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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Akin Road Elementary School students took a stroll back in time, so to speak, last week and got a little exercise along the way. Last week, artist in residence Sue Hulsether brought her American Traditional Dance and Music curriculum to the school. It's not the first time she's been there - she's taught at all of District 192's schools for the past seven years - but for the third graders in the building, Hulsether's class was a whole new experience. Hulsether's curriculum is based on the American folk dance genre.
Put a bunch of third graders in a room, give them tape, scissors and a present, and what do you get? Something along the lines of organized chaos. But it was good chaos. That's kind of what happened last Thursday at Riverview Elementary School, when the third grade students got to wrap presents for two families their classes adopted through Armful of Love and 360 Communities. RVES teachers sent a letter home with students in November, asking parents and the third graders to help out with the holiday giving program.
I don't know about where you live, but over in my neighborhood, I rarely have to lift a shovel full of snow. My home is part of an association, and as such, our association pays a local company to plow our roads and driveways when we have heavy snowfalls. Well, it turns out I know the guys who usually plow my neighborhood. They do a pretty good job, too, although I didn't have any room for my sister's dog to do her thing in my yard last winter because they piled up the snow so high. I was out of town last weekend so I didn't see the pile of snow in front of my house until Monday evening.
They say great minds think alike. If that's the case, then Farmington's economic future is looking good. On Dec. 8, city officials, business owners and residents held a brainstorming session at Celts Pub. A product of cooperation between the Farmington Business Association, the city of Farmington, residents, business owners and many others, the session was held to come up with ideas about how to improve the city's economic future. The city's economic development authority is currently working on a strategic plan for the coming years.
Farmington's girls hockey team came out on both sides of a pair of tightly-contested 3-2 games last week. The defending Missota Conference champions saw their comeback attempt fall short in a 3-2 loss at No. 10-ranked (Class 2A) Eden Prairie last Tuesday night, but came back to beat Section 1AA rival Owatonna on an overtime goal by Hannah Alexander Friday night at the Four Seasons Center in Owatonna. The Tigers trailed for much of the game against the Huskies despite posting a 42-17 advantage in shots on goal.
The Farmington wrestling team started and finished strong during a fifth-place team finish at Saturday's eight-team Big Lake Invitational. The Orange and Black scored 66 points in the opening round, then, after posting just five points in the second round, came back to win nine of 10 of their consolation matches en route to a total of 138 points. The Tigers filled 12 of 14 weight classes and 10 of those wrestlers placed in the top five of their brackets. "The young men on this team keep surprising us with how well they are handling themselves," head coach Chad Olson said.
For years, Farmington girls basketball coach Jason Berg has taught an up-tempo, full-court pressing style of defense designed to slow down opponents by baiting them into playing at an uncomfortably fast pace. That approached has worked, to an extent. The Tigers have played at about a .500 clip over the last five years, and when they've been on the winning end it's often been as a result of their defense forcing a high number of turnovers. Now, the Tigers are finding even more success by toning their defensive pressure down a notch.
This week is the last big push for Toys for Town organizers. It's the week when the last few family names come in, the last week for toys and financial donations to be made. And, come Saturday morning, it's the annual wrapping and distribution for Farmington's Toys for Town gift drive. According to the Farmington Police Department's Marjorie Boese, the 2010 drive is gearing up to serve the 74 families and 215 kids on this year's list.
Even though the city of Farmington was still clearing streets on Monday, the 17 to 18 inches of snow that fell over the weekend was more of an inconvenience than anything. City crews spent a good part of the day clearing the rest of the streets downtown, after putting in many hours trying to clear snow on both Saturday and Sunday. The weekend was busy for Farmington police officers, too. Over the two days, officers responded to two crashes due to the snow, as well as 21 spinouts or reports of cars getting stuck.
It's never too early to teach some lessons, like how to be compassionate, how to give to others who have less than you do. That's what teachers in Farmington's School Aged Care program figured, too. They do all kinds of service projects with older students in the program, but finding one that would be easy for Kindergarten-aged kids to do -- and for them to understand -- isn't all that easy. But one of the teachers heard about the Christmas bear project that Castle Rock Bank does.