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West River/Lyman-Jones Rural Water Systems annual meeting held in Philip

The annual meeting of the West River/Lyman-Jones Rural Water Systems was held in Philip on Wednesday, October 28, in the Fine Arts Building.

After a roast beef supper, a welcome was given by Philip Mayor John Hart. WR/L-J Manager Jake Fitzgerald introduced the WR/L-J board of directors, staff, consultants and special guests. Wall's Mayor Dave Hahn gladly reported that Wall has now been hooked up to the Mni Wiconi Rural Water Supply Project and its Missouri River water for several months.

The WR/L-J annual president's report was made by Paul Goldhammer, Wall. Where it left off, the annual manager's report by Fitzgerald continued.

An "emergency basis" of hooking up as many people and areas as possible to the water system in as little time as possible has been replaced with a strengthening of the system. Huge maps, hung on the wall for the meeting, showed no remaining shaded areas of where the system's treated Missouri water has not been hooked up. After 16 years of construction, WR/L-J has essentially connected with all of its customers.

Even with additional booster pumps recently installed, this work represents about 85 to 90 percent of the work that has to be done before the project's completion. Though the other three Mni Wiconi sponsors of the Oglala, Rosebud and Lower Brule reservations, have much yet to do, the WR/L-J part of the project should be completed as soon as 2013, though no later than 2015. This includes stand-by generation as an electrical supply back-up. Supplement coordination will be organized for faster and more efficient service. Water reservoirs will also be erected as additional safeguards. System transfers to this project will include other, aging water supply systems.

The attorney's report by Dave Larson was short and to the point. WR/L-J is currently in no legal actions, either as a plaintiff or as a defendant.

The current board of directors consists of Goldhammer, vice president Joseph Hieb, Reliance, secretary-treasurer Dodie Garrity, Hayes, Marion Matt, Philip, Richard Doud, Midland, Veryl Prokop, Kadoka, Kirk Cordes, Creighton, Lorne Smith, Vivian, Casey Krogman, White River, Dave Fuoss, Draper, and Jim Schaefer, Kennebec.

The meeting included musical entertainment by the Haakon County Crooners. Door prizes were given to all meeting attendees. These mostly included water vouchers or beef certificates. The grand prize of a new high definition television went to Betty Bierwagon, Philip.