Currents

Sluggish times in nation’s heartland

Nineteen months and ­counting. That’s how long the rural economy has been subpar, according to a study of ­economic activity in the nation’s heartland. The Rural Mainstreet Index, which looks at a 10-state region that depends on agriculture and energy, registered a 45.3 mark for March on a scale of zero to 100, with 100 […]

Cooperative solar skyrockets

By the end of 2017, the total solar energy ­capacity of America’s electric cooperatives will be five times what it was two years ago, according to data released by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). This year, co-ops are on pace to add 480 ­megawatts of solar, which would bring their total ­capacity to 873 […]

Electric cooperatives got relief from EPA regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it is halting effluent limitations guidelines and standards for electric generation from taking effect until the agency reconsiders the regulations, estimated to cost $480 million per year. The rule would have required several generation and transmission (G&T) co-ops to decide capital expen­ditures in the tens of millions of dollars […]

Cooperative leaders return from legislative conference

Fifty-two Illinois electric cooperative represen­tatives joined peers from across the country to send a strong message to Congress and key ­agencies during the annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. During meetings with Illinois’ U.S. Senators and the U.S. Representatives, whose districts have cooperative ­service territory, they urged support for legislation extending the Geothermal Tax Credit, […]

Rural day care problem solved cooperatively

“Grim” is how working parents Jon and Laura Dronen describe the day care ­situation in Hazen, North Dakota. Ever since the couple’s long-time baby­sitter retired in May 2016, the parents of two children under age eight have had four different providers, including a cousin they flew in from Oklahoma. Jon, a Procurement Operations Administrator at […]

Illinois electric cooperatives electrify villages in Bolivia

Linemen from nine Illinois electric cooperatives brought power and opportunity to four Bolivian villages in March. The 12 linemen returned to Illinois safely after ­spending three weeks in central Bolivia constructing a power ­distribution system to 62 households and two schools. “These three weeks in Bolivia were a life changer,” said Matt Eisenmenger, safety instructor […]

Shawnee National Forest launches new tip line

To assist in forest management and law ­enforcement, there is a new Shawnee National Forest Tip Line. Available 24-hours a day, people now can report ­suspicious or illegal activities or relay important infor­mation about conditions on the forest. You can text or leave a message at 618-201-3364; if you prefer, you can remain anonymous. To […]

New executive order calls for review of the Clean Power Plan

Throughout the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump pledged to review burdensome federal regulations when he became president. On March 28, President Trump took an important step to follow through on that commitment by ­signing an executive order to promote energy independence. The order also calls for review of the Clean Power Plan. “Electric co-ops have two […]

Co-op sponsored students meet with state leaders

During the Illinois Electric and Telephone Cooperative’s Youth Day, March 29, in Springfield, more than 240 ­students from around Illinois had an opportunity to visit the state capitol, view state government in action and question their legislators on key issues. “Elected officials always enjoy the oppor­tunity to meet with students and learn first-hand some of […]

Papers with the top sheet labeled Property Tax.

Illinois has 2nd highest property taxes

Property taxes are insignificant to some and the bane of others existence. Here in Illinois we have the distinction of having the second highest property rate in the country ­compared to all the states plus the District of Columbia. Only New Jersey has a higher rate ­according to WalletHub.com. The average American household spends $2,149 […]