West Central Electric Cooperative’s 75th annual meeting drew its traditional large crowd as members came together to hear about the state of their cooperative, vote on directors and a bylaw amendment, and celebrate 75 years of electrifying the rural Missouri countryside.
At the count for quorum, total of 753 members were registered for the meeting held Aug. 1 at the UCM Multipurpose Building in Warrensburg, with a total attendance of more than 1,500.
Three incumbents were elected to serve for an additional three years. In District 3, Robert Simmons (492) and Richard Strobel (438) defeated challenger Donna Matthews (411) for the two available seats. In District 5, At-large District (the new district created by a 2012 redistricting bylaw change) Densil Allen, Jr. was elected. He ran unopposed and was elected by acclamation.
Members also passed a bylaw amendment 459-260 requiring that board members continually use cooperative energy at their permanent, primary place of residence. The bylaw formerly stated that board members must be a “bonafide resident in the area served by the cooperative.” Passage of this issue immediately removed long-time director Paul Nolte, who is a current WCE member, but resides within the city limits of Higginsville.
Other highlights of the meeting included a presentation of WCE’s winning Youth Tour essay. Molly Bertz, daughter of Harold and Melisa Bertz of Mayview won the contest this spring with her essay writing from the perspective of her great-grandmother, Mada Bertz, who watched as her husband, August, joined the local farmers in founding what is now West Central Electric Cooperative. WCE Youth Tour Coordinator Heather Hoflander delivered the speech for Bertz, who was unable to make the meeting following a flight delay that morning.
“Molly’s essay about those first months in the late 1930s when West Central Electric was born couldn’t have been a more perfect way to mark our 75th anniversary,” Hoflander said. “She is truly a gifted writer and an even more amazing speaker, and I hope the presentation did it justice.”
Informational booths where members could have their blood pressure checked, learn about gardening and insulation and how to make their homes the most energy-efficient they can be were set up throughout the evening. WCE linemen were on hand to give live demonstrations on electrical safety and how power outages are located and repaired. Members were also treated to a special photo display marking 75 years of the cooperative.
Staff from the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives were on hand to help members join the fight to keep EPA regulations on emissions from affecting their electric rates. Members who did not sign up at the meeting may contact the Higginsville office for a card, or go to www.action.coop and add their name to the growing list of members in opposition to the regulations.
Members could also receive information on the WCE rebate program and Exede satellite internet services. Upon arrival, members were registered for prizes, including a free month of electricity (won by Helen Hotmer of Odessa), several energy certificates and prizes donated by vendors.