Men in pink hard hats seen at electric co-ops

There’s nothing tougher than a lineman. But almost everyone has been impacted by breast cancer at some level, and it wasn’t tough to get many linemen at electric co-ops across the state to wear pink hard hats ­during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative’s employees below participated in several breast cancer awareness initiatives during the month.

Boy and girl with Microscopes, iPad and Laptop cropped

Illinois farmers help schools promote hands-on learning

Fourteen Illinois school districts have received $170,000 in grants this year from America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The ­program partners with farmers to support rural public school districts with innovative approaches to teaching math and science. The funding is utilized to prepare students for a wider range of career prospects in an increasingly technology-driven workforce. ...Read More

Hoosier Energy inks wind deal in Illinois

When Hoosier Energy, an Indiana-based generation and transmission cooperative, wanted renewable energy assets they could add to their generation portfolio quickly, they looked to their neighbors in Illinois to help make it happen. The 100-megawatt Rail Splitter Wind Farm in Illinois will be sending 25 percent of its output onto co-op lines before the end of the year. The power ...Read More

Lawmakers slam EPA water rule

A water rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency would grind the U.S. economy to a halt by ­expanding federal authority over everything from ditches to seasonal streams. “Every hollow and valley in my region has some sort of stream running through it, sometimes dry or intermittent, and those will be under your jurisdiction,” said Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., and ...Read More

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Co-op solar program marks first anniversary

The Cooperative Finance Corp. (CFC), Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange and the National Renewables Cooperative Organization recently marked the first anniver­sary of their landmark Solar Cooperative Community Projects (sCOOP) program. The ­organizations created the program in response to growing interest among electric cooperatives in deploying small-scale solar ­generation resources, allowing members to ­purchase part of the output of the solar ...Read More

Flag raising Lineman Rodeo 2014

Raising the flag the lineman way

At the 17th Lineman’s Safety Rodeo, held at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, this year’s class of “up and coming” linemen raised the American flag using their new pole ­climbing skills. The event was held Oct. 3 and teams from 14 Illinois electric ­cooperatives competed in the annual event. This year’s best overall team ­winners were Steve Gottman, Drew Weder ...Read More

Gascosage Electric Construction Foreman Bill Medlen used his team of Belgian draft horses to string fiber-optic line in a throwback to the early days of rural electrification.

Horsepower lends a hand to fiber optic roll out

When Gascosage Electric Cooperative was stringing its first lines in the 1940s, horses and mules were the lineman’s best friends. The Missouri co-op’s history book tells the tale of how a team of unruly mules saved the day when the Ozark terrain turned so steep the men could hardly stand. “I talked to a lot of old-timers around here, and ...Read More

You still have time to comment to the EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended the comment period for its proposed “Clean Power Plan” by 45 days. EPA held public ­hearings on the proposal throughout July and was originally ­accepting comments until Oct. 16. The new closing date for ­comments is Dec. 1. To make your own comment go to “Folks are still struggling to get ...Read More

Corn Harvest

Co-ops partner with USDA to spark jobs

Corn Belt Energy, Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative and Shelby Electric Cooperative were among several Illinois electric cooperatives to receive loans from the USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grants Program to support rural communities and job growth in 2014. In Bloomington, Ill., Corn Belt Energy’s project will be for $1,775,000 for the purchase of equipment for Patriot Renewable Fuels, LLC, a ...Read More

Saving co-op power by going without it

Why would anyone willingly go without electricity — no air conditioning, fans or lights — on a hot summer day? How about to get a nice break on their bill? That’s what’s happening at Corn Belt Energy, Bloomington, Ill., with a ­program so popular the co-op can’t accommodate everyone who’s interested. Some 2,500 members are on “Rate 11.” From June ...Read More