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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Touching on the "proud past" of 2009, Farmington mayor Todd Larson delivered his state of the city address Thursday morning. Held at the Farmington Eagles Club before a group of 18 Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce members, the mayor's speech recounted many of the positive things to happen last year. The speech ran about 20 minutes. In that time, Larson touched on activity in every department in the city of Farmington. In the area of public safety, he noted that the Farmington police department now has 24 officers and four support staff.
Formal charges are pending against a 21-year-old man who led Farmington police on a chase, then physically attacked an officer Saturday morning. Douglass Alan Schell Jr. was being held in the Dakota County jail on $75,000 bail and is facing possible charges including fleeing an officer, obstructing the legal process, fourth degree assault and driving after suspension. Police aren't sure why Schell fled in the first place. According to Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist, officer Andrew Bellows spotted an truck leaving the back side of Akin Road Elementary School at about 4:30 a.m.
The successful rescue of Mark Malecha from a grain elevator in February was due, in large part, to the expertise of Minnesota Task Force One - a group of specially trained firefighters and rescue personnel from Minneapolis and Edina. That rescue could have cost the city of Farmington thousands of dollars, but it didn't, thanks to the fact that Task Force One is paid for by state funding and grants.
Times are tough. There's no doubt about it. Every day, someone somewhere seems to be affected by the poor economy. But are times tough enough that residents wouldn't support a bond referendum for the extra ball fields and soccer fields youth athletic teams are calling out for? Or is there a willingness to pay a little extra in taxes and upgrade aging parks facilities throughout the community? It's hard to know those kinds of answers unless you ask. And that's what the Farmington City Council plans to do.
Let's face it: college isn't cheap these days. Some families start saving a college fund from the day a child is born. Others hope for an athletic stand-out to get a full ride and play a specific sport. Some kids start working at an early age so they can save for college. But usually, it all comes back to one thing. College isn't cheap these days. And that's why Farmington High School students can consult the school's new career center. It's not just a place where students can explore their post secondary education options.
First grade students have a lot of energy. A lot of energy. What they probably don't know, though, is that their excess energy is helping them learn. "They have a lot of energy, and they need a way to release that energy in a productive way," said Riverview Elementary School first grade teacher Julie Auge. And that's why, when her class doesn't have phy ed or music, Auge often takes them to the school's Brain Room. The RVES Brain Room is a new concept around Farmington schools. Principal Kim Grengs brought the idea to the area from her old school district in Perham.
Nobody really likes them. They're dark, stinky and germy. But sooner or later, everyone will use one. Yep. We're talking about port-a-potties. As much as you can count on youth sports teams practicing in your neighborhood park, you can pretty much bet there will be a port-a-potty there this summer, too. In fact, the city of Farmington recently entered a three-year contract with the company, Biffs, Inc., from Shakopee. Farmington parks and recreation director Randy Distad said the three-year contract was developed so the city did not have to do the same thing every year.
Farmington mayor Todd Larson wasn't sure about giving his first State of the City address in 2009. After all, he'd only been in office for a couple of months when he had to deliver last year's address. This year, though, he's got a full year of being in office behind him, and he's got some things he's looking forward to working on.
There's good news for neighbors of the Dakota County Fairgrounds. Chances are, things will be a little quieter in your neighborhood this summer. On Tuesday, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve changes to the county's ordinance that regulates assemblages of large numbers of people.
It might not have been the Xcel Energy Center, and Niklas Backstrom might not have been in the net, but there was still plenty of excitement at Meadowview Elementary School's annual floor hockey tournament March 11. The tournament capped off several days of skills training in phy ed teacher Joe McCarthy's classes. Students in grades 1-5 learned all of the basics of hockey -- in a scaled-down version, with no checking, of course -- over the past couple of weeks. Students in grades 1-2 just learned about the skills and played a little during class.