Northern Lights 83rd Annual Membership Meeting

Two bylaw changes pass and two incumbent board members were re-elected

By Elissa Glassman

NLI bucket trucks frame the entrance to the 2018 annual meeting at the Sandpoint Business Center.

Northern Lights celebrated 83 years of dedicated service to its members at this year’s annual membership meeting May 12 at the Sandpoint Business and Events Center. The Sandpoint High School performing choir sang the national anthem. Members also were entertained with the harmonic sounds of bagpipes from the Albeni Falls Pipes and Drums of Northern Idaho.

More than 300 people gathered at this year’s 83rd celebration, with 252 registered NLI members in attendance. The members enjoyed coffee and a variety of refreshments.

There were informative display booths with information on NLI’s electrical safety display, energy rebate program, Call Before You Dig information, Operation Round-up and more.

NLI has served members since 1935. It was organized to bring electricity to rural areas investor- owned utilities would not serve. When it was established more than 83 years ago as Northern Idaho Rural Electrical Rehabilitation Association, it was the first rural electric cooperative west of the Mississippi River. Today, it is one of the largest cooperatives in Idaho with 19,000 plus members. The purpose of the meeting was to hear reports covering the previous fiscal year, election of direc- tors for District 2 and District 4, and transact other business.

Incumbents Judith (Jay) Simonson, District 2, and David Pemberton, District 4, were re-elected.

Two proposed bylaw amendments were voted on by the membership.

The first was a board-proposed bylaw amendment to one of the corporate bylaws—in keeping with national and Idaho trends—that if at least 6 percent of the members in each district support a proposed bylaw change, it would be considered by the full membership. This threshold updates policy established more than 30 years ago. This bylaw amendment passed.

Photograph of Rotchford Family holding oversized check
The Rotchford family won the $250 energy credit at the annual meeting.

The second bylaw vote was an amendment proposed by a group of NLI members to remove the ability of the board of directors to receive health insurance benefits in return for their service as directors. This bylaw amendment also passed.

Registered members at the meeting received a $25 energy credit and a complimentary gift bag. Members were excited for the door prize drawings that were contributed by participating vendors. The grand prizes included two community solar units and one $250 energy credit.

NLI members who signed up for Operation Round-up and brought a canned food donation for local food banks were able to enter to win a $50 energy credit. Operation Round-up is a community support program funded by member donations. NLI’s Community Trust board—which consists of NLI members—voted to distribute a portion of Operation Round-up funds collected during 2018 to community food banks.

Photo of Steve Elgar on Stage
Steve Elgar explains many outages on the NLI system are caused by squirrels.

NLI Board President Steve Elgar addressed the members, and NLI General Manager Annie Terracciano gave an annual meeting message. Bonneville Power Administration Deputy Administrator Dan James spoke to the crowd about BPA’s role of supplying power to Northern Lights and the Northwest.

Gary Wiens, assistant general manager of the Montana Electric Cooperative Association, informed members about the concern of quagga mussels in our lakes, rivers and streams. Keith Simovic of the accounting firm Moss-Adams reported on NLI’s strong financial standing.

NLI awarded eight $1,500 educational scholarship certificates at the meeting. The winners are:

Reece Bell, Bonners Ferry
Mary Fioravanti, Bonners Ferry
Payton Frields, Trout Creek
Cheyenne Lillis, Spirit Lake
Carissa Lonzisero, Sagle
Liam Parnell, Sandpoint
Ashley Rotchford, Priest Lake
Winona Young, Sandpoint

Congratulations to the scholarship winners.

Board Elections

Photo of Simonson and Pemberton
NLI congratulates the re-elected District 2 director, Judith Simonson, left, and re-elected District 4 director David Pemberton.

NLI congratulates board election winners Judith (Jay) Simonson and David Pemberton.

Judith was elected for her ninth term as director of District 2, which covers the area east of Thompson Falls, west to the Idaho/Montana border. Judith has served on the NLI board for more than 24 years. A certified, credentialed director, Judith has served on the Montana Electric Co-op Association Board of Directors. She participated in NLI’s purchase of the Lake Creek Hydroelectric system in 1995 and the board decision to rebuild most of the main feed from Thompson Falls to the Idaho border.

David has served on the NLI board for more than six years and was re-elected for a third term to District 4, which covers the Careywood/Athol area. He is a certified, credentialed director. He has been involved with the NLI Donations Committee for six years.

David and Judith have participated in the development of NLI’s Community Solar Project and returning capital credit dollars to NLI members.