Inflatable games, bucket truck rides & hot air balloon

Inflatable games, bucket truck rides, vendor booths and soaring in the Touchstone Energy Hot Air Balloon – it’s all free and all for Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative members at the co-op’s annual meeting.

10599248_10153097174057334_7273316198962645891_n  Members, not shareholders, own Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative. So its annual meeting is a time to celebrate. Set for Thursday, June 11 at the Milnor Area Community Center, the event begins at 4 p.m.

Visit the vendor booths, hop on the inflatable games and ride in a bucket truck – just the way linemen do! If weather permits, the co-op is even offering rides in Touchstone Energy Cooperative’s Hot Air Balloon.

10636258_10153097174487334_753723448182814738_nThe co-op is serving a complimentary supper beginning at 5 p.m. at Milnor Public School, adjacent to the MACC. The meeting and election begin at 6:30. Candidates for this year are incumbents John Hauschild, Wahpeton; Dick Johnson, Brampton; and Blaine Lundgren, Kulm. Following the meeting, the co-op is giving away more than $800 worth of door prizes as well as a chance to win $1,000. Must be present to win.

For more information, call 1-800-342-4671 or visit

Seven accidents in two days

This terrifies me.

As spring begins, we at your co-op ask farmers and farm workers to plant the seeds of safety.IMG_0014

In two days, seven accidents caused outages in the combined Dakota Valley and Northern Plains Electric Cooperatives’ service areas. Five of them were farm-machinery related and two were fire related.

Asking a farmer to slow down this time of year isn’t practical. We know how busy everyone is. But we do want to remind people what to do if they do hit a pole, transformer or other piece of our equipment.

Unless there’s a risk of fire or imminent danger, stay in the cab and call for help. Warn others who may be nearby to stay away and wait until the electric utility arrives to cut off the power.

If the power line is energized and you step outside, your body becomes the path and electrocution is the result. Even if a power line haFireAroundPoleMikeKoenigs landed on the ground, the area nearby may be energized. Tangling with 7,200 volts of electricity can have serious and fatal consequences.

Between 2009 and 2013, we noticed an increase in accidents between the public and power lines. Last year alone, more than 60 accidents were reported between the two co-ops. The year prior, 134 accidents were reported.

Exciting news! Baumann wins scholarship!

Congratulations to Jacob Baumann, winner one of the 2015-2016 Member Cooperative Employee Scholarships from Basin Electric Cooperative! The $1,000 scholarship is for dependents of employees only. Basin only selects a handful of students from across the region, so to be chosen is a huge honor!

Jacob is the son of Irene and Jerel Baumann. Irene works for DVEC in the Edgeley office.

Employees like his mom give in small ways that make a big impact in their communities, he said.

Jacob wrote about cooperatives and commitment to community as part of an essay for the scholarship. This year, the essay subject was: “Pick one of the four values of innovation, accountability, integrity and commitment to community and describe how you see this value in action at your local cooperative.”


Read Jacob’s essay below.

Jacob Baumann

Jacob Baumann


I would say that there are a lot of people at the cooperative that highly regard the value of commitment to community. You can see this in various ways, if you look at the linemen you will see some strong commitment to their job and community. During the winter, there are of course power outages which are caused by a buildup of ice on the power lines and various other reasons. These linemen have to go out to those lines and get the power back up and running regardless of if it is 30 degrees below. Yes, it is their job, but if they weren’t committed to helping the community with this job they wouldn’t be able to accomplish it to the extent that they do. Another way that employees of Dakota Valley are committed to the community is that they participate in local events. Many of them are also willing to buy fruit, wreaths or other items that are being sold as fundraisers for our local student organizations. One of the most important commitments to the community, in my opinion however, is that quite a few employees donate blood, participate in other events like Relay for Life and area a part of various councils in the different cities that they are part of. I would say that due to the outstanding job that the employees already do for the community, along with all these other tasks stated, that the employees are very committed to the community. This is wonderful because without commitment from the various businesses and their employees, you wouldn’t be able to have much of a community, it would just be quiet and boring all the time. It is thanks to people such as these employees that the community even exists and is constantly moving forward in development.

Free booth space!

Planning for Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative’s annual meeting is underway and this year, we’re extending a special invitation: vendors, crafters, school groups and fundraisers are invited to set up a booth for their goods, services and information free of charge.


The event is set for Thursday, June 11 at Milnor Public School and Milnor Area Community Center. We’ve hired Jamestown Inflatables to provide inflatable games and Touchstone Energy Cooperative to bring its Hot Air Balloon. We expect about 400 people including children and young families as well as grandmas and grandpas too.

Vendors may set up tables as early as 2 p.m. and the event lasts until 9 p.m. Spaces are first-come, first-serve only. Booth space is for school groups, vendors, crafters and fundraisers, not political purposes. So please, don’t ask anyone to sign a petition. And if you’re running for office, we welcome you to the meeting, but booth space is reserved for the others. Thanks for understanding!

Members are receiving this invitation first. If you’d like space, let us know by Friday, May 8 as we’ll open space to the general public on Friday, May 15. Booth space is free, but please provide your own table and chairs. In addition to merchandise, please bring your families! The supper, games and hot-air balloon rides are all for Dakota Valley Electric members and all complimentary.

For more information, call 1-800-342-4671 or visit

Congrats to Madison Ryckman, Oakes!

Cooperatives, like one student, won’t let obstacles get in the way of what’s important.

Madison Ryckman, a senior at Oakes High School is the daughter of Buffy and Kevin Ryckman. Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative chose Madison as its 2015 scholarship recipient. Every year, DVEC partners with Basin Electric Power Cooperative to offer a $1,000 scholarship to students in the service area. This year, Madison wMadisonRickmanas one of 18 students who applied.

She wrote about cooperatives and innovation as part of an essay for the scholarship. This year, the essay subject was: “Pick one of the four values of innovation, accountability, integrity and commitment to community and describe how you see this value in action at your local cooperative.”

Madison wrote about how her electric cooperative overcame challenges when it was established 75 years ago. Likewise, Madison used innovation to mount her horse after she broke her collarbone.


Read her essay:

“Innovation is creativity with a job to do.” This quote by John Emmerling describes the basic characteristic of what it means to be innovative. Without innovation, there wouldn’t be change, and without change the world would not become better. We need creative minds in order to advance technology, do our jobs better, and better service our communities.


Personally, I have had my fair share of innovation through horse training. Not all horses are the same, but the job is to train them at a certain skill or make them better at one they already know. This requires coming up with innovative solutions to cater to each horse. This past summer, I broke my collarbone and wasn’t supposed to ride horse. I am a competitive barrel racer and wasn’t going to let this bring me down. I conditioned my horses on the ground and once I was given the okay to ride, I mounted from the opposite side so I could get my job done.


Just like my ways in training horses and dealing with an injury, Dakota Valley Electric is innovative in customer relations and technology. Dakota Valley Electric started in 2000 from two small cooperatives. Now, 15 years later, they service 6,129 consumers in rural areas from Ashley to the East border and Jamestown to the South border. None of the expansions would have been possible without the pioneering minds that started the company. They have excellent customer relations and a genuine concern for their communities; in fact, through Operation Round Up they have raised $359,112 for 438 local individuals. Dakota Valley Electric is one of 625 electric cooperatives in the nation to partner up with Touchstone Energy, which allows them to provide us with the latest electrical technology. Innovation isn’t a quality that only scientists or explorers can claim. It’s in me, it’s in you, and it’s in our local electric cooperatives.

Inflatables, Hot Air Balloon and Vendor Show – Oh my!

Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative recently announced the date of its annual meeting: Thursday, June 11 in Milnor.

Last year was a blast. If you didn’t attend, it looked a little something like this:

Bollinger KathyBucketTruck ThompsonBalloonAnnual meetings include informational updates and director elections, but they’re also fun. So members, mark your calendars, Thursday, June 11 in Milnor. All the games, rides and even the meal are all complimentary and all a benefit of co-op membership.

Check out these opportunities for to learn about the energy industry!

Want your school to learn more about the energy industry? Dakota Valley can help!

Energy tours:
  School districts wishing to tour the Antelope Valley coal-based generating plant, the Coteau Freedom coal mine and the Great Plains coal gasification plant, located near Beulah, N.D. can receive assistance from Dakota Valley.
  The tours allow students a first-hand look at the generation of electricity from coal, a look at one of two gasification plants in the entire world, and a ride down into a coal mine. They visit a power plant and learn about the many job opportunities available in North Dakota’s energy industry. The tour provides insight into one of North Dakota’s most promising and brightest industries.

  This scholarship program recognizes and encourages the academic achievements of students in the region, serves as an investment in the economic future of rural areas.
  Annually, each of the 135 electric cooperatives that make up Basin Electric Power Cooperative (including Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative) receives $1,000 from Basin Electric to award a scholarship to a qualifying dependent of a Dakota Valley Electric member, who will be enrolled as a college freshman for the 2012-2013 school year.
  Applicants for the scholarship must be high school seniors enrolled or planning to enroll in a full-time course of study at an accredited two-year or four-year college, university or vocational/technical school.
  Scholarship recipients will be chosen based on a combination of SAT/ACT scores and overall grade-point average, work experience, participation in school and community activities, a personal statement of career goals, a written recommendation by a third party and a written essay.

School lyceum: The Story Behind The Switch
  Every three years, Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative and Basin Electric team up to provide area schools and Hutterite Colonies with a lyceum entitled “The Story Behind the Switch.” This program is offered to students in grades 4 through 6.
  The lyceum emphasizes safety and respect for electricity. It also teaches students what electricity is, how it is generated and distributed, and the important role it plays in our lifestyles.
  During the program, students are allowed to participate in electrical demonstrations such as the Van de Graff generator, which literally makes participants’ hair stand on end. This demonstration is a big hit with students and demonstrates how electricity travels on the outside of conductors.

Legislative field trips:
  Recognizing that school budgets are often tight, and to help defray trip expenses, Dakota Valley Electric’s board of directors has approved a $100 donation to any high school in the cooperative’s service area that takes a group of students to the state Capitol to view North Dakota’s legislative process in action.

Are All Fires the Same?

By Kelly Trapnell

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And
while all blazes may look the same, fires should not be treated equally.


Electrical fires


According to the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, more than 26,000 electrical home fires result in property
damage, injuries, and even death every year. Remember this acronym F.I.R.E for
electrical safety:


Find the source before it starts

            Old or faulty wiring often emerges
as the main culprit in causing electrical fires. In electrical fires, heat from
wiring or an overloaded system can provide the strike that leads to a fire. But
there are often signs before a fire even starts.


Investigate the signs

            If you notice flickering lights,
recurring trips in a circuit breaker, or a tell-tale sizzling sound around
wiring and hot light switches, call a qualified electrician. These may indicate
an imminent fire hazard.


Remedy the problem

            If you have any signs of a pending fire
or have worries about old wiring, contact a professional electrician. Other
precautions include:

  • Use
    correct wattage bulbs to prevent overheating fixtures.
  • Avoid
    using damaged cords or running cords under rugs.
  • Do not
    overload outlets or extension cords.
  • Do not
    use appliances in wet areas.
  • Routinely
    check appliances for signs of wear and tear or overheating.


Exit the Building and Learn to
Extinguish Properly

            If you are faced with an electrical
fire, call 911 immediately and have everyone exit the building. If you feel you
must face a small fire, know the proper way to approach it.

  • Never use
    water on an electrical fire. Water conducts electricity, so it will not smother
    the fire and may lead to electrocution.
  • If the
    circuit breaker does not trip in the area on fire, shut off the main breaker to
    the house if possible. Be sure to approach the breaker only if the fire is not
    nearby and if your hands are dry.
  • Never use
    a Class A extinguisher on an electrical fire. Use a Class C or a multi-purpose
    ABC model. If there is no extinguisher available or the class of extinguisher
    is not known, baking soda may help smother the flames.
  • Again, if
    the fire is not quickly extinguished, exit the building.


 Even though the source and treatment of fires
may differ, they produce the same results. You are no match for the force of a
house fire—learn F.I.R.E. and protect yourself.


Sources: U.S. Fire Administration, Electrical Safety
Foundation International, National Fire Incident Reporting System


Kelly Trapnell writes on safety and energy efficiency issues
for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington,
Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit
electric cooperatives.

North Sargent teachers learn about lignite

Lignite isn’t exacly on the list of top 10 vocabulary words or in the first 10 chapters of standard science books. But it is a very vital source of power in North Dakota, not to mention vital to the economny of the Peace Garden State.

Do you know what lignite is? If you don’t, check here or ask some of the friendly teachers of North Sargent School in Gwinner, N.D. Husband and wife Ardell and Lavonne Ptacek were two of about 130 educators who participated in the Lignite Energy Council’s annual seminar for teachers. At the seminar, teachers learn about lignite and the energy industry from different perspectives like science, history, economics, agriculture, etc., so they can then teach those lessons to their students.

The Ptaceks agreed: the lignite impressed. Especially how clean it was, said Ardell who teaches ag education, and how farmers could reclaim the land. Lavonne, who teaches family and consumer science, was interested in career opportunities for high school graduates.

The seminar is especially great because it’s free to our hard-working educators and also offers them two credit hours at an institution of their choosing. Many times, educators have to pay for those hours, so this seminar is especially valuable.

Read more about Lavonne, Ardell and the lignite seminar in September’s issue of North Dakota Living!