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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With the Farmington High School Class of 2010 commencement coming up Friday, we recognized it's been a long time since any of us around here had to cross the platform. We've maybe forgotten the anticipation of the night, the excitement for the future. So we decided to have a conversation with one of Farmington's soon-to-be graduates, Amanda Verch. Amanda admits she's not been as active in extracurricular events this year as she was in the past.
They might not be the big, shady trees that were once in place in the Walnut Street neighborhood, but later this summer, the trees that were pulled down for the road's reconstruction will be replaced. The Farmington City Council has authorized the replacement of trees not only along Walnut Street - which falls in line with the city's tree replacement policy - but also along the side streets in the reconstruction route.
Just imagine being the best at something. High school athletes strive for it all the time -- earning the state title. College athletes shoot for a national title. But a global title? To be the best in the world? Well, if you're not an athlete, you probably want to take a few tips from five Farmington middle school students. Jeanna Gaalswyk, Aly Grebner, Maricia Pacheco, Kelli Elmer and Katie Aaron have some pretty good imagination skills.
Farmington's firefighters have a lot of planning to do this week. Come Friday, Station 1 will likely be flooded with people, as the department and the community say goodbye to a friend and colleague. Longtime Farmington fire chief Ken Kuchera died Sunday, June 6, following a lengthy battle against colon cancer. He was 63. A man whose family has a history of giving to the community, Kuchera was no exception. He joined the Farmington Fire Department in December, 1971, after serving as a firefighter for two years in Burnsville.
Sometimes, teachers can learn a thing or two from kids. Like, for instance, how kids tend to enjoy anything - anything whatsoever - that resembles a video game. And when it comes to finding new teaching tools, that is a very valuable lesson for teachers. So really, it should come as no surprise the Great American Sing Challenge's Sing-Along, the technology-driven vocal music program, has been greeted by enthusiasm by Farmington's third graders. The Great American Sing Challenge is a new, national initiative in its second year.
What do Saturdays and the Walnut Street reconstruction project have in common? The 2010 Dew Days parade, of course. Not only will the upcoming Grand Day parade be held on a Saturday - a change from the long-standing tradition of having it on a Sunday - but the parade route will be slightly altered this year, thanks to reconstruction work on Walnut Street. Instead of the usual route -- leaving the fairgrounds and traveling north on Third Street to Spruce, then east on Spruce to go south again on Fourth Street -- folks on the other side of Third get to watch from their front yards.
I was out at Corinthian Cemetery Tuesday morning, visiting with Aaron Ehlers about being caretaker for one of the community's cemeteries. And as I'm mentally preparing for the Memorial Day weekend, I know I'll be spending a little time out there, too. While I was out at the cemetery, I took a few minutes to look around. I live right next to the cemetery, so I drive by it a couple of times a day. It's one of those things that is as much a part of my neighborhood as the Tamarack Park or the little dog next door that barks at me every time I go outside.
A group of Farmington middle school students beat out more than 60 other teams from around the country and the world, taking first place in their division at the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals held May 26-29 in Knoxville, Tenn. The team, called JAM2K, includes Katie Aaron, Kelli Elmer, Jeanna Gaalswyk, Ali Grebner and Maricia Pacheco, and is co-managed by Jan Gaalswyk and Cynthia Kelly. JAM2K competed in the Do or DI challenge, which asks teams to create a five-minute skit with only seven minutes to prepare after being given all the details they must incorporate into the skit.
If you like outdoor concerts, cold beer and warm summer nights, Farmington is the place to be these days. Beginning this weekend, and going through the end of September, there are eight outdoor concerts planned around the community -- even more, if you count the Dakota County Fair's offerings. But while the fair usually brings out musicians, the concept of outdoor concerts and events seems to be picking up support around the community.
Take a quick peek through the doors of the Schmitz-Maki Ice Arena these days and you might think you're in a sandbox rather than an ice arena. The floor inside has been completely torn out, and inside, there are mounds of gravel where there is usually ice. But Farmington Parks and Recreation director Randy Distad says that's a good thing. It's all part of the project to upgrade the 30-plus year-old ice arena. The project started this spring, and, according to Distad, is progressing right on schedule. "We're making good progress, that's for sure," he said.