Record Attendance At 74th Annual Lewis County REC Meeting
Somewhat coolerand drier temperatures and a light breeze greeted the members of the Lewis County Rural Electric Cooperative gathered for an evening meeting under the big top tent at the Lewis County Fair Grounds on August 4, 2011 to celebrate the 74th Annual Meeting. Emery Geisendorfer Jr., President of the Board of Directors, called the meeting to order.
John Bloom, General Manager/CEO reported that Lewis County REC is in very sound financial condition. He also reported on the recent flat line wind storm that affected a large number of the members in late June.
Bllom outlined for the members the extent of the storm and its damage, along with what the cooperative did to restore service to its members.
The storm had nearly hurricane force sustained winds, and gusts up to 100 mph. Damage suggests winds in excess of 70 mph began near LaBelle and fanned out to the east and south into Canton, LaGrange, and West Quincy. In Missouri, damage was worst in Macon, Knox and Lewis Counties.
Eight of 11 power substations serving Lewis County REC were knocked out by the storm. Although they were restored within hours, that wasn’t the end of the trouble.
“Once the substations were restored, we became aware the 100% of our electric system was affected in one way or another. With information beginning to come in, both from you as members, but also, from our automatic meter systems that allows us gather information very quickly,” said Bloom.
“Early estimations indicated that we had about 6,500 of you without electricity,” he said. ?The decision was quickly made to bring in outside companies to clear downed trees, and a call was made to other cooperatives for mutual aid.
At the end of the first day, we were left with an estimated 1,046 customers without electricity. By day two, LCREC had an estimated 349 members without service. At the end of Wednesday, LCREC had an estimated 20 to 25 customers without service.
“Then, as if the wind storm wasn’t enough, the flooding of the Fox River in Clark County brought down a line crossing it,” Bloom added.
Bt the end of Thursday, LCREC had an estimated 10 to 15 barn and grain bin type services out at the end of the day.
The storm was costly to the cooperative, costing over four times as much as the May 2003 tornado and nearly four times as much as the January 2002 ice storm. Damage estimates to the cooperative exceed $450,000, and employees put in over 1000 overtime hours.
“Now, here is the incredible thing about your cooperative in the aftermath of this storm – by Friday afternoon all of our electric services had been restored by the employees of Lewis County REC, that’s “6,500” members without electricity to “0” in four and one-half days!” Bloom said.
Bloom also presented employees and directors with service pins. Honored were: Fifteen Year Award–Jack Crist and Ned Daggs; Ten Year Award-Terry O’Brien; and Five Year Award-Pete Dames and Jason Hall.
Representative Craig Redmon, and Senator Brian Munzlinger were present to update members on legislation at hand.
There were 363 members registered to vote and over 1000 people were served dinner. The members elected three directors to serve a 3 year term to expire in 2014. Elected to the board were Mike Schantz, Luray, John “Jack” Reardon, Edina, and Donald Shouse, Shelbyville.
The Mystery Train Band performed and there were free children’s games. Attendance prizes were given and there were other drawings for prizes throughout the evening. The grand prize winner of a $400 energy certificate was Ryan Hopp, and the child’s grand prize, a large swimming pool, was won by Kristen Fry. The youngest person in attendance was Macy Hustead and the oldest was Wanda Peterson 91. Mr. and Mrs. Norman Adams received the prize for being married the longest, 61 years.
Mark your calendars, next year’s Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday evening, August 2, 2012 at the Clark County Fair Grounds in Kahoka. This will be the 75th and there will be special activities planned.
2,500 Hogs Die At Knox City CAFO
By Echo Menges
According to Mike Martin, Director of Communications for Cargill, there was an incident at a Miller Farms CAFO off County Road 208 south of Knox City.
“Last Wednesday, July 20, there was an electrical power outage at the facility and as a result of that 2,500 hogs have died,” said Martin. “An alarm system should have triggered and didn’t. 1,700 hogs in the facility survived.”
According to Martin, Cargill owned the hogs. Miller Farms was “contracted to finish them off,” which means Miller Farms was responsible to: see that the hogs were fully developed and transport them to the meat processor. The hogs that perished in the facility were fully-grown and ready or near ready to be harvested then processed.
“That’s why we have these backup systems,” said Martin.
Martin stated that every CAFO contracted by Cargill is required by Cargill to have a backup emergency alarm or notification system that should have alerted someone when power in the facility failed, but the Miller Farms CAFO backup system didn’t do that. If the backup system would have been working properly it could have prevented these hogs from dying. It is unknown why the backup system did not work.
Because that secondary backup notification system didn’t work and no one was notified the facility had lost power. Now Cargill is working with Miller Farms and conducting it’s own internal investigation into the matter to get to the bottom of what exactly happened with the backup system.
In the mean time, “It was decided that they (the dead hogs) would be buried. 2,500 250 pound animals had to be dealt with pretty quickly,” said Martin.
The dead animals were buried on the Miller Farm the following day, Thursday, July 21, 2011, which according to Martin was overseen by the state.
A representative of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources said, “A DNR representative conducted an initial Geohydrologic assessment of the site to recommend and help guide the excavation and burial location that provide the greatest environmental protection. We were there to help them pick a location. They dug a 250 foot by 40 foot pit on the eastern side of the hog barn.”
“The CAFO in question is a Class II which can hold up to 5,000 head of full grown hogs.” Said KC Presiding Commissioner Evan Glasgow.
A representative of Miller Farms said they initially considered and researched the option of sending the dead animals to the processor, but after considering the extreme heat, distance of a facility able to take a shipment that size and the amount of equipment and manpower required to load and haul the dead animals they quickly ruled out the idea and the decision to safely bury the hogs on the Miller Farm was made.
If the hogs would have made it to market, priced modestly at .75 cents or .85 cents per pound weighing 250 pounds per hog, Cargill is looking at a loss in the neighborhood of a half of a million dollars.