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 9 months
Sometimes, kids say the darndest things. And sometimes those things get blown out of proportion and cause some really big problems. That's what happened at Farmington High School over the past couple of weeks - a few students had some arguments. Harsh words were spoken. Some of those words were misconstrued. Interpretations were made. Comments were posted on the Internet, and before long, the rumor of a planned school shooting surfaced.
The Farmington Police Department got a new member last week. He's young, trim and very energetic. And, he has four legs. A German Shepard, Boscoe is the newest member of the FPD. His handler and partner, officer Travis Sundvall, picked up Boscoe from the St. Paul Canine Training Facility Feb. 22. Sundvall and Boscoe aren't ready to hit the streets of Farmington just yet. They'll start a 12-week training at the St. Paul Canine site on Monday. While Sundvall isn't sure what they'll learn in St. Paul, he knows that he and Boscoe will go through all phases of the training together.
Moving in to his fourth year with the city of Farmington, city administrator Peter Herlofsky seems to be doing just what he's expected to. According to the results of his recent performance review, Herlofsky is meeting the expectations of the five Farmington City Council members. Herlofsky's review was held Feb.
It's not every day local fire and rescue personnel come across a man buried in corn or a hazardous Mercury spill, but when they do, they know there's help to be had in the Dakota County Special Operations Team. The DCSOT played a big role in the Feb. 4 rescue of Feely Elevator manager Mark Malecha. They assisted at the 35W bridge collapse in 2007, and, in 2004, cleaned up a mercury spill in Rosemount. Those kinds of large-scale rescue attempts take specialized training, dedication and cooperation.
A rumored school shooting planned for Friday is nothing more than talk according to Farmington High School principal Ben Kusch. Word of an planned shooting spread through the halls of FHS early this week, but by Tuesday afternoon, Kusch was confident there was nothing to substantiate any kind of threat that may have been made. Still, it was a serious matter. So serious that school administrators actively investigated the allegations to make sure there really was no threat to the student body. "We take safety very, very seriously at the high school," Kusch said.
The problem isn't entirely fixed, but there should be ice ready for skaters by next hockey season. The Farmington City Council has approved plans to make $1.1 million in repairs to the Schmitz-Maki Arena, but it's too soon to tell if there will be a second sheet of ice at that site in the near future. At their Feb. 16 meeting, council members agreed to make improvements to the ice rink floor, the refrigeration system and dasher boards. Next Monday, they will likely approve plans and specifications and authorize advertising the project for bids.
It's like the "Field of Dreams" quote: If you build it, they will come. That's the philosophy behind a proposal by John Colby, manager of The Colby Group, for a development that includes an ice arena, hotel and more. The idea has Farmington Economic Development Authority intrigued. Colby's plan includes a two-sheet ice arena, a hotel, an entertainment complex, a couple of restaurants and a campground.
On Monday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced a supplemental budget recommendation that includes more cuts to state funding for Minnesota cities. On Tuesday, city administrator Peter Herlofsky said those cuts won't be quite so deep in Farmington. "They've already taken away everything from us," he said. Herlofsky is talking about years of budget trimming, both voluntary and involuntary, the city of Farmington has done. It started back in 2006 when Local Government Aid was phased out for Farmington. Then came cuts to the market value homestead credit in late 2008, 2009 and now, in 2010.
Maybe it was the new venue, maybe it was the pre-Valentine jitters. Or maybe, it was just the idea of sampling a few new wines. In any event, Farmington liquor store manager Randy Petrofske was thrilled and a little surprised by the large turnout that showed up at the Feb. 9 wine tasting event at the Farmington American Legion. Hosted by Farmington Liquors, the event featured two of the liquor store's vendors.
The city of Farmington has been without a finance director for three months, but that's about to change. It will just take one more month. At a Tuesday night meeting, the Farmington City Council approved the hiring of Teresa Walters to fill the vacant finance director position. Walters wanted to wait until she knew she had a job lined up before turning in her resignation to the city of Waseca. Walters has been Waseca's finance director for just short of three years. Prior to that, she worked for a decade for the city of Bloomington, first as an account clerk, then as an accountant.