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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Though most Farmington High School students had a nice, sunny day off Friday, there were still quite a few who did not. It's not like they were having a rough day of testing or anything like that. They were learning, but they were also fine-tuning their crafts. With a couple hundred of their closest friends, at that. The Missota Fine Arts Festival was held at Farmington High School April 16, which meant a day off for students who aren't in any of the bands, choirs or art classes at FHS.
Believe it or not, I got lost in Farmington last Friday. It was a good idea, going to Lake Julia to find a picture for the Looking Around photo on the Farmington page. It was just the matter of actually finding Lake Julia that threw me for a loop. See, here's the deal: my co-worker Emily, is out on maternity leave. That leaves Nathan and me to pretty much write and photograph most of the non-sports stuff that goes into our paper these days.
Neither Anne Pfeifer, 15, nor Luca Hartmann, 16, had ever taken a multiple choice test in their lives, up until a couple of weeks ago. In their homeland, Germany, multiple choice tests aren't an option. The two high school students are on a monthlong exchange program through The Friendship Connection Inc. They arrived in Minnesota March 18, and were scheduled to leave Wednesday. They both wanted to come to the United States on an exchange program, but didn't want to take too much time away from their school work in Germany.
Francis Kofi has been teaching Farmington elementary students African drumming skills and traditions for a few years now. But last week, he did something even better. He brought them 12 new, authentic drums from Ghana. Here's how it works. Kofi has a dance company called Hayor Bibimma Dance Co. The group's purpose is to share and teach African culture, all the while keeping the heritage alive among the members.
A little recognition now and then is always nice. A statewide recognition, though -- well that's pretty big. At that point, it's not just nice. It's really nice. And that's why Rambling River Center coordinator Missie Kohlbeck is very flattered by the recognition she received last week. Kohlbeck was given the Outstanding Senior Services Award from the Minnesota Association of Senior Services. The coordinator of Rambling River Center for nearly 15 years, Kohlbeck has gone to the statewide MASS conference more than once. This year was just like any other.
Ah, spring. Sunnier days and warmer temperatures. Everyone likes to see spring come after the winter. But firefighters also know spring can be a busy time of the year. Farmington fire marshal John Powers said spring is the most dangerous time of the year for grass fires. Since the trees are just starting to bud, and the brush around the community is still dead from the winter, there's a burning restriction in place these days.
Given the opportunity, there's a pretty good chance any of the 19 Christian Life School students who recently returned from a Kenya mission would talk for hours about their experiences. Describing a life-changing event usually takes some time. The students and four CLS staff traveled to Kenya March 24-April 3 for a mission trip. To hear the tales of a handful who were there, it was an experience they will never forget. The school typically does a mission trip every other year.
When a wind storm swept through downtown Farmington during the city celebration a couple of years ago, Tim Dougherty had a feeling he'd lost one of the trees in his yard. When he came home that day, his suspicions were confirmed. But when the trees in his neighborhood disappeared last week ... well, that came as a bit of a surprise.
Things could have been much worse, but it still wasn't a great way to start off a Monday morning. Farmington firefighters were called to a vehicle fire on Highway 3 around 7:15 a.m. Monday. Fire chief Tim Pietsch said the fire was so hot, he could see an orange glow from the south as he left his driveway to respond. The vehicle was a bus owned by the nonprofit company ProAct, Inc., which provides transportation and services to individuals with disabilities.
Maybe if a couple of campground were in the proposals, things might be a little easier. As it is stands right now, there two sets of opinions when it comes to parks facility needs in Farmington, and it's all a matter of which camp is bigger. That's why the Farmington City Council voted 3-2 Monday to spend $10,900 for a community survey to find out how residents feel about a possible bond referendum in November to pay for parks and recreation facilities and upgrade. Two council members, Julie May and Steve Wilson, feel the timing for a referendum is simply not right.