a publication of Loup Power District WINTER 2020
Schuyler & Platte Center
First Vice Chairman
Second Vice Chairman
Accounting & Finance/CFO
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
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:
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
• 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
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.
by NEAL SUESS
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
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
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
Commercial and industrial customers can
receive an incentive for installing variable
frequency drives (VFDs) on centrifugal fans
The incentive is $30 per horsepower for
VFDs from 1 to 200 horsepower, operating
a minimum of 2,000 hours annually.
Customers can receive reimbursement for
installing electric heating mats in their hog
farrowing operations. Incentives range from
$40 to $80 per mat.
Customers can receive
reimbursement for a pumping
system efficiency test, installing a
variable frequency drive on corner pivot
systems, and for improvements leading to
Eligible projects include pressure
regulator replacement, pump
refurbishment and more.
High Efficiency Heat Pumps
Option 1: Direct incentive
SYSTEM TYPE CRITERIA 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
16-17.9 SEER, 12.5 EER,
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
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).
& 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
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
SYSTEM TYPE CRITERIA INCENTIVE
Air Source Heat Pump Water Heater EF > 1.9 $400
Water or Ground Source
Heat Pump Water Heater
COP > 2.8 $650
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.
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 loup.com
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.
SCHUYLER PUBLIC LIBRARY
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
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: libraries.ne.gov/schuyler/
Schuyler Middle School opened its
field house to students and the public
in January 2017.
Two years later, the facility is a
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
SCHUYLER MIDDLE SCHOOL FIELD HOUSE
“This place is a beehive of activity
from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.,” said Schuyler
Middle School Assistant Principal
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
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
The work will also bring the school
into Americans with Disabilities Act
“It’s going to be fantastic,” Zavadil
Learn more: bit.ly/SMS_FieldHouse
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.
SAINT BENEDICT CENTER
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: christthekingpriory.com
WINTER 2020 7
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
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
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
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.
Honeycomb is also on Facebook,
Instagram and Snapchat.
Far Left: The
Honeycomb Salon &
Boutique is located
behind Kelsy and
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
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
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: www.davissights.com
THE WILD PLUM BED & BREAKFAST
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
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,”
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,”
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: www.wildplumbnb.com
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.
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
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
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
Worn over clothes
to protect workers
contact with live
lines or other
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
Gloves: Workers wear
two layers of gloves.
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
Boots: Reinforced steel or ceramic toe,
with serrated heels and reinforced sole for
support in climbing and working on poles.
working with live
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
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.
BUSINESS & INDUSTRY DAY
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
ST. EDWARD SUBSTATION
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Local Superintendent —
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
more than $1M
Loup Power District officials presented
lease payment checks totaling more
than $1.1 million to area communities
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
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,”
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
“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
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 www.loup.com.
are in the lowest
For more information on the District’s retail rates and energy-saving programs,
visit the District’s website at www.loup.com.
WINTER 2020 19
2404 15th Street | PO Box 988
Columbus, NE 68602-0988
IT PAYS TO BE
$ ELECTRIC ELECTRIC
VEHICLE & VEHICLE
Learn more about our incentives
and rebates for energy-efficient
home improvements on page 4.