Greater reliability requires new skills

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” It’s a familiar saying, and that age-old piece of wisdom is used by electric utilities to make sure you receive a reliable supply of electricity. Michael Leitman, senior analyst at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, translates that saying into utility-industry terminology this way: “You don’t want to […]

Help is available for college-bound students

A couple weeks ago, I was visiting with my niece, a high school senior, who was in the process of completing college applications. We were talking about which colleges and community colleges she would have an interest in attending and what areas she is thinking about studying. That naturally leads to a big question – how […]

Defining moments

History is a collection of defining moments. Unfortunately, 2020 has yielded more than enough defining moments for a generation. But trying times bring out the best in those being tested; and I’ve always said southern Illinois is the best place to live because of its people. We help our friends and neighbors in their time of […]

Co-ops and the local communities they serve

October is National Co-op Month, and this year, it makes sense to use this time to recognize and celebrate the variety that is the essence of being local. That local heritage for electric co-ops started in the 1930s with neighborly visits, often on horseback from one farm to the next, talking about the lights they could […]

Celebrate democracy: register and vote

The best way to celebrate democracy is by encouraging full participation in public life. That’s why the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) and its 24 distribution co-ops are supporting National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22, 2020. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 70 percent of eligible American citizens of voting age were […]

Seeing 2020

The year 2020 is the perfect time to bring your eye health front and center. August is National Children’s Vision and Learning Month. As your front line, primary eye care provider doctors of optometry are here to assist you and your family as you welcome a new child and as your children go back to school. […]

Today’s listeners, tomorrow’s leaders

Nelson Mandela is credited with saying, “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow,” and my grandmother’s response to that quote is, “Gosh darn! That’s scary.” Babers, that’s what we call my grandma, is right, because our world and society continue to change and evolve and become more confusing for the youth of today. The […]

New broadband funding will spark economic flame across rural America

Broadband access is the great equalizer. It enables a virtual workforce, distance learning and telemedicine, and connects local communities to the global economy. Yet, more than 21 million Americans lack high-speed internet access simply because of their zip code. In 2020, that’s unacceptable. Especially since efforts to address the digital divide began nearly 25 years ago. The need […]

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Banding together for your local economy

Working and living in small towns makes business closures personal for community leaders. Whether the reason is owner retirement, changing trends or international competition, closures stick with us. Communities suffer each loss in tax revenue, jobs, leadership and morale. To address the voids, University of Illinois Extension shares insightful counter strategies in various ways. You’ll […]

This spring, pitch in to help pollinators

Spring is here and that means the sounds of spring – the buzzing and chirping of Illinois pollinators – aren’t far behind. Pollinators, which include everything from butterflies and bees to hummingbirds and moths, are responsible for approximately one in three bites of food that we eat. More than that, pollinators help plants that give us […]