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The bounty of the prairie

Consumers are increasingly aware of the value of feeding their families fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables and are searching for farmers markets and produce stands. Illinois has long been known for its corn and beans, but more than 40 different specialty crops are grown in the state, including everything from pumpkins and apples to horseradish, […]

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Shelby Electric Lineman Brian Chevalier explains how to use a hotstick to a Haitian lineman.

Building a Better World

By Frank K. Gallant For 70 years, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has represented America’s electric co-ops, fighting to keep electricity affordable, reliable and safe, and improve the quality of life in rural America. But over the past half-century, the scope of its work has reached far beyond U.S. borders. On Nov. 1, […]

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Broadband for the back 40

If you live in a city you probably have access to several broadband Internet provider options. The same can’t always be said for those living in rural areas. But there’s good news. Many Illinois electric cooperatives are striving to level the broadband playing field for cooperative members. Broadband communications is important to their own business […]

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R.K. Douglas, a pioneer on both the Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative and Southern Illinois Power Cooperative boards and father of Larry Douglas, was among the local and state leaders and dignitaries present for the dedication of Southern Illinois Power Cooperative on Lake of Egypt on August 29, 1965.

“I remember when…”

“I can still remember in December 1937 exactly where I was and when I saw the lights come on. My brother and I were walking from the barn to the house and suddenly the house lit up and we were excited about that because it was the first time we had electricity in rural areas,” […]

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Preserving Our Rural Heritage

Some people might call Pinckneyville’s Charlie Greer a hoarder. After all, he’s collected for years and his accumulation ranges from antique tractors to tools and telephone equipment. But unlike those for whom gathering can become a serious problem, Greer’s collection instead is a source of preservation, education and remembrances. Greer and his wife Mary are […]

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Bucket Trucks at sunset Source Dave Behle Dawson Public Power District 2007

Built by the people, for the people

For more than 75 years the electric cooperative business model, when utilized effectively by engaged members, has served as a valuable instrument to improve the quality of life in rural areas. Cooperatives – democratically governed businesses that operate on an at-cost, not-for-profit basis – are unique in their ability to focus on the needs of […]

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SMART GRID the next greatest thing

At the beginning of the rural electrification movement during the Great Depression, a Tennessee farmer stood up in church one Sunday and said, “The greatest thing on earth is to have the love of God in your heart, and the next greatest thing is to have electricity in your house.” That was 75 years ago […]

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Ministering on the Mississippi

Kempton Baldridge doesn’t dress like most pastors. He doesn’t wear a formal robe or even a suit and tie. Instead, his attire includes steel-toed boots, a baseball cap and life vest. What Baldridge does isn’t what most pastors do, either. He’s not one to preach from a pulpit or deliver sermons from the front of […]

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Photo courtesy of Gregory Thorp.

Ministering on the Mississippi

Kempton Baldridge doesn’t dress like most pastors. He doesn’t wear a formal robe or even a suit and tie. Instead, his attire includes steel-toed boots, a baseball cap and life vest. What Baldridge does isn’t what most pastors do, either. He’s not one to preach from a pulpit or deliver sermons from the front of […]

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Illinois Country Father of the Year

Wearing fish-adorned suspenders, a well-worn Polo-style shirt and a pair of jeans, Jack Graves blends into the crowd as one of the good ol’ boys with a penchant for fishing. The look may not be GQ in terms of today’s fashion police, but it speaks volumes for this comfortable but genuine father, grandfather and businessman. […]

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