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VOL. 17 NO. 10

Electricity Is at the Heart of the Home P8-9



URD or OH - That is the Question What a Christmas present! Many of you may not have even noticed the outages we had. But for many, a week without electricity is never good. I would like to thank all the member/owners affected for all of their patience and understanding during our Christmas snow storm. I would like to thank our entire employee team for all of their hard work. Of course Dick Johnson a special thanks to our line department who worked so CEO/General Manager hard that week to get power restored. The storm on Christmas Day was just plain brutal. To hear the stories the guys told, it wasn’t for the faint of heart. I would be remiss not to thank their families. Most of them didn’t get to see their loved ones on Christmas. The Wall crew spent their Christmas night stranded on the floor of our office. What dedication; our crews could have all stayed home, and not answered their phones, but they didn’t; they went to work. One question I always get during storms; “why the heck don’t you put everything underground!” One member told one of our member service reps, “we can send a man to the moon, it would seem we could find a better way to keep our grid up!” Well said! For history purposes, in the 1970’s and 80’s, we took the approach, along with many other coops, to install underground (URD) cable. However, much of it was faulty and started to fail well before the end of its useful life. There were reasons given at the time like bad soil types, improper installation, among others. We then took the position that moving forward, we would replace failing URD with overhead especially in the rural areas and large taps. In reality, we were paying for it twice; the original URD that wasn’t depreciated and now new overhead. 1982800 One of the main drivers now is the cost of overhead vs. underground. We look at the cost vs. the benefits we derive. We recently completed 2 lines in an identical area; one overhead and one URD. The 3 phase overhead line cost you our member/owners $62,000 per mile vs. the URD at $88,000 per mile. The higher costs of URD do offset other expenses of overhead such as tree trimming, damage from vehicle contacts, less line loss, and limited storm restoration costs. Over the last few 2 Feb ruar y 2 0 1 7 • cooperative connections

years we have changed our overhead construction standards to include shorter spans between poles, installed larger poles, and put in what is called a T2 conductor. T2 is like 2 wires twisted together to limit the amount of ice that should accumulate on the wires and help reduce “galloping” on the lines. We tweaked these standards in hopes of avoiding or minimizing damage from severe storms. In our urban areas, we are mostly underground, or moving that way. This is due to the denser population. We are able to serve more meters per mile of line thereby stretching fixed costs of line over more members. Our evaluation on URD vs. overhead looks at the number of members served, access to right of way, terrain, and even aesthetics. Once it is installed URD isn’t without maintenance costs. We have faults, dig in’s, rodent issues, and failure of the cable prematurely. When we have a storm like this, we have to put the lines back to pre-existing conditions because we have to get members on quickly. Overhead is the quickest way to do that. If we had to plow in URD, it would be a very long time for restoration. The cost just to start changing all of our overhead to URD would take years and cost millions. Is that worth the chance on a few storms? Another issue I see is our high voltage transmission line. We are not completely shielded from outages even if we had 100% URD. We have some of our own transmission, but our main provider is WAPA. You have all seen the large structures around the area that carry our high voltage electricity to the substations to be reduced to what you need in your home. The cost for URD transmission is astronomical. We installed 750’ of URD transmission underground in Box Elder last year and the cost for just the cable was $125.00 per foot! Yes per foot! That would be close to $750,000 per mile just for cable. Therefore we will continue to have our transmission in the air. We could get a severe enough storm to knock that out, and no matter how many backup feeds we have, we could be out for a long period of time. I hope that answers some of the questions. Your Board, CEO, and staff take this consideration seriously on every project before they approve the work plan. Maybe someday, somehow, but I probably won’t see it, all overhead will be switched over to URD. I hope you have a wonderful and blessed 2017

Scholarships Available Deadline February 15, 2017

For the 26th Year, West River Electric is offering college scholarships to high school seniors’ graduating in May of 2017 as well as students currently in post-secondary 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 www.westriver.coop 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 15, 2017. Winners will be announced in April. For more information or to requests an application go to our website at www.westriver.coop, stop by or call us at 393-1500 or 279-2135. Applications are also available at the local high school.

High School Juniors

Are you interested in going to D.C.? June 8-15, 2017 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 my electric coop mean to me and my family?” 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 15, 2017. If you have questions please contact Veronica Kusser at 605-393-1500.

cooperative connections • F eb rua r y 2017 3



Downed and Dangerous

Kidsʼ Corner Safety Poster “Linemen – Be Safe.” Colt Kopren, 9 years old

Colt is the son of Randy and Heidi Kopren, Bison, S.D. They are members of Grand Electric Cooperative, Bison, S.D. Colt’s dad is a lineman.

Downed power lines can be deadly. ALWAYS assume a downed power line is live and avoid going near it or anything in contact with it.

Use Precaution • Downed power lines can energize the ground up to 35 feet away. • If you see a downed power line, immediately notify local authorities. • Never drive over downed power lines or through water that is in contact with them. • Never try to move a downed power line. Even using items that typically are not conductive will not prevent injury or death. Know What to Do • The safe way to move away from a downed power line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. • If your car comes in contact with a downed power line while you are inside, stay in the car. Do not touch any part of the car’s frame or any other metal. Use a cell phone or honk your horn to summon help. Allow only rescue personnel to approach the car. • If your car is in contact with a downed power line and you must exit due to fire or another imminent threat: – Do not touch your vehicle and the ground at the same time with any part of your body or clothing. – Open the door to your vehicle without touching the metal door frame. – Jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and so both feet land at the same time. – Shuffle away so that the toe of one foot shuffles forward along the length of the other foot, ensuring that both feet are in constant contact and always touching the ground. • If someone comes in contact with a downed power line or something else that has become electrified, call 911 immediately. • Never touch someone who has come in contact with a power line. They are energized and pose a danger to anyone who comes in contact with them. • Remember power lines don’t have to fall in order to be dangerous. Always call 811 before you dig and keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from overhead power lines. Source: esfi.org 4 Februar y 2017 • COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS

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.

nd 92 Legislative Session

Get the App! Connect with S.D. Legislators

ANYTIME. ANYWHERE. (Look under iPhone offerings)

Profiles and contact information on lawmakers, maps of the capitol, links to committees ...and more!



Bountiful Brunch Favorite Breakfast Bake 1 lb. sausage, cooked and drained 2 cups frozen hash browns, thawed 1 pkg. crescent rolls 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 5 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup milk 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper 2 T. onion, sliced thin 2 T. green pepper, sliced thin 2 T. Parmesan cheese

Pat crescent rolls into a 9x13-inch pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Spoon sausage over top. Sprinkle on hash browns and Cheddar cheese. Combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Gently pour over all. Top with onions and green pepper. Sprinkler with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375°F. for 30 minutes. Jane Ham, Rapid City

Ultra-flexible Ham and Veggie Quiche 1 refrigerated pie crust (half of a 14.1 oz. pkg.) or 8-inch frozen deep-dish pie crust 1/2 cup sliced green onions or finely chopped white, yellow or red onions 1/2 cup vegetable of choice, such as shredded carrots or thinly sliced asparagus, baby green beans or shredded zucchini 1/2 cup chopped baked ham or

2 cups flour 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 T. McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground 1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into chunks

1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix 1 egg 1 cup sour cream 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted 1 tsp. McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

Mix flour, sugars and cinnamon in large bowl. Cut in cold butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside. Beat cake mix, egg, sour cream, melted butter and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or just until mixed. Spread evenly in greased and floured 13x9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle evenly with topping mixture. Bake at 350°F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan. Cool on wire rack. Cut into squares to serve. Makes 24 servings. Blueberry Crumb Cake: Prepare topping and batter as directed. Spread batter in baking pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup blueberries, then the topping mixture. Bake 45 minutes. Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 265, Total Fat 13g, Cholesterol 41mg, Sodium 226mg, Carbohydrates 34g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Protein 3g

deli ham, ham steak or honey- Pictured, Cooperative Connections glazed ham 1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded sharp Eggs Benedict Casserole Cheddar cheese or provolone or Monterey Jack 8 large eggs 3/4 lb. Canadian bacon, diced 6 eggs 3 cups milk, divided 6 English muffins, diced 2/3 cup half-and-half 3 green onions, chopped 1 (.9 oz.) pkg. hollandaise sauce (or 1/3 cup milk and 1 tsp. onion powder 1/4 cup butter 1/3 cup cream) 1/2 tsp. salt Whisk eggs, 2 cups milk, onions and onion powder together in a large bowl until well mixed. Spray 9x13-inch baking 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Prepare crust, if necessary, according to package directions. Layer onions, carrots (or other vegetables), ham and cheese in crust. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper. Whisk until frothy. Pour mixture over veggies and ham. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F. until the top is set and light golden brown, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes, then slice and serve. Judy Bierle, Utica

Overnight French Toast 1/2 cup butter 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 tsp. cinnamon 12 slices bread

Cinnamon Crunch Cake

5 eggs 1/2 cup milk Dash salt Vanilla, to taste

dish with cooking spray. Layer half the Canadian bacon in prepared baking dish. Spread English muffins over meat and top with remaining Canadian bacon. Pour egg mixture over casserole. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle casserole with paprika; cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 375°F. until eggs are nearly set, about 30 minutes; remove foil. Continue baking until eggs are completely set, about 15 additional minutes. Whisk hollandaise sauce mix with 1 cup milk in a saucepan. Add butter and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer and stir until thickened, about 1 minute. Drizzle sauce over casserole to serve. Cortney Reedy, Tea

Egg Bake 1/2 lb. sausage 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 2 eggs

1/2 cup Bisquick 1 cup milk

Melt butter in a 9x13-inch pan. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Put bread in 2 layers across pan. Mix remaining ingredients; pour over bread. Refrigerate overnight. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F. for 30 minutes. Invert on tray and serve.

Mix together; pour into pie plate. Bake at 400°F. for 25 to 30 minutes.

Mary Jessen, Holabird

Diana Gillick, Tea

Please send your favorite seafood, appetizer or beverage 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 2017. All entries must include your name, mailing address, telephone number and cooperative name.


Co-op news

We offer 8 Different Ways to

Pay Your Bill At West River Electric we offer many different options to pay your electric bill, making it easy for you to accomplish the task at your convenience day or night. PrePaid Metering •  Pay ahead, just like putting gas in your car. •  No deposits or late fees. •  Same rates as normal, but your balance is calculated on a  daily basis allowing you to know how much credit you have. •  To find the balance on your account call the IVR or sign up  to receive text or email messages via SmartHub. •  Go to www.westriver.coop and click on  the “How to Pay  your Bill” tab. You can download a Prepaid Service Agreement or sign up online. •  Pay as often as you like. If your money runs out your power  will be shut off until money is added to your account. As soon as the payment is made, your power is restored. MoneyGram •  Can be used at 4 different locations in Rapid City. Go to www. westriver.coop and click on the “How to Pay your Bill” tab. •  Use the receive code 15509 and the payment should hit your account in about 20 minutes. This is a great way to make a cash payment after hours. By USPS Payment by mail, just be sure and allow up to three days for delivery of your payment using the convenient return envelope provided with your monthly statement. Drop Box The drop boxes are still available at both the Rapid City and Wall offices for your convenience. You can drop your payment in the box anytime day or night, just please do not put cash in the box. Payments are picked up from the drop box each work day by 7:00 a.m. There are drop boxes available at the Wall or Rapid City offices, Wall Police Station, 41 Main Street in Wall, SD and at First Interstate Bank, 404 S Avenue in New Underwood, S.D.

In Office Cash or check is accepted in the Wall or Rapid City office of West River Electric between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday, except holidays. 6 Februar y 2 0 1 7

cooperative connections

SmartHub is West River Electric Cooperative’s free online payment system that also allows you to ask us questions and monitor your energy usage. If you are new to paying your bill online, you will need to create a SmartHub account. Go to www.westriver.coop and click on “Pay My Bill” to access your account or  sign up for self service. SmartHub Features •  Provides 24-hour access to account •  Sends an e-mail or text notification when your new electric  bill is generated. The e-mail includes a link for easy navigation to your billing information. You can use SmartHub to review account information and pay your electric bill, or you may choose to pay in a different manner. •  Allows you to pay electronically using a Visa, MasterCard,  or an electronic check transaction. •  Displays posting of payments in real time. •  Provides current and historical billing information and payment history. •  Outlines energy usage in graphs. •  Includes a free app for your smartphone or tablet. Download it by searching for “SmartHub” on either the Apple Store or Android Market. Once the app is open, type in “West River Electric Cooperative” as the provider. The login information is the same for both the web and mobile app. •  Allows you to enroll in Paperless Billing. •  Lets those with multiple accounts pay with a single payment. SmartHub—Pay Now Go to www.westriver.coop and click on “Pay Now”. No registration is required. Just use your billing account number and your last name or the name of your business to pay your bill quickly and easily. Unlike the full SmartHub site, you cannot view your usage. IVR (Automated Phone System) •  Pay by credit card or check using our automated phone system toll free at (855)730-8712. If you have never used this option, you need to call either the Wall or Rapid City office and set up a 4 digit pin number. You can make your payment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. •  Update your credit card information for Auto Pay. •  Access account information Automated Payment (Auto Pay) •  Pay your bill using Visa, MasterCard, or an electronic check transaction.  •  Each month you will receive your bill as usual. 12-15 days after the billing date, payment will be deducted by your payment method of choice. 10344000 •  Enroll in the program using SmartHub.  As you can see there is a convenient payment option for everyone. If you have any questions or need assistance with any of these options please call us at 393-1500 or 279-2135. cooperative connections • F eb rua r y 2017 7

Electricity is the Best Choice

for cost-savings and the environment


Paul Wesslund

eith Dennis says electricity is a gooD energy choice for the environment. He cites a thoughtprovoking list of reasons in his peer-reviewed article published in The Electricity Journal in November 2015, titled “Environmentally Beneficial Electrification: Electricity as the End-Use Option.” Dennis is the senior principal of end-use solutions and standards at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). His article challenges basic assumptions about electricity and the environment that make a difference for top-level policymakers, as well as for co-op members. His focus on water heaters and heat pumps is especially significant since heating water and air account for more than half of a home’s energy use. Here are answers Dennis gave to questions about the research behind his article: A central claim in your article is that an electric water heater has less environmental impact than a natural gas water heater. How can this be true, when burning natural gas emits less greenhouse gas than burning coal, which generates about a third of our nation’s electricity? Technologies have gotten so advanced that a water heater in your home can be 200 percent or more efficient at converting electricity into heat. It does this by taking some of the energy out of the surrounding air in what’s called a heat pump. Heat pumps are being used more and more for space heating and more recently, heat pump technology is being used in water heaters. And a natural gas water heater actually burns the gas in your home. So you need to vent that air out of your home through a flue. To do that, you


are essentially making large holes in your home and pumping air in and out, reducing energy efficiency. Explain the contention in your article that

buying a gas water heater locks you out of future improvements in efficiency. Once you install a gas appliance in your home, you are stuck with that technology for its 10- to 20year life. During that time, solar panels and wind turbines will be generating a bigger share of the nation’s electricity. Coal power plant efficiency will be improving. The only way to benefit from those trends would be to have an electric appliance. You make a point that using an electric appliance can make you part of a broad, national solution to improving energy efficiency. In addition to the high efficiency of the electric appliance itself, there are electric system efficiencies that can be achieved through the ability to choose the time when you use the electricity. For example, your water heater is able to operate as a type of battery and better batteries are part of what’s needed to make renewable energy more useful. Solar panels only make electricity when the sun shines and wind turbines only make electricity when the wind blows. A hidden value of water heaters is that they can serve as a storage technology – the water they heat stays hot for a long time because they are well insulated. An electric car can work the same way – once it’s charged, it stores energy for when it’s going to be driven. By storing energy when it is available and then using it when it is needed, these technologies are increasing the overall efficiency of our energy resources. Many electric co-ops have load-control programs that take advantage of that energy storage ability to more effectively manage the flow of power. Those load control programs return that value to the co-op member by helping pay some of the up-front costs for these more efficient appliances through rebates or other incentives. You claim there’s a huge flaw in the way we calculate a lot of the leading energy efficiency standards, from ENERGY STAR® ratings to construction standards. How do they miss the mark? The formulas being used to calculate energy efficiency for these major programs don’t take into account several realities. Those include the increases in renewable energy and natural gas to generate electricity, power plant efficiencies, load management programs and other advantages of electricity we’ve talked about in this interview. Those metrics for calculating energy efficiency were designed before a lot of these trends. Despite these trends, the metrics still treat all electricity as coming from inefficient coal plants. That’s just clearly wrong.

These incorrect efficiency metrics lead to bad energy decisions. In my article, I quote the Natural Resources Defense Council as saying that these metrics “have serious deficiencies for the purpose of setting a product standard; they are simply not the right numbers to inform good standards decisions.” NRECA and others have been working with policymakers to change those metrics. What is the status? Very positive. It’s a long bureaucratic process, but we are hoping that the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will work with us to address these issues. Along with the environmental community, the renewable energy community and other energy stakeholders, we have begun that process. You conclude your article with the bold statement that “incentivizing beneficial electrification with appliances available today would immediately reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” For policymakers and co-op members, more and more you are going to see the ability to achieve end-use emissions reductions and energy efficiency improvements by choosing electric end-use options over direct fossil fuel use like oil, natural gas, gasoline and diesel. This will achieve energy efficiency, cost savings and environmental benefits. Paul Wesslund writes on cooperative issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS • February 2017 9

Christmas Day 2016

Storm Rudolph A

nother 2016 storm for the books. I say another as we had one on Mother’s Day, another one on Father’s Day and now Christmas Day. For West River Electric it started around 6:00 a.m. on Christmas Day when the power to the town of Wall went out. The Wall crew on call found a tree in the line and thought that was possibly the cause, but it didn’t seem to be the cause at all. With conditions worsening with the visibility, the fog,

Editor’s Note: 180 Poles 500 Miles of Line 40 Cross Arms 50 Line Breaks 3000 Members 7 Days to Restoration

power and everyone North of Elm Springs was out of power and visibility in that area was near zero. At 7 p.m. we lost power to Enning which would remain out of power for the next couple of days. The Wall crews worked until approximately 10:00 pm until conditions were unsafe to work in. Early the next morning they were back out and at 6:30 am power was restored to the town of Wall.

By Veronica Kusser

ice, snow and wind began to cause problems in our rural areas. Around 2:00 in the afternoon, the Rapid City on call crew were called in for outages in the Box Elder, Caputa, New Underwood and Bear Butte areas. It didn’t take long for the on-call crews to realize there was no way they could handle it, and all of the lineman cut short the time with family and friends to help out with the power restoration efforts. At 5:00 that evening Wayne sent out an email that half of the town of Wall remained without

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cooperative connections

At 6 p.m. the Enning and Rapid City crew were called in due to the dangerous conditions. The Rapid City crews were back at it by 9:00 pm when the conditions had improved enough to head out and restore power to those they could get to. By noon on the 26th we were able to evaluate and see that we lost power to the Elm Springs, Quinn, Enning, Pedro, Creighton, Peno Basin, Union Center, Hereford, White Owl, Plainview, Interior and Scenic areas as well as anything in between. All of our crews were dispatched to assist with restoration for the next several days.

Important message to all of our members: Please do not assume power is out when a line is down. The picture on the left shows a line that was down and energized for 2 1/2 days before we found it. Don’t assume that you can drive over the line just because it is down and you believe it is dead, please call us at 393-1500 or 2792135 and we will check it out.

An evaluation was done and it was apparent that we had quite a few poles on the ground as well as line breaks. With the road conditions and the snow that had blown in it was obvious that it was going to take some work to get power restored to some of our more rural members. We called in extra help. Kainz Construction graciously sent several crews to assist with pole replacement, and our neighbors to the south, Black Hills Electric sent two crews to help after their restoration process was complete.


As you can see from the photos it was going to take more than our regular equipment to get around. We had members that so graciously moved snow to help us make a speedier recovery to those without power...to them we can’t thank you enough. We had a lineman who spent 2 days just moving snow to make access to the poles easier, and yes, our line crews did get stuck. But at the end of the day, they still had a smile and a lot of determination to get the last member restored. It was Saturday afternoon around 1:30 p.m. when power was restored to the last member. We appreciate the patience, kind words and acts of kindness as we worked through Storm Rudolph (named by one of our lineman).

We had approximately 500 miles of line impacted by Mother Nature, 180 poles were broken off, 40 cross arms needed to be replaced along with 50 line breaks requiring repair. Approximately 3000 members were touched by the storm. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate all of the words of encouragement. West River Electric has the best members. We want to thank Kainz Construction who set aside their scheduled work load for the week to assist in setting poles and Black Hills Electric who sent 2 line crews up to assist with restoration. Thank you to WREA employees and your families for your dedication.

cooperative connections • F eb rua r y 2017 11

Where Are They Now? Rural Electric Youth Tour Alumni Walk Varied Paths

I By Brenda Kleinjan

n 1963, electric cooperatives in south Dakota started sending teenagers to Washington, D.C., for a week of learning, sight-seeing and meeting with our nation’s leaders. Since then, more than 1,300 students representing South Dakota cooperatives have made the trek which is held each June. For some participants, the experience serves as a catalyst to explore public service and ways to enrich their communities. For others, it reinforces a sense that the wide open prairies are where they belong and are needed. After a stint as the Student Association President at South Dakota State University and then finishing a master’s degree there, 2008 Youth Tour alum Ben Stout now works to advocate for South Dakota farmers as part of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. Stout is the southeast ag development specialist for the Division of Agricultural Development, which assists with the development and promotion of agriculture and agricultural products in the state of South Dakota. Stout, originally from Philip, S.D., represented


West Central Electric Cooperative in Murdo, S.D., on the tour. Also representing West Central that year on the trip was Faith Begay of Lower Brule. After earning an undergraduate degree at Stanford University and a master of public policy degree from Duke University, Begay can be found in Washington, D.C., where she works as a special assistant in the Office of the Assistant SecretaryIndian Affairs in the U.S. Department of Interior in Washington, D.C. During the 2016 Youth Tour, Faith organized a meeting for the South Dakota and Wisconsin Youth Tour participants to meet with the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs Larry Roberts, a member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. During the meeting, Begay related to students the importance of getting involved in community and working for change. A participant from the 1960s reflected on his experience in an e-mail to organizers last fall. “I went on the 1968 Youth Tour, courtesy of Codington-Clark Co-op,” said Maynard Resen,

referring to the Watertown, S.D.,-based cooperative which sent the South Shore native on his first trip to the nation’s Capitol. “It was a great trip, especially for a farm kid who ‘didn’t get out much.’ The introduction to the sights in our nation’s capitol was priceless and although I’ve been back several times, the memories of that first exposure as a teenager have stayed with me,” said Resen, who now lives in Wolcottville, Ind. “The functioning of our government became more understandable on that trip. I’m glad you are still taking young people there for that orientation,” Resen wrote. The connections Resen wrote of resonate through the years. “The experience awakened me in ways I never thought possible. I think I realized that I really wanted to give back to the community that I reside in. I not only cover the news with my job, I have a real passion for focusing on where my tax dollars are used,” said Kevin Larsen, who represented Central Electric Cooperative in Mitchell S.D., on the 2006 trip. Originally from Howard, S.D., Larsen is the news director for KCCR radio in Pierre, S.D. Viewers of the Coyote News broadcast at the University of South Dakota will see Youth Tour alum Nick Nelson in the anchor seat this semester. Nelson, who is from Newell, S.D., represented Butte Electric Cooperative on the 2014 tour. “What I picked up from Youth Tour was a great fascination with how the government is run in Washington. It gave me an opportunity to get a closer look at what I’ve seen in the news for a while. If anything, it influenced me to dive deeper and seek a career in journalism to report on many of the things I experienced on Youth Tour,” Nelson said. That insight into how government works is one that influenced others as well, no matter when they participated. “It was an absolute trip-of-a-lifetime, take lots of pictures – you’re going to have so much fun,” said Sandra (Hohbach) Sieg as she delivered an impromptu message to the 2016 delegation as they boarded the bus for the ride to the airport. Hohbach was in their seat nearly 45 years prior when she represented what was then Tri-County Electric Association in Plankinton, S.D., on the 1972 trip. (Tri-County is now Central Electric.) Sieg is project and risk management director for the Sioux Falls Federal Credit Union. The group was holding its annual meeting at the hotel the students were departing from. “Because the trip offered opportunities to visit the major historical landmarks of D.C., I’ll never forget how awestruck I was to see the huge memorials, the White House, the Capitol and the Washington Monument. That experience combined with the chance to see where and how our federal government worked, instilled a sense of patriotism and loyalty to the USA that I still have today,” Sieg said. “It was truly humbling to walk through the same halls where history was made by patriots and some of our country’s greatest leaders.” Another thing stands out for Sieg. “In addition, the devastating Rapid City flood occurred while our group was in D.C. I’ll never forget the empathy and

compassion shown to members of our group from Rapid City who were worried about how their family and friends might be affected by the flood. It was as true then as it is today – South Dakotan’s always pull together during times of crisis to support those in need – I witnessed that first hand on this trip,” Sieg said. The following year, Sieg’s sister, Lynette participated on the trip. Also in that group was Koreen (Blomberg) Anderson who was representing Grand Electric Cooperative in Bison, S.D. “The Youth Tour had a very profound, lasting impact on me. Washington, D.C., became a reality rather than just something one hears about,” said Anderson, a marketing and grain accountant at the Lemmon, S.D. location of Southwest Grain, a division of CHS Inc. “Its was educational, it was fun, it was many “firsts” for me. Now many years later, I enjoy hearing the stories that participants share after attending the Youth Tour.” Electric cooperatives in South Dakota and western Minnesota are taking applications for the 2017 Youth Tour. Contact your local electric cooperative for more information on the program.

Left: Sandra (Hohbach) Sieg participated in the 1972 Youth Tour. A chance encounter with the 2016 delegation had her sharing words of advice for last summer’s delegation. Above: Among the participants in the 1973 tour pictured here was Sieg’s sister, Lynette, and Koreen Anderson. Opposite Page: Youth Tour Alum Faith Begay talks to the 2016 delegation at the U.S. Department of Interior. COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS • February 2017 13

Co-op news

West River Electric is committed to the Membership that we serve. It is our goal to restore power in the most timely, safe and efficient manner possible. There is a method to the process that is used when we have a wide spread outage. Without power to the substation it is not possible to restore power to the residence. The most efficient way to do this is to start at the power supply. We thank you for your understanding and patience when we encounter Mother Nature as we did with Storm Rudolph.


cooperative connections


14 Feb ruar y 2 0 1 7

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Keeping your account information up to date at West River Electric it is important. With current phone numbers and e-mail addresses, we can notify you of planned outages or anything else that may pertain to your electric service. If you currently take advantage of e-bill you can make changes to your address or phone numbers by going into your account and then to the “Service My Account” section and click on “Change Mailing Address or Phone Numbers”. Please update all of your information. You can e-mail changes to your account to info@westriver. coop or contact us by phone at 393-1500 or 279-2135.

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.

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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

November 2015 Number of Meters: 16,553 KWH 19,938,591 1938501

Be sure to include your name and address if you mail this coupon or E mail: veronica.kusser@westriver. coop


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

enerGY tip A crackling fire in the hearth warms the house, but don’t let it heat up your electric bill! Caulk around the fireplace hearth and keep the damper closed when a fire is not burning. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

November 2016 Number of Meters: 16,787 KWH 19,812,683 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 info@westriver.coop 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.

(USPS No. 675-840)

Our Mission

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. Terry 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, 1-800781-7474 (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 • F eb rua r y 2017 15

Regional Dateline

January 21 Skates & a Movie featuring Alice in Wonderland, Main Street Square, Rapid City, SD 605-716-7979 January 27-February 4 2017 BH Stock Show & Rodeo Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, gotmine.com February 2-4 SD State High School One-Act Play Festival, Aberdeen, SD February 10-11 SD State High School Gymnastics Meet, Aberdeen, SD February 10-12 35th Annual BH Sport Show & Outdoor Expo, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4115 February 15 Scholarship deadline for West River Electric, 5 p.m. Rapid City or Wall office 605-393-1500 or 605-279-2135 February 15 Youth Tour application deadline for West River Electric, 5 p.m. Rapid City or Wall office 605-393-1500 or 605-279-2135 February 17-March 18 Firehouse Theatre presents I love you, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Firehouse Theatre, Rapid City, SD, 605-348-1915

Events of Special Note March 17-18 28 Below Fatbike Race Lead, SD, 605-584-3435


January 13-February 4 Firehouse Theatre presents Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Firehouse Theatre Rapid City, SD, 605-348-1915

March 24-26 Black Hills Home Builders Home Show, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD blackhillshomebuilders.com

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.

February 20 RCCA/Shades of Buble Rapid City Concert Association Fine Arts Theatre Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 February 24-25 SD State High School Wrestling Tournaments, Sioux Falls, SD February 24-26 West River Singles Pool Tournament, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4115 March 3-4 SD State High School Debate & IE Tournament, Mitchell, SD March 3-5 West River Team Pool Tournament, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4115 March 7 NHS Blood Drive, Wall High School, Wall, SD

March 7-8 Saturday Night Fever The Musical, Fine Arts Theatre Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 March 8-12 SD State Pool Tournament Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 March 9 Jay Leno, Barnett Arena Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 March 11-12 2017 Gun Show, American Legion Hall, Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. MST, Philip, SD 605-859-2635, 605-859-2280 605-859-2892 March 16-18 SD State High School AA Boys Basketball Tournament Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD

March 16-18 SD State High School A Boys Basketball Tournament Premier Center, Sioux Falls, SD March 16-18 SD State High School B Boys Basketball Tournament Barnett Center, Aberdeen, SD March 18-19 Black Hills Motorcycle Show Rushmore Hall Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 March 25-26 SD State AAU Wrestling Tournament, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 March 31-April 22 Firehouse Theatre presents It’s Only a Play, Firehouse Theatre, Rapid City, SD 605-348-1915

Profile for West River Electric Association

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PDF Version of February 2017 Cooperative Connections

Wrea feb2017  

PDF Version of February 2017 Cooperative Connections