October 2019 LightREADING Newsletter

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New School Resource Officers kick off the school year

School Resource Officers
School Resource Officers | Brandy Hinzman and Paula Sullivan

Two new school resource officers (SROs) started school along with students in Flathead County this year. The officers, hired by Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino through a grant provided by Flathead Electric Cooperative’s (FEC’s) unclaimed capital credit dollars, are intended to help local law enforcement provide safer learning environments.

While Officer Brandy Hinzman will be based at the Evergreen Junior High, and Officer Paula Sullivan at Bigfork High School, Sheriff Heino says they will be of assistance throughout the entire Flathead Valley, bringing resources to areas not served by an SRO until now.

“These officers will also help out at our rural area schools, as well as supplement our patrol during the busy summer months.”

Officer Hinzman says she is very excited to be the first SRO serving the Evergreen schools.

“I look forward to getting to know all of the students and staff and to continue to grow a positive relationship between the community and law enforcement.”

Officer Sullivan says she is proud and honored to have been selected for the position in Bigfork.

“I’m very excited to get in there and serve.”

Sheriff Heino added that he is grateful to Flathead Electric Cooperative for opting to invest unclaimed capital credits into their school resource officer program. He says the seed money will help unite, protect and educate their students and communities alike.

Retired capital credit checks are issued to current and former members of FEC each year. Despite the Co-op’s best efforts to find members, some of those checks go unclaimed. Once checks remain unclaimed for five or more years, Montana law requires FEC, as a member-owned, not-for-profit Cooperative, to either use that money for educational purposes in their service territory or allocate it to the state’s general fund. The grant enabled FEC to reinvest members’ unclaimed capital credit dollars back into the community.

A recent study lists numerous benefits of SRO programs, including:

a decrease in the high school dropout rate;

prevention or minimization of property damage in the school and surrounding areas;

Drugsprevention of student injuries and even death due to violence, drug overdoses, etc.;

Criminal Recordreduction of the likelihood that a student will get a criminal record;

Growthincrease of the likelihood that students (particularly those with mental health issues) will get the help they need from the social service and health care systems; and

Safetyincrease in feelings of safety among students, staff and parents, and those who live in surrounding communities.

Source | National Association of School Resource Officers 


Level your monthly bills with Budget Billing

Budget Billing Example

Our Budget Billing option levels your electric bill amounts through the year by using the average of your last twelve months electrical usage to determine your bill amount for the month. This makes it easier to budget because you’ll avoid seasonal highs and lows on your bill.

A twelve-month usage history at the address and a zero balance on your account are required to enroll. Visit Budget Billing to set up this billing option.


Energy Share needs your contribution

Energy ShareEnergy Share of Montana provides bill assistance to families facing an unexpected financial emergency. Additionally, the program runs a refrigerator replacement program for eligible seniors and disabled people who own their homes. Energy Share is funded mostly through private and corporate donations with some state funding. Make a tax-deductible contribution by calling FEC at 406-751-4483 or visit the Energy Share of Montana website.



Are you having difficulty paying heating bills?

LIEAPQualifying members can receive assistance with a portion of their home heating costs through the LIEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) administered by Community Action Partnership (CAP) of NW Montana. Apply between Oct. 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020. For information, call CAP at 406-758-5433 in Kalispell, or 406-293-2712 in Libby.



Winner Winner, Ribeye Dinner!

Ribeye Raffle Winner
Ribeye Raffle winner Jill Hembroff showcases a few of her premium cuts.
Ribeye Raffle Winner
Ribeye Raffle winner Lynda Tveidt showcases a few of her premium cuts as well.

Congratulations to the winners of our annual Ribeye Raffle, Jill Hembroff and Lynda Tveidt, who filled their freezers with premium local 4H and FFA beef. This year’s raffle raised over $1,800 (a record) for our local food banks. Thank you to everyone who purchased tickets to support this great cause!


Opportunity for local high school students:

All-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C.

The application process is now open for next year’s Washington, D.C. Youth Tour. Each June, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. sends more than 1,500 high-school students from across the country to the nation’s capital. Students learn about the history of our country and the role electric cooperatives played in that history, and they’ll also  meet with their congressional delegation.

Flathead Electric Co-op offers two all-expense-paid trips to the Youth Tour each year to high school sophomores or juniors from schools in the Flathead Electric service territory. The student’s parent or guardian must be served by Flathead Electric Cooperative.

Applications must be submitted by November 15.


Co-op Connection

Get to know the people working for you

Brian Wenigar

Brian Weniger  – System Protection Engineer

Q. What do you bring to your Co-op?

A. Enthusiasm and dedication to continually make improvements. Our members’ money goes to much more than just the poles, wire, and transformers they see. Modernizing the Co-op’s system while extending the life of existing assets is a balancing act that requires consideration of current and future needs.

Q. What’s the best thing about working here?

A. The technical aspects of my job and my coworkers make this a great place to work. It’s rewarding to see the advancements that occur behind the scenes.

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

A. To create more time. There is so much I’d like to accomplish in life and see in this world.


Roundup Report

Roundup for Safety grant will help medical patients

Roundup Report
Current parking lot at CARD

A $10,000 Roundup for Safety grant will provide the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) in Libby with new and safer parking. Board President Donna Williams says the current parking lot has a treacherous slope.

“We’ve had patients and staff members fall in the parking lot this past winter because the slope is dangerous and the lot is so small and tight, it’s hard to effectively plow it out. Those who park in the current parking lot have to back out onto the street when leaving.”

September Projects Funded

  • Farming for the Future Academy, Inc.
    Fencing  $5,000
  • Flathead Municipal Airport Authority
    Radios $3,000
  • Glacier National Park Conservancy
    Granite Park Chalet solar power system $6,420
  • Flathead County Road & Bridge Dept.
    LED signs for traffic closure $3,500
  • Flathead Wildlife, Inc.
    Hunter orange safety vests $4,950
  • Conrad Mansion Museum
    Path lights for Conrad Mansion grounds $3,000

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.

To apply for a Roundup for Safety grant, visit Roundup for Safety. Thank you to the thousands of Flathead Electric members who round up their bill for safety! Together, we are making a difference in our community.