Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Individuals and Organizations to be recognized for Environmental Achievements in the Community

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission announce the recipients of the 2017 Environmental Achievement Awards. The recipients will be recognized at an awards banquet on January 18 at the Rochester Golf and Country Club. The awards honor individuals, organizations, schools and businesses that have made a significant contribution in 2017 towards environmental quality in any of the following categories: renewable efforts, conservation, energy, water, agriculture, education, and other.

The 2017 recipients are:

Clifford Hansen

Clifford Hansen is an environmentalist who wears many hats. He has served on the Zumbro Valley Audubon Society Board of Directors since 1996 and has been the secretary since 2000. He has led the annual Christmas Bird Count, gathering data to better understand the relationship between global warming and migratory patterns, since 2001.

In 2010, Clifford began volunteering at Quarry Hill Park. He has helped restore sections of the park to its native flora by removing invasive species and has inspired others to do the same. When he’s not clearing buckthorn and garlic mustard, he shares his knowledge with community members who visit the Quarry Hill Nature Center.

Additionally, Clifford is a citizen forester group leader with RNeighborWoods, an organization that promotes the communal benefits of trees. Clifford has helped plant hundreds of trees throughout Rochester neighborhoods.

Lida Casper

On May 5, 2017, hundreds of students, teachers, and volunteers came together for a garden party at Riverside Central Elementary School. Students and community members were introduced to the benefits of locally grown food and learned how to be responsible environmental caretakers. Lida Casper, the event organizer, collaborated with the following local partners to make the day a success:

Students helped build the garden boxes, filled them with a mixture of soil and compost, planted vegetable seedlings, learned how to cook using local ingredients, and much more. Produce harvested in the summer was brought to the school’s Community Resource Room to support families in need.

Hy-Vee Rochester Stores

By integrating an environmental ethic into their operations, Hy-Vee is demonstrating what’s good for the environment can also be good for business. Company-wide, Hy-Vee sells responsibly sourced seafood, participates in the “Misfits” program—an initiative to combat food waste by selling discounted produce that doesn’t meet traditional cosmetic standards—and recycles millions of pounds of cardboard, plastic, and paper every year.

In addition to these policies, each of the four Rochester stores has partnered with Community Food Response (CFR) and the Channel One Regional Food Bank to divert food waste. Last year, the stores collectively donated over 164 tons of food (22 tons to CFR and 142 tons to Channel One).

Zoey Jantsan

In 2017, Zoey Jantsan was crowned Miss Minnesota U.S. International. She ran on a platform of environmental conservation and has used her time in the spotlight to share her passion. Her top five memories of this past year include:

John and Patty Trnka

John and Patty Trnka have dedicated countless hours to controlling invasive species within Olmsted County Parks. Each week from March through December, the Trnkas make rounds through Chester Woods and Root River Parks. They identify areas infested with invasive species, develop an eradication plan, and train other volunteers in the eradication process.

In the fall, John and Patty lead volunteers in collecting seeds from native grasses. These seeds are stored and later planted in areas that have been cleared of invasive species. The Trnkas also assist with record keeping at Root River Park.

Max Campeau – Water | Educators, Students, & Partnerships

Inspiring teenagers to pick up garbage on a Saturday afternoon isn’t easy. But that’s exactly what Max Campeau did last April when he organized a clean-up event along the banks of the Zumbro River near Pine Island High School. Approximately 25 students picked up litter along a two-mile stretch of river, starting at the high school and ending at the outdoor classroom, where volunteers planted new habitat in the butterfly garden. The group also planted 50 tree seedlings that had been donated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The litter collected at the event filled over 30 garbage bags.

Becca Jacobson and Annette Homburger – Stewards of Hope

Becca Jacobson and Annette Homburger started Stewards of Hope as a partnership between the Manor View Drive Neighborhood and the People of Hope Church. Together, they coordinated efforts to establish a nature trail within a 20-acre wooded area near the church.

From May to August, Becca, Annette and over 100 volunteers representing numerous non-profit organizations, cleared brush, removed invasive plants, and seeded native grasses.  Money from the Izaak Walton League of America was used to build trail signs and an informational kiosk at the trailhead. Funds from the Minnesota Master Naturalists were used for supplies to help remove buckthorn.

The trail crosses bluff grassland, oak savanna, and mixed hardwood forest habitats with views overlooking Cascade Creek. According to Annette and Becca, “It provides a green haven for physical recreation, environmental awareness, and the peace of mind that comes from being surrounded by nature.”

For more information on energy and water conservation or the Environmental Achievement Awards visit www.rpu.org.

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers. Water customers number more than 37,000. RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive. Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.

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Posted: Jan 17, 2018 by Tony B | Comments (0)

NLC Service Line Warranty Program postcard NOT associated with RPU’s Service Assured® program

On October 16, 2017, the City Council adopted the NLC/USP. Inc. Service Line Marketing Agreement (https://rochestercitymn.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=2611&MediaPosition=1367.818&ID=7961&CssClass). This allows the company to market their Sewer Line and Interior Plumbing coverage to residents in the city of Rochester. Information on this can be found in the attachment titled “NLC Service Line Warranty Program Overview”.

Their Water Line coverage is not included as a part of this offering since RPU already provides this coverage through our Service Assured® program (https://www.rpu.org/rebates-programs/residential/service-assured-underground-utility-repair-coverage-program.php).

If you have questions about RPU’s Service Assured® program or would like to sign up for it, contact RPU at 280.1500.

Posted: Jan 03, 2018 by Tony B | Comments (4)

Lake Zumbro Hydro Drawdown Schedule Revised

New drawdown schedule

The annual drawdown of Lake Zumbro is scheduled to begin on October 28th. The drawdown is necessary for planned maintenance and shoreline restoration work.  The public should be aware that the drawdown planned for this fall will be substantially greater than normal.  A typical fall drawdown is less than two feet; whereas this year a seven foot drawdown will be attempted.  These plans are subject to change depending on rainfall and resulting runoff.  RPU’s drawdown plan is as follows:


The drawdown plan is subject to change depending on weather conditions.

During the months of November through March, Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) will attempt to maintain the lake level at the winter pool of 913.0.

Real-time lake level information, along with Lake Zumbro hydro updates are available on the RPU web site (www.rpu.org). For additional information regarding the Zumbro Hydroelectric Facility please contact Tony Benson at (507) 280-1534.

 

Tips for lake ice safety:

Be extremely careful during winter activities that involve Lake Zumbro such as ice fishing, snowmobiling or just walking out on the frozen lake.

Watch the weather and river flow conditions.

Ice thickness and condition can vary greatly. Be very cautious.

Look out for ice heaves and exposed logs and snags.

Be cautious in the vicinity of the dam. De-icing equipment has been installed along the upstream face of the dam resulting in open water and/or thin ice.

Do not proceed past the warning signs and buoys.

 

 

About Rochester Public Utilities

 

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 37,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include photovoltaic offerings, wind energy, energy and water efficient equipment, and electric vehicle charging.

 

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Posted: Oct 17, 2017 by Tony B | Comments (0)

RPU crew that went to help with Hurricane Irma restoration to be available to media on Tuesday, September 26

The Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) crew of lineworkers that went to Florida to help with Hurricane Irma power restoration will be available to meet and share their experience with the media on Tuesday, September 26 at 3:30pm.

The RPU lineworkers left on Saturday, September 9th along with crews from over 15 other Minnesota municipal utilities and returned back to Rochester on Thursday, September 21st. The restoration effort began in Kissimmee, FL and then moved onto Lake Worth, FL who was also hit hard by hurricane damage.

According to the Kissimmee Utility Authority, at the peak of the storm over 38,000 of their 72,000 customers were without power.

The special media event will be held in the Community Room at the RPU Service Center before the RPU Board Meeting.

For more information, contact Tony Benson at 507.280.1534.

 

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 37,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include photovoltaic offerings, wind energy, energy and water efficient equipment, and electric vehicle charging.

 

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Posted: Sep 22, 2017 by Tony B | Comments (0)

Proposed rates notification 9-1-17

Posted: Sep 12, 2017 by Tony B | Comments (0)