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DECEMBER 2017 VOL. 18 NO. 8

A Joyful Sound

Concert on the Prairie Resounds in Hoven Page 8-9



With a Grateful Heart “In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy”. This daily inspirational quote really struck me as I thought about my November Thanksgiving column. What do I have to be grateful for that makes me happy? Let’s give this a try! I am grateful: I have been blessed with Dick Johnson a great job and a cooperative CEO/General Manager family that is second to none. Not everyone is as blessed as I. Around our own community we see daily struggles in life to survive much less have a great job and family. I have a wonderful Board of Directors, team of employees, and members that support us throughout this journey in rural electrification. It takes some time to understand our cooperative business model, but once a person does, one can’t help but be grateful that we can serve our fellow community members by using the 7 cooperative principals; they are the best in the world. I am grateful: We have a reliable, low cost electricity source from Rushmore, Basin and WAPA. These organizations work hard on our behalf to make sure we have that power with a flip of a switch. I am grateful Basin continues a slow, steady path of the right energy mix of renewables yet still have a reliable mixed portfolio of coal and natural gas so that I can provide my members reliable, low cost electricity each and every day/hour/minute/second. I am grateful: We have nearly completed another summer of construction. We have had a very busy year of new construction along with an aggressive maintenance program to reduce outages and outage time. Our members had service last year 99.97% of the time; our goal – 99.99%. In addition, our Box Elder substation should be energized at its new location by year end. It was no small feat to get it completed yet this year.

I am grateful: The Christmas 2016 storm was not as bad as it could have been. We were able to pull it together after the storm with the help of some great employees, contractors, and assistance from our sister cooperative, Black Hills Electric. With the conditions that night, I was so grateful that our guys finally got back to the shop safely after enduring brutal conditions. I am grateful: The Board chose Sue Peters to fill the unexpired term of her husband who unexpectedly passed away. I was truly saddened with Terry’s passing, but the fact we were blessed with Sue to fill the position quickly made the transition much easier. I am grateful: That our employees came home safely every night to their families. Our employees have adopted a culture of safety and wellness that emphasizes that we all are responsible for our safety, and the safety of others around us, whether at work or home. I am grateful: I have the opportunity several times per year to travel to different parts of the country for work and pleasure. I still love it when I pull back into my yard. We are truly blessed to live in such a great area of the country. We have our faults, but I have found few that outweigh what other areas of the country endure. 4079300 I am grateful: I have been truly blessed with a wonderful supportive family in my wife and 2 children. Maybe it is that call from one of my daughters when I am on the road that brightens my day, or a quick text from my wife about what a great day it really is; all little things to spread happiness that I don’t realize until I step back and think about it. “In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy”. Yes, truly grateful and happy for all my blessings this past year. I hope that you can all find happiness in your days, weeks, and months to come. We are truly blessed. Happy Thanksgiving!

West River Electric will be closed November 23-24 for Thanksgiving 2 Decem ber 2 0 1 7 • COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS

Board of Director Biography Sue Peters - 3 Months I have just recently been appointed to the West River Board of Directors to fill the term of my late husband, Terry. He was elected last October to the board and passed away in July 2017. I have two remaining years to serve as director for District 3. I am the youngest of five children born to Irene & Paul Arbach. I was born and raised in Hoven, South Dakota. I grew up on a farm, but we lived on the edge of the city limits, so I was more of a small town city gal! I have 3 brothers and 1 sister. We are scattered from Louisville, KY; Las Vegas, NV; Hoven, SD; Rapid City, SD; and Wall. After high school I attended National College of Business or, better known today as, National American University. Directly out of college I went to work for Production Credit Association in the Rapid City office. I later transferred to the Philip office and worked there until that office was closed. I then worked for Johnson Rancher Supply in Wall part-time helping with the books. In February 1987 I was hired by Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. I worked in a variety of positions from receptionist, customer service representative, to the accounting department where I had many different responsibilities over the years. After a very rewarding career with Golden West, I retired October 2015 with 28 years of service. I had the opportunity to work with many wonderful employees and members across the entire state during that time. Working at Production Credit Association is where I met my husband, Terry. We were married in November 1980 at the beautiful Cathedral on the Prairie in Hoven, SD. We have two children Talon and Kelsey. Both grew up working at the family owned, Best Western Motel, in Wall. Along with the Best Western in Wall we were also owners of the Best Western Motel in Hill City. Talon and Brittney recently celebrated their marriage. They are currently in Fargo, ND, but planning a move to Colorado after the first of the year. Kelsey is married to Kyle Barber and they live in Wellington, Colorado. I loved following Talon, Kelsey and their friends activities as they grew up and graduated from Wall High School and SDSU. We always had a few extra friends at the house and they are all still like family today! I now enjoy my visits to the kids’ homes. My hobbies are reading, walking, being outdoors, and most recently, lending a hand to the kids’ sign making/crafting business. I really appreciate the opportunity to serve District 3 as Director. I have many trainings coming up and I hope to put the knowledge gained at those to good use representing you, the members. I am proud to be a part of this great company, West River Electric, and look forward to both the challenges and rewards of providing safe, reliable, efficient and reasonably priced electricity and services to you, our members. Thank you! COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS • D e ce mb er 2017 3



Holiday Electrical Safety Make Safety the First Item on Your List

Kidsʼ Corner Safety Poster “Don’t do it!”

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) offers the following tips to help keep you and your family safe from electrical hazards when buying and installing holiday lighting and decorations.

Light up safely over the holidays: • Choose the right light for the job: light strings and other decorations are rated for indoor or outdoor use. Read the package instructions and never exceed the recommended wattage. • Replace damaged electrical products (cords, plugs, ornaments). • Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire. • Buy holiday decorations that have the mark of an accredited certification agency on the package. • Once the package is opened, remember to check for the appropriate approval sticker appearing on the cord for products incorporating light strings. Extension Cords/Plugs: • Avoid overloading circuits with plugs and extension cords – this can create overheating and result in a fire. Fuses that frequently blow and circuits that trip can indicate too many items are connected to the circuit. • Never remove the third prong on plugs – this “grounding pin” prevents shock in the event of electrical equipment failure. • Plug outdoor electrical decorations into Ground Fault (GFCI)-protected outlets. • Don’t run extension cords under carpets, through doorways or in places where they can be damaged by furniture • Keep outdoor connections above-ground and out of puddles; don’t run them across driveways and/or walkways. Installing Decorations: • No more than three light strings can be safely connected together in most cases – read manufactures’ instructions for directions. • Make sure bulbs don’t touch supply cords, wires, cloth, paper or any material that’s not part of the light string. • Use the proper clips for securing lights and decorations. Staples and nails can damage electrical cords. • Check for overhead power lines before using a ladder to put up decorations or when you’re hanging lights or decorations on trees. • Holiday decorations aren’t designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. Take them down when the holidays are over. Remember to: • Watch that children don’t put electrical decorations or cords in their mouths. • Keep an eye on pets that may chew or damage electrical cords. • Turn off holiday lights and decorations when you leave the house or go to bed. Source: 4 December 2017 • COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS

Kimberly Messmer, 8 years old Kimberly is the daughter of Perry and Mabell Messmer, Whitewood, S.D. They are members of Butte Electric Cooperative, Newell, S.D. Kids, send your drawing with an electrical safety tip to your local electric cooperative (address found on Page 3). If your poster is published, youʼll receive a prize. All entries must include your name, age, mailing address and the names of your parents. Colored drawings are encouraged.

Every Second Counts:

Plan 2 Ways Out!™

Every Second Counts

Plan 2 Ways Ou

How fast does fire move? Very fast. You could have less than 2 minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds. 7 steps to practicing your escape plan 1

How fast does fire move? Very fast. You could have les 2 minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sound 3 4


7 steps to practicing your escape plan 1

Draw a map of your home. Include all doors and windows.

Find two ways out of every room.



Make sure doors Draw a map and windows are notof your home. Include all blocked. doors and windows.

For more information about escape planning, visit: and


Choose an outside Find two ways out meeting place in of front every room. of your home.

Make sure doors and windows are not blocked.


6 Push the test button to sound the smoke alarm.


Practice your drill with everyone in the home.


Push the test button to sound the smoke alarm.


7 Get outside to your meeting place.

For more information about escape planning, visit: and

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For more tips on planning for disasters, go to


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7 Practice your drill with everyone in the home.

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Holiday Favorites Chocolate Fudge

Can’t Fail Caramels 2 cups sugar 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1 cup light corn syrup 1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk 1 cup butter or margarine 4 tsp. vanilla

Combine first 6 ingredients. Cook slowly, stirring constantly to 248°F. or when small quantity dropped in cold water forms a firm ball; remove from heat. Add vanilla. Pour into a greased 8x8x2-inch pan; cool. When firm, place on board and cut into squares. Wrap each square in waxed paper. Judy Jensen, Langford

Church Window Cookies 1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips 1 pkg. colored miniature marshmallows

1 stick butter 1 small pkg. chopped walnuts Coconut

Melt together chocolate chips and butter; let cool until barely warm. In a large bowl, mix together marshmallows and walnuts. Add chocolate mixture and stir. Pour half of mixture onto a piece of foil sprinkled with coconut. Shape into log by rolling in coconut. Wrap and refrigerate until set. Repeat with other half of mixture. Unwrap to slice. Donna Holland, Sioux Falls

Krazy Corn 1 bag hulless puff corn 1/2 cup butter 1 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. vanilla 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Place puff corn in a large roaster pan. Bring to a boil butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Boil on low 5 minutes without stirring; remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour over puff corn. Bake at 250°F. for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread out onto wax paper to cool. Alana Neville, Milesville

Cowboy Christmas Biscuits

1 (8 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet baking chocolate 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

3 cups confectionersʼ sugar 1 T. McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, allowing foil to extend over sides of pan. Spray with no stick cooking spray. Melt chocolate as directed on package. Beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar on low speed until well blended. Add melted chocolate and vanilla; mix well. Stir in chopped nuts. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Use foil to lift out of pan onto cutting board. Cut into 25 squares or triangles. Store in refrigerator. Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 155, Total Fat 7g, Sodium 29mg, Cholesterol 10mg, Carbohydrates 21g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Protein 2g Pictured, Cooperative Connections

Mystery Bars 40 soda crackers 1 cup butter or margarine

1 cup packed brown sugar 2 cups milk chocolate chips

Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place crackers in rows on foil. In a saucepan, melt butter; add brown sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Pour over crackers and spread until completely covered. Bake at 350°F. for 5 minutes or until crackers float and bubble. Spread chocolate chips over hot bars. Let set for a minute. Spread the chocolate evenly. Cut while still warm. Verna Nelson, Wakonda

Indoor S’mores 2/3 cup light corn syrup 2 T. butter 1 (12 oz.) pkg. real milk chocolate chips 1 tsp. vanilla

1 (10 oz.) pkg. Golden Grahams cereal (about 8 cups) 3 cups miniature marshmallows

Gently stir together the first 3 ingredients just enough to moisten. Melt butter in bottom of a 9x13-inch pan. Pat dough out in pan. Before baking, cut into 12 to 15 biscuit squares. Bake at 425°F. for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat corn syrup, butter and chocolate chips just to boiling, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal in large mixing bowl; toss quickly until completely coated with chocolate. Fold in marshmallows, 1 cup at a time. Press mixture evenly in pan with back of buttered spoon. Let stand until firm, at least 1 hour. Cut into 1-1/2 inch squares – makes approximately 48 squares.

Jane Ham, Rapid City

Carlene Barber, Pierre

4 cups Bisquick 1 cup cultured sour cream

1 cup 7-Up 1/2 cup butter

Please send your favorite soup, brunch and seafood recipes to your local electric cooperative (address found on Page 3). Each recipe printed will be entered into a drawing for a prize in June 2018. All entries must include your name, mailing address, telephone number and cooperative name.


Co-op News

2017 Funds Presented

Operation Round-Up Operation Round-Up Funds were presented at Appreciation Days in Enning and Rapid City, and at the Annual Meeting in Wall. The funds collected are used to address charitable community needs for organizations funding a special project. 1278600 The Operation Round-Up Board of Directors met in August to determine how to distribute the voluntary contributions from our members. West River Electric Members choosing to participate

Central Meade County Community Center - $600 to put sheeting on the roof of the Community Center.

6 December 2 0 1 7



in this program helped local charities with contributions totaling, $7,800 for the past year. The average donation amounts to about $6 during the course of a year and is tax deductible. Operation Round-Up is voluntary! If you are not signed up already and wish to have your bill rounded to the next whole dollar you can contact either office at 393-1500 or 279-2135 or email your request to Applications for funds are available at or by calling us at 605-393-1500. The deadline for applications in 2018 will be July 6, 2018.

Central Meade County Kids Softball - $500 to purchase bases for the softball field, uniforms and upkeep of the field.

C.O.R.E./Freshman Impact - $750 for additional Motorola analog radios, charging units and additional supplies.

Enning Community Library - $500 to purchase new books for grades K-6th grade.

Feeding South Dakota - $500 to provide funds for the Backpack program.

Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons - $500 for the girls to receive training in first aide and CPR.

Pennington County 4-H Leaders’s Association - $250 to assist with sponsorship of the 2017 Pennington County 4-H Achievement Days.

Rural Meade Ambulance - $700 to purchase uniforms, coats, jump bags and radios for 8 new team members.

South Dakota Engineering Society/ Black Hills Chapter - $500 to help with the costs of hosting MATHCOUNTS competition.

SD FFA Foundation - $500 to provide scholarships for the Leadership Retreat.

Union Center Wrestling Club - $500 for use of facility for practice and equipment.

Wall Rodeo Booster Club - $1000 to assist with Phase II of the arena upgrades.

Western Resources for Independent Living - $500 to provide Home Modification and Adaptive Devices for independent living. 3862000

Youth & Family Services/Fatherhood First - $250 to provide educational skill-building for fathers of children.

Youth & Family Services/Girls Incorporated of Rapid City - $250 to assist with unmet healthcare needs for girls.


Sing a New Song

Christmas on the Prairie Brings Melodies to December Event


Brenda Kleinjan

or one afternoon each December, the population of Hoven, S.D., (population 408) swells as upwards of 1,000 people gather for the Christmas on the Prairie Concert. Attendees listen to the soaring high notes and the trembling low tones that reverberate throughout the 96-year-old building as the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra joins with choirs and soloists for a memorable musical journey. The concert has been held since 2003 at Hoven’s St. Anthony of Padua Church, which is also known as the Cathedral on the Prairie. According to a South Dakota Department of Tourism press release about the landmark, Saint


Anthony’s ‘Cathedral of the Prairie,’ located in Hoven, S.D., was completed in 1921 at a cost of $250,000. The value of the church was estimated at $20 million in 2011. The church, believed to be patterned after churches typically found in Bavaria, boasts an intricate and ornate design that rivals any church for miles. The nave seats more than 1,000 people, and the church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places under the original parish name of St. Bernard’s. One can see the church’s spires from miles away in north central South Dakota. (The town of Hoven lies on the border of Potter and Walworth

Photos by Chad Coppess/South Dakota Tourism

counties, northeast of Gettysburg and southeast of Selby.) The 2017 concert will be the 14th annual pre-Christmas concert and will be held at 3 p.m. on Dec. 3. This year’s offering is titled ‘Hope is Born Emmanuel’ with narration based on Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The performance will feature the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thomas Fortner and two choirs: the Regional All-Faiths Festival Choir directed by Michael Coyne and Northern State University’s Chamber Singers directed by Dr. Timothy Woods. Musical performances will include professional soloist Juan Ahumada along with guest soloist Lilly Karrer. The entire program will be narrated by Darrel Fickbohm. Ahumada is a tenor originally from Sioux City who will be singing with the Metropolitan Opera in January. Karrer, from Saint Louis, Mo., has ties to the area as her grandparents live in Hoven. Proceeds from the concert help with the maintenance of the church building, said choral coordinator Mary Lou Keller. “It’s a constant thing. There is one section that needs to be repaired. It’s a big job to keep it up,” Keller said, noting that about 250 families are affiliated with the church. Keller noted that the church was restored in the 1980s with 20,000 volunteer hours spent washing and restenciling the church. “Without the volunteers, it would have cost us millions,” she said. That volunteer spirit helps keep the Christmas concert going. “There are a lot of volunteers in Hoven,” Keller noted. From the members of the choir, to the community members serving the post concert gala at the Legion Hall, many in the community get involved. The concert has been held annually since 2003, with the exception of 2008 when a geothermal heating and cooling system was

being installed. “We skipped 2008 because of the installation. It was a blessing, because there was a blizzard that year,” Keller said, noting that favorable weather has graced the concert in the other years. The 60-member All-Faiths Choir began rehearsing for their role in the concert in October. While not all members are able to attend every practice, they all come together for the concert. “The choir represents 17 communities and they all love to sing. It’s good camaraderie. The music is good for the body and the soul,” Keller said. Rehearsals are led by Coyne, a former Hoven High School band and vocal teacher. The choir will perform three selections with the NSU Chamber Singers. But, Keller noted, all the components of the concert don’t come together until just before the performance. “The symphony orchestra comes the day of the concert and we all practice at 1 p.m. The doors open at 2:30 p.m. and concert is at 3 p.m.,” Keller said. “It always goes off well, but there is an extra adrenalin rush that gives it that success,” she said. “It’s been a blessing that we’ve done it. It’s evolved as an event,” Keller said. “The festival chorus becomes a family. There’s something about the ethos of music that draws people. This is what I call good music. We’re honored and pleased that we’re able to do it,” said Keller. She does have one plea for that first Sunday in Advent, though: “We pray for good weather!” For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page at events/158024474696708/ or go online to

Dec. 3 Christmas on the Prairie Ticket Information General $35 ~ Patron $125 Premium Pews $1,650 (seats 12) ~ Regular Pews $1,100 (seats 12) (Includes Gala Reception for Patron and Pew ticket holders) Call 605-948-2451 for Visa or Mastercard orders Or mail checks to St. Anthony’s Church,, PO Box 98, Hoven, SD 57450

Christmas at the Cathedral Enjoy great architecture and music with the 21st annual Christmas at the Cathedral Dec. 14 to 17 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Sioux Falls. Proceeds from the event will go toward the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House and the ongoing care and maintenance of one of South Dakota’s most significant civic and sacred landmarks – the Cathedral of St. Joseph.

Performance Dates: Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. About the St. Joseph Cathedral Construction on the cathedral began in the summer of 1915. The primary architect’s death in 1917 along with the start of the first World War slowed construction somewhat. The cathedral was completed and dedicated on May 7, 1919. Source:




Scholarships Available Deadline February 2, 2018

For the 27th Year, West River Electric is offering college scholarships to high school seniors’ graduating in May of 2018 as well as students currently in postsecondary education. This year we will once again be offering five scholarships: a $1,000 scholarship, provided by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, our power generation cooperative, and four WREA $500 scholarships, to be awarded to winners in April. Applicants for the scholarships must be a member or dependent child of a West River Electric member and a U.S. citizen. They must be planning to enroll or in attendance in a full-time graduate or undergraduate course of study at an accredited two-year or four-year college, university or vocational/technical school. Scholarship recipients will be chosen by a selection committee on the basis of academic record, potential to succeed, leadership and participation in school and community activities, honors, work experience, a statement of education and career goals, a written essay and an outside appraisal. Applications may be picked up at the cooperative offices, on-line at or at area high schools. Completed applications and supporting documentation must be returned to West River Electric Association in Rapid City or Wall before 5 p.m. on Friday, February 2, 2018. Winners will be announced in April. For more information or to request an application go to our website at, stop by or call us at 393-1500 or 279-2135. Applications are also available at the local high schools.

High School Juniors

Are you interested in going to D.C.? June 7-14, 2018 more than 1500 students will travel to Washington DC to participate in the Rural Electric Youth Tour. During this action-filled week, students learn what it is like to be involved in politics, community service, cooperative philosophy and rural electrification. You will have the opportunity to meet with your elected representative in the US House and Senate and discuss the process of government and the issues that we face today, while increasing your knowledge about the electric cooperative utilities. The student will be selected and sponsored by West River Electric while South Dakota Rural Electric Association (SDREA) coordinates arrangements for all South Dakota students. Among the sites that are toured are the National Cathedral, The White House, Washington Monument, U.S. Supreme Court, US Capitol, Ford’s Theatre, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, The Smithsonian, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. All area high school juniors whose parents or guardians are a member of WREA are eligible to apply for the Youth Tour. The funding of the tour is provided by WREA, which includes the student’s transportation, room and board, and sight-seeing events. Students will be required to provide their own personal spending money. Each student is required to submit an essay, not to exceed 500 words on “What does it mean to be an American?” All essays must be typed and include a cover sheet to include the students name, parents name, address, phone number and school they attend. All essays must be received by West River Electric before February 20, 2018. If you have questions please contact Veronica Kusser at 605-393-1500. 10 D ecem ber 20 1 7


Co-op News

Colder Than Normal

That’s What I am Hearing ing windows, so there is an alternative to replacing them now. There are inexpensive window insulator kits which will provide temporary coverage through the coldest months. This can buy you time until spring is here and the windows can be replaced. Storm windows can replace the window screens, allowing for an extra layer of protection against old man winter seeping in through the cracks and crevices. Don’t forget the plumbing. Be sure to turn off the water at the shut-off valve for any outdoor faucets. Drain your outdoor hoses and store them inside (your shed or garage) for the winter. If you have uninsulated pipes passing thru unheated spaces such as a crawl space, attic or exterior walls, they have the potential to burst in subfreezing weather. They can be wrapped with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or heat tape to keep your pipes from freezing. Reverse your fans. Sounds funny to run a fan in the winter time, but it has been known to save money on your utility bills. This will help circulate the warmer air that collects near the ceiling. Most ceiling fans have a switch that reverses the rotation of the fan blades. Christmas lighting tips. Decking the halls doesn’t have to take a toll on your energy bill. Light up your holidays with LED light strands. They are safer for your kids and pets by giving off virtually no heat. They are 70 percent more efficient and last 10 times longer than the age-old standard bulbs. So make your Holidays Merry & Bright with LED lights. To find more energy saving tips and tricks go to www. where you will find the Home Efficiency Analysis Tool which offers quick tips and fixes, all designed around your living space to help cut down on energy use and costs. 10455100

I am not a cold weather person, so to me it is well past time to prepare for the cold days of old man winter. A few tips for helping prepare your home for those colder than normal days that we are predicted to have are said to be simple and inexpensive. Plug the leaks by sealing them with caulk and weatherstripping. This will keep more warm air inside when the cold is trying to sneak in. You can find the leaks around window and door frames, around recessed lighting, pipes, vents and electrical outlets on the outside walls of your home. Clean out the gutters. I said “what do the gutters have to do with keeping old man winter under control?” Well in the winter time, clogged gutter drains can form ice dams which cause water to back up and seep into the house. After trees have shed most of their leaves, take a few minutes to clear your gutters, that will help the melting snow to run freely. Check your furnace. Before the weather gets to cold, be sure your furnace is working properly. You will have better luck getting a service man in before the temperatures drop and everyone is trying to get them in for that last minute appointment. It is a good idea to have your furnace serviced annually, even if it seems to be in good working order. The time for an oops isn’t the middle of winter on the coldest day of the year, a weekend or the night before Christmas. To keep your furnace operating efficiently plan to change the furnace filter regularly so your heating system will operate in the most efficient manner possible. What about your windows. If you have drafty windows, consider replacing them before the weather gets too cold. Don’t let the warm air escape thru the cracks and crevices around the windows. Going into winter, isn’t the ideal time to be replac-

COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS • D e ce mb e r 2017 11

All Aboard! Santa’s Coming to Town I


Jocelyn Romey

christmas time again! Colorful lights, hot chocolate, candy canes, Christmas music, Santa Claus and the wonderful feeling that tradition brings is part of the season. And many have made visiting the North Pole part of their Christmas tradition. In the Black Hills, the 1880 Train in Hill City, S.D., has turned into the Holiday Express. This is a holiday train that takes families on a one-hour tour to visit the North Pole. Travelers will ride on the historical train route and hear a special Christmas story unique to the experience. They will also


receive hot chocolate and treats as well as a small gift for each child and a visit from Santa. Holli Edwards, business development manager for the 1880 Train, said travelers are given the opportunity to relax in a heated car onboard the train while viewing the scenic hills and listening to a unique holiday story. She further described how holiday makers are afforded a view of the North Pole before Santa boards the train on the way back to the station in Hill City. At this time, Santa hands out goodies to the kids and poses for pictures. When asked what makes the Holiday Express

Photos by Chad Coppess/South Dakota Tourism

special and unique, Edwards said, “It’s seeing the memories that are being created. Most of the people we see come year after year…creating memories generation after generation. They create a tradition during the holiday season.” Edwards said about 9,500 people will ride on the Holiday Express this year – each trip accommodating 350 people. In all, 27 separate holiday trips will be made. Since this Christmas experience is popular for many families and tourists, she recommends travelers reserve tickets in advance in order to ensure a seat on the train. After the last trip on Dec. 23, the 1880 Train closes until May 7, 2018, when it will re-open for its regular, 20-mile round trip route from Hill City to Keystone. This train follows a portion of the historical route created in the late 1880s to service mines and mills located throughout the hills. The 1880 Train operates two steam and one diesel engine throughout the season. It is owned by the Black Hills Central Railroad, created by stockholders interested in continuing steam railroading. Along with the Holiday Express celebrating

Above: 1880 Train staff prepare the “Santa Express” for an evening run. Left: The No. 7 engine sports a festive wreath during the holidays. Below: Santa makes a visit to passengers aboard the train. Opposite Page: Santa and his elves pose for a photo with the train conductor.

Christmas, other special events are celebrated throughout the year on the 1880 Train. These special trips are made on holidays such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and July 4th. Other special trips include Rails and Ales, Wine Express, Old West Shootouts, Oktoberfest Express and more. Ticket reservations and information regarding the 1880 Train and its special event trips can be found through the main website – https:// COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS • December 2017 13



We offer 8 Different Ways to Pay your Bill

West River Electric Christmas Open House Friday, December 15, 2017 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Rapid City & Wall Offices

Stop by and join us for a cup of coffee or apple cider and a cookie. Register to win a $75.00 bill credit for members and a $30.00 Toys R Us gift card for anyone under age 12. You must be present to register between December 1-22. 9847600 For all of you who pay on-line, there will be an opportunity for you to win a $75.00 bill credit as well. Pay on-line or by phone toll-free at (855) 730-8712 and we will draw from the list of those who paid between December 1-22. All Drawings will take place at 4:00 p.m. on December 22, 2017.

Happy Holidays from tHe Board of directors & employees of West river electric. West river electric Will Be closed decemBer 25, 2017 in oBservance of cHristmas January 1, 2018 in oBservance of neW years if you Have an emergency or an outage please call 393-1500 or 279-2135 to report tHe event to our ansWering service 14 December 2 0 1 7



PrePaid Metering Pay Ahead No Deposits or late fees Same rates, but your balance is calculated daily Pay as often as you like USPS Payment by mail, just be sure and allow up 3 days for delivery of your payment & don’t send cash! Drop Box Drop Boxes are available at the Rapid City & Wall offices. Drop your payment in any time day or night. Payments are picked up and processed by 7:00 a.m. each day. In Office Cash or Check is accepted in the Wall or Rapid City offices between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Smarthub 24 Hour Access to your account Allows you to pay electronically using a credit card or electronic check payment. Displays current and historical billing information and payment history. IVR (Automated Phone System) Pay by credit card or check using our automated phone system toll free at (855) 730-8712. You can make payment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Automated Payment Pay your bill using Visa, masterCard, or an electronic check transaction. 12-15 days after billing date, payment will be deducted by your payment method of choice. There are convenient payment options available for everyone. If you have questions or need assistance with any of these options, call us at 605-393-1500 or 279-2135.

Sign Up Fill out and send to: West River Electric Assoc. Cooperative Connections, PO Box 3486, Rapid City, SD 57709 Or drop it in with your payment.

(USPS No. 675-840)

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Operation Roundup Budget Billing Pay By Bank Automatic Credit Card Payment I am interested in more information on: Marathon Water Heater Radiant Cove Heat Generlink Special Electric Heat Rate Geothermal & Air-to-Air Heat Pumps Rebates Radiant Floor Heating Demand Response Unit Be sure to include your name and address if you mail this coupon or E mail: veronica.

West river electric office Hours rapid city office 3250 e. HWy 44, rapid city, sd monday-friday 7:00 am to 5:00 pm 605-393-1500 Wall office 1200 W. 4tH ave, Wall, sd monday-friday 7:00 am to 5:00 pm 605-279-2135

Purchasing electronic gifts this holiday season? Remember to purchase ENERGY STARÂŽ-certified electronics and give the gift of energy efficiency. Visit for a full list of efficient products.

Our Mission

West RiveR electRic Will Be closed NovemBeR 23-24 FoR thaNksgiviNg & NovemBeR 28 FoR employee tRaiNiNg

Please call 393-1500 or 279-2135 in the event of an emergency, we have 24 hour on-call A night depository is available at both offices for your convenience. Service & Billing Questions: Contact 605-279-2135 or 605393-1500 during office hours. You can e-mail us at on questions concerning your account. After Hours Power Restoration: Contact 605-279-2135 in the Wall or Enning areas and 605-393-1500 in the Rapid City area.

Locate Your Account Number If you locate your account number

anywhere in this issue of the 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 next month, you will receive a $10.00 credit on your next bill.

To inform you about your cooperative and its efforts to serve your energy needs; about how to use electricity safely and efficiently; and about the people who define and enhance the quality of life in communities served by electric co-ops. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer

President Andy Moon, Creighton, S.D. Vice President Stan Anders, Union Center, S.D. Secretary Jamie Lewis, Rapid City, S.D. Treasurer Larry Eisenbraun, Wall, S.D. Directors Howard Knuppe, New Underwood, S.D. Chuck Sloan, Piedmont, S.D. Marcia Arneson, Rapid City, S.D. Jerry Hammerquist, Caputa, S.D. Sue Peters, Wall, S.D. CEO/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 $6.00 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 $12.00 per year. Periodicals Postageaid 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)393-0275; e-mail veronica.kusser@westriver. coop.

Call before you dig: All underground cable location requests for the entire state of South Dakota are made through the South Dakota One-Call System. The number is toll free, 1-800-781-7474 (dial 811 instate). You are required to provide this one-call center with information regarding the location where you will be digging, along with a description of the type of work you will be doing. You are required to give at least a 48-hour notice before you dig. The one-call center will then notify all utilities with underground facilities in the area where you will be digging.

COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS • D e ce mb e r 2017 15

Regional Dateline

November 24 Emerging Artists, Lien Cultural CafĂŠ, Dahl Arts Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4101 November 25 Main Street Square, Holiday Celebration and Winter Market, Rapid City, SD 605-716-7979 November 25 Festival of Lights Parade Downtown, Rapid City, SD November 26 Rapid City Concert Association presents Derik Nelson Family Fine Arts Theatre Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111 November 28 West River Electric will be closed for Employee Training In the case of a power outage call 605-393-1500 or 605-279-2135 November 29 Day in the Life Miner Brewing Music Series presents Charlie Parr, Miner Brewing Company Hill City, SD, 605-574-9635 December 1 Main Street Square Ugly Sweater Skate Party Rapid City, SD, 605-716-7979

Events of Special Note November 21-December 25 Christmas at the Capitol Pierre, SD, 605-773-3178


September 5-May 24 Box Elder/Douglas School District Community Library Monday-Thursdays, Douglas High School Library

November 23-24 West River Electric will be closed for Thanksgiving, In the case of a power outage, call 605-393-1500 or 605-279-2135

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.

December 2 Sip ‘n Paint, Prairie Berry Winery, Hill City, SD 605-574-3898

December 15 Dirk Quinn Band, Dahl Arts Center, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4101

December 6 Pancake Supper, Wall Drug Wall, SD, 605-279-2665

December 23 Main Street Square, Skates and a Movie, Rapid City, SD 605-716-7979

December 8 Suzie Cappa Art Night Suzie Cappa Art Center Rapid City, SD December 9 Saturday Art Adventures/Home Sweet Home, Dahl Arts Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4101 December 9-10 The Wizard of Oz, Fine Arts Theatre, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4111 December 15 Main Street Square Lights on the Ice Teen Night Rapid City, SD, 605-716-7979

December 25 West River Electric will be closed for Christmas, In the case of a power outage, call 605-393-1500 or 605-279-2135 December 31 Main Street Square, Downtown Countdown, Rapid City, SD 605-716-7979 January 1 West River Electric will be closed for New Years. In the case of a power outage call 605-393-1500 or 605-279-2135

January 10 4th Grade Symphony Safari Fine Arts Theatre Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111 January 26-February 4 2018 Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4111 February 9-10 Rent, Fine Arts Theatre Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111 February 9-11 Black Hills Sport Show & Outdoor Expo, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4111 February 12 Rapid City Concert Association presents Hot Club of Cowtown Fine Arts Theatre Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111

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PDF of the December 2017 Cooperative Connections