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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Get ready to scream next weekend because there will be plenty of tricks and treats to thrill visitors at Farmington fire station 1 Oct. 29-31. The Farmington Fire Explorers Post will hold a haunted house at the downtown fire hall. With the help of advisor Christopher Matek, the post members are decorating one of the bays in the building. They plan to set it up with different age groups in mind, so the further in visitors go, the scarier it will be. "There will be a couple different levels, depending on the age group," Matek said. "The younger kids will have an escort.
No one in Harold Roy's hometown of Charles City, Iowa was really surprised when he decided, nearly 60 years ago, that he wanted to jump out of planes for a living. "People used to say they weren't surprised I became a paratrooper," Roy said from the comfort of his Farmington living room. "I was the kid who always took chances." Roy is one of Farmington's World War II veterans. At age 88, he's one of the guests of honor at this year's Patriotic Day celebration Nov. 3, at Farmington High School. He's earned that honor.
Not everyone gets a nickname from the former President of the United States, but Ken Hendrickson did last week. Ken - or Kenny, as folks may remember him - is a wounded Navy Seabee veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In June of 2006, Petty Officer first class Hendrickson was riding in a Humvee as a gunner in a convoy security team when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Iraq's Al Anbar region. The force of the explosion catapulted him about 35 feet in the air and approximately 100 yards down the road. Two teammates were killed in the explosion, a fourth member sustained shoulder injuries.
It appears last week's outbreak of illness at Farmington High School could have been prevented by something as simple as thorough hand washing. Washing hands is the first line of defense against norovirus. On Friday, Farmington School District officials learned the cause of the 60-plus sick calls at Farmington High School on Oct. 10.
Townhome and condo owners will likely see an increase in the amount they pay in association dues next year, thanks to a decision by the Farmington City Council Monday. The change came as a surprise to at least one management company that runs four townhome associations in the city. On Monday, the Farmington City Council changed the way the city bills townhome and condo associations for the contributions they make to the city's street light utility fund.
A proposal on Monday's Farmington City Council agenda will likely increase the amount townhome and condo owners pay in association dues next year. The change comes as a surprise to at least one management company that runs four townhome associations in the city. On Monday, the Farmington City Council is expected to change the way the city bills townhome and condo associations for the contributions they make to the city's street light utility fund budget.
Eureka residents are being asked to weigh in on whether they think the township should start planning for commercial and/or industrial development in the future. A couple of years ago, the city of Lakeville annexed 98 acres of land from Eureka Township. That land is now zoned for industrial development, but Eureka Township will never see any benefit from the growth. "In that sense, it may have been a missed opportunity for us to increase our tax base," said township board of supervisors member Jeff Otto.
About 15 people turned out to the city of Farmington's first budget open house Monday, and city administrator David McKnight wasn't at all surprised by what the residents thought. "Their general thoughts were along the lines of, 'You're asking for a lot at a bad time,'" he said. "They didn't disagree with the strategic planning part of it, but just said now is not the time. That was kind of their reaction." The budget open house was the first of three scheduled by the Farmington City Council.
At one time or another, just about every kid has brought home a slick catalog featuring chocolate goodies, fancy candles or wrapping paper. That's the way fundraising goes at schools. But that will change if the folks at Akin Road Elementary School have a say in it. Last Friday, the ARES Parent Teacher Partnership tried something new, and it was pretty successful. So the days of catalog sales are coming to an end. Called the Tiger Trot, the new fundraiser is a running event, kind of mimicking a marathon. PTP members set up a quarter-mile trail behind the school.
With only one house fire so far in 2011, it seems like the Farmington Fire Department's past fire prevention education efforts have paid off. That's what Farmington fire marshal John Powers likes to think. And he may be on to something too, because the FFD has been teaching fire prevention for the past few years. The 2011 Fire Prevention Week starts Sunday and runs through the week. This year's theme, Powers said, is "Protect Your Family from Fire." "Last year, our theme included a smoke detector campaign.