Know someone in need?

** FREE MONEY **

Yes – we give money away. To those who need it most.

Operation Round Up has to be one of the best parts of my job. The program gives money away to people in our area. It goes to cancer patients, premature babies, the family whose house burned down – all the people we write checks to along with a handwritten note saying, “wish it could be more.”

I’m proud to say: It can be more.

Here’s how it works – Dakota Valley Electric members voluntarily round up their electric bills to the nearest whole dollar. That money, $20,000 a year!, goes into an account. A nine-member board meets twice a year to allocate funds to those who apply.

For members like you and me, the donation is small, + or – 50 cents/month. But for those in need, that money (up to $2,500) makes a huge difference.

I’m so proud to be a a part of it and hope you are too. Nominate yourself or someone you know. Bonus! Charitable organizations can apply too. Next deadline is October, 2014.

More information? Call 1-800-342-4671 or visit www.dakotavalley.com

 

 

The world lost a farmer…

By Lexus Haut, Summer Intern

Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative

 

“My goal in life? To someday be able to step back and see ‘Wehri Farms Mott ND’ in crisp, bold decals on the door of a semi. To know that what I am doing is feeding thousands. To wake up every morning and be proud of my accomplishments and excited to start the day. To be able to look around me and see for miles all the hard work I have put into my life. To have a loving wife that helped me raise beautiful children to who someday I can pass it all down to. Someday.”  – Michael Wehri, 2013

 

Michael

At the age of only 19, Michael knew what he wanted out of life. He knew his responsibilities, and he was more than ready to undertake them… but as willing and eager as he was, Michael never got his someday. He had just finished double-checking the clearing of his equipment when the wind took a power line and caught the sprayer unnoticed. Mike grabbed the ladder to get in, sending a surge of 7,200 volts.

Mike died on June 10, 2013.

On that day, the world lost a son, brother, nephew, friend, classmate…
the world lost a farmer.

Although this happened out in western North Dakota, it’s hitting home again working as a summer intern here at Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative. In life, it’s all about the people we love… and Farm Safety is important wherever you may be!

What I’m learning in my internship scares me. Between the service areas of Dakota Valley and its sister co-op, Northern Plains Electric, the number of accidents between farm equipment and power poles has more than tripled since 2009. In 2013, 134 accidents were reported. That’s compared to 41 accidents reported in 2009.

Safety is a huge priority here. We work really hard to spread safety messages – we purchase radio ads, billboards and send press releases to the local media. In many cases, Northern Plains and Dakota Valley even work with farmers to raise the height of a pole at no charge. We hope that this story, along with those efforts, help raise awareness to this issue. Our goal is that everyone makes it home at night, safe and sound.

Michael Wehri was a classmate of mine at Mott-Regent High School and also one of my best friends. He was a one-of-a-kind guy. Multiple times, people told me that he was “the guy your parents would want you to marry.”

Here’s an example of the type of person Michael was: The guys came into class one day and told me I had a flat tire. Of course I didn’t believe them! I looked outside and sure enough – flat. They gave me a hard time. Michael, however, without even hesitating, said he’d change it during study hall. He even offered to take the car to the shop for me when he was done. Once he stepped up, the others guys offered to help too. Michael was a leader. He was a role model.

I grew up in a larger town, I didn’t know people would willingly drop everything to help someone out. Michael taught me a lot about genuine kindness and doing the right thing. Coming from Jamestown, there were many weekends I traveled home. Occasionally, Michael would be in Wahpeton or Fargo and pick me up on his way back to Mott. He’d carry my bags, hold doors open and hug me goodbye… just what a gentleman should do. He was the one to crown me as queen during Homecoming our senior year… and as you can see in the pictures below, he always had a thumbs up of encouragement and reassurance – most optimistic person I’ve ever known. During these moments, in class or on the road, I came to learn a lot about him… like his love of suckers, his fabulous fashion sense (he had a thing for watches) and his passion for music not only playing, but listening (to Kesha in particular).

Farming truly ran through his veins. In his free time he’d read magazines for farming equipment, or random manuals. It was just what he loved. It was his God-given purpose and he carried that through his last day.

In the end… it truly is the little things. Those small memories we all hang on to. The way Mike impacted my life will live on – this I promise. Stay safe out there.

“Your Safety Matters to Us.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 10.42.10 AM

~Lexus Haut~

Safety Around Grain Elevators

With the extremely low temperatures people often rush to get things, just remember to keep safety in mind when working around grain elevators.

Electrical Safety Around Grain Elevators

By Amber Bentley

Working around grain bins creates hazards that are often overlooked by even the most seasoned farm hands. Always keep these safety tips in mind:

 

Suffocation/engulfment

Entrapment can happen in a second when dealing with grain, which often is compared to quick sand. This is leading cause of death in storage bins.

  • Do not enter grain bins during active loading and unloading times
  • Never work alone
  • Make sure to wear proper safety equipment

 

Fires/explosions

When grain dust accumulates, it can sometimes create the right conditions to spark a fire. These fires are difficult to stop and usually end with a large explosion.

  • Be sure your ventilation system is working properly
  • Clean regularly to keep grain dust accumulations to a minimum
  • Do not smoke or ignite any other open flames while in the grain bin

 

Toxic atmospheres

Mold, fungi, and chemical fumes from decayed grains can create a deadly atmosphere.

  • Store fully dried grain at the proper moisture
  • Wear a mask or filter respirator to limit the amount of direct contact to the fumes
  • Try to keep animal and insect infestations to a  minimum

Machine malfunctions

Machines also pose deadly risks, including amputation, entanglement, and electrocution.

  • Do not operate these machines while inside the bins
  • Ensure that all equipment is properly guarded
  • Be on the lookout for overhead power lines
  • Check for frayed cables
  • Always wear safety belts or some form of protection

THIS JUST IN! DVEC to offer free trip to D.C.!!

This is so exciting! DVEC’s board of directors recently agreed to participate in the Youth Tour program. That means we will send one student from the service area on an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C.!

Youth Tour – What is that?
More than 1,500 students from all across America take part in the Youth Tour experience each year. This year, the tour is set for June 14-20. Youth Tour participants travel to Washington, D.C., where they may  meet U.S. Representatives and Senators. This unique trip gives students the opportunity to watch history come alive through museums, memorials and monuments. Youth Tour participants meet student leaders from nearly every state and hear dynamic leaders on Youth Day. Bottom line, Youth Tour participants make friendships that will last a lifetime and be part of a group that has more than 50,000 alumni in every walk of life including U.S. Senators and CEOs. Participants foot the essay – Dakota Valley foots the bill!

Why does the co-op care?
Rural Electric Cooperatives were created in the 1930s when President Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the Rural Electrification Administration. Thanks to the Rural Electrification Act, those brave farmers and ranchers took it upon themselves to create their own member-owned utilities called cooperatives. This can-do spirit combined with the mission of giving back to the community is why electric cooperatives sponsor high school juniors and seniors on a week-long, all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

So how do I apply?
Here’s the qualification and application info.

* To enter the essay-writing contest, you must be a junior or senior in high school in the fall of 2014.
* This contest is open to dependents of Dakota Valley Electric members ONLY. That means you and your parents or guardian must receive your electricity from Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative.
* Essay is not to exceed two standard 8 1/2-  by 11-inch typewritten, double-spaced pages on this topic: Many North Dakota electric cooperatives are or will soon be celebrating their 75th anniversaries. Describe how rural electrification and rural electric cooperatives have contributed to the quality of life in North Dakota and your local community.
* Submit your essay in electronic format to Dakota Valley Electric. Electronic submissions should conform to the two-page, double-spaced guideline described above. Include a cover page with your name, date of birth, school and grade in 2014, parent or guardian’s name, address and telephone number.
* The deadline is Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. Email entries to katiea@nplains.com.
* If you have a question, contact Katie Ryan-Anderson at 701-252-1474 or KatieA@nplains.com

More information is also available here: www.ndyouthtour.com and www.youthtour.coop!

Ashten Breker, former scholarship recipient, joins DVEC staff

The winner of Dakota Valley Electric’s 2007 scholarship is now employed with the cooperative. Ashten Breker, originally of Havana, is Northern Plains & Dakota Valley Electric’s new system engineer.

Breker studied engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City, S.D.
She graduated from Sargent Central of Forman in 2007, the same year she received the $1,000 scholarship from Dakota Valley and Basin Electric Power Cooperatives.

“That scholarship opened my eyes to opportunities within the energy industry. It guided me to my chosen career path,” Breker said.

Prior to her work at Northern Plains/Dakota Valley, Breker was an engineer for John Deere Electronic Solutions, formerly Phoenix International, in Fargo.

When she isn’t working, Breker enjoys snowboarding, riding her motorcycle, working on her parents’ (Jeff and Jody) farm and updating her new home in Carrington.

 

For more information on the 2014 Basin Electric scholarship, visit dakotavalley.com or call 1-800-342-4671.

Angels Among Us: Little girl gets Christmas wish

She watched as the little girl watched the cornucopia of children bobble within the brightly-colored confines, flipping and scissor-kicking in celebration of the autumn season.

 

She watched as the little girl watched from across the road, sitting with her father, sipping cider and chewing complimentary cookies.

 

She watched as the little girl sighed and stared at the crumbs on her napkin.

 

“Without knowing any better, I told the little girl to go jump in the inflatable bounce houses.  I didn’t know her dad, so I didn’t know the family was struggling,” said Nicole Wiederrich, receptionist for Dakota Valley Electric in Edgeley.

 

What happened next broke Wiederrich’s heart.

 

“The dad said he’d had health problems and couldn’t afford the $10 fee.  I felt so bad that I paid the $10 for his daughter. I wanted to help, but didn’t want to hurt the man’s pride. I was happy to see he accepted it so graciously and even more happy to see the dust from the girl’s shoes as skedaddled to those bounce houses!” Wiederrich said.

 

The next day at work, Wiederrich shared the story with her fellow officemates at Dakota Valley Electric.

 

Each Friday, the eight or so Dakota Valley Electric office employees donate a $1 towards the Casual Day Fund. The money, along with the 75 cents they collect selling cans of pop in the break room, adds up to about $500 and benefits two or three people a year.

Ladies from Dakota Valley Electric wear jeans in exchange for a donation to the Casual Day Fund each Friday. The money benefits two or three families in need each year. Pictured, back from left, are Nicole Wiederrich and Kelly Wald; front from left are Pat Schaffer, Irene Baumann, Rhonda Shockman and Michelle Berry.

 

“We knew this little girl had a Christmas concert coming up for school,” Wiederrich said. “The kids have to look nice for that – dresses for the girls and slacks and ties for the boys. We knew that if the dad couldn’t afford the $10 games, the family couldn’t afford new clothes either.’”

 

So with the Casual Day Fund, Senior Billing Representative Wendy Boom purchased a Christmas dress as well as shoes, tights and other outfits the girl could wear during the week. The office workers consulted with the school to make sure they purchased the correct sizes.

 

“We didn’t tell them who donated it or anything. We just wanted them to have something special for the holidays,” Boom said.

 

Wiederrich’s mother, who works at the school, said after the gifts were delivered, the girl came to class feeling proud and confident.

 

“The girl came to school the next day just beaming, believing Santa visited her early,” Wiederrich said.

 

In addition to the young girl, recent Casual Day Fund recipients include a family whose baby was born with severe health problems, a boy paralyzed after a hunting accident and families after the death of a loved one. Membership in the cooperative isn’t a factor. The money stays within the communities Dakota Valley Electric employees live and work and benefits whomever needs it most, said Payroll/Benefits Administrator Rhonda Shockman.

 

Shockman jokes that the Casual Day Fund, which is more than 25 years old, started in secret. While office managers were away, the employees decided amongst themselves to hold a casual day on Fridays in exchange for a $1 donation. When he returned, the general manager was surprised to see the employees dressed in jeans and sweatshirts, but once he understood the reason, he was pretty pleased, Shockman said.

 

The Casual Day Fund is even popular with recently retired Dakota Valley Electric employees. One of them still stops by with $52 checks, $1 for each week of the year, to donate to the cause.

 

Once the money is collected and a benefactor is selected — an informal process usually decided during coffee breaks — Shockman stops at the bank and mails a Money Order to the family.

 

“Sometimes we get a thank-you card and sometimes we don’t. It isn’t expected,” she said.

We POWER high school students!

We can help! We’re giving out a $1,000 scholarship.

We like students – students are our future. The scholarship, which is sponsored by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, recognizes and encourages the academic achievements of students in the region. It’s also an investment in the economic future of rural areas. Growth in rural areas means growth for our cooperative. It’s a win-win. And we like those too.

Ready to apply? Here’s what to do:

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Are you a high school senior?
  • Are you a U.S. Citizen?
  • Do your parents get electricity from Dakota Valley Electric? In other words, are they members?
  • Do you plan to enroll full time at a two-year or four-year school next year?

 

APPLICATION CHECK LIST

  • Fill out this application
  • Include a recommendation letter from a teacher, counselor, administrator, etc.
  • Write a two-page essay answering “How would you describe the value of your local electric cooperative to you and your immediate family?”

 

SELECTION | We will choose one winner based on a combination of SAT/ACT scores and overall grade-point average, work experience, participation in school and community activities, the application, recommendation letter and essay.

DEADLINE | Applications for the Dakota Valley scholarship to be awarded during the 2014-2015 school year will be accepted until February 15, 2014, and winners will be announced in March. Additional scholarship applications are available at dakotavalley.com or by request at dvec@dakotavalley.com or 1-800-342-4671.

QUESTIONS? | Let’s talk. Phone: 1-800-342-4671. Web: www.dakotavalley.com . Email: dvec@dakotavalley.com. Facebook: Facebook.com/DakotaValleyElectric. Twitter: @DakValElectric

Feed those who Need: Dakota Valley donates to food pantries

We love this time of year, but it pinches our pennies right? Heating our homes, feeding our (extended) families, fueling up for travel… lots of expenses in a limited time.

That’s why every year, Dakota Valley and Northern Plains celebrate Cooperative Month by helping the folks who really struggle this time of year: the hungry. We know it’s a financial squeeze for people on tight budgets, fixed incomes or maybe just down on their luck. It’s not always easy to afford basic needs plus the wish list for Santa. That’s why our board, in addition to donations from employees and community members, donated $300 to the cause. Each year, we gather goods in October for distribution in November. That way, food pantries are stocked and ready for winter.

Employees from Dakota Valley Electric’s Milnor office donated non-perishable items to the food pantry in Sargent County. Pictured, from left, are Dayna Speich, Ron Ferderer, Jay Jacobson, John Schwalk, Brad Lunneborg and Lisa Heinert.

We hope our donations, plus our efforts to raise awareness, take a bite out of hunger this year. What we collected was donated to food pantries in LaMoure and Sargent counties as well as Towner County and Carrington Daily Bread.

Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative conducts activities and outreach all year long, but we also looks for special ways to demonstrate the value of cooperatives during Cooperative Month. The food drive is a perfect fit because it benefits the communities in which we live and work.

Dakota Valley Electric’s Edgeley office donated non-perishable items to the LaMoure County food bank. Pictured from left are Irene Baumann, Michelle Berry, Brandon Giesler, Nicki Wiederrich, Tami Berg, Kirk Redmond, Wendy Boom and Rhonda Shockman.

For more information, call us at 1-800-346-4671.

Happy Thanksgiving: We’re thankful for you!

This is a good time of year to reflect upon the many blessings we enjoy in this nation.

November is the month of Thanksgiving, when families and friends come together to share a feast and catch up on all the goings-on.

But dealing with the economic uncertainty over the past few years has left many of us rattled. Negative news events of late convince many of us that our world is heading toward chaos.

But let’s face the facts…despite all the bad news, all the doom and gloom we read about in the papers and see on TV, we enjoy a standard of living matched by few other nations. Yes, our lives are busier, our schedules more hectic…but much of this is due to our choices to do more, own more and squeeze as much out of each day as we can. In some countries, people struggle just to feed themselves and get by.

Thanksgiving season is the best time to count our many blessings.

We are thankful that our government is a constitutional republic, and that we are able to cast our ballots and elect our fellow citizens to represent us in local, state and federal legislative bodies. In many countries, there are no choices and no opportunities to voice dissent.

We are also thankful of the many brave men and women who serve in our armed forces, at home and abroad. They defend this nation, and it’s a tough and dangerous assignment. We are thankful for the service of our military veterans, whose heroic deeds helped preserve our freedoms. We should never forget their sacrifices. We should also thank those who serve in public safety roles for their efforts to protect us and to ensure that we are safe and secure.

Here at Dakota Valley Electric, we are thankful that our employees understand the importance of service to our members, and that dedication and a strong work ethic are things to be proud of. Our employees are committed to providing excellent service. It’s easy to take having reliable electric power for granted. You flip a switch and the electricity is there, 24-7. In some regions of the world, electricity is still just a dream.

We are also thankful for our members, who express their appreciation of our efforts to restore service after a storm, and who offer our servicemen some coffee or a sandwich as they toil in the late night hours. We are grateful for our members who participate in our Operation Round Up program, because they’re helping members who may be facing financial difficulties. In these touch economic times, it is especially important to look out for one another.

Many of our members are thankful that Dakota Valley Electric is a not-for-profit when they receive their Capital Credits refunds checks in December. The notes and letters we receive after we send out our refunds express appreciation. For other utility customers, there are no refunds because the money that’s left over goes to stockholders, or to city coffers to pave streets.

This month, it’s a good time to remember all the things we can be thankful for and the many blessings we enjoy.

From the board of directors, general manager and employees, we hope your Thanksgiving holiday is an enjoyable one. We thank you for your support, and we pledge to do our best each day to serve you.

Dakota Valley Electric Celebrates Co-Op Month by Giving Back

We at Dakota Valley Electric are really fortunate. For the most part, we’re happy and healthy.

But like you, many of are dealing or have dealt with a time in our lives when things weren’t so prosperous… maybe we lost a job, got sick or faced an unexpected expense. We remember those times and the helping hands that got us through.

Dakota Valley Electric along with its sister cooperative Northern Plains Electric are celebrating cooperative month by giving back. And we need your help!

As part of its commitment to community, Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative is collecting nonperishable food items to donate to local food pantries.

Co-op month is an opportunity for us to recognize the benefits and values co-ops bring to members and communities. A food drive is a way that we can demonstrate how much we care about the places we live and serve.

We’re also pitting each headquarter office against each other. Each of the four offices, Milnor, Edgeley, Carrington and Cando, are competing to see which group can accumulate the most donations.

Despite economic advances tied to oil booms and bountiful harvests, some North Dakota families are still in need – these numbers SHOCKED me. In LaMoure County, for example, 36.7 percent of children participate in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program that provides school lunch to children in low-income families. The number is similar in Sargent County where 33.2 percent of children participate in the program. (Source: kidscount.org)

We’re hoping our inter-office competition generates excitement and awareness of the project, but the real winners, of course, are our local food pantries.

Drop off locations are set up at headquarter offices in Edgeley and Milnor. The public is welcome to leave donations at those offices anytime between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. And if you’re in Jamestown, you can stop in and see me too. I’ll make sure they get to the right place!

For more information, call 1-800-342-4671.