Page 1

2016 Annual Meeting Issue


VOL. 17 NO. 6

Annual Meetings Give

Members A Voice


Co-op news

Notice of Nomination By The Nominating Committee erative in Pennington County, South Dakota, West of the Cheyenne River. Jamie Lewis District No. 2: Consisting of the area served by the Cooperative in Meade and Ziebach Counties, South Dakota. Marcia Arneson District No. 3: Consisting of the area served by the Cooperative East of the Cheyenne River. Juston Eisenbraun, Dan Hauk & Terry Peters Juston Eisenbraun has decided to withdraw his nomination as a candidate for director for District 1 due to personal reasons.

Notice is hereby given that the members of the Nominating Committee, at a meeting of the Nominating Committee on May 25, 2016 held pursuant to Section 4, Article IV of the Bylaws of West River Electric Association, Inc. nominated the following individuals for the position of Director, to be voted on at the October 8, 2016 Annual Meeting from the following Districts: District No. 1: Consisting of the area served by the coop-

You are further notified that the above nominations are made for the position of Director for a three year term to fill the term of the expiring Director, and that one individual from each district will be elected at the October 8, 2016 Annual Meeting of the Association. Dated this 1st day of July, 2016. Nominating Committee of the West River Electric Association, Inc. duly appointed by the Board of Directors, pursuant to Section 4, Article IV of the bylaws. By Susan Eisenbraun, Chairperson of the Nominating Committee.

Notice of Nomination By Petition Notice is hereby given that a nominating petition for the following candidate has been filed for Director, pursuant to Section 4, Article IV of the Bylaws of West River Electric Association, Inc. This candidate for the position of director will be voted on at the October 8, 2016, Annual Meeting from the following District:

District No. 3: Consisting of the area served by the Cooperative East of the Cheyenne River. Amanda Frink, 23745 Highway 240, Wall, SD 57790 2 O cto be r 2 0 1 6 • cooperative connections

You are further notified that the above nomination is made for the position of Director for a three year term to fill the term of the retiring Director, and that one individual from each district will be elected at the October 8, 2016 Annual Meeting of the Association. Dated this 30th day of August, 2016. By William Bielmaier, Secretary

Nomination for Board of Directors Jamie Lewis - District 1

Marcia arneson - District 2

Jamie Lewis is the incumbent director from District 1. He lives on a ranch outside of Rapid City by the airport where he is in partnership at the Grandview Angus Ranch. He attended SDSU majoring in Agricultural Science with a minor in Ag Business, Ag Marketing and Business. Jamie is active in the community serving on the Central States Fair Livestock Committee, judging for 4-H and open livestock events. He is a member of the Calvary Lutheran Church, YMCA and a SD and BH Angus member. Jamie has been a Director for District 1 for the past 3 years and has earned his NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate.

amanda Frink - District 3 Amanda Frink is seeking election to the Board for the District 3 director position. Amanda grew up in the Wall area and attended Wall School. She is currently employed at Wall Meats which has been in the family for the past 32 years. She took one year off from Wall Meats to work at BankWest in Kadoka. Amanda is the Township Board Treasurer and a Dakota Classic Cutting Futurity Board of Director. Her and her husband Travis have 4 children and live just South of Wall where they raise quarter horses. Amanda has a self-driven business sense and feels that it would be a fun adventure to serve as your Director for District 3.

Marcia Arneson of Rapid City is the incumbent director from District 2. In the past 22 years she has been with West River Electric she has served on various committees within WREA and NRECA, currently serving on the Advisory Board of NRECA. Marcia is a life-long resident of Meade County. She has served various positions on different boards within the area. She is a credentialed director and also earned her certified board leadership certificate, along with her gold leadership. Marcia has 4 grown married children, 3 daughters and one son, and the proud grandmother of 11 beautiful grandchildren.

Dan Hauk - District 3 Dan Hauk is seeking election to the Board for the District 3 director position. He was born and raised in the Wall area. He has worked with the Wall School for the past 13 years and prior to that the City of Wall and Pennington County Highway Dept. Dan and his wife Cindy own the 4th Avenue Floral shop in Wall. He currently serves on the City Council in Wall, and in the past he has served on the Wall Fire Department as Chief and Volunteer, Methodist Church Committee Member, Jaycee Member, and past Co-Chairman of the Celebration Committee. Dan and wife Cindy have 2 beautiful daughters, 2 granddaughters and a grandson. I see the challenges coming with the coal issues and would like to be a part of a resolution to this process. It would be an honor to serve West River Electric as your District 3 Director.

terry peters - District 3 Terry Peters is seeking election to the District 3 director position. Terry is a Wall High School and SDSU graduate. He has been owner/ operator of the family owned Best Western Motels in Wall and Hill City for 35 years. He is also owner of Peters Farm Partnership in Eastern, SD since 1993 and owner/operator of a small farmsted North of Wall since 1996. Terry was past member of the following Jack Rabbit Stampede Rodeo Manager, Founding member of the Wall Hospitatlity Assn, BHB&L Board, St Patrick’s Catholic Church Council Member, Wall City Council, Wall Fire Dept, Best Western Board of Governors, Lake Hill Township Board, Member of the Wall & Hill City Chamber of Commerce and the Wall Medical Board. Terry feels that he can bring a good business background for Main Street as well as rural S.D.

Roadside Safety: Move Over Please West River Electric crews face hazards every day. Electricity is one of those hazards and our crews understand how dangerous it is. It is fairly predictable and somewhat controllable when you are professionally trained to work with it and know what to do. There are many hazards out there that we cannot control and bring much concern to our line crews. Our line crews, staking technicians and cable locators are out working alongside the road every day. They encounter a different kind of hazard when they are out there and that is traffic. As the traffic speed increases on the country roads so do the hazards. When you see those orange signs or cones please slow down and be alert.




Fall Electrical Safety Tips As the calendar makes its way ever closer to October, we find ourselves preparing for fall. During this transitional period, when the kids are headed for school but the weather has yet to cool down, it’s a good time to review fall electrical safety. When activities move inside, it’s important to consider the electrical hazards that become more prevalent as the temperatures begin to plummet. We’ve put together a list of practical safety tips for both inside and outside the home.

Outdoor Electrical Safety Electrical Wires – When using your ladder outside, especially for projects on the roof or rain gutter, be mindful of overhead electrical wires. Battery Chargers – Unplug and store those battery chargers for yard tools that won’t be used until next spring. Outdoor Devices – Protect outdoor electrical devices from moisture. Cover any exposed electrical outlets and check outdoor electrical cords for damage or a faulty connection. Leaves/Debris – Keep fallen leaves away from outdoor outlets, power cords and outdoor lighting. Also make sure that tree debris is kept away from the air conditioner condenser. Cold Weather Tools – Inspect the electrical tools that you will be using for fall yard work. Make sure to check the cords for wear and tear – and either repair damaged equipment or replace it. Outdoor Lighting – Less sunlight in the fall will mean the exterior lights to the house will be on longer. Check the lights to ensure that the bulbs are the correct wattage and that any cords have not been damaged over the summer. Indoor Electrical Safety Electric Blankets – Make sure that you inspect all of your electric blankets for worn areas both in the fabric and on the electrical cord. Never tuck an electrical blanket under a mattress or animals to sleep on them. Space Heaters – If you use a space heater, inspect it and have a quick test run before running it this season. Be mindful of space heater placement. Always allow at least a foot of space around the perimeter of unit and never leave unattended toddlers in the same room with one. Smoke/CO Detectors – Every season you should check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Since the fall usually means more inside activities, including cooking and use of the fireplace, it’s good practice to ensure the smoke detectors are working properly. If you own gas heater, stoves or other gasfueled appliances, make sure that you own CO detectors – and that they are working properly. Light Bulbs – In the fall we start to lose daylight, which will mean more dependence on indoor lighting. Check the bulbs throughout the house to make sure they are the proper wattage for the size of the light fixture. Source: www.universalhomeexperts.com 4 October 2016 • COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS



Vote YES on Amendment R



• Amendment R merely updates our Constitution’s language to reflect today’s marketplace for workers and employer needs. • Employers will have an easier time finding specialized workers with a specific skill set. • More students will have access to programs that bring themV immediate o t e Y E S employment. on Amendment R • Technical institutes and career education programs will have direct access to government decision-makers for support and funding. • Amendment R improves communication and support among the career and technical education schools and their governing body. • As workers fill positions that would otherwise have remained empty, South Dakota’s economy grows. Vote YES on Amendment R


R for JOBS

Kidsʼ Corner Safety Poster “Always unplug your cord before putting a knife in to get the bread out..”

R for JOBS

Vote YES on Amendment R







Jacyne Romey, 11 years old Jacyne is the daughter of Tracy Romey, Oelrichs, S.D. She is a member of Black Hills Electric Cooperative, Custer, S.D. Kids, send your drawing with an electrical safety tip to your local electric cooperative (address found on Page 3). If your poster is published, youʼll receive a prize. All entries must include your name, age, mailing address and the names of your parents. Colored drawings are encouraged.




PlentyFOR of PastaJOBS



Vote YES on Amendment R

Vote YES on Amendment R

Refrigerator Chicken Casserole

Sausage and Pepper Spaghetti Pie

2 to 2-1/2 cups diced cooked 1 small onion, finely chopped chicken 1/2 green pepper, diced 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked 1 (2 oz.) jar pimento, diced 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 (5 oz.) can sliced water 1 can cream of chicken soup chestnuts 1 soup can milk 8 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated Vote YES on Amendment R 1-3/4 cup chicken broth


8 oz. spaghetti 1 T. olive oil 1/2 lb. Italian sausage, casing removed 1 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper 1 cup thinly sliced onion wedges 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained V2otsps. t e Rosemary Y E S o nleaves Amendment R


1 tsp. garlic powder 1 tsp. oregano leaves 1 tsp. thyme leaves 1/2 tsp. salt 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided 8 eggs

Mix together all ingredients in order given. Pour into well-greased 9x13-inch pan. Cover with aluminum foil. Refrigerate overnight until ready to bake. Uncover and bake at 350°F. for 1 hour.

R for JOBS

Karen Huether, Tripp

Vote YES on Amendment R

Fettuccini Alfredo 24 oz. dry fettuccini pasta 1 cup butter 3/4 pint heavy cream Salt and pepper to taste

Cook spaghetti as directed on package. Drain well. Meanwhile, heat oil in large ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Break up sausage in skillet. Add bell pepper and onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until sausage is browned. Add tomatoes, rosemary, garlic powder, oregano, thyme and salt; cook and stir 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Beat eggs in large bowl. Add and 1 cup of the Vote spaghetti YES on Amendment R cheese; mix well. Stir into mixture in skillet. Cook on medium-low heat 5 minutes or until bottom is set. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake at 350°F. for 8 to 10 minutes or until center is just set and cheese is melted. Cut into 8 wedges to serve.

R for JOBS

1 dash garlic salt 3/4 cup grated Romano cheese Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 367, Total Fat 19g, Cholesterol 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 246mg, Sodium 754mg, Carbohydrates 28g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Protein 21g

R for JOBS Bring a largeR pot for of lightly JOBS salted water to a boil. Add

Pictured, Cooperative Connections

Vote YES on Amendment R fettuccini and cook foron 8 toAmendment 10 minutes orRuntil al dente; Vote YES Spaghetti Corn drain. In a large saucepan, melt butter into cream over low Please send heat. Add salt, pepper and garlic salt. Stir in cheese over 1 can creamed corn 1 can whole corn medium heat until melted; this will thicken the sauce. your favorite 2 cups broken spaghetti 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese Add pasta to sauce. Use enough of the pasta so that all of crockpot, holi1 stick melted butter Onion, optional the sauce is used and the pasta is thoroughly coated. Serve day treat and VOTE YES ON AMENDMENT R immediately.VOTE Y ES ON A M END M ENT R V O T E Y E S O N A M Esoup N D Mrecipes ENT R







to your local electric cooperative (address Nikki Larson, Hayti found on Page 3). Each recipe 1 lb. Brie cheese, rind removed 3 garlic cloves, minced printed will be and cut into small pieces 1/2 tsp. salt entered into a 4 large tomatoes, coarsely 1/4 tsp. pepper drawing for a 1 lb. ground beef 1/2 cup grated Parmesan chopped 1-1/2 lbs. uncooked linguine prize in Decem3 cups penne pasta, cooked and cheese, divided 1 cup choppedVOTE fresh basil Y ES ON AShredded M END Parmesan M ENT Rcheese V O T E Y E S O N A M E N D M E N T R V O T E Y E S O N A M Eber NDM E N T All R 2016. drained 1-1/2 cups shredded 1/2 cup olive oil entries must 1 (24 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce mozzarella cheese include your In a large serving bowl, combine Brie, tomatoes, basil, oil, name, mailing Brown beef and drain. Add pasta, sauce and 1/2 the garlic, salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for address, teleParmesan cheese, mixing well. Spoon into a 9x13-inch up to 1-1/2 hours. Cook linguine according to package phone number baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses. Bake at 375°F. for directions; drain. Toss with cheese mixture. Sprinkle with and coopera20 minutes or until heated thru. Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. tive name. Jillian Nedved, Harrisburg

Tomato Basil Linguine



Stephanie Fossum, Hudson

Combine all ingredients; pour into buttered casserole. Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes with lid off and an additional 20 minutes with lid on.


Pasta Bake




Mary Jessen, Holabird


Voting Regulations 1. 2. 3.

Annual Meeting Saturday, October 8, 2016 Wall Community Center, Wall, SD 9:00 am Registration with coffee & cookies 10:00 am Business Meeting 9960200 Door Prizes 2-$500 Scholarships to High School or College Students Opportunity to Play High/Low Game for up to $500 FREE Child Care Available Free lunch at your favorite Wall Restaurant

Notice of ANNuAl MeetiNg of MeMbers of West river electric AssociAtioN, iNc. WAll, south DAkotA The Annual Meeting of members of West River Electric Association, Inc. will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, the 8th of October 2016, at the Wall Community Center, in the town of Wall, County of Pennington, State of South Dakota, for the purpose of: 1. Receiving reports of officers, directors and committees; 2. Electing one director from each of the (3) districts for a term of three (3) years to replace those directors whose terms expire; 3. Approving, ratifying and confirming all the acts of the Directors of the Association and its officers taken prior to this annual meeting; 4. Transacting any and all business which may be necessary, convenient or desirable in connection with any of the foregoing at said meetings or at any properly scheduled adjournments hereto; Dated at Wall, South Dakota, this 20th day of September, 2016 William Bielmaier, Secretary, West River Electric Association, Inc.

Do You NeeD speciAl AccoMoDAtioNs to be A pArt of the ANNuAl MeetiNg? Need for auxiliary aids or services: Facilities are accessible to people with mobility impairments. If you need auxiliary aids or services in order to participate in the meeting (e.g., sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices, materials in alternative format), please submit a request to West River Electric at (605) 279-2135. To ensure auxiliary aids or services are available, please make the request(s) at least 10 days in advance of the meeting. 6 O cto be r 2 0 1 6


cooperative connections

4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Each voter must be a member of West River Electric Association, Inc. Each member has only one vote. For joint memberships, where the service is in the name of two individuals, one of the individuals may vote, but not both, and neither are eligible to have any other memberships. Spouses may both have individual memberships, and under South Dakota statutes, one spouse may vote on behalf of the other, provided that the other has not indicated otherwise at the time of the meeting. Persons casting a vote for a partnership, incorporated business, association, church, school township or other political body must have a completed authorization. The form is provided on this page of this issue. No demonstrations by or for director candidates are allowed in the hall. At registration, the member will be given a slip that will be exchanged for a ballot at the time of voting. Each member organization should designate a representative who is an officer, shareholder, or member of their organization. This form must be signed by an officer of the governing body and be filled out prior to the WREA Annual Meeting. Forms will not be available at the registration table.

This form is to designate the voting delegate of an organization. This form should be completed and signed by an officer of the organization and brought to the meeting.

Voting Authorization Necessary for Organizations

Non-Individual members such as schools, municipalities, churches, organizations, and corporations are entitled to representation and one vote, but the proper procedure must be followed to exercise this right. Each member organization should designate a representative who is an officer, shareholder, or member of their organization. This form must be signed by an officer of the governing body.

Authorization to Vote

This is to certify that _______________________________ of ______________________________in a duly assembled meeting, designated _______________________ who is a(n) Officer, Shareholder, or Member (CIRCLE ONE) of said organization, to represent the ________________________________at the regular Annual Meeting of the members of West River Electric Association, Inc., to be held October 8, 2016 and said person is authorized to cast such member’s vote on all issues that may come before said meeting. The undersigned verifies that (s)he is the ______________________ of said organization and authorized to execute this instrument on behalf thereof. _____________________________ Signature

___________ Date

Organization Address ___________________________ ___________________________ Phone Number: ________________ Witness Mailing Address ___________________________ ___________________________ Phone Number: ________________ ___________________________ _______________________

Print Name of Witness

Signature of Witness

Co-op news

2016 Annual Meeting

West River Electric Annual Meeting Saturday, October 8, 2016 Wall Community Center

Bill Bielmaier District 3

Dick Johnson CEO/General Manager

Registration at 9:00 a.m. with coffee and cookies being served during registration. The Business Meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. Door prize drawings during the meeting with a grand prize chance at the end. One lucky member will be given the opportunity to win up to $500.00 by playing the High/Low Game. We will be drawing for 2-$500 Scholarships - High School Seniors or College Students are eligible, but must be in attendance from the beginning of the meeting to the end.

Jerry Hammerquist District 1

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

Howard Knuppe District 1

Marcia Arneson District 2

Larry Eisenbraun District 3

Chuck Sloan District 2

Stan Anders District 2

Jamie Lewis District 1

Andy Moon District 3

Cooperative Hall of Fame Inductees

Bill Bielmaier

Cooperative Leaders who have dedicated their careers to bettering the state’s cooperatives and their communities were recognized on September 13 for their contributions when they were inducted into the South Dakota Cooperative Hall of Fame Bill Bielmaier has served on the board of directors of West River Electric Association in Wall, S.D., since October of 1983. He served six years as the board’s treasurer and as the secretary since 1996. He also serves as the secretary of the South Dakota Rural Electric Association, Pierre, S.D., board of directors. In addition to Bill, Mark Hofer became a director for Intercounty Electric Association, Mitchell, S.D., in 1990 and continued to serve when the cooperative merged with a neighboring coopreative to form Central Electric Cooperative in 2000. He has served on the SDREA board of directors since 1999 and has been South Dakota’s representative on the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association board since 2006. Ronald Sandine joined the board of directors of TrioTel Communications in Salem, S.D. in 1975, serving the past 19 years as their president. West River Electric would like to congratulate these fine men and commend them on their commitment to the cooperatives and the members they serve. 4884700 cooperative connections • Oct o b er 2016 7

Members’ Democratic Participation

Co-op Annual Meetings Give Members a Voice E

By Brenda Kleinjan and Meghaan Evans

ach and every year, cooperative members are encouraged to attend their local cooperative annual meeting and exercise that most fundamental of democratic principles – the right to vote. Your cooperative is not owned by far away investors, and it is not run by an appointed board of directors. It is run by a democratically elected board of directors – a board who is given the privilege to serve because of your vote. A cooperative members’ vote is his or her say in the business dealings of their cooperative, whether it be their electric cooperative, telephone cooperative, grain or elevator cooperative or similar businesses. That vote by the very same people using the business’ products and services is what sets co-ops apart


from other types of businesses. Votes for candidates for local boards of directors are not typically flashy affairs with big campaigns. In many cases, a nominating committee works to find interested people to stand for election. At other cooperatives, members petition to run for the board. The end result is that an individual is selected to represent his or her neighbors in making decisions that ensure their homes, farms/ranches and businesses are best served by the cooperative. At the end of the day, the members hold the power with their vote. The directors of your local cooperative are members of your community. They are concerned with the issues you face every day because they face them

Photo Courtesy Southeastern Electric Cooperative/Marion, S.D.

about what local individuals, working as a community, can do to address our most pressing challenges and take advantage of available opportunities. The meeting also affords members the chance to visit with others in the co-op community – it’s also a great opportunity to learn about programs offered by the cooperative and get to know your co-op staff. The annual meeting makes it possible for co-ops to gather feedback from members by providing a forum where they can let the co-op know how it can better serve you and your family. A democratic and open election is one of the many elements that make electric cooperatives stand out from other utilities. Having a voice in who makes the major decisions that directly affect your life and your family is a right we all share as Americans. We all vote for our state and federal Congressional representatives, but not every American has the right to vote for those who will represent community interests within their electric utility. You have that right, so why not exercise it? Rest assured, no matter what happens, electric cooperatives remain dedicated to providing you with safe, reliable and affordable electric service, but all cooperative members are encouraged to take part in helping their cooperative improve how it delivers that service. Photo Courtesy Renville-Sibley Co-op Power Association/Danube, Minn.

Photo Courtesy Lake Region Electric Association/Webster, S.D.

too. And don’t forget – members of a local cooperative are eligible to run for the board – that includes you! Each year, thousands of co-op members in South Dakota and western Minnesota will attend their co-op’s annual meeting. These meetings are designed for coop members to gather, share experiences, hear from co-op leadership and – perhaps most importantly – vote to elect the board members or approve bylaw changes. Many co-ops seek to make these annual meetings community events, offering meals, kids’ activities and entertainment. Some also offer prizes to members. The food, games and prizes are often considered the best parts of the meeting, but there is so much more to the event. The annual meeting is an occasion to discuss and learn more about the issues affecting local communities and cooperatives? For example, in the past year, many cooperatives have talked about the federal Clean Power Plan. While national press coverage of the plan gives far-off perspectives, the co-op annual meeting gives attendees the opportunity to learn first-hand what impacts the plan may have on their local cooperative and, perhaps more meaningfully, on the members’ monthly electric bill. The annual meeting is an opportunity to learn more about the topics that impact you and talk

Left: A banner hoisted between two bucket trucks welcomes members to their annual meeting in Lennox this June. Opposite Page: The annual meeting format allows members to learn more about issues facing their cooperative on a national, state and local level. Inset: Future co-op members, such as Brooklyn Kodet at her co-op annual meeting in Bird Island, Minn., in March, often win prizes selected just for kids.

Not every American has the right to vote for those who will represent community interests within their electric utility. You have that right, so why not exercise it?


Bill Spent The Past 33 Years

Serving Members A

fter 33 YeArs of service Bill Bielmaier has decided to step aside and let someone else take a leadership position as a Board of Director for West River Electric. Bill replaced Emil Muller as a Director for District 2 in 1983 and has seen the coop grow from 5477 members to 12,678 members today. We had 7396 meters for a total KwH sales of 91,736,595 when Bill started and today we have 16,661 meters for a total KwH sales of 271,262,785. What challenging times they faced with the growth as well as the government regula-

Editor’s Note For Bill it has been a joy to be such a big part of the decisions that have made West River Electric what we are today. By Veronica Kusser

tions that have been seen by the cooperatives. When Bill began to represent West River Electric as a Director, there were 33 employees and today there are 55 employees, who keep up with the growing demands of power to the membership. In 1983 Thor Sautter was the manager and Reuben Deutscher was the President of the Board. Other members of the Board at that time were Leo Grubl, Chuck Johnson, Harold Benson, Cecil Boydston, Vern Powell, Marion Wilson and Roger Eisenbraun. Bill has enjoyed serving with the many individuals throughout the years. He had the privilege of working with 3 managers at West River Electric, including Thor Sautter, Jim Pahl and the current CEO Dick Johnson. Bill was elected to serve on the South Dakota Rural Electric Board in 1987 and has 10 O cto be r 2 0 1 6

cooperative connections

had the opportunity to work with many directors from cooperatives across South Dakota, as well as serving as the Secretary for the SDREA Board for the past 20 years Bill has seen many things change over the years, growth being a big one. We have had a number of industrial and business accounts added across our service area. He has seen several substations added to allow the coop the ability to serve the additional meters. There have been many changes in equipment to allow for better reliability. Today we can see from the office where the power is out, it used to take a phone call, and if the phone lines were down, it might be days before we heard there was an outage. He has seen technology improve - he used to wait at the mail box for his board book to arrive and today it is done with the click of a mouse. Energy conservation was a concern for all Americans in the early 80’s when Bill began his career with WREA. Wait isn’t that a concern today.... sounds like a cycle to me. There were higher electric costs in the mid 1980’s, mainly due to inflation that gripped the entire country but by the end of 80’s - costs were actually coming down for West River Electric members. By 1990, the average member was actually spending less money for electricity than they were in the 1980s. Rapid City and the surrounding area continued to grow bringing the total number of members to 8,250 by the end of 1995. Sales were at an all-time high and meters continued to grow along with the robust economy. As the cooperative membership grew, so did the cooperative. By the end of 1998, West River Electric had finished building its new headquarters office on the outskirts of Wall. Along with the new office came a new computer system, quadrupling the speed of the old system in less than half of the space. These were a couple of very big decisions for the Board, was the time right to take on more debt? If they would have waited, building may have been more expensive, the space was definitely needed, for those of you who visited us in the old facility, I am sure you saw the need for the new building. As for the new computer system, with the growth we experienced, being able to get bills out on a timely manner, it was evident that something needed to be done. The change was made to Horizons where to those of us who were here back then, things began to happen lightening fast.

In the fall of 1999, it became apparent that the branch office in Rapid City would have to be relocated because of road construction over Highway 44. Due to Ellsworth AFB being considered on the Base Closure list in 2005, this project would be put on hold for sometime. In 2001 West River Electric continued automation by adding TWACS (we could now read your meters from the office by power line carrier) and keeping up with technology. We launched a website for better communication with our members. In the Spring of 2002, due to the Southeast Connector coming thru Rapid City, it was necessary to move our parking lot to the east side of the Rapid Valley office. In 2003 the Weston Heights Substation was brought on line to keep up with the growing population North of Rapid City. The first hydropower cost hike in 10 years took place in 2004 due to the extreme drought. Due to the increase in members east of Rapid City construction began on the Airport Substation which was energized the following year. In 2006, Exit 61 began to see increased activity with the development of the Watiki, LaQuinta and the Fairfield. Also in 2006, we saw growth in the Wall area with a new school, BH Federal Credit Union and Wall Express & Lube. The beginning of 2006 was also the beginning of an era of energyefficient tax credits In 2008 the Clean Coal Technology, Reducing Emissions, America’s Railroad Policy and Providing Affordable Infrastructure were key topics at the forefront for the Rural Electric Cooperatives. We lost 127 poles in the Enning area from a winter storm, that is 2 more poles than we started with back in 1939. There had been no rate increase since 1992. However in 2009 we were forced to take a 9% increase due to the drought over the past 7-8 years and the increased demand for

power by Basin Electric. We upgraded the Weston Heights Substation due to continued growth North of the Mall. Construction of a new branch office in Rapid Valley began in October of 2009. In 2010 the EPA attempted to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. Due to the growth in the Rapid City area we did reconstruction and upgrading of the Rushmore Substation. Once again, we made great strides with technology and IVR takes over when the CSR’s can’t keep up with the phone calls. We installed Outage Management to help with detection of outages and provide quicker response time and the Energy Tax Credits came to an end. 2011 brought more change to West River Electric. We adopted the Demand Response Program to help our members with energy conservation. We added prepaid metering as a billing option for our members and Basin Electric celebrated 50 years. We continued to see growth in the Rapid Valley area and finished up the Rapid Valley Substation rebuild. West River Electric lineman stepped back in time and replaced poles in the Badlands the old fashioned way-poles and material were carried in by hand, old poles were jacked out of the ground and the holes were dug by hand. Storm Atlas hit in October of 2013 and left a path of destruction that none of us will soon forget. We didn’t have a meter turning in our entire system for 16 hours. Bill has enjoyed being a part of the challenges and decisions that has brought West River Electric and serving the members into the 21st century. “Membership is my family and I have always had the interest of the members at the forefront of the decisions that were made.” Bill shared with me “I have made it a priority to keep reliability as well as rates top priorities in all the decisions that we made as a Board. Thank you to the membership for the opportunity to serve you”. Bill was born in 1931, grew up in the Wall area and lived in the area nearly all his life. In 1950 he graduated from Wall High School, and then enlisted in the Marines. He served during the Korean War aboard a Troop Ship and then came back to Wall in 1952. He met Marge, when she came to work at Wall Drug, and they married in 1956. Bills parents moved into Wall and Bill and Marge continued to ranch. Together they raised 6 children, Mary Beth, Jan Michael, Katherine, Cheryl, Kevin and Craig. Bill is blessed to have 11 grandchildren. He continues to ranch as a partnership with the boys. He plans to spend a little more time traveling to be with the girls.

cooperative connections • Oct o b er 2016 11

Think Before You

Aim and Fire W By Brenda Kleinjan

Below: Each fall, a reminder to be safe while hunting greets visitors to FEM Electric Association in Ipwsich, S.D.

hether it’s carelessness or intentional vandalism, shooting at or near power lines or associated equipment can create big problems. Any responsible hunter or outdoors person knows that before pulling the trigger, one is to be certain of what lies beyond one’s target. “Be sure of what you’re shooting at,” said Roger Crom, a gun safety instructor from Watertown, S.D., who is also responsible for safety education for the state’s electric cooperatives. “You have to be sure you know what your target is and what your back stop is,” Crom said, who has instructed about 150 students a year for the past two decades on gun safety. “A .22 shell can travel about a mile-and-a-half and high-powered shells can travel 3.5 to 4 miles,” Crom said. And, shotguns can have a range of 90 to 100 feet, but the spray pattern widens out. Crom noted that one doesn’t shoot at water or


rocks. Or power lines, for that matter. “The immediate danger in shooting at a line is that it could break and fall down putting the shooter or nearby people or animals at risk,” said Crom. And, the damage isn’t always immediate. “It can fray and cause problems down the line,” said Crom. While the potential for damage caused by bullets to electric equipment is a concern, the frequency of the problem has been decreasing. “It’s not as much as it used to be. During the earlier dove hunting times, people were shooting them off the power lines causing frays. Now, the rules for hunting call for further set backs,” said Crom. According to the South Dakota Game, Fish and Park’s web page on mourning dove hunting, one is not to hunt doves on or within 50 yards of a public road nor is one to shoot at a bird that is not flying.

Left: Crews at FEM Electric Association in Ipswich, S.D., found bullet holes in an cabinet this fall. The damage from the bullets did not cause immediate outages, but did weaken the equipment.

Crom said most hunters are responsible, but that the “slob” hunters are causing the problems. “These are the ones shooting transformers or using a highpower rifle to shoot transformers or the insulators off of lines.” Sometimes the damage caused by a poor decision is unintentional, such as when a hunter takes aim at birds sitting on a power line, assuming the spray of his or her shot won’t spread far or cause damage. However, the BBs often hit the conductor, sometimes breaking the strands of wire that form the line or simply nicking a strand causing it to weaken and become vulnerable for failure at a later – and often inconvenient – time. “Often, the dove hunters don’t even realize the damage they’ve caused,” said Rob Vetch, line superintendent at FEM Electric Association in Ipswich, S.D. “They shoot a dove and the BB penetrates the wire and weakens it. As time progresses, it wears that wire down.” “Then, the temperature will hit 20 below and tension is on that wire and “poof ” – it breaks,” said Vetch. Sometimes, the shot will cause the wire to fray which will be noticed during annual line patrols conducted by co-op crews to assess the condition of the co-op’s equipment. “On line patrol, every year you run across frays that when they go up and make the repair, they know it was shot,” said Vetch. While an errant shot can have devastating consequences, possibly more concerning are the vandals who purposefully take aim at co-op equipment. “You often wonder why it’s being done,” said Vetch. “To me it’s like a stupid kid doing something he shouldn’t be doing; they have a gun and looking for something to shoot,” said Vetch. “They’re not thinking of the damage it could cause.” And, that damage creates risks that could potentially involve peoples’ lives. When underground cabinets, transformers and even substations are shot at, the damage isn’t always

immediately apparent. Just this September, FEM’s crews found evidence of a cabinet being shot. “We have no idea when it happened. Our crews were out GISing our system,” said Vetch, referring to the process co-ops are using to record all electric equipment and its locations into geographic information systems. “I look at my guys going in there, if something is knicked it could arc and injure them. Or, I could have one of my guys working on the other side of that equipment when it’s being shot,” said Vetch. “It’s just plain being foolish,” said Vetch. Vetch remains optimistic that the damage was not intentional and is more an issue of ignorance rather than intent. “I hope that it’s the kid having fun and not the 40-year-old drunk or the person with a grudge,” said Vetch. No matter the cause, it’s preventable and can be avoided. “It’s just a matter of using common sense,” said Matt Eldridge, line superintendent at Oahe Electric Cooperative in Blunt, S.D. “Shooting so close to a power line is not a good idea,” said Eldridge. “It causes frays of the wire and makes the line weak.” Like FEM’s employees, Oahe Electric crews don’t always find the damage right away. “Usually, we find the damage during line patrol or when there’s an outage and the line burns down,” said Eldridge, noting that fall and winter seem to be the seasons with greater problems. Left: A bullet dented portions of the electrical equipment inside the underground cabinet that FEM Electric Association crews found damaged by gunshots.




Sign Up WREA Annual Meeting October 8, 2016 Registration 9:00 a.m. Business Meeting 10:00 a.m. Wall Community Center, Wall, SD

Tailgate Party at the Wall/New Underwood Football Game October 20, 2016 We will have Hamburgers & Hot Dogs starting at 5:30 p.m. Wall Football Field

Capital Credits Applied To Your Account Once again, West River Electric Board of Directors have approved a capital credit retirement in the amount of $542,000. This money will be distributed to those member-owners who were active on our service during the years of 1985-2015. With $250,000 being put to 1985, $250,000 in funds being spread amongst the members 1986-2015 and $42,000 in G&T capital credits. If you opened your account since January 1, 2016, you will NOT receive a capital credit retirement payment. This year you will have the opportunity to ask for a check to be printed at the Annual Meeting or by calling the office and requesting it be sent to you. You also have the option to donate your capital credits to Operation Round Up. After October 8, 2016, we will be applying your capital credits to the bill that you receive in October or November. Look for the notice on the October/November bill entitled “CAPITAL CREDITS RETIRED 1985 THRU 2015”. If you have any questions, please contact our Wall office at 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.

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 Meco Grills 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

Do You Have a Heat Meter?

With the cooler temperatures, people are already asking when does the heat season begin? It begins with the 14 O cto be r 2 0 1 6

September reading. Be sure that the breaker to the heat meter is on so that you receive the maximum benefit of the electric heat rate this season. We ask that you leave your breakers on to the heat meter year round. Without power to the automated meter reading system, we cannot detect trouble with the meter or get readings. If you have any questions regarding this please contact Jannette at 3931500 in the Rapid City area or Debbie at 279-2135 in the Wall and Enning areas.

cooperative connections

Call Before You Dig! stats July 2015 3622100 Number of Meters: 16,443 KWH 22,329,978 July 2016 Number of Meters: 16,747 KWH 23,329,978

Co-op news

WREA Scholarship Opportunity

(USPS No. 675-840)

Our Mission

Attention High School Seniors and College Students already enrolled...West River Electric will award not one this year, but two, $500 scholarships at our Annual Meeting on October 8 to two individuals enrolled as a senior in high school or a college student currently enrolled as a full time student. You must be a member or a dependent child (including adopted, step-children, or those under legal guardianship), of a membercooperative consumer or a member-cooperative employee of West River Electric Association. The student must be a US citizen. The student must be enrolled or planning to enroll in a full-time graduate or undergraduate course of study at an accredited, two-year or four-year college, university or vocational/technical school. Online courses may also be considered as long as the student is attending on a full time basis. Students are eligible to receive a scholarship from West River Electric Association or Basin Electric Power Cooperative one time.

You must be present to register before the meeting begins at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 8, 2016 at the Wall Community Center, Wall, SD. The drawing for the 2-$500 scholarships will take place at the end of the meeting and you must be present to win. 1410000 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 An average household dedicates about 5% of its energy budget to lighting. Switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $75 each year. Source: energy.gov.

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 In this Connections If you locate your account number anywhere in this issue of the Cooperative Connections you will be a winner. There will be five account numbers placed randomly throughout the Connections. If you spot your account number and notify our office before the 10th of next month, you will receive a $10.00 credit on your next bill.

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

President Andy Moon, Creighton, S.D. Vice President Stan Anders, Union Center, S.D. Secretary Bill Bielmaier, Wall, S.D. Treasurer Larry Eisenbraun, Wall, S.D. Directors Howard Knuppe, New Underwood, S.D. Dick Richter, Enning, S.D. Marcia Arneson, Rapid City, S.D. Jamie Lewis, Rapid City, S.D. Jerry Hammerquist, Caputa, 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 Postage Paid at Wall, S.D., and at additional mailing offices. POStMAStER: Send address changes to West River Electric Cooperative Connections, PO Box 412, Wall, SD 57790-0412. Other correspondence to: West River Electric Cooperative Connections, PO Box 3486, Rapid City, SD 57709; telephone (605)393-1500, Exts. 6519, 6517, 6531 or 6522; fax (605)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 • Oct o b er 2016 15

Regional Dateline September 23 West River Electric Appreciation Day, Rapid City Office Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1500

September 24 Minuteman Missile National Historic Site Open House Visitor Center, Philip, SD 605-433-5552 September 25 BH Chamber Music Society Fandango, First Congregational Church, Rapid City, SD 605-341-6425 September 27 RCCA/The Willis Clan Rushmore Plaza Fine Arts Theatre, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4115 September 30 Girls Lakota Nation Volleyball Tournament, Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 October 3 South Dakota State A High School Boys Golf Tournament Rapid City, SD

October 1 Fifth Annual All Car Cruiz-in 1980 & Older, Culvers, West Main Street, Rapid City, SD dakotarodsandclassics.com


September 24 Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival, Main Street Square Rapid City, SD, 605-716-7979

Events of Special Note

October 15-January 3 2016 Pheasant Hunting Season Statewide, Pierre, SD 605-223-7660

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.

October 6-8 South Dakota State Girls Tennis Tournament, Rapid City, SD

Bazaar/Bake Sale, 5192 Mill Road, Black Hawk, SD 605-787-6150

October 8 South Dakota State High School Soccer Championships Sioux Falls, SD

October 21 Sons of Norway Annual Torsk Dinner, Canyon Lake Senior Center, Rapid City, SD 605-993-3399

October 8 West River Electric Annual Meeting, Wall Community Center, Wall, SD, 605-279-2135 October 8-31 Pumpkin Patch, Rapid Valley United Methodist Church Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1526

October 3 South Dakota State AA High School Boys Golf Tournament Aberdeen, SD

October 15 Community Rummage Sale Rapid Valley United Methodist Church, Rapid City, SD 605-393-1526

October 4 Build Dakota Scholarship Roadshow, School Gymnasium Wall, SD, 605-279-2663

October 15 Ladies of the Black Hawk Community Church Annual Soup & Sandwich Supper/Quilt

October 21 AKC Dog Show, Rapid City Kennel Club, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 405-427-8181 October 21 South Dakota State High School Competitive Cheer & Dance Competition, Rapid City, SD October 29 Home & Gadget Expo Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 October 30 BH Chamber Music Society The Neave Trio, First

Congregational Church Rapid City, SD, 605-341-6425 November 11 West River Electric will be closed in honor of Veteran’s Day, in case of an emergency call 605-393-1500 in the Rapid City area and 605-279-2135 in the Wall and Enning area November 17 Mannheim Steamroller Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 November 19 Sons of Norway Lille Norge Fest, Canyon Lake Senior Center, Rapid City, SD 605-993-3399 November 24-25 West River Electric will be closed for Thanksgiving, in case of an emergency call 605-393-1500 in the Rapid City area and 605-279-2135 in the Wall and Enning area

Profile for West River Electric Association

Wrea oct2016  

PDF Version of the October 2016 Cooperative Connections

Wrea oct2016  

PDF Version of the October 2016 Cooperative Connections