Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

15th Annual Arbor Day Celebration to be held on April 28

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU), with partners Maier Tree & Lawn and Rochester Parks & Recreation, will host the 15th Annual Arbor Day Celebration on Friday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Three Links-Silver Lake Park, located at 840 7th St NE in Rochester.

The fun and free community event will feature a variety of activities and displays that will include: A tree giveaway (while supplies last), a free lunch of hot dogs, corn on the cob, chips, cookies, and soda will be provided (while supplies last), and live music from Paul Mayasich and his band, Real American Made Music. Tree experts will also be on hand to answer questions on tree planting and care, along with many other vendor displays.

Children will be able to enjoy Smokey Bear, balloonists, a scavenger hunt, temporary tattoos, bean bag toss, and much more!

At noon, an awards ceremony will honor Rochester elementary school students who were selected as finalists of the Arbor Day poster contest, as well as this year’s overall winner, Nicole Yang, a 4th grader at Hoover Elementary. Nicole will receive a $100 Barnes & Noble gift card, her winning poster will be featured in RPU’s 2018 calendar, and a tree will be planted in her honor at Hoover Elementary School. This year’s poster contest theme was “Trees are Terrific in Cities and Towns…and They Keep Our Water Clean!”

Co-Sponsors of this year’s event include: Hy-Vee, Minnesota Energy Resources, Sargent’s Gardens, and Seneca Foods.

Participants include: Boys & Girls Club of Rochester, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Olmsted County Environmental Resources, Olmsted Soil & Water Conservation District, Quarry Hill Nature Center, RNeighbors, Rochester Public Library, Rochester Public Works, and Zumbro Valley Audubon.

In the event of rain, the celebration will be moved to Rochester Community & Technical College’s Field House.

 

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.

 

###

25 Years of Recognizing Individuals and Organizations for Environmental Achievements in the Community

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) and Olmsted County mark 25 years of recognizing environmental achievements by announcing the recipients of the 2016 Environmental Achievement Awards. The awards were first given out back in 1991 and have now grown and expanded to cover a wider range of environmental achievements in the area. This year’s recipients will be recognized at an awards banquet on January 19 at the Rochester Golf and Country Club. Past award recipients have been invited to commemorate the 25th year of the awards. The awards honor individuals, organizations, schools and businesses that have made a significant contribution in 2016 towards environmental quality in any of the following categories: renewable efforts, conservation, energy, water, agriculture, education, and other.

The 2016 recipients are:

Terri Dugan
As part of her capstone project in the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program, Terri Dugan organized a volunteer effort to restore a 10-acre woodland on the west side of Quarry Hill Park. Terri and her team of volunteers flagged a sustainable trail, blocked a steep erosion path, and planted 60 species of native flora. Summer of Service (SOS) teens assisted in clearing deadfall and invasive species. This restoration project allows hikers to enjoy a part of the park that was previously inaccessible.

Additionally, Terri started the Weed Warriors program at Quarry Hill. Since 2014, Terri and other volunteers have cleared over 20 acres of invasive plant species. She continues to play a major role in educating the public about the detriments of Garlic Mustard and Buckthorn.

The Green Thumb Initiative
The Green Thumb Initiative (GTI) is a hands-on educational program for environmentally conscious students who attend the Rochester Alternative Learning Center (ALC). GTI is involved in a number of student-led projects. The group maintains the school’s garden, organizes Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscriptions, and introduces students from other schools to raised-bed gardening.

This past spring, GTI transformed an empty plot at the fairgrounds into a small space gardening demonstration. The students cultivated the soil over a demolished building’s rocky foundation and planted a mixture of vegetable crops and ornamental plants. A mulch path leading through the garden was added to showcase a variety of “upcycled” planting containers. The containers included an old grill, milk crates, and shoes. Signs were placed near each planting to inform patrons how each upcycled container was created. Produce from the garden did not go to waste; some of the vegetables were donated to the Salvation Army, while others were used to teach a science lesson on food preservation at the ALC.

First Student
First Student in Rochester, Minnesota services Rochester Public Schools for student transportation and provides intra-town transportation for Mayo Clinic. In an effort to reduce their environmental impact, First Student upgraded their fleet with vehicles that run on alternative fuels. Thirty-four propane powered school buses, twelve propane powered shuttle mini-coaches, and four compressed natural gas (CNG) powered transit buses operate throughout the city. Utilizing these alternative fuel sources reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves air quality in Rochester. First Student further reduces emissions with its three-minute idling policy.

Jeffery O’Neill
Jeffery O’Neill understands the important role agriculture plays in preserving water resources. His farm is located along the Middle Branch of the Whitewater River, and he has worked to curb runoff by converting an area of land that was previously used as a feedlot into fields that support fruit and vegetable production. He used mulch to establish crop rows and seeded a ryegrass cover over an area adjacent to the river. These modifications represent Jeffery’s commitment to sustainable land management.

2015–2016 Fifth Graders of Gage Elementary Garden Boxes
Students at Gage Elementary aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. This past spring, fifth graders submitted designs for a series of raised garden planters. With a little guidance from several skilled teachers, the students learned to use a variety of tools. Once complete, the garden boxes were filled with topsoil and vegetable seedlings. The students tended the garden into the summer, and eventually harvested their crop. Produce collected from the garden went to the school’s Community Resource Room to support families in need.

Dr. Cory Rubin
As an educator for Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC), Dr. Cory Rubin is able to connect with future environmental leaders through experiential learning and extracurricular leadership. Cory serves on the RCTC Stormwater Committee where he advises and assists with decisions that affect stormwater management on the campus. In his role as advisor to the Ecology Club, Cory assists with an annual cleanup along the Zumbro River, organizes tree plantings, and assists in the management of the Native Species Garden at RCTC.

Off campus, he has organized neighborhood tree planting events, been part of the Earthfest Planning Committee, and currently serves on the Rochester Energy Commission.

Lincoln K-8 FIRST LEGO League Team
FIRST LEGO League is an extracurricular program that challenges students to solve real-world problems by applying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts. Students enhance a variety of skills in the process: critical thinking, team building, and public speaking. During the 2015-2016 school year, the Lincoln K-8 FIRST LEGO League team found a way to reduce their lunchroom waste through composting. Team members collaborated with staff and faculty to teach their fellow students how to separate garbage, organics, and recyclables correctly. The team worked with Full Circle Organics to collect and compost the organic waste. Thanks to the team’s leadership, the school now diverts two to three bags of compostable material from the trash each day.

For more information on energy 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.

###

ROCHESTER PUBLIC UTILITIES CELEBRATES PUBLIC POWER WEEK, OCT. 2-8

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) is celebrating Public Power Week (#PublicPowerWeek), Oct. 2-8, along with more than 2,000 other community-owned, not-for-profit electric utilities that collectively provide electricity to 48 million Americans.

“Public Power Week celebrates the reliable, affordable electricity RPU provides to our community,” said RPU General Manager, Mark Kotschevar “Public power puts the people of Rochester first, and Public Power Week gives us the chance to emphasize the advantages of locally grown, locally owned power that supports strong communities,” said Kotschevar.

“Our service is reliable and safe and we take pride in serving our friends and neighbors,” said Kotschevar “RPU is proud to have served Rochester for 120 years.”

Today RPU has over 170 employees providing the Rochester community with safe, reliable electricity and drinking water. RPU serves more than 50,000 electric customers.

Public Power Week is an annual national event coordinated by the American Public Power Association in Washington, D.C. The association represents not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities that power homes, businesses and streets in nearly 2,000 towns and cities, serving 48 million Americans. APPA partners with its members to promote public power, helping community-owned utilities deliver superior services through joint advocacy, education, and collaboration. More at www.PublicPower.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 39,000.  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.

 

###

Well #41 Goes in-Service

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) held a ribbon cutting for the new Well #41 in southeast Rochester and placed it in-service as RPU’s newest water supply facility.

The new 470’ deep Jordan Aquifer well pumps water directly into the Main Level Service Area and is located just east of the Rochester Community and Technical College.  In the future, Well #41 will also have the ability to pump boosted pressure water into the Rose Harbor High Level System.

The well was constructed by EH Renner & Sons. The Well house that encloses the well was constructed by Alvin E. Benike, Inc. Total Cost of the well/well house was approximately $850,000.

Currently, Well #41 produces approximately 1,000 gallons per minutes (gpm).  As growth continues in the SE area, Well #41 can increase its production up to 1,800 gpm.  Prior to pumping water into the system, Well #41 receives the addition of chlorine (for disinfection), fluoride (prevention of tooth decay) and a polyphosphate blend (for corrosion Control).

img_8867_rpuwellribbon

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 39,000.  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.

 

###

Nominate Your Environmental Hero!!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission are calling for nominations for the 2016 Environmental Achievement Awards. The awards honor individuals, organizations, schools and businesses that have made a significant environmental contribution over the past year in Rochester or Olmsted County.

Award categories include: climate change, education, renewables, sustainable food production, conservation, energy, water, and other.

Since 1992, the awards have recognized the positive environmental impact of over 100 Olmsted County and Rochester community members and groups.

To submit a nomination or to see a list of past recipients, go to www.rpu.org. Completed nominations are due by Friday, October 21, 2016 to Brittney Marschall (marschall.brittney@co.olmsted.mn.us).

 

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.

 

###