October 2019 Cooperative Connections

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West River Electric October 2019 Vol. 20 No. 6

Volunteers Answering the Call Page 8

Co-ops: Your Unique Source of Power Page 12


80 Years Strong

Dick Johnson & Andy Moon dick.johnson@westriver.coop

“And I ‘m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.”


It was another good year here at your member owned electric cooperative. It is hard to believe that we are celebrating our 80th year as your trusted energy source. It seems like we were just celebrating 75 years not too long ago. We thought it would be a good year to have a more patriotic theme for our annual meeting. I think our biggest news of this year was the return of additional revenues as a bill credit on your March 2019 bills to the tune of $750,000. As our Board and staff reviewed our year end financial statements, we saw that we were going to have a better than average year. In the past years we have done an adjustment and put some of our excess margins back as a revenue deferral, a savings account, one might call it. Our main lender, RUS, has previously approved those deferrals’ to other years. However, this year RUS said they would no longer allow us the deferral unless there was a large, unusual event. Most of these margins were actually from the previous year’s revenue deferral plan we were required to put back on the books. We have utilized that plan since the early 2000’s to help with the ebbs and flows of revenues and try to keep rates somewhat stable. A bill credit is not anything new. Coops have done them for years. We did them back in the late 1990’s before revenue deferral plans when we had low power costs. The Board talked at their January 2019 meeting and felt there were really 2 options with the funds from the additional margins we had: 1. Book the margins in the form of capital credits, allocate them like normal, then pay them at some time in the future, possibly over 20 years later. 2. Give some of that back now as a bill credit to invest in our local communities as long as our financial statements were strong, and we could meet all our mortgage requirements set by our lenders. The Board opted for option 2; give it back to the members that contributed to it. Our team worked out a solution that allowed us to give back a credit based on your contribution as a percentage of what you contributed to our revenue. It was a nice little winter time gift! Speaking of money back in the communities we serve, we have again made a general retirement of our capital credits. Your Board recently approved a capital credit retirement of close to $1.5 million. Basin and Rushmore Electric returned capital credits of approximately $575,000 which we in turn will be retiring back to you. We also approved retiring all of the current 1988 capital credits of $545,000 and an additional $250,000 spread over the years 1989 to 2018. Remember, we are a non-profit cooperative who gives back those revenues that exceed the expenses of running 11125600the utility. You should see those bill credits on your October bills. We had another good year at the cooperative during 2018. As mentioned above, we gave back $750,000 in a bill credit and allocated the remaining margin of $4.3 million. We ended with kWh sales at 5.5% over 2017 with sales revenue 6% over 2017. We added over 265 new accounts in 2018. Besides good residential sales, we saw another nice increase in sales from our business accounts. We have added several new businesses and several have ramped up production. There is further financial information in this annual meeting issue of the Cooperative Connections. As you may recall, the members at last year’s annual meeting approved changes to our bylaws. A Committee of members, board members and staff had worked through changes to the bylaws to bring them up to current specifications. The Board has worked since the annual meeting last year to get policies and procedures in place to carry out many of the new provisions of the amendments. Some of the policy actions needed were the change to allow amendments to the bylaws from members, the elimination of the nominating committee in favor of a petition to run, and many of the electronic requirements. The Board recently spent time in a strategic planning session. This session was designed to help chart a course on the future of the cooperative. The industry is in a state of “disruption” as many call it, and your board has worked hard to keep on top of all of the industry changes. We haven’t finalized the plans and goals. We changed our mission statement to be more in line with why we are here. We added a vision and values statement as well. Here are the new statements:

Cooperative Connections | October 2019

Mission: We are safety conscious, community oriented, and the trusted energy expert for our member owners. Vision: We will achieve an ACSI score of 90 by 2024. Values: 1. Safety 2. Accountability 3. Integrity 4. Innovation 5. Commitment to Community We continue to work hard on our safety and wellness program and increase our corporate culture surrounding safety and wellness. We had another good year overall with our safety and wellness program. Why have we had success you ask? Well we think it is because of the great group of employees you have working for you. They work so hard every day to make sure that they all work safely and get home every night to their families. They have employee committees that are committed to getting things done. They are also the ones who keep your lights on, answer your questions on all sorts of energy questions, get your bills calculated and sent out, and work hard to be your trusted energy advisor. We work hard on member service and hope we are meeting your expectations. We certainly think our employees are working hard to accomplish that. Thank them when you see them on the street, working at a community event, or at a ballgame coaching or watching their kids participate. We are in the community to serve. We hope to see you at the annual meeting on October 12, 2019 starting at 10:00 AM at the Wall Community Center. This 10675500is your opportunity to participate as a member/owner of West River Electric. Thank you Thank you Andy Moon, President Dick Johnson, CEO/Manager West River Electric West River Electric

Back Row Left to Right: Clint Stangle, Derek Haug, Wayne Shull, Mike Oyen, Brendan Nelson, Colter Stout, & Adam Daigle. Fourth Row: Byron Frank, Willy Nohr, Jared Stalley, Tucker O’Rourke, Sanden Simons, & Justin Wermers. Third Row: Stacey Cihak, Lindsy Reagle, Carolyn Schulz, Turner Donahue, Tucker Hohn, Eric Emery, Cody Bernstein, Sam Lockhart and John Garrigan. Sitting on the bed of the truck: Gerri Johnston, Alex Preszler, Dakota Douglas, Becky Chihak, Matt Schmahl and Brandon Bisgaard. Standing in front of the truck: Christine Ritter, Robert Raker, Roberta Rancour, Tyson Gunn, Sallie Traver, Dave Semerad, Jannette Thayer, Mike Letcher, Lane Butler, Cheryl Walker, Lance Steiger, Aimee Paulsen, Dick Johnson and Amy Thompson. Front Row: Garrett Shearer, Betty Haerer, Cameron Price, Veronica Kusser, Tracea Ladner, Keenan Caesar, Alicia Fortune, Matt Kruse, Jenny Patterson, Dustin Brimm & Dawn Hilgenkamp. (Not pictured: Bonnie Almeida & Aarin Ainsworth). October 2019 | Cooperative Connections



October is Fire Prevention Month The U.S. Fire Administration reports that fires kill more than 4,000 Americans each year and approximately injure 20,000 more. U.S. fire departments respond to nearly 2 million fires each year, with three-quarters of them occurring in residences. A home is often referred to as a safe haven. This month, make sure your home is protected from (and your family is prepared for) a fire. Here are 10 simple tips to help you avoid fires and reduce the risk of injury should one occur: Smoke Alarms – Smoke alarms are widely available and inexpensive. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it monthly. Prevent Electrical Fires – Don’t overload circuits or extension cords. Cords and wires should never be placed under rugs or in high traffic areas. Avoid loose electrical connections by checking the fit of the plug in the wall outlet. If the plug loosely fits, inspect the outlet right away. A poor connection between the plug and the outlet can cause overheating and can start a fire in minutes. Keep Plugs Safe – Unplug all appliances when not in use. Follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions and use your senses to spot any potential disasters. If a plug is overheating, smells strange, shorts out or sparks – the appliance should be shut off immediately, then replaced or repaired. Alternate Heaters – Make sure there is ample space around any portable heating unit. Anything that could catch fire should be at least three feet away. Inspect your chimney annually and use fire screens to help keep any fires in the fireplace. Fire Safety Sprinklers – When combined with working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers greatly increase your chance of surviving a fire. Create An Escape Route – Create and practice your escape plan with your family from every room in the house. Practice staying low to the floor and checking for hot doors using the back of your hand. Position Appliances Carefully – Try to keep TV sets, kitchen and other appliances away from windows with curtains. If there is a wiring problem, curtains can spread a fire quickly. Additionally, keeping your appliances away from water sources (like rain coming in from windows) can help prevent wiring damage which can lead to a fire. Clean Dryer Vents – Clothes dryers often start fires in residential areas. Clean the lint filter every time you start a load of clothes to dry or after the drying cycle is complete. Make sure your exhaust duct is made of metal tubing and not plastic or foil. Clean the exhaust duct with a good quality dryer vent brush to prevent blockage and check for lint build up behind the dryer at least twice a year. Be Careful Around the Holidays – If you fill your home with lights during the holiday season, keep them away from anything that can easily catch fire. Check all of your lights prior to stringing them up and dispose of anything with frayed or exposed wires. Conduct Regular Inspections – Check all of your electronic equipment and wiring at least once a month. Following these simple tips could potentially save your life or the life of a loved one. Pass this list on to your friends and family and make this fire prevention month count! Source: quickenloans.com 4

Cooperative Connections | October 2019

October is National Co-op Month.


“Be careful of snow cavities over electrical boxes.” Avery Bauman, 10 years old

Avery is the daughter of Pete and Bridget Bauman, Watertown, S.D. They are members of Codington-Clark Electric Cooperative, Watertown. Kids, send your drawing with an electrical safety tip to your local electric cooperative (address found on Page 3). If your poster is published, you’ll receive a prize. All entries must include your name, age, mailing address and the names of your parents. Colored drawings are encouraged.


Perfect Pasta Angel Hair Pasta with Italian Sausage and Herbs 1 lb. angel hair pasta 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casing removed 2 T. olive oil

1 tsp. McCormick Gourmet™ Parsley, Flat Leaf 1/2 tsp. McCormick Gourmet™ Organic Garlic Powder

1-1/2 cups chopped red onion

1/2 tsp. McCormick Gourmet™ Organic Fennel 8 oz. mushrooms, quartered Seed 1 tsp. McCormick Gourmet™ 1/2 tsp. Sicilian sea salt Organic Basil

1/2 cup grated Romano 1 tsp. McCormick Gourmet™ cheese Organic Italian Seasoning Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain well. Meanwhile, break up sausage in large skillet. Cook on medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes. Remove sausage; drain fat. Rinse skillet and wipe clean. Heat oil in same skillet on medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms and seasonings; cook and stir 5 minutes. Add cooked sausage; cook and stir 5 minutes longer. Place pasta in large serving bowl. Add sausage mixture and cheese; toss to coat well. Serve with additional cheese, if desired. Makes 12 (1 cup) servings. Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 281, Total Fat 13g, Cholesterol 26mg, Sodium 374mg, Protein 10g, Carbohydrates 31g, Dietary Fiber 2g Pictured, Cooperative Connections

Taco Pasta Salad 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef, cooked and drained

1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4 T. taco seasoning

3 cups shredded lettuce

1 lb. rotini, cooked, drained and rinsed with cold water

2 cups shredded cheese

1/2 small onion, minced (optional)

1 bottle Catalina dressing 1 bag nacho cheese tortilla chips, crushed

Stir together hamburger and taco seasoning. ln a large bowl, combine hamburger, pasta, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. Mix in dressing. Stir in chips. Serve immediately. Dawn Leibel, Glencross, SD

Smoky BBQ Chicken Salad 1 box Betty Crocker™ Suddenly Salad® Ranch and Bacon Pasta Salad Mix 1/2 cup frozen corn

1/4 cup barbecue sauce 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup mayonnaise

12 butter lettuce leaves, optional

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

1/4 cup chopped green onions

Empty pasta mix into a 3-quart saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding corn during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta and corn; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well. In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. Stir in pasta, corn, chicken and tomatoes. Line serving plate with lettuce leaves. Top with salad mixture; sprinkle with green onions. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate 1 hour to chill. Jean Osterman, Wheaton, MN

Cheating Cheeseburger Macaroni 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef

1 can cheddar cheese soup

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup water

1/2 pkg. baby carrots, finely chopped

1/4 cup sour cream, optional

2 cups macaroni, cooked 1 can cream of chicken soup and drained Cook ground beef and onion; drain. Add carrots and cook while macaroni is cooking. Mix soups, water and sour cream; add to hamburger. Simmer over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in pasta. Serve immediately. Becki Hauser, Tripp, SD

Please send your favorite slow cooker, holiday or soup recipes to your local electric cooperative (address found on Page 3). Each recipe printed will be entered into a drawing for a prize in December 2019. All entries must include your name, mailing address, telephone number and cooperative name. October 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Jerry Hammerquist District 1

2019 Annual Meeting

West River Electric Annual Meeting Saturday, October 12, 2019 Wall Community Center

Registration at 9:00 a.m. with coffee and cookies being served during registration. The Business Meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. Door prize drawings during the meeting with a grand prize chance at the end. One lucky member will be given the opportunity to win up to $1300.00 by playing the High/Low Game.

Dick Johnson CEO/General Manager

We will be drawing for 6-$500 Scholarships - High School Seniors or College Students are eligible, but must be in attendance from the beginning of the meeting to the end. Howard Knuppe District 1

Jamie Lewis District 1

After the meeting lunch tickets will be given out and lunch will be served at your favorite restaurant in Wall.

Marcia Arneson District 2

Stan Anders District 2

Chuck Sloan District 2

Larry Eisenbraun District 3

Sue Peters District 3

Andy Moon District 3

Meeting Agenda Registration - 9:00 a.m Call to Order & Welcome - 10:00 a.m. Pledge of Allegiance National Anthem Invocation Report of Credentials Notice of Meeting & Proof of Mailing Minutes of Meeting October 13, 2018


Introduction of Guests President’s Report Drawing of Prizes Manager’s Report Report on Director Election Registration Closes Chris Studer of East River Electric Operation Round-up Presentations Drawing for Prizes

Cooperative Connections | October 2019

Youth Tour - Sydney Shaw and Gavin Sandal Employee Years of Service Old Business New Business Drawing for Scholarship Recipients Drawing for Grand Prize & Jackpot Drawing Adjournment


Notice of Incumbent Directors Seeking Re-Election Notice is hereby given that the official list of incumbent Directors seeking re-election for the position of Director includes the following indviduals pursuant to Section 4, Article V of the Bylaws of West River Electric Association, Inc. District No. 1: Consisting of the area served by the cooperative in Pennington County, South Dakota, West of the Cheyenne River. Jamie Lewis District No. 2: Consisting of the area served by the Cooperative in Meade and Ziebach Counties, South Dakota. Marcia Arneson District No. 3: Consisting of the area served by the Cooperative East of the Cheyenne River. Sue Peters You are further notified that the above nominations are made for the position of Director for a three year term to fill the term of the expiring Director, and that one individual from each district will be elected at the October 12, 2019 Annual Meeting of the Association. Dated this 15th day of April 2019. By Jamie Lewis, Secretary

Board of Director Election Marcia Arneson - District 2 Marcia Arneson of Rapid City is the incubment director from District 2. In the past 25 years she has been with West River Electric. She has served on various committees within WREA and NRECA. Marcia is a life-long resident of Meade County. She has served various positions on differents boards within the area. She is a credentialed director and also earned her certified board leadership certificate, along with her gold leadership. Marcia has 4 grown married children, 3 daughters and one son, and is a proud gradndmother of 12 beautiful grandchildren.

Jamie Lewis- District 1 Jamie Lewis is the incumbent director from District 1. He lives on a ranch outside of Rapid City, called Grandview Angus. Jamie has been a director on the board since 2013. He served a 3-year term on the Federated Rural Insurance Board respresenting West River Electric for our region. He was just re-elected to serve another 3-year term on Federated. He is member of Rapid City Elks Club, Central States Fair Livestock Committee, BH Angus Association, Southside Irrigation Ditch Company which he manages and maintains. It will be a great honor to serve another 3 years on the West River Electric board of directors.

Sue Peters - District 3 Sue Peters of Wall is the incumbent director from District 3. She has just filled two years of her late husband, Terry’s, three year term. Sue lives north of Wall on a small farmstead. She is a retiree of Golden West Telecom where she worked for 28 years. In her two years on the Board, Sue has taken the required courses to complete her NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate and is currently working on her Board Leadership Certificate. Wall has been home to Sue since 1980. She has two children and just became a first time grandma in recent months‌her new favorite past time! October 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Renville-Sibley Co-op Power Association Journeyman Lineman Clint Olson is a member of the Olivia Area Technical Rescue Team. Olson is in the center front holding the dalmation dog.

HELPING OUT AT NEW HEIGHTS AND TIGHT SPACES Co-op Employees Among Local Emergency Responders Brenda Kleinjan editor@sdrea.coop

As the chief of the Olivia, Minn., Area Technical Response Team, Renville-Sibley Co-op Power Association journeyman lineman Clint Olson combines some of his experience with the Danube, Minn.-based cooperative with his 15 years as a member of the Olivia Fire Department. Olson joined the OFD after being asked repeatedly by then-members of the volunteer fire department. “To be honest, the main reason for joining the OFD was so I wouldn’t be bugged anymore by past firemen asking me to join every time I saw them in public. Looking back, I am glad I did,” Olson said. Olson was tapped to lead the newly formed rescue team which was established in January 2019. The team is specialized in high-angle and low-angle (confined space) rescues. The team is made up of firemen all from different towns in 8

Cooperative Connections | October 2019

Many rural and small town fire departments throughout the Dakotas and western Minnesota rely on volunteers to fill the ranks of the much-needed service.

Renville County, Minn. The county is home of several large ag industries, such as the Southern Minnesota Sugar Beet Cooperative and several large seed plants along with large bin set ups. “We saw a need for the Technical Response Team years ago and never could spark enough interest from the other towns in the county for funding. Finally, Olivia stepped up and funded the start up,” said Olson. “We firemen have trained in the past with some high-angle rescue trainings but knew it wasn’t proper and knew it’s a need being in a rural community.” Right after the team was established, the first call came in of a conscious victim who fell 40 feet down into a concrete seed bin. “There was no access from the bottom. After assessing the situation, we were able to get the victim up using ropes and mechanical advantage systems which consists of pulleys and anchor points through a small four foot by four foot access door. From there, we were able to rig a rope system on the catwalk outside in order to lower the victim to the ground 75 feet below,” Olson said. “Looking back, this is the first rescue like this in our area and we are glad we had the

training and equipment to complete the task,” Olson said. There are multiple regular trainings and extra trainings that go along with the fire department and the Olivia Area Technical

“Being in a smaller agriculture and rural community, fire departments in our area are struggling to fill positions, whether its lack of interest or time.”

To try to maximize departments’ effectiveness, departments have been training with our surrounding departments and assisting in mutual aid calls. “I highly recommend if you can join a local EMS in your community the benefits are self-rewarding. The knowledge you learn can be beneficial for you to share with your coworkers also no matter what field you are in.” The knowledge base that co-op linemen bring to a volunteer fire department can be beneficial, Olson noted, especially when it comes to electrical hazard recognition. “Multiple trainings have been done internally with our department on what action to take if a live wire is involved and also know where the disconnects are located and types of disconnects need to be opened in order to isolate before the utility company arrives,” Olson said.

rescue team, Olson said. The fire department trains twice a month while the OATRT team trains once a month. Olson notes there is a need for more volunteers in fire departments and ambulance crews. “Being in a smaller agriculture and rural community, fire departments in our area, are struggling to fill positions, whether its lack of interest or time,” Olson said.

Olson is one of three employees of Renville-Sibley who are members of their fire department or technical team. Fellow jounreymen linemen Brayden Fischer and Brandon Ochs are volunteer firefighters “I describe it has a brotherhood similar as a brotherhood at your electric cooperative,” Olson said.

RSCPA Journeyman Lineman Brayden Fischer is in the back row, fourth from right, while Journeyman Lineman Clint Olson is second from the left in the first row. Not pictrured is Journeyman Lineman Brandon Ochs.

October 2019 | Cooperative Connections



ANNUAL MEETING MINUTES October 13, 2018 “Powering You For A Brighter Future” veronica.kusser@westriver.coop

The meeting was called to order by President Andy Moon at 10:03 a.m. at the Community Building in Wall, South Dakota. All Veterans in attendance were asked to stand and be recognized. The membership and all in attendance recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The National Anthem was 10222900sung by Miss Regan Simons, age 14, for the membership. The invocation was given by Reverend Christopher McCarthy, First Lutheran Church of Wall. Secretary Jamie Lewis reported for Todd Whitaker, Chairperson of the Credentials and Election Committee, that 111 members of West River Electric Association, Inc. were registered and that a quorum was present at the meeting. At the present, we have a total of 13,332 members. A motion was made and seconded to dispense with the reading of the Notice of Annual Meeting. Motion carried. A motion was made and seconded to dispense with the reading of the Affidavit of Mailing and filed in the Minute Book September 21, 2018. Motion carried. The minutes of the October 7, 2017 Annual Meeting were presented for approval. President Moon asked for a motion to approve the minutes as presented. A motion was duly made and seconded to approve the minutes as mailed. Motion carried. President Moon introduced the guests in attendance. President Andy Moon stated the theme for the meeting was “Powering You for a Brighter Future!” We power your future each and every day with electricity, but we also provide many other services along with a commitment to the community you expect from your cooperative. We will be 80 years old next year. He introduced the Board of Directors and thanked them for their many hours each year in Board meetings, committee meetings, training, education and visiting with our memberowners about their needs and keeping an eye on all the disruptions in the electric industry. Moon continued by the thanking the great group of employees that are not only dedicated to our member-owners, but also dedicated to the communities we serve. He is proud to say, they worked another year by safely getting home every night to their families. We work each and every day to promote a culture of safety for our employees. He then reported on capital credit retirement and how we retain those capital credits each year to operate our business and handle plant growth instead of borrowing all of our funds. Moon stated that one of our major undertakings this year was the review and revision of our current bylaws, which are our directive from the membership on how our cooperative is to operate. Drawings were held for door prizes. Dick Johnson, CEO/General Manager, presented the 2017 financials and margins from the annual report and explained the assets, debt, liabilities and totals for the cooperative. He stated that we are powering you for a brighter future to provide world class service from building new services due to growth and to the transitions with retirements all with no loss of time and everyone home every night safely. Dick touched on the loss of former employees Thor Sautter, Darwin Hook and Bill Greiner. He talked about NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation), Affordable Clean Energy and new developments in solar energy and electric cars. Johnson thanked the Board and the employees for their service to the cooperative. 10

Cooperative Connections | October 2019

Allen Nelson, Attorney for West River Electric read the Report of the Nominating Committee from May 30, 2018 based on Section 4 Article 4 of the Bylaws. The Committee nominated Howard Knuppe from District I, Stan Anders from District II and Andy Moon from District III. Attorney Nelson asked for a motion to cast a unanimous ballot for Howard Knuppe as Director for District 1, Stan Anders as Director for District 2 and Andy Moon for District 3. A motion was made, seconded and carried to cast a unanimous ballot for all districts. Allen Nelson announced that if any member had not yet registered, they should go and register at this time. He then announced registration had closed. Attorney Nelson stated he would like to discuss the bylaw amendments proposed before the membership stating our intent is to bring the bylaws up to date with current business and cooperative practices. A committee of 3 Board members, Jerry Hammerquist, Marcia Arneson, and Andy Moon along with 3 members, Brenda Degen-Whiting, Debra Harwood, and Josh Geigle began meeting fall 2017 to review our bylaws. A motion was made by member Roger Scott to approve the entire bylaw revisions as presented due to the unanimous approval of the Board and Board/Member Committee. The motion was seconded. A question and answer session followed on a couple of the bylaw provisions. Attorney Nelson called the motion to approve the bylaws as presented. A verbal affirmative vote was cast by the membership to approve the amended bylaws as presented in our annual meeting issue of the Cooperative Connections. Kyle Schell, Wasta resident and recent graduate of the SD Ag Rural Leadership class, addressed the membership. Kyle shared his trip through the leadership class to India. India is the 2nd most populated country in the world at 1.3 billion. While there, Kyle 11040300experienced a great deal on culturally how far they’ve come in their food production systems. He stated it was a worthwhile trip but a long way from home. Operation Roundup dollars were presented to the Wall Gymnastics Booster and the Wall Rodeo Booster Club. Drawings were held for more prizes. Employee years of service were presented: 20 years-Betty Haerer, Tracea Ladner, and Sam Lockhart, 10 years-Alicia Fortune, Christine Ritter, and Robert Raker, 5 years-Stacey Cihak, Eric Emery and Adam Daigle. Director years of service were recognized: 30 years-Howard Knuppe and 5 years-Jamie Lewis. President Moon called for old business. There was none. President Moon called for new business. There was none. President Moon thanked the employees who helped to organize and put on this successful annual meeting. A prize drawing was held for the kids drawing. The winners are Alivia Kitterman and Jackson Divis. The drawing was held for 6 - $500 Scholarships for a high school senior or full time student currently attending college or technical school. The winners were Haley Anderson, Meghan Patterson, Jade Hertel, Raiden Crawford, Kyla Sawvell and Jacob Bielmaier. The grand prize winner was David Simon. The high/low prize winner of $100.00 was Jerry Johannesen. He missed the second card, so the remaining $800 will go toward next years’ prize. The meeting adjourned at 11:31 a.m. _________________________

Annual Meeting Saturday October 12, 2019 Community Center, Wall, SD 9:00 am Registration with coffee & cookies 10:00 am Business Meeting 6-$500 Scholarships to High School or College Students Opportunity to Play High/Low Game for up to $1300 Free lunch at your favorite Wall Restaurant

Do You NeeD Special accomoDatioNS to Be a part of the aNNual meetiNg? Need for auxiliary aids or services: Facilities are accessible to people with mobility impairments. If you need auxiliary aids or services in order to participate in the meeting (e.g., sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices, materials in alternative format), please submit a request to West River Electric at (605) 279-2135. To ensure auxiliary aids or services are available, please make the request(s) at least 10 days in advance of the meeting.

This past August, Board of Directors and staff met with Steve Kettler and Darrin Lynch of National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation for a Strategic Planning session. Strategic planning is envisioning the future of the cooperative, translating that vision into measurable and achievable goals, and then implementing long range planning to accomplish those goals. We had a 2 day meeting to set goals for the next 3 years for West River Electric. We are looking forward to seeing 10960000these goals thru and powering you for a brighter future.

Employee Years of Service Board of Directors Jerry Hammerquist Howard Knuppe Marcia Arneson Larry Eisenbraun Stan Anders Andy Moon Jamie Lewis Chuck Sloan Sue Peters

35 31 25 23 13 13 6 3 2

District 1 District 1 District 2 Treasurer, District 3 Vice President District 2 President, District 3 Secretary, District 1 District 2 District 3

Management Staff Dave Semerad Wayne Shull Mike Letcher Veronica Kusser Dick Johnson Dawn Hilgenkamp Cheryl Walker Jenny Patterson

40 35 28 25 25 23 14 12

Branch Manager Operations Superintendent Operations Manager Marketing Manager CEO/General Manager Manager of Finance IT Manager Mgr of Office Services

Linemen & Office Employees Willy Nohr Byron Frank Lane Butler Betty Haerer Sam Lockhart Tracea Ladner Matt Schmahl Sanden Simons Brendan Nelson Jannette Thayer Becky Chihak Tyson Gunn Lance Steiger

33 32 27 21 21 21 20 19 19 17 17 15 13

Marketing Representative Metering Foreman Enning Foreman Accountant Operations Technician Operations Adm Asst Staking Foreman Wall Foreman Rapid City Foreman Lead CSR Member Services Rep Meter Technician Staking Technician

Mike Oyen Amy Thompson Christine Ritter Robert Raker Alicia Fortune Dustin Brimm Justin Wermers Roberta Rancour Sallie Traver John Garrigan Brandon Bisgaard Bonnie Almeida Dakota Douglas Stacey Cihak Eric Emery Adam Daigle Colter Stout Lindsy Reagle Garrett Shearer Turner Donahue Gerri Johnston Matt Kruse Jared Stalley Derek Haug Cody Bernstein Alex Preszler Clint Stangle Aarin Ainsworth Aimee Paulsen Carolyn Schulz Tucker Hohn Keenen Caesar Tucker O’Rourke Cameron Price

13 12 11 11 11 10 10 10 9 9 9 8 8 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 5 Months 5 Months 3 Months

Warehouseman Branch Office Supervisor Member Services Rep Marketing Representative Billing Supervisor Journeyman Lineman Journeyman Lineman Administrative Assistant Member Services Rep Utility Maintenance Journeyman Lineman Member Services Rep Journeyman Lineman Member Services Rep Journeyman Lineman Marketing Representative Journeyman Lineman Accounting Clerk/MSR Work Order Clerk Journeyman Lineman Network Administrator Journeyman Lineman Member Services Rep Journeyman Lineman Journeyman Lineman Journeyman Lineman Journeyman Lineman Apprentice Lineman Billing Clerk Billing Support Clerk Apprentice Lineman Apprentice Lineman Apprentice Lineman Apprentice Lineman

October 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Your Unique Source of Power Paul Wesslund NRECA

Electric cooperatives belong to the people they serve – that would be you and your neighbors.

October is National Co-op Month.

You have a unique story to tell about yourself because you are part of an electric cooperative community. But if you’re like a lot of electric co-op members, you might not feel you know enough to tell that story well. So, here’s some help. About one in 10 Americans receives their power the way you do, from an electric co-op. Electric co-ops belong to the people they serve – that would be you and your neighbors. Electric co-ops were first developed in the 1930s because city utilities, owned by investors wanting to make a profit, ignored rural America – they didn’t think there was enough money to be earned there. So, people in rural communities met with each other and formed their own local electric co-ops. October is National Co-op Month, the time of year when cooperatives across the country celebrate the many ways co-ops are unique and more importantly, the members they serve. This year, we’re focusing on our ties to the local community. Your co-op was built by the community, for the community, so let’s take a look at what that means for you, the members of the co-op. Your co-op is here to stay. Since the co-op belongs to the members it serves with safe, reliable, affordable energy, it’s not going to move out of the country, or even across the state. It’s staying right where it is. Your co-op knows you. No two co-ops are alike. Across the country, there are more than 900 electric co-ops. Because each of those co-ops belongs to the people who live there, the co-op listens to the community they are a part of. Whether it’s


Cooperative Connections | October 2019

Co-op lines are shaped by you, the members we serve, right here in our local community. working with the latest energy efficiency technologies or keeping the electric grid safe and secure, your electric co-op can offer solutions that make the most sense locally. Your co-op cares about your community. The co-op’s top priority is to power the community. It is not owned by far-away, or even nearby, investors looking only for a good return on their money. Your co-op also partners with local organizations on community events, fundraisers, youth programs and more. We’re your friends and neighbors. By investing in the local community, your electric co-op supports economic development and prosperity for all, right here at home. And these are just a few ways you and your electric co-op are one of a kind.

October 2019 | Cooperative Connections



OUR REVENUE CAME FROM: Farms and Ranches Residential Large Commercial Small Commercial Public, Irrigation, Other TOTAL INCOME

$ $ $ $ $ $

2017 3,257,741 18,415,336 9,675,421 2,933,741 2,412,294 36,694,533

$ $ $ $ $ $

2018 3,439,642 19,591,308 10,374,260 3,129,560 1,831,472 38,366,242

WE PAID FOR: Power Purchased Maintenance & Operations Member Accounts General & Administrative Depreciation Interest Taxes & Other Deductions TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSE

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

20,445,754 3,906,723 2,037,691 3,048,369 3,191,483 2,510,584 640,597 35,781,201

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

20,539,697 3,998,633 2,099,347 3,100,507 4,219,396 2,640,661 762,952 37,361,193

Operating Margins Non-Operating Margins Capital Credits TOTAL MARGINS

$ 913,332 $ 384,011 $ 1,099,991 $ 2,397,334

$ 1,005,048 $ 452,714 $ 2,901,367 $ 4,359,129

WHAT WE OWN AS OF DECEMBER 31: Electric Plant Other Property & Investments Cash and Cash Equivalents Accounts Receivable Material & Supplies on Hand Prepayments & Interest Deferred Debits TOTAL WE OWN

2017 $ 89,908,302 $ 15,461,471 $ 2,711,147 $ 2,343,561 $ 3,977,765 $ 1,536,952 $ 1,173,942 $117,113,140

2018 $ 93,878,797 $ 17,549,284 $ 4,262,965 $ 2,571,536 $ 2,588,672 $ 1,589,824 $ 959,060 $123,400,138

WHAT WE OWE AS OF DECEMBER 31: Total Long-Term Debt Other Noncurrent Liabilities Notes Payable - Line of Credit Accounts Payable Member Deposits Taxes Accrued Other Current Liabilities Deferred Credits TOTAL WE OWE

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

OUR EQUITIES: Patronage Capital

$ 38,548,561

$ 42,669,110




72,125,421 391,302 2,306,743 401,894 1,015,778 495,901 1,827,540 78,564,579

72,582,707 390,139 2,500,000 2,111,817 418,410 1,054,596 516,510 1,156,849 80,731,028

2018 Financials Coop Statistics Members Meters Total # of Employees Service Area Transmission Line Overhead Line Underground Line Avg Residential Usage Avg Residential Bill Avg Sm Commercial Usage Avg Sm Commercial Bill Avg Lg Commercial Usage Avg Lg Commercial Bill Meters Per Mile of Line

13,332 17,303 55 4,500 sq Miles 37 Miles 2,079 Miles 536 Miles 1,000 KWH $ 130 1,450 KWH $ 213 16,657 KWH $ 1,954 6.52

“And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.” 14

Cooperative Connections | October 2019


Notice of aNNual meetiNg of memBerS of WeSt river electric aSSociatioN, iNc. Wall, South Dakota The Annual Meeting of members of West River Electric Association, Inc. will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, the 12th of October 2019, at the Wall Community Center, in the town of Wall, County of Pennington, State of South Dakota, for the purpose of: 1. Receiving reports of officers, directors and committees; 2. Electing one director from each of the (3) districts for a term of three (3) years to replace those directors whose terms expire; 3. Approving, ratifying and confirming all the acts of the Directors of the Association and its officers taken prior to this annual meeting; 4. Transacting any and all business which may be necessary, convenient or desirable in connection with any of the foregoing at said meetings or at any properly scheduled adjournments hereto; Dated at Wall, South Dakota, this 16th day of September, 2019 Jamie Lewis, Secretary, West River Electric Association, Inc.

This form is to designate the voting delegate of an organization. This form should be completed and signed by an officer of the organization and brought to the meeting. Voting Authorization Necessary for Organizations Non-Individual members such as schools, municipalities, churches, organizations, and corporations are entitled to representation and one vote, but the proper procedure must be followed to exercise this right. Each member organization should designate a representative who is an officer, shareholder, or member of their organization. This form must be signed by an officer of the governing body. Authorization to Vote This is to certify that ______________________________________________ of __ _________________________________in a duly assembled meeting, designated _______________________ who is a(n) Officer, Shareholder, or Member (CIRCLE ONE) of said organization, to represent the ________________________________ at the regular Annual Meeting of the members of West River Electric Association, Inc., to be held October 12, 2019 and said person is authorized to cast such member’s vote on all issues that may come before said meeting. The undersigned verifies that (s)he is the __________________________ of said organization and authorized to execute this instrument on behalf thereof. _____________________________ Signature

___________ Date

Organization Address ___________________________ ___________________________ Phone Number: ________________ Witness Mailing Address ___________________________ ___________________________ Phone Number: ________________ ___________________________ _______________________ Print Name of Witness Signature of Witness

(USPS No. 675-840)

Our Mission: We are safety conscious, community oriented, and the trusted energy expert for our member owners. Our Vision: We will achieve an ACSI score of 90 by 2024. Our Values: 1. Safety 2. Accountability 3. Integrity 4. Innovation 5. Commitment to Community This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Board President: Andy Moon Board of Directors Stan Anders – Vice President Jamie Lewis – Secretary Larry Eisenbraun – Treasurer Jerry Hammerquist Howard Knuppe Marcia Arneson Chuck Sloan Sue Peters CEO and General Manager: Dick Johnson – dick.johnson@westriver.coop Editor Veronica Kusser – veronica.kusser@westriver.coop WEST RIVER ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS is the monthly publication for the members of West River Electric Association. Members subscribe to Cooperative Connections as part of their electric cooperative membership for $6 a year. West River Electric Cooperative Connections purpose is to provide reliable, helpful information to electric cooperative members on matters pertaining to rural electrification and better living. Nonmember subscriptions are available for $12 per year. Periodicals Postage paid at Wall, S.D., and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to West River Electric Cooperative Connections, PO Box 412 , Wall, SD 57790-0412. Other correspondence to: West River Electric Cooperative Connections, PO Box 3486, Rapid City, SD 57709; telephone (605)393-1500, Exts. 6519, 6517, 6531 or 6522; fax (605)3930275; e-mail veronica.kusser@westriver.coop.

October 2019 | Cooperative Connections



September 19

Northern Hills Day of Caring, Spearfish Holiday Inn, Spearfish, SD, 605-343-5872

September 20

Free Medicare Education Session, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

September 21

Photo courtesy: Oahe Electric Cooperative

Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Memorial Park, Rapid City, SD, 605-339-4543

September 21

AgriCulture on the Square, Main Street Square, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1722

September 24

Southern Hills Day of Caring, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer, SD, 605-343-5872

October 3

An Evening with Siddhartha Mukherjee M.D. Oncologiest and Cancer Researcher, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

October 5

RV United Methodist Church Rummage Sale, 5103 Longview, Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1526

October 9-31

RV United Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch/Storytime, 5103 Longview, Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1526

October 10

36th Annual Zonta Expo, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

October 12

West River Electric Annual Meeting, Community Center, Wall, SD, 605-393-1500

October 12

RV United Methodist Church Petting Farm, 5103 Longview, Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1526

October 16-17

The Simon & Garfunkel Story, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

October 18

WREA will be Tailgating at the New Underwood Tigers/ Wall Eagles Football Game, New Underwood Football Field, New Underwood, SD, 605-393-1500

November 2

November 16

November 2

November 28-29

Black Hills Ski For Light Ski Swap, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 Minneluzahan Senior Citizens Fall Rummage Sale, 315 N 4th Street, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1887

October 19

November 3

October 26

November 11

RV United Methodist Church Kids Carnival/Bouncy House & Games, 5103 Longview, Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1526 Professional Bull Riders Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour, Barnett Arena, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

October 27

RV United Methodist Turkey Dinner/Silent Auction, 5103 Longview, Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1526 West River Electric will be closed for Thanksgiving, Call 605-279-2135 or 605-393-1500 for an outage or other emergency

RV United Methodist Church Kids Hoedown Costume Party, 5103 Longview, Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1526

November 12

November 2

November 15

Black Hills Works Gala, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-718-6207

Terry Barber Trio, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Theatre, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 Whiskey Myers with Special Guest Bob Leines, e, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

Minneluzahan Senior Citizens Fall Craft Show, 315 N 4th Street, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1887 West River Electric will be closed for Thanksgiving, Call 605-279-2135 or 605-393-1500 for an outage or other emergency

To have your event listed on this page, send complete information, including date, event, place and contact to your local electric cooperative. Include your name, address and daytime telephone number. Information must be submitted at least eight weeks prior to your event. Please call ahead to confirm date, time and location of event.

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