a publication of Loup Power District SUMMER 2018
DALE NICHOLS & TERENCE DUREN
— page 12
First Vice Chairman
Second Vice Chairman
4 Genoa’s Indian School Museum
preserves 50 years of history
7 Electric vehicles growing in popularity
8 Graduates and scholarship recipients
10 Community Builders visits Humphrey
12 Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art in David
City hosting Duren/Nichols exhibit
15 Loup installs Gridstream automated meters
16 Community Builders visits Howells
18 Employee Notes
22 Around the District
Loup Power District Service Area
For more than 80 years,
Loup Power District
has provided reliable,
low-cost electricity to
The District also
The Loup Generator is
as a service for Loup
friends and associates.
For feedback, story ideas and submissions:
Stacy Wemhoff, Communications Coordinator | 402-562-57111 | firstname.lastname@example.org
New service center location has many benefits
As many of you are aware, the District has
started work on moving the current service
center to a location between 18th Avenue and
3rd Avenue, south of the Lost Creek Parkway.
This location provides some strategic
benefits and will allow the District to better
serve all areas of the District operations in
and around Columbus. It will also allow the
District to combine our north storage yard
(currently located in the industrial park west
of Columbus Hydraulics) and the existing
service center located along 12th Avenue.
The District is doing this for several reasons.
First and foremost, the City of Columbus
needs area around the existing service
center for the new 12th Avenue viaduct to be
constructed in the upcoming years.
After several discussions with the City, the
District decided it was better for the District
to move its entire service center to a new
location, rather than try to coexist as the City
constructs the viaduct. This was done for
both a safety and an overall operations basis.
The District purchased a parcel of land much
greater than needed along the Lost Creek
Parkway and we are working with others to
develop this area in a way that most benefits
the District and the Columbus region.
Several developers have approached the
District about locations in this new area
(which has been named the Energy Triangle
Addition) and the District is excited about the
development possibilities for the area.
Many people have asked if the District is also
moving the General Office, which sits on 15th
Street, to this location. This is not currently
planned, as our existing General Office still
meets the overall needs of the District. The
District has enough space at the Lost Creek
Parkway location, and will keep enough
space in the future, in case a decision is made
to locate the General Office in that same
location along Lost Creek Parkway. However,
that is not planned at this time.
This location also is beneficial, as it is much
closer to our hydro facility in Columbus and
allows access to all parts of Columbus along
Lost Creek Parkway.
With the construction of the current viaducts
in and around Columbus, serving all locations
in Columbus will be accomplished in a more
efficient fashion. In addition, the District will
be able to serve other areas, such as Platte
Center and some of our northern towns more
The District does not anticipate the need
to increase rates associated with this
construction, as cash reserves will be used to
fund this new building. This was one of the
key selling points to the Board of Directors
that made this decision easier for all.
We appreciate the public’s patience with the
District as we move through this endeavor.
We will provide more information as design
and construction move forward.
The Board of Directors and management
are grateful for the discussions and general
positive comments we have received
regarding this decision. We look forward to
continuing to serve all of our communities in
the best possible way moving forward.
by NEAL SUESS
SUMMER 2018 3
Genoa’s Indian School
50 years of history
In 1884, the U.S. Indian Industrial School at
Genoa welcomed its first 74 students by cutting
their hair, giving them new uniforms and
forcing them to give up their native language.
Native American students attended the school
for the next 50 years, reaching a peak of nearly
600 students in 1932. It was one of the largest
federal boarding schools in the country.
The school began with one building on 320
acres and grew to more than 30 buildings on
Many of the students went on to be successful
with the skills they learned. But does that mean
the school was a success? Many of the students
and their families told another story.
Top: The Genoa Indian School Museum today.
Middle: U.S. Indian school students in their classroom.
Bottom: The U.S. Indian Industrial School Band performs.
Right: The school followed a strict, military model.
Students wore uniforms and answered to roll call.
In 1857, the Pawnee Indians made
a treaty with the U.S. Government to
give up their their lands and resettle
on a reservation in today’s Nance
Less than 20 years later, the
Pawnee signed another treaty and
moved to a reservation in Oklahoma.
The Office of Indian Affairs
selected the former Pawnee
reservation as the site for a new
government boarding school.
It was the fourth non-reservation
boarding school in the country.
Its mission was to assimilate the
students into white society by
teaching them basic education as well
Some of the children were taken
from their homes and moved to the
school. They came from more than
40 tribes and may have ranged in age
from 4 to 22.
The school was run like the
military. Students wore uniforms and
marched. They answered to roll call
Male students learned a variety
of trades including harness making,
tailoring, blacksmithing and farming.
Females were taught nursing, sewing
These jobs also helped bring in
additional money. The school received
only $167 per student per year for
food, housing and clothing.
They participated in
including athletics, band
and choir. They also
attended dances and
other social activities.
The school closed
its doors in 1934
as both the economy and philosophy
of the time were changing. Students
went back to their reservations,
found alternate boarding schools or
Years after the school closed, some
students started returning to visit
Genoa. They also visited the Genoa
Historical Museum in downtown
Museum volunteers and others
from the community saw the need for
a dedicated museum for the school
and created the Genoa U.S. Indian
School Foundation in 1990.
The museum opened in the Manual
Training Building that same year.
Today, tribal flags hang
throughout the building as a
testament to the students who
The museum includes historical
artifacts from the school, a scale
model of the school’s campus and a
replica of a school room.
Some of the the government’s
pictures of the school feature
students who seem to be happily
engaged in learning.
But museum volunteers Nancy
Carlson and Alyce Tejral say many of
these photos were propoganda pieces.
Some students did look back on
their time at the school favorably, but
others told a different story.
Students were punished for using
their native language or trying to run
away. At times, teachers struggled
to quell the animosities between
students of different tribes.
The children struggled to adjust
to the complete loss of their culture
and their families. Many died
because they were not immune to the
tuberculosis and influenza that swept
through the school.
Carlson and Tejral said some
former students didn’t talk about
their time at the school because they
didn’t want to remember.
Now, it is the families who come
back each year for the annual reunion
or email the museum in hopes of
learning more about what life was
like for the students.
Carlson said many family
members walk around and absorb
the atmosphere. Native elders and
medicine men have visited the school
to hold ceremonies for the spirits of
the children who attended and those
who lost their lives.
Government officals and teachers
may have been doing what they
thought was right to help Native
Americans succeed and adapt.
And many did — going on to
college and securing jobs. Some
Native American parents even wanted
their children to attend the Genoa
school — especially during the tough
times of the Great Depression.
But time has shown that the
trauma of losing family, culture and
traditions caused more harm than
“It was like a prison,” said student
Michael Whitesnake in the NET film
“White Man’s Way” in 1986.
In the film, historian Ronald
Naugle said that the experiment to
assimilate Indians was a failure.
“Indian values did survive. Their
culture did survive inspite of our
attempts to suppress it. But it was not
without a cost,” Naugle said. “There
was a great deal of personal pain and
suffering and we’ll probably
never know the extent
SUMMER 2018 5
Right: The walls of the Genoa Indian School
museum still bear murals painted by the
students who attended the school. The murals
were used as patterns to create harnesses and
bridles that were sold for the school.
Below: Students make bridles and harnesses.
Bottom: Students in their dorm room.
• Sidney Byrd began attending the Genoa
Indian School at age 6. He became a
Presbyterian minister and was active in Dr.
Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement in
The Wo Lakota YouTube channel has several
interviews with Byrd about his experiences
at the Genoa School. ”No one to say
goodnight or tuck you in,” he said. “Just four
empty walls. You could hear the whimpering
of the little boys lonely for their homes.”
PLAN YOUR VISIT:
GENOA INDIAN SCHOOL MUSEUM
402 Willard Ave, Genoa
• White Man’s Way is a Nebraska Educational
Television film from 1986. The film includes
interviews with former students and
HOURS: Thursday through Monday from 1–5 p.m.
from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
ADMISSION: Free. Donations accepted.
Also open throughout the year by appointment.
Contact Alyce Tejral at 402 993-6036
or Jerry and Nancy Carlson at 402-993-6055.
There are currently around 1,000 electric vehicles (EVs) on
Nebraska’s roads today, with the market ready to expand.
Electric vehicles are fun to drive and provide significant
benefits to consumers and Nebraska’s economy.
ELECTRIC VEHICLES KEEP MONEY
IN THE POCKETS OF NEBRASKANS.
Fuel efficiency is rated in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles
rather than miles per gallon. If you pay $0.11 per kWh for
electricity and have an average electric vehicle rated at 34
kWh per 100 miles, the cost is about $0.04 per mile. If gas is
$3 per gallon and a gas-powered vehicle gets 25 mpg, the cost
is about $0.12 per mile. This scenario amounts to a savings of
$800 for every 10,000 miles you drive. Clearly, these savings
can easily offset the additional cost to purchase an electric
vehicle over the vehicle’s lifetime. The U.S. Energy Department
has created a website to determine an eGallon, or the cost of
fueling a vehicle with electricity compared to a similar vehicle
that runs on gasoline.
ELECTRIC VEHICLE MAINTENANCE COSTS ARE
Plug-in electric vehicles typically have lower total cost of
ownership and, in particular, lower maintenance costs. This is
because they have fewer moving parts, reduced oil changes
(or none for a full electric) and fewer brake jobs—battery
regeneration absorbs most of the energy. Hybrids and plug-in
electric vehicles can go 100,000 miles before receiving a brake
job. Visit the Electric Power Research Institute for an electric
vehicle cost of ownership report.
ALL NEBRASKANS HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHARGE.
Electric vehicles can be charged in the comfort of home,
avoiding trips to the gas station. They can be charged on a
standard 120V wall outlet, also called Level 1 charging. Faster
charging can be achieved at home or workplace with Level 2
CHARGING STATIONS ARE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
ACROSS THE STATE.
Public charging stations continue to pop up across Nebraska.
Businesses, electric utilities, and government agencies
are establishing a rapidly expanding network of charging
infrastructure, proving it is possible to get nearly everywhere
with an electric vehicle.
ELECTRIC VEHICLES ARE SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER FOR
THE LOCAL ECONOMY.
EVs are fueled from energy from the local electrical grid, which
is cheaper for all consumers. Money spent on local electricity
gets reinvested back into the local economy.
ELECTRIC VEHICLES ARE ENERGY EFFICIENT.
Electric vehicles convert about 59%–62% of the electrical
energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Conventional
gasoline vehicles only convert about 17%–21% of the energy
stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.*
for information about EVs
and financial incentives.
SUMMER 2018 7
Scotus Central Catholic High School
Plans: University of Nebraska at Kearney
Studying: Social Work
Granddaughter of Rocky and Janice Bridger,
Customer Service Representative (Fullerton)
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Education
Plans: Teaching Physical Education & Health
at Lincoln Public Schools
Daughter of Sue and Jim Hoge,
Drafting Technician (Columbus)
Humphrey St. Francis High School
Plans: Northeast Community College
& University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Son of Tom and Ann Olmer, , Customer
Service Representative (Humphrey)
Northeast Community College
Degree: Uility Line
Son of Cari Reeder,
Administrative Assistant (Columbus)
Scotus Central Catholic High School
Plans: Central Community College
Studying: Media/Video Production
Son of Crystal and Dan Quinn,
Journeyman Lineman-Serviceman (Columbus)
Plans: Central Community College
Studying: Criminal Justice
Son of Crystal and Dan Quinn, ,
Lakeview High School
Plans: Wayne State College
Studying: Middle Level Education
Daughter of Janet and Brad Morton,
Hydro Superintendent (Columbus)
Scholarships awarded to area students
Linkages Scholarships were awarded to 12 students in the 2018 graduating
class at Columbus High School.
The Linkages Program is a nationally recognized program that supports high
schools offering a quality program of engineering and technology courses. The
Columbus Economic Council, Loup Power District, and local businesses provide
support for the program.
The students qualified for the Linkages Scholarship by taking engineering and
technical courses. The scholarship can be used at each student’s college of
The 2018 Linkages Scholarships were awarded to the following students:
Gold Level — Jacob Battershell, Daniel Jacinto-Lopez, and Sarah Kwapnioski;
Silver Level — Tyler Bock; Bronze Level — Jason Asay, Brant Birchem, Brandon
Gerber, Brian Klink, Walker Lehr, Ryan Maul, Andrew Pike and Austin Prismus.
Providing important financial support to the program are the following local
sponsors: BD Medical, Behlen Mfg., Cargill, Central Confinement Service (CSC),
Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce/Platte County Convention & Visitors
Bureau, Columbus Bank, Columbus Community Hospital, Columbus Hydraulics,
Duo Lift Manufacturing Company, Heartland Products, Mastercare Patient
Equipment, Pinnacle Bank, SiDump’r, TORIN Products, Vishay Dale Electronics,
and the Linkages Program.
Since its beginning in 2004, the Linkages Program has awarded 181 scholarships
Loup Power District has awarded
scholarships to 11 area students who are
attending Central Community College-
Columbus this fall.
Loup Power District scholarships are
awarded to high school seniors living in
Boone, Colfax, Nance, and Platte Counties
and portions of Madison County.
Selection is based on academic
achievement, employment and school
activities, quality of the personal
statement, application completeness and
Scholarships were awarded to: Columbus
High School — Kimberly Mendoza, Ruth
Reyes, Emilee Rotherham, Luis Tovar-
Lemus, Triston Westfall, Taylor Weverka,
and Michaela Wiseman; Scotus Central
Catholic High School — Matthew Quinn;
Howells-Dodge High School — Jose Smith;
Schuyler Central High School — Yareth
Chavez; Shelby-Rising City High School —
SUMMER 2018 9
Community Builders met in
Humphrey on April 4. The group
toured several businesses in
Humphrey and ended with lunch at
Mugs & Jugs Bar and Grill.
Chuck Chase, Outreach Coordinator
with the State Department of Natural
Resources, presented a program
that gave participants a look at the
disasters communities face.
The first stop on the tour was
Husker Vinyl, a vinyl fencing and
Ron Groene worked in the industry
since the mid-nineties before starting
his own business at a rented shop
in 2004. The company outgrew that
location and built a new shop and
storefront on Highway 81.
Husker Vinyl’s products are
available for special order at smaller
home supply stores as well as
larger chains including Lowe’s. The
company also does custom work for
those who have unique needs, such as
Husker Vinyl employs about seven
full-time employees and adds a
few temporary employees over the
Groene is not a native of
Humphrey, but chose the town as
the location for his business because
he liked its location and small-town
“We’re pretty blessed when we
have an employer, or manufacturer,
come to town, build a nice facility like
this and create jobs,” said Humphrey
Mayor Lonnie Weidner.
Humphrey’s old dance hall was
the site of many dances, wedding and
community events. But the 1940s-era
building was old and needed repairs
Around 2007, then-mayor Don
Zavadil spearheaded work to get
a new community center. The city
initially contributed $100,000 to the
project and an additional $700,000
was generated through fundraisers.
In 2009, a nonprofit group gifted
the new building to the city, which
took on an additional $100,000 of
“We got an $800,000 building for
25 cents on the dollar,” Weidner said.
“It’s been a huge success for us.”
Last year, about 25 weekends were
booked for weddings. A smaller room
is regularly used by the Boy Scouts,
City Council and American Legion.
The city maintains the liquor
license and runs the bar but allows
renters to use the caterer of their
“It truly is a community center . . .
we’re extremely proud of it,” Weidner
Pinnacle Bank opened a small loan
production office in Humphrey in
Its success prompted the bank to
open a full-service location in the
town last year.
A corner building across the street
opened up and the bank saw it as
the perfect opportunity — especially
since the old building began its life as
After beginning a remodeling
process, they discovered the brick
walls and ornate ceiling and decided
to keep as many of those original
features as possible.
“I’m glad we found it,” said Kevin
Small, Market President. “We’re
excited. We’re happy to be here.”
The new location opened last year.
Humphrey was named
after Humphrey, New York —
the hometown of the
Above: Klint Brown explains the routing machine at Husker Vinyl.
Left: Kevin Small (left) serves as Market President at Pinnacle Bank’s Humphrey location.
Community Builders helps individuals in Colfax, Boone, Nance and Platte counties and a portion of Madison County.
learn ways to improve their communities. Cornhusker Public Power District, Loup Power District and Central Community College sponsor
the program. Guests are welcome to attend.
BOESCH HOT ROD CONCEPTS
Dale Boesch’s father, Harry, opened a body shop in
Humphrey after returning from World War II.
In 1978, Dale and his wife Joan bought the
business which expanded from collision repair to
fabrication of custom hot rods and muscle cars
over the years.
Boesch’s passion for cars started at a young age
and he was modifying his own cars long before
becoming a business owner. The business provides
collision repair services for Humphrey and the
surrounding communities while customization
brings in customers from all over the country.
Cars completed by Boesch and his employees have
earned many national awards and have been featured in
numerous magazines, including overseas publications.
Custom work is done based on customer’s budget and
timeline, some taking more than a decade to complete. In
the shop you’ll find hot rods from the 1930s, muscle cars
from the 1960s, as well as new vehicles.
Boesch Auto Body has five full-time employees.
one of the
at Boesch Hot
SUMMER 2018 11
DALE NICHOLS & TERENCE DUREN
In the summer of 1945 a national artistic
rivalry was building in rural Nebraska.
Regionalist and social realist styles of art were in high demand.
Among those who best represented those artistic styles were
Nebraska’s own Terence Duren and Dale Nichols.
That summer Nichols had planned to return to his hometown
of David City for a one-man show of his work. Nichols had
recently become art editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica,
following in the footsteps of Grant Wood.
Nichols had also sold his painting, End of the Hunt, to the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1938. An exhibition of David
City’s successful artist son was certainly a big deal.
Interestingly, just 20 miles down the road, the people of Shelby,
Nebraska, were celebrating their own nationally-known artist,
Duren had recently gotten his painting, Picnic in the Park,
accepted into the Portrait of America contest sponsored by the
Metropolitan Museum of Art. This massive exhibition included
work by Stuart Davis, Paul Cadmus, and Milton Avery, among
With such great artistic talent converging on an ordinarily quiet,
rural pocket of the Midwest, Time magazine took notice. In
August of 1945, Time published their short, but provocative
article on the two artists which they so boldly titled “War in the
In the article, Nichols criticizes Duren’s work, taking offense at
Duren’s occasional “critical view” of Nebraskans in his artwork.
Duren is quick to counter Nichols’ criticism by claiming that
Nichols couldn’t paint figures correctly and thus only painted
characters from far away.
Both men no doubt were interested in being considered
Nebraska’s leading artist, but in retrospect, their lives are far
more similar than one might think.
Once the summer of 1945 passed, Duren and Nichols
continued to paint for the rest of their lives. Over time, both
grew to appreciate each other’s work and each went so far as
to say that the other artist was a gift to the state.
Perhaps the artists realized that they were both working toward
the same goal of sharing their home with the world through
— Cole Sartore, Guest Curator
Loup Power’s Duren Connection
The “Worthy Rivals” exhibit at Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian
Art in David City features work from artists Terence Duren of
Shelby and Dale Nichols of David City.
Loup Power District’s office features Duren’s mural, The History of
The public was first invited to view the mural in May of 1942 at
Loup’s office on 14th Street in Columbus.
The mural represents the entire history of the city by depicting
personalities, buildings, and events of the time including the
impressive Loup project.
When Loup Power District moved to its new 15th Street
headquarters in 1974, the mural — which was glued to the Loup
board room wall — was painstakingly removed. The canvas was
cleaned and restored before being reinstalled in the Mural Room.
Read more about the mural on page 14.
575 E St., David City
WORTHY RIVALS EXHIBIT:
Runs through September 23
Wed–Sat: 10 am–4 pm
Thursay: 10 am–8 pm
Sunday: 1–4 pm
Apointments and tours available.
DALE NICHOLS & TERENCE DUREN
This 152-page book by Cole
Sartore includes full-color artwork
documenting the lives and rivalry of
two of Nebraska’s most well-known
It is available at Bone Creek Museum
or online at bonecreek.org
Top painting: Barn Raising by Terence
Duren was painted in 1945 with oil on
canvas. The painting is privately owned
Left painting: Return of the Hunters by
Dale Nichols was painted in 1982 with
oil on canvas. The painting is available
through the Lincoln Art Company L.L.C.
SUMMER 2018 13
Terence R. Duren’s mural, The History
of Columbus, hangs in Loup Power
District’s Mural Room. Duren painted
the 15-foot by 8-foot mural at his
studio in Shelby in the early 1940s.
In the painting, a complete
orchestra of the period is assembled
around the campfire. At the right,
Pawnee Indians play instruments
during a ceremonial dance as Indian
women watch near the wigwams.
These dances were used by William F.
(Buffalo Bill) Cody as a feature of his
Wild West Show, which had its first
performance in Columbus.
Buffalo Bill is pictured just left of
the dancers astride his white horse.
He is accompanied by a cowboy.
To the left of center, tunes are
played for the square dancing group.
At the bottom left are three
famous frontiermen. Major Frank
North is pictured in the United
States Army uniform. His brother,
Luther North, stands beside him. The
North brothers were leaders in the
organization and command of the
Pawnee Scouts, a troop of Indians
that helped protect the building of the
Union Pacific Railroad.
The third figure is Vincent
Duren mural features Loup Powerhouse
Kummer, who conducted business
with the Indians and served as an
The founding fathers of Columbus
appear on a decorated platform. Many
of the group came from Columbus,
Ohio, and named the new town in
honor of the old.
The founders are (L to R): an
unidentified pioneer woman, Mrs.
John C. Wolfel, John C Wolfel, Jacob
Guter, Vincent Kummer, Charles
Bremer, John Rickly, John P. Becker,
Fred Gottschalk, John Browner, Carl
Reinke, Henry Lusche, John Held,
Father Janssen, Michael Smith, Antony
Voll, Adam Denk, Jacob Louis, and
another unidentified pioneer woman.
At the lower right, two members
of the Pawnee tribe watch the armed
men on the other side of the painting.
George Francis Train stands to the
left of the platform with a railroad
track in his hand symbolizing the
part he played in promotion of the
Union Pacific Railroad. He also platted
real estate in the areas and later
became a candidate for President of
the United States.
A group of workers harvest the
crops near the Pawnee. An early
church and the first log cabin in
Columbus are nearby.
The old tree on the left side of
the painting represents the Oregon,
Denver and Mormon trails. A group
of pioneers push westward behind a
prairie schooner to depict the constant
immigrant trek from Columbus.
From a green forest of corn —
symbolic of the part agriculture
plays in the area — rise some of the
landmarks of the old city including
the historic opera house, the famous
Pacific Hotel and a crockery store.
The viaduct, Union Pacific
depot, a bridge, train, automobiles
and Columbus Sales Pavilion are
also among landmarks in the upper
section of the painting.
Towering above all is Loup Power
District’s Columbus Powerhouse with
transmission lines sweeping off into
The public is invited to view The
History of Columbus at the Loup
Power District General Office.
WHERE: 2404 15th St., Columbus
HOURS: Mon–Fri, 8 am–5 pm
Loup installs automated energy meters
A few simple clicks.
That’s all it takes for Loup
employees to login to a web-based
dashboard and view information from
Gridstream energy meters.
The district installed 227 of the
meters earlier this year in Columbus
as part of a pilot project.
The new meters communicate
with each other to find the best
communication path to “collectors”
that gather and store the data.
The pilot project included one
collector and three routers that help
form the peer-to-peer network.
The self-healing network features
dynamic routing messages that
automatically adjust for changes to
endpoints and the introduction of
obstructions, such as foliage or new
Rick Schaecher said the project was
very successful and worked as it
One of the main benefits of the
system is knowing which customers
are affected by power outages during
“The meters are going to report
back within seconds that the power
went out,” Schaecher said. “And then
they’re going to report back when the
power is back on.”
The system also increases safety
for District employees. Meters can
be disconnected remotely which
eliminates the possibility of getting
On the flip side, customers with
the Gridstream monitors can have
power restored more quickly. They
can call in to make a payment with a
credit card and District employees can
turn the power back on by navigating
to their meter in the system and
On-demand readings can be
performed any time. This is especially
helpful when customers move and
the meter needs to be read.
The system also stores 15-minute
interval usage data which helps verify
customers’ usage if they have an
unusually high bill.
Because the pilot program was
successful, Loup installed additional
Gridstream monitors in Columbus for
a total of 540.
Gridstream meters hang on the wall at the Loup Power District Service Center.
They will be installed later this year.
Left: A router for the Gridstream system hangs on a light pole. The router helps
energy meters connect to collectors.
Right: Collectors gather and store data from energy meters. It uses a cellular signal
to report the data to servers. Loup employees can then access
usage and data.
The next phase of the project is
the installation of a collector at the
Creston distribution substation and
five routers in the Creston and Leigh
About 200 meters will be replaced
in Creston followed by about 300
meters in Leigh this fall.
An additional 2,500 Gridstream
meters will be placed in Columbus
are going to
that the power
— Rick Schaecher
SUMMER 2018 15
Community Builders met in
Howells on May 10. The group toured
several businesses in Howells and ate
at The Grain Bin Restaurant.
Kent Smith and Kathy Heard
gave a presentation on the Howells
Community Fund and the “Roots to
Grow” campaign. Howells City Clerk
Dawn Gall described a new green
space in Howells.
FARMERS COOP DRY
The Farmer’s Coop dry fertilizer
plant located at the junction of
Highways 15 and 91 has been
operating at its new location since the
fall of 2016.
Plant Manager Keith Dostal said
the new plant features much more
automation and has shortened the
wait time for farmers.
The computer software allows an
operator to prepare custom fertilizer
blends ahead of time. When the
customer arrives, the fertilizer is
dropped into the scale and mixer and
then into the customer’s wagon.
“In a few short minutes, they’re
on their way,” he said. “It’s faster
and more efficient.”
While some customers now have to
drive further to the central location,
Dostal said their total time has been
reduced due to the efficiencies at the
The plant has a capacity of 5,500
tons and employs 30 employees.
On Christmas night in 2016, the
wind caught a piece of tin on the roof
of Fiala Automotive.
That tin flew into the power lines
and the resulting sparks flew into the
roof, setting the 1930s-era building
“When something like that
happens, it’s a shock for a long
time,” said co-owner Dave Fiala.
Luckily, the business had a solid
insurance policy in place.
Plant Manager Keith Dostal (center) describes the features of the Farmers Coop’s dry
fertilizer plant at the junction of Highways 15 and 91.
“It really didn’t take us long to
decide that we were going to go
forward,” he said. “But then you
don’t think about the amount of
money that it’s going to take to keep
a business going without being able
to generate the revenue you need.”
The business began operating out
of a small temporary shop while the
burned building was cleared to make
way for a new one.
Fiala Automotive moved into it’s
new building in November 2017.
Automotive sales and service are
each about 50 percent of the business.
The business also sells lawnmowers
Fiala said customers come to him
with requests for certain types of
used vehicles and he works to find a
match. At times, he has 20 or more
requests on his list.
Homestead Bank’s Howells
branch building was in need of some
work. It was not ADA-compliant,
the restrooms were located in the
basement and some older customers
had difficulty with the entry steps.
But the bank didn’t want to
Senior Vice President H. J. Tejkl at Homestead Bank’s Howells location
abandon the old building without
giving it a new owner to ensure
downtown Howells remains active.
Nebraska Vet Services, which
also has locations in West Point and
Wisner would eventually purchase
the building opening the way for
Homestead Bank to move down the
street in a new building.
“We wanted to get a structure here
that would serve our customers long
term,” said Senior Vice President H.
The new building better serves
the bank’s customers and is more
functional for the seven employees at
Tejkl said there have been many
other improvements and new
construction in Howells recently.
“You can drive in from one end to the
other and the town’s alive,” he said.
& TOMKA TIRE
Scott Brester has been interested in
cars for as long as he can remember.
But they were always his side job.
That changed last year when
he opened his own shop and auto
dealership in a new building.
Brester said he started off buying
“mechanic specials” from Craigslist.
He would buy the cars for a few
hundred dollars, fix their minor
problems and resell them.
“It just kept getting bigger and
bigger,” he said.
He started buying cars at insurance
auctions since he didn’t need a
“It got to the point where I was
selling too many cars a year privately
so I had to get my dealer’s license,”
With that license, he could attend
dealer’s auctions and his business
grew even more.
An open lot came up for sale and
Brester saw that as his chance to
open his own shop. He quit his job
hauling livestock to make way for the
Brester markets his cars on
Facebook and through a website.
Brester asked Mitch Tomka to join
him at the business for help with
mechanics and tire work.
Tomka said there weren’t any tire
service trucks providing field service
in the area.
He has fixed all kinds of tires.
“I don’t think there’s a tire out
there I haven’t done,” Tomka said.
Top: Dave Fiala describes how Fiala
Automotive recovered from a Christmas
Bottom: Scott Brester at his new auto
dealership and shop.
SUMMER 2018 17
Monroe Chief Operator
James Held of Monroe joined Loup in 1998 as a Maintenance Man on the Canal Crew
based out of the Columbus Service Center.
In 2003, he was promoted to Equipment Operator and was promoted to Carpenter/
Utilityman in 2008.
Held was promoted to Monroe Powerhouse Chief Operator in 2012.
As Chief Operator, Held is responsible for the operation, monitoring, and maintenance
of the Monroe Powerhouse including generators, auxiliaries, substation, and structures.
A graduate of Columbus High School, Held attended Central Community College–
Columbus. Held and his wife, Jamie, are the parents of six children: Natalie, Nathan,
Chloe, Libby, Zachary, and Callie.
Human Resources Manager
Amanda Henry joined Loup Power District in 2013
as Human Resources Manager.
Henry is responsible for maintaining the
District’s policies and procedures in the human
resources area and for ensuring compliance with all
federal and state regulations.
A native of Duncan and graduate of Columbus
High School, Henry earned a Bachelor’s degree
in Communication Studies from the University
of Nebraska–Lincoln and a Master’s degree in
Management from Doane College.
Henry holds a PHR (Professional in Human
Resources) Certification and SHRM- CP Certification
and is currently the President of Columbus Area
Human Resource Association, a member of the
SHRM Nebraska State Council, and a member of
national organization Society for Human Resource
Brian Herman of Fullerton has transferred to
Lineman/Serviceman at Loup Power District’s
Herman joined Loup in 1995 as an Apprentice
Lineman at Fullerton. Later that year he was
promoted to Lineman. He was promoted to
Journeyman Lineman in 2000 and continued in
that position until this transfer.
In his new position, Herman’s primary
responsibility is ordering and receiving material
(store inventory) for District operations in the
Fullerton Division service area. He also conducts
monthly substation inspections, services water
heaters, maintains street lights, and performs
other duties for the Fullerton Division.
Herman is a graduate of Clarks High School.
He earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree
in Utility Line from Northeast Community
College in Norfolk.
Genoa Local Superintendent
Dominic Zoucha joined Loup in 2003 as an Apprentice Lineman at the Columbus
Service Center and was later promoted to Lineman. He transferred to the Fullerton
Division in 2005 and transferred back to the Columbus Division in 2007.
Zoucha was promoted to Journeyman Lineman in 2009 and later to Arborist Foreman
at the Columbus Service Center. In 2012 he was promoted to Genoa Local Superintendent
and he continues in that position today.
As Genoa Local Superintendent, Zoucha is responsible for overseeing the maintenance
and construction of Loup’s electric power transmission and distribution system in the
Genoa and Monroe area. He also directs customer service in the area.
Zoucha is a graduate of Clarks High School. He earned an Associate of Applied Science
Degree in Utility Line from Northeast Community College in Norfolk.
Zoucha and his wife, Amber, have two children: Beau and Caylyn.
David Duncan of Columbus joined Loup Power
District in 2017 as Automotive/Equipment Mechanic
for the Shop and Transportation Department at the
Columbus Service Center.
Duncan is responsible for the direct maintenance
and repair of all district vehicles and equipment
throughout the four-county service territory of the
He earned his Associates Degree in Automotive
Technology from Metropolitan Community College in
John Fritzges of St. Edward joined Loup Power District
as a Maintenance Man at the Genoa Headworks.
In his new position, Fritzges is responsible for
maintaining the District’s parks, facilities and equipment.
He also assists equipment operators and serves as a
dredge deck hand during the dredging season at the
Fritzges is from St. Edward and ran his own trucking
business prior to joining Loup Power.
He and his wife, Kaitlin, have three children: Kohen,
Reese, and Rhett.
SUMMER 2018 19
Aaron Sundberg has joined Loup Power District as a Lineman in the
In his new position, Sundberg is a member of the crew that is responsible
for the construction, operation, and maintenance of electric transmission and
distribution systems and substations in the Fullerton Division.
Sundberg is a native of Clarks and a graduate of High Plains Community
Schools. He graduated from the Utility Line program from Metropolitan
Sundberg started an internship at Loup Power in May 2017. He continued
working as an intern for the District until being hired as a full-time employee
following an internal transfer.
Tyler Klaahsen joined Loup in 2008 as an
Apprentice Lineman at the Humphrey Retail
Operation and was later promoted to Lineman.
He transferred to the Columbus Line Crew
based out of the Columbus Service Center in 2012
and continues on that crew today. Klaahsen was
promoted to Journeyman Lineman in 2013.
As a Journeyman Lineman, Klaahsen is member
of the crew that is responsible for the construction,
maintenance, and operation of Loup’s electric
Klaahsen is a graduate of Clearwater High School.
He earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in
Utility Line from Northeast Community College in
Trent Konwinski joined Loup in 2008 as
Apprentice Lineman at the Columbus Service Center.
Later that year he was promoted to Lineman.
He was promoted to Journeyman Lineman in
2012. Later that year he was promoted to his current
position of Arborist Foreman of the tree crew at the
Columbus Service Center.
As Arborist Foreman, Konwinski is responsible
for maintaining clearance of the District’s
transmission and distribution facilities. He ensures
proper trimming, removal, and disposal of trees,
branches, and debris that could potentially interfere
with overhead electrical lines.
A graduate of Columbus High School, Konwinski
earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in
Utility Line from Northeast Community College in
He and his wife, Joni, have a son, Brayden, who
turned one in June.
Andy Yrkoski has joined Loup Power District as a Lineman on the Columbus Line
Crew at the Columbus Service Center.
As a Lineman, Yrkoski is member of the crew that is responsible for the
construction, tree trimming, operation, and maintenance of electric transmission
and distribution systems and substations in the Columbus Division.
Yrkoski is a graduate of Columbus High school. He earned an Associate of Applied
Science Degree in Utility Line from Northeast Community College in Norfolk.
Yrkoski worked as an intern for Loup Power District last summer and continued
working as an intern for the District until being hired to fill an open lineman
Loup Power District employees,
retirees and their spouses are
invited to submit recipes for
the 2018 Loup Power District
to submit your recipe
electronically. Or mail recipes
to Stacy Wemhoff, Loup
Power District, PO Box 988,
Columbus, NE 68602-0988.
Please include your name,
which office you (or your
spouse) works at or retired
from, your phone number and
Questions? Call 402-562-5711.
JUNE STORM DAMAGE
A June 6 storm knocked out power to customers in Columbus and Richland.
Journeyman Lineman Chase Davis and Lineman Intern Jacob Czarnick work
to repair the damage. Photo by Michael Jones.
SUMMER 2018 21
around the District
PLATTE COUNTY COURTHOUSE UPGRADE
The Platte County Courthouse was closed April 27 for Arbor
Day, but Loup Power was hard at work there. Employees
took advantage of the holiday (and the great weather) to
replace aging cable at the Courthouse. The cable feeds into a
transformer vault in the basement. Employees also replaced a
power pole and other equipment.
A pair of bald eagles made quite the
nest at the Genoa Headworks. They
allowed a peek at one of the eaglets
(above) in early May.
Loup delivers lease and in-lieu-of-tax payments
Loup Power District delivered
inside revenue payments and the
second half of the “in-lieu-of-tax”
payment to the counties it serves in
The payments totaled more than $2
This is a benefit of being served
by a locally controlled, not-forprofit
utility. Like other businesses,
Loup Power District pays sales tax,
gasoline taxes, motor vehicle license
fees and permit fees.
The “in-lieu-of-tax” payments are
made to service area counties in lieu
of occupation, personal property
and real estate taxes.
County treasurers distribute the
funds to the various taxing bodies in
2017 in-lieu-of-tax payments:
Platte — $9,713.77
Boone — $5,078.34
Nance — $6,445.84
Colfax — $240.48
Madison — $359.27
Total — $21,837.70
The District is also required to make
additional payments to the counties
to guarantee they receive 5 percent
of the inside revenues from the
various towns in their areas subject
to the in lieu-of-tax payments.
Additional 2017 payments:
Madison — $36,539.56
Platte — $1,556,111.74
Nance — 118,632.83
Colfax — $82,357.10
Boone — $185,508.94
Total — $1,979,150.17
Loup Power District presented lease
payment checks totaling more than
$1 million to area communities in
The payments represent 10 percent
of the retail revenue generated by
the sale of electric power in the
communities for the first quarter of
The payments were:
Columbus — $1,053,660.67
Genoa — $28,026.83
Creston — $8,874.00
Lindsay — $50,960.28
Newman Grove — $22,917.55
Each of these communities owns their
electric distribution systems. These
payments compensate them for the
use of those systems. Communities
use the funds for a variety of public
SUMMER 2018 23
2404 15th Street | PO Box 988
Columbus, NE 68602-0988
tips at loup.com