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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Rochester Flag Project announces winning designs

Rochester Flag Project announces winning designs

The grassroots effort to update Rochester's flag has emerged with a pair of winners.

The two flag designs — one chosen by the public and the other by a panel of judges — will be presented to the Rochester City Council for review, likely sometime in August. It will ultimately be up to the council to decide whether to replace the city's current flag, which was introduced in 1980, with one of the new designs.

“I am proud of the judges’ deliberations as well as the public participation and selections," said Lee Herold, a local flag shop owner who helped lead the 18-month effort. "Rochester is an internationally recognized city and it needs symbols that reflect its unique place in the world."

Joe Uessem of Dusseldorf, Germany was the winner of the public online vote. While not from Rochester, his inspiration for the design (shown above) came from hearing about Rochester through his girlfriend, who once called the Med City home.

The judge's pick was a design (shown below) from Matt Levar of — ironically — Rochester, New York. The three stars depicted in the flag represent the city's founding, the 1883 tornado that give birth to Mayo Clinic, and the city's future.

You can read their statements in entirety below.

The flags were chosen out of more than 170 designs over two rounds of voting. The idea to update Rochester's current flag — once listed among the "Ugliest Flags on Earth" — comes as other cities across the country are updating their flags and "reconnecting with urbanism and good design."

People's choice: ‘Hope, Support, Love’

Designer statement: "I, myself, am not from the city. My girlfriend though can't stop talking about her old home. The misfortune that burnt down her family's house and the possibility to start over again in Rochester are the most defining points of her life. The support that her family got from the good citizens of Rochester gave her strength to not lose hope. Hope, Support, Love: this is what the City of Rochester stands for and what I want to show in my flag design. The design consists of three colors: The silver (white) lining separates the green ground (which traditionally stands for hope) and the blue sky (blue stands for happiness and serenity). The white goose not only stands out on the darker background, it also flies towards freedom which the viewer expects out of the flag's boundaries. Geese and Rochester have a special connection, and whenever I see a Canada goose, I think of the city. I am sure that many people feel the same way about those beautiful animals."

Judge's pick: ‘Past, Present and Future’ 

Designer statement: "This is a modern adaption of Rochester’s current flag, with the overt visuals replaced with meaningful symbols of the city’s Past, Present, and Future. Here, a gold ring encompasses the city, symbolizing the community’s unity and values. Inside, three stars, one for the city’s founding (lower left), one for the great tornado and the medical community that came from it (lower right), and the highest one for the city’s future. The stars shine in a night sky over the city’s South Fork Zumbro and Bear Creek Rivers."

You can learn more about the Rochester Flag Project on its website.

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