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Answer Man: Don't look for new 16th St. intersection this year

Dear Answer Man, when will the stoplight at the junction of Mayowood Road and 16th Street Southwest be installed? I know it's scheduled for 2015 but time is slipping away. — Roger D. White

Time tends to do that, and this question came in a month ago. Obviously, not much has happened at that corner this year.

I wrote about the project in a magnificent item in June , as you certainly recall. Since then, the city has awarded the contract to Rochester Sand & Gravel for $2.6 million. That was in early September, and while a few things may get done yet this year, such as installing yellow left-turn arrows at some key 16th Street intersections in that area, the real work won't start until spring, and the project won't be completed until late next year.

Among the changes to look forward to: a rebuilding of the bottleneck intersection at 16th Street and Apache Drive. During the Christmas season, you can waste a lot of time in traffic jams there.

Dear Answer Man, do you know who the leadership is of the Rochester Conservancy? Just curious. — John Eischen


John asked this question more than once after my marvelous item recently on the mostly dormant but suddenly aroused Grow Rochester organization, which is a business advocacy group formed by the Rochester Builders Association (where John is the executive director), the Southeast Minnesota Association of Realtors and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.

Grow Rochester was energized by the heritage preservation ordinance that the city is considering, where they faced off with the Rochester Conservancy.

John asked in another note how many members the Conservancy has.

The Conservancy is an informal organization formed to advocate for Rochester's history and heritage. John Kruesel, the Rochester business man and preservation activist, is one of the leaders and he says it has by-laws but hasn't applied for non-profit status. If you're interested in this topic, you won't be surprised by the group's other leaders: Nancy Slocumb, Barry Skolnick, Jane Bisel, Kevin Lund, Steve Williams, Tim Schmitt, Dale Goodfriend and E. Christine Schulze. John says there's no "roster of membership," and certainly no money such as the Grow Rochester group has.

"The Rochester Conservancy embraces three guiding principles -- heritage, education and growth," he says. "The members believe the unique character of the city of Rochester is a tapestry of more than 150 years of contributions by energetic, creative and caring citizens. ... The genesis of the organization, in early 2013, was the result of a concern that there was a vacuum of city leadership on heritage preservation issues, particularly a meaningful and comprehensive heritage preservation ordinance."

Dear Answer Man, a friend said he saw a story that Hmong people first arrived in Minnesota on Nov. 5, 1975. It seems unlikely to me that a whole immigrant movement can be dated so precisely. Is he right?

He's right, according to the Minnesota History Center. Forty years ago on Nov. 5, the first Hmong family arrived in Minnesota and made their home in the Twin Cities area.

There are now about 66,000 Hmong in Minnesota and the metro area has the largest Hmong urban population in the country.

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