Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for January, 2013

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

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission announce the recipients of the 2012 Environmental Achievement Awards.  The recipients will be recognized at an awards banquet on January 24 at the Rochester Golf and Country Club. The awards honor individuals, organizations, schools and businesses that have made a significant contribution in 2012 towards environmental quality in any of the following categories: renewable efforts, conservation, energy, water, agriculture, education, and other.


The 2012 recipients are:


Ron Fuller

As one of the original organizers of the Zumbro Watershed Partnership (ZWP), Ron Fuller has been a leader in protecting the Zumbro River Watershed.  Mr. Fuller has volunteered his time at many ZWP events, is active in the Lake Zumbro Improvement Association and Lake Zumbro Forever, Inc, and has always served in an action capacity to further the presence and accomplishments of those organizations.  Ron’s efforts and vision for the watershed benefit both Olmsted County residents and all citizens who live and recreate in the watershed.


Pam Hansen

Through the spring and summer of 2012, Pam Hansen was an active volunteer assisting in stream sampling programs to access and monitor water quality conditions in Olmsted County.  Pam assisted in collecting stream samples and field measurements at three sites on the Zumbro River and six sites on the Whitewater River.  As a retired teacher and life-long volunteer, Pam exhibits the true spirit of civic engagement and what it means to lead by example.


Bill Boyne

As editor of the Rochester Post Bulletin, and more recently as a columnist, Bill Boyne has provided informative news coverage and thoughtful editorials on a range of environmental issues including energy, climate, water, air, infrastructure, and food.  His editorials often provided a local focus to national environmental issues.  His editorial advocacy has been instrumental in guiding local decisions on many of those same issues.  


Louie Bortolon

Nearly every day for the past four years, Louie Bortolon has walked a 1.5 mile stretch of 55th Street NW, between the East Frontage Road of Highway 52 and Essex Park, collecting debris and recycling what he can.  Louie’s demonstration of civic responsibility and environmentalism sets a great example for others to follow. Louie’s efforts have resulted in clean public spaces and a more beautiful environment for those who frequent the area.


Doty and Hank Klein

Doty and Hank Klein are instrumental leaders in the Cimarron Neighborhood CROPS Garden in Kings Run Park established by the Rochester Area Foundation in 2011.  Doty and Hank served on the leadership committee, organized the garden, negotiated for an area on park land, designed the area, planted the plots, and have provided support and guidance on their vast knowledge of organic gardening for other neighbors utilizing the community garden to grow their own produce.  Doty and Hank have proven to their neighborhood that good things can come from hard work and dedication.


Friends of Indian Heights

Friends of Indian Heights (FOIH) is a grass-roots effort launched in 2010 by a dedicated group of neighbors to conserve, preserve, restore and improve Indian Heights Park, a 37 acre parcel in the Rochester Park System.  FOIH has worked with numerous organizations to document the native plant species and wildlife habitat in the park, restore the oak savanna by removing invasive plant species, and develop educational materials and conduct tours on the ecological and historical features of the park.  Members will soon work with the National Park Service to develop a community master plan to enhance the park’s environment.


John Adams Middle School “Butt Kickers”

Since 2011, the “Butt Kickers” of John Adams Middle School have worked diligently to clean public areas and educate the community about the hazards of cigarette butt litter. Their efforts have informed their peers at John Adams and the residents of Rochester that cigarette butts are toxic to our landscape adding pollutants to our local waterways and environment.  Since their inception, the “Butt Kickers” have picked up over 30,000 littered cigarette butts.


Rich Peter

Through his work as a member of the Izaak Walton League, and his position with Olmsted County, Rich Peter helped to develop a community-wide awareness of the region’s vulnerable groundwater resources.  He was also instrumental in getting studies completed and ordinances adopted that ultimately provide much of the framework still in place for protecting those resources.  He has also been a champion for a smoke-free indoor environment and helped lead the county and state in adopting smoke-free workplace regulations.  Studies have found that those regulations have reduced heart attack rates in the county by 33 percent. 



For more information on energy conservation or the Environmental Achievement Awards visit 


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 49,000 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.




2013 RPU Hosted Community Education Classes

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Whether you are building a new home or considering a new heating and cooling
system for your present one, consider the economic and environmental advantages
of geothermal technology. It is the world’s most advanced, most cost-effective
heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system for new or existing
homes. This class will provide you with geothermal basics: what it does and how
it works. It uses the ground as a heating and cooling source-learn how.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems can provide greater comfort and energy
savings. Find out information on federal tax credits and Rochester Public
Utilities’ installation incentives.

Instructor: Arnie

Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Time: 6:30-8:30 pm
Session(s): 1
Location: Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center

Solar Energy for Your Home or Business

An overview of solar electric and solar heating systems will be presented.
There will be many photos of solar installations so that you can get a good
idea of what they look like and how they are installed. Many basic questions
will be addressed such as: How well does solar energy work in Minnesota? How
much energy do the systems produce? What are the costs involved and overall
economics? What incentives are available? Is there any maintenance? There will
be plenty of time for questions and discussion. The instructor is the owner of
Solar Connection, a solar energy design and installation company located in
Rochester. Find out information on federal tax credits and Rochester Public
Utilities’ installation incentives.

Instructor: Curt
Shellum. Curt is a licensed general contractor and a NABCEP Certified PV
Installer™. NABCEP is the National Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.

Date: Saturday, February
2, 2013
Time: 10 am-12 pm
Session(s): 1
Location: Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center

Registration for a Community
Education class can be made by calling 507.328.4000 or online through the
Rochester Community Education website (