Secondary Feature

Professional home energy auditors use infrared cameras to picture energy leaks.

Extreme Efficiency Makeover

By Magen Howard Extreme home makeovers can update your living space, but an energy efficiency makeover will ensure your home performs at its peak. Everything from “low-hanging fruit” like ­swapping out lightbulbs to ­“bigger ticket” items such as ­replacing appliances with newer, energy-­saving models is fair game. Finding ‘energy hogs’ If you’re ready to take on a home ­efficiency makeover, ...Read More


Fire sparks volunteers

The call comes requiring immediate action. You hop in your truck and rush to the firehouse, quickly throw on 70 pounds of equipment and head out to the emergency. Time is of the essence and others are depending on your quick action. That is the life of an emergency responder, never knowing when that call will come, day or night, ...Read More

Personal relationships are at the core of what locally owned and operated cooperatives are all about, which makes them perfectly
positioned to foster economic development projects. - Source: Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives

Energizing our communities the co-op way

During October each year we celebrate Co-op Month along with all the other 29,000 member-owned cooperatives in the United States. But this year electric cooperatives are doing more than celebrating the co-op business model. After 75 years of providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity to rural areas, the nation’s electric cooperatives are taking a look in the mirror and asking ...Read More


Two girls with a dishwasher and a dream

By Valerie Cheatham It’s an especially tough economic time out there for small businesses, but two sisters, Lauren and Annie Murray of rural Fisher (the L. and A. of L.A. Gourmet), have managed to wade through those rough waters and come out with a very successful business. Who knew an $85 commercial dishwasher would have such an impact!    Lauren and ...Read More

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Working together for Illinois

Our state and nation are facing very tough issues that require the good faith effort of our leaders and a willingness to work across the aisle. Illinois’ freshmen Representatives, William Enyart, Cheri Bustos and Rodney Davis, who together represent more than 40 counties, all emphasized the importance of ­creating jobs for their districts and bipartisanship in Congress.       ...Read More

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Telling fish stories

Long before anyone had ever heard of the television programs, “Hillbilly Handfishin’,” “Mudcats” or “Dirty Jobs,” the Williams and Campbell families had been hand-fishing (or hoggin’) in the Mackinaw and Kickapoo Rivers and Salt Creek in north central Illinois. In fact, both families have three generations of hoggers, as they refer to themselves. “Catfish” John Campbell taught his buddy Bob ...Read More

Grandmother Rita along with sons (l-r) Richard, Robert and Steven hold the new Sesquicentennial Farm signs presented to them by State Rep. Jim Sacia.

This land is our land

“And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer. God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the ...Read More

barn - turbine

Watching wind grow in rural Illinois

Wind energy development in the United States is rushing past recent growth records. In 2011, 6,819 megawatts of generating capacity were installed; in 2012, that figure jumped to more than 13,000 MW, according to the American Wind Energy Association. In total, the U.S. boasts more than 60,000 MW of wind power capacity. Since 1 MW powers 750 to 1,000 average ...Read More

Ginger was very underweight and pregnant when rescued.

Humane investigator SHAREs her stories of equine salvation

Horse ownership is a huge ­responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. It is time-consuming and expensive. On average a horse can live to be 25 years of age and ­according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, “the average minimum cost of care is $1825 annually” and that doesn’t include expenses like the veterinarian, farrier fees and boarding. As horses ...Read More

Delivering business success

When Steve Givan and his wife Jana started Spencer’s Books in their home nearly seven years ago, they didn’t realize how quickly it would grow. The couple now operates their Internet business from a warehouse in Plainfield - a small community at the crossroads of historic Lincoln Highway and Route 66. “The post office is essential to what we do,” ...Read More