Cooperation Innovation

We teach our children to share, encouraging them to work together while playing, at school, and even at home. We ask them to cooperate in order to make their worlds more peaceful, better places to live. Yet all too often as adults, we find ourselves struggling to hold on to those same values. So, when […]

Paddlewheel Steamboats Return to Illinois

Photos and story by Jim Winnerman The first indication something is approaching is a low hiss and rumble that causes you to stop what you are doing and listen intently to see if it ceases. Instead, it slowly builds in volume, getting so loud the noise becomes an intense guttural shriek echoing across the countryside. […]

Where there’s smoke … There might just be a festival!

The smell of BBQ smoke and popcorn can make a mouth water. Brightly colored hot air balloons take form as they inflate and float up into the awakening dawn. The sounds of music and people. All of these are just a few of the sights, sounds and smells you can find at local festivals. Festivals […]

The road to recovery

Ronald Reagan once remarked, “To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last – but eat you he will.” There are many memorable quotes associated with business, or the economy, or the recession. And, even though at first […]

Child on horse

Who rescued whom?

Tranquility. Peace. Love. Like a warm blanket on a cold day, you’re immediately enveloped by it as you head up the dusty lane to Refuge Ranch, near Pawnee. With a menagerie of horses, ponies, goats, sheep and even a pig milling about, this may look like just another small ranch that dots the Illinois landscape, […]

Getting comfortable with home energy efficiency

Melanie wants her home to be comfortable, cheerful, and bright. Winter gusts blowing across the Kansas prairie send her to the thermostat to fight the chill. In the summer, she nudges the temperature down to keep cool, all while avoiding her husband’s detection. Melanie’s husband, Scott, frowns on tweaking the thermostat. He canvases the home, […]

Leaving a legacy

There are a couple of things more important in life than just about anything—even money. Faith, family, friends and forgiveness are just a few of life’s most important things. Another thing important to many Illinois families is the family farm. It’s where roots are put down literally and figuratively. It represents more than a business. […]

The bounty of the prairie

Consumers are increasingly aware of the value of feeding their families fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables and are searching for farmers markets and produce stands. Illinois has long been known for its corn and beans, but more than 40 different specialty crops are grown in the state, including everything from pumpkins and apples to horseradish, […]

Building a Better World

By Frank K. Gallant For 70 years, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has represented America’s electric co-ops, fighting to keep electricity affordable, reliable and safe, and improve the quality of life in rural America. But over the past half-century, the scope of its work has reached far beyond U.S. borders. On Nov. 1, […]

Broadband for the back 40

If you live in a city you probably have access to several broadband Internet provider options. The same can’t always be said for those living in rural areas. But there’s good news. Many Illinois electric cooperatives are striving to level the broadband playing field for cooperative members. Broadband communications is important to their own business […]