Commentary

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 […]

Closed sign

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 […]

Lawmakers play key role to help rural communities

Washington politics have become so polarized that it can be tough for Democrats and Republicans to come together to tackle big challenges. But that’s exactly what happened recently on Capitol Hill thanks to dedicated lawmakers. Illinois’ U.S. senators and representatives listened to thousands of electric cooperative stakeholders as they fought tirelessly to add important legislation to […]

New markets create new opportunities

This past year, I completed 201 events across my congressional district, which covers 14 counties and spans 7,000 square miles across northwest, northern and central Illinois. As I travel our state and region, one of my favorite events is “Cheri on Shifts,” where I roll up my sleeves to job shadow hardworking Illinoisans. Throughout my time […]

National Blood Donor Month

Be the giving type!

During the month of January, blood providers serving the state of Illinois wish to recognize blood donors who support the blood supply throughout the year and especially after the busy holiday season. January has been designated National Volunteer Blood Donor Month because this month can present some of the greatest challenges for the blood supply […]