The world lost a farmer…

“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.

He 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 here at Northern Plains Electric Cooperative in Jamestown. 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 here scares me. The number of accidents between farming equipment and power poles has more than tripled since 2009. In 2013, 134 accidents were reported.  They believe this increase has happened due to advanced in technology.  Farm equipment keeps growing, but the power lines remain the same height.

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 he said he’d change it during study hall. He even offered to take it 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 Whapeton 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.”

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~Lexus Haut~

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Electricity Remains a Good Value!

In today’s world, you won’t find many items that cost less than $5. You can purchase a gallon of milk, a gallon of gas or a Big Mac meal from McDonalds. But did you know that an average day’s worth of electricity costs less than $5?

Even in our country’s shifting energy climate, electricity remains a good value. In fact, electricity has the lowest cost per day of any of the items listed above. And not all of those items are necessary for daily life!

Daily_Cost_of_EnergyAs a summer intern at Dakota Valley Electric, I urge you to think about your daily necessities (electricity and gasoline, to name a couple), and then think about the cost of the special treats we allow ourselves to purchase on a weekly basis (maybe even on a daily basis for some items!). We don’t often question the cost of a Big Mac meal – it costs over $1 more to buy a Big Mac meal than it does to purchase a day’s worth of power. And yet, we frequently become upset if our electricity rates rise.

It makes sense; we have become increasingly reliant upon electricity. Electricity has, for many of us, gone from a luxury commodity to a necessity and an expectation. We expect the lights to come on when we flip the switch, and we expect our power to stay on during the best and worst conditions. How else would we keep our food fresh, our homes cool in the summer or warm in the winter? It is easy to cut a Big Mac out of your spending routine here and there to save a few dollars. But we cannot simply cut electricity out of our budgets if times get tough or we decide that we want to scale back our spending in order to save.

Perhaps that is why it is so upsetting to us when our rates increase, even if only in small increments. It is nearly impossible for us to think about what our lives would be like if we did not have electricity. If at times it doesn’t seem that electricity is affordable, remember – even as the demand for electricity grows – annual cost increases still remain low, especially when compared to other consumer goods such as medical care, education, gasoline and, yes, even Big Macs. Electricity is still a great bargain. And also remember this: Dakota Valley Electric, your local electric cooperative, is committed to making sure that you and your family always have safe, reliable and affordable electric service in your home.

So the next time you crave a Big Mac, remember your electric bill, and think about what a great deal you’re getting for your dollar!

Youth Tour!

Youth tour!! Ever heard of it? Each year Electric Cooperative Youth Tour brings nearly 1,500 high school students to Washington D.C. for the trip of a lifetime. It’s a fun filled week packed with awesome tours and valuable information. Students will not only get to learn about our nation’s capital – but the key roles electric cooperatives play in their local communities. For more information on the program and how to apply visit http://nplains.com/content/youth-tour!

Introducing summer intern – Lexus Haut!

Hi there! My name is Lexus Haut. I was born and raised here in Jamestown, ND. I graduated in 2012 from Mott Regent High School. When it comes to family, they mean the world to me!! My parents are Margo and Roger Haut and I have two brothers, Truman and Chandler. I am currently taking classes online, and spend what little free time I have working out, with a good book, or out with friends. This fall, I will be a junior with plans of attending MSUM to study advertising. I’ve been at UND for two years majoring in petroleum engineering but that’s not where my heart is. My real passion is in design. I’ve been a freelance graphic designer for almost ten years, and hope to have a successful job in that field someday. I’m so grateful for this opportunity! with my large background in design (and small one in energy) I hope to be a great asset this summer, and gain not only knowledge but some great experience!

Talk to you soon!!1620797_657341150991348_863380543_n

Dakota Air, Basin entertain 700 in Jamestown

Who listens to Merrill Piepkorn every morning on 91.5 FM’s Prairie Public? This girl does. I listen even during weeks like these when broadcasters trade their radio hats for fundraising ones. I long for the days when I can afford to donate to the wonderful news-gatherers of the world and taste the delicious chocolates they offer as incentive to those who give $120 or more. Maybe next year, NPR…

My favorite of Merrill’s are his Dakota Datebooks. I love the stories and the scandals, especially this one of the controversial gambling and alcohol-drinking at an Edgeley pool hall circa 1911. When the city demanded the owner close the pool hall’s doors, the owner then ran for city commission. His pool hall reopened after his successful campaign. Isn’t history fun??

So imagine my surprise to learn Merrill Piepkorn was in JAMESTOWN at an event sponsored by our dear friends and Basin Electric Cooperative! And imagine my dismay too: How could I MISS that??

According to Basin, “Once a month, the show takes the stage in towns ranging from Bismarck and Jamestown, to smaller towns like Hazen and Wishek. Each show is tailored to the host city. ‘When we’re in Hazen in coal country, we’ll do some coal mining songs. When we’re in Bismarck, of course, we did more shows about state government,’ Piepkorn says.”

What a treat! I’m sorry I wasn’t there.

Never fear though, Basin documented parts of the show so even if we couldn’t attend that evening, we can watch form the comfort of our computers.

Thanks Basin! And next time, let us know if you’re in town 🙂

How to save money at the office

In the face of rising energy costs, businesses are looking for ways to
reduce their energy use. Although there are a lot of good ideas out
there, there are also a lot of misconceptions about what are effective
energy-efficiency measures. Here are some of the most common
myths and the facts to set you on the right path.

Myth. Screen savers reduce energy use.
Facts. Screen savers don’t cut energy use. Screen savers were
developed to mitigate a problem called “screen burn-in” that can
occur in both cathode ray tube (CRT) and liquid crystal display
(LCD) computer monitors and TV screens. Burn-in occurs
when a given image, such as a logo or a menu bar for a computer
program, appears on a monitor for a long period of time. The
mechanics are different for CRT and LCD displays, but the
result is essentially the same—over time, these long-duration
images can get “burned” into the screen so that the viewer sees
a “ghost” of these images even when they’re not supposed to be
there. By using a screen saver, you prevent any specific images
from being displayed in the same location when your computer
is dormant for a long period of time, thus preventing burn-in.
But it takes just as much energy to display a screen saver on your
screen as it does to display any other program. To save energy,
adjust your computer’s power management settings to automatically
shut the monitor down after a specified period of idle
time, and simply turn off the monitor if you are not going to be
using it for 15 minutes or more.

Myth. Computers, monitors, and other office equipment will
use less energy and last longer if they’re left running all the time.
Facts. Turning equipment off overnight does not shorten its
life, and the small surge of power that occurs when some
devices are turned on is much smaller than the energy used by
running equipment when it’s not needed. In fact, leaving computers
and other office equipment on overnight and on
weekends wastes significant amounts of energy and also adds to
the wear and tear on the equipment. In general, turn off equipment
you are not using or make sure that energy-saving features
on networks or individual machines are enabled. Some office
equipment, including printers and scanners, features small
transformers that use energy even when the equipment is
turned off. Plug all such devices into a power strip so that they
can be shut down completely with one flick of the switch.

Myth. Surge protectors reduce energy use.
Facts. A small number of transient-voltage surge suppressor
(a.k.a. surge protector) manufacturers and vendors persist in
making energy-saving claims for their products despite the fact
that such claims were thoroughly debunked decades ago. Even
if there were some mechanism by which surge protectors could
save energy (and there isn’t), the reality is that there is simply no
opportunity for these devices to do so because they are dormant
well over 99.999 percent of the time. They become active only
when some event (which may be on the customer or the utility
side of the meter) creates a very high voltage spike. Even in a
“noisy” (in an electrical sense) industrial environment in which
such spikes are relatively frequent, their duration is so short—
measured in millionths of a second—that when added together,
they occupy a minuscule percentage of plant operating time.
Surge protectors are an effective way of protecting your electrical
equipment against voltage spikes, but don’t buy one to cut
energy costs, because it won’t.