Secondary Feature

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Q & A about your social security

By Becky Whitlow, Social Security District Manager, Springfield Before standing in line at your local Social Security office, you may find that the answers to your questions are only a click away on your computer. At socialsecurity.gov you can learn about disability ­coverage, review your online earnings statement, and get a ­personalized estimate of your […]

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Six innovative small business models in small towns

Small towns in Illinois don’t have to settle for business as usual. And entrepreneurship is the best way to support small towns. When local people start their own businesses and prosper, they help their towns to prosper, too. Rural entrepreneurs are exploring new shapes, new ­locations and new ways of doing ­business. Here are six innovative […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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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 […]