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Answer Man: Water tank gets monstrous name

It's big. It's fat. It's hulking.

It's Hydrozilla !

That's the name my committee of aquatic judges chose for RPU's new 3.5-million-gallon water tank on Pill Hill, near St. Mary's Park. If you're a regular reader of this column — and hopefully you're very regular — you know we've been playing a little game to name the monstrous new tank.

I proposed the Big Gulp and Super Slurpee, others came up with the Big Pill, the Med City Slurpee, Big Bertha, the St. Mary's Cistern and more. My hastily convened panel of judges, which included my lapdog and the neighbor's weiner dog, believed that the name Hydrozilla, proposed by reader Mark Hrubetz, neatly captures the scale and girth of the tank, as well as the way it looms over the neighborhood, with a dash of good humor.

I told RPU spokesman Tony Benson the good news and he made no commitment to ever using this name for that big gorilla of a tank. He did say the tank will be filled and in service before winter -- which in my book means pretty much today, but he says later this month -- and it'll be prettied up next year.


Here are two other recent questions involving RPU, since that fine agency is on my mind:

Dear Answer Man, somebody on Facebook said the other day that the Silver Lake plant has burned its last lump of coal. Since it was on Facebook, it must be true, right?

Right. Well, it's true in this case, anyway. Benson says the last coal to be burned at RPU's Silver Lake plant was loaded late last week. From here on out, they'll burn only natural gas through the end of 2015, and then the plant is kaput. Could be a great building for artists lofts someday.

Hopefully that means no lumps of coal are left in the area for use in Christmas stockings.

Hey, Answer Man! We live in Northern Heights and there's a hideous rusted-out electric box on the corner of Northern Heights Drive and North Broadway. The boxes downtown have been painted in some creative ways. What can we do to get someone to paint ours, too? Are we allowed to take some paint to it ourselves, or would that be vandalism? Thanks!

Stop right there, Picasso — Tony says you're not authorized to paint it. He says you're welcome to call RPU (280-1500) and have it inspected and possibly repainted.

The big boxes downtown were arted up as part of a deal with the city and downtown businesses. Whether they turned out well is in the eye of the beholder.

Could a neighborhood association do that as well as the Rochester Downtown Alliance? What an interesting idea.


Dear Answer Man, I'm counting on you for some possible freebies on Monday. I hope you can come through for veterans.

For the last several years, several businesses in town, including Hy-Vee and Applebee's, have offered free meals for veterans on Veterans Day. Are you aware what businesses are offering free meals, services or whatever for veterans this year? — A Hungry (and Cheap) Veteran

Good question, glad to help and thank you for your service. A lot of restaurants, stores and service businesses have found ways to show gratitude to veterans and active-duty military on Veterans Day. Among national chains that have restaurants in our area, Applebee's, Denny's, Famous Dave's, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster and Texas Roadhouse have said they have special meals or free items for veterans at participating shops — call ahead to verify, please.

I know there are other freebies out there for veterans — for example, admission to the Rochester Art Center is always free for veterans and active-duty personnel — and if you call or send me details, I'll run as many as I can in Saturday's column.

The Answer Man recodes your DNA every time you read him for only 75 cents a day, less for home delivery. Send questions to P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55903 or answerman@postbulletin.com.

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