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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There was a whole lot of energy coming out of the Farmington High School recital hall Tuesday evening. About 110 Farmington students joined another 40 or 50 college-aged adults in a night full of song, dance and good entertainment. The concert capped an intense three-day workshop conducted by The Young Americans, a nonprofit musical education group from California. A team of The Young Americans - mostly musical performers between 18 and 24 years of age - had been working with Farmington students since Sunday night.
My, my, my. Popular 80s hair band Great White is coming to Farmington this weekend, headlining Saturday's second annual Rocktoberfest, sponsored by the Farmington Rotary Club. Known for songs like "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," "Rock Me," and "Save Your Love," Great White can take just about any 40-something back in time. And that's just what the Rotary folks are hoping will happen. "We're pretty excited," said Rotary fund raising chair Tom Severson. "Great White is going to be the main entertainment.
Hear ye, hear ye, all young kings and queens of Farmington! Come next summer, a new kingdom awaits ye. The kingdom will be the royal Rambling River Park, where a new castle will be erected in the spring. Really. A castle. In Rambling River Park. On Monday, the Farmington City Council approved the purchase of a new playground structure for Rambling River Park. It just happens to come in the form of a really cool-looking castle. What's more, the city is getting the structure for about $30,000 off the original price.
Additional franchise fees tacked on to monthly electric and gas bills could generate about $400,000 in additional funds for the city of Farmington, but not all council members are sold on the idea just yet. After a discussion that lasted nearly an hour, Farmington City Council members chose to table the topic for more discussion at an upcoming workshop. For some, the idea was cut and dried, and they either understood and supported the recommendation or they understood and didn't favor it. Others wanted more information, and a little more time to weigh options.
Fresh off of his 10-week training, Farmington's newest police officer, Dane Tukua, has settled in to his new position as a patrol officer on the daytime shift. Officer Tukua comes to Farmington from the Prairie Island Tribal Police, where he served as a patrol officer. He's got a pretty solid education to his credit, too -- a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice from Hamline University, a paralegal certificate from Inver Hills Community College and a law enforcement certificate from Metropolitan State University.
A Monday morning accident led to minor injuries for the two drivers involved, but still closed 195th Street near Pilot Knob Road for about an hour. According to Farmington administrative sergeant Jim Constantineau, one of the two drivers in the accident was transported by Allina Ambulance for further treatment. Police closed 195th Street because the two vehicles were blocking traffic. "We took a proactive approach," he said. "The cars were in the roadway and not drivable, so for the safety of all involved, we shut down the road." The accident occurred around 8:20 a.m.
The next regular meeting of the Farmington City Council will be held Monday, Sept. 20, beginning at 7 p.m. Here's a look at what's on the agenda: Recognition of public works supervisor Bill Weierke, who is retiring from the city of Farmington. A proposal to purchase new playground equipment for Rambling River Park will be considered. Farmington Parks and Recreation director Randy Distad has received an offer to purchase playground equipment that will be on display at the National Recreation and Park Association convention this fall.
Lynn Bauman figured there would be some interest in gymnastics if a program were available in Farmington. But she didn't realize how popular the option would be. When she started working with Community Education and Farmington High School athletics director Jon Summer to set up a new, year-round gymnastics school in Farmington, Bauman figured she would draw 50, maybe 70 participants.
I'm usually pretty slow to accept a lot of change in my life. I grow fond of people, routines and even objects. I'm not fond of trying to change any of those things. I recently made a change that, frankly, was long overdue in my life: I got a new car. And I've had absolutely no problem adjusting to that particular change. I bought my little red Saturn in 1999. She was good to me for a long time -- I went for probably eight years and over 100,000 miles before I started having problems with her.
Now the hard part begins. With an $8.59 million preliminary levy set for 2011, the Farmington City Council must now start to figure out when and how that money will be spent. Or, for that matter, if even more of that money can be trimmed from the upcoming year's city budget. Council members approved their preliminary levy during the Sept. 7 regular meeting. The preliminary levy includes $5.98 million in general levy, plus another $2.6 million in debt service levy. Overall, the levy represents an increase of only 3.73 percent -- or $308,000 -- over 2010's levy.