Doing the right thing

Many times this past winter I looked out the window and thought about how thankful I was to simply be warm. For me, this quickly lead to thoughts ­regarding the complexity and volatility of the production and transmission of electricity, ­probably because this is what I’ve spent my life doing. I have witnessed changes in the electric industry that I would ...Read More

Solving the job skills gap…together

Soon after I began ­working for East Central Illinois Development Corporation (ECIDC) in 2010, I was surprised to hear ­business ­leaders express frustrations over their ­inability to find enough workers to fill ­manufacturing jobs. How could this be when our area unemployment rates had been so high? What I have since learned is there is a significant gap between the skills ...Read More


Help keep rates affordable

Illinois’ not-for-profit electric ­cooperatives work very hard to provide their members with elec­tricity that is safe, reliable and affordable. Co-ops support an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, one that incor­porates coal, natural gas, nuclear and ­renewable energy to generate power. While this strategy was endorsed by President Obama in his January 2012 State of the Union Address, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ...Read More


Illinois is expanding broadband in rural areas

Ultra high-speed Internet access is a key to success for rural Illinois, now and in the future. In order to remain competitive in today’s digital society, Illinois must have broadband infrastructure that is second to none. Access to quality, high-speed Internet for all Illinois residents provides opportunities for a better education, better jobs, and ultimately better ­living here in the ...Read More

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 making front-page news. In fact, ...Read More

Hitting the trail for Wounded Warriors

I am a part-time pharmacist at Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy in Decatur. The owner Dale and I met at a fundraiser a few years before he invited me to work a Saturday for him, and now I’m fortunate to be the regular weekend pharmacist. I’m lucky to have a job, but luckier to be ­associated with Dale and his family.To say ...Read More

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 load capacity due to generation ...Read More

Creating entrepreneur opportunities in hometowns

I’ve been involved in education for a long time, and I’ve worked with kids from all over the United States. There is an unfortunate viewpoint that many young people share: opportunity is something that exists elsewhere. We all worry about that, don’t we? We worry that, after our kids grow up and leave, our towns will age and eventually wither ...Read More

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 an “easier” upbringing, but looking ...Read More

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 people to have won the ...Read More