CALDWELL — Wheatland Electric Cooperative, Inc., has elected a new trustee and re-elected three incumbents to its 10-member board of directors following the 2020 Annual Meeting held Aug. 26 in Caldwell, and at seven remote meeting locations across southwest and south-central Kansas.
Members of the electric cooperative who attended the 2020 Annual Meeting voted to elect Josh Young, a senior vice president with Security State Bank from Leoti, as their District 2 representative. District 2, one of Wheatland Electric’s seven service districts, encompasses Wichita County and Wallace County.
Members also voted to re-elect the following trustees to their positions in their respective districts: Katie Eisenhour, District 1 (Scott County); Stacey Addison-Howland, District 4 (Hamilton County, western Kearny County and Prowers County, Colo.); and John Kleysteuber, District 5 (eastern Kearny County, Finney County and Gray County).
Young won a contested election against Brady Harbin, banking center president of Western State Bank in Leoti. Young is replacing outgoing District 2 trustee Vic Case, who served as a trustee from 2008 to 2020.
Prior to the vote, both nominees spoke to a group of more than 250 individuals gathered in the Caldwell Community Building and across remote meeting locations in Scott City, Leoti, Tribune, Syracuse, Garden City, Great Bend, and Harper.
The gathering in Caldwell was simulcast to Wheatland members via a livestream video at each of these locations, and members were able to ask questions, offer comments, or choose to make nominations from the floor from their respective locations.
Following the declaration of quorum, Wheatland Electric Board of Trustees President William Barnes announced 227 members present in person, including at remote meeting sites, and 38 members present by proxy.
In addition to voting, members heard from Wheatland Electric senior staff, including Director of Finance Radona Smythe, who presented the annual treasurer’s report.
Furthermore, CEO and General Manager Bruce W. Mueller also presented an annual summary to members present including touching on practices that were adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
Some of those responses included suspending disconnections for nonpayment through June 1, increasing broadband internet speeds to support members who might be learning or working remotely from home, and opening wi-fi spots for free public use.
Asst. General Manager Trey Grebe also presented awards to local students who were winners of Wheatland Electric’s Electric Cooperative Youth Tour (Washington D.C.) and Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp (Steamboat Springs, Colo.).
These students include Leah Bowley, South Haven High School, Sadie Schmanke, Conway Springs High School, Zoe Jerke, Great Bend High School, and Ryan Thompson, Syracuse High School.
Due to COVID-19, these students were unable to attend their respective camps and tours and are instead receiving $1,000 scholarships to the college of their choice upon their high school graduation.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Grebe also presented $1,000 scholarships to the following seniors graduating from 13 public high schools (and one at-large community) represented in Wheatland’s service territory: Hope Casner, Argonia; Carson Linenberger, at-large; Delaney Mayo, Caldwell; Audrey Bebermeyer, Chaparral; Victoria Kunz, Conway Springs; Luke Maneth, Great Bend; Kamryn Youmans, Tribune; Gracelyn Rupp, Holcomb; Tori Poe, Norwich; Madison Shapland, Scott City; Rachel Turek, South Haven; Alex Moser, Syracuse; and Johanna Ridder, Leoti.
Barnes, board president, also recognized the following Wheatland Electric employees for their years of service to the cooperative: 5 years: Erin Carter, Alli Conine, Amanda Martinez, Cody Strecker, and Rhei Thurman; 10 years: Marcus Goebel and Brandon Ritchie; 15 years: Darrin Campbell, Wade Grumbein, and Radona Smythe; 20 years: Chad Deniston, Colton Green, Mark Maier, and Randy Rogers; 25 years: Jana Harkness, Bryan Mulligan, and Mike Olson; 30 years: Todd Nemechek and James Zorn; 40 years: Randy Coleman.