High schoolers: Apply for D.C. Youth Tour Trip

Museums, memorials “and all the bacon I could eat” are reasons a recent participant recommends the Youth Tour experience to others.

See sights like this in Washington D.C., as part of the 2015 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Youth Tour program invites local students to visit the nation’s capital – all at no expense to the student or the school. The students learn about historical figures and sites as well as the significance of co-ops and rural electrification. Last year, the Dakota Valley Electric sponsored Jayden Conant of Litchville-Marion.


The all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. is set for June 13-19, 2015. To qualify, students must be high school juniors or seniors in the fall of 2015. The students must also be dependents of Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative members.


High school juniors and seniors in Fall 2015 may apply for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, courtesy of Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative.

To enter, submit an essay not to exceed two standard 8 ½ by 11-inch typewritten, double-spaced pages answering “If you were asked to influence other students your age to become more actively involved in their electric cooperative – including attendance at the electric cooperative annual meeting – what would you tell them and why?”


Submit the essay to Dakota Valley Electric, including a cover page with name, date of birth, school and grade in 2015, parents’ names, address and phone number.


Deadline to enter is Jan. 30. Email entries to katiea@nplains.com or mail them to: Youth Tour Essay Contest, Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative, 3322 Hwy. 281 North, Jamestown, N.D., 58401.


For more information, call 1-800-342-4671 or visit www.NDYouthTour.com and www.YouthTour.coop.


How to submit:

Email: katiea@nplains.com

Mail: 3322 Hwy. 281 North

Jamestown, N.D. 58401

Deadline: Jan. 30, 2015

Local students choose laundry over deer season

As a student, if school wasn’t in session, I wasn’t out of bed.

Not before noon at least.

But that isn’t the case tomorrow.

The entire class of Pingree-Buchanan (all five of them – gosh I love small towns) is helping me wash and dry hundreds of winter apparel items as part of Dakota Valley and Northern Plains Electric Cooperative’s #CoopMonth Can & Coat Drive.

Meggan Domek, Jenna VanRay, Cole Diede, William Widmer, Ian Snow along with Jamestown Crew Foreman and PBK School District Board Member Steve Homes are pictured with some (only SOME) of the items the donated as part of Dakota Valley and Northern Plains Electric Cooperative’s #CoopMonth Can & Coat Drive.
Not pictured is their teacher, Chantel Grosulak.

Along with our offices in Edgeley, Milnor Carrington and Cando, the students at Pingree-Buchanan collected non-perishable food and winter apparel items to donate to families in need.

They dropped the canned goods off yesterday – and I haven’t seen my floor since.

I’m so impressed with these students. What they did is awesome. And to get a little geeky, it’s emblematic of the co-op way. The Cooperative business model arose out of the fool-hearty notion that if we worked together, we could achieve more than if we worked alone.

A small sampling of the #CoopMonth Can & Coat Drive donations from the senior class (all five of them) at Pingree-Buchanan.

Seventy-five years ago, that meant combing resources to build poles and wires throughout the countryside. Back then, it didn’t make financial sense for for-profit utilities to do it. So country people chipped in $5 a piece and in many cases, dug holes for power poles themselves. At a time when rural people weren’t considered worthy of electricity, this was an ambitious move.

These students reminded me of that yesterday. They are young leaders, both current and future. I’m thrilled to work with them tomorrow, folding hats and gloves at 8 a.m. when they should be slumbering instead.

Let’s just hope we’re done by noon. We wouldn’t want to spoil the sanctity of St. Deer Hunters Day. :)

Fancy a trade? #CoopClipND

What would you trade for this little number?

This Co-op clip is up for trade! I can’t take money, but I will consider coffee mugs, coats, cars, couture clothing or anything else.

As part of Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative’s commitment to community, we are participating in the statewide Cooperative Paperclip Project.

What’s that?

Co-ops across the state are building relationships and awareness, all out of one red paperclip. Find out how.

Based on the One Red Paperclip project, it’s an opportunity for us to show you how cooperatives are different than traditional business models. It’s also a chance for us to do a little good for charitable organizations we know and love. Plus, we hope to meet up with and get to know some great people too.

So, how does it work?

We begin with an item of nominal value. For us, that’s an DVEC chip clip (see above). From there, we will trade it for something bigger and better. Our goal is a house, or an island, a house on an island is OK too, but most importantly, somewhere for our children to play and pets to sleep. :-)

A full list of rules and details is here.

Our deadline is Basin Electric Power Cooperative‘s annual meeting in November. There, we will sell the item, along with the other items collected statewide, by silent auction. The proceeds will benefit Operation Round Up – a trust funded by the generosity of members like you.

So — yes — we’d like to trade with you. Let’s see where this leads.

If you promise to make the trade, I promise to meet up with you to retrieve it.


Email KatieA@nplains.com or call me at 252-1474.



Big Difference out of Small Change: We have $$ to give away!

Through the generosity of members, electric co-ops around the country are making big differences out of small change.

They, along with all of you members at Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative, do that through Operation Round Up, a program that gives grants to local organizations and individuals.

Of all the things we do here at Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative, I’m most proud of Operation Round Up. That program means when people come to us for help, we have the luxury of saying “Yes!”

Participating members voluntarily round up their electric bill to the next whole dollar. The donation averages 50 cents a month and raises about $20,000 each year.

A board, which consists of co-op members, meets twice a year to disburse the funds.

At the most recent meeting, the board allocated funds to:

Lori Peterson (LaMoure); Medical; $1,750

Community Volunteer EMS of LaMoure; Safety Class; $220

Jack Rourke (Verona); Medical; $2,500

Milnor Area Community Center, Inc.; Sponsor 5K Run; $100

Bear Creek Roughriders (Oakes); Provide Equine Events; $300

Hankinson Industrial Dev. Corp; Dance Floor; $2,000

Tim Klose (Jamestown); Medical; $1,430

Edgeley Ranger Archery Club; Archery Equipment; $100

Coldwater Park Association (Ashley); Construct Bathroom Facilities; $1,000

Jolly Senior Center (Edgeley); New Windows and Water Softener; $250

Edgeley Park Board; Rescue Tubes and Umbrella; $250

For more information, or to apply, call 1-800-342-4671 or download the application here.

Know someone in need?


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



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:



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



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.