Generator — Winter2020



a publication of Loup Power District WINTER 2020


Community Spotlights:

Schuyler & Platte Center

EnergyWise Update



Chris Langemeier


Ross Knott

First Vice Chairman

Alan Drozd

Second Vice Chairman

Steve Heesacker


Dick Tooley


Rich Aerni

Robert Cerv

Jim Donoghue

Mike Fleming

Larry Zach


Neal Suess

President/ CEO

Walt Williams

Vice President,

Accounting & Finance/CFO

Todd Duren

Vice President,

Corporate Services

Ron Ziola

Vice President, Engineering

Types of Heat Pumps

There are three main types of heat pump systems.

Use the information below to determine the system

that’s best suited for your climate and home.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

• Most commonly used heat pumps

• Moves heat rather than converting it from a fuel

like combustion heating systems do

• Can reduce heating costs by about 50 percent

when compared to baseboard heaters

or electric furnaces

• Newer, more efficient systems now offer

a legitimate space heating alternative in colder

regions like the Northeast and Midwest

Note: If temperatures in your area drop below 10–25° F,

you will need an auxiliary heating system

(depending on the size of the system).

Geothermal Heat Pumps

• More expensive to install, but provide

more energy savings

• Move heat through pipes buried


• When compared to a conventional

heating system, can reduce energy use

by 25 to 50 percent

• Effective in extreme climates

• Not ideal for smaller lots

and certain soil conditions

Dan Hellbusch

Vice President, Operations

The Loup Generator is

published quarterly as a

service for Loup employees,

families, friends and


For feedback, story ideas

and submissions, contact:

Stacy Wemhoff

Communications Coordinator


Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps

• Easier to install, quiet, small size

• Flexible for heating and cooling

individual rooms and smaller spaces

• No energy loss through ductwork,

which accounts for more than 30

percent of a home’s energy use for

space heating/cooling

• Installation can be pricey, but

federal incentives may be available

Heat pump systems should be installed by a licensed

professional. EnergyWise incentives are available for

qualifying systems. See page 5 for for more information.

Sources: Dept. of Energy and Consumer Reports



Storm repair will continue in 2020

In the past several issues of the

Generator, you have read updates from

the District regarding the damage and

repair from the mid-March storm event

that occurred throughout Nebraska, and

specifically the damage caused to the

Loup Power Canal.

I wanted to take a paragraph or two to

update everyone on these repairs.

The District is making very good

progress on the repairs, but still has

a long way to go. All of the breaches

along the Loup Power Canal have been

closed, and the District continues to

work to make these stronger and meet

the standards required by the federal


Work is beginning on the intake

structure wing wall that was damaged

as part of the storm, and this work

will continue through the spring.

Additionally, the District has started to

work with a contractor to build a new

gatekeeper house at the Headworks.

In St. Edward, a new substation was

constructed in the northeast part of

the City and is operational. Although

controversial, this location best fit the

needs of the District and the location

was determined in order to minimize

the economic impact to all District


Repairs from the storm damage will

continue throughout 2020. District

management and the Board hope that

by the end of 2020, the District will be

back to normal operation of the Loup

Power Canal and the hydroelectric

facilities. However, the District will then

still need to work with federal officials

to determine what other repairs and

safeguards can be put into place to keep

this damage from happening in the


Finally, I want to take a paragraph

or two to say goodbye to one of the

District’s long-term Vice Presidents.

David Bell will be retiring from the

District in early January 2020. David has

been the Vice President of Development

and Marketing for the District since

1999. Many of you know David and

are aware of the extremely positive

experiences he brought to all areas of

the District especially to economic

development in the four-county area the

District serves.

David came to the District after

working as the City Administrator for

the City of Columbus. David took the

Vice President of Development and

Marketing role and really worked it to a

new level over the last two decades.

The District has seen a much

improved presence in our towns outside

of Columbus and has seen continued

amazing growth in Columbus. David was

instrumental in getting Katana Summit

to locate in Columbus and then turning

that operation over to Valmont when

Katana Summit left.

We here at the District will miss David

and wish him and his family the best in

his days of retirement.



St. Edward Local Superintendent

Roy Babb pulls wire for the

underground distribution circuit

at the new St. Edward substation.

Cover photo: Journeyman

Lineman Paul Burbach works

on the new St. Edward substation.

WINTER 2020 3

are you

Check out these energy-saving incentives!

Smart Thermostat Program

According to a Nebraska energy burden study,

the average Nebraska household spends

more than $2,400 on the energy needed

to run their home. What if you could reduce

your heating and cooling needs by up to ten

percent while helping to automate your home?

If you have a home Wi-Fi connection and a

central air-conditioning or heat pump system, you

may qualify for an EnergyWise SM incentive of up to

$100 for installing a qualifying smart thermostat.

Smart thermostat technology is most beneficial for

households that have extended periods during the day when no

one is home or turn their thermostat down during bedtime hours. It is also

a great option for homes that have irregular occupancy through the week,

month or year.



Primarily Electric Heat (Professionally Installed) $100

Primarily Electric Heat (Customer Installed) $75

Primarily Fossil-Fuel Heat (Professionally Installed) $50

Primarily Fossil-Fuel Heat (Customer Installed) $25

Attic Insulation

Residential customers who have 6” or less

of attic insulation and have electric heating

systems are eligible for an incentive of 15¢

per square foot if they add at least 6”, or an

additional R-19, of insulation to their attic


The maximum incentive amount is $300

per dwelling.


Frequency Drives

Commercial and industrial customers can

receive an incentive for installing variable

frequency drives (VFDs) on centrifugal fans

and pumps.

The incentive is $30 per horsepower for

VFDs from 1 to 200 horsepower, operating

a minimum of 2,000 hours annually.

Agricultural Efficiency

Customers can receive reimbursement for

installing electric heating mats in their hog

farrowing operations. Incentives range from

$40 to $80 per mat.

Irrigation Efficiency

Customers can receive

reimbursement for a pumping

system efficiency test, installing a

variable frequency drive on corner pivot

systems, and for improvements leading to

demand reductions.

Eligible projects include pressure

regulator replacement, pump

refurbishment and more.


High Efficiency Heat Pumps

Option 1: Direct incentive


Ductless Mini-Split 15+ SEER, 12.5 EER, 8.5 HSPF $400

Ductless Mini-Split Variable Capacity (inverter driven) $600

Air Source 15-15.9 SEER, 12.5 EER, 8.5 HSPF $400

Air Source

16-17.9 SEER, 12.5 EER,

8.5 HSPF


Air Source 18+ SEER, 12.5 EER, 8.5 HSPF $1,200

Air Source Variable Capacity $1,200

Water or Ground Source

1 or 2 stages

Water or Ground Source

Variable capacity

Option 2: Low Interest Loan Program

Any EER $2,400

35+ EER, 5.0+ COP in GLHP -

partial load column of AHRI

or Energy Star certificate


Through a partnership with the Nebraska Energy Office and approximately 600

financial institutions throughout the state, you can finance your new heat pump

system at a low interest rate.

Customers cannot proceed with the installation until the Nebraska Energy Office

has processed the loan paperwork; this can take as many as 10 business days.

Homes built within the last five years are not eligible for the low interest loan

(but they are eligible for the incentive).

Electric Vehicle

& Charging Station

$4,000 incentive for the purchase

or lease of a new electric vehicle.

$500 incentive for installation of a

residential ChargePoint 32-amp,

Wi-Fi-enabled vehicle charging station.

$100 incentive for in-home pre-wiring for

future installation of an electric vehicle

charging station.

Cooling System Tune Up

Residential customers are eligible for

a $30 incentive when they have their

cooling system tuned up by an HVAC


Heat Pump Water Heater


Air Source Heat Pump Water Heater EF > 1.9 $400

Water or Ground Source

Heat Pump Water Heater

COP > 2.8 $650

HVAC System


Incentives are provided to commercial

(and industrial) customers for improving

the efficiency of their existing heating,

cooling, and ventilating systems.


& Custom Lighting

LED lighting incentives are provided for

commercial and industrial customers via a

prescriptive program (an incentive based

on a table for predetermined fixture or

lamp replacements) and a custom incentive

program for lighting systems not offered in

the prescriptive program.

Industrial Process Incentive

Incentives are provided to industrial customers for

improving the efficiency of their processes.

Commercial HVAC

Incentives are provided to commercial (and industrial)

customers for installing high-efficiency HVAC equipment

via a prescriptive program where the incentive is calculated

based on the specific efficiency improvement.

Additional program details are available at

or by calling Greg Badstieber at 402-564-3171.

WINTER 2020 5



Community Builders met in

Schuyler on Oct. 9.

The group visited Schuyler Public

Library, the Schuyler Middle School

Field House, and the Saint Benedict


Mayor John Knutson welcomed the

group and Economic Development

Coordinator described the

Opportunity Zone program.

Above: The exterior of the new library,

which opened in April 2019.

Left: Schuyler Public Library Director

Jenny White in the library’s kids’ room.

Right: A mural in the young adult room

was created by Schuyler High School

students with the help of their art

teacher and a visiting artist.


The Schuyler Public Library is

bright and airy.

The books are neatly arranged

on the shelves, some of their covers

turned to face readers and entice

them to take a look.

The kids and young adult rooms

are comfortable and welcoming, as is

the reading room with its fireplace,

newspapers and cozy chairs.

It has been this way for staff and

patrons since April 2018 a far

cry from the days when the library

was housed in a former downtown

grocery store.

Schuyler’s library was established

in 1909 in a corner of city hall with

450 donated books. Two years later,

the library outgrew its space. The

board consulted with the Carnegie

Foundation and received $9,000 to

build a new library.

That building was used for 62

years. In 1974, the former Otradosky

Grocery Store was converted to a new

library building. By 2001, the library

was again out of space. The disjointed

floor plan made it hard to supervise

children and help patrons.

A foundation began working


toward the goal of a new library. It

purchased the former Latino Club

in 2013, but sold it after learning of

flood plain issues.

After more than a decade of

roadblocks and frustration, the

foundation announced a $500,000

donation from Richland native and

Schuyler graduate James Sindelar.

This facilitated the purchase of

property along Colfax Street and the

momentum to move forward.

Library Director Jenny White

started in her role shortly before

the move. She said the library did a

significant purging of books prior to

the move, removing those that were

not circulated much or no longer


The new library has 20 percent

more shelf space to allow the

collection to grow. Digital books

available through statewide

consortium Nebraska OverDrive

augment the collection without

taking up space.

The library has free Wi-Fi both

inside the building and out. White

said community members take

advantage of that service even when

the library is closed.

There are two community rooms

that sit just outside the main library

entrance. They have been used for

graduations, baby showers, video

game tournaments, and library

events. There is no fee to use the

rooms, but the library does require

a cash deposit for the key if used

outside normal operating hours.

The library has a Nebraska history

and genealogy room, and special

rooms for kids and young adults.

The young adult room is especially

popular. In the old library, teens

would study and visit in the

children’s room because they had no

where else to go. Now they have their

own space featuring bean bag chairs

and study tables.

It also features a mural that was

created by Schuyler High School

students with the help of art teacher

Michael Trotter and a visiting artist.

White said the piece is definitely

unique just like Schuyler.

“When I look at it, I see 60

Schuyler kids who were excited about

doing something for their library,”

she said. “That just makes me


Learn more:

The Schuyler

Middle School

volleyball team

practices after


Right: Schuyler

Middle School

Assistant Principal

Jesse Zavadil

describes the

Field House.

Schuyler Middle School opened its

field house to students and the public

in January 2017.

Two years later, the facility is a

community hub.

The $1.5-million facility was built

over a playground on the southeast

side of the school. The sports arena is

about 30,000 square feet and features

an artificial turf field as well as

basketball and volleyball courts.

The project was funded through the

district’s special building fund as well

as private donations.

Student athletes use the field

house for practice after school. In the

adjoining commons area, students

hang out and play air hockey or



“This place is a beehive of activity

from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.,” said Schuyler

Middle School Assistant Principal

Jesse Zavadil.

After practices, the facility opens

to all District students as well as

community members until 9 p.m.

Weekend hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

on Saturdays and 1-9 p.m. on Sunday.

Students and adults with a Schuyler

activity pass get in free. Other visitors

can pay $5 per use. District teachers

volunteer to work at the field house in

the evenings and weekends.

In addition to athletic practices,

the facility is heavily used by club

wrestling and soccer teams and nonsanctioned

sports teams.

Zavadil said as many as 50 students

and community members use the

facility during the evening hours.

Zavadil also told the group

about a $12.5 million addition and

renovation to the high school that is

underway following passage of a bond

referendum in the spring.

The project includes construction

of a new gymnasium, kitchen, and

cafeteria/commons area. The school’s

older gym currently used as a

cafeteria will be converted into a

theater area.

The work will also bring the school

into Americans with Disabilities Act


“It’s going to be fantastic,” Zavadil


Learn more:

Leona Kracl sums up the feeling at Saint

Benedict Center in one word.

“It is so peaceful.”

More than 10,000 guests experienced that

same peacefulness last year alone.

The Center is a ministry of the Catholic

Missionary Benedictine community of Christ

the King Priory and sits on 160 acres just north

of the order’s monastery. It was built in the

late ‘90s following a large bequest.

It hosts group and individual retreats as well

as business and community groups. The Center has space

for up to 102 overnight guests and 300 day guests. Visitors

do not have to be part of a planned retreat many come

seeking solitude and reflection.


Leona Kracl

Kracl, who serves as the Center’s volunteer

coordinator, said guests include business

travelers, quilters and scrapbookers. The number

of visitors varies day by day. Sometimes the meal

count is more than 100.

She pointed out that visitors are not only


“I was helping one day and there were people

with five different religious backgrounds meeting

here,” Kracl said.

In addition to lodging and meeting rooms,

the Center has a chapel, library/solarium, cafeteria, gift

shop, and an extensive collection of artwork from around

the world. The grounds feature a lake, amphitheater,

labyrinth, and stations of the cross.

Learn more:

WINTER 2020 7

Platte Center


Community Builders met in Platte Center on Nov. 6.

The group visited Honeycomb Boutique, BD Archery and the Wild Plum Bed and Breakfast.

Mayor Jake Jarecki welcomed the group and Jodie Meyer gave a presentation on Northeast Nebraska’s labor outlook.


Kelsy Greisen loves hair, fashion

and photography.

Back in 2015, she found a way to

combine them all when she opened

Honeycomb Salon & Boutique.

“I went to hair school in Lincoln,”

she said. “That’s what started all


The Creston native was living in

Lincoln with her husband, Andrew

and considered opening a salon there.

Then the couple got the

opportunity to move closer to home

and purchased Andrew’s family farm

just west of Platte Center.

Greisen said she planned to be

a stay-at-home mom, but soon

realized she missed working.

She looked out at an old chicken

coop behind the house and that

sparked the idea to build a salon.

She discovered the coop was beyond

repair, so she built a new shop with

the help of her husband, and Kapels

Construction (father, Larry, and

brother, Chase).

The shop had a front room for a

salon and a back room where she

could work on her side photography

business. While she loved the

photography, editing the photos took

too much time.

“That was taking a lot of time

away from the family,” she said.

“When you love doing something so

much, it’s really hard to quit.”

She knew she needed to create

open-closed hours to create

the family balance and set the

photography aside.

To encourage friends from Lincoln

to make the drive to Platte Center,

she began to add some clothing,

jewelry, handbags, and shoes to her

salon as an added incentive.

“It exploded and took over the

photography room,” she said.

While she still enjoys photography,

she is putting that on hold for now

to spend more time with her young

children (Larkyn 10, Callum 8, Landri,

5, and Thayer, 1).

While the salon is still her fulltime

job, the boutique is growing

especially online. Greisen has shipped

products around the country.

Learn more:

Honeycomb is also on Facebook,

Instagram and Snapchat.


Far Left: The

Honeycomb Salon &

Boutique is located

behind Kelsy and

Andrew Greisen’s

home west of Platte


Left: Kelsy Greisen

tells the Community

Builders group how

she started her

business in 2015.

Brian Davis shows the

Community Builders group

one of his archery sights.

Right: Davis’ radius gauges.


North Dakota native Brian

Davis took some machining

courses at a local college

while still in high school

and was instantly hooked.

“I’ve been doing it ever

since,” he said. “I love


Davis took his skills

to Appleton in Columbus

where he worked as a

toolmaker for 15 years until

he was laid off.

He moved on to Cargill where

he noticed a need for a

compact radius gauge.

He couldn’t buy one

anywhere so he made

one to use on the job.

After 8 years, he was

laid off again.

But it turned out to be

a blessing in disguise when Davis began devoting all his

time to his side business BD Archery in 2011.

Today, he ships archery sights around the world.

He counts Boeing as one of his top customers. And a

motorcycle shop in Virginia buys 1,000 inspection plates

from him each year.

“I have a lot of irons in the fire, Davis said.

He began his business on the side while still working

at Appleton. He was interested in archery and decided he

could make a sight for his bow for less than the cost of

buying one.

A few people noticed

his work and asked him to

make one for them. Before

long, he was selling the

sights on eBay and Amazon.

After being laid off from

Cargill, Davis decided to

make BD Archery his fulltime

job. To do so, he needed

to sell more than archery sights

and began to think up products that he could make.

Remembering back to his days at Cargill, Davis

considered radius gauges. He realized no one was making

larger gauges.

Boeing realized it, too.

“They always come to me because nobody else makes

them,” Davis said.

His gauges used to ensure size and uniformity

range from 9/16 inch to 10 inches.

He also manufactures two-hole pins for pipe welders.

Davis doesn’t advertise. His business comes primarily

from word of mouth about his quality products. He also

prides himself on great customer service and lifetime


Davis works out of a shop in Platte Center that he

shares with Grubaugh Machine. That business machines

and stamps Davis’ products.

He takes care of packing and shipping orders.

So what is his next big project?

“It’s whatever I dream up,” Davis said with a laugh.

“Sometimes I wake up before the answer is there,


Learn more:


Back in 1912, a man built a beautiful

home for his fiancée.

But when she saw how large it was,

she left him. She didn’t want to fill it

with children.

That’s the origin story of the home

that is now The Wild Plum Bed and


Owner Belinda Macken said the home

sat empty for 10 years after the original

owner was rejected by his beloved. Then

it was rented out for a while.

Her in-laws purchased the home in

1945 and raised seven children there,

including her husband, David.

David’s father died at the age of 56

and the home was too large for his

mother, so Belinda and David moved

into the home in 1975 and raised their

three children there.

When their children were out of high

school, the couple became GPS satellite

technicians and traveled around the


“We were on the road for 13 years,”

Macken said.

Their son lived at the home for a time

to take care of it. During that time, the

couple planned an addition to the house.

“While we were gone, we had this all

added on with the idea of making it into

a bed and breakfast when we got back,”

Macken said.

It took 12 years and a lot of hard

work Macken designed the addition,

painted, decorated, and stained the

woodwork on her own. But in 2009, it

was finally ready for customers.

continued on page 10

Dave and Belinda Macken opened The Wild Plum in 2009 after 12 years of preparation.

WINTER 2020 9

WILD PLUM, continued from page 9

Macken does most of the work by herself including

cleaning and cooking. The couple lives in a basement


The Wild Plum is open for parties as well as overnight

guests. It has been home to family reunions, bridal and

baby showers, and birthday and holiday parties.

The house includes a dining room that overlooks the

Shell Valley and a basement commons room with a bar.

The house has a total of four customer bedrooms,

seven fireplaces, three 85-gallon water heaters, and three

furnaces. It spans 6,000 square feet over three floors.

The Champagne Suite is an especially popular birthday

gift. The room usually includes a bottle of wine, hors

d’oeuvres, and a cocktail in the evening, along with


Learn more:

Left: The Wild Plum Bed and Breakfast overlooks the Shell

Valley east of Platte Center.

Above: The Champagne Suite at the Bed and Breakfast.


Jodie Meyer, a research analyst

with the Nebraska Department of

Labor, gave a presentation on the

Northeast Nebraska labor outlook.

Nebraska’s workforce is expected

to grow 8.9 percent between 2016

and 2026. The Northeast Region

including Columbus and Norfolk

is expected to grow by 6.6 percent.

She said health care is one of the

fastest growing industries in the


This is partially due to the

Baby Boomers who are retiring

and the increasing need of health

care services for Nebraska’s aging


One of the fastest growing

occupations in the Northeast Region

is wind turbine service technicians.

The Department anticipates that

an additional 106 jobs will be added

by 2026, an increase of 84.1 percent.

The number of personal care aides

is expected to increase by 284, or 23.7


Meyer also described the

Department’s H3 occupations. These

High Wage, Skill, and Demand Occupations in Northeast Nebraska

have a combination of high demand,

high skill and high wage.

She has been helping to determine

these occupations for the past 10


“Truck drivers and registered

nurses have always been number one

and two throughout the state and

every region,” she said.


Hourly Wage


Annual Wage

Avg Annual


Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers $20.45 $42,531 492

Registered Nurses $27.41 $57,005 137

General and Operations Managers $33.57 $69,982 138

Elementary School Teachers

(Except Special Education)

NA $55,075 125

Machinists $17.94 $37,310 92

Industrial Machinery Mechanics $20.32 $42,260 76

Secondary School Teachers

(Except Special & Career/Tech Education)

NA $54,492 86

Licensed Practical & Vocational Nurses $20.01 $41,622 69

Electricians $19.61 $40,778 73

Accountants & Auditors $28.10 $58,448 65

One of the surprises was the rise

of elementary and secondary school


Meyer said teaching has always

been in the top 25 H3 occupations,

but this is the first time it is in the

top 10.

Learn more:

Community Builders tours towns in Colfax, Boone, Nance and Platte Counties and a portion of Madison County. Cornhusker Public

Power District, Loup Power District and Central Community College sponsor the program. Guests are welcome to attend.


What keeps electrical

workers safe?


array of special gear and equipment

keeps crew members safe while working

on electrical equipment and lines.

Clothing: Arc rated

clothing such as jeans

and shirts are made from

flame resistant materials

and avoid using metal

components (buttons,


Rubber sleeves:

Worn over clothes

to protect workers

from accidental

contact with live

lines or other


Safety Strap/Harness:

Either connected to the

inside of a bucket truck or

attached around the pole

to prevent falls.

Hard hat: Insulated and rigid to protect workers from

contact with electrical hazards or falling objects. Includes

slots for adding in ear protection or face shields when


Glasses: Keep glare and

objects/small debris from

workers’ eyes.

Gloves: Workers wear

two layers of gloves.

Insulated rubber

gloves protect from

electric shocks and

burns, and an outer

pair of leather gloves

help keep the rubber

gloves from getting

punctured or torn.

Rope/Handline: Includes a

pulley and steel clips to

assist with lifting and

lowering materials and acts

as a lifeline in the event of

an emergency.

Boots: Reinforced steel or ceramic toe,

with serrated heels and reinforced sole for

support in climbing and working on poles.

Hot stick:


fiberglass tool

used when

working with live

lines and


WINTER 2020 11

around the District


More than 400 first-grade

students attended Vehicle

Day at Ag Park on Oct. 3 to

learn about STEM careers

and the vehicles that go

with them.

Loup employees Beau

Schommer and Tommy

Wemhoff were on hand

with a bucket truck.

The kids sure enjoyed

climbing on the truck and

honking the horn!

The event was hosted

by the Columbus Area

Chamber of Commerce.


Freshmen and sophomores from Boone Central, Newman Grove, Riverside,

and St. Edward Public Schools attended the 2019 Business & Industry Day

held at the Cardinal Inn in Albion on October 24.

The career exploration event featured local business representatives

who talked about jobs in demand in Boone County and offered handson

demonstrations and activities. Lamarr Womble was the keynote

speaker. The event was sponsored by Loup Power District and other local




Let the sunshine in! Open drapes

over windows that receive sunlight

during the day for additional

warmth. Close them at night to

reduce heat loss up to 10 percent.



Loup Power District employees recently

presented a check for more than $65,000 to

representatives of BD.

BD West upgraded to LED lighting to qualify

for the EnergyWise incentive. The upgrade

provides improved lighting levels, less long-term

maintenance, and lower lighting operating costs.

Loup in partnership with NPPD offers the

EnergyWise program to both commercial and

residential customers.



The Albion and Fullerton crews helped get a new substation

up and running in November. The original substation was

damaged in the March 2019 storm.

Loup has several distribution substations with 12.5 kV

underground feeders. This is the first with a 34.5 underground


Top left: St. Edward Local Superintendent Roy Babb and

Journeyman Lineman Paul Burbach pull wire for the

underground distribution circuit.

Top right: Burbach pulls wire for the new distribution circuit.

Bottom photos: The new transformer was installed on Nov. 5.

WINTER 2020 13

employee notes


Vice President of Development/Marketing


David Bell recently retired after 20 years at Loup Power District.

Bell joined Loup in 1999 as Development/Marketing Manager at the Columbus General

Office. In 2009, his title changed to Vice President of Development/Marketing.

As Vice President of Development/Marketing, Bell worked on economic and industrial

development projects and managed the District’s ongoing communications, public

relations, and marketing efforts.

A native of Harrisburg, Missouri, Bell has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from

Northeast Missouri State University, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from

Webster University, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of


He and his wife, Barb, live in Columbus.



Civil Engineering

Compliance Technician

Christopher Shank joined Loup Power

District as Civil Engineering Compliance

Technician at the Columbus General Office.

In this role, Shank will help ensure Loup

complies with federal and state regulatory

agencies. He will oversee construction and

inspection of hydro projects and serve as

a liason to the Federal Energy Regulatory

Commission. His duties also include

coordinating the District’s Emergency

Action Plan and preparing and maintaining

Engineering project reports.

Shank graduated from Columbus High

School and received his Bachelor of Science

Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from UNL. He

previously worked for Nebraska Cooperative

Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, New Century

Environmental, and BlueStem Energy




Customer & Energy

Services Coordinator

Greg Badstieber has been promoted to Customer &

Energy Services Coordinator at Loup Power District.

Badstieber joined Loup Power District in 2012 as an

Engineering Technician II in the Engineering Department

at the Columbus General Office. He continued in that

position until 2015 when he was promoted to Engineering

Technician I.

In his new role, Badstieber will promote heat pumps

and energy efficiency to customers, contractors, engineers,

architects, and distributors. He will oversee the EnergyWise

program that Loup offers in partnership with Nebraska

Public Power District. He will also work with key accounts

and assist customers with billing concerns.

Badstieber is a graduate of Columbus High School. He

attended Southeast Community College in Lincoln, where

he earned an Associate of Applied Science degree. He also

attended Peru State College where he earned a Bachelor of

Science degree in Business Management.

He and his wife, Sandi, are the parents of two

daughters, Elle and Ayla.



Journeyman Lineman

Tim Novicki joined Loup in 1989 as an Apprentice Lineman in the Columbus Retail

Operation at the Columbus Service Center. He was promoted to Lineman in 1990. He

was promoted to his current position of Journeyman Lineman in 1994. He works on the

Columbus line crew out of the Columbus Service Center.

As a Journeyman Lineman, Novicki is part of the crew that is responsible for the

construction, operation, and maintenance of electric transmission and distribution systems

and substations in the Columbus Division.

A graduate of Columbus Scotus High School, Novicki earned an Associate of Applied

Science Degree in Utility Line from Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

Novicki and his wife, Connie, reside in Columbus.

30 years

25 Years


Local Superintendent

Newman Grove

Sokol joined Loup in 1994 as an Apprentice

Lineman in the Albion Division. He was

promoted to Lineman in 1995 and to

Journeyman Lineman in 2000. In 2005, he

was named Local Superintendent for Newman


As Newman Grove Local Superintendent,

Sokol is responsible for overseeing the

maintenance and construction of Loup’s

electric power transmission and distribution

system in the Newman Grove and Lindsay

areas. He also directs customer service in the


A graduate of Norfolk High School, Sokol

earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree

in Utility Line from Northeast Community

College in Norfolk.

He and his wife, Joan, are the parents of four

children Jarod, Shanna, Clayton, and Brady.

25 Years


Columbus Plant Operator

Rod Zarek of Columbus joined Loup in 1994 as a

Maintenance Man with the District’s Columbus Canal

Crew. He transferred to Loup’s Columbus Retail Division

in 1998 as a Groundman. In 2000, he was promoted to

Apprentice Lineman. He was promoted to his current

position of Plant Operator at the Columbus Powerhouse

the following year.

As a Plant Operator, Zarek is a member of the team

of six Plant Operators who operate the control room and

watch over Loup’s hydroelectric system. He controls

the three generation units at the Columbus and Monroe


The plant operator also works closely with the Genoa

Headworks staff to divert Loup River water into the canal

system for power plant generation. Other duties include

coordinating generation with NPPD’s control center in

Doniphan and monitoring Loup’s 115 kV and 34.5 kV

subtransmission system.

A native of Fullerton, Zarek graduated from Fullerton

High School. Zarek and his wife, Marjorie, are the parents

of four children Megan, Alecia, Nick, and Zach.

WINTER 2020 15

employee notes


Senior Engineering Technician


Jim Frear of Columbus recently retired from Loup Power District after 29 years of


He joined Loup in 1990 as an Engineering Technician II in the Engineering Department

at the Columbus General Office. Later that year he was promoted to Engineering

Technician I. In 1996, he was promoted to his present position of Senior Engineering

Technician and continued in that role until his retirement.

Frear worked with Federal agencies and with Loup customers involved with the

District’s Hydro facilities: Headworks, powerhouses, power canal, and lakes. He was also

on the team that worked on the relicensing of the Loup River Hydroelectric Project.

Frear is a graduate of Valentine High School. He attended Chadron State College where

he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology and a Master’s degree in Vocational


He and his wife, Shelley, are the parents of two sons Don of Chadron, Neb., and Tom

of Rapid City, SD.



Canal Foreman

Jamie Held was promoted to Canal Foreman in October.

He 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 and continued in that role until this


As Canal Foreman, Held’s primary responsibility is

overseeing canal-related projects from the railroad siphon

east of Genoa to the tailrace area southeast of Columbus.

His crew also assists with substation and construction

work throughout the District.

Held is a graduate of Columbus High School and

attended Central Community College in Columbus. He

and his wife, Jamie, are the parents of six children:

Natalie, Nathan, Chloe, Libby, Zachary, and Callie.

10 years


Payroll & Accounting Coordinator

Cari Reeder of Columbus joined Loup

in 2009 as Administrative Assistant in the

Administrative Services Department at the

Columbus General Office. In 2019, her title

was changed to Payroll and Accounting


Her responsibilities include payroll,

preparing bid requests, and preparing and

submitting purchase orders.

Reeder is a graduate of Genoa High School.

She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business

Management from Peru State College.

She has one son, Riley.



New Business Supervisor

Rick Cheloha retired from Loup Power District after more than 31 years of service.

Cheloha joined Loup in 1988 as a Second Assistant Plant Operator at the Columbus

Powerhouse. In 1989, he was promoted to First Assistant Plant Operator and transferred to

the position of Storekeeper II at the Columbus Service Center later that year. Cheloha was

promoted to Storekeeper I in 1990, and the following year he was promoted to New Business


As New Business Supervisor, Cheloha promoted heat pumps and energy efficiency to

customers, contractors, engineers, architects, and distributors. He oversaw the EnergyWise

program that Loup offers in partnership with Nebraska Public Power District. He also

worked with key accounts and assisted customers with billing concerns.

A native of Duncan, Cheloha is a graduate of Columbus High School. He earned an

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Administration from Central Community

College in Columbus. He earned the designation of CEM (Certified Energy Manager) in 1998


after successfully completing a comprehensive training program conducted by the Association of Energy Engineers.

Cheloha and his wife, Patty, are the parents of four children: Abby, Kelly, Katie, and Brad. They have five grandsons.

15 Years


Equipment Operator

Steve Ziemba joined Loup in 2004 as a

Utilityman at the Columbus Service Center. In

2008, he transferred to the Canal Crew at the

Columbus Service Center as a Maintenance Man.

He was promoted to his current position of

Equipment Operator in 2009.

As an Equipment Operator, Ziemba operates

the District’s heavy equipment and is part of the

crew that performs maintenance on the canal

system from Genoa to Columbus. He also helps

take care of District parks and lakes.

Ziemba is a native of Clarks and attended

Kearney State College. He earned an Electrical

Mechanical degree from Central Community

College. He and his wife, Gwen, are the parents

of three children.

25 Years


Line Foreman

Quinn joined Loup in 1994 as an Apprentice Lineman in

the Albion Division. He was promoted to Lineman in 1995

and transferred to the Columbus Line Crew in 1997.

Quinn was promoted to Journeyman Lineman in 2000

and was named Columbus Service Center Line Foreman in


As Line Foreman, Quinn is in charge of the line crew

that is responsible for construction and maintenance of

Loup’s electrical transmission and distribution system in

the Columbus Division. The Columbus Division includes

the southeastern part of Platte County and part of Colfax


Quinn is a graduate of Lakeview High School and

earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Utility

Line from Northeast Community College in Norfolk. He

and his wife, Crystal, are the parents of five children

Zack, Matt, Adam, Sydney, and Sierra.

WINTER 2020 17

employee notes

John Czarnick retires after 45 years

In 1974, John Czarnick

was working at New Holland

in Grand Island. While the

job paid the bills, the Genoa

native was eager to move

back home. When he heard

about a job opening at Loup

Power District, he applied

right away.

Forty-five years later,

he retired from Loup. He

doesn’t consider it out of the

ordinary to spend that many

years working for the same

employer especially when

you love the job.

“When you start working, if you like the work, you just

stay there and keep working for your family,” he said. “I

liked working here.”

Czarnick started out as Shop Welder-Mechanic at the

Columbus Service Center. He was promoted to Mechanic-

Welder in 1977 and to Heavy Tractor Operator in 1981.

In 1982, he transferred to the Genoa Headworks as a

Dragline Operator. He was promoted to Heavy Equipment

Operator in 1986.

Czarnick transferred to the Hydro Division at the

Columbus Service Center in 1997 and was promoted

to Canal Foreman and stayed in that role until his


While he loved all his jobs at Loup, Canal Foreman was

the most enjoyable.

“These last 22 years just

flew by,” Czarnick said.

As Canal Foreman, Czarnick

oversaw canal-related projects

from the railroad siphon

east of Genoa to the tailrace

area southeast of Columbus.

His crew also assisted with

substation and construction

work throughout the District.

Over the years, he saw lots

of changes in the industry,

including heavier regulation

from government agencies like

the Federal Energy Regulatory

Commission (FERC). Another

change that made work easier was the evolution of heavy


“We started off with three-yard dump trucks and

we have 10 yards now.” Czarnick said. “There’s a lot of


While he loved his work at Loup, Czarnick said not

everyone enjoys working outside and doing repair work.

“There aren’t that many people who want to do the

kind of work that I did,” he said. “It takes certain people

to do this kind of work.”

He and his wife, Sally, are planning to move to Omaha

to be closer to their seven granddaughters.

Czarnick will miss the variety of work, traveling around

the District, and working with coworkers and the public.

“I’m going to miss it, but it’s time to move on,” he said.

Community lease

payments total

more than $1M

Loup Power District officials presented

lease payment checks totaling more

than $1.1 million to area communities

in November.

Each of these communities owns their

electric distribution systems. These

payments compensate them for the

use of those systems for the third

quarter of 2019. Communities use the

funds for a variety of public projects.

The payments were: Columbus

$1,044,221.24; Creston $4,929.59;

Genoa $23,252.57; Lindsay

$41,854.05; Leigh $13,803.70;

Newman Grove $20,185.69.


No change to retail rates in 2019

Retail rates for Loup Power District’s

retail customers will remain the same

in 2020 for the third consecutive year.

The Loup Power District Board of

Directors reviewed current rate

levels as well as budgeted revenue

and expenses at the November and

December board meetings.

As part of this review, the board

analyzed the purchased power costs

from Nebraska Public Power District

(NPPD), the District’s wholesale

power supplier.

NPPD’s overall costs and rates

to Loup did not change for 2020.

Therefore, the District’s Board of

Directors felt there was no need to

change retail rates.

“Over the past several years the

District has reacted to changes in

wholesale power and operational

costs by making changes to the

retail rates,” said Jim Donoghue,

chairman of Loup’s Rates Committee.

“However, the District Board worked

with management to keep retail rate

levels steady for 2020.”

Donoghue added that Loup’s board

has implemented a long-term

strategy to maintain its reserve

margin at reasonable levels and

keep retail rates competitive. “Over

the past several years, the District’s

costs have shifted from the summer

months to the winter months due to

rate methodology shifts from NPPD,”

he said.

Loup Power District’s overall rates

were 25.7 percent below the national

average and 12.4 percent below the

Nebraska average based on data

from a 2018 American Public Power

Association survey.

“Loup’s rates remain among the

lowest in Nebraska and the Nation,”

said Loup Board Chairman Larry


Overall, Loup Power District’s rates

are in the lowest tenth percentile

both statewide and nationally.

Energy or kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage

is always the determining factor in a

customer’s bill.

Customers in all rate classifications

continue to have opportunities

to reduce their costs by taking

advantage of numerous programs

offered by the District.

These programs include energy

incentives and home energy audits.

For more information on the

District’s retail rates and energysaving

programs, visit the District’s

website at

Loup Power

District’s rates

are in the lowest

tenth percentile

statewide and


For more information on the District’s retail rates and energy-saving programs,

visit the District’s website at

WINTER 2020 19

2404 15th Street | PO Box 988

Columbus, NE 68602-0988





& AC



$ $

$ $






$ $










Learn more about our incentives

and rebates for energy-efficient

home improvements on page 4.

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