Rural Missouri - November 2012 - (Page 12)

Cooperation among co-ops 2012 annual meeting marks 75 years for AMEC Left: AMEC CEO Barry Hart, left, and President Tom Steska listen to U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s presentation at the association’s annual meeting held in Branson. Blunt said the nation can achieve energy independence, but only if we use a diverse mix of energy resources, including coal. Above: Gov. Jay Nixon said he enjoys a competitive advantage over other states thanks to the low rates from Missouri’s electric cooperatives. units. “This is a clean-energy and economic-development opportunity for our country,” Baxter said. “We will be the first in the nation to seek a license if this grant is successful.” Also on the agenda was a welcome from state Rep. David Sater; a panel on grassroots that included Co-Mo Electric’s John Agliata; an electric coop history lesson from Rural Missouri Editor Jim McCarty; a speech from Youth Leadership Council representative Roberta Burns from Stoutsville; a presentation on iPads in the boardroom from United Electric’s Melissa Evans; legislative success from CenturyLink’s Doug Galloway; and a look at environmental planning from Associated Electric’s Janelle Bowcock. The association presented its Distinguished Service Award to John Farris, retired manager of Black River and M&A Power electric co-ops, and Carl Lowrance, longtime director at Laclede Electric. In addition, John Eggleston, a former director for TriCounty Electric, was honored with the Frank Stork Democracy Award. Stork, retired manager of the association, wrapped up the historic meeting with a talk on how the sense of unity began. He said those who started the association were rugged individualists who didn’t always trust their neighbors and didn’t see the need to work together. That all changed when the electric cooperatives found they had no political clout to fight off those who wanted to end the program. Stork likened the association to Camelot, the mythical kingdom of King Arthur with a round table where no one had a higher seat of power. “Instead of fighting, they worked things out, and that’s when the kingdom started to prosper,” Stork said. “Doesn’t that remind you of how coops work today?” Added Hart, “Let’s re-examine our commitment to our purpose and also the cooperative model and what that has meant to our members. If we do that, 75 years from now our program will be stronger than ever.” photos by Jason Jenkins I U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt told about a recent visit with his 90-year-old father, who can still remember the day his home near Conway received n 1937 when a statewide associaelectricity for the first time. “Nothing tion for Missouri’s electric coopchanged people’s lives like what you eratives was proposed, 10 people are still employed in,” he said of the attended the first meeting. As the work to keep electricity flowing to same group gathered 75 years later rural people. “What you do on Oct. 4, those ranks had Electrif ica ral Ru ti has made such a differswelled to more than 400 o e t n A ence. I want to be part who gathered for the ta of that.” 75th annual meeting Blunt told the of the Association group of electric coof Missouri Electric op managers, direcCooperatives. tors and key staff “This associathat increasing the tion was born out number of Ameriof a common can jobs was closely need,” said Tom tied to the price Steska, general manof energy. “A lot of ager of Black River o o n o things that make sense Electric Cooperative o C f c M ri is s at today’s rates don’t and president of the o u ri E l e ct make sense if those rates association. “There were double,” he said. He believes North lots of issues facing those pioneers. America can be energy independent They believed by combining their in 10 years, but only if we figure out resources, they could achieve the how to use our vast reserves of coal in common goals. From humble begina smarter, cleaner way. nings, they formed what many believe Gov. Jay Nixon thanked the group is the greatest statewide association in for helping the state recover from natthe nation.” ural disasters such as the ice storm of CEO Barry Hart related his con2009. That type of effort also helped nection to the rural electric program, livestock producers stay in business which began when he was a teenager during this summer’s drought. working for Platte-Clay Electric in the With water supplies critical, the summer. “I worked with many of the governor made emergency funds people who signed the original memavailable to livestock producers who bers up,” he said. “To them, it wasn’t needed new wells. And the electric a job, it was a movement. When I cooperatives dropped everything to came to Jefferson City, I witnessed ensure these wells could be powered. them building this unity. They knew “I had my director of policy make the only chance to achieve something one phone call — to Barry Hart,” Nixwas to work together.” on said. “It was an instant network. Continuing the nostalgic theme, by Jim McCarty jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop Mis so ur iS p These wells were in remote areas. Your folks worked nights and weekends, knowing we’ve got to keep them in business.” Nixon praised the electric co-ops for their work in bringing high-speed Internet to rural areas. “We have all seen too often when a railroad or an interstate leaves a town behind. Broadband is a road, too, and it has to go to everyone,” he said. Nixon also told the group that the co-op’s affordable electric rates give him a tremendous asset when he works to bring new jobs to the state. One speaker at the meeting would have surprised those who attended those early meetings. Warner Baxter, CEO of Ameren Missouri, not only was part of the program, he stayed for the entire meeting in order to get acquainted with the rural electric leaders. This marked a dramatic difference from the early years of rural electrification when co-op and investorowned utilities fought for every load. Baxter spoke on the spirit of cooperation that has grown between all of Missouri’s electricity suppliers as each group seeks to find future sources of power. “We have something in common,” he told the group. “Our customers need safe, reliable but also affordable service. In time, I do believe the economy will recover and energy use will rise. We need to be ready to meet those needs.” One answer is a new breed of small modular nuclear reactors like those proposed for Ameren’s Callaway site. Missouri’s electric cooperatives are part of a coalition hoping to land a U.S. Department of Energy grant that will spearhead development of these e r at iv e s ion at ci so S As so c ia t i 12 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2012

Rural Missouri - November 2012
Contents
Comments
Columns
Doing away with the ‘old scrub bull’
Cooperation among co-ops
Addicted to duck calls
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
Redefining rustic
Best of rural Missouri
Hearth and Home
Sleep like the grain
Marketplace
Around Missouri
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - November 2012

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