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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Reading comes easily to some kids. For others, not so much. At North Trail Elementary School, volunteers have done wonders to help the latter become the former. This year, NTES broke out a new reading program called Literacy LEAPS - Literacy Enriched Activities with Parents/Volunteers - and it seems to have helped quite a few struggling students. It's also brought a little personal joy and satisfaction to the volunteers. Teacher Kim Bollesen set up the program this year.
A Farmington employee has lodged a complaint regarding a personnel matter against the city of Farmington. The Farmington City Council met in closed session following its May 16 meeting to discuss the claim. City attorney Joel Jamnik could not discuss the nature of the claim, nor identify who had filed it, because it is a personnel matter. However, Jamnik said an offer to settle the matter has been offered. Jamnik has been talking to the employee's attorney, John Fabian, about a potential settlement.
There is good news for homeowners looking to make a change on their properties. After a year of not being able to grant variances on projects that would change residential structures, the city of Farmington and other communities once again have that ability. Chances are, most residents didn't know they weren't able to make changes.
A month from now, it will all be over. All that will be left will be the memories. And what great memories they will be. Of course, those memories will be of the fun had during the 2011 Dew Days celebration in downtown Farmington. There won't be a lot of new activities at this year's celebration, according to Dew Days co-chair Darla Donnelly. That's not a big deal, though, because the events that are planned are long-time favorites. This is the second year Dew Days has been moved back downtown.
Since early December, eight students ages 14-18 have been learning what it takes to be a firefighter. This weekend, they'll see if they actually have what it takes. The students are members of Farmington Fire Explorer Post 9470. They've been meeting since Dec. 2, 2010. They've done lots of training. They've earned their CPR certification and state First Responder certification. They've learned how to clean a station house and fire trucks. They're able to get into their turnout gear quickly.
The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will hold a public meeting this week concerning pollution on 3,500 acres of the UMore property. During the meeting the university will shares details of its Remedial Investigation Work Plan, which will determine the level of contamination on the property and what the risk is to human health and the environment. The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. May 19 at the Rosemount Community Center. A presentation will be given at 6:30 p.m.
Military families old and new are invited to the Dakota County Fairgrounds this weekend for a few fun events scheduled just for them. Warrior to Citizen will hold its third annual Military Family Day picnic at the fairgrounds from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. Organizer Annette Kuyper said the event has lots to offer families, too. "This is one of our large events that Warrior to Citizen and the Farmington VFW partner on," Kuyper said.
It's sometimes hard to help other people when no one really knows you're out there. But Ann Quigley is hoping to change that soon. Quigley knows well what it's like to have a husband who is deployed and be the one left behind with small children. She's been there. Back in 2003, her husband, Trevor Quigley, was gone. She was working with Dakota County's 4-H program. It was hard to juggle everything. Eventually, she left her position with 4-H - a big step since Quigley had grown up in the Dakota County 4-H program. But the time had come for her to move on, so she did.
Farmington is just a few steps away from being a Step 3 Minnesota GreenStep city. Huh? Really, what all of that means is that Farmington is on its way to earning state recognition for its sustainability efforts. What's more, finishing these few items could help bring new business to Farmington. Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to help cities promote sustainability goals in the public, private and residential parts of their communities. GreenStep outlines 28 action items for cities to accomplish these goals.
I popped the cork on a bottle of champagne around midnight last Friday morning. The Beau and I settled down on the couch. He told me to do the toast. I toasted The Renters, a young couple who moved into my townhouse later that same day. I'm pretty sure I deserved that champagne. It's been a long, crazy six weeks for me. Moving to St. Paul was the easy part. Getting my townhouse ready for renters, finding the funds to pay for it all and pulling out 55 hours a week of work has been a challenge, to be sure. But that all ended last Thursday.