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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- 1 year 8 months
"Be strong." Two little words, printed on little red bracelets, made a big impact this year at Dodge Middle School. The bracelets were just one of the fundraising efforts the school's new Red Ribbon Crew tried this year. The sales, and the Red Ribbon Crew, were both successes. Designed like a modern-day DARE drug and alcohol awareness program, Red Ribbon Crew encouraged DMS students to make a pledge to stay away from tobacco, drugs and alcohol. The members taught positive messages meant to help their peers decide to live healthy lifestyles.
Six candidates, including one former Farmington City Council member, have accepted interviews for the vacant Farmington city administrator position. The names of the six candidates were made public early Wednesday afternoon.
The city of Farmington hasn't given up on opening a licensing center just yet. It may take some time, but the concept is still alive and well. City staff has been working to get a revised application to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services division. They have the go-ahead to do Department of Natural Resources licenses -- fishing and hunting and such -- and they can also issue license plate tabs.
Farmington's third annual Farmer's Market kicks off early this year. The first market will take place June 16 as a lead-in to Dew Days. It's in a new location on Third Street between Elm and Spruce. It's starting earlier in the season. The hours will be from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. One of the great features of the local market is that quite a few of the vendors are from the area. And that means the items they bring are grown around Farmington. Empire Township resident Aaron Brand has been one of those vendors since the local market began.
Any gardener knows, if you're going to plant something, you have to plan on some maintenance - mainly, pulling weeds. It's one of the least desirable aspects of landscaping projects, but it's a necessity. Weeds aren't picky about where they grow. When it comes to the weeds growing out of some of the city's boulevard landscaped areas, it seems they've had free reign.
Flowers can make someone's day. Apparently, flowers can also be frustrating. Over the past couple of weeks - and particularly in the week leading up to Memorial Day - someone has been stealing flower baskets off of graves at the St. Michael's and Corinthian cemeteries. St. Michael's Cemetery caretaker Erwin Hagen has received a handful of complaints of flower arrangements and baskets disappearing. In one case, someone took both the flowers and the basket hanger.
Former Farmington city administrator Peter Herlofsky will receive approximately $32,500 in severance pay after leaving his post at the end of May. Terms of Herlofsky's contract specified he would be eligible for up to six months of severance pay in the event he was either terminated or asked, either formally or informally, to resign.
The Farmington City Council hopes to announce the finalist candidate for its vacant city administrator position by mid July. On Wednesday, council members identified the six candidates they would like to interview to fill the city's top spot, which was vacated May 31, by former administrator Peter Herlofsky. The names of the candidates have not been released, but human resource director Brenda Wendlandt plans to contact the six individuals Monday, June 13. Candidates must accept the invitation to be interviewed before Wendlandt can make their names public.
It's one thing to be honored once by your peers, but twice in three years? Well, that's pretty special. Farmington High School speech coach Rick Halley knows that very well, indeed. He's been named Section 1AA Speech Coach of the Year - twice. Halley received his latest honor just a couple of weeks ago, when his peers in Section 1AA chose him for the 2011 award. "I was very honored," Halley said. "In 2008 I had received the Speech Coach of the Year, too. It doesn't often come back around so soon." Halley's not sure why he was chosen again, but he's got some pretty good ideas.
The Farmington Economic Development Authority has decided to expand its membership to include two ex-officio members. The only problem right now is that no one has expressed any interest in becoming one. The city posted the two openings on May 19. Applications are due by June 17, so there is still time to apply. But with a little over two weeks to go, no one has stepped forward. The two new commission members will have input on economic development issues in the city, but they will not be able to cast votes.