September Cooperative Connections

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West River Electric September 2019 Vol. 20 No. 5

Ready for the Classroom Page 8

SD Truckers Keep on Truckin’ Page 12


Enjoy Your Summer In

God’s Country

The new song by Blake Shelton called “God’s Country” gets cranked up on the radio especially when travelling, much to my wife’s chagrin when she is with. I love the tune but the lyrics talk so much about the beauty of our area and the people living here. I was at a conference in July in a bigger city, and I was so glad when the wheels were up on the plane headed back here to “God’s Country”. The way the area looks with all the moisture, it makes it even more like God’s Country.

Dick Johnson

The wheels were up on the plane headed back here to “God’s Country”.

With all the moisture, it has definitely put us behind on our construction work. We have had some issues with our plant along the rivers we serve. In several areas, the riverbanks have sloughed away and the poles have gone with them. We have also had some submerged equipment. We have experienced quite a few outages caused by the storms. Thanks for all of your patience as we have gotten everyone back on. Fortunately they have only been smaller outages and not any major loss of poles from wind or tornadoes. One of the items I wanted to address this month is the member survey. We will be starting on that around Labor Day. Right now we are working with the vendor who does the survey for us. Many members ask why in the world we waste the time and money to do a survey. I feel deeply that we can’t get better if we don’t know how you feel; our member-owners. We use this survey to look at initiatives to help deliver better service to our members and correct issues that may come up. Many times we end up with comments from members about issues that we can correct if we know about them, these are mostly due to miscommunication. We survey 400 of our members over about 2 months. These surveys are a mix of telephone and online. There are several questions they ask, but the 4 we really hone in on are general questions related to our ACSI, or American Consumer Satisfaction Index, score. It measures overall how our members feel about us. Last year we dropped to an 82 from an 86. To say we were sorely disappointed would be an understatement. After some soul searching, we pulled ourselves up by the boot straps and started to research what we could do better. 825700 We are confident it will be better this year. Our Board will be completing their new strategic plan at the end of August. They have adopted a vision statement that says that our ACSI score will be at 90 by 2024. We will have to have an aggressive program to help engage with our members and make sure we are doing things correctly; best in class as the Touchstone Energy model would say. Please spend 10 minutes of your evening if you get the call or are asked to do an on-line survey to answer it honestly. In NO WAY should they ask any personal information such as credit card, date of birth or address. They have your name, address, and West River account number to verify that it is you. Otherwise it is strictly to answer questions on how your member owned cooperative is doing. Be sure to enjoy the rest of your summer in “God’s Country”.


Cooperative Connections | September 2019

WREA Board of Directors L to R: Marcia, Howard, Chuck, Stan, Jerry, Jamie, Larry, Andy, Sue and CEO Dick.

80TH ANNUAL MEETING October 12, 2019 Veronica Kusser

After 80 years, you can still count on us to provide power to you our members. We are locally owned, controlled and operated. Our headquarters remains in Wall, SD right where it began back in 1939.

Because you receive electricity from West River Electric, you are a member, an owner, and you have a say in how the co-op is ran. Your voice rings loud and clear every year at the West River Electric Annual Meeting. That is where you join with other members to elect directors, and to share any concerns you may have on the operation of your electric cooperative.

Registering Members for the 2018 Annual Meeting

We are members just like you, elected by you to form your Board of Directors. Ranchers, business owners and professionals who live near you manage your co-op. We want what you want - affordable energy bills and the comfort of knowing the lights will turn on when you flip a switch. With these goals in mind, we work throughout the year to invest in your electric system and keep power reliable. We focus on educating members on how to use energy efficiently. We talk to you in the grocery store and on the street, listening to your concerns and ideas.

Scholarship presentation at the 2019 Annual Meeting

The Board of Directors role is a simple one - we look out for your interests because, frankly, we share them. We are elected to represent you at the co-op. In addition, the best part about our co-op is that anyone can be a member. We were founded on the set of seven principles, including voluntary and open membership. Anyone who needs electricity within our service territory regardless of race, religion, gender or economic circumstances can become an owner of this coop. We look forward to seeing you at the West River Electric Annual Meeting on October 12, 2019. Call the coop at 605-393-1500 and ask for Veronica Kusser, Marketing Manager with any questions. Can’t wait to see you there, Jerry, Howard, Jamie, Marcia, Stan, Chuck, Larry, Andy and Sue. September 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Back to School Safety As many prepare for this upcoming school year, we want to share some electrical safety tips that are useful for students of all ages.

Elementary School Students Never throw shoes onto power lines and definitely don’t try to get them off of the lines. Writing utensils and other supplies like paper clips should never be placed in or near electrical outlets, even if you think the outlet isn’t working. Make sure your hands and the area around you are dry before plugging something in. This is especially important in science labs where there are usually several sets of sinks, an eye wash, chemicals, etc. When unplugging things from an electrical outlet, always hold the plastic base to pull the plug out.

Middle/High School Students If you’ve just received the privilege of driving to school with your newly obtained driver’s license, pay close to attention on those morning and afternoon drives for utility crews at work. Should you be involved in an accident involving a power line or pole, assume live electricity is outside of the car and use extreme caution. Always steer clear of pad-mount transformers – the big green metal boxes. All electrical equipment on school property should be avoided due to the possible dangers of electrical shock. Always be cautious in science classes, specifically the ones with labs. Sinks, eye washes, chemicals – it’s likely your hands or the area near you will be wet. Keep everything dry and use caution when plugging in equipment.


College Students Get in the habit of unplugging what’s not in use. Use only approved electrical products with the mark of a recognized certification agency. Choose a power strip with a heavy-gauge cord that is approved by a recognized certification agency. Replace frayed or damaged extension cords with new ones. Keep extension cords out from under carpet, rugs or furniture as this could damage the cord and also present a fire hazard. Keep flammable materials such as books, paper and clothing away from heaters, stoves and other heating sources. Never leave cooking appliances unattended. Plug portable heaters and air conditioners directly into the outlet. If an extension cord is needed, to prevent overheating and risk of fire, use only one that is rated for this purpose to ensure that the cord can handle the electrical current. Never remove the third prong from an electrical product. The third prong is the grounding device and is a critical safety feature. Keep gadgets and cords away from bedding and curtains. The heat from a laptop charger or mini-fridge can start an electrical fire if left in contact with flammable material for too long. Avoid overloading outlets or circuits as this can cause overheating that may lead to fire. Source: 4

Cooperative Connections | September 2019

“If you drive into an electric line, call 911 for help! Sawyer Nelson, 12 years old

Sawyer is the son of Wes and Chris Nelson, Wolsey, S.D. They are members of Dakota Energy Cooperative, Huron, SD. 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.

RECIPES Recipe and photo courtesy

Garden Goodness Roasted Vegetables 1 tsp. garlic salt 1 tsp. Italian seasoning 1/2 tsp. fennel seed 1 small green bell pepper, cut into chunks

1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges 1 small zucchini, sliced 1 cup asparagus pieces 1 cup red potato chunks

1 small yellow squash, sliced 2 T. oil Mix seasonings in small bowl. Toss vegetables and oil in large bowl. Add seasonings; toss to coat well. Spread vegetables in single layer on foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake at 450°F. for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 Servings. Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 93, Total Fat 5g, Sodium 342mg, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrates 10g, Protein 2g, Fiber 2g Pictured, Cooperative Connections

Microwave Tomato Dish 2 large, firm ripe tomatoes 1/2 lb. ground beef 4 T. chopped onion 1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1/2 cup seasoned stuffing mix

1 cup cornstarch

3 T. lemon juice

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 to 3 drops yellow food coloring

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, optional

5-1/2 to 6 lbs. tart apples, peeled and sliced

In a large saucepan, blend sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add salt and stir in 10 cups water. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add lemon juice and food coloring. Pack raw apples into hot jars, leaving 1-inch head space. Use spatula to help distribute syrup. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath – pints 15 minutes and quarts 20 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 quarts. Before serving, prepare pastry for a double crust 8- or 9-inch pie. Line pie plate with pastry, add 1 quart apple pie fulling. Adjust top crust, cutting slits for escape of steam; seal edges. Bake at 400°F. for 50 minutes. Linda Goulet, Tea, SD

Kohlrabi Au Gratin 3/4 cup shredded American cheese

Dash of pepper

3 T. flour

1/2 cup milk

3 T. margarine, melted and divided

2 T. sliced green onion

Zucchini Chips 2 T. white balsamic vinegar 2 tsp. coarse sea salt

Use a mandolin or slice zucchini as thin as possible. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil and vinegar together. Place zucchini in a large bowl and toss with oil and vinegar. Add zucchini in even layers to dehydrator then sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Depending on how thin you sliced the zucchini and on your dehydrator, the drying time will vary, anywhere from 8 to 14 hours. To make in the oven, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Layer zucchini evenly. Bake at 200°F. for 2 to 3 hours. Rotate half way during cooking time. Store in an airtight container. Becki Hauser, Tripp, SD

1 tsp. salt

6 med. kohlrabi, peeled and sliced

Elaine Rowett, Sturgis, SD

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

4-1/2 cups sugar

2 beaten eggs

Cut a slice off the stem end of tomato. Scoop out pulp; place into a small glass baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients to fill tomato shell. Place filled tomatoes in dish of pulp. Cover with waxed paper. Microwave 5 to 8 minutes. Let set covered 2 minutes.

4 cups thinly sliced zucchini (about 2-3 medium)

Apple Pie Filling

1 cup sour cream

3/4 cup soft bread crumbs (1 slice)

Cook kohlrabi, covered, in small amount of boiling salt water 25 minutes, drain. Blend flour into 2 T. melted margarine. Stir in sour cream, cheese, milk and onion. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Combine kohlrabi and sauce; turn into 1.5-quart casserole. Toss crumbs and remaining margarine; sprinkle over top. Bake, covered, at 350°F. for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake and additional 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8. Shirley Thedorff, Centerville, SD

Please send your favorite pasta, slow cooker and holiday 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. September 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Today, while exploring and adventuring, you can also stay connected. Nature already provides energy that can power various on-the-go gadgets. Outdoors enthusiasts can harness power from the sun, wind and water to charge devices that make camping even better.


Everyone enjoys the great outdoors. The fresh air, getting in touch with nature and physical exercise are key highlights of camping. Today, while exploring and adventuring, you can also still stay connected. Although the great outdoors does not come equipped with ready-to-use electricity, nature already provides energy that can power various on-the-go gadgets. While spending time outside, you can harness power from the sun, wind and water to charge devices that can make your camping experience even better.

One example is a portable light powered by the sun, like BioLite’s portable solar light. The device includes a built-in solar panel that can be placed on a backpack during the day. In about seven hours of charging in the sun, you can reach 50 hours of burn time from the small device. Just think, after a full day of exploring, you can relax in your tent and enjoy a new book. This product is just one of many by BioLite, which sells various products meant for off-grid households and recreational use of fuel-independent charging. LuminAID offers a similar product, the PackLite Firefly USB, which is an inflatable lantern with five lighting modes. The device is compact, waterproof and portable in size for easy charging on the go. The Packlite Firefly USB needs about 10 hours of sunlight to fully charge. If you want a smaller solar-powered gadget for lighting, try products like Davis Instruments LightCap. This 6

Cooperative Connections | September 2019

Who says you can’t listen to your favorite songs in the great outdoors? LuminAID’s Suncat Solar-Powered Speaker is waterproof, sandproof and ideal for use anywhere. Photo Credit: LuminAID


cap fits any 2-inch water bottle, like those sold by Nalgene or Camelback, and it’s extremely convenient since you don’t need to worry about the gadget as long as you keep it on your water bottle. At night, the water bottle lights up from the cap shining through. A few different versions are available on Amazon for about $30 or less. To power all your USB-based devices, such as cell phones, speakers, camp lights or GoPros, you can walk around with a USB solar backpack. There are several varieties of backpacks available from different manufacturers, ranging in price from $50 to more than $200, and normally taking about four to six hours to fully charge. For longer camping trips, there are portable showers that can be heated by the sun. The reservoir bag holds five gallons of water, which can be used for multiple showers, and warms up through a heatlocking material when left in the sun. These are convenient for camping but could also come in handy for emergencies

USB devices is by using a small turbine by Waterlily that harnesses either wind or hydro energy. By letting the turbine run in the wind or in a fast-moving stream, you can charge any of your devices. Even when there isn’t a strong gust or a fast stream, the turbine comes with a hand crank that generates power as well. Visit for more information.

While spending time outside, you can harness power from the sun, wind and water to charge devices that can make your camping experience even better. when hot water isn’t accessible. Solar-powered portable showers are available from different manufacturers. Visit Amazom. com or check local retail stores like Walmart and Cabela’s to review your options. When the skies are cloudy or there’s a lot of tree coverage, there are additional energy sources to be found in nature. Although less common, another way to charge your

Just five years ago, many of these gadgets were still prototypes, and now most of them are easily accessible to buy online. Thanks to these advances, we can enjoy the outdoors and stay connected while keeping a clean footprint. Maria Kanevsky is a program manager for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape.

LuminAID’s PackLite Firefly USB is an inflatable lantern with five lighting modes. The device is compact, waterproof and portable for easy charging on the go. It can be charged by direct sunlight (about 10 hours) or through a micro USB input (one to two hours). Photo Credit: LuminAID

September 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Patricia DeMers of Colome, S.D., takes part in activity demonstrating the mining and reclamation process.

TEACHERS HIT ENERGY CLASSROOMS Annual Seminar Equips Educators with First-hand Experience Brenda Kleinjan

When Craig Shryock’s vocational agriculture students at Wessington Springs High School return to the classroom this fall, they will eventually cover a section on electricity and Shryock can provide some first-hand lessons to his students thanks to a summer course he took. Several years ago, Shryock was one of dozens of teachers to attend the Lignite Energy Council’s Teacher Seminar held each June since 1986. Since the first seminar was offered, more than 3,300 teachers have attended, giving each an insight into not only coal’s role in energy production, but also into electricity in general. At a meeting of fellow ag teachers this summer, Shryock spoke about the seminar and its value. 8

Cooperative Connections | September 2019

Participants in the 2019 Lignite Energy Council’s Teacher seminar descend the 300-foot boom on the Missouri Quest dragline at Freedom Mine near Beulah, N.D. A bucket attached to the boom removes overburden to expose the lignite coal seam for mining.


“Being able to hold up that vial of coal and let the students see it is important,” Shryock said. Having that tangible piece of coal to serve as a learning tool helps students understand that electricity is more than just flipping on a switch in the morning. The piece of coal was just one take away that seminar attendees like Shryock benefit from. At the conclusion of the seminar, teachers take home handouts, videos, coal samples, and activities that can be used in the classroom, as well as two professional graduate credits. The goal of the seminar is to provide teachers with the information and educational materials they need to teach their students about how lignite is mined and used to produce electricity for homes, farms and businesses in the Upper Midwest. In addition, the seminar covers lignite’s economic impact on the region, as well as important environmental issues affecting the lignite industry. Educators attending the seminar are eligible to earn two professional development graduate credits from three North Dakota universities: North Dakota State University (teaching and learning),

Students in Craig Shryock’s vocational agriculture courses at Wessington Springs High School benefit lessons he learned at the Lignite Energy Council’s Teacher Seminar.

University of North Dakota (education), Minot State University (science). All teachers and faculty are encouraged to apply for the seminar with preference given to fourth grade through 12th grade teachers,those with science, math or social studies as a primary subject matter and career counselors. The seminar is a no-cost seminar for K-12 teachers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Iowa, but they may incur travel expenses. Sponsorships may available for transportation reimbursement to and from the seminar for eligible teachers in Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. Those sponsorships will be arranged by the

utilities and cooperatives serving those states. Housing and most meals during the seminar are paid for as are graduate credit hours. Handouts and classroom activities made available to the teachers go beyond lignite coal and lignite mining and reclamation. Teachers also dive into light bulb efficiencies and types, electricity transmission systems, energy use, carbon capture and storage, workforce issues, geology and environmental compliance. For more information on the seminar, visit or contact the Lignite Energy Council at 701-258-7117.

Teachers get an up-close view of equipment used in the mining process at Coteau Properties’ Freedom Mine at Beulah, N.D. September 2019 | Cooperative Connections


Youth Excursion to Basin Electric in Bismarck, North Dakota.

POWER PLANT TOUR FOR YOUTH 2019 What is Happening in Bismarck? Veronica Kusser

Sean Crandall and Dawson Hoffman, 2019 Youth Excursion Representatives for West River Electric.

Sean Crandall and Dawson Hoffman from Rapid City joined forty-six teens from 15 electric cooperatives in South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota to travel to North Dakota July 22-25 to explore energy production, cooperatives and careers in related industries. Time spent at the National Energy Center of Excellence on the Bismarck State College campus included hands-on science and energy-based activities, including information about energy-related careers. Students also visited Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s headquarters to see how their energy production is managed and the BisMan Food Cooperative to see how the cooperative business model works in a community grocery store setting. The third day of the excursion was spent in Beulah, N.D., where they toured a coal mine, visited the Antelope Valley Station coal-based power plant, learned about how the electricity produced in North Dakota enters the electric grid to be used in their homes and toured the Dakota Gasification Plant. Each stop showed 4280500 how electricity is produced – beginning to end. Students relaxed between the tours and learning with trips to a water park, an amusement park and a riverboat cruise. Watch the Cooperative Connections for future opportunities for students of all ages.


Cooperative Connections | September 2019



Appreciation Events for our Members Veronica Kusser

Member Appreciation Day in the Rapid City office will be September 13, 2019 from 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. We will be serving hamburgers and hot dogs. We will have United Blood Services, 211 Helpline, Freshman Impact, BH Raptors, Renewal By Anderson and bucket truck rides for anyone willing to take a ride. Katchup the Clown will be entertaining kids young and old. Employees will be on hand to answer questions. WREA will be demonstrating safe electricity with the High Voltage Demonstrations and the Neon Leon Display. Get your camera ready, we have pole climbing for the kids. We will be presenting Operation Round-Up Checks to the recipients of the funds for 2019. Come out and meet the Board of Directors and employees who are here to respond to your service needs. 80th Annual Meeting...80 years ago we began serving the members of WREA. We can’t wait to see what the future brings. The Annual Meeting will be at the Wall Community Center, in Wall, SD on October 12, 2019. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. with the business meeting at 10:00 a.m. Lunch will be served at your favorite Wall restaurant following the meeting. Come out to get an update on what is happening at your coop. Hope to see your 10429100 there!

Bsketball at the Enning Appreciation Event.

Bucket Truck Rides at the Football Game in Wall in 2018.

Come and join us at our 6th Annual Tailgate Party...wait did I say 6th? Wow, time flies when you are having fun. We will be tailgating at New Underwood, when the New Underwood Tigers take on the Wall Eagles. We will be at the football field ready to serve from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on October 18, 2019. Come out and cheer for your favorite team. We will have employees and directors on hand to serve you hamburgers and hot dogs, and answer all your questions. Enning, you all stay tuned. We are planning something special for your area. More details when we have everything worked out.



• Maintain a 10-foot clearance around all utility equipment in all directions. • Use a spotter and deployed flags to maintain safe distances from power lines and other equipment when doing field work. • If your equipment makes contact with an energized or downed power line, contact us immediately by phone at 279-2135 or 393-1500 and remain inside the vehicle until the power line is de-energized. In case of smoke or fire, exit the cab by making a solid jump out of the cab, without touching it at the same time, and hop away to safety. • Consider equipment and cargo extensions of your vehicle. Lumber, hay, tree limbs, irrigation pipe and even bulk materials can conduct electricity, so keep them out of contact with electrical equipment.

September 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Trucking Along Future Driver Shortage May Tap the Brakes Brenda Kleinjan

Our industry could be short just over 100,000 drivers in five years and 160,000 drivers in 2028.

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Travel down any major highway in the region and chances are you’ll encounter dozens of semi trucks. Some are hauling agriculture equipment or products, others may be hauling specialized loads such as wind turbine components. Yet others contain items destined for your local grocery store’s shelves. Even your electric cooperative relies on timely deliveries of poles and materials hauled in by trucks. There’s no doubt about it, we’re all connected by this nationwide trucking industry network. This summer, the American Trucking Associations released its latest examination of the driver shortage, finding the industry needed 60,800 more drivers at the end of 2018 to meet the country’s demands for freight services. “Over the past 15 years, we’ve watched the shortage rise and fall with economic trends, but it ballooned last year to the highest level we’ve seen to date,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The combination of a surging freight economy and carriers’ need for qualified drivers could severely disrupt the supply chain. 12

I s d t e The increase in the driver shortage should be a warning to carriers, shippers and policymakers because if conditions don’t change substantively, our industry could be short just over 100,000 drivers in five years and 160,000 drivers in 2028.” The report details the factors that contribute to the shortage, including an aging driver population, increases in freight volumes and competition from other blue-collar careers. It also outlines potential market and policy solutions. While the report covers the entire trucking industry, the bulk of the shortage is in the over-the-road for-hire truckload market. “The trucking industry needs to find ways to attract more and younger drivers,” Costello said. “Right now, the average age of an over-the-road driver is

Cooperative Connections | September 2019

Sept. 8-14 is National Truck Driving Appreciation Week National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is a week recognizing the 3.5 million professional truck drivers that are an important part of our economy. Every day these dedicated professional men and women transport goods and services safely, protected and on time, while keeping highways safe.

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46 years old, and almost as alarming is that the average age of a new driver being trained is 35 years old. “Whether by removing barriers for younger drivers to begin careers as drivers, attracting more demographic diversity into the industry, or easing the transition for veterans, we need to do more to recruit and retain drivers,” he said. “That includes increasing pay, which happened at a brisk pace last year, to keep pace with demand, addressing lifestyle factors like getting drivers more time at home, and improving conditions on the job like reducing wait times at shipper facilities.” In order to meet the nation’s freight demand, the report says the trucking industry will need to hire 1.1 million new drivers over the next decade – an average of 110,000 per year to replace retiring drivers and keep up with growth in the economy. Myron Rau, president of the South Dakota Trucking Association in Sioux Falls, recently commented on the shortage in the SDTA Trucking News. “It is probably not new news to anyone but it is reported that the U.S. trucker shortage is expected to double over the next decade. The driver deficit swelled by more than 10,000 to 60,800 in 2018 from a year earlier. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that 160,000 driver positions will go unfilled a decade from now. A possible solution has been proposed to regulators by the ATA. That solution is to lower the age for commercial drivers who can cross state lines by three years to 18. This proposal included increased training and supervision. Over 40 states now allow 18 year old drivers to get a commercial driver license to operate within the borders of their license issuing state. I believe there is a chance, if all parties come to the table, to implement this proposal that will bring some relief to predicted driver shortages,” Rau wrote.

A semi travels along U.S. Highway 281 north of Plankinton, S.D.

Facts About Trucking Professional truck drivers drove over 287.9 billion miles in 2016, more than double 25 years ago. Those miles accounted for 14.2 percent of all motor vehicle miles and 29.8 percent of all truck miles. The trucking industry paid $41.8 billion in federal and state highway taxes in 2016, and represented 13.3 percent of vehicles on the road. The trucking industry paid $17.6 billion in federal highway-user taxes and $24.2 billion in state highway-user taxes in 2016. The trucking industry consumed 54.9 billion gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline in 2016. Based on consumption and price, ATA reported that motor carriers spent $142.9 billion in 2015. The federal fuel tax for diesel in 2018 is 24.4 cents per gallon; the average state tax for diesel fuel was 25.2 cents per gallon. There are 3.68 million class 8 trucks on the road in the United States and 11.7 million commercial trailers were registered in 2016. There are 7.7 million truck drivers in the United States. Total industry employment is 3.5 million or one out of every 16 people working in the United States. There are 777,240 for-hire carriers and 700,591 private carriers in the United States; 97.3 percent of them have fewer than 20 trucks and 91 percent are operating six trucks or less. In 2016, the trucking industry hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight, or 70.1 percent of total U.S. freight tonnage. Rail was the next busiest mode, moving 13.8 percent of the nation’s freight tonnage. In 2017, the trucking industry was a $700.18 billion industry, representing 79.3 percent of the nation’s freight bill. More than 80 percent of U.S. communities depend solely on trucking for delivery of their goods and commodities. Source: Professional Truck Drivers and The Trucking Industry, October 2018

The SDTA holds its annual convention Sept. 4-6 in Sioux Falls, S.D. September 2019 | Cooperative Connections



HEAT SEASON IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER Seems like summer just arrived and here we are talking about the heat season, it is just around the corner. If you have a heat meter, you will start getting heat credit with your September reading. Be sure the breaker to the heat meter is on so you receive the maximum benefit of the electric heat rate for the heat season. We ask that you leave the breakers on to these meters year round. Without power, the automated meter reading system cannot detect trouble with the 2909800 meter or get readings. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact Jannette at 393-1500 in the Rapid City area and Aimee in the Wall and Enning areas at 279-2135. If you have electric heat, but do not have a heat meter, contact Member Services at 393-1500 to find out how to get a heat meter installed.

West River Electric’s Annual Meeting will be October 12, 2019 Don’t post signs on our poles! West River Electric will be closed

Monday September 2 in Observance of Labor Day. If you have an outage or other emergency, please call 279-2135 or 393-1500.

Know what’s below call 811 before you dig


Cooperative Connections | September 2019

Posting signs and announcements on utility poles not only presents DANGER to WREA linemen, it is against the law. Please don’t post your signs or posters on our utility poles. If you see announcements affixed to a pole, please feel free to remove them, but remember to pry the nails, staples & tacks out of the poles as well.

Use South Dakota 811 to locate underground utilities before you dig. Excavators planning to dig, drill or trench should make the required locate request to South Dakota 811 two working days before the planned work. Homeowners and landowners planning their own excavation activities are required to notify South Dakota 811 as well.


West River Electric will be closed

Tuesday Afternoon, August 27, 2019 Please call 279-2135 or 393-1500 in the event of an outage or other emergency. Our calls are answered 24/7.

(USPS No. 675-840)

Our Mission: West River Electric Association, Inc. shall strive to continually improve customer service and satisfaction by providing safe, reliable, efficient and reasonably priced electricity and services, while leading in the development of our community for the well being of our members.

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Cookware Efficiency Tip: Copper-bottomed pans heat faster on the stove. In the oven, ceramic and glass dishes are better than metal. With ceramic and glass dishes, you can turn the oven down about 25 degrees, and your meal will cook just as quickly.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Board President: Andy Moon

Did you change your phone number or email It is important to keep your information updated with West River Electric. We would like to be able to keep you updated on planned outages or other important information that may affect your service. Contact us at 279-2135 or 393-1500 to make changes to your information.

Locate Your Account Number If you locate your account number anywhere in this issue of the West River Electric Cooperative Connections you will be a winner. There will be five account numbers placed randomly throughout the Connections. If you spot your account number and notify our office before the 10th of the next month, you will receive a $10 credit on your next bill.

West River Electric Office Hours Rapid City Office

Wall Office

3250 E Hwy 44, Rapid City, SD Monday-Friday 7:00 am-5:00 pm 605-393-1500

1200 W 4th Ave, Wall, SD Monday-Friday 7:00 am-5:00 pm 605-279-2135

A night depository is available at both offices for your convenience.

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 – Editor Veronica Kusser – 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

September 2019 | Cooperative Connections



August 21

First Day of School for Rapid City Christian School, Rapid City, SD

August 24-25: Fourth Annual Fall River Balloon Fest, 6 a.m., Airport, Hot Springs, SD, 605-745-4140

August 21

First Day of School for St Thomas More & St Elizabeth Seton Catholic Schools, Rapid City, SD

August 22

Photo courtesy:

First Day of School for Meade County Schools, Sturgis, SD

August 22

Summer Nights, Outer Vibe, 7th Street in Downtown, Rapid City, SD,

August 27

WREA will be closing at 11 a.m. in Enning and Wall and Noon in Rapid City for Employee Training, Call 605-279-2135 or 605-393-1500 for an outage or other emergency

August 28

First Day of School for the Rapid City School System, Rapid City, SD

August 29

Summer Nights, Brandon Jones, 7th Street in Downtown, Rapid City, SD,

August 29-September 2 South Dakota State Fair, Huron, SD, 605-353-7340

August 30-September 1

Studebaker Car Show, Custer, SD, 605-673-2244

September 1

Mount Rushmore Rodeo at Palmer Gulch, Hill City, SD, 605-574-2525

September 3

First Day of School for the Wall School, Wall, SD

September 5

Day of Caring, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-343-5872

September 12

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111

September 12

Day of Caring, Auditorium/ Armory, Sturgis, SD, 605-343-5872

September 13

September 14

October 5

September 14-15

October 10

Freshman Impact Family Fun Day, 11a.m. to 4 p.m., BH Power Sports, 3005 Beale St, Rapid City, SD Harvest Festival, Delmont, SD, 605-505-0535

September 19

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

September 21

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

Lewis Black, The Joke’s On Us Tour, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111

September 21

September 13

September 24

Lewis Black, The Joke’s On Us Tour, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111

AgriCulture on the Square, Main Street Square, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1722 Southern Hills Day of Caring, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer, SD, 605-343-5872

Minneluzahan Senior Citizens Fall Rummage Sale, 315 N 4th Street, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1887 36th Annual Zonta Expo, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

November 16

Minneluzahan Senior Citizens Fall Craft Show, 315 N 4th Street, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1887

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.