The Madison Fire Department received a $5,000 donation from East River Electric Cooperative in December. East River participated in CoBank’s Sharing Success Program which is a matching grant program. East River donated $2,500 and CoBank matched that amount. Jake Good, Vice President of CoBank, said, “CoBank recognizes that our customers know best where funding can most effectively be provided to benefit their communities and we are proud to be part of this contribution to the community of Madison.”
The Madison Fire Department has 28 volunteers and one full time employee. They provide fire protection for 10 of the 16 townships in Lake County totaling 350 square miles. They also provide mutual aid for structure fires for four towns surrounding Madison. Randy Minnaert, Madison’s Fire Chief, expressed appreciation for the generous donation. “Thank you for selecting Madison’s Fire Department for this donation. We are excited to utilize the funds for equipment for our new engine and personal protective equipment,” said Randy. “If it wasn’t for local businesses supporting us, we couldn’t be as active or provide as many services.”
Prairie Village received a $5,000 donation from East River Electric Cooperative in December. East River participated in CoBank’s Sharing Success Program which is a matching grant program. East River donated $2,500 and CoBank matched that amount. Jake Good, Vice President of CoBank, said, “The Sharing Success Program is a great way for us to positively impact the communities of our customers. We are proud to partner with East River on this donation.”
Prairie Village is a recreated historic village featuring artifact filled buildings from the early part of the 20th century. They conduct numerous events throughout their season, including a pageant, a concert series, a railroad celebration and their giant Steam Threshing Jamboree in late August. Faron Wahl, manager of Prairie Village, expressed appreciation for the generous donation. “We are humbled and deeply grateful to East River and CoBank for their generosity and support of our mission through this kind and unexpected gift,” said Faron. The funds will be utilized thoughtfully to assist operations-related projects affected by weather challenges and growth needs.
Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership (ICAP) received a $5,000 donation from East River Electric Cooperative in December. East River participated in CoBank’s Sharing Success Program which is a matching grant program. East River donated $2,500 and CoBank matched that amount. Jake Good, Vice President of CoBank, said, “CoBank recognizes that our customers know best where funding can most effectively be provided to benefit their communities. The Sharing Success Program is a great way for us to positively impact the communities of our customers.”
ICAP is headquartered in Madison and is a community based non-profit organization which serves primarily low-income families and senior citizens in a 14-county area of East Central South Dakota. They administer a variety of programs supported through grants, donations and other community resources to assist participants and their communities to achieve full potential. Arleen Weerheim, ICAP’s Deputy Director, expressed gratitude for the donation. “Thank you very much for this generous donation. The funds will go to good use to assist low-income families in our community,” said Arleen. Locally, ICAP is involved in the Encore store, emergency assistance and other low-income programs.
A family in Madison donated the Community Christmas Tree and East River Electric Cooperative’s Madison crew removed the large evergreen tree from their home. They transported the tree from the residential area to the Dairy Queen parking lot. Employees from the City of Madison assisted East River in setting the tree. The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Magical Christmas Celebration on Saturday, December 7 to light the tree. Click here to learn more about the event: http://www.chamberofmadisonsd.com/events/details/madison-s-magical-christmas-2019-4683
East River Electric Power Cooperative, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Rushmore Electric, the South Dakota Rural Electric Association and CoBank are donating $47,500 to the South Dakota Veterans Council for the State Veterans Cemetery currently under construction in Sioux Falls. The donation was announced at a lunch ceremony during East River Electric’s annual meeting. Ken Teunissen, chair of the Endowment Committee and State Representative Larry Zikmund, R-Sioux Falls, attended the luncheon to receive the check.
“We are pleased to be able to provide this donation for the State Veterans Cemetery,” said East River Electric Power Cooperative General Manager Tom Boyko. “South Dakota’s veterans have given a lot for our state and our country and our state’s electric cooperatives want to do what we can to give back to them.”
In 2018, the South Dakota Legislature authorized the state to seek construction funding from the National Cemetery Administration. Of the 72,000 veterans in South Dakota, 50,000 of them live in the eastern part of the state. The nearest national veterans cemeteries are currently in Sturgis or Fort Snelling, Minn. The cemetery will be constructed on approximately 12.9 acres north of the Interstate 229 and Interstate 90 interchange off Slip Up Creek Road and 477th Avenue.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the cemetery on Monday, Sept. 9. More than 100 people attended the ceremony.
Avera Health and the Rural Electric Economic Development (REED) Fund Tuesday announced a new $10 million workforce housing development financing partnership. Avera has committed $2 million to the partnership and REED has committed an initial $4 million, with plans to grow the total fund to $10 million. The partnership was announced at a joint press conference on September 3.
“Avera is pleased to partner with the Rural Electric Economic Development Fund with this $2 million investment in workforce housing,” said Avera Health President and CEO Bob Sutton. “Avera is committed to our rural roots and the communities we serve. Workforce housing has become a growing concern in rural South Dakota over the past several years and we’re happy REED is addressing this issue”
The REED Fund is a nonprofit corporation created and operated by electric cooperatives that partners with commercial and other economic development lenders to provide financing and leverage private investment in more than 69 counties throughout South Dakota and Minnesota. Established in 1997, REED is governed by 26 member electric cooperatives and assists projects that promote community well-being and contribute to employment, business and wealth creation, as well as improve the infrastructure, services and economic base.
“REED’s member electric cooperatives are excited to launch this housing development partnership with Avera Health,” said REED Board President Ken Schlimgen. “We want to assist communities in developing housing that meets the needs of today’s workforce. A partnership with Avera will help this region begin to address the urgent need for quality workforce housing.”
Funds from the partnership will be used for lending in partnership with banks and other agencies to provide loans for housing development and housing infrastructure in Avera-served communities. Communities and developers can contact the REED Fund for more information on the application process.
“All business sectors including health care and electric cooperatives in rural areas are looking for highly-skilled staff,” said East River Electric Power Cooperative General Manager Tom Boyko. “It can be a real challenge to recruit workforce without quality housing options. We’re going to work on solving this critical issue.”
Avera Health Chief Human Resources Officer Kim Jensen, agreed, saying, “Recruiting and maintaining talent throughout the Avera Health organization can be a challenge at times due to the rural nature of our footprint. When we start getting into smaller, rural communities it is imperative that there is quality housing that is affordable for prospective employees.”
Since it was established, REED has invested more than $100 million dollars in the region through more than 338 loans. The REED Fund and partner lenders have combined to distribute more than $858 million dollars in economic investment, 9,400 jobs have been impacted, and 2.3 million square feet of facilities have been constructed or renovated.
Photo: Central Electric General Manager Ken Schlimgen, Avera Health President and CEO Bob Sutton, and East River Electric CEO/General Manager Tom Boyko