Page 1

MAY 2017

VOL. 18 NO. 1

Avoid a

Moving Violation Page 8-9



Culture of Safety With all this nice weather, our construction and maintenance season is in full swing. With that, we spend a lot of time on safety. With our outside people being exposed to very high risk jobs, we stress safety even more. However, we extend that same process to all of our employees. We work very hard to foster a culture of safety with all employees, a culture that says Dick Johnson you can speak up if you see CEO/General Manager unsafe working conditions whether you are the lowest guy on the organizational chart or the highest; with safety it simply doesn’t matter who you are. We have safety meetings at least once per month. Several of these meetings are strictly for linemen, things like pole top rescue and hot stick testing. However all employees might attend a session on CPR/First Aid and winter survival training. Most of these meetings are taught by our statewide association, South Dakota Rural Electric Association (SDREA). We also have an internal safety committee made up of employees from all departments of West River Electric who meet regularly to develop our mission, vision and goals for our safety program. They monitor our progress on how we are achieving those goals. Monthly the Board receives reports on safety. The Board also has 2 members on an accident review committee that review every accident, or issue, whether big or small, to show we care about how our employees are meeting our safety program goals. We are also called a “RESAP” coop which stands for Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program. This is a program sponsored by our national trade association, NRECA. We are one of a number of coops nationally that are a part of that program. This program has extensive requirements that we must meet as a cooperative. It stresses that safety must be embraced as a core value, and leadership and employees must all take ownership of the systems and processes that create a safe working environment. Every 3 years, we are required to become re-certified. This includes questionnaires, surveys and an unannounced safety inspection by our peers to make sure 2 Ma y 2 0 1 7 • cooperative connections

we have embraced safety as our core value. Our “Quest for Zero” accidents and injuries will continue for safety each and every day, as we want all our employees to go home safely to their families each night. One of the issues we stress too is a culture of safety off the job. That leads me to encourage our member/owners to develop their own culture of safety at home too. Many of you are starting spring projects around the home and farm. If at any time you are digging or putting poles in the ground, remember to call 811 and get an underground locate. You never know what is lurking below ground that could harm you, or even worse, kill you. The 811 service will notify us, and we have 48 hours to come out and locate any underground cable that might be there. You not only need to look down, but look up too! Many times there are overhead lines near you when you are working. There might be times you have a grain auger in the air or a loader reaching high working. Those overhead lines are closer to the ground than one might think. Recently we have seen more and more accidents with machinery in overhead lines. Today’s machinery continues to get larger and taller. What in the past might have cleared, might cause you trouble now with a new piece of machinery. If you have approaches where you pull into fields, and are having issues with clearing the lines, please give us a call. We will go out and look at what the clearance is. Please call us so we can make sure you don’t get hurt should the machinery become entangled in the line. And if the unfortunate should happen, and you hit our line, whatever you do NEVER, EVER get out of the machine. Call someone, or wait for help (and keep them away too), and then call us to have us dispatched immediately to make sure the line is de-energized BEFORE you exit the machine. 1127000 I hope you all have a great spring. REMEMBER take that extra step and STAY SAFE. We want you to develop a culture of safety just like we do with our employees each and every day.

Board of Director Biographies Marcia Arneson - 23 Years I was born in Rapid City and raised in Sturgis. I went to all 12 years of school in Sturgis. My mother was a stay at home mom and became a seamstress who made all of our clothes and knit all the sweaters that we wore. My dad was in the 109th Engineering Infantry and joined with the British Commando during WWII. He was captured and became a POW for 39 months. When he came back he purchased the Standard Station on the corner of Main & Junction in Sturgis. He worked construction after the station was sold and owned Swede’s Bar until his retirement. I have three brothers and a younger sister. I was active in the Presbyterian Church, VFW Auxiliary, ski club, dance and choir. During High School I worked at Big Bear Drive Inn and the Steakhouse as a waitress to earn spending money. After graduation from Sturgis Brown High School, I married and lived on a cattle ranch at Elm Springs, SD, where we raised 4 kids, Travis, Shawna, Chrissy and Lindsay. Our son, Travis, was born with cerebral palsy, so I spent a lot of time learning about Marcia and Thayne taking a ride in the this condition and then become an advocate for families bucket at Appreciation Day. of children with disabilities. When Travis was 3 1/2 we moved him to Sioux Falls where he was able to get an education. There was nothing available in the local area to deal with his needs or the care that he required. It was quite an adjustment for our family. While on the ranch I taught Sunday School, drove the school bus, and was a leader of Marcia’s 4 children Travis Arneson, Chrissy the 4-H Club. I was active in our local church, the community hall and the Elm Springs Elshere, Shawna Eastman & Lindsay Elshere. Parents Club. As the girls got older their interests turned to rodeo. I spent weekends traveling with and supporting the girls from late spring through the summer as they participated in high school and national rodeo. I became a board of director for West River Electric in 1994 when Bobbie Nachtigall moved out of her district. I finished out her term, was reelected and have been proud to serve the members of WREA since then. Over the years I have earned my CCD (certified credentialed director certificate), my board leadership certificate and my gold leader status. All this has taken many hours of education and has helped me to understand the changing times that are going on in this crazy world. I moved to Rapid City in 2001 and worked as a nurse assistant in Sturgis and Rapid City, worked in financial planning and managed a loan center. Along with representing you our members on the board I spend a lot of time following my 11 grandchildren in the activities they are involved in. In the past 23 years on the board, I have seen a lot of changes, a lot of directors and employees come and go. I am so proud to be a part of this great organization and honored you have put your trust in me to help forge your coop ahead. Mamo loves every minute spent with her 11 grandchildren.

cooperative connections • Ma y 2017 3



Keep Your Family Safe During a Flood Heavy rains often cause flooding in lowland areas, homes and basements. Safe Electricity reminds everyone to be alert to electrical equipment that could be energized and in contact with water, along with other potential hazards that create a serious danger of electrocution. Cleaning up and using water-damaged appliances also carry safety risks. As part of the “Teach Learn Care” TLC Campaign, Safe Electricity urges parents and other caregivers to make sure children are aware of these hazards as well. “The prospect of an electrical accident is probably not top of mind when you’re dealing with a flooded basement, room or even outdoors,” said Molly Hall, executive director of Safe Electricity. “But it’s the first thing you should think of before you step foot in the water.”

Safety measures to keep in mind include: • Never drive into flooded waters. • Never step into a flooded basement or other room if water may be in contact with electrical outlets, appliances or cords. • Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. If you can’t reach your breaker box safely, call your electric utility to shut off power at the meter. • Never use electric appliances or touch electric wires, switches or fuses when you’re wet or when you’re standing in water. • Keep electric tools and equipment at least 10 feet away from wet surfaces. Do not use electric yard tools if it’s raining or the ground is wet. • If an electrical appliance has been in contact with water, have a professional check it out before it is used. It may need to be repaired or replaced. “A good safety measure is to have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) professionally installed on outlets,” Hall said. “These safety devices can cut off power instantly if there’s a problem.” GFCIs are recommended for outdoor outlets and outlets near wet areas of the home such as kitchen, bath and laundry room. Source: www.safeelectricity.org 4 May 2017 • COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS

Never use electrical equipment near water and other liquids. Never use electrical cords that are frayed or damaged. Do not overload electrical outlets. Never use light bulbs that exceed the recommended wattage for any lighting unit or fixture.

Kids’ Corner Safety Poster “Don’t put electronics near water.”

Ryder Vrchota, 9 years old Ryder is the son of Stacy and Judy Vrchota, Aberdeen, S.D. He attended Ipswich, S.D., based-FEM Electric Association’s annual meeting last June. 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.



Comforting Casseroles Cheesy Mexican Cornbread Casserole

Ham and Pasta 1 (16 oz.) pkg. elbow macaroni 4 cups fresh broccoli florets 1/2 cup finely chopped onions 1/2 cup butter, cubed 1/2 cup flour 1 tsp. ground mustard 1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper 6 cups milk 1 (15 oz.) jar processed cheese sauce 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided 4 cups cubed, fully cooked ham

Cook macaroni according to directions, adding broccoli during the last 3 to 4 minutes; drain. In a large Dutch oven, sauté onion in butter 2 minutes. Stir in flour, mustard, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheese sauce and 1 cup Cheddar cheese until blended; remove from heat. Stir in ham, macaroni and broccoli. Divide between a greased 9x13-inch pan and 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake one and freeze the other. Cover and bake at 350°F. for 50 to 60 minutes or until bubbly. To use frozen casserole: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Green Bean Casserole 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 cup sour cream or light cream 3 cans cut green beans, drained 8 oz. grated Cheddar cheese 1/2 cup crushed corn flakes

Combine 2 T. butter with flour; mix over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat; add seasonings and cream. Fold in beans. Place in greased 8x10-inch baking pan. Top with grated cheese. Mix remaining butter with corn flakes; sprinkle on top. Bake at 350°F. for 30 to 45 minutes. Belle Kvale, Lemmon

Quick Casserole 1 lb. ground beef Onion

1/2 tsp. McCormick® Chipotle Chili Pepper 1/2 tsp. salt 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided 1 can (14-1/2oz) petite diced tomatoes, drained 1 can (8-2/4 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained 1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles

Place cornbread in 9x13-inch baking dish sprayed with no stick cooking spray. Set aside. Beat eggs in large bowl with wire whisk. Add milk, sour cream and seasonings; mix well. Stir in 1-1/2 cups cheese, tomatoes, corn and chiles. Gently pour over cornbread. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350°F. for 45 to 55 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve with additional sour cream, if desired. Makes 12 servings. Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 275, Total Fat 15g, Sodium 653mg, Cholesterol 141mg, Carbohydrates 23g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Protein 12g Pictured, Cooperative Connections

Jalapeno Popper Casserole

Joane Beringer, Gettysburg

3 T. melted butter 2 T. flour 1 tsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. grated onion or 1/3 tsp. onion powder 1 tsp. salt

1 lb. prepared cornbread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 6 eggs 1-1/2 cups milk 1 cup sour cream 1 T. McCormick® Chili Powder 2 tsp. McCormick® Oregano Leaves 1/2 tsp. McCormick® Garlic Powder

1 can vegetable soup 1 can SpaghettiOs

2 lbs. tater tots 2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese 1 cup sour cream 2 cups Mexican shredded cheese

1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled 6 green onions, thinly sliced 6 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and diced

Place tater tots in a 9x13-inch pan. Bake at 425°F. for 15 minutes. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, 1-1/2 cups cheese, bacon, onions and jalapenos; spread over tater tots. Top with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle bacon and onions over top, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes. Note: Prepackaged bacon pieces may also be used. Kim Jost, Agar

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole 4 oz. spaghetti, broken into pieces 1 chicken, cooked and cut up 1 can cream of chicken soup 1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup pimento 1/4 cup minced green pepper 1 T. minced green onion 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef with onion; drain. Combine all ingredients. Bake at 350°F. for 45 to 60 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Cook spaghetti as directed on package. Combine with remaining ingredients. Place in greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Bake at 350°F. for 35 minutes.

Shirley Dreher, Clark

Mary Truman, Kimball

Please send your favorite dairy, dessert or salad 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.


Changing the Tattered American Flag

Patriotic Thing To Do A

s we all make plans for the memorial day

it is a time to take a few minutes to remember those who have died while serving for the freedom of the American people and our country. Prior to Memorial Day, Willy Nohr, Marketing Representative of West River Electric, will make a trip out on Nemo Road where he goes each year to change out the tattered and torn American flag that has flown for years. Willy has driven past the monument which stands in a meadow on private property many times over the past 6 years as he heads out for some peace and quiet to his cabin in the hills. He paid little attention to the flag and memorial at first and then began to wonder what the story of the individual that was laid to rest at this particular spot was. He stopped at the local hardware store where he picked up a flag to replace the tattered and torn one that hung there, and stopped by to see what he could learn. He found out that the flag stands proud and tall at the site of a young man who died that August day, nearly a century and a half ago, on a U.S. Calvary mission.


Editor’s Note Take a few minutes to remember those who have gone before us while serving this great nation.

By Veronica Kusser

6 M ay 20 1 7

cooperative connections

James A. King of Indiana, a 24 year old trooper was serving as a member of Captain Benteen’s Company H of the 7th U.S. Cavalary under Lt Col. George Armstrong Custer when he succumbed to the blistering August heat of a long ride during and exploratory mission. He was buried where he died here in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. Private Ewert wrote that “King fainted twice in the sun but was still marked for duty”. He died the following afternoon. “In the grey twilight of morning, the men with bowed heads, tears trickling down the sun-burnt cheeks, the dead body suspended over the grave, the Captain with his grey hair reading the service, the silence, all are impressed on my memory never to be erased.” His company made its way back to Fort Lincoln, hundreds of miles to the northeast near present-day Mandan, ND.

Application Deadline

July 7, 2017

We invite all of our members to participate in a member-tomember contribution option that’s quick, inexpensive and unites the entire membership to help each other. Operation Round-Up is designed for ease and maximum benefits for the program. Members volunteering for the Round-Up option agree to have their monthly bill rounded up to the nearest dollar with the extra pennies going to the program.

In 1989, one Hundred and Fifteen years later, Brian Mills of Boy Scout Troop 31 chose the resting place of this young soldier to be his Boy Scout Eagle Project. Brian placed a gravestone, a small flag pole and fenced the area where King was laid to rest. Research has shown that this is the oldest grave site known in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This grave takes you back in history to when George A. Custer with his 1200 troops and some 200 wagons first explored this area, all being during the summer of 1874. There is a concrete slab embedded at the site noting that the project records can be found at the Museum at Fort Meade. Willy takes great pride in being a part of the co-op family, as his co-workers are proud of his dedication to the site the soldier who gave his life for the freedom of our great country. After changing out the flag each year Willy drops the flag off where it will be turned in to the local Boy Scout Troop to be taken care of properly. Willy has the coop at heart , his grandfather, Harold Nohr, managed a co-op in northwestern North Dakota years ago and was a founding incorporator of Basin Electric Power Cooperative, the G&T based out of Bismarck, N.D. He later went on to manager Upper Missouri Power Cooperative, the Sidney, Montana based G&T. Willy has worked for West River Electric for the past 31 years, starting as summer intern in the Wall office and then transferring to the Rapid City Office as a power lineman and eventually moving into the Member Services and Marketing Department where he works today. His oldest son Dalton attended school at Mitchell Technical School and has worked as an apprentice following in the footsteps of his dad.

The average donation will amount to approximately $6 during the course of a year. Imagine, if 50% of West River Electric’s nearly 13,000 members signed up for Round Up, the fund would have $39,000 to be used to help local charities and civic organizations. Your last bill of the year will show your total contribution for tax purposes. Your voluntary participation will help someone else. Round-Up is voluntary! Just fill out the form below and return it with your next bill payment to your local office or drop it in the mail. 3951700 Operation Round-Up will be accepting applications for funding; the deadline to apply is July 7, 2017. Anyone interested in applying for funds, please stop by to pick up an application at the Wall or Rapid City Office, call 393-1500 or 279-2135 or go

online to westriver.coop. To sign up to donate to Operation Round-up fill out the form below and return with your payment. ___ Yes I want to participate in Operation Round Up ___ Please send me more information

Name __________________________________________ Address_________________________________________ City ___________________________________________ State ______________ Zip _________________________ _________ Phone ___________________ Acct # ________________ I would like to donate an additional amount over and above the normal roundup amount of $________per month, please apply this to my bill each month. cooperative connections • Ma y 2017 7

Planning, Communication Help to Avoid a

Moving Violation E Brenda Kleinjan

ncountering a large, oversized load on the highway can make one wonder what the load is and where it is going – and how long you may be following it as it winds its way to its destination. But for your local electric cooperative, these loads can create some challenges, especially really tall loads. “We see a lot of oversized loads any more,” said Brett Fosheim, operations manager at Butte Electric Cooperative in Newell, S.D., which lies on the northern edge of the Black Hills. U.S. Highway 85 runs north to south through the co-op, connecting Interstate 90 to the oil patch in western North Dakota. Additionally, U.S. Highway 212 cuts an east-west path through the cooperative. “We didn’t really see a decrease in those moves


when things slowed down up north,” Fosheim said. Fosheim noted that most of the oversized loads were large industrial equipment. “Almost all of it is tanks moving up 85 from 212,” he said. “Most of them we’ve been working with are doing a really good job of contacting us about their routes,” said Fosheim of the companies entrusted with transporting the large cargo. That can be crucial as the often power lines need to be moved by utility crews as the load moves toward its destination. “We probably have a better group of movers than we ever had in the past,” Fosheim said. Before the larger industrial loads became more commonplace for Fosheim and his crews, the co-op

The types of large, oversized loads moving down the region’s highways can be quite varied. Here, Murdo, S.D.-based West Central Electric crews lift a line for a historic train depot that returned to Fort Pierre after spending several decades ason a ranch in western South Dakota. Opposite page: Large structure and equipment moves can often take multiple utility crews to safely lift lines.

would see “a fair amount” of house moves annually, “but those have really slowed down for us. Now it’s just equipment moving up to the oil patch.” And with the change in type of oversized load comes increased frequency. “Now, we’re averaging two or three large loads amonth. I can’t remember the last time we had a house move,” Fosheim said. Coordinating the moves can create challenges. “Our territories are intermingled out here, especially in the Northern Hills,” Fosheim said, referring to how electric cooperative areas and investorowned utilities areas can intertwine. Adding to the complexity is that multiple types of utilities may also have infrastructure affected by the moves. “We have communications carriers attached to our facilities,” Fosheim said. “We advise the movers of all the carriers we know that are in the area. Moving lines for the large loads can be very time-consuming, Fosheim said, especially with really, really large loads. “Some of these tanks are really big with a lot of axles underneath them. We’ve seen them with two pusher trucks in addition to the pull trucker. There have been some big monstrosities coming through,” Fosheim said. While the sheer size of the load makes for interesting conversation, it also creates logisitical challenges. “We run out of right-of-way to lift the line, so our crews may wind up to bottom of the ditch, another 10 feet lower than the roadway,” Fosheim said. And, once they lift the line, the size of the load may make it impossible for the crew to get around the load to the next crossing. This means that the co-op must plan for a multiple crews to assist with the move. “It can be quite time-consuming and very hard to plan around,” Fosheim said, pointing that often the load can encounter delays before it gets to the

co-op’s area, pushing project from a morning timeline to afternoon. “It just takes more personnel to move these bigger loads,” he said. “We get just as many moves in winter as we do in spring or summer,” Fosheim said. Problems can arise, however, when those moving large loads fail to contact the utilities about lines. In the past, co-ops have found evidence of damage – sometimes downed lines – from someone simply ignoring basic safeyy. “The ones that are contacting us are quite good,” said Fosheim, noting that state efforts in monitoring big moves and making sure utilities are notified has helped. “There are some that get by that we don’t see.”

Hire a professional for the moving and contact your electric cooperative. “We haven’t had any mover damage for several years,” Fosheim said. In northeast South Dakota, Webster-based Lake Region Electric Association has also seen a decrease in damage caused by large loads. Operations Manager Jim Grimes notes that the large industrial loads have decreased in recent years and they see an occasional house move coming into the area. At Lake Region Electric, they took steps to adjust their major highway crossings to accommodate most higher loads. Grimes’ advice? “Hire a professional for the moving and contact your electric cooperative. That’s what they are geared up for and set up for,” Grimes said. “The guys doing it on their own are the ones that tend to get into trouble.” COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS • May 2017 9

Our Future Our Youth

Youth Tour Update E

ducating our youth is important not just in the school systems, but educating them on

what an electric cooperative is and what it means to them and their families is important as well. The Directors and employees here at West River Electric take this job very seriously. For the past 5 years West River Electric has offered a Youth Tour trip for a student or students who are going to be Seniors in the fall. This is a

Editor’s Note What Does My Electric Coop Mean to Me and My Family? Here is what the Youth Tour delegates had to say about it... By Veronica Kusser

10 M ay 2 0 1 7

trip to our Nations Capital where they are given the opportunity to see how our government is involved in the electric cooperative and what the two have in common. This year Mason Sandal and Tyler Matt will have the opportunity to be a part of the trip. Included are the essays they wrote, which were judged by our Member Communications Committee, to qualify for this opportunity.

Mason shares “What Does My Electric Coop Mean to Me and my Family?” Over one hundred years ago my great great grandfather Lon Hildebrandt left his family in Iowa to start a new life in South Dakota. He began raising cattle and hogs along with farming on our ranch, I hear stories about hardship and difficulty that life was like those early days. My Grandpa Kjerstad would chuckle a little as he told me about my great great grandpa Lon and all the troubles he had to go through to keep his cows watered during the winter. He had two wells and windmills for his cattle. He had to walk from well to well every day to get them going during the winter. This resulted in his nose having big blisters all winter long because he had to spend so much time in the freezing cold trying to get the water flowing. He didn’t have a way to run a heater in his water tank and his water only flowed when the wind was blowing. So he had to get a little motor and he used it to pump the water if the wind wasn’t blowing. He also had to thaw it when it would freeze overnight. So, he would have to start a little fire over the well to thaw the ice. These stories and many more have become a part of me and have given me a deep appreciation for how electricity has improved life and the means of production on our ranch. Now that water is pumped directly to our pastures and feedlot by electricity, our labor has turned to other areas that have enabled my grandpa and dad to expand and increase the productivity of our land. Our operation now includes a seed cleaning plant, that provides jobs and a necessary service to the ag community that we live in.

cooperative connections

These things would not be possible if our early pioneers had not had the foresight to set up a Cooperative that would value its rural Ag Community equal to the populations centers. Our local Rural Electric Cooperative serves as a good example of how local control of the electric service is the most ideal. Electric service to our ranch is excellent because the crews that keep it going area local. They care about our productivity because they are our friends and our neighbors. They live here among us, coach our teams, shop in our towns, and we appreciate their contributions to our community. Our electric coop serves us with the power we need in a safe professional manner while contributing to our community.

Tyler wrote the following essay on “What Does My Electric Coop Mean to Me and My Family”. The West River Electric Association is very important to my family and me because without our power and electricity, we wouldn’t be able to live as well as we do today. We would still be using candles to light the streets and our homes during the dark of night. Washing clothes and cleaning dishes would be less efficient and more tedious in that it would all have to be done by hand. Heating and air conditioning would not be available to us, and it would send us back into a state of prolific illness and death. What my electric cooperative means to my family is that we can enjoy the luxury of a warm and clean home. We can play games under our lights and enjoy each other’s company. We like to watch YouTube videos, TV shows, and movies together thanks to the electricity and power that our cooperative works very hard to provide for us. Cooking meals is easier than ever before with the production of electric stoves, toasters and even more advanced microwaves. The West River Electric Association provides its many members with cost-effective, reliable energy and electricity. As most product brands have their own websites, stores, and multiple other social media outlets, the WREA has its Connections magazine which provides all of its members with up-to-date news on activities it hosts, energy-based news, and many more articles about issues that might affect or are currently affecting its members regarding energy or electricity. The Connections magazine also allows anyone to discover what the WREA does and acquire knowledge for saving electricity. In addition, my mother loves taking recipes from there and usually they’re very tasty. The WREA hosts plenty of activities, as listed in their Connections magazine. These activities are open to everyone and anyone as long as the age requirements are met. Some of those activities include the Youth Excursion and the National Youth Tour. These two opportunities alone provide our youth with information and pre-career experience in the case that they go into electric and energybased jobs. I have attended the Youth Excursion and enjoyed it greatly including learning about how power is generated. I have talked with Cade Venhuizen and Corbin Olson about the National Youth Tour that they attended last year, and they stated it was a life-changing experience. I really hope I can be a part of the Tour this year. The WREA is very committed to providing the best customer service to their members. They provide many options for payment of your electric bill which includes in person, telephone, automatic payment, online, MoneyGram and drop boxes. (This is handy for mom and dad!) They get people like my dad involved in the Member Communications Committee so they can help educate people, but also to get feedback on their plans. WREA’s commitment to supplying cost-effective, sustainable, reliable power and their commitment to its members and the communities they serve has earned my family’s loyalty to them. Thank you for your time and consideration.

cooperative connections • Ma y 2017 11

Update on the CPP B


electric ceo and general Manager

Paul Sukut issued the following statement on President Trump’s executive order on the Clean Power Plan (CPP): “President Trump’s announcement is a positive step forward in our efforts to seek time and flexibility when it comes to developing a carbon management plan, hopefully, in the context of a national energy policy. “EPA’s Clean Power Plan would have significant impacts on Basin Electric and our membership. Of the 13 states hit the hardest by this rule, eight are in Basin Electric’s service territory. Financially, Basin Electric would have to spend billions of dollars to comply. These dollars would simply cover adding new generation and potentially impact the operations of our existing facilities. This does not even include the expense of additional electric, gas or transmission infrastructure to support the new generation required to meet the proposed mandates of the CPP. These costs would be

unfairly borne by our membership. “Over the last decade, Basin Electric and our membership have taken a leadership role in the development of renewable generation. We’ve added more than 1,500 megawatts of wind generation to our system (which represents approximately 23 percent of our generation capacity), invested more than $1 billion in natural gas generation resources and have invested more than $1.6 billion in emissions control technology to make our already clean generation fleet even cleaner. Even more, our Dakota Gasification Company’s Great Plains Synfuels Plant is home to North America’s largest carbon capture and sequestration project – capturing more than 30 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Our most recent project to add urea production to the Synfuels Plant continues that tradition by capturing CO2 to make urea and for sale as a food grade product. It’s important to note that the CPP, as proposed,

FAQ REGARDING THE CLEAN POWER PLAN (CPP) What is the current status of the Clean Power Plan? The rule hasn’t been implemented and is still in legal limbo. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule didn’t go into effect because the Supreme Court issued a “stay” of the rule in February 2016. The full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the merits of the case against CPP. That was an unusual circumstance. Typically only a three-judge panel of the Circuit Court would hear a case, but because of the gravity of the CPP, the court decided to hear the case “en banc” which means all of the available judges heard the case. The D.C. Circuit Court ruling could come sometime this spring. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that would start the process of rolling back the Clean Power Plan. The Department of Justice will ask the D.C. Circuit to hold the case until the EPA can analyze the Clean Power Plan. They will have to go through a full rulemaking process to undo the rule or propose a new, more friendly rule.

through a full rulemaking process which includes notice in the Federal Register, time for public comment, a response to public comment, etc. The EPA could propose a “no action” rule or propose a scaled back version of 111(d) that is much more favorable to power plants and utilities. But they would still have to go through the rulemaking process.

What can the administration do? The Trump administration has some alternatives to consider, but it isn’t as easy as just saying they don’t want to implement the rule. Here are some of their options: They could wait for the D.C. Circuit’s decision, and if the CPP is upheld, they could choose not to defend the CPP in front of the Supreme Court. Before the D.C. Circuit’s decision, the Trump administration could request the D.C. Circuit Court to hold the case in “abeyance” and remand CPP back to the EPA for reconsideration. They could ask for the court to still have jurisdiction so that the CPP remains under the Supreme Court stay.

What else might impact the outcome? • Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court vacancy. • EPA budget cuts. • Legal action against President Trump’s Executive Order concerning the CPP. • Other unknowns.

Can the administration get rid of the Clean Power Plan? Before the Clean Power Plan can be changed or undone, the EPA will have to go 12 May 2017 • COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS

What are the next steps? In late 2017 or early 2018, the EPA will likely begin a new rulemaking process to replace the Clean Power Plan In late 2018, EPA will likely respond to public comments on the new rule. Depending on what the new rule may look like, there will likely be a legal challenge from those who wanted the Clean Power Plan. That will lead to another long legal fight that could bring us into 2020 before the old rule is gone and a new rule is finalized.

Where can I get more information about the Executive Order? There will be many articles coming out on the executive order but this link from vox.com provides the quickest cleanest look at it so far. http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environmenT/2017/3/27/14922516/trumpexecutive-order-climate

EPA CLEAN POWER PLAN TIMELINE On Aug. 3, 2015, then President Obama announced the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan to slow climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030. Below are the key dates leading to the implementation of the plan (unless they are changed by lawsuits or congressional action.) Recent actions are included in red.

did not allow Basin Electric credit for our current investments in natural gas generation or renewables, nor our carbon sequestration efforts through Dakota Gas. “President Trump’s action does not, however, impact Basin Electric’s efforts to seek a viable path forward in a carbon constrained future. We are actively seeking solutions that reduce our carbon footprint while keeping coal as part of our energy portfolio, preserving both the reliability and cost competitiveness of our members’ energy supply. In addition to our wind and natural gas investments, we are actively working to advance clean coal technology. Examples include hosting the Integrated Test Center at our Dry Fork Station in Gillette, Wyo., and our investments in research, most recently in the development of a high efficiency power generation technology that generates high quality CO2 as a product stream, along with participation in DOE’s CarbonSAFE program to further the science of CO2 sequestration in saline aquifers.” In November 2015, utilities across the country, including Basin Electric, filed a Motion to Stay with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was denied. On Feb. 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Basin Electric and several other petitioners’ Motion to Stay the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, giving the current administration time to review the rule and issue today’s executive order.




MARCH 2017



Co-op news

Youth Excursion

One Day Member Tour

Youth Excursion Road Trip this summer? West River Electric will sponsor area students to the South Dakota Rural Electric Youth Excursion. This four-day event will be headquartered out of Bismarck, North Dakota. Young people attending the excursion will learn about the basics of cooperatives, how the region’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives work together and the career opportunities available at the cooperatives. The trip promises to provide fun, sight-seeing and an opportunity to meet new friends with participants from other rural electric cooperatives from across South Dakota. Students will tour the Great Plains Synfuels Plant, Coteau Properties Freedom Coal Mine, Antelope Valley Station Power Plant and a drive thru the 40-mw Wilton Wind Farm north of 2541700 Bismarck. Evenings will be spent swimming, dancing, taking a cruise, shopping and making friends. All area high school freshman, sophomores and juniors whose parents or guardians are members of WREA are eligible to enter. Students will be picked up Monday morning, July 24, and will arrive back home Thursday, July 27. The trip is funded by WREA except for personal/shopping money. Fill out the form below to have your name put into the selection process.

West River Electric will sponsor an all-expense paid bus tour to Dry Fork’s power generation facilities just outside of Gillette, Wyoming. We will together discover how Dry Fork Station uses America’s abundant coal resources responsibly to generate power for rural America. Members are encouraged to send in the form below if you would like to attend the tour.

Road Trip to Bismarck, ND Deadline is May 19, 2017

Name_____________________Male_____Female____ Parent or Guardian _____________________________ Address______________________________________ City______________________State_____Zip_______ Telephone_____________T-Shirt Size_____ Age_____ School Attending________________Grade__________ Send to West River Electric Association, Youth Excursion, PO Box 3486, Rapid City, SD 57709. For more information regarding the Youth Excursion contact Veronica at 605-393-1500 or e-mail veronica.kusser@westriver.coop. 14 Ma y 2 0 1 7

cooperative connections

Dry Fork Station, Gillette WY Deadline is May 1, 2017

Up to forty members will join us for a one day tour of the Dry Fork Station and Mine. We will depart from the Rapid City office early the morning of May 31, 2017 and return late afternoon. 10058800 Names will be drawn out of those sending in their entry by May 1. The tour group will visit the Dry Fork power plant and the Dry Fork Mine outside of Gillette Wyoming.

Name_______________________________________ Address______________________________________ City________________________________________ State___________________________Zip__________ Phone Number________________________________ Age______________________ Send registration to West River Electric Association, Member Tour, PO Box 3486, Rapid City, SD 57709. Contact Veronica Kusser at 605-393-1500 for more information regarding the tour or e-mail veronica.kusser@westriver.coop.

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.

Sign up for:

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.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 Dishwasher Efficiency Tip: Air dry clean dishes to save energy. If your dishwasher does not have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the dishwasher after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Memorial Day On this day we remember the men and women who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which we observe every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day was extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. It generally marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks the end. West River Electric Association will be closed Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, as a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving our country in the armed forces. Call 3931500 or 279-2135 for any emergency or outages.


Sign Up

West River Electric Association will be closed Memorial Day, Monday, May 29

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 • Ma y 2017 15

Regional Dateline

April 22 Working Against Violence, Inc. Spirit of Peace Beach Ball Ramkota Convention Center Rapid City, SD, 605-341-3292 April 26 Leadership from the Language of a Horse, The Horse Whisperer, Dr. Lew Sterrett, Central States Fairgrounds Event Center Rapid City, SD, 605-355-3861 April 27-29 2017 Bowl for Kid’s Sake Robinsdale Lanes Rapid City, SD, 605-343-1488 April 28-30 Youth & Family Services Kids Fair, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 605-342-4195 April 29-30 2017 Spring Parade of Homes Black Hills Homebuilders Rapid City, SD, 605-348-7850 May 4-5 2017 Bowl for Kid’s Sake Meadowood Lanes Rapid City, SD, 605-343-1488 May 6 Craft Sale, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Minneluzahan Senior Citizens Center, 315 N 4th St Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1887

Events of Special Note


April 22 Rummage Sale, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Minneluzahan Senior Citizens Center, 315 N 4th St Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1887

May 5-7 Naja Shrine Circus Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-343-4076 May 11 West River Electric/Caterpillar United Blood Services Blood Drive, West River Electric Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1500

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.

May 12 Suzie Cappa May Art Night Twenty Seventeen, 722 St Joe St, Suzie Cappa Art Center Rapid City, SD, 605-343-4581

June 22 Make a Wish Charity Golf Tournament, Hart Ranch Golf Course, Rapid City, SD 605-789-5812

May 28 St. Thomas More High School Graduation, 1:30 p.m. Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City, SD

May 13 Faith High School Graduation 3 p.m., Faith Community Center, Faith, SD

May 25 New Underwood High School Graduation, 3 p.m. New Underwood High School Gym, New Underwood, SD

May 29 WREA will be closed in observance of Memorial Day call 605-279-2135 or 605-393-1500 for an emergency

May 20 Walk for Wishes, Make a Wish Foundation, Main Street Square, Rapid City, SD 605-791-4500 May 20 Wall High School Graduation 1:30 p.m., Wall High School Gym, Wall, SD May 21 Rapid City Christian School Graduation, 2 p.m., Rapid City Christian School, Rapid City, SD

May 28 Douglas High School Graduation, 2 p.m., Patriots Stadium, Box Elder, SD May 28 Rapid City Stevens High School Graduation, 1:30 p.m. Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD May 28 Rapid City Central High School Graduation, 5 p.m. Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD

May 31 WREA Member Tour to Dry Fork Power Plant, Gillette, WY 605-393-1500 to reserve a seat on the bus June 9 Suzie Cappa April Art Night Twenty Seventeen, 722 St Joe St, Suzie Cappa Art Center Rapid City, SD, 605-343-4581 June 17-18 Coin & Stamp Show Fort Meade Gym Sturgis, SD, 605-381-4625

Profile for West River Electric Association

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May 2017 Cooperative Connections PDF

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May 2017 Cooperative Connections PDF