75 Years of Service - Wild Rice Electric Cooperative Inc.

Wild Rice Electric’s
February 2015 • Volume 75 • Issue 2
News from Wild Rice Electric Co-op, Inc.
PO Box 438, Mahnomen, MN 56557
75 Years of Service
Wild Rice Electric Cooperative is celebrating 75
years of service this year. To mark this milestone,
we’ve been publishing the history of the co-op. This
is the final part of the series. It is fascinating to look
back at the co-op’s origins and think about how far
we’ve come over the past 75 years!
Part 3 of 3
Much planning and bargaining had been done and with splendid
cooperation from Mr. Andrew Freeman, Manager of Minnkota
Power Cooperative, it became possible to secure the use of the
portable power unit that had been used at Whitman, North Dakota. The power unit was then brought to Rindal, located on the
north end of the present constructed lines.
On Wednesday morning, December 18th, 1940, a small group
gathered around the plant for a momentous occasion. The group
consisted of O.P. Refling, President of the Board; Iver Westad,
Treasurer; Jerry Hastad, Project Attorney; Andrew Freeman, Manager of Minnkota; E.J. Melling, Plant Operator; Floyd Weimer,
Lineman; and Peter Ingebretson.
Mr. Freeman then turned on the switch, sending the first electric
current into Wild Rice lines. The beginning of a new era.
There was an immediate scramble by members to get connected.
O.P. Refling was the first member to receive a meter. By Christmas Eve, a total of 150 meters had been installed and service
completed to those members. It was a happy Christmas for the
150 families who had been connected to the lines.
Memories of Constructing First Lines
Coming from a family of 15, Joe Spaeth learned how
to work hard at an early age. One summer in the
mid-1940s, he and his brother heard that Wild Rice
Electric Cooperative was hiring workers to dig holes
for what would become some of the cooperative’s
first power poles and lines.
“We didn’t have any work and that sounded like a
pretty good paying job,” 83-year-old Spaeth recalls. “I
remember that we lied about our age. We were only
14 or 15, but we were big for our age and we knew
how to work. They put us on the pole digging crew.”
He started out working northeast of Beaulieu and
then moved south toward Waubun. One thing Spaeth
remembers about the Waubun area was all of the
rocks. “If we ran into a large rock and couldn’t dig
anymore, they’d tell us to leave it and go start digging
another hole. When the crew came to put the pole
in, they’d put some TNT on the end of the pole to
help get the pole in the rest of the way.”
Each man on the pole digging crew had a goal to dig
five holes a day, with the holes each measuring 4 to 6
feet deep. All of the work was done by hand.
“It was hard work,” Spaeth acknowledges. “But if you
can work, that’s the best thing you can do.”
Mr. Ingebretson resigned as manager in 1942. The board hired
Kenneth Martin of Cando, North Dakota, to replace Mr. Ingebretson. Mr. Martin resigned in 1952 and was succeeded by John A.
Following Mr. Marshall’s death in 1962, Manley G. Hillstad, a
native of Mahnomen, was named as manager. Mr. Hillstad served
as manger for the next 25 years, a period of time in which the co(75 Years of Service is continued on page 3)
Original Office Building
Over the Manager’s Desk
Steve Haaven
Around The Co-op
A New Year
Happy New Year and welcome to 2015.
Similar to your own household our
accounting staff is busy summarizing
financial results of 2014 and preparing
to meet reporting and auditing requirements. Likewise the operations and engineering departments are busy preparing for construction projects planned for
the upcoming construction season.
Preliminary financial results verify 2014
was a good year at the cooperative.
Kilowatt hour sales increases of 4%
provided revenue sufficient to cover
all expenses plus allowed for a sound
margin at year-end satisfactory to meet
all financial covenants required of our
bankers. Major contributors were favorable weather conditions with no major
storms, increased sales, and stabilized
wholesale power rates. The stabilized
cost of power is very important since the
co-op’s major expense continues to be
the purchase of wholesale power from
our supplier Minnkota Power Cooperative. During 2014, 304 million kilowatt
hours were purchased at a cost of $21
million, accounting for approximately
72% of the total cost of doing business.
Another key performance indicator is
the average service interruption to a
member. Reported service interruptions
during 2014 were well within industry
standards, although up from 2013. The
winter of 2013-2014 was long and hard,
which did bring with it challenges from
strong winds and ice conditions.
A formalized budget documenting estimates for 2015 operations was recently
presented to the Board of Directors for
approval. The budget is a projection of
revenues and expenses anticipated based
upon certain conditions. Obviously, it
is impossible to know exact numbers
prior to occurrence, but we do our best
to predict and prepare. The budget does
include several items of interest as we
attempt to determine how costs and
related work events will be impacted. A
very important driver is projected sales
for the upcoming year. Based upon an
average increase of 1.4% in kilowatt
hour sales, projected revenue for 2015 is
$31.6 million. On the expense side of the
ledger, projected wholesale power costs
of $22.7 million are the largest single
expense. Our power provider, Minnkota
Power, has announced a 5% increase in
wholesale rate components to become
effective April 1st, 2015. Based upon
estimated purchases and related demands,
the increase could total $750,000 in
additional expenses in 2015. Our initial
projection is that an approximate 3.5%
increase in retail rates to our members
will be necessary to aide in covering that
additional impact. Increased sales and
related system demands could impact that
projection. Another increased expense
will be nearly $600,000 spent on right of
way clearing for both reliability and safety
reasons. We’re simply not staying ahead
of fast growing trees which can cause havoc when they grow into lines. A look at
capital requirements reflects approximately $4 million will be spent to construct
new service builds, complete system improvement projects, replace transportation
equipment, complete replacement of the
co-op’s mobile radio and tower, as well as
replace other equipment.
The increased wholesale rate announced
by Minnkota Power is necessary from the
financial impact of constructing a $352
million transmission line running from
their power plants located near Center,
ND to the Grand Forks, ND area beginning to impact financial statements for depreciation and interest on loans. This, of
course, follows significant investments in
their plants made in recent years to meet
required EPA mandates for dealing with
emissions from burning coal to produce
electricity. That list seems to change each
year; as one emission is dealt with another
surfaces. Several in recent years are sulfur
dioxide, nitrous oxide, and mercury—
to name a few. Today, the debate over
carbon dioxide continues. Each carries a
very expensive “fix”.
Snowmobile Safety
Winter weather brings various outdoor
activities. One very popular in northern
Minnesota, depending upon snow conditions, is snowmobiling. Riding snowmobiles on snow-covered paths can be a
great way to enjoy what Mother Nature
has to offer. When riding, I encourage
you to always keep safety in mind. It is
important to drive at moderate speeds
and be careful if driving in a power line
right of way area. Many use those cleared
areas because they provide a nice wide
open path for travel. Please reduce your
speed and always be on the lookout
for electrical poles, transformer boxes,
and guy wires. Guy wires are typically
covered by a reflective yellow guy guard.
But don’t take that for granted since they
can come off or fade in color. Should you
notice downed or sagging lines, damaged
guy wires, missing guy guards, or other
safety concerns, please contact us. Remember, if you do come upon a downed
line stay at least 50 feet away from it
and assume it is energized. That is true
no matter what time of year or weather
Annual Meeting
Last month Tom Ryan, Member Service
Manager, informed you of this year’s
Annual Meeting scheduled for Thursday,
March 19th, 2015. If you will recall, this
year’s meeting will be a special celebration recognizing the cooperative’s 75
years of providing service to our member-owners. Tours of the office will be
available, including a look at some of the
equipment used. Always a hit is the entertainment and a very good meal.
A required part of the day’s activities is
the business session, including detailed
reports on the past year’s operations.
Another important part is the election for
board members to represent your interests. This year the terms of Larry Sollie
– District 1, Mark Habedank – District
2, and Russell Okeson – District 3 will
expire. The Nominating Committee met
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 to name
a slate of candidates for those positions.
Robert McLennon, CEO of Minnkota
Power Cooperative, Inc., will provide an
update on activities and challenges at
Minnkota in keeping wholesale power
available and affordable.
Please mark your calendars and plan to
attend. Stay warm and safe!
Notice of Annual Meeting
The annual meeting of the members of
Wild Rice Electric Cooperative, Inc. will
be held at the Mahnomen High School
Auditorium, 209 First Street SW, in the City
of Mahnomen, Minnesota at 6:30 p.m. on
March 19th, 2015, to take action on the
following matters:
1.The reports of officers, directors, and
2.The election of three directors of the
Cooperative. One director shall be
elected from each of the Cooperative’s
three districts for a term of three years.
A member who is absent from member’s meeting may vote by mail on a
ballot (an “Absentee Ballot”). Absentee Ballots are available by request. A
properly executed Absentee Ballot must
be received on or before 9:00 a.m. on
Thursday, March 19, 2015, to be counted as the vote of the absent member at
the meeting.
3.All other business which may come
before the meeting and adjournment
75 Years of Service (continued from page 1)
operative went through considerable growth. Following Mr. Hillstad’s retirement on August 15th, 1987, the board named Steven J. Haaven as manager.
Mr. Haaven began his employment with Wild Rice in October of 1973 as the
Engineering Aid. In 1975, he was promoted to Office Manager, the position
he held before becoming manager.
The growth of Wild Rice, from its early days to today where it now has nearly
14,000 services, is one of the finest success stories in the electric cooperative
field. It took a determined effort to overcome all the obstacles which confronted the small group that organized the cooperative.
Wild Rice Electric’s 41 employees provide and maintain service over a
network of 3,943 miles of energized line to its 14,000 services. In 2013, the
total electric revenue came to $29.7 million, which represented the sale of
274.7 million kilowatt hours.
Since the beginning there have been 51 people who have served as directors for the cooperative. The present board consists of Jeff Nornes of Erskine,
Chairman; Russell Okeson of Detroit Lakes, Vice-Chair; Mark Habedank
of Twin Valley, Secretary; Larry Sollie of Lengby, Treasurer; Gary Bergan of
Hawley; Greg LaVoy of Naytahwaush; Roger Winter of Callaway; Diane
Christianson of Mentor; and Mike Guetter of Detroit Lakes.
History in Photographs
Dated at Mahnomen, Minnesota on February 2nd, 2015.
Mark Habedank, Secretary
Wild Rice Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Mahnomen, Minnesota
Proof of Mailing
Mark Habedank, being first duly sworn,
on oath, deposes and says that he is duly
elected, qualified and acting Secretary of
Wild Rice Electric Cooperative, Inc.; that on
February 2nd, 2015, he caused to be mailed
to each member of the Cooperative, a notice of annual meeting of the members of
the Cooperative by having the notice published in a periodical, published by and on
behalf of the Cooperative which is mailed
to each and every member monthly, and
that the attached is a true and correct copy
of said notice of said meeting as aforesaid.
Old Substation Generator
Mark Habedank, Secretary
Wild Rice Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Mahnomen, Minnesota
Old Lake Park Outpost Truck
Nominating Committee Report
Statement of Secretary with
Respect to Election of Directors
Mahnomen, Minnesota
January 21st, 2015
The undersigned duly appointed Nominating Committee met at the office of
the Cooperative at Mahnomen, Minnesota on January 21st, 2015, at 11:00 a.m.
Arthur Bakker was duly nominated and elected Chairman and Charles Puffinberger was duly nominated and elected Secretary of the Committee. The
Committee then proceeded to make nominations and respectfully submits the
following report thereof, viz:
WE, the undersigned, duly appointed Committee of Nominations by the Board
of Directors of Wild Rice Electric Cooperative, Inc. at a meeting duly held on
January 21st, 2015, hereby, respectfully nominate the following for directors in
Districts 1, 2, and 3: to succeed in District 1 – Larry Sollie (three-year term);
District 2 – Mark Habedank (three-year term); and District 3 – Russell Okeson
(three-year term); whose terms expire and whose successors will be elected at
the annual meeting of said Cooperative to be held on March 19th, 2015, viz:
District 1 (3-Year Term) – Larry Sollie
District 2 (3-Year Term) – Mark Habedank
District 3 (3-Year Term) – Russell Okeson
Respectfully Submitted,
Signed By:
Alden Jallo
Charles Puffinberger
Michael Weik
Wallace Blomseth
John Darco
Ronald Jenson
Arthur Bakker
Sigurd Severinson
Richard Zurn
At the annual meeting of the Wild Rice
Electric Cooperative, Inc. to be held at
Mahnomen, Minnesota, on March 19th,
2015, three directors are to be elected
to fill the directorships now held by Larry
Sollie, Lengby, MN; Mark Habedank, Twin
Valley, MN; and Russell Okeson, Detroit
Lakes, MN. The following nominations
have been received from the committee
on nominations, viz:
District 1 (3-Year Term) - Larry Sollie
District 2 (3-Year Term) - Mark Habedank
District 3 (3-Year Term) - Russell Okeson
Also, any fifteen (15) or more members
may make other nominations in writing
over their signatures not less than twenty
(20) days prior to the meeting and the
Secretary shall post the same at the same
place where the list of nominations made
by the Committee is posted.
Any member who may be absent from
said annual meeting may vote by mail for
directors by requesting a ballot for directors from the Secretary of Wild Rice Electric
Cooperative, Inc., Box 438, Mahnomen,
MN, 56557, and by marking on the ballot
an “X” opposite the names of the number of candidates equal to the number of
directors to be elected and enclosing the
ballot in a sealed envelope bearing his/
her name, addressed to the Secretary of
Wild Rice Electric Cooperative, Inc., Box
438, Mahnomen, MN, 56557, and mailing
the same in time so that it will reach the
Secretary on or before the date of the
annual meeting and before the ballots for
directors are collected and canvassed by
the ballot inspectors.
Any provisions relating to the rights of a
membership apply equally to all holders of
a joint membership, specifically and without limitation: The presence at a meeting
of any member constitutes the presence
of all members and is a waiver of notice of
the meeting, and the vote of any of those
holding joint membership, separately or
all, jointly constitutes one joint vote.
Dated at Mahnomen, Minnesota, on January 21st, 2015.
2015 Nominating Committee: Seated from left to right – Wallace Blomseth, Sigurd Severinson, Ronald Jenson, and Arthur Bakker. Standing from left to right – Alden Jallo, Charles Puffinberger, Richard
Zurn, Michael Weik, John Darco, and Project Attorney Andrew Sorbo.
Mark Habedank, Secretary
Wild Rice Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Mahnomen, Minnesota
Persian lamb jacket, mink collar, $75;
Mink stole, $50. 218-532-2404.
Two 17” TV sets w/ remotes, $10 each.
2 broke to ride QH grade palomino
mares, 8 yrs old and 14 yrs old, neck rein,
15HH, used on trails, $1250 each. 218849-6331.
26” flat screen Vizio TV, comes w/ a wall
mount, $200 OBO. 701-866-7851.
24 ft food concession truck, fully inspected, ready to go to work, best offer. 701306-3809.
Hide-a-bed couch, $100 OBO. 218-4834154.
Yamaha student clarinet, 4c mouthpiece,
Rovner Ligature, pads, corks, body in excellent condition, had it checked out at
Schmitt Music-said it was in perfect condition, $400 OBO. 701-361-6451.
16” Double C Saddlery barrel saddle in
excellent condition, $550 OBO. 218936-4631 or 218-902-0441.
Big round oat straw bales, $25 each, will
load. 218-356-8503.
Vexilar FL-8 SE, $150, firm; Husqvarna
TORX 57 chain saw, $300 OBO; Fish
house, 8x12, landing gear, 6 holes,
stove, radio, lights, very nice, $2500
OBO. 218-935-5110, days.
1999 Yamaha snowmobile, electric
start, reverse, hand warmers, very good
running condition, $1200; 2002 Floe 4
place snowmobile trailer, electric brakes,
$3000; 4x8 portable ice house, good
condition, $100. 218-779-7566.
Faribo vintage throws; 1950s hand
embroidered dish towels; Assorted
flower vases; Assorted canning jars.
218-532-7632 between 7 a.m. & 7
Vintage two drawer oak dresser with
mirror, small wood wheels, nice condition, $80; Vintage collectible “Randall”
spears, have original tags on shaft, different styles, $40 each. 218-847-8842.
Dry, split softwood, $50/pickup load;
Model A JD, runs good, $1350; M International, $1000. 218-584-8338.
Kenmore electric clothes dryer, $100.
Camera gimbal mount. Manfrotto 393,
like new, paid $175 at B&H camera NY,
selling for $100 cash; New, never worn
Polaris helmet, medium, $50. 218937-5331.
Four Uniroyal 10 ply tires size
245x75x16, 75% tread left, $250
OBO. 218-962-3285 or 701-212-7694.
Small square wheat straw bales, no
rain, shedded, $2/bale. 701-3677827 or 701-367-2006, Hawley.
1971 Polaris Colt 295cc snowmobile,
excellent condition, $450. 218-4833298.
Koyker 500 loader fits JD 3020/4020
and probably others, like new, shedded, $2600 OBO. 218-849-8047, Detroit Lakes.
Round alfalfa or grass hay bales, stored
inside. 701-866-0093 or 218-5845302.
“B” JD tractor, needs work; Chevy Lumina, needs engine, good body. 218584-4603.
Alfalfa hay 5x5 round bales, 1st, 2nd &
3rd crops, New Holland bales; 2 Cooper grip tires, size 215-70-R15, $25 for
2. 218-596-8383, Ulen.
Copies of the Cold Weather Policy are available at: Wild Rice Electric Cooperative, Inc.
502 North Main, PO Box 438, Mahnomen, MN 56557 Phone: (218) 935-2517 -- Toll free (800) 244-5709
If you need help paying your electric utility bill, you may qualify for state or federal fuel assistance. Disputes
regarding the options available can be appealed to the Wild Rice Electric Cooperative, Inc. Board of Directors. For
complete qualification and application information, contact your local county welfare or community/citizen’s action
council listed below. These organizations may also provide budget counseling.
IF YOU LIVE IN Becker County or Mahnomen County: contact Mahube Community Council, PO Box 747, Detroit
Lakes, MN 56502, Phone: 847-1385; Mahube Community Council, PO Box 78, Mahnomen, MN 56557, Phone:
935-5022; Energy Assistance Program, 3303 US Hwy 59, Waubun, MN 56589, Phone: 218-473-2711; Becker
County Human Services, 712 Minnesota Ave, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501, Phone: 218-847-5628; Mahnomen County
Human Services, 311 North Main, Mahnomen, MN 56557, Phone: 218-935-2568.
Full size bobsled for two horses, all new
white ash. 218-532-7858.
Authentic Harley Davidson jacket, size
XXXL, very good condition, $175 OBO.
McCulloch Titan chain saw. 218-7932447, leave message.
15 to 17 ft canoe, aluminum or fiberglass. 218-847-5330.
Pair of 10-15LT desert dog formula tires.
Mopar 8-3/4” “489” rear end or differential w/ 3.23 or 3.31 ratio. 651-644-6114.
30-90 horse tractor; Pickup box trailer;
Fence posts & wire; Flatbed trailer; Fishing boat; Duck boat; Bucket for 2350 International loader; 2-4 bottom 3 pt plow.
Electric lefse grill, good shape. 218-5322404.
6 young laying hens. 218-584-4603.
Others interested in study groups or individual lessons for language learning.
218-847-7905, ask for Kathy.
Our Ad Policy
• All ads must be 30 words
or less.
• Ads will be abbreviated at
the co-op’s discretion.
• No real estate or commercial
ads will be accepted.
• Ads are published for members at no charge as space
permits on a first-come, firstserved basis. Unpublished
ads will not be carried over.
• Ads are due by the 5th of the
month prior to publication.
• Members may submit only
one ad per issue.
• Ads must be resubmitted to
run an additional month.
• Ads must be typed or in
clear, readable print. Editor
reserves the right to edit or
reject any ad.
• You can submit your ad by
mail, email or fax. Phone ads
will not be accepted.
• Fax ads to:
(218) 935-2519
• Email ads to:
[email protected]
• Mail ads to:
Wild Rice Electric
P.O. Box 438
Mahnomen, MN 56557
IF YOU LIVE IN Clay County: contact West Central Minnesota Communities Action Inc., 411 Industrial Park Blvd,
PO Box 596, Elbow Lake, MN 56531, Phone: 1-800-492-4805 or 1-218-685-4486; Clay County Social Services, 715
11th St. No., Suite 502, Moorhead, MN 56560, Phone: 218-299-5200.
IF YOU LIVE IN Clearwater or E. Polk County: contact Inter County Community Council, PO Box 187, Oklee, MN
56742, Phone: 218-796-5144; Polk County Social Services, 612 No. Broadway, Suite 110, Crookston, MN 56716,
Phone: 218-281-3127.
IF YOU LIVE IN W. Polk County or Norman County: contact Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, 1407 Erskine Ave, PO
Box 607, Crookston, MN 56716, Phone: 1-866-264-3729 or 218-281-9080; Norman County Social Services, 152nd
Ave E, Ada, MN 56510, Phone: 218-784-56510.
BUDGET COUNSELING: West Central Minnesota Communities Action Inc., 411 Industrial Park Blvd, PO Box 596,
Elbow Lake, MN 56531, Phone: 1-800-492-4805 or 1-218-685-4486; Consumer Credit Counseling Service, 1201
25th Street South, Fargo, ND 58102, Phone: 1-701-235-3328; Family Life Services, 15 South 10th Street, Fargo, ND
58102, Phone: 1-701-237-9247.
502 North Main, P.O. Box 438
Mahnomen, MN 56557
Rural DeLight (ISSN 0194 505X)
Published monthly by Wild Rice Electric Cooperative,
Inc., P.O. Box 438, Mahnomen, MN 56557, in the
interests of its members and others. Periodical postage
paid at Mahnomen and additional mailing offices. USPS
468-810. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes,
Form 3579 to: Wild Rice Electric Cooperative, Inc., P.O.
Box 438, Mahnomen, MN 56557-0438.
Subscription rates: Members, $1/year; Non-members, $2/year. Phone: (218) 935-2517
In this Issue:
❖❖75 Years of Service (final installment of history series)
❖❖Memories of Constructing First Lines
❖❖Over the Manager’s Desk with Steve Haaven
❖❖Notice of Annual Meeting
❖❖History in Pictures
❖❖Nominating Committee Report
❖❖For sale and wanted ads
Make plans to attend our 75th Annual Meeting!
Mahnomen High School Auditorium
March 19th, 2015
News from Wild Rice
Electric Co-op, Inc.
Serving you 24 hours a day
(218) 935-2517
(800) 244-5709
Office Hours:
8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.