June 2021 Light Reading Newsletter

Download June 2021 Light Reading (PDF)


She may be looking at a tree near you!

Meet the Co-op’s new Right of Way Administrator, Celesta Collacchi. After graduating with a B.S. in Forestry, Celesta started working for a tree company and became a certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. She traveled for five years with her company providing cities such as Salt Lake, L.A., and Denver with tree inventories so they could interpret the health and diversity of their urban forest for better management. Celesta was then contracted as a Utility Forester in Long Island, NY., but wanted to be get out of the city so she hired on with the Forest Service here in Montana. But when she decided she missed serving the public more directly, as well as the autonomy of working in the utility sector, she jumped at the opportunity to come to the Flathead and work at the Co-op when the position became available.

Celesta Collachi

There’s a good chance you will see Celesta walking along the Co-op’s feeders and communicating with property owners about which trees are to be trimmed or removed. Her job also consists of monitoring 10 feet on either side of the powerlines (the Co-op’s Right of Way) to identify hazardous trees that could strike a line. After tree crews have been through to ensure there is proper line clearance, correct pruning cuts, and clean worksites, Celesta will follow up by going through the feeders again and determining if there are trees that won’t need to be pruned for several more years and/or if there are still trees in the area that present immediate safety concerns.

Celesta says she will also be happy to meet in the field with homeowners who call with concerns about limbs on the lines or dead and dying trees, and with those members who have trees within the Co-op’s Right of Way that need to be removed.


“I enjoy meeting homeowners to identify tree pests and alert them of what future problems they might encounter. I also advise members which trees are planted in the wrong place because of their mature height or fast growth rate. Sharing peoples’ love and pride of their trees, coupled with knowing we are stopping destruction (property damage, power outages and fires, for example) by removing hazardous trees, is a dream career for me.”

For more information about dealing with trees near power lines call 751-4483 and ask for the Right of Way Department.


Plan before you Plant

When trees are planted too close to overhanging power lines, they can become a hazard. Learn how to avoid future hazards by planting the right tree in the right place.

Large trees — mature height and spread of more than 40 feet (such as maple, willow, cottonwood, spruce, and birch) plant no closer than 50 feet from power lines.

Medium trees — mature height and spread from 15 to 40 feet (such as a dogwood) plant no closer than 30 feet from power lines.

Small trees — mature height of 15 feet or less (such as lilac or crabapple) can be planted within the range of 20 feet from power lines.

Plan before you Plant


Deadline Extended to claim your Super Saver Energy Efficiency Kit!

KA-POW! Our members are quickly becoming Super Savers with their free energy efficiency kits. Have you ordered yours? These free kits contain a combination of materials designed to save money and energy (like LED bulbs, energy saving power strips, and high efficiency shower heads). The deadline to order your Super Saver Energy Efficiency Kit has been extended to August 31 or while supplies last. 

Don’t delay! Claim your free Super Saver Energy Efficiency Kit here or by calling 406-751-4483.

Super Saver Gif



Thank you and best wishes to Rex Harris

Rex Harris

After more than a decade of service, Rex Harris recently resigned from the Roundup for Safety Board. Rex served both in the Whitefish District and in Kalispell. FEC deeply appreciates his years of dedication and leadership on the board and in our community. Rex says it was his honor to serve.

“Being the focal point or the lens for tens of thousands of Co-op members to help make their communities safer has been a wonderful privilege in my life.” 

Following in Rex’s shoes will be long time resident Dave Brewer, who is an active community volunteer. Dave has been appointed as the new Roundup for Safety Director for District #6 (West Valley).


Co-op Connection

Get to know the people working for you

Dave Brewer

Meet Dave Brewer – Roundup for Safety Director, District #6

Q. What do you bring to the Roundup for Safety Board? 

A. Hopefully, I will bring an open mind to the needs behind the applications. I believe that as we consider projects, we must be very mindful of the safety our help would provide for the community.

Q. What’s the best thing about the opportunity to serve on this board? 

A. I enjoy community service and being able to help others. I think I will enjoy working with the other board members and their various perspectives on how we view project applications.

Q. If you had a super-power, what would it be? 

A. Wisdom would be a great superpower. I’d also like to be able to clearly understand the ideas of others. 


Roundup Report

Grant to help Libby residents breathe easier

CARD Clinic

A $4,080 Roundup for Safety grant to the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) in Libby, will help residents in need breathe a bit easier. CARD, a non-profit clinic that provides resources for those impacted by asbestos related disease, will use the grant to purchase and distribute HEPA air purifiers. CARD says many Libby residents are also subjected to smoke from forest fires and use wood-burning heaters that produce particulates, which worsen their underlying condition. The distribution will be based on a high priority risk assessment and financial need. 

May Projects Funded

  • Farm Hands – Nourish the Flathead
    Wearable protective gear $350
  • Trinity Lutheran Church (Camp)
    Touchless water bottle refill station  $700
  • Samaritan House
    Fire panel and sensors $10,000
  • Martin City Rural Volunteer Fire Dept
    Turnout gear and protective wear $10,000
  • Kalispell Police Department
    Drone $8,999
  • Wildcat Athletic Endowment Assoc.
    Lighting for soccer fields $5,000
  • Whitefish Firefighters Association
    Wildland firefighting helmets $2,000

Roundup for Safety is a voluntary program for FEC members who round up their electric bills to the next dollar. This money goes into a fund for community safety projects.