Secondary Feature

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The electric grid connects us all

By Justin LaBerge Our electric grid is an engineering marvel and also one of the most complex systems in the world. It’s grown over the past century moving from a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants, and transmission and distribution lines to become more ­interconnected. At first, power flowed one way but […]

Illinois electric cooperatives own and maintain 56,000 miles of right-of-way and trees and power lines like this don’t mix. They cause outages and even worse — safety issues. Make sure your children know that climbing trees near power lines is extremely dangerous.

The hard truth about trimming trees

Lynn Frasco, retiring Manager of Menard Electric Cooperative in Petersburg, took a question from the audience at his final annual meeting in June. It was a question every manager has had to answer and Frasco has probably answered it hundreds of times. “Why do you have to cut our trees?” Frasco got a little ­emotional […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]


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 […]