Lighting the way for a brighter future
November 27, 2019—Twenty-five hundred miles from Wisconsin, south of the Mexican border in a primitive, rural village of Guatemala, there is an American flag flying high, side-by-side with a native flag. It was placed there just weeks ago by the villagers as a symbol of gratitude for the life-changing mission taken on by 12 linemen from electric cooperatives in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa.
Association picks new leadership team
November 6, 2019—The executive committee of the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association (WECA), elected at the statewide co-op organization’s November annual meeting in Stevens Point, includes (l–r,) Judith Anibas of Eau Claire Energy Cooperative (secretary-treasurer), CEO Mike Wade of Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative, Diane Zimmerman of East-Central Energy (chair), David Hischke of Oconto Electric, and CEO Dallas Sloan of Barron Electric Cooperative (vice-chair). Also serving as statewide directors are William Fischer of Rock Energy, CEO Jerry Sorenson of Riverland Energy, Roger Wiff of Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services, Karen Newbury of Price Electric Cooperative, and Robert Hess of Oakdale Electric, representing Dairyland Power.
Awards recognize co-op service
November 5, 2019—Winning recognition for distinguished service to Wisconsin’s electric cooperatives were (l–r) Mary Kay Brevig, Eau Claire Energy Cooperative’s communications and public relations manager, receiving the N. F. Leifer Memorial Journalism Award for excellence in her co-op’s local pages of Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News; Larry Dokkestul, recently retired CEO of Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services, with the ACE (Ally of Cooperative Electrification) Award—the group’s highest honor—for dedicated service to cooperatives surpassing routine performance of duty; and Mary Hodowanic, accepting the Herman C. Potthast Award on behalf of her husband, Jim Hodowanic, the late operations manager of Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative. The Potthast Award honors conspicuous contributions to job-training and safety education for employees of Wisconsin’s energy cooperatives.
New communications staffer welcomed
October 4, 2019—Julie Lund, newly hired for the position of Director of News and Communication at WECA, begins her duties October 4 at the statewide organization’s Madison offices. Lund will succeed Dave Hoopman who currently holds the position and plans retirement at the end of November. A Wisconsin native, Lund is a UW – La Crosse graduate holding a degree in Mass Communications with emphasis in television production. She has been a news reporter, producer, and anchor at TV stations in Rhinelander and Madison. She has also held a variety of media related positions with the State of Wisconsin. Lund is to assume the duties of WECA’s director of news and communication in her own right as of December 1.
Guatamala: Partners for a Brighter Tomorrow
October 1, 2019—Twelve volunteer linemen from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa electric cooperatives are traveling to Guatemala today to help a rural village get electricity for the first time. This project—Partners for a Brighter Tomorrow—will provide power to 42 homes, a school, and a health post. This project was made possible by NRECA International, a non-profit 501(c) (3) charitable organization, whose mission is to increase individual and community access to electricity in all parts of the world.
Leaders descend on D.C. for fall fly-in
September 5, 2019—Leaders from Wisconsin’s electric cooperatives spoke this week with members of their congressional delegation on the importance of passing two key pieces of legislation. The RURAL Act would amend the tax code to ensure electric cooperatives do not lose their tax-exempt status when they receive federal, state, or local government grants and assistance, such as FEMA disaster relief and rural broadband grants. This measure would fix an unintended consequence of a change in the tax code from the 2017 tax reform bill. Without this fix, the current tax provisions would threaten our members’ ability to recover from major natural disasters or deploy critical infrastructure for broadband.
Co-op Difference | Once in a Blue Moon
It’s rare in today’s political climate that members of Congress from both parties come together on anything short of a national emergency or disaster, and sometimes they don’t come together even then. But once in a blue moon there’s near-unanimous support for fixing the unintended consequences of a congressional mistake, and right now the moon is looking at least bluish.
In 2017 Congress reformed the Internal Revenue Code, enacting tax cuts for most Americans. One provision that went the opposite direction applied federal taxation to land or grants given to for-profit companies by state and local governments seeking to attract economic expansion.