The 66th 3 Rivers Communications annual meeting will be held Monday, March 18, in the Fairfield Community Hall with a meal, reports and the election of four trustees.

Registration begins at 11 a.m. followed by a catered lunch from noon to 1 p.m. and the meeting at 1 p.m.

The four terms up for election on the board are those of Kirk R. Dige from the Big Sky area; Harry R. Barnes from Browning/Heart Butte, Kelly McInerney from Fairfield, Augusta, Fort Shaw and Helena area; and Tyler Cobb from the Lima, Melrose, Sheridan, Virginia City and Twin Bridges area.

Dige has served for the past 12 years on the board.

Barnes has been a trustee for 18 years. He is the immediate past chairman of the Blackfeet Tribe. A veteran, Barnes and his wife had owned and operated Barnes Construction Services and Blackfeet Construction Supplies before he started doing consulting work. He is a member of the board of the National Information Solutions Cooperative, which writes the software used by 3 Rivers and other telephone and electric utilities.

McInerney has been a trustee for eight years. She was raised in small rural communities throughout Montana and Idaho and graduated from Montana State University with a degree in business accounting. She is a shareholder in the accounting firm of Gary Kasper & Co. Inc., where she has worked as a CPA for the past 32 years. In addition to her work as a CPA, Kelly and her husband, Mark McInerney, own and operate an irrigated family farm on the Fairfield Bench.

Cobb has been a trustee for nine years. He came to Montana in 1993 following a career in banking and investment banking. Retired now, he was the treasurer of the city of Dillon for 12 years. He is a veteran and a member of the inaugural class of Leadership Montana.

Each of the candidates will be given a short time to address members at the annual meeting. Additional nominations for trustees may be made from the floor at the meeting. Cooperative members attending will vote at the meeting. Those unable to attend can send in a mail ballot. The deadline for mail-in absentee ballots to be received in Fairfield is March 14.

The cooperative will also distribute capital credit checks at the annual meeting. Because of the sound financial position of the telephone cooperative, the board has approved distributing $1,200,000 against retirement of capital credit account balances. This will be accomplished by retiring $200,000 prorated over all open years while approximately $40,000 will fully retire balances that are less than $100. The remaining $960,000 will be retired against the oldest open years.

The cash distribution allows the cooperative to retire the remaining 2001 operational balances. Capital credit checks will be distributed at the annual meeting or mailed at the conclusion of the meeting to those not attending the meeting.