Secondary Feature

Holland plant

Natural gas catching up with coal as an electricity fuel

Energy made history last April when more electricity in the U.S. was generated with natural gas than with coal. It lasted only a month, but it signals huge changes that are making the landscape of power production a lot more complicated. In April, natural gas fueled 32 percent of the electricity in the U.S., compared with 30 percent for coal. ...Read More


Illinois second only to Alaska in wintering bald eagles

It was rather warm for a mid-December day. So warm in fact that a heavy fog lay over the land. I was headed to an area along the Illinois River where there was a good concentration of wintering bald eagles. My hope was to photograph a few as they came out of their roosting area, which was just off the ...Read More


Concern for the community is a lifelong commitment

We’ve reached that time of year where Christmas lights decorate the streets of our neighborhoods and people all over hustle to grab last minute gifts for friends and family. The holidays are upon us, and for many, that means it is a time to gather with loved ones and reminisce as the year comes to an end. Tis’ the season ...Read More


Volunteerism brought into focus every November

Family Volunteer Day is Sunday November 22; a day to celebrate the power of families volunteering together, supporting their neighborhoods, communities and the world. Points of Light created the day 22 years ago to showcase the benefits of volunteering. It is believed that families volunteering together not only address community social problems, but provides quality time, strengthens family communication and ...Read More


Remembering Katrina

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in electric cooperative territory, blacking out some 600,000 co-op meters in Louisiana and Mississippi. Co-ops in the two states suffered more than $360 million in damages and that doesn’t count the damage to more than 100 co-op staffers who lost their homes, cars, picture albums, kid’s clothes, keepsakes … everything … yet ...Read More


Where are your energy $$$ going?

46% Heating/Cooling • 13% Appliances • 12% Lighting • 4% Electronics   Thermostat – Do you have a programmable thermostat? Check to be sure the date and time are correct and consider setting it lower a few degrees during the day or at times when no one is at home. Electronic devices – Computers, printers, DVD players and gaming consoles are notorious “vampire power” users, draining ...Read More

Dennis Watson, left, and Chris Clemons, faculty members in the Department of Agricultural Systems and Education at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, test fly a 3D Robotics Solo unmanned aerial vehicle, popularly known as a drone. The university is adding a ­component on agricul­tural drones to its curriculum. (Photo by Russell Bailey)

SIU students learn techniques for sky-high farming

by Andrea Hahn Beginning this fall, agriculture ­students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale have the opportunity to learn about the next game-­changing agricultural tool before it takes off – ­literally. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — or drones as they are popularly known — are in hover mode and poised to change ­farming. Christopher Clemons and Dennis Watson, faculty members in ...Read More


Americans are rediscovering the Cooperative Difference

Your alarm goes off and you get out of bed. You go outside and grab the morning paper. You sit down at the kitchen table to read your paper while enjoying a glass of juice and some toast. After breakfast you head down to the local hardware store to pick up supplies to tackle your weekend to-do list. For many ...Read More

Six generations of family have run Rendleman Orchards in Union County, with the newer generations reviving farm interests in vegetables to their peach and apple crops.

Nurturing a multi-generation farm business

Overflowing carts, bushel baskets and antique peach boxes are perched on the front porch of the Rendleman Farm Market. Behind the welcome mat, decades of family farm photographs corral the shop that’s stuffed with fresh produce, local foods and retro kitchen items. Sure, there are bushels and boxes of apples for the ­picking, but there also are bushels of family ...Read More


Keeping energy affordable

By Justin LaBerge Like shelter, food and clothing, ­electricity has become a staple of our lives. When the price of energy goes up, you have less money to spend on other things. For some families, that might mean a shorter ­vacation or one less meal at a restaurant. But for many families, increases in energy costs mean hard choices, such ...Read More