Secondary Feature

Don’t get up to your neck in septic system problems

Every homeowner that uses a septic system for wastewater treatment should clean their septic tank every one to three years. This type of maintenance must be done to remove scum and sludge that builds up in the tank. If this material builds up too much, it will plug up the drainage field lines, creating a […]

Turning coal waste into a valuable resource

Coal generated more than half the nation’s electricity as recently as 10 years ago, but that share has fallen to one-third. The decline of coal generation will continue as new environmental rules are set in place and prices for natural gas remain relatively low. So it’s curtains for coal, right? Not so fast. The Environmental […]

Register and vote

Election season is in full swing. Some of it can drive you crazy – the commercials, the robo calls, etc. But as candidates head out to engage voters in their communities, it’s vital they know that millions of electric cooperative members will cast their ballots in 2016. That means you need to register to vote, […]

Traveling with grandchildren

I  became a grandmother January 12, 2015 when Ainsley Hazel Moore arrived. One of my dreams for this sweet little girl is for her to enjoy the excitement and adventure of travel like I do and I think she has a pretty good start. She visited eight states her first year! As a travel writer, […]

Humble and kind

Hardworking, honest, passionate, generous, positive, present, a role model, friends, family and faith. These are all words from the top-10 list Amy Smith used to describe her father Jon Lang, the 2016 Illinois Country Living Father of the Year and Rock Energy Cooperative member. “I’m flattered by this, but the biggest honor for me was […]

Chocolate runs in their blood

You can feel a nostalgic ambience as you step into the doors of Lagomarcino’s and see the long glass cases of brightly colored candies and a multitude of hand dipped chocolates. Look a bit further and the handcrafted dark mahogany wood of the original back bar, with its shelves of soda and sundae glasses, and […]

Filling the holes in memories

By Meredith Bollinger History is important. Through time it has taught us ­lessons and embedded momentous occasions deep within our memories. However, we still take for granted what the past means to us through our local or personal histories. Generally speaking, we can remember what toys we used to play with, what clothes we used […]

Questions and answers about your social security

By Becky Whitlow, Social Security District Manager, Springfield The answers to many of your social security questions may be only a mouse click away. Go to to learn how to replace a card, find a retirement ­calculator, apply for benefits, change your address or set up direct deposit for your benefits. Here are a […]

Mapping out a unique retirement mission

Grandma’s jigsaw puzzle of the United States – one that identified every state of the union – apparently made quite an impression on little Gene Alexander. He fondly recalls working his grandmother’s puzzle even as a child of four or five. “I loved to put that thing together,” he remembers. “I knew all of my […]

Ten vegetables with the best payback

If you’re going to take a shot at growing your own dinner this year, a good place to start is by picking the crops that offer the best return on your investment. Experienced gardeners quickly learn that some types of home-grown vegetables work out better than others. Choices such as onions and peppers, for example, […]