Congrats to Susan German, Oakes, N.D., High School Band!

A small-town band from the heart of North Dakota makes a world of difference. That’s one of the reason’s Gov. Jack Dalrymple selected the group from Oakes, N.D., High School as his 2011 State Governor’s Band.

Students in Oakes’ band not only play proficiently, Dalrymple said, but they also perform annual community concerts and stage fundraising shows for breast cancer awareness and Haiti earthquake relief.

The 14- through 18-year-olds, under the direction of instructor, Susan German, performed for the governor, his wife and the entire school Friday.

Members of the Oakes, N.D., High School band perform for the governor, local dignitaries, community members and fellow students Friday. Gov. Jack Dalrymple selected Oakes as his 2011-2012 Governor's Band.

To greet the governor and his travel mates, Oakes residents created signs like this one which reads "From 'YOUR BAND' Welcome to Oakes Gov. and Mrs. D. ... You Rock N.D.!!" Signs posted on city streets, gas station marquees, classroom windows, etc., greeted the guests as they drove through the town of about 1,800 people.

First Lady Betsy Dalrymple takes in the myriad of welcome signs designed by students of Oakes, N.D. Public Schools. Gov. Jack Dalrymple like one of the signs so much, he removed it from the wall and asked to take it home.

Oakes mayor, and foreman of Dakota Valley's Oakes outpost, Monty Zimmer, addressed the crowd at Oakes High School's gymnasium, Friday. Zimmer said the students at Oakes High School work hard, and the governor's recognition was well-deserved.

For her hard work, the governor and Oakes community recognized Susan German, the director of the Oakes, N.D., High School Band. German graduated from Valley City State University in 1973. Since then, she taught at schools in Lisbon, Fullerton and Dickey before taking her current Oakes post in 1997.

How to SAVE on that energy bill!

I found this great month-by-month list of energy-saving projects to tackle. Taking on a single project once every 30 days is a lot less stressful than looking at my house and wanting everything done at once!

With the recent snow giving me cabin fever, I can spend time making my home more energy efficient and save for a summer vacation!

You can too with these simple steps. Here’s a list of our recommendations for year-round energy and money savings!

March: Stop air from escaping your home and money from escaping your wallet! Head down to your home’s basement and seal those leaky ducts.

April: A little caulk can go a long way. Air leaks in your home add up. Caulking cracks and openings to the outside could save more than $200 a year.

May: Make sure your refrigerator is on your spring cleaning to-do list. Throw out expired items, clean the refrigerator inside and out, and check the temperature gauge. For maximum operating efficiency, a refrigerator’s temperature should be between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

June: When was the last time you changed a filter? Replacing furnace and air conditioner filters regularly can have a big impact on a home’s energy use. Dirty filters can restrict air flow and reduce the overall efficiency of your cooling system, forcing it to work harder on hot summer days.

July: Your home’s cooling costs can skyrocket—right along with the temperature outside—during summer months. Keeping your thermostat set between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit can save up to 8 percent on monthly cooling bills.

August: Heading out of town on vacation? Be sure to unplug all of your electronic devices like computers, monitor, printers, TV and cable boxes, DVD players, and microwaves. Electronics with digital displays and instant-on features consume energy even if they’re not in use.


September:
Be a “fan-atic.” While they don’t replace an air conditioner or a heat pump, fans move the air so everyone feels more comfortable. On a milder day, a fan is a much more energy-efficient choice than cranking up the air conditioning. Fans cool people, not rooms, so turn them off when you leave.

October: Get ready for winter by insulating your attic. Adding nine or more inches of insulation could save you more than $150 a year.

November: As the weather cools down, pull up your window shades. Keeping blinds open during cold weather lets heat from sunlight in, reducing the need to turn up your home’s thermostat.

December: Put a new ENERGY STAR appliance at the top of your Christmas wish list. Upgrading appliances like washing machines to ENERGY STAR-rated models can save up to $140 per year.

January: Lowering your thermostat just a few degrees during winter months can save as much as $85 per year. Programmable thermostats make it easy to save by offering pre-programmed settings to regulate a home’s temperature throughout the year.

February: Adjust your water heater. Turning down the temperature gauge to below 120 degrees Fahrenheit can heat up your savings.

Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative is dedicated to being an energy efficiency resource for its members. To learn more about how you can save money through energy efficiency practices, call us at 800-882-2500.

For even more information, check out TogetherWeSave.com, an online portal to energy savings tips that uses real dollar savings projections—based on your individual electric rate and climate zone—to motivate small changes in behavior that add up to big savings.

Once you arrive at the site, enter your ZIP code to be redirected to Dakota Valley’s customized section. You can watch videos that provide detailed instructions about energy savings practices, add up your potential savings with a Virtual Home Tour, and much more.

Source: Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives

So, what do you do to cut back on your energy bill?

Milnor, Edgeley, Oakes benefit from cooperative generocity

My favorite of the seven cooperative principles is commitment to community. Commitment to community means that in addition to our job or providing reliable electricity, we support a variety of charities, promote community and economic development, and sponsor a variety of local and regional events.

Hence, when organizations ask us for help, cooperatives get to say YES!

Here are some of our most recent efforts!

Dick Boyer, of the Edgeley Fire Dept., accepted the $500 donation presented by Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative staff assistant, Michelle Berry.

Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative energy consultant Kathy Rysavy presented the $500 donation to John Sakry of the Milnor Fire Department.

Monty Zimmer, Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative's Oakes foreman (and Oakes Mayor) presented a $1,000 check to Myron Jepson of the Oakes Golf Club.

How to $ave: An old refrigerator can eat up energy, money

An old refrigerator can eat up energy and money

Does this sound familiar? You bought a new ENERGY STAR-qualified refrigerator and moved your old fridge to the garage or basement to keep a few drinks cold. Here’s a tip to can help you save energy and money.

Old refrigerators, especially those more than 17 years old, tend to use a lot of energy. A refrigerator bought before 1993 uses more than twice as much energy as a new ENERGY STAR refrigerator. So you’re spending a lot of money to keep that refrigerator running. What’s more, refrigerant wears out and seals start to leak over time, causing a decline in the performance of an older refrigerator.

If you have moved your old refrigerator to an uninsulated location, such as a garage, it will use even more energy during hot weather. A fridge in a 90 degree environment, for example, uses nearly 50% more energy than one in a 70 degree environment. And if the temperature falls below about 40 degrees in the winter, the refrigerator’s thermostat may not run its cooling and defrost cycles for the appropriate amount of time.

So just by pulling the plug on that old refrigerator, you can save a lot of money each year.

For other tips on how to save energy—and money—visit Touchstone Energy’s energy-saving website or call the energy experts at Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative. Find out how the little changes add up at http://www.TogetherWeSave.com.

‘Like’ Dakota Valley? Win Globetrotter tickets!

We have a happy dilemma in our office… extra Globetrotter tickets and no one can go.

The Harlem Globetrotters are holding an event in Jamestown on Saturday, Feb. 25. "Friend" us to win free tickets!

The Globetrotters perform at the Jamestown Civic Center on Saturday, Feb. 25. Enter to win two tickets!

What to do? What to do?

Well, we’ll GIVE THEM AWAY of course! But only to our “friends”…

So here’s the deal, you have FOUR chances to win.

* “Like” us on Facebook. (Those who already do are automatically entered!)

* Leave a comment on this blog

* “Like” the Facebook page of our allied cooperative, Northern Plains

* Leave a comment on Northern Plains’ blog

All entries must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10.

We’ll select two winners (one for each cooperative) on Monday. Each winner will receive two tickets to the Saturday, Feb. 25 performance of the Former Harlem Globetrotters & Harlem Comedy All-Stars Charity Basketball Game. The event benefits the Stutsman County Reserves Deputy Association and the Jamestown volunteer firefighters. It begins at noon at the Jamestown Civic Center.

Each ticket admits one adult or two children under 12. General admission is $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

If you don’t win, but want to support this wonderful cause anyway, call 701-368-8389.

Good luck!

Questions about blog or the contest? Email me! katiea@nplains.com 🙂

Rural Jamestown resident, Deb Hatlewick, to receive ‘Above and Beyond’ award

Perhaps you’ve seen her coaching youngsters at the Stutsman County Fair’s livestock show. Or maybe you helped her 4-H group starve off hunger and Stock the Stock Trailer last year. Others might recognize Hatlewick because of her work with RSVP+ activities.

Hatlewick’s name is familiar within the community and it’s making headlines again.

Recognized for her involvement in 4-H, Future Farmers of America, the Stutsman County Fair, her church, local food pantries, Stutsman County Farm Bureau, RSVP+, the North Dakota Winter Show, the Jamestown Chamber Ag Energy Committee, a youth shooting program, North Dakota Junior Angus, Red River Valley Angus Association and Circle Cross Riding Club, the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce chose Hatlewick for its 2011 “Above and Beyond” Award.

“Every time I look through her nominations, I keep going over the same thing. She’s a doer — whatever is needed, she does it,” Chamber executive director Kimberly Saxberg told The Jamestown Sun.

Hatlewick, who works for Stutsman County’s North Dakota State Extension Service, said she enjoys working with young people across the state.

The chamber told the Sun it chose Hatlewick out of a myriad of applications.

Hatlewick, a Dakota Valley member, lives in rural Jamestown with husband, Bruce, son, Clay (a senior at Jamestown High School), and daughter, Sara (an eighth grader at Montpelier High School).

The Chamber will honor her at its annual banquet Thursday at Gladstone Inn & Suites, Jamestown.

Congratulations Deb!