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WECA 2020 Year in Review - Video

November 13, 2020Here's a look back at the challenges and accomplishments of 2020, a year we will never forget!

WECA Holds Hybrid 84th Annual Meeting

November 13, 2020—The Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association shifted to a hybrid format for the 84th annual meeting in November, with limited staff and some WECA board members in attendance at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Baraboo, and other members and staff joining virtually. Board leadership announced the statewide is in good financial shape, in spite of the pandemic, which caused the cancellation of many programs.

David Hischke was re-elected to the board to represent District 4. There were no nominations for the open District 3 seat, so the board will work to fill that position with an appointee.

New Leadership positions include:
            Chair – Judi Anibas
            Vice Chair – Roger Wiff
            Secretary/Treasurer – David Hischke
            Executive Committee – Mike Wade and Jerry Sorenson

WECA President and CEO Stephen Freese presented outgoing WECA Board Chairperson Diane Zimmerman with the Director’s Award and thanked her for her service following two terms (six years) on the board.​


DATCP Encourages Consumers to Participate in Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October 1, 2020—For many Wisconsinites, 2020 has been a groundbreaking year for the use of technological connection to maintain daily life. Our jobs, our schools, societal well-being, economic prosperity and nation’s security are dependent on the internet.
Under the overarching theme of “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”, the 17th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is focused on encouraging individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace. This year’s campaign stresses personal accountability and the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity.

Throughout the month of October, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will share tips and information for consumers and businesses related to the NCSAM weekly themes.

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.
The June issue of Wisconsin Electric Cooperative News includes a coupon for participating cooperative members to redeem at an area Kwik Trip in exchange for a free gallon non-fat, 1%, or 2% milk, to be redeemed at Kwik Trip on or before July 16, 2020.

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.

If you do not see a coupon in your issue of Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News, that means your cooperative may be supporting dairy farmers in other ways, such as supporting food banks, dairy committees, scholarships, or ice cream, cheese, and butter giveaways.

Coming Together

In March of this year, as the pandemic launched itself into our world, virtually shutting down life as we knew it, my 94-year-old mother was in a nursing home recovering from a broken hip. As with many long-term care facilities, COVID-19 reared its very ugly head. Many residents in her facility, including my mother, were infected. Tragically, some of them died. She survived. It’s one of many things that I am profoundly thankful for as we look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News

The Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News serves as the voice of the state’s rural electric cooperatives. Founded in 1940, the publication focuses on statewide issues that affect electric cooperatives, promoting the general welfare of Wisconsin’s electric cooperatives, their member-owners, and the areas they serve.

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