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Commentary

Stopping the new blackout threat

Security of the nation’s electric grid has received a lot of attention lately. National Geographic’s October 27th airing of “American Blackout,” a docudrama about a nationwide blackout following a cyber-attack may have been fiction, but the threat is real. Reports of high-profile hacking attempts on elec­trical facilities by parties foreign and domestic, mischievous and nefarious, keep […]

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Cooperatives prepared for the long term

A year ago I wrote that we were seeing historic lows for the electricity commodity and that they couldn’t last forever. Predicting prices would rise wasn’t tough. The question was how much and how fast? We’re already seeing some early signs of price instability and rising rates. We are also seeing drastic cuts to base […]

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Counting your blessings

I consider myself very blessed to have been born and raised on a family farm in south-central Illinois. My parents made sure my upbringing emphasized hard work, the value of a dollar, community involvement and faith in God. In all honesty, there were many times as a boy and young man when I wished for […]

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Survival requires an adequate food supply

“Civilization as it is known today could not have evolved, nor can it survive, without an adequate food supply. Without fertilizer, forget it.” These are the words of Dr. Norman Borlaug, known as the father of the “green revolution” for ­developing disease resistant wheat varieties that saved millions from starvation. Dr. Borlaug is only one of seven […]

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Shaping enthusiasm for public service

I can clearly remember the first time that I visited the Lincoln Memorial, and how the marble seemed to soften the sting of the sweltering heat. Monuments, and the history they ­represent, can make an indelible impression on an individual. While almost twenty years have passed since I participated in the Association of Illinois Electric […]

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The importance of being prudent

The word “prudent” sounds a bit old fashioned and stodgy. It’s defined as being wise in the handling of practical matters, or as exercising good judgment or common sense. The phrase “prudent utility ­practice” is a term of art in our industry. It generally refers to the actions a ­utility is expected to make, as […]

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Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative’s first office was located in downtown Divernon and remained there until 1954. Some of the co-op’s first employees gathered for this photo. From left are Charles Masters, project superintendent, Elizabeth Roncz, secretary, Manford White, bookkeeper, Virgil Brown, lineman, Bud Wilson, foreman and Eric Dossett, lineman.

Learning from our history

If you’re a teenager, seventy-five years seems like an eternity. If you’re middle-aged you realize it’s not so long after all. And if you’re a senior, you’re wondering where did all that time go? As we look at the rural electric program many of our co-ops are just now celebrating a milestone of 75 years […]

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Confidence in institutions at record lows

The last several years have seen ­erosion in the confidence Americans have in many of our ­institutions. According to Gallup’s annual “Confidence in Institutions” survey released in June, Americans are giving increasingly low marks to ­institutions such as public schools, big business, the media, banks and ­government. Out of 16 institutions tested only the military, […]

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