President's Message
Shellie Peterson
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The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club is a diverse group of engaged individuals participating through friendship and camaraderie in opportunities to serve our community and other communities around the world.
Mike Dreyspring, LPEA CEO
Dreyspring, the retiring LPEA CEO, addressed a variety of topics concerning the electric utility during his informative talk. 

His first topic was of near-term significance: the cooperative’s annual members meeting, to be held Thursday May 2, 2019 at 6:30 pm in the Fort Lewis College Concert Hall.  Current board elections end at the meeting.  Candidates running for the local seat on the board are Holly Metzler and Michael Whiting.
Mike’s remaining topics had a longer-term focus, dealing broadly with the subject of energy sources.  Context was provided in a brief history: LPEA’s origins trace to the New Deal Rural Electrification Administration.  The cooperative was formed in 1939, and it became one of several cooperatives that participated in power generation through membership in Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (itself a cooperative). 
Tri-State members deliver electric power to their own consumer-members in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and New Mexico.  According to its website, Tri-State generates about one third of its electricity from renewable sources at present: it has 13 coal-fired generating facilities and eight wind or solar renewable generating facilities.
Power generation is capital intensive, so to provide revenue commitments required by lenders, Tri-States’ utility members have all entered into long-term contracts to buy the power produced by it.   Mike reported that with the exception of a “5% local sources allowance,” LPEA currently is committed to buying from Tri-State all of the electricity needed to supply its members under a contract that extends to 2050.
However, Mike reported that LPEA has been considering the possibility of using other sources for supplying its members with power.  A study committee recently concluded that doing so may be economically feasible, depending on the terms of essentially an exit fee that would need to be negotiated with Tri-State.
Mike discussed briefly also advances in technology that may help with the feasibility of turning to power generation alternatives.  For example, he mentioned advances in compensating for weather variables like wind levels and sunshine volume by use in real time of computer algorithms to adjust production at renewable facilities, and shift between them.  (Another area of recent advances not specifically mentioned by Mike, but reported in the news media, is the rapid improvement in battery electric storage capacity, which has begun to attract major utility company investments).  These advances increase the efficiency of renewable generating capacity, and thus reduce its cost.
A technology of particular interest in Pagosa Springs, is biomass electric power generation, which would produce power from forest waste.  Mike said that LPEA has considered the possibility of biomass production, and though no commitment has been made as yet to using it, he suggested it has interesting potential.
Rotary’s Dave Richardson was in attendance at the meeting, and offered more information from the audience.  Biomass is championed by local businessman JR Ford, with whom Dave works.  The idea would involve thinning local forests (something needed for fire risk mitigation), conversion of the wood waste to a gas, and then use of the gas to fire generating turbines.  Burning the gas, Dave reported, would not produce carbon-dioxide, a major pollutant by-product of burning coal.  And, use of local wood waste would reduce pollution in transportation.
Mike said that overall, LPEA has formulated an objective of reducing by 2030 its total carbon emissions into the atmosphere by 50%, while maintaining cost competitiveness of the power supplied to members.  To achieve the objective, he said, LPEA wants to increase its use of renewable generating sources as much as possible.  In addition, it anticipates using electric vehicles in its service fleet, and incentivizing customer use of electric vehicles by rebates to cover the cost of home charger installations.
News & Happenings

The meeting began with a corny invocation by Meg Wempe.  Well, alright, it wasn’t really corny – it’s only that the invocation was based on corn.
A farmer, Meg related, was celebrated for his blue-ribbon, prize-winning corn.  A visitor observed that after the growing season, the farmer distributed parts of the seed corn from his bumper crop to the neighboring farmers.  Aren’t you worried about the competition, the visitor inquired?  No, the farmer explained, he hoped his neighbors would grow the same great corn, so the wind wouldn’t blow inferior pollen into his fields.
Those who want to live well, Meg concluded, do best when they help others live well too.  A kernel of wisdom, so to speak.
The talk on a bright April day of growing corn then inspired Sharon Crump to lead the meeting in a rendition of “You Are My Sunshine.” 
As voices rose in song, Dave Cammack and Kim Moore were moved by the festive tune to dance around the room, as if blown by the wind into graceful pirouettes of welcome to spring after the long chill of cabin fever.  (But wait: Kim was lately cruising the South Pacific.  Maybe it was the left-over influence of chill from her prior trip to the slopes of Mount Everest in Tibet?)
Dave Campbell then was called to the podium by President Shellie Peterson, to continue the apparent theme of spring rebirth by introducing new members Pat Tackett and Julie Walters.  Pat, sponsored by Marianne DeVooght, told us she has been a resident of Pagosa Springs for 36 years, and works in Citizens Bank (now TDK Bank).  Julie, sponsored by Lisa Scott, said she had returned to Pagosa three years ago after an extended absence, and currently works for Bob Scott.  She is involved locally in hot air balloons.
Additional new members are pending, Dave reported.  More cabin fever effects, overcome?
Exchanger Theo Bonlokke then took the floor to report that after his exploits over the winter on the Pagosa Springs wrestling mats, he has recently turned his attention to the Pirates’ baseball diamond.  Against Durango recently, he struck a blow mighty enough to end a speedy dash safely astride 2nd base, with his first hit of the season.   Tillykke, Theo!  (According to Google, Tillykke is Danish for congratulations.  According to me, based on years of my own baseball futility, unless the Danish have secretly taken to playing the game, that hit is a fabulous accomplishment!)
International Committee Chairman David Smith then reported that his proposal to extend the high school science education project to Niger after years of success in Senegal, has been approved for funding by the Rotary Foundation.   Total funding for the budget of $65,000 will be supplied by Pagosa Rotary ($12,000), by our generous Aspen Rotary neighbors ($5000), and the balance from the Rotary Foundation.
Attention was then turned to the previous weekend’s Gary Morris concert, hosted by Rotary as a fundraiser for the Feed Our Children project.  Treasurer Larry McClintock reported that the enormously successful concert had produced proceeds of over $17,000 for the program, thanks to Morris’ donation of his extraordinary talents. 
Larry reported that ticket sales champs included Jenelle Syverson’s Choke Cherry Tree, Georgette Baumgardner, Lassie Olin, and Art Benzel, among others.  He added a special shout-out for Pat Love and husband Larry Parks, the winning bidders for the “one and only” Gary Morris CD auctioned by the singer during the concert.   
Betty Switzer also presented a large bouquet of red roses to Georgette, whose stellar organizational efforts (and sales pitch to Mr. Morris) made the event possible.
Dave Cammack, a voice from the back benches, having regained his breath after his earlier dance exertions, then offered a story related by a friend who had known Gary Morris in his high school days in Texas.  His classmates had been surprised by Morris’ later fame as a musician, Dave recalled being told: it wasn’t the fame that surprised them much, he said, but the field.  They had expected Morris’ success to come in sports, not music, as he had been the star athlete of his day, a champion who walked away, but then reemerged anew.
Jann Pitcher then reminded Rotarians of the annual Put Hill cleanup, coming this year on May 18.  Volunteers with any eye for Pagosa’s (hopefully) unmarred scenic beauty needed!
Betty Switzer then took her turn on the busy program with April Birthdays.  Jo Bridges, John Richardson and Will Spears were honored by a quick rendition of the traditional birthday anthem.  In addition, the 18th Anniversary for Granton Bartz and wife Elitsa was observed.
Bulletin Editor
Shellie Peterson
May 16, 2019
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May 23, 2019
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