Editor, The Daily Leader:

This letter is primarily to the board members of Dakota Energy Cooperative, although it is also for each of us involved in the ongoing struggle.

Board members, you were elected by your fellow cooperative members because they had respect for you. They felt you would be knowledgeable in the field and would make decisions that would benefit the cooperative and its members. They trusted you to study the issues and follow the rules established by the cooperative and the state bylaws. We expected you to serve as our representatives on the co-op board.

The good news is that you did serve us well for many years. Suddenly, things seemed to change.

In our national scene, the “truth” seems to be whatever you want it to be. It has nothing to do with the rules, the laws or the facts of the matter. But, in reality that isn’t how it is and our moral principles guide us to follow the truthful path.

The legendary principles of a South Dakotan (hard-working, honest and truthful) show us to be an exception to the national norm. We have always been there to help our neighbor; we don’t abandon them. We work out our problems together. In this way, we get to know and trust each other.

It seems that in the past short time, much of the cohesiveness and trust has been lost between the board of directors and the members of Dakota Energy Cooperative. Is it because of lack of communication, a power ploy or outside influence?

Whatever the reason, it is NOT too late to reverse matters and re-instill the trust and respect that was once evident in this relationship. However, it must start with communicating truthful information only.

Board members of Dakota Energy, it is time for us to get together and address the problem at hand.

Let’s do it as the cooperative which we are, not in a courtroom where only the lawyers win. Let’s do it as true South Dakotans, humbly, respectfully and together.

Tommy Baruth

Alpena, Nov. 22