School’s back in Session!

That yellow flashing light means the bus is preparing to stop; the red light means children are getting on or off. A bus stop is less than a minute, but that’s all it takes for something bad to happen.
The bus can control two lanes: the lane it’s in and the next lane over. On a divided highway with a median, the cars behind the bus must top, but the cars on the other side do not. On a two-lane road, all traffic — behind and in front of the bus — must stop.

Avoid the ticket, and more importantly, keep our kids safe; watch for the red lights and stop!

Rochester, Twin Cities Ranked Among Most Innovative On Earth

ROCHESTER, MN — Innovation isn’t easy. Case in point, your kids have heard of Netflix and Facebook, but will give you a blank look if you talk about Blockbuster or MySpace, two companies routinely listed among the biggest to fail specifically because they didn’t innovate.

So when we say three Minnesota cities were just ranked among the most innovative on Earth, it’s — with apologies to Ron Burgundy and the movie “Anchorman” — kind of a big deal.

The Australian data research company 2thinknow, which crunches numbers from cities across the globe, released its 11th annual Innovation Cities Index rankings of the world’s 500 most innovative cities this month. Cities that innovate more tend to bring in more revenue, create more jobs and become the best places to invest, the company said in a release.

The index is meant to measure how well a city creates an environment that encourages innovation. It uses more than 160 indicators based on comparative data sold to corporations.

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro, 61
  • Rochester, 275

This year, Tokyo, Japan — dubbed the “robot capital” of the world — became the first Asian city to be named most innovative on Earth. Tokyo proved it had a clear direction by embracing “smart technology change” to lead innovation, the authors found. It also emerged as a leader in two sectors that will be key to the future: robotics and 3D manufacturing.

“What really surprised us this year, was the resurgence of Tokyo, moving up to eclipse rival cities like Boston,” Christopher Hire, the company’s director data, said in a release.

He added: “While it was close between London and Tokyo, support of new technologies gave it to Tokyo based on 2018 trends, although this could change in 2019.”San Francisco, thanks in large part to the flourishing tech industries in Silicon Valley, was named the most innovative city in America and ranked third overall. New York City and Los Angeles also cracked the top five overall, claiming the fourth and fifth spots behind No. 2 London.

Here are the top 10 U.S. cities that made the list, as well as their overall ranking.

  1. San Francisco (3)
  2. New York (4)
  3. Los Angeles (5)
  4. Boston (7)
  5. Chicago (11)
  6. Dallas-Fort Worth (13)
  7. Seattle (15)
  8. Houston (17)
  9. Atlanta (20)
  10. San Diego (23)

The U.S. performed particularly well, with 37 cities appearing in the top 100. California had the most cities on the list with 12. Florida had the second-most with six cities while New York and Virginia each had five. Some U.S. cities dramatically improved their rankings this year due to what the company called favorable trends and improved economic development. Chicago jumped up nine spots to No. 11 in the world, Seattle improved by six spots to 15th and Austin zoomed up 18 spots to No. 29.

The myriad startup and tech scenes cropping up show the U.S. economy has “strong grass roots of opportunity positivity,” the analysts noted. Much of that is due to how Americans are coming up with new ways to do business “as a service,” such as ride-hailing apps and subscription services for software and clothing. Such ideas allow for new ways for companies to make money on undervalued assets in the digital economy.

The authors also pointed to the success of smaller cities, which performed very well in the rankings.

“This year innovation is likely to come from large cities as usual, but we found on a population-adjusted basis many small cities are punching above their weight. It’s the year of big cities with physical networks and small cities with digital networks, going global,” Hire said.

Films under the stars this summer

Tired of shivering in air-conditioned theaters and paying too much for candy and popcorn? Outdoor movies have the solution. And with options all over Southern Minnesota, your next family night is just a short drive away. As always, check the movies’ ratings and start times before bringing extremely young children.

Movies in the Park

Bring a lawn chair or blanket to Central Park (225 1st Ave. NW, Rochester) for free monthly movies hosted by the Rochester Downtown Alliance. The 9 p.m. movie start time may rule out younger kids, outdoor activities begin at 7. Food and drinks are available for purchase on-site.

  • July 7 – Jumanji
  • Aug. 18 – Coco
  • Sept. 15 – Safe Haven

Movies Under the Stars

The History Center (1195 W Circle Dr. SW, Rochester) has three outdoor movie nights in August, shown on Schmitt Field. General admission is $5, but seniors and children under 12 get in free. Leave the pets and coolers at home, but feel free to grab snacks and drinks before the movie starts at 8:30 p.m.

  • Aug. 10 – CARS 3
  • Aug. 24 – Moana
  • Aug. 31- SING

Byron’s Movies at City Hall

Visit our neighbors to the west for monthly movies on the lawn of Byron’s City Hall (680 Byron Main Ct. NE, Byron). Movies are hosted by the Byron Good Neighbor Days Committee. Bring your own snacks and lawnchairs.

  • July 20 – Finding Dory
  • Aug. 17 – Wonder

Four Daughters Vineyard

About 30 minutes outside of Rochester, Four Daughters Vineyard (78757 Hwy 16, Spring Valley) is screening movies among the grapes. BYO blankets and chairs, and kick back (maybe with a glass of wine?). The free movies begin at 8:30 p.m.

  • July 11 – Pretty Woman
  • July 25 – Apollo 13
  • Aug. 8 – Overboard
  • Aug. 22 – The Greatest Showman

Summer salad is a crowd pleaser

Jennifer Segal graduated from culinary school and spent the early years of her career working in the high-pressure kitchens of fancy restaurants. She realized that way of life wasn’t for her, so when she started a family, she stayed home and started a food blog, Once Upon a Chef (, which features family-friendly recipes that are created with a chef’s expertise.

Her recipes are now collected in a cookbook of the same name — “Once Upon a Chef: 100 Tested, Perfected and Family-Approved Recipes.” Segal says she used the readers of her blog as volunteers to test recipes and help her decide which to include in the book.

In the introduction for this Black Bean & Corn Salad, Segal describes it as a make-ahead crowd pleaser that’s perfect for summer entertaining.

“Whether I serve it as a salad with grilled chicken or as a dip with tortilla chips (highly recommend!),” she writes, “the bowl is always empty and the plates are always full.”

Black Bean & Corn Salad With Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

Serves 6

For the salad

2 ears fresh corn

1 cup finely chopped red onion

One 15½-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, plus a bit more for garnish

1 avocado

For the dressing

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from 1 lime

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

2 small chipotle chiles in adobo sauce from a can (see note)

To make the salad: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn, cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the corn from the pot and let cool.

Meanwhile, place the chopped red onion in a small bowl and cover with water. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then drain completely in a sieve and set aside.

One at a time, holding the cooled corn upright in a large bowl, cut the kernels off the cobs in strips.

Add the beans, onion, bell pepper and cilantro to the corn.

To make the dressing: In a blender or mini food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine all of the dressing ingredients and process until smooth.

Pour the dressing over the bean and corn mixture and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.

Right before serving, cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Using a butter knife, cut a grid in each half. Holding each avocado half over the salad, use a spoon to scoop out the diced flesh. Toss the salad gently, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary (I usually add a squeeze of fresh lime to freshen it up). Garnish with a bit of fresh chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve cold.

Note: Canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are small dried and smoked peppers (usually red jalapeños) that come in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce. You can find them in the Latin section of most supermarkets. Once you open a can, you can transfer any remaining chiles to a plastic or glass container and store in the refrigerator for up to a month, or freeze in a sealable plastic bag for up to 6 months.

Reprinted with permission from “Once Upon a Chef by Jennifer Segal”; Chronicle Books, 2018

Library offers more the 30,000 e-books to Minnesota residents

ROCHESTER, Minn.- Southeastern Libraries Cooperating and the Rochester Public Library are teaming up to offer more e-books for Minnesota residents.
More than 30,000 books added online.
Kim Edson has been a librarian in Rochester Public Library for more than 20-years. Today, she’s the head of readers services and said this is a way for the library to serve everyone on the go.
“The demand for digital material as far exceeded out ability to provide them this allows us to extend our reach with digital materials and try to address some of that demand in a cost effective way,” said the librarian.
It doesn’t matter where you access the book, it could be at home or at any library in Minnesota.
All you’ll need is your library card number.

I’ve heard that a castle once stood at the top of Rochester’s Pill Hill. Is that true? It sounds impossible. — Virginia, Rochester

Well, as you know, here at Answer Man World HQ, we deal in the impossible. So yes, Virginia, there once was a castle at the top of Pill Hill. But this wasn’t a castle like you would see in Camelot, occupied by knights of the roundtable.
In fact, Willson’s Castle, as it was called, was a “castle” in name only. It stood at what was then 900 W. College Street — now Fourth Street Southwest — at the top of Pill Hill. It was the home of Charles Cudworth Willson, who arrived in Rochester in the 1850s and practiced law for 60 years. He was Rochester royalty, you might say.
Ken Allsen’s fine book, “Old College Street” tells the tale of Willson’s Castle.
Willson built his home, which he called Red Oaks, at the highest point of Pill Hill, and then topped it with a 75-foot tower. Everyone in town took to calling the mansion “Willson’s Castle,” either in awe or in jest, and in no time at all Red Oaks receded into history.
The upper level of the tower, by the way, had windows on all four sides — imagine the view from up there!
Willson and his family lived in the castle until 1918 when Willson, then 89 and a widower, moved down the hill a bit to lodge with his daughter at the College Apartments. After sitting vacant for a few months, the castle caught fire that summer and burned to the ground.
The rubble of the castle served as a dangerous playground for local kids until the site was cleaned up and covered with soil. There’s no trace of the castle up there on the hill today, but those in the know — namely your not-too-humble servant — know exactly where Rochester’s castle once stood.


Rochesterfest is committed to promoting and celebrating the city of Rochester and southeast Minnesota annually by connecting people through a variety of wholesome, entertaining community events.

In the beginning, many people said it wouldn’t work.

“Too many other attempts were made to have a festival in Rochester and none were successful,” they maintained.
In 1983, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Rochester, Mayor Chuch Hazama named a 17-member committee to develop a plan that would involve the entire community in a celebration of the city. A year later Rochesterfest was born.

Come down for great food and fun events daily at 300 7th St SW, Rochester, MN 55902.

Grand Parade presented by Clements Chevrolet  

2:00pm start on 6th St SW.

Enjoy southern Minnesota’s biggest parade with over 100 units! The Elks and K of C’s support the Parade.


Come join the fun with friends and family!



Thursdays On First & 3rd

Thursdays on First & 3rd Summer Market and Music Festival is a weekly outdoor market of over 100 art, craft and food vendors and live entertainment every Thursday throughout the summer. Thursdays on First & 3rd begins on June 7th, 2018 and runs until August 30th. Thursdays on First & 3rd is an event that unites the Rochester community and provides a free option to simply enjoy life, feel a sense of place, and interact with others! Dogs are welcome at Thursdays, but must be on a leash.

Sit back and relax with friends and family as musical talent is featured from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM. Stick around for the Music Festival performances at 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM on two stages!

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2018 occurs on Monday, May 28. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Rochester Minnesota Ways to Honor our Veterans:

• 9:30 a.m. Procession from the American Legion to the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial
• 10:00 a.m. Memorial Day Program at the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial
• Memorial Day Bash at the VFW Post 1215
• Memorial Day Grilling Event, Hyvee North (benefiting the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial) 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

We live in the land of the free, because of the brave. Celebrate these strong and remarkable individuals on this special day of the year.

Make Rochester a “Litter Bit Better”

A Litter Bit Better

About A Litter Bit Better

At the beginning of 2007, two citizens came to Mayor Brede with the idea of building a “trash mountain”. They were interested in getting community members involved in a city-wide litter clean up effort.

The Mayor brought a team of organizations together to plan and coordinate what would become aptly named, Help Make Rochester A Litter Bit Better!

During the week of April 21-28, over 1,384 volunteers city-wide scoured ditches, parks, and boulevards to pick up over 20,000 pounds of trash! Service groups, businesses, scout troops, faith groups, and 10 Neighborhood Associations registered and participated. And now it is an annual event in the City of Rochester.

You can read more about the first, recent, and upcoming litter pickup efforts in our News & Events page. Tips and a time line for how this successful litter pickup was organized can be found our our website. Photos from neighborhoods and groups who picked up Rochester can be seen in our photo gallery.

But litter doesn’t only occur once a year. All of us working together can make a difference. Be a leader. Avoid the temptation of throwing trash or flicking that cigarette butt out your car window. Be sure to bag all of your trash before placing it in the garbage can and then make sure the lid is on tight. This prevents loose trash from blowing out of the haulers’ truck, and into our streets and streams.

Resources for Kids

Resources for Adults


All of us together can pick it up and Make Rochester a Litter Bit Better!