Community Announcements, Member Updates

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Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc.
71st Annual Meeting

Saturday, September 23, 2023
Wall Community Center
501 Main Street, Wall, SD
Registration: 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. | Meeting Called to Order: 10 a.m.
Lunch Provided After Annual Meeting

Registered members will receive a $20 bill credit as a thank you for attending the meeting. A grand prize of $500 will be drawn during the meeting as well as 20+ additional prizes; must be present to win. 

September 11, 2023

Golden West’s 715t Annual Meeting Includes Updates, Voting, Prizes & Meal

WALL, SD – Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative’s 71st annual meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 23 at the Community Center in Wall. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

Members who register at the meeting will receive a $20 bill credit as a registration gift and will also have a chance to win door prizes, including a $500 grand prize. Following the meeting, attendees can enjoy lunch compliments of Golden West at one of four local restaurants. 

Cooperative members who attend the annual meeting on Sept. 23 will hear updates about the cooperative, elect three board members, and review and vote on proposed changes to the organization’s bylaws. 

Elect Three Directors 
Three of Golden West’s 15 board seats are up for election this year; all director terms are four years. Two incumbents are running unopposed, and another candidate is running for the third seat left open by Kenneth “Buddy” Bolzer. Candidates are as follows: 

  • District III:  Arnie Hill, unopposed incumbent
  • District IV:  Thomas Zickrick, unopposed candidate
  • District VI:  Ansel Wooden Knife, unopposed incumbent

Proposed Amendments to Articles & Bylaws  

Registered members will also vote on proposed changes to the cooperative’s bylaws; the Board of Directors recommends amendments to help enhance member satisfaction and participation in the cooperative.

Last year members approved bylaw changes giving the Board of Directors flexibility in establishing additional voting methods for member meetings, such as voting electronically or by mail. This year’s proposed changes would expand the timeframe for submission of nominations and notice of member meetings as needed for certain voting methods. The changes would also allow the voting to occur in advance of the meeting.

Members were sent a Notice of Proposed Amendments to the Bylaws of Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative with this year’s annual report. The notice provides a general overview explanation and details of the proposed changes. The September 2023 Horizons member newsletter includes an article summarizing the changes; the newsletter will arrive in mailboxes as early as Sept. 15 or shortly thereafter. The proposed amendments will also be reviewed at the annual meeting.

How to Vote as Non-Individual vs. Individual Member

The process that enables non-individual cooperative members to vote at the annual meeting was updated last year. Examples of a non-individual member include a school district, town, church, corporation, LLC, etc.

To vote, non-individual members must contact Golden West to request an Authorization to Vote form, complete it, and return it to Golden West by 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. The form designates a representative to vote who is an officer, an LLC member, or other senior official within the non-individual member organization. The Authorized Voting Representative must present a photo ID when registering at the annual meeting to receive a ballot.

Individual members, such as residential and sole proprietor businesses, must vote in person at the annual meeting. The Authorization to Vote form is not a proxy statement; therefore, individual members cannot use the form.  

Capital Credit Returns

Co-op members will also receive their capital credit payments issued on their Golden West bill or in the form of a mailed check prior to the annual meeting. In line with the Cooperative’s performance, Golden West’s Board of Directors approved the return of $7 million in capital credit payments to cooperative members this year. The capital credit retirement consists of $3.3 million for patronage allocated in 2005, $750,000 for patronage allocated in 2006, and an additional $3 million for allocations generated in 2022. Members with active service during any of those years will receive capital credits.

Any member requiring special accommodations to have full and equal participation in the annual meeting should contact Golden West at 1-855-888-7777, option 3, prior to the meeting. 


Authorization to Vote for a Non-Individual Member

If you are a non-individual member, you are entitled to representation and to one vote at the 71st Annual Meeting of the Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. To do so, you must follow the voting authorization process.

Non-Individual Members Must Complete Authorization to Vote Form
Anyone who attends the Annual Meeting as the voting representative of a non-individual member, such as a school district, town, church, corporation, or LLC, must submit an Authorization to Vote form (see SAMPLE below). The process for distributing, submitting, and verifying these forms changed last year and is as follows:

  • Non-individual members must designate an Authorized Voting Representative who is an officer, LLC member, or other senior official within the member entity.
  • Non-individual members must call the office at 1-855-888-7777, option 3, to request an Authorization to Vote form. A Golden West representative will pre-populate the form with your account information and forward it to you.
  • Complete all fields on the form and have it signed and dated by an Authorized Officer of the governing body of the non-individual member.
  • Return the completed form to Golden West no later than 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. Authorization to Vote forms received after the deadline or presented the day of the Annual Meeting will not be accepted.
  • The Authorized Voting Representative will need to bring a photo ID to the Annual Meeting and present it at the designated registration table to receive a ballot.

Process Follows Bylaws & Improves Meeting Efficiency
Note that the Authorization to Vote form is not a Proxy Statement. Individual members, such as residential or sole proprietor businesses, cannot use the form. They must vote in person at the Annual Meeting.

This process complies with the requirements of the cooperative’s bylaws, which expressly prohibit voting by proxy. The bylaws expressly allow voting by a representative of the non-individual member who is properly authorized by the entity to vote on its behalf. Requesting, completing, and submitting Authorization to Vote forms in advance also helps the Annual Meeting start and flow more efficiently.

A sample of the Authorization to Vote form is printed on the back of this letter for reference. If you have any questions, call us at 1-855-888-7777, option 3, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thank you for being a member of the Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative!

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Three Director Candidates Run Unopposed

Members of the Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative will elect three members to four-year terms on the Board of Directors. Two incumbents seek re-election. In District IV, a new candidate is running for the seat left open by Kenneth Bolzer. 

Arnie Hill, – District III, Unopposed Incumbent

Arnie operates Arnie’s Repair, a windshield repair service in White River. He has served on Golden West’s Board of Directors since 2011.

Arnie worked for the Country Pride Cooperative for 39 years. He started as a senior shop mechanic in 1969 and took over as general manager of the White River location in 1989. He then served as a contract postal mail carrier from 2006 until he retired in 2015.

Arnie served as a Mellette County Commissioner from 2007 to 2010. He has also been a member of the Mellette County Volunteer Fire Department for 53 years and is a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in White River.

Arnie and his wife of 53 years, Connie, have three children and five grandchildren. He enjoys camping, hunting, fishing, and helping his nephew when needed through haying and calving seasons.

Thomas Zickrick – District IV, Unopposed Candidate

Thomas was born in Kadoka and grew up in Long Valley where he attended grade school. After graduating from Kadoka High School, Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education math and computers from Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska.

After teaching his first year in Mission, Thomas taught 15 more years at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee. Today he farms and ranches.

Thomas has been married to Jennifer for 22 years. The couple has two kids; Max is 19 years old, and Emily is 17. He and his wife like to travel, taking the kids somewhere at least once each year. Thomas is a member of the Long Valley Fire Department, Long Valley Our Saviors Lutheran Church, and a Jackson County Commissioner.

Ansel Wooden Knife – District VI, Unopposed Incumbent

Ansel joined the Golden West Board of Directors in September 2011.

He was born and raised in Corn Creek, on the Rosebud Reservation along with his 11 siblings. Ansel moved to Interior for his job with the Milwaukee Railroad, which is where he met his future wife, and has lived there ever since.

Ansel and his wife, Teresa, have owned and operated their family business in Interior for over 40 years. He loves living in the Badlands.

Ansel and Teresa have four grown children and two grandchildren. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors, especially fishing and gardening, and getting together with his family.