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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What's more fun than watching a small child in a hockey helmet try to ride a sheep? Well, seeing a young teen try to catch a 150-pound calf or wrestle a greased pig might be close. If any of that sounds like good, not-so-clean fun, grab a malt from the 4H stand,find a seat outside of Ahlberg Hall Saturday afternoon at the Dakota County Fair, and be ready to take in all three events. The Catch-a-Calf, Greased Pig and Mutton Bustin' contests have all been around for a few years, according to fair president and interim manager Don Storlie.
A Dakota County jury has acquitted the man accused of setting the Farmington American Legion on fire Feb. 10, 2008. On Friday, the jury delivered a not guilty verdict in the case against Kevin Leroy Kraus, the man who was brought up on felony charges for causing the fire after allegedly dropping lit cigarette butts down an air return shaft at the Legion. Farmington police detective sergeant Lee Hollatz said the jury found that a video tape from the night of the fire did not provide sufficient proof Kraus was the one who had lit the cigarettes and dropped them down the return air vent.
Details are still coming together, but one thing is certain - in September, Farmington is going to be the host community for a pretty big event. On Wednesday, Sept. 22, mayors from around Minnesota will arrive in Farmington to participate in a daylong Beyond the Yellow Ribbon training session. It's an event that is expected to positively affect many communities.
Three years ago, Don Storlie sold the business he'd built and run for more than 30 years. He's far from retired, though. These days, Storlie is the guy who is more or less in charge of one of the largest county fairs in Minnesota. Not only is Storlie the president of the Dakota County Agricultural Society - otherwise known as the fair board, since the Ag society oversees the fair -- but this year, he's the manager, too. His dual role started in November, but it's really just the evolution of a love that started years ago. "I've been around the fair all of my life," Storlie said.
Sometimes, if you want something done, you just have to do it yourself. It's a simple but true statement, and one three summer ball clubs in Farmington have accepted as a fact of life. Playing on fields rented from the school district, city of Farmington or in neighboring townships, the summer in-house baseball, traveling baseball and softball teams occasionally need more amenities than the facilities they're playing on actually have. Budget constraints across the board often make it hard for municipalities to set aside money for extras like overhead netting or batting cages.
I am pretty sure it's not every Friday night that someone pulls a giant kohlrabi out of her purse at a bar. Come to think of it, I'm guessing no one had ever pulled a giant kohlrabi at the police department, either. But there's a first time for everything, right? I'd never had a giant kohlrabi left lying on my keyboard, either, until Friday morning. When I came in Friday, I was in a funk. My car had yet more problems. I spent the morning trying to figure out how to get around while it was out of commission.
Got any new neighbors you haven't met yet? If so, Tuesday evening might be the perfect time. Aug. 3 is National Night Out in Farmington -- and all across the nation, for that matter. It's a night for residents to come on out of their homes, meet their neighbors, share a few goodies and get to know the folks in their neighborhoods. Organized locally through the Farmington Police Department, National Night Out also gives residents the chance to meet some of the community's police officers as well as firefighters and other emergency personnel.
When most Tiger hockey fans come back to Schmitz-Maki Ice Arena for the first games of the 2010-11 season, they really won't notice anything different. The colors are the same inside. The words "Home of the Tigers" are still spelled out of the far wall. The bleacher seating will still be, well, bleacher seating. They'll notice the new dasherboards around the ice. Those will be a sign improvements were in fact made to the arena during the off-season. What they won't see is the intricate maze of plastic piping and wire mesh that sits below the ice floor.
Two weeks after an improvised explosive device went off next to him while he was on walking patrol in Afghanistan, 26-year-old Kyle Malin is reportedly doing well at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Malin arrived at Walter Reed on July 18, after being initially cared for in a hospital in Germany. Malin lost both of his legs in the explosion. Over the past week, Malin has undergone multiple surgeries, according to his mother, Deb Malin, who is in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Jon Malin, and Kyle's wife, Alicia.
Most of the time, Travis Sundvall and his dog, Bosco, have a typical boy-and-his-dog relationship. Sundvall feeds his dog and cleans up after him. They go for walks, and they play outside. And then, they go to work. "When we go to work, he knows," Sundvall said. "When he sees me putting on my uniform, he understands it's time to go to work." A lively 1 1/2-year-old German Shepard from Slovakia, Bosco is Farmington's first K9 officer. He's been on patrol with Sundvall since graduating from the St. Paul Canine Training Facility May 27.