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Merle Kilgore, 87, of Oakland NE


Merle Kilgore was born May 31, 1930 to William and Hazel (Raitt) Kilgore in David City, NE. He spent all of his childhood years there as an ornery brother to 3 siblings: Dolores, Kate, and Denny. After graduation from high school in 1947 he joined the army and went to Korea during the war there. He met his wife, Doris Kroft on a double date. She left her purse in the car, so he would have to bring it back to her and meet again. They married Nov. 2, 1952. They had 2 daughters, Debbie (Carl Fritsch in Minneapolis) and Sheri (Gary Duff, in Omaha).

After his time in the military, Merle worked for the Nebraska Power Company, traveling around the state, putting up power lines until he settled in Crawford, NE and lived there for 9 years. During that time, he was adventurous and started a real stagecoach in Fort Robinson with his partner, Vernon Rockey. He often took his family hiking in the Pine Ridge hills.

In 1968, he moved his family to Oakland, NE to be the superintendent there for NPPD. He was instrumental in the Four Trees and other low-rent housing developments. At times, during his life he was a volunteer for the fire department.

Merle was one of the key people involved in both the planning and construction of the New Life Assembly of God Church building. The Church owes the existence of its current building in large part to Merle’s experience, expertise and volunteered time in planning, design and construction.

Merle was always attentive to the needs of the New Life Church building. He was quick to notice any needed upkeep projects and was often first to start on them.

Because he saved well in a good time of growth, he was able to retire at the age of 60 and went on the road to volunteer for the MAPS program for 22 years. MAPS (Mission America Placement Service) is a branch of the Assembly of God church that organizes volunteers to build churches and buildings for their Teen Challenge ministry. He did this until he had a stroke in 2012, which dampened his physical abilities, but not his spirit.

He passed away after a short illness. He is survived by his wife Doris, daughters Debbie and Sheri, 9 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Mon., May 14th at the New Life Assembly of God Church at 10:30 a.m.

 

Merle Kilgore

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Commission Votes to Enter Memorandum of Understanding


The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission voted today to enter a memorandum of understanding to work with five Nebraska Natural Resource Districts and the Nebraska Public Power District to take steps towards transfer of assets, including NPPD’s water appropriations on the Niobrara River, Spencer Hydro dam, and the lands and easements associated with the dam.

The Commission voted to enter the memorandum of understanding during a special meeting at the Commission headquarters, 2200 N. 33rd St. in Lincoln, at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10.

The Commission and the NRDs will seek legislative authority to convert NPPD’s water rights to a multi-use water right, part of which will be conserved for recreation and fish and wildlife needs, and part of which will be conserved for integrated water management in the Niobrara River basin. NPPD will continue to operate the dam in the meantime.

Nebraskans Discuss State’s Energy Future


By Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotchlaurenk@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs 

When it comes to power, Nebraska is unique from every other state. That’s because our state is the only one in the nation with public power, giving Nebraskans the ability to elect board members that will represent our interests when it comes to powering our homes and businesses. To ensure that we are being properly represented, Nebraskans must be active in learning about energy in the state and what public power districts are planning for the future.

 

Nebraskans should be asking questions, and making their voices heard. Public Power affords all ratepayer-owners a say in our energy future.

 

This month, the Center for Rural Affairs organized a community conversation in Norfolk with Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) Director Virgil Froehlich, and several staff members from NPPD. The meeting provided residents with the chance to share their thoughts on energy in Nebraska, as well as learn more about NPPD and energy issues brought up by other participants.

 

The event was attended by educators, business leaders, farmers, advocates, elected representatives, and engaged citizens of all ages.

 

The community conversation was informative, and allowed local residents to get to know their board member better. Everyone came to the event with an interest in energy and what it means to their community, and had good questions for NPPD staff. One privilege of living in a state where power utilities are publicly owned, is having the ability to speak directly to your elected board representatives. We all have a responsibility to engage in discussions like these.

 

NPPD Moves Past Coal at Sheldon Station


The Center for Rural Affairs released the following statement in response to news that Sheldon Station, the coal-fired power plant north of Hallam, Nebraska is undergoing a major transition from coal to an exciting and innovative power generation technology. Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), which owns and operates the plant, plans to replace an existing coal-fired boiler at its Sheldon Station plant with one that uses hydrogen fuel. The hydrogen will be produced by Monolith Materials as a co-product from its production of carbon black using natural gas as a feedstock. Plans for the second of two boilers were not made clear.
“We applaud the Nebraska Public Power District’s staff and board of directors for taking steps to invest in a power source that can benefit the local community, while reducing the amount of harmful toxins released into the environment,” said Johnathan Hladik with the Center for Rural Affairs. “This is leadership Nebraska has been waiting for. However, today’s announcement marks only the halfway point. It’s a ‘job half-done.’ We expect NPPD to carry this momentum forward and continue this commitment to rural economic development by investing in the vast resources we have here in Nebraska for energy production, create well-paying jobs for skilled workers, and protect our most vulnerable populations – children and the elderly – from a range of health issues exacerbated by harmful pollutants released by burning coal.”
Research by the Center for Rural Affairs and Synapse Energy Economics shows that continuing to operate Sheldon Station as it has been in the past would have incurred cumulative economic losses of over $1.3 billion by 2042. These are costs that would have been shifted to NPPD’s ratepayer-owners. Continuing to burn coal at both Unit 1 and Unit 2 at Sheldon Station would also have prevented NPPD from investing in the very alternatives, like renewable energy and energy efficiency, that have the potential to produce considerable economic benefits in rural Nebraska.
Center for Rural Affairs findings also show that, Sheldon Station, too old to produce more than 60 percent of the 225 megawatts of energy it was once capable of, is past-due for a transition. The power plant has quickly become a financial liability to NPPD and its ratepayers, becoming operationally uneconomical after 2020.
“Continuing to burn coal at Unit 1 and Unit 2 of Sheldon Station would have required costly updates to protect Nebraskans from exposure to harmful toxins and comply with new environmental regulations,” added Hladik.
The Center’s research predicted that NPPD ratepayers and those in the Lincoln Electric System, which contracts with NPPD for one-third of Sheldon Station’s capacity, would have picked up the tab for hundreds of million of dollars in retrofit capital costs that would be necessary for Sheldon to comply with significant, new environmental requirements.
“NPPD’s announcement at Sheldon Station today begins to reflect the values of many rural Nebraskans, who believe that we have a special responsibility to be good stewards of our natural world: to use only what we need, make smarter choices and pass on to our children the wildlife, water and natural resources we have here in Nebraska,” Hladik continued. “We encourage NPPD to adhere to these principles and seek out public involvement as future decisions are made.”
We are encouraged by the changes that NPPD has announced, and urge continued investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency that benefit rural and small town Nebraskans, and keep electricity affordable, concluded Hladik. Nebraska ranks 7th among the states for energy consumption per capita, and consistently ranks in the bottom third among states for its efforts to use energy more efficiently. Serious investment in energy efficiency will go a long way in keeping NPPD ratepayer-owners’ bills affordable.

New Light Pole Installed


NPPD installs a new light pole at the corner of 1st Street and Oakland Avenue in Oakland. The new pole replaces one that was apparently hit by a semi and destroyed. Photo Credit for all three photos/Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

NPPD installs a new light pole at the corner of 1st Street and Oakland Avenue in Oakland. The new pole replaces one that was apparently hit by a semi and destroyed. Photo Credit for all three photos/Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

IMG_7333 IMG_7346

Pole and Sign Hit in Oakland


According to neighbors, a semi driver hit and knocked down a no u turn sign and light pole at the corner of Oakland Avenue and 1st Street in Oakland. The accident occurred around 7:30 a.m. Sat., May 3rd. NPPD was called to take care of the pole and the wires in the street. Greg Mockenhaupt of Oakland saw the truck drive by his home after the alleged incident. “He was driving very fast up the hill. He seemed to be in a hurry to leave,” Greg stated.

The light pole after moved off the roadway Saturday. Photo Credit/Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

The light pole after moved off the roadway Saturday. Photo Credit/Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

Center for Rural Affairs: More wind energy


Rural Leaders urge NPPD wind investment
Lyons, Nebraska – Today, the Center for Rural Affairs released a letter signed by 28 rural and small town community leaders in medicine, education, agriculture, business, economic development and the faith community, urging the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) to make investments in rural and small town Nebraska’s energy future by purchasing locally produced wind power at today’s historically low rates.

“An investment in Nebraska wind power is an investment in the future of our communities, and that’s crucial to all of us,” June Simpson, Silver Hills Winery, Burt County, Nebraska

“The affordability of wind energy and the local economic development these technologies create, along with growing health concerns, all require that we take advantage of the present opportunity,” said Simpson.
According to Lu Nelsen of the Center for Rural Affairs, the NPPD board of directors will vote on Friday, October 11th, on increasing the district’s wind energy purchases.
“This is a crucial vote, because the NPPD board has a chance to have a much greater positive impact on our state and communities by increasing their investment in wind energy,” said Nelsen. “Wind energy has never been cheaper, increasing our investment now will help us move away from dirtier energy sources, and it brings economic opportunities to our rural communities. The same tired arguments, focusing on cost and intermittency, lose credibility each day as utilities in bordering states continue to invest in their local economies.”
The joint letter also focuses on the economic potential of wind energy development, and points out that, unfortunately, Nebraska ranks only 25th in installed wind capacity, far behind neighboring states like Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, and Colorado but also behind such states as Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
“The economic development potential these investments create can be astounding,” added Patty Plugge, Burt County Economic Development Director. “Wind power installations result in total county-level personal income of approximately $11,000 per megawatt and create an additional 0.5 jobs per megawatt.”
“All of us depend on reliable, affordable electricity,” concluded Nelsen. “However, the $2.7 billion dollars Nebraskans spend annually to meet our electricity needs can be managed more productively. More of it should be invested in purchasing Nebraska wind energy.”
The joint letter to the NPPD board includes signatures of farmers, ranchers, small business owners, healthcare providers, and educators as well as community, civic and faith leaders from across Nebraska. The letter will be delivered today during the public session of the NPPD board of directors meeting in Columbus, Nebraska.

To view or download a complete copy of the letter and list of signatories, go to:  http://files.cfra.org/pdf/nppd-sign-on-letter.pdf

Center for Rural Affairs: Wind Energy


NPPD rejects investment in wind
Lyons, Nebraska – Today, the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) board of directors voted, 6 to 3, to reject proposals to increase the district’s wind energy purchases.

Public power means doing more than lining the pockets of out-of-state companies. The same tired arguments, focusing on cost and intermittency, lose credibility each day as utilities in bordering states continue to invest in their local economy. If wind energy works there, it can work here. Nebraskans deserve better.

Johnathan Hladik, Senior Policy Advocate, Center for Rural Affairs

“In the discussion, board member Ed Schrock made the claim that there are no NPPD customers that want to invest in more wind,” said Hladik. “But that simply isn’t the reality, it runs counter to our experience. Farmers, ranchers, business owners, educators, healthcare providers and many other rural and small town Nebraskans have told us, directly, unequivocally, that they support investing in wind.”
According to Hladik, NPPD directors Mary Harding of Denton, Fred Christensen of Lyons, and Second Vice Chairman Gary Thompson of Beatrice all voted in favor of investing in more wind generated electricity. The remainder of the board voted to reject any additional wind investments.
“The Center for Rural Affairs also wants to acknowledge Mary Harding, Fred Christensen and Gary Thompson for all their efforts on these issues,” said Hladik. “Their hard work and persistence demonstrate the kind of true leadership that rural Nebraskans want and need to help create a better future across Nebraska.”
“The vote today demonstrates that the only way to change the direction of NPPD on this issue is if constituents stand up, hold the boards’ feet to the fire, and urge them to invest more in wind energy. If their constituents speak out, we can hope for more leadership from other board members. The kind of leadership that Gary, Mary and Fred showed today, the kind of leadership that rural and small town Nebraskans elected them to provide,” concluded Hladik.
In advance of the vote, the Center for Rural Affairs shared a letter signed by 28 rural and small town community leaders in medicine, education, agriculture, economic development and the faith community, with the NPPD board urging them to make investments in rural and small town Nebraska’s energy future by purchasing locally produced wind power at today’s historically low rates.

The public release of that letter, along with the full text of the letter and signatories, can be viewed or downloaded at http://files.cfra.org/pdf/nppd-sign-on-letter.pdf

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