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.
- Member for
- 1 year 8 months
Though we live in a community that has quite a few large family farms, there's very few of us who actually live on these farms. Very few of us who actually work with livestock. But once the Dakota County Fair rolls around, almost every visitor has to stop into the barns. If not the cattle or sheep barns, for sure, a trip through the children's barnyard is in order. That's just what you do when you go to a fair. There are quite a few kids around Dakota County who hang out in the barns, simply because it's what they do.
Over time, the cost of living tends to increase. A gallon of gas. A loaf of bread. Sooner or later, everything seems to cost more. It should come as no surprise, then, that running an ice arena also costs more than it did seven or eight years ago. That's why the city of Farmington is asking Independent School District 192 to kick in a little bit more to use the arena for hockey games. For the past several years, District 192 has paid $950 to rent the arena for boys junior varsity and varsity hockey games, and $900 for girls JV and varsity hockey games.
It's Monday morning. It's steamy-warm outside. It's one week until the opening day of the Dakota County Fair. And there's a 5x5-foot patch of black dirt outside the sheep barn at the fairgrounds that needs to be dealt with. Enter Jackie Dooley of Farmington, an enthusiastic horticulturist who's spent her entire summer wearing dirty clothes and carrying a garden hose. On the bed of the small cart she drives sits a couple dozen plants -- annuals and perennials, some that flower and others that do not.
On the first day of filing, two Farmington residents announced themselves as city council candidates. Filing for candidacy for the 2010 Farmington City Council elections opened at 7 a.m.,Tuesday morning. By the end of the day, former city council member David Pritzlaff and city of Farmington parks maintenance supervisor Don Hayes had filed their affidavits of candidacy. Up for grabs in the Nov. 2 election are two, four-year terms currently held by council members Christy Jo Fogarty and Steve Wilson. Fogarty has been on the council since 2003. Wilson has held his seat since 2005.
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.