RNeighbors Speakers Bureau

RNeighbors Speakers Bureau

RNeighbors has worked with local government departments and organizations to assemble this list of potential speakers for neighborhood associations meetings. It is our hope this tool will help support neighborhood networks by providing accurate contact information for neighborhood leaders to keep their associations informed on current topics of interest.

4-H is the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, reaching more than 7 million 4-H youth in urban neighborhoods, suburban schoolyards and rural farming communities. Fueled by university-backed curriculum, 4-H’ers engage in hands-on learning activities in the areas of science, healthy living, and food security.

Jarrard Woodward
(507) 328-6217

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Southeast Minnesota is focused on serving and supporting service men and women and their families who are currently serving on Active Duty or are in the National Guard or Reserves. No matter what branch of service, we are committed to helping those service members who live in Rochester, Olmsted County and the surrounding Southeast Minnesota region. Our motto is simply: “Serving Military families living in our midst.”
Kenn Roehl, Chair
(507) 993-0815

Building Safety Housing Inspection
The Building Safety Department is committed to advancing public safety in the built environment through collaboration and community partnership which results in safe, accessible and healthy structures.
Randy Johnson, Director
(507) 328-2624

Community Action Team
The Community Action Team (CAT) is a part of the Patrol Division of the Rochester Police Department that consists of one Sergeant and three officers. Part of CAT’s goal is to be community focused and work with various members of the community and other agencies to help mitigate issues before they become more of a problem. We work with rental managers, businesses and home owners and help to gather information and help educate and guide them so everyone can be more effective in reduce crime on their properties.
Sgt. Jim Evenson
(507) 328-6940

Community Gang Initiative
Community leaders from across Rochester began meeting in late 2008 to review the current status of gang activity in the Rochester area and discuss community options to prevent, intervene and suppress gang involvement.
Deneene A. McDonald, United Way (507) 287-2002

Destination Medical Center
Destination Medical Center (DMC) is an innovative economic development initiative to secure the status of Minnesota as a global medical destination now and in the future. It is a public-private partnership that includes the State of Minnesota, City of Rochester, Olmsted County and Mayo Clinic. It will enhance the overall downtown experience for community members, patients and visitors.
Heidi Mestad  or Jamie Rothe

Emergency Management
Serves as the City of Rochester disaster response agency with responsibility for disaster preparation, response, recovery, and prevention activities.  Topics include: 12 Disaster Plan Tips; the 4 Essentials of Life; 3 Ways to Keep Informed Before, During, and After a Disaster; One Thing to Do Every Month for Disaster Preparedness
Ken Jones, Emergency Management Director
(507) 328-2824

Energy Commission
The Rochester Energy Commission was created in 2009. The Rochester City Council has charged the Commission with a leadership role in the development of the City’s sustainable energy future.
Edward Cohen

Environmental Commission
The Environmental Commission is appointed by the County Board and is responsible for formulating and recommending environmental policies and monitoring program implementation to assure coordination and integration of County functions that impact the environment.
Terry Lee, Olmsted County Water Resources Coordinator
(507) 328-7070

Extension Master Gardener (EMG)
EMGs are trained volunteers who teach people in their communities about horticulture. The activities of the EMG’s benefit schools, community gardens, youth programs, environmental education programs, and much more. The program is administered by the University of Minnesota Extension Service.
Kay Erwin, University of Minnesota Extension
(507) 328-6214

Farmers Market
The Rochester Downtown Farmers Market is a project of the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market Association, seeking to support sustainable agriculture and the family farm by sponsoring a market to provide farmers with a well-organized retail marketplace, to provide local access to quality farm products, and to strengthen the ties between the family farm and the community.
David Kotsonas, Market Manager

Fire Safety
Are you and your family prepared for a fire emergency?
• Home fire safety
• Workplace fire safety
• Fire extinguisher training
Larry Mueller, RFD Information Officer
(507) 328-2817

Human Rights Commission (OCHRC) (Olmsted County)
The OCHRC advocates for practices and policies that respect and honor our community’s diversity and sense of inclusion, educates the residents of Rochester and Olmsted County of their rights in Minnesota and mediates open dialogue for the purpose of inter-group and inter-personal conflict resolution.
Join us on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 7pm in the City Hall conference room 104 or contact us at (507) 328-7300.

Martial Arts and Fitness Center
Basics of self-defense
Fred Gommels
(507) 358-3484

Mediation and Conflict Solutions (MCS)
Got conflict?  Mediation and Conflict Solutions (MCS) offers constructive processes for resolving differences and conflicts between individuals or groups.  Issues that can be mediated or facilitated include:  co-parenting issues, neighborhood, business/consumer, housing, multi-generational family, workplace, school, organizational, discrimination, and others.  MCS operates as a nonprofit community mediation program serving Olmsted County and surrounding areas.
Carmen Nomann, Executive Director
(507) 285-8400

Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester
Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester is dedicated to providing children with a fun, hands-on and stimulating environment to explore and discover. The Museum helps to instill a life-long love of learning by nurturing the real-world skills children need to become engaged citizens in the future.
Dawn Devine, Director
(507) 218-3101

Multi Housing Association (RMHA)
The Rochester Multi Housing Association (RMHA) is a nonprofit trade organization. We are a coalition of property owners, managers, and others associated with the housing industry for Rochester and the surrounding area.  Together we discuss current events, problems, trends, and other issues affecting our industry with the goal of growing and succeeding in our ever changing market.  We represent our local multi-family housing industry.  We also provide educational opportunities both locally, and through our state association the Minnesota Multi Housing Association (MHA).
Michelle Hill, President 507-358-7311
Renee Hess, Vice President 507-254-0360

National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need. Mental illness affects everyone. Nearly 60 million Americans experience a mental health condition every year.
Courtney Lawson, Executive Director
(507) 287-1692

Neighborhood Energy Challenge
RPU and Minnesota Energy Resources have teamed up with the Center for Energy and Environment to offer Rochester homeowners the Neighborhood Energy Challenge (NEC), a full-service residential energy audit program. The Neighborhood Energy Challenge includes: Free Energy Workshop, Home Visit and Materials, and Help With Next Steps.
Ashley Robertson
(888) 734-6365

Park Department
Neighborhood Parks
Adopt a Park Program

The City of Rochester has more than 3500 acres of park land and more than 85 miles of paved trails to explore.  There are more than 100 individual park areas
Mike Nigbur
Park and Forestry Division Head
(507) 328-2541

Planning Department

Active Living – Complete Streets
The combined county department provides planning and related services to Rochester under the administrative direction of a joint powers board.  (If the preceding boilerplate sentence doesn’t fit you can omit it.)  “Active Living” is a health improvement initiative supported by the City to promote walking and biking as a personal transportation choice.  “Complete Streets” is a policy that insures that the City will consider the needs of all street users when a new street is built or an existing street is modified.
Mitzi Baker Olmsted Planning Department
(507) 328-7122

Project Legacy
Project LEGACY is a program to meet the needs of youth of color in the Rochester community who struggle with lack of resources and supports that enable them to reach their full potential.  Many of the youth lack stable housing, a viable support system, and caring adults to advocate for them.  The program is targeting youth who have demonstrated resilience in the face of enormous obstacles and who are sincerely motivated to change their current lifestyle.
Karen Edmonds (507)254-3387
John Edmonds (507) 993-8019

Public Library (Rochester)
The Rochester Public Library has been in existence in one form or another since 1865. We will be happy to share some history of how we got to be what we are today and also update you on what is going on now and what is in the hopper for the future. This will give an idea of the broad spectrum of what is available, what has changed and what will change. Talks can be tailored from 20 minutes to an hour using Powerpoint presentations.
John Hunziker, Communications Manager
(507) 328-2343

Public Health (Olmsted County)
Olmsted County Public Health Services provides a broad range of services to individuals, families and communities to promote and protect the health of those who live and work in Olmsted County. The focus is on promoting healthy families and communities; supporting disabled, mentally ill and elderly persons to live independently; preventing and responding to emerging diseases and health threats; and identifying and preventing environmental health risks.
(507) 328-7500

Public Works
Engineering /Traffic Division

Public Works Engineering / Traffic Division provides engineering support for all Public infrastructure within the public right of way; including Traffic Signals, bridges, streets, curb & gutter, sidewalks, and underground public utilities (sanitary sewer and storm sewer).
Doug Nelson, Engineering Division Manager (507) 328-2423

Quarry Hill Nature Center
Quarry Hill Nature Center is just minutes away from many Rochester neighborhoods via car or bike path. Free and open to the public year round, the nature center and park offer friends and families an ever-changing environment for outdoor recreation and environmental learning.  Quarry Hill park features hiking trails, pond with fishing dock, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, a sandstone cave and fossil bed in a historic limestone quarry. The Nature Center features live animals and hands on exhibits. Knowledgeable naturalists are on sight daily. GPS rental, nature adventure backpacks to check out or skis and a snowshoe to rent, Quarry Hill has something for everyone!
Lori Forstie, Public Relations and Outreach Coordinator 507-328-3950

Real Estate
Southeast Minnesota Association of REALTORS (SEMAR)
Neighborhood real estate statistics , curb appeal, general home maintenance
Karen Becker, Chief Executive Officer, (507) 285-9833

United Way of Olmsted County
Partnering in Olmsted County in the areas of Education, Financial Stability/Income, Health and Basic Needs
Email, 507-287-2000

Water Quality
Are you interested in learning more about what you and your neighbors can do to improve water quality in Rochester? Individually or with others, you can make a difference by doing one of the following activities: placing educational door hangers in your neighborhood, hosting a raingarden party, collecting litter in an adopted area, and/or marking storm drains. A City staff member can attend a Neighborhood Association meeting to discuss the multitude of ways you can help. Additional topics can be found at RCleanWater.
Megan Duffey Moeller, Storm Water Educator, City of Rochester Public Works Department, (507) 328-2440

Y Mentors Program
Y Mentors is a one-to-one mentoring program, serving Olmsted County residents in grades K-12, who are in need of another positive adult role model in their lives.  The youth waiting list is quite long.
Jenny Johnston (Gile), (507) 287-2260  X373

Youth Commission
The Youth Commission represents a cross section of youth and adults who work with local government, businesses, and non-profit organizations to give young people in Olmsted County a voice.
The Youth Commission has been a successful partnership between Olmsted County and the city of Rochester for over 20 years. Our presence sends a clear message that youth in our community are valued.
Mary Gorfine, (507) 328-6005

General Questions

City Council Members
Council members are open to questions and discussions about what’s going on in the ward your neighborhood is in and in the city in general.
Check website for contact information for specific City Council Members.

Updates on things that are happening locally and globally with the city of Rochester.
Donna Bussell, (507) 328-2700

Neighborhood Leadership Trainings
• How to work with developers
• How to grow your NA
• Selecting Committees
• Running Effective Meetings
• How to work with local government officials and departments
RNeighbors empowers citizen leaders to create sustainable neighborhood networks that promote a vibrant, healthy, and livable community.
René Lafflam, Executive Director, (507) 529-4150

Updated 5.19.14