In a city that stands tall -- in terms of its medical industry and quality of life -- Igor Vovkovinskiy quite literally stood the tallest.
At nearly 8 feet, Igor was touted as the tallest man in the U.S. But to focus on his height was to miss some of the more important qualities of this standout resident, who died last week at age 38.
He came to the U.S. from Ukraine to seek medical treatment at Mayo Clinic for a hormonal condition that caused his off-the-charts growth. In that way, he represented the sense of hope that draws millions of patients each year to our small dot on the map.
Igor and his family stayed, and he was an often-seen figure in the community. He had friends here. Never, to our knowledge, did he display impatience with his condition or discomfort with the public recognition he frequently received. In that way, he represented the spirit of care and compassion that mark this community at its best.
As described by Mike Dougherty in his recollection published Saturday, Igor was driven by a desire to provide for his mother. And, from Igor’s interview with Steve Lange, also recollected in recent days, we were reminded that he met each day with a sense of gratitude. Those are examples we all can take to heart.
Our hearts are broken by the loss of this substantial man. Godspeed, Igor, and may the gates of heaven be extra-high to receive you.
Local officials aren’t taking their foot off the pedal when it comes to their desire for the state to fix a deadly highway intersection a few miles west of Rochester.
The intersection, on U.S. Highway 14 where it meets County Road 104, hasn’t gotten the attention some locals think it deserves. The Rochester-Olmsted Council of Governments, the local authority for long-range transportation planning, has called on the Minnesota Department of Transportation to list a County Road 104 overpass among its top priorities in the state’s 10-year construction plan.
Too many people have died in accidents at this intersection, including former Olmsted County Commissioner Jim Daley, who was in a crash there last year. Officials are right to keep up the pressure for an appropriate and life-saving state investment here. Thumbs up.
Ready for some football
Rochester Community and Technical College’s perennially successful football team had not taken the field since 2019, but picked up where they left off on Saturday with an explosive 55-34 win over Vermilion.
Among the players on RCTC’s roster, 19 of them were on that 2019 team. They waited through a year when RCTC didn’t even field a team, and their patience must feel rewarded after Saturday’s result.
"It's great to be back, this is what I live for," RCTC coach Derrick Hintz said. "This is my existence on this planet, coaching college football. That's what I love to do."
Thumbs up to the Yellowjackets on their big return.