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Northern Cardinal male_021

Gardening that’s for the birds

By Kristen Hannum Gardening with an eye to attracting birds, plus the ­butterflies and bees that come along with them, means gardening with a completely different mindset than we’re used to. So why do it? The joy of creating a lively home for a wide variety of colorful, lively birds turns out to be reason enough for most ­gardeners. But ...Read More

You can lower your AC thermostat and stay comfortable with a ceiling paddle fan.

Simple steps for staying comfortable with less AC

Dear Jim: My ­family is trying to use less air-­conditioning this ­summer to save ­electricity. Do you have any good tips for us so that we are not terribly uncomfortable in our home? - Ron H. Dear Ron: First set your thermostat a few degrees higher. The ­savings should be from 1 to 3 percent for each degree you raise ...Read More


Butterfly Gardens Work!

By: Barbara Sherwood Imagine a world without crisp apples, strong coffee, autumn pumpkins, and sweet chocolate. If not for ­pollinating insects, such as butterflies and bees, this could be our reality! Did you know that pollinators help produce more than a third of the foods we eat? We depend on these hard working creatures, but their numbers are dwindling in ...Read More

Some prefer to use a fly rod for the excitement of fighting fish like this hybrid sunfish on a long rod with light line. There is something about using a fly rod that is magical. It’s the flow of the rod from the reel, it’s the line as it moves through the air, it’s the fish at the end of the line. It’s an art.

Finding a secret fishing spot

By Kevin Wright I had taken an easy hike to get to this out-of-the-way pond. It was still early in the morning. Behind me the sun had yet to break the horizon but the sky was the most beautiful ­tangerine color I had ever seen. With fly rods in tow I was ­prepared to target a few species in this ...Read More


The Michelangelo of motorcycles

While Anthony Spinazola’s name may not be as ­familiar to many in art circles, to people who know and appreciate customized motorcycles and the amazing talent and creativity that goes into producing these rolling works of art, the Cobden resident is a master — like the Michelangelo of motorcycle art. Spinazola is gaining national attention as one of the nation’s ...Read More

Windy Cone

FEMA help for storm victims not always there for rural areas

It’s human nature, we don’t tend to think we need ­insurance until the disaster hits. As homeowners we know we need insurance to cover a fire or flood. As a country we also have a disaster “insurance policy” we share called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Duane Noland, President/CEO of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives says, “When a ...Read More

2012 05 GRAPHIC Tornado

Co-op member provides shelter from the storm

Sometimes a tragedy provides a spark of an idea for a ­solution. In 2002 a tornado destroyed several homes near where Don Guymon and his wife, Betty, lived. Members of Tri-County Electric Cooperative in Mt. Vernon, Ill., the Guymons were alarmed by the lack of ­shelters for people who lived in vulnerable housing like mobile and modular homes and decided that ...Read More



Each year on the last Monday in May, the hauntingly beautiful scenes of rows of pristine white grave ­markers in our National Cemeteries appear in newspapers and on television reminding us it is Memorial Day. Usually the graves are decorated with American flags, helping us recall and honor those who perished in defense of our freedom. (Veterans Day on November ...Read More


The worst Civil War tragedy few remember

A lot of family trees have a fork connected in some way to the Civil War. My family tree’s connection was my great-great grandfather, Captain Deming Norton Lowrey and a disaster on the Mississippi River you’ve probably never heard about. The story includes some mystery, scandal and even some Illinois politics and wartime corruption. Capt. Lowrey didn’t die during the ...Read More