Co-Mo 72nd Annual Meeting Thursday at Tipton High School

Co-Mo Electric Cooperative will gather its membership at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at Tipton High School for its annual meeting amid great changes in its business.

The agenda for the evening will include the following at the high school: registration, 4:30 - 6:45 p.m.; health fair, kids entertainment and information booths, 4:30 - 7 p.m.; country music provided by Rumblestrip, 5:30 - 6:45 p.m.; and business meeting, 7 p.m. The meal will be provided at the Tipton Knights of Columbus, 4:30 - 7 p.m.

The cooperative announced last week that its subsidiary, Co-Mo Comm, would begin constructing a fiber-to-the-home broadband network in two pilot project areas inside its service territory. Co-Mo Electric CEO and Co-Mo Comm President Ken Johnson will provide an update for the cooperative’s membership on the status of the project and the reasons behind this venture.

“The message is straight-forward,” Johnson said last week. “Our membership, which owns the cooperative, was not having an amazing emerging communications need met by any other company, and they turned to us to see if we could do it. We spent more than a year exploring the different options, and now we’re ready to test it out.”

Beyond broadband, the meeting will key on the election of three new members of the board of directors, who will join the other six in governing the cooperative. Incumbents Harold Vande Haar (Gravois Mills), Rick Purdon (Laurie) and Doug Strein (Jamestown) face challenges from Kirt Wilson (Stover), Dean Gibson (Clarksburg) and Denny Wittenberger (Jamestown), respectively.

“This cooperative is governed by the members. These six individuals who are up for election live in the service territory and receive service from Co-Mo, just like every other member. It’s part of our principles to be democratically controlled, and this is how the membership can exercise that control — by voting in the election for those to represent their ownership interests,” Johnson said.

The event also features an evening meal at no cost to members, catered by Lutz Barbeque, at the Tipton Knights of Columbus Hall. Informational booths will line the hallways in the Tipton High School to give members information on everything from energy efficiency to anti-drug efforts in mid-Missouri.

“If you’ve been to the meeting before, we hope you notice that we’ve expanded our booths this year,” Johnson said. “We wanted to freshen it up and give our members some different vendors providing different information.”

For the second consecutive year, the cooperative will be offering a health fair for its members. Members will be able to take screenings at no charge from Capitol Region Medical Center profession for vision, blood pressure and body composition. There will also be blood-sugar screenings and take-home colorectal cancer screening kits available for a small fee.

Members who visit enough booths and the health fair will be eligible for $50 in gift cards from Wal-Mart. There will also be drawings for electric-bill credits at the end of the meeting. The grand prize is a $500 electric-bill credit.

The cooperative is also emphasizing kids entertainment this year. There will be an area outside for a bounce house and kids gifts, as well as a place for kids to have their pictures taken at no charge while wearing linemen gear.

For the entertainment of all regardless of age, the country band Rumblestrip will be performing in the gymnasium from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.

The business meeting begins at 7 p.m. Johnson said that, in addition to information about the broadband project, he plans on discussing the forces cooperatives are working under that could threaten to raise rates in 2012.

“It’s a difficult environment, and we want to make sure we give our members all the information about what’s forcing rates higher and what we’re doing locally to try to counteract those forces,” he said. “This is our members’ cooperative. They need to have the same information we have as staff members.”

For more information about the meeting, visit www.co-mo.coop.

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