Governor appoints Afton’s Lewandowski to GRDA Board

Mike Lewandowski, newest member of GRDA’s Board of Directors.

Vinita – Afton’s Mike Lewandowski, who owned and operated a McDonald’s restaurant for over three decades, is the newest member of the Grand River Dam Authority Board of Directors.

On Friday, August 10, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin announced Lewandowski’s appointment to the GRDA Board. He replaces Ed Townsend (Grove). Townsend, the founder, owner and chief executive officer of Bank of Grand Lake, served on the board five years. His term expires August 31.

“Mike Lewandowski is a successful businessman who has always been engaged in his community,” said Governor Fallin in a press release announcing the appointment. “He will make an excellent and engaged board member at the GRDA.”

Lewandowski started working for the McDonald’s Corporation in 1980 as a supervisor for a licensee. In 1986, he and his wife, Julie, became owner-operators of a McDonald’s. They owned and operated a restaurant for 31 years, selling the family business in July 2017.

“Mike Lewandowski will be a great addition to the board,” said incoming GRDA Chairman Tom Kimball. “His many years of business success in the GRDA service area and his background in fish and wildlife issues will be important assets for the organization. I look forward to serving with him.”

Lewandowski earned a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife management from Southwest Missouri State University. During his tenure with McDonalds he served on a number of boards dealing with a variety of topics, along with working with church, bank and city organizations.

“We are happy to have Mike Lewandowski join our Board of Directors,” said GRDA President/Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan. “Mr. Lewandowski brings many years of successful business experience and a love of Grand Lake to GRDA. We look forward to his participation, insight and input with our other members of the board.”

GRDA is governed by a seven-member board of directors comprised of representatives from each GRDA customer class (municipals, electric cooperatives and industrials) as well as the GRDA lakes area. Two at-large representatives also sit on the board.

Appointments are made by the Oklahoma Governor (3), Speaker of the Oklahoma State House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate. Two other board positions are ex-officio positions, filled by the general manager of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) and executive director of the Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO) or by their designees. Board members serve staggered, five-year terms, with one position opening each year, to ensure continuity.

Grove’s Townsend Ends Tenure on GRDA Board

Langley – After five years of service, Ed Townsend (Grove), closed out his tenure on the Grand River Dam Authority Board of Directors during the board’s August 8 meeting in Langley.

Outgoing GRDA Director Ed Townsend admires the Grand Lake eagle print presented to him during the August 8 meeting of the GRDA Board of Directors in Langley. Townsend, who served as GRDA Chairman in 2015-16, is ending his tenure on the board after five years of service.

Townsend, the founder, owner and chief executive officer of Bank of Grand Lake, was appointed to the GRDA Board by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin in September 2013. He served as GRDA Chairman in 2015-16 and throughout his tenure helped lead the board’s audit, finance, budget, policy and compliance committee. Townsend’s leadership of GRDA was critical during a significant period as the organization enhanced its electric generation portfolio with additional wind generation, state-of-the-art emission controls on its Unit 2 coal generator and the construction of its new ultra-efficient Unit 3 combined cycle gas plant.

“We want to thank you for your five years of service,” GRDA President/CEO Dan Sullivan told Townsend during the meeting. “I’ve told a lot of people that you are one the brightest people I know, with your ability to analyze issues on the fly. It’s truly an amazing gift and we are very appreciative of you sharing that gift with GRDA.”

GRDA Chairman Joe Vandevier echoed Sullivan’s sentiments about Townsend’s value to the board.

“Director Townsend brought a world of experience in the financial and operational areas,” said Vandevier. “We’ve really leaned on that experience and we thank him for his service.”

GRDA is governed by a seven-member board of directors comprised of representatives from each GRDA customer class (municipals, electric cooperatives and industrials) as well as the GRDA lakes area. Two at-large representatives also sit on the board.

Appointments are made by the Oklahoma Governor (3), Speaker of the Oklahoma State House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate. Two other board positions are ex-officio positions, filled by the general manager of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) and executive director of the Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO) or by their designees. Board members serve staggered, five-year terms, with one position opening each year, to ensure continuity.

Governor Fallin is expected to name Townsend’s successor soon.

GRDA Police stressing safety for July 4 boating

Lining up for lake time … The July 4th holiday is one the busiest boating times on GRDA’s Grand and Hudson lakes, and the Illinois River. If your holiday plans include a trip to any of these waters, the GRDA Police Department urges you to boat safe, smart and sober.

Langley – On the waters of Grand and Hudson lakes, as well as the Illinois River, the July 4th holiday is often the high point of the summer season. In anticipation of all the water enthusiasts paying a visit to enjoy Oklahoma’s premier recreation destinations, the Grand River Dam Authority Police Department wants to remind each of them to boat and float safe, smart and sober.

One very special message the GRDA Police shares with Grand Lake visitors each July 4th holiday is the reminder that

Promoting safe outings… The GRDA Police Department will be out in full force over the July 4 holiday, to help promote safe outings and assist boaters. If you have an emergency on the water, dial 911. You can also reach the police on Marine Band 16.

special boating rules are in effect for the Duck Creek arm of the lake. On the actual day of the Duck Creek Fireworks (Wednesday, July 4) all watercraft shall operate at “Idle” and avoid producing a wake at all times in Duck Creek (all day, all night).

However, whether your plans are to watch the Duck Creek fireworks or any other lake-area fireworks display from the water, the following tips can help promote a safe and enjoyable holiday outing.

  • Before you leave the dock, know the stability, load capability and handling of the vessel you are operating. Remember, every boat is different. Check the water conditions and know where hazards like sandbars and stump beds are located.
  • Before you leave the dock, check the weather conditions. Don’t get caught on the lake in a storm you could have avoided.
  • Airplane pilots file a flight plan. Boaters need a float plan. Tell someone responsible where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Don’t drink and boat! Most lake accidents are alcohol related. Don’t become a statistic.
  • Floating the scenic Illinois River? GRDA reminds you to let the commercial float operator know if you or anyone in your party are a first-time or novice floater(s). They may be able to pair you with an experienced paddler/floater or float you in a raft where there is a lesser chance for capsizing.
  • DON’T dive into the river from bridges, bluffs, stream banks and trees.
  • If you are tired while floating, take a break on the bank or on a gravel bar to rest.  
  • Never swim or boat alone. Stay within sight of companions.

Floating on the Fourth … Canoes and kayaks lined up and ready to take floaters down the scenic Illinois River. If your holiday plans include a float trip, the GRDA Police Department is passing along some safety tips you should keep in mind.

GRDA also reminds you that the July 4th holiday is a great chance to take a free tour of historic Pensacola Dam. Tours originate from the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center, located just west of the dam, in Langley. If you are planning on taking the tour, remember to wear comfortable shoes (there is a fair amount of walking involved) and dress for the weather. Also, all persons over 18 are required to present some form of ID. Tours are available seven days a week (9AM to 4PM).

Whether you are coming to the lake, to the river, to the dam or maybe to all three, GRDA encourages you to keep these tips in mind as you enjoy the Labor Day weekend.

For more information about the GRDA Police Department or how an officer can assist you, contact the department at (918) 256-0911 or visit grda.com. Finally, if you need assistance from your boat, the GRDA Police Department encourages you to call 911. If you do not have a cell phone available, you can radio the GRDA Police on Marine Band 16.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency. 

Temporary closure of Wolf Creek arm, ramp

Grove – The Grand River Dam Authority Police Department is announcing that portions of the Wolf Creek arm of Grand Lake, as well as the Wolf Creek boat ramp, will be closed during the 6th Annual Thunder on Wolf Creek racing event, held by the Oklahoma Boat Racing Association June 29 through July 1, as well as the Southern Drag Boat Association (SDBA) Wolf Creek Nationals, July 7 and 8.

However, during both events, homeowners will be allowed access to their private docks with proof of residency.

All vessel operators should watch for special navigational buoys and officers that will be present in the area during these events for safety and traffic control.

The GRDA Police Department appreciates your cooperation during this temporary closure. For more information on these events, you can visit thunderonwolfcreek.com and sdbaracing.com.

 

GRDA receives “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition”

Tulsa – The Grand River Dam Authority’s innovative “Rush For Brush” program, which has focused on fisheries enhancement of GRDA lake waters for over a decade, was recently recognized by Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2).

Debbie Dooley (right), Field Representative for Congressman Markwayne Mullin, presents a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” to GRDA President/CEO Dan Sullivan (center) and GRDA Vice President of Ecosystems and Lake Management Dr. Darrell Townsend. The certificates was in recognition of GRDA’s “Rush For Brush” fisheries habitat enhancement program.

In early June, Mullin’s Office presented the GRDA program with a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” to honor its years of success in constructing and deploying thousands of artificial fish habitats in the waters of Grand and Hudson lakes. Those habitats – built by volunteer labor with materials supplied by GRDA – provide cover for small fish and, in turn, create a fish attractant which is popular with area fishermen.

“Rush For Brush” has grown in popularity and participation every year since its 2007 beginning. Earlier this year, it also received the National Hydropower Association (NHA) “Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters” award.

“We appreciate this recognition from Congressman Mullin as we work to fulfill our stewardship mission for Oklahoma,” said GRDA President/CEO Dan Sullivan. “Much of the credit also goes to the many volunteers over the years who have helped to make the program a success.”

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.