Alva Review-Courier -

AEC returns $1.89 million to members at annual meeting

Construction underway on new $4.6 million headquarters


April 10, 2019

Alfalfa Electric Cooperative

Wayne and Virginia Prewett of Burlington were the winners of the John Deere Z Track Zero-Turn Mower at the AEC's Annual Membership Meeting.

Alfalfa Electric Cooperative (AEC) held its 83rd annual meeting Friday night in Cherokee. Nearly 700 customers – members of the cooperative – attended the meeting, held at Cherokee High School.

Kiddie rides in a brightly colored little train circled the area in front of the high school. The inside of the school was packed to the gills, with a catered meal served to hundreds in the cafeteria, halls jammed with members picking up capital credit checks, entering drawings, learning about electric vehicles or picking up their tote bags of free goodies, which included a 25-foot heavy duty power cord.

Once sated with all these offerings, cooperative members, employees, and others – including Rep. Carl Newton and Sen. Roland Pederson – trickled into the gymnasium/auditorium where they were entertained by singer/songwriter Kari Roberts, an AEC member, before getting down to business.

The cooperative reported very good financials, in part due to mild weather in 2018 – making it possible for the organization to return $1.89 million in capital credits to its customers.

AEC also announced that it has begun construction on a new headquarters building. Its current building is now 53 years old – and showing it – and is too cramped for the growing organization.

The new headquarters building, designed by RBA Architects and being built by VanHoose Construction, will feature a modern dispatch center with a large live wall map that CEO and General Manager Greg Goetz said would be a great asset during major outages. The new headquarters will also feature a hardened safe room (that will encompass a secure server room and the dispatch center), and a drive-through window for customer service. Goetz said he expected the building to be complete by the end of the year.

One of the AEC trustees, Doug McMurtrey, passed away recently. Goetz spoke warmly about McMurtrey, adding that the McMurtrey family was there in the auditorium. The crowd applauded McMurtrey's service.

Kathleen Lourde

TOP: Construction is underway on Alfalfa Electric Cooperative's new headquarters, a $4.6 million building on Ohio Street in Cherokee expected to be complete in October. Here, the framed structure in the back will be a 14,000 square foot vehicle storage building, The area in front of that, for which the foundation will be poured this week, will be the 16,000 square foot operations building. This building will include a tornado-safe area that will house the server room and the wall-sized digital dispatch board, so that in the event of a natural disaster AEC will be able to keep operating. MIDDLE: (Left) AEC returned nearly $2 million to the members in capital credits. Here, people line up to receive their capital credit check. (Right) By the time Alfalfa Electric Cooperative's 83rd annual meeting got underway Friday night, the entire gym was packed from floor to top bleachers. About 700 people attended the annual meeting. BOTTOM: Dinner was served before AEC's annual meeting Friday.

Also honored was Lloyd Klepper, a World War II veteran. Goetz told some of Klepper's story.

Klepper, a teenager, was only part-way through training when he was pulled out and sent to France. He landed four days after D-Day, and because a rifle was unavailable at the time, was handed a pistol and sent off to march against the Germans. "It takes a brave man to march against the Germans with nothing but a pistol," said Goetz.

Klepper had been given a rifle, thank goodness, by the time he fought in the Battle of the Bulge – the last major German offensive on the Western Front. The Germans launched a surprise attack designed to split the Allied forces, and the Americans took the brunt of it. The Battle of the Bulge is known as the largest and bloodiest single battle the U.S. fought in the war, and the second-deadliest in American history.

Onstage in the Cherokee High School auditorium, Goetz presented Klepper with a plaque and the crowd launched to their feet in a standing ovation.

Moments before, one of Klepper's young cousins – Kiley Feeley – sang "The Star Spangled Banner" with such outstanding skill and beauty that the whole gymnasium erupted in cheers, whistles and applause.

Other moments in the meeting included reports on charitable giving and short talks from local students Gracie Scarbrough and Caroline Muegge who had taken part in AEC-sponsored youth tours to Washington, D.C., and Colorado, where they learned about energy industries and bonded with other rural teens there for the same reason.

Numerous prizes were awarded in lottery-fashion, chief among them a John Deere riding mower (won by Wayne Prewett) and a four-wheeler (won by Molly Green).


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