim -- a small village of about 2,000 in the German state of Hessen -- has plenty to keep her occupied right here in Farmington. And when all else fails, she's got Skype and the Internet to touch base with her family and friends back home. Lenz arrived in Farmington on Aug. 27. She's been staying with Nancy and Kenneth Stein of Farmington, and she's got her 20-year-old host sister, Teresa, to spend time with.
My parents gave me a lot of what I consider to be good qualities. They taught me to work hard for the things I want. They taught me to respect others, and to give back to my community. What they didn't teach me was how to say "no" and mean it. That's a bit ironic, too. In my baby book, my mother chronicled my first words as "no" and "mama." I'm pretty sure she liked the "mama" part. But I'm thinking she probably started discouraging the use of "no" from the beginning, simply because she was hoping to avoid raising a sassy, headstrong teenager.
The idea of implementing franchise fees to pay for the city's annual seal coating projects has been put on the back burner, but Farmington City Council members haven't turned off the heat. Council members have considered the concept of franchise fees since it was introduced last September. The fees would be added to the gas and electric company bills that residents pay monthly.
Before too long, Farmington residents will be able to get driver's licenses renewed right in their own downtown. Gone will be the days of driving to Lakeville or Apple Valley to get new license tabs for vehicles. Picking up a fishing or hunting license will be easier, too. As it looks right now, Farmington will have its very own deputy registrar's office in Farmington City Hall by the end of the month. At least, that's the plan. The city will not run the licensing center.