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Editorial: June 2017

Great time of year - enjoy it safely


Josh Kramer, NDAREC executive vice president and general manager
Josh Kramer


It is the time of year we have all been anticipating, featuring fair weather conditions. June, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful months in North Dakota. Grass is green, trees have leafed out and the weather conditions are “just right.” This month – 30 out of our 365 annual days – other folks from around the country are envious of our North Dakota weather. We relish these conditions, and, hey, after another long North Dakota winter of cold, snow and ice, we deserve it.

As we scurry to make the most of our summer hours of daylight – at work or play – now is a good time to remind ourselves, our families and loved ones: BE SAFE!

I can recall – more times than I care to admit – as a rural teen, driving country roads this time of year, safety was often not foremost on my mind. Barreling along, reaching a hill crest, I’d meet a neighbor by narrowly missing the big piece of farm equipment they were driving, coming up the other side. Their not-so-neighborly greeting typically consisted of a shake of the fist, followed later by an evening phone call to my parents. The stern message was to remind their boy “to slow down and stay over on his ‘blankety-blank’ side of the road!”

On-the-road safety hazards, and different types of home and farm hazards, have evolved over the years. This all points to the importance of being continuously alert, and to remind ourselves and family members about potential safety hazards, in our community or on the farm – as well as on the road.

A concern in our electric cooperative network is large farm equipment colliding with rural power structures, often snapping poles and downing high-voltage lines. Of note: Since the 1950s, the height of farm equipment has doubled, while the height of overhead lines has remained relatively the same.

Equipment manufacturers continue to introduce ever-larger equipment, to increase efficiency. The sheer size of this equipment, in and of itself, is not a problem. But, there can be an elevated risk this large equipment will inflict damage when not operated safely. We’re getting reports – across the Dakotas – of such instances of damage to rural electric facilities. Of greatest concern is that downed, live high-voltage lines create great risk of severe physical injury. Another concern is that downed lines and broken poles also result in very costly repairs for your member-owned electric cooperative.

So, let’s all enjoy this delightfully short stretch of enviable weather. BE SAFE! And have a great summer!

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Mandan. Comments can be mailed to Josh Kramer, NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727 or by email