Golden West annual meeting draws crowd

Over 500 Cooperative members turned out in Wall, SD, to attend Golden West's 56th Annual Meeting on September 27, 2008. Highlighting this year's event were the financial performance of the Cooperative, changes to the Cooperative's Bylaws that included the expansion of the Cooperative and the election of directors.

Golden West Board President Rod Renner began the business meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and by recognizing the veterans in the audience. After approval of several agenda items, President Renner introduced retiring General Manager/CEO George Strandell.

In his last report to the membership, Strandell reported that the state of the Cooperative's financial health was very good. In 2007, the Cooperative posted another positive margin, and the Board once again voted to retire capital credits of over $2 million. The purchase of several cable television properties, along with increased capacity of the data network, also served as talking points for Strandell's address about Golden West's intent to become a full-service provider throughout the Company's serving area. "Golden West has positioned itself to expand the scope of services to customers in virtually all communities within our service boundaries," said Strandell. Board President Rod Renner recognized Strandell, who retired October 1, for his nearly 40 years of service to the telecommunications industry.

During the President's remarks, Renner asked the membership to approve changes to the Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation which expands the Cooperative to include all of the exchanges currently served by Golden West. The membership approved the change to add the exchanges. The Company anticipates that beginning January 1, 2010, telephone customers living in those 33 exchanges will become cooperative members with board representation, the right to vote and the right to receive capital credits.

This year's meeting also saw the re-election of Rodney Renner of Wall, Lee Briggs of Midland, Kenneth Bolzer of Martin and Paul Iron Cloud of Porcupine to the Board of Directors. All four ran unopposed. Incumbent directors in District III and District V were also elected to fill the one vacancy in each district. Robert Fronek of Wood defeated Doug LaHaye of White River and Harold Wyatt of Hot Springs defeated Lyle Jensen also of Hot Springs.

Following the business meeting, Cooperative members were entertained by singer Kenny Miller of Deadwood. Several lucky Cooperative members also went home with door prizes, including Gloria French of Philip, who won the $500 grand-prize drawing.