License to Live: Wisconsin Electric Cooperatives
Launch Educational Campaign for Drivers
August 3, 2020—A near catastrophic traffic accident, witnessed by a co-op employee whose actions very likely saved the teen driver’s life, has led to a cooperatively created educational video and curriculum teaching drivers what to do if they should become involved in a crash involving power lines and other utility equipment.
Sponsored by all of Wisconsin’s electric cooperatives, “License to Live” was developed by employees of five electric cooperatives and WECA in conjunction with the Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange and Safe Electricity. The video and accompanying materials will be distributed to all driver’s education instructors in the state of Wisconsin starting in August. Plans also call for establishing a partnership/alliance with the Department of Transportation’s “Zero in Wisconsin” initiative, with the goal of making the program required training for all new drivers in the state and having related questions included on the written driver’s test.
“Our goal throughout this entire project has been simple. Education and awareness. If we can put together a quality product illustrating what to do during a car vs. pole emergency, it WILL save lives,” said Ben Bella, safety & compliance coordinator for four electric co-ops and a member of the committee that launched this campaign.
To learn more about “License to Live” and view the video, go to: https://safeelectricity.org/license-to-live/
Clark named to Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access
July 14, 2020—Shannon Clark, CEO & general manager of Richland Electric Cooperative, was asked to serve on the newly formed Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access. Governor Tony Evers signed Executive Order #80 creating the task force July 14. The task force will advise the governor and Wisconsin State Legislature on broadband actions and policy.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored that access to high-speed broadband is a necessity, not a luxury, and folks across our state have had to adapt—from kids and educators shifting to virtual classrooms, workers having to work from home, and even folks using telemedicine to visit with their doctor,” said Gov. Evers. “I’m proud the People’s Budget made the largest investment in our broadband infrastructure in Wisconsin history, but we know we have more work to do and we have to connect the dots on how lack of reliable, affordable broadband affects folks across our state. This task force will bring together experts from across the state to research and recommend solutions that state leaders can adopt to connect every person in Wisconsin.”
Clark brings considerable expertise to the task force, including his experience launching the consortium that became Genuine Telecom, a telecommunications company providing telecommunications services including high-speed internet to businesses and homes in the Richland County area. Clark also serves as board chairman for the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), which provides technology solutions for over 1,500 electric and telephone cooperatives across the United States.
More information about the task force and be found at https://urbanmilwaukee.com/pressrelease/gov-evers-signs-executive-order-creating-governors-task-force-on-broadband-access/?fbclid=IwAR0ecxf7riApHSeuj-6lVRb4INR0lWlbR6zhygNK_DMiagPk064SJ2EhWdI.
New Study Shows Two Thirds of WI Rural Counties Continue to Lose Population
June 4, 2020—Two factors that help slow or potential can help reverse rural decline can be affected by state and local policymakers: a diverse industry mix and access to high speed internet. Read 'Deconstructing Depopulation: Rural Characteristics & Population Change' to find out more.
Wisconsin Electric Co-ops Launch “Milk Gallon Giveaway” in Support of Wisconsin Dairy Farmers
June 1, 2020—Wisconsin electric cooperatives are coming together to support Wisconsin farmers, hit hard by the pandemic, by offering free gallons of milk to members. In honor of June Dairy Month, the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association and 15 electric cooperatives have partnered with Kwik Trip for the “Milk Gallon Giveaway,” to distribute potentially more than 100,000 gallons of milk.
Wisconsin’s member-owned electric cooperatives serve 57 percent of all dairy farms in the state. Wisconsin dairy farmers stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars due to the response to the coronavirus. The “Milk Gallon Giveaway” is an effort to reduce the excess milk product and ease the impact on all area farmers.
WECA Expands Eligibility for 2020 Essay Contest
May 14, 2020—All Wisconsin high school students and college freshmen, whose primary residence is served by an electric cooperative, are eligible to enter the 2020 WECA Essay Contest, which offers cash scholarships for the top three winners. The essay contest is usually open exclusively to attendees of the Youth Leadership Congress, but that event has been cancelled this year, due to the pandemic.Students interested in entering the contest must submit a 600 to 1,200-word essay in response to a question related to electric cooperatives and youth involvement. A panel of three judges will review the essays and select the top three winners, who will be awarded scholarships of $1,000, $500, and $250. Entries must be postmarked by August 26, 2020.
For more information, click the button below or email Tina Walden, WECA Executive Assistant and Youth Coordinator, at email@example.com.
CO-OP DIFFERENCE |
Leading the Charge
Thoughts of a new school year are in the air, and many rural Wisconsin residents are unsure how to plan for the back-to-school madness that usually occurs each August. With the shift from in-person classrooms to virtual, at-home learning environments at the end of the last school year, no one exactly knows what this school year will look like. What does seem inevitable, though, is that at least some elements of the 2020–21 school year will depend on an internet connection.