Home sweet, automated home

Home automation has always piqued my interest. Over the last few years, I have added several smart devices to my home to take advantage of the conveniences they offer. As of today, I have added five Amazon Echo devices, a Nest smart thermostat, nine Phillips Hue light bulbs, eight Feit Wi-Fi light bulbs, six smart […]

Spring planting

Farmers returning to the fields should stay particularly alert to the dangers of working near overhead power lines. Remember: Electricity can arc or “jump” from the line to equipment that’s too close. Keep equipment at least 10 feet from overhead lines. Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting tractors on trailer beds. Designate […]

Favorite houseplants for home or office

Growing plants indoors can add a soft green touch, create a focal piece, or incorporate nature indoors, transforming any room. Houseplants vary greatly in color, texture, size and shape — there is something perfect for any spot. The most important thing to consider when growing houseplants is placement for favorable conditions: light, temperature and humidity. […]


DOE awards $25 million to Prairie Research Institute

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $25 million to a three-year project led by the Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois, that will design a next-generation power plant in Springfield. The innovative plant design combines multiple techniques to both reduce emissions and capture and re-use carbon dioxide. The project (Front-End Engineering Design Study […]

Only a call away

Like self-driving cars and colonies on the moon, the idea of physicians treating patients from miles away has long been considered science fiction. In 1925, inventor Hugo Gernsback floated the idea of the “teledactyl,” a way doctors could use remote controls and yet-to-be invented television imagery to diagnose ailments on distant patients. While Gernsback’s prediction […]

Remodel for efficiency and convenience

Dear Jim: After 25 years, we need a total kitchen remodel for more cooking and entertaining convenience and better efficiency. Do you have design tips for accomplishing these goals on a reasonable budget? – Kathy M. Dear Kathy: You will find that a more convenient kitchen design and new appliances also offer more efficiency. In […]


Co-ops award grants to empower classrooms

Three electric cooperatives recently awarded more than $30,000 combined to classrooms within their service territory to help improve the learning environment or increase educational resources. Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, Paxton, is in its fourth year awarding classroom grants through its Empowering Education Grant Program. This year, the co-op awarded a total of $20,000 to 42 […]



If you still don’t have a REAL ID, the deadline set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is Oct. 1, 2021. The REAL ID is a driver’s license or state ID that is compliant with the REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005. The ID will be needed to fly domestically or visit […]


Small town mentality

Growing up in central Iowa, Josie Rudolphi remembers the stress and anxiety she would see in the faces of her father and other farmers. The worries and concerns made an impact on her – so much so that she pursued an interest in helping others in rural areas with mental well-being. Rudolphi, now an assistant […]


2021 insulin costs cap in Illinois

A newly-enacted law in Illinois changes the Illinois Insurance Code to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $100 per month for all patients using a state regulated insurance plan. Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, was chief sponsor of the Senate bill and says the legislation shows that Illinoisans don’t have to accept costly prescriptions. “People spoke […]