Did you miss me? I thought so. I'm back just in time to tell you about the big Rochester Area Family YMCA membership meeting, which I'm told is at noon today in the grand Elizabethan Room at the Kahler.
As I reported in a scoop last week, the Family Y is considering an affiliation with the YMCA of the North. The latter organization has confirmed the proposal; the Rochester Y has been tight-lipped, though the organization has been in distress in recent years.
What that affiliation would look like will be made clear at the meeting. According to a trusted source, Rochester Y members haven't been given material in advance that would be useful to yours truly, but the deal reportedly would transfer the local assets to the Twin Cities organization. I've heard other things about the deal but hesitate to share; I'll only say, it's unclear how the Rochester Y proceeds if members vote no.
Whatever happens will be important, needless to say, because the Rochester Y is important — it's been a part of the community since 1906, and it's been a crossroads and community center for people from all walks of life and all communities. This is fodder for another column, but the local Y traces its history to a visit from legendary preacher Billy Sunday, who in 1906 helped raise $16,000 to build a YMCA in the city. That building was several blocks north on First Avenue Southwest, at Second Street.
The Y closed in 1932, as the Great Depression took hold and the building was sold to Mayo, which razed it, as is the clinic's wont, in 1938. But Mayo helped the Y get started again in 1960 when it donated the Balfour property and the current building went up in 1964.
The clinic and community wouldn't let the Y idea die, and it may take that kind of heavy lifting again to keep it going.
Dear Answer Man, how rare is it for a city council member in Minnesota to get censured?
Excellent question, in light of the censure of Rochester City Council Member Michael Wojcik last week. It was only the Rochester council's third censure in the past quarter century, according to musty archives.
Censures are rare but not unheard of in the Gopher State. The Shakopee City Council censured one of its own, Mike Luce, in July, took away his key card to the new city hall and stripped him of membership on boards and commissions. He has denied any wrongdoing and told the Star Tribune that allegations against him are "bogus and all made up."
In April 2016, a New Brighton council member was censured for alleged violations of city policy and protocol.
The mayor of Becker was censured by the city council in February 2016 for what were alleged to be harassing interactions with city staff that violated the city's code of conduct, according to the St. Cloud Times.
A council member in Lake Elmo was censured twice in 2015 for raising questions about a shortfall in city revenue. An audit later showed he was correct about a shortfall, though council members also said the censures were about his personal interactions regarding the issue.
The mayor and a council member in North Branch were censured in a special meeting in June 2015 for testimony they gave to a Minnesota Senate committee. It's an interesting saga; I'll add that link plus the others online.
The mayor of Maple Plain was censured by the city council in March 2014 for alleged inappropriate language and conduct with a city employee. He denied the allegations.
There are probably other censures of interest — these just happen to pop up on a quick web search. One of my diligent research associates checked with the League of Minnesota Cities for any information they may have, assuming there's no master database of censures in St. Paul. A League official responded Tuesday and said, "Unfortunately, this is not data that the League collects."