Page 1

Find out how to save on HVAC tune-ups and lawn equipment inside.

WIN Energy REMC’s

THE CLEAN TEAM Volunteers attack community’s trash problem ... one bag at a time pages 20–23

APRIL 2021

from the editor

A letter to myself

Letter writing — and the process of sitting down, capturing thoughts and ideas, and actually communicating — seems to be a lost art in these days of texting and social media. But a documentary released last fall called “Dear Future Me” shows us how writing letters to our future selves can provide clarity and allow us pause to ponder who we are and what’s really important to us. The documentary talks about a project that sixth graders in New Jersey do at school year’s end. They write letters to their 18-year-old selves. The letters are sealed and kept safe by their teachers. Six years later, those teachers mail them back to the students. These letters not only provide a peek at what’s going on in the student’s present day. They also allow the letter writer to ask questions to his/her future self. And writing the letter is just as revealing as reading it years later. It’s not unlike discovering your childhood diary as an adult and uncovering a long-forgotten version of yourself. Or it’s like unearthing buried treasure — but the treasure is actually yourself. If you’re intrigued about this concept of intimately connecting with someone you don’t yet know, visit the website to write yourself a letter. You can set the time to have that letter emailed back to you. There are many reasons this concept of writing to your future self is a good idea. Those in early stages of Alzheimer’s might do it to preserve precious memories. Some may do it to put their goals down on paper and ensure they actually work toward achieving them. Others may do it just to self-reflect and get to get to know themselves a little better. But for whatever reason and by whatever means, why not begin a correspondence with someone who really wants to hear from you? Yourself.


On the menu: August issue: Peppers, deadline June 1.

September issue: Chicken, deadline June 1. If we publish your recipe on our food pages, we’ll send you a $10 gift card.

Giveaway: Create your own charcuterie display with a Hearth & Hand™ by Magnolia serving board. Turn to page 18 for some inspiration on how to assemble your charcuterie board. Visit to enter. Entry deadline: April 30.

Three ways to contact us: To send us recipes, photos, event listings, letters

and entries for gift drawings, please use the forms on our website; email; or send to Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606.

VOLUME 70 • NUMBER 10 ISSN 0745-4651 • USPS 262-340 Published monthly by Indiana Electric Cooperatives Indiana Connection is for and about members of Indiana’s locally-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. It helps consumers use electricity safely and efficiently; understand energy issues; connect with their co-op; and celebrate life in Indiana. Over 304,000 residents and businesses receive the magazine as part of their electric co-op membership. CONTACT US: 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600 Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606 317-487-2220 INDIANA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OFFICERS: Walter Hunter President Randy Kleaving Vice President Steve McMichael Secretary/Treasurer John Gasstrom CEO EDITORIAL STAFF: Emily Schilling Editor Richard George Biever Senior Editor Holly Huffman Communication Support Specialist Ellie Schuler Senior Creative Services Specialist Taylor Maranion Creative Services Specialist Lauren Carman Communication Coordinator Stacey Holton Director of Creative Services Mandy Barth Vice President of Communication ADVERTISING: American MainStreet Publications Cheryl Solomon, local ad representative; 512-441-5200; Crosshair Media 502-216-8537; Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication. UNSOLICITED MATERIAL: Indiana Connection does not use unsolicited freelance manuscripts or photographs and assumes no responsibility for the safe‑keeping or return of unsolicited material. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $12 for individuals not subscribing through participating REMCs/RECs. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: If you receive Indiana Connection through your electric co-op membership, report address changes to your local co-op. POSTAGE: Periodicals postage paid at Indianapolis, Ind., and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to: Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606. Include key number. No portion of Indiana Connection may be reproduced without permission of the editor.

APRIL 2021







03 FROM THE EDITOR 05 CO-OP NEWS Energy news and information from your electric cooperative. 10 ENERGY Power supply increasingly diverse.



14 COUNTY OF THE MONTH Spotlighting Decatur County. 16 INDIANA EATS Top notch tapas at Habana Blues. 17 FOOD Get on board the charcuterie craze.



Indiana Connection



20 COVER STORY The Clean Team: Volunteers attack community’s trash problem ... one bag at a time. 24 TRAVEL New Harmony: Utopia on the Wabash. 25 RECALLS 26 BACKYARD Spruce’s needle drop causes concern.


27 DIY Giving an old lamp a T-riffic makeover. 28 H OOSIER ENERGY/ WABASH VALLEY NEWS 29 SAFETY Keep your distance from downed power lines. 30 PROFILE ‘Co-op’ is in Blake Kleaving’s blood.

On the cover Terry Mullen, left, and Brent Youngblood, members of the all-volunteer “Society of Trash Baggers,” spend much of their free time picking up other people’s trash along the roadways and in public areas around Vigo County. The colorful caps were knitted by a member to increase the baggers’ visibility. PHOTO BY STEPHANIE TAYLOR


APRIL 2021

Thank a Lineworker ON APRIL 12 CONTACT US Toll Free:  800-882-5140 Local: 812-882-5140 Fax: 812-886-0306 AUTOMATED EXPRESS SERVICES For outages and payments, call:  888-456-9876 OFFICE HOURS 7:30 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday VINCENNES OFFICE 3981 S. U.S. Highway 41 Vincennes, IN 47591 PRINCETON OFFICE 1314 W. 100 N. Princeton, IN 47670 SULLIVAN OFFICE 2044 W. State Road 154 Sullivan, IN 47882 UNDERGROUND LINE LOCATING Please call 811 at least two business days before you plan to dig. 2021 OFFICE CLOSINGS New Year’s Day: Jan. 1; Good Friday: April 2; Memorial Day: May 31; Independence Day: July 5; Labor Day: Sept. 6; Veterans Day: Nov. 11; Thanksgiving: Nov. 25 and 26; Christmas: Dec. 24 and 25; METER READING DATES Cycle 1: April 2; Cycle 2: April 7; Cycle 3: April 16; Cycle 4: April 25; Cycle 5: May 1; Cycle 6: May 1. APRIL TREE TRIMMING LOCATIONS Tree trimming crews will be in the following townships this month: SULLIVAN Curry Fairbanks Jackson

VIGO Honey Creek Linton Pierson Prairie Creek Prairieton Riley Specific locations can be found at      Like us on Facebook

If you were asked to

there is a team of highly skilled

associate an image

professionals working behind the

or a person with

scenes. Operation and engineering

WIN Energy REMC,

personnel provide ongoing expertise

I bet you would

and guidance on the operations side of

picture a lineworker.

the co-op. Member service and billing

Some of the most

representatives are always standing

visible employees of the co-op,

by to take your calls and questions.

lineworkers work tirelessly to ensure

Our information technology (IT)

our community receives uninterrupted

experts are continuously monitoring

power 24/7.

our system to help safeguard sensitive

“Lineworker” is listed as one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S. This is understandable as they perform detailed tasks near highvoltage power lines. Regardless of the time of day, having to brave

data. And these are just a few of the folks who work together to ensure we can deliver the service and reliability you expect and deserve. Without them, our lineworkers wouldn’t be able to “bring the light” to our community.

stormy weather and other challenging

Our dedicated and beloved

conditions, lineworkers must climb 40

lineworkers are proud to represent

feet in the air, often carrying heavy

WIN Energy REMC, and they deserve

equipment to get the job done.

all the appreciation and accolades

Being a lineworker is not a glamorous or easy profession. It takes years

that come their way on Lineworker Appreciation Day.

of specialized training, ongoing

On April 12, and any time you see

education, dedication, and equally

lineworkers, I hope you’ll join me in

important, a sense of service and

thanking them for their exceptional

commitment. This dedication and

service. I also hope you’ll remember

sense of service to the community is

that you have a dedicated team

truly what sets them apart. That’s why

of professionals working behind

we set aside the second Monday in

the scenes at the co-op whose

April to celebrate and recognize those

commitment to service runs just as

who work around the clock to keep the


lights on. While lineworkers may be the most visible employees at WIN Energy


REMC, it’s important to note that

APRIL 2021


Operation Round Up grants $20,535.72

The Operation Round Up program allows WIN Energy REMC members to reach out to worthy causes in their communities and work together to help others. Thank you to those members who round up their electric bills to the next highest dollar each month. Since the inception of the program in May 2013, 168 grants have been awarded to local organizations totaling over $514,000. Your small change is really making a big difference for organizations in our community. Grants are awarded quarterly, with the next round of grants being awarded in

ARTHUR FOUNDATION, INC. received $5,527.53 to purchase supplies to rebuild the lakeside shelter house, paint 17 buildings, and install gutter guards for 10 youth cabins at the camp.

June. Applications are due by May 1 to be considered for the June disbursement. Any charitable organization within the WIN Energy REMC service territory is eligible to apply. The organization does not have to be a member of WIN Energy

KNOX COUNTY FAIR received $3,903.66 to update the electric system in the 4-H building at the fairgrounds.

REMC. Applications can be picked up at any of the three WIN Energy REMC offices or downloaded at www. Please be sure to download the most recent application online as periodic updates are made.

OLD TOWN PLAYER COMMUNITY THEATER received $4,000 towards the repair and replacement of guttering, soffits, and flashing on the theater.


APRIL 2021

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP FIRE DEPARTMENT received $5,669.53 to purchase an AED, first aid equipment, suction aspirator, splint kit, and radios.

PIKE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY received $1,435 to purchase a new furnace for the history center.

REMC announces promotions WIN Energy REMC’s directors and employees are excited to announce these promotions and wish the employees the best in their new positions!




promoted to IT specialist.

promoted to distribution projects superintendent.

promoted to director of operations and engineering.




promoted to operations and safety coordinator.

promoted to corporate administrative services manager.

promoted to IT systems manager.

WIN Energy REMC Scholarship Winnners Announced WIN Energy REMC has selected the following students for our 2021 scholarship program. Congratulations to all the students who were selected!

Scholarship Recipients Gretchen Carie South Knox HS Hallie Kirk South Knox HS Stephanie Cullom Gibson Southern HS Courtney Lueking Sullivan HS Neeley Correll Pike Central HS Zoey McCormick North Knox HS Drake Dunn Vincennes Rivet HS Kenzie Powell Pike Central HS Ella Hays South Knox HS Peyton Sisil Sullivan HS

APRIL 2021


Contact us for more details and to identify qualifying equipment.

50 up to



Total rebate not to exceed $50.





Electric Lawn Equipment rebate program



APRIL 2021

Save up to


on new lawn equipment



Indiana families and businesses increasingly powered by renewable energy A blustery chilly day may be the reason you’re avoiding the outdoors. It’s also the reason you have the electricity you need to stay inside. When you plug an appliance or device into a wall outlet, renewable resources are increasingly powering them up. Renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power have been added to the energy grid in recent years, including in Indiana. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that in 2019, annual energy consumption from renewables in the U.S. exceeded coal consumption for the first time in more than 130 years. As technology has evolved, once expensive resources such as


APRIL 2021

renewables and natural gas have diversified the nation’s power supply, including in Indiana. Currently, 38 electric co-ops in the Hoosier state use wind energy (tied for the third most co-ops in the country) while 39 Indiana electric co-ops use solar energy (the second highest total in the nation), according to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). This increasingly diverse power supply helps keep rates low by safeguarding against price volatility for any particular resource. If one resource becomes more expensive, other more competitive resources can ensure that families and businesses can seamlessly continue to have their energy needs met affordably.

Renewable energy resources also benefit the environment. More renewables replacing fossil fuel means that less carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere, reducing everyone’s carbon footprint. This has even become an economic development tool for electric co-ops, which regularly work with businesses to offset their energy consumption with renewables to help them meet their sustainability goals. Community solar programs and additional options may even be available for residential members to take advantage of renewable resources. Technology improvements can benefit you in other ways: your local electric

cooperative may offer rebates for energy efficiency upgrades to your home or business that will lower your long-term energy use, saving you even more. All of these developments mean that when you plug an appliance or device into the wall, technology improvements combined with resources such as the sun and wind are doing more than ever to power your day.


Amanda Steeb

Director of Marketing and Communciations Kankakee Valley REMC



‘Hootie Hoo’ throughout the year

Love your magazine. Lots of good info. What a shock to read in the February issue (From the Editor column) that some other people in this world do HOODIE HOO! We do it without the “D” (using the letter “T” instead). But it means the same. My sister and our daughters use it all the time. Never an email is written, a birthday card sent, a phone all or greeting at our houses with the HOOTIE HOO included … Can’t wait to do it on Feb. 20 at noon. Janet Barton Stemmle via email

Discovering Indiana wineries Thank you for a great article on Indiana wineries! Having just moved from Virginia, where traveling to new wineries on their wine trails was great fun for my husband and I, as well as my girlfriends, I am happy to know Indiana has new wineries for us to discover now as well. Claudia Mager, Seymour, Indiana

Looks forward to magazine Always look forward to receiving the Indiana Connection magazine! So much enjoyable and informative information in a small magazine! Pamela Suding, Brookville, Indiana

Keeping the community connected Thank you for your magazine! I like how it keeps our community connected and informed. Great job! Jami Beer, Whitestown, Indiana

correction Indiana Extension offices do not perform soil tests On page 21 of last month’s magazine, in an article titled “First things first: Do a soil test,” we incorrectly stated that local extension offices have soil sample bags on hand. Extension offices in Indiana do not have sample bags and Purdue University does not perform routine soil testing for the public. We apologize for the error.

county feature

A mulberry tree grows out from the roof of the Decatur County Courthouse clock tower. The novelty of the “Tower Tree” is known around the world. PHOTO BY RICHARD G. BIEVER

Decatur County Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday of each April. But one Indiana county holds a special place in its heart for a tree that towers daily over the county’s affairs — an attraction that has been around for over 150 years. That county is Decatur County. That tree is none other than “The Tower Tree” that grows right out of the roof of the clock tower of the county courthouse in Greensburg. “It’s almost certainly the thing that Greensburg and Decatur County is best known for,” said Philip Deiwert, executive director of the Decatur County Visitors Commission. “I get frustrated sometimes that some of the other things I think are great about our community seem to get overlooked because of the tree — which is kind of fluky. But it is an attraction, and people are definitely curious about it. Almost every day I see people park their cars and get out and take pictures of it.” This tree, or rather it and its many predecessors, has been mentioned in publications throughout the world and on TV shows like the old “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.” How the trees ever started growing or how they have continued for 150 years is somewhat of a happenstance and mystery. Deiwert explained that the tower’s four-sided pyramid roof is mostly an ornamental cover. The tower’s actual roof is an arch of bricks just above the clock face. “There’s space above that brick domed ceiling and the


APRIL 2021

exterior roof where the roots of the tree grow,” he said. “That space is reportedly full of dirt and soot and bird and bat guano — all stuff with good nutrients for the tree.” As early as 1865, according to some reports, when the courthouse was only 5 years old, a tiny sprig was first noticed growing out of the roof of the 115-foot tower. Definitely by 1870, the public began taking note as finally five sprouts were seen springing up at different places around the top of the tower. Fearing the trees would cause permanent damage to the roof or the tower, the county hired a steeplejack in 1888 to ascend the building and remove some of the trees, but not all, since they had already become quite an attraction. Two were left standing. Over the passing years, sprigs and trees died off and others continued popping up to continue the quirky attraction. The current tree, a mulberry, is estimated at 50 years old. Early last fall, a large crane was brought in to hoist a county arborist on a platform to inspect the tree and prune some dead limbs. While the tree is

y t n u o C acts F FOUNDED: 1821

NAMED FOR: Stephen Decatur Jr., an early American naval officer POPULATION: 26,794 (2018 estimate) COUNTY SEAT: Greensburg OF NOTE: When traveling between Indianapolis and Cincinnati on Interstate 74, look for brand new signs that say, “World Famous Tower Tree” with the Greensburg exit numbers. It’s hoped the billboards will entice travelers off the highway to check out the Tower Tree, and then, while there, they’ll get lunch or a cup of coffee, or go into some of the shops and businesses around the courthouse square.

reportedly doing OK, a 3-year plan was put together and implemented this spring with the hope of nursing the tree back to full health. That will ensure the “World Famous Tower Tree” will continue making Decatur County the “Tree County” for many more years to come.

Indiana eats


Tapas Habana Blues serves Cuban specialties

Tapas dining — the Spanish concept of ordering small plates of food that can be shared with others at your table — is gaining popularity with diners who enjoy sampling a little this and a little that. Since opening in 2010, Habana Blues Tapas Restaurant, housed in a converted bank building in New Albany, has filled its signature small plates with maximum flavor. Restaurant owner Leonardo “Leo” Lopez is proud to share traditional dishes from his native Cuba with those familiar with Cuban cuisine as well as those who want to try new things. Lopez’s path from Cuba to southern Indiana, was literally anything but “smooth sailing.” In 1994, back when Fidel Castro was allowing Cuban citizens to legally leave the country, the 18-year-old Lopez and eight others set off on a raft fashioned from a wooden pallet (which is now on display in Habana Blues) to pursue the American dream. But while enroute, he was picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard. Lopez was detained at Guantanamo Bay — then a refugee camp — for 16 months.


APRIL 2021

After he was released, Lopez spent most of 1996 in Miami, then moved to the Kentuckiana area in December of that year. For 12 years, he worked for a cement company in Sellersburg while moonlighting as a bartender at a Cuban restaurant in Louisville. When the restaurant’s owner decided to sell his business, Lopez and the restaurant’s chef bought it and moved it to Indiana. Within months, they opened Habana Blues too. Though they soon closed their first restaurant, Habana Blues continues to thrive. Those new to Cuban cuisine often begin their food journey with renowned dishes like ropa vieja (Cuba’s national dish) or Cuban sandwiches, which deliciously combine roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread. Habana Blues offers two types of ropa vieja — both beef and chicken varieties — served in a sandwich or empanada, atop Cuban skillet sweet potato, or served with sweet plaintains, rice and black beans. To get a true taste of the fusion fare so representative of Cuba, order a large selection of Habana Blues’ specialties as small shareable tapas plates.


(Habana Blues also a large selection of entrees for those who’d rather not share.) Among the don’t-miss menu items: Queso Fundido, a cheese and chorizo dip; Croquetas de Jamon y Pollo, homemade ham and chicken croquettes; and Gambas al Ajillo, shrimp sauteed with garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and olive oil. Two tapas samplers are on the menu for those who just can’t decide what to order. Habana Blues is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Family dinner packages for four are available for curbside pickup or GrubHub delivery. Enjoy $4 margarita, mojito and sangria drink specials Monday through Wednesday.

Habana Blues Tapas Restaurant 320 Pearl St. New Albany



On board

Put the ‘cute’ in app time with trendy charcuterie boards Thank Instagram for encouraging us to “up” our humdrum cocktail hour meat, cheese and cracker boards into swoon-worthy palates that are just as eyeppetizing as they are appetizing. Charcuterie, a French word which originally meant “a pork butcher’s shop,” now more often refers to a wooden cutting board or platter

artfully arranged with either savory or sweet nibbles.

Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.)

A charcuterie board’s offerings are limited only by your imagination. Consider flavor, color and texture when shopping for your board’s ingredients. Then unleash your inner food stylist and arrange the items on the board. (Feel free to consult

To ensure all charcuterie partakers are staying COVID safe, make sure you have serving tongs and forks available so your guests can take what they want without touching what they don’t. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

APRIL 2021



savory BOARD

Tame pre-dinner tummy rumblings with a far-fromboring board


START WITH THESE SUGGESTIONS: Asparagus spears Carrot sticks

Cashews or nuts of your choice Cornichon pickles Assorted crackers Cheese cubes, slices or wedges Cucumber spears Fruit jam or preserves Olives Pickled garlic Prosciutto Thinly sliced red pepper Salami



Artichoke hearts Boursin cheese Crostini Dried cranberries, figs or apricots Grapes Hummus Pretzels Salsa


CHARCUTERIE FOR ONE The hottest trend in charcuterie is “jarcuterie” which showcases all the usual (and unusual) deli tray favorites in a whole new way. Perfect for pandemic times, these portable single serving -sized snacks or appetizers ensure you — and your food — are safe and socially distanced. APRIL 2021

Readers: We’d love to see your charcuterie board creations. Connect with us on social media.


sweet BOARD

Sugar is sweet … and so are these wow-worthy dessert charcuterie boards


START WITH THESE SUGGESTIONS: Animal crackers Assorted berries Brownies

Candy coated chocolates Chocolate nonpareils and dark chocolate candy bars Cookies Gummy bears Macarons Mini doughnuts Sugar wafers


Pick a color or color scheme to make your board festive for any occasion.


Caramel corn Caramel fruit dip Chocolate-covered pretzels Mini fruit kabobs Fudge sauce Gumdrops Graham crackers Hazelnut spread Marshmallow fluff Peanut butter


APRIL 2021


Stephanie Taylor uses a grabbing stick to pick up trash along a roadside in Vigo County during an outing with the Society of Trash Baggers. P H OTO B Y MA R T Y J ON ES

Community clean-up Volunteer 'society' goes after the trash By Richard G. Biever This year marks a half century since the nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful first aired an unforgettable and now iconic ad campaign. The ad depicted a Native American in full buckskin paddling a canoe through a modern world of polluted water, air and land. “Some people have a deep, abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once this country …,” a deep voice-over intoned. As he then stood on the shoulder of a busy highway, a paper bag was tossed from the window of a passing car that hit the pavement in front of him; its contents scattered onto his moccasins. “… And some people don’t,” the voice continued. The actor turned his face toward the camera which zoomed in on a tear rolling down his right cheek. “People start pollution,” came the narrated admonishment. “People can stop it.” In the 50 years since, water and air quality have vastly improved. But people have not stopped polluting the land. Too many of us still act as if an open window in our moving vehicle is a slot on the side of a dumpster. City streets, county roads and highways are littered, and illegal dumping continues marring the natural beauty of the “Land of the Indians.”


APRIL 2021

Trash Bagging 101

Signs warning of fines may

On any given weekend,

scare some litterbugs into

as an organized group or

doing what they should:

just on their own, members

find a trash can. And many

take trash bags, 5-gallon

long-standing volunteer

buckets and the reaching

civic organizations and

tools called “grabbers,”

required correctional

and don the trash bagger’s

community service details


• Always keep an eye on traffic.

The colorful sock caps they

• Wear a bright-colored vest or shirt.

do yeoman’s work picking up after others. But like so many things, more hands are needed on deck all around Indiana.

wear were the contribution of a member who had broken her leg. “She used to pick up trash all the

One newer group started

time,” said Mullen-Perry,

stepping up in Terre Haute

“but then she was down for

and Vigo County in 2018. It

the count awhile. So, she

calls itself “The Society of

made everybody hats.”

Trash Baggers.” The name came about after members started hearing of others in the area independently doing the same thing. One founding member, Kelly Dumas, age 73, observed that that’s what it seemed like they were: a society.

“They’re all this multicolor stuff, so we show up,” added Karen Long, 66, another original member. “People now know us. When we do a cleanup, they’ll ask: ‘When do I get a hat?’”

“I always wanted to be in

The Society’s Facebook

some kind of society,” she

page now has over 1,800


followers. While most

“It does make it sound a little classier,” added Jennifer Mullen-Perry, age 41, a member of the group.

are from western-central Indiana, some are from over the line in Illinois. One person, who lives near Seattle, was invited to join

The Society is a loose

the group after making

affiliation of residents

the national news for his

from mostly in and around

own efforts there. He’s

Vigo County. You could

now of the Society’s Kent,

say these volunteers,

Washington, branch.

pardon the pun, “give a ‘Haute,’ and don’t pollute” — a nod and a wink to another environmental icon, Woodsy Owl, who also celebrates his 50th anniversary this year.

While Long and MullenPerry concede a very small fraction of those 1,800 followers actually participate in group events, many quietly clean up around their own areas, or they lend moral support.

The Society of Trash Baggers and Indiana Connection has put together a list of tips for beginners. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

• Wear good shoes that provide comfort as you walk but will also protect your feet and even your ankles from broken glass and other sharp objects hidden in high grass. • Always wear gloves and wash your hands well after you are done. • A hat and eye protection will help you from getting poked or having something flipped in your eyes. • Use a quality grabber reacher tool to keep from bending over and touching trash. • Carry a 5-gallon plastic bucket as you pick up trash, then empty it into a larger trash bag as it becomes full. It’s easier than carrying a bag in the wind or lugging a large trash bag that’s becoming full. • Beware of dumped piles of unusual items like plastic bottles with tubes running out the top, empty cans or bottles of harsh chemical products, and medicine packaging; these could be signs of a discarded methamphetamine lab and could be explosive and dangerous. Call police. • Beware of medical wastes and used needles. • Use tape instead of tying the top of bag; twist the bag like a bread sack and tape it shut. If live in the Vigo County area and would like to join, or are interested in forming a similar group of volunteers in your neck of the woods and need advice or support, the Society of Trash Baggers can be found on Facebook.

continued on page 22 APRIL 2021


A successful but sadly disgraceful haul ... Stephanie Taylor and husband Marty Jones pose with a portion of a day’s work for the Society of Trash Baggers. The group, started in 2018 in Vigo County, is a loosely organized bunch of volunteers with too much pride in their community and for nature to let both remain sullied by people who litter and illegally dump trash and need to be cleaned up after. PHO TO BY BRENT YO UNG BLO O D

Brent Youngblood totes part of the day’s harvest back to a truck after cleaning up a county roadside. PH OTO B Y M A R T Y J ON E S

continued from page 21 “Many of our neighborhoods are

In July 2018, Susan Mardis, 67,

swimming in trash,” said Dumas. “I’ve

initiated an online conversation with

always walked or jogged, and that

others in Terre Haute about sprucing

trash just bothered me immensely.

up the Twelve Points neighborhood

I began carrying small trash bags.

where the school once stood. A new

Shortly thereafter, I connected with

improved memorial for Garfield’s

others who did the same in their areas.

Purple Eagles was in the works (and

We all came together … and it has

is now nearing completion). Mardis,

taken off.”

who was in the final graduating class

Letting colors fly Coincidentally, like Woodsy Owl and the Keep America Beautiful campaign, the Society can trace its seeds back 50 years, too, in a roundabout way. That’s when Terre Haute schools consolidated, and Garfield High School was among those that closed. But just like the old Beach Boys song implored, alums remained “true to their school” — even after it was gone.

at Garfield in 1971, sought help picking up trash in the area. Long joined her. At the same time, Dumas was picking up trash on her side of town, and the three women met with Terre Haute’s mayor to see what more could be done. All three were retired educators, Long pointed out, and that is one reason the group took off. “Teachers just see things that need to be done, and we just do it. It’s just like with teaching,” she said. “And being retired, you just find you can do a lot more because you have more time.”


APRIL 2021

Once a Facebook page dedicated to

“I want to help pick up trash to help

At the end of the day on some group

their efforts was created by another

change the perception of the town. I

outings, they noted, they tell him he

member, the Society of Trash Baggers

want to grow the town. We have too

needs to quit because he’s about to be

grew into this irrefutable force. Mardis

many assets here that we need to

left behind with the bags. Last year, he

and Long noted that the city and

be capitalizing on. And we’ve got to

collected over 400 bags of trash alone

county governments were helpful and

change our own residents‘ perceptions

… and they use the 55-gallon size. “It

responsive to their efforts, providing

of our town,” Mullen-Perry said. “It

gives him a sense of purpose,” Mullen-

gloves, grabbers and other tools and

just amazes me that people just toss

Perry said of her dad.

assistance as needed. The city and

things out. I can't wrap my brain

county are quick to pick up the bags

around it.”

the volunteers fill and large items, like mattresses and couches, the group finds and pulls from the brush.

Joining the Society has also helped his health. He’s lost 15-20 pounds

“We don't understand why people

from all the walking. “I needed rehab

throw stuff out,” Long said. “It’s not

from a knee surgery I had three years

our trash, but we appreciate clean

ago,” Terry Mullen, 70, noted, “but I

Litter damages the environment,

communities.” She said she hopes the

don't like walking without a purpose. I

wildlife and property values, Mullen-

example the Society of Trash Baggers

got tired of looking at trash, too. I don’t

Perry noted — and Terre Haute’s

sets will show others how much better

know if I enjoy picking it up, I just know

reputation. She said her hometown

the roadsides look without the litter.

it looks a lot better. And it is immediate

has a lot to offer residents and visitors. Efforts to dispel old misperceptions and create a new image are sullied by those folks who don’t respect the city and the environment or care about picking up after themselves.

gratification when finished.

Mullen-Perry’s dad, Terry Mullen, joined the Society alongside her.

“So, it’s nice to feel like you’re

“Jenn’s dad is relentless,” said Long.

accomplishing something,” he added,

“He’s the ‘Energizer Bunny’; he just

“while making the world a nicer place.”

keeps going and going.”

Richard G. Biever is senior editor of Indiana Connection.

Can I recycle that? Mail: With one exception, all mail can go in the bin. Staples and plastic windows get sorted out by the machinery. The exception is magazines wrapped in plastic — that kind of shrink wrap is better handled by supermarkets, which specialize in recycling bags and other plastic “stretch wrap” around food, paper towels and other products.

Food containers: When you’re done with the peanut butter jar, no need to rinse it out. It can go right in the bin. Cardboard boxes: Don’t bother breaking them down unless you need to save space in your bin. The truck that picks them up crushes them completely. Plastic bottle caps: Screw the cap back on the bottle, and recycle

Pizza cartons: Don’t leave crusts or garlic butter containers in them, but recycling equipment can handle a greasy pizza box. Plastic straws: Can be recycled, but smaller items tend to fall off the conveyor or through the screen sorters and onto the floor, where they get swept up and hauled off to a normal landfill.

both. APRIL 2021


travel UT OP I A ON T H E

Wabash Robert Owen’s Utopian experiment

But in 1824, they moved back to

in New Harmony, Indiana, may have

Pennsylvania to be closer to the large

lasted only a few short years. But

markets in the East for their products.

through the coming months of 2021, his legacy in the historic and beautiful southwestern Indiana Wabash River town will be revisited in various inperson and virtual events celebrating his 250th birthday.


The Atheneum, on the banks of the Wabash River, serves as the Visitors Center for Historic New Harmony.

Unlike Rapp’s religious group, Owen’s

communities remain as part of the

society was based on Owen’s socialist

New Harmony Historic District, which

vision of equal education and equal

is a National Historic Landmark.

social status. Owen enticed many

Historic New Harmony is directed by

scientists and educators from the East

the University of Southern Indiana.

to join him in New Harmony — arriving

In addition, New Harmony’s modern

Owen was the Welsh-born industrialist

by river on what became known as the

Atheneum, which has just reopened

and social reformer who attempted

“Boatload of Knowledge.” Numerous

after several months of renovation,

to create the second Utopian society

scientists and educators contributed

serves as the Visitors Center for

in America in New Harmony. Along

to New Harmony’s intellectual

Historic New Harmony and depicts the

with William Maclure, an educator


history of the community.

Though the Utopian vision eventually

In addition to the historical remnants

dissolved under the unsustainable

of the early Utopian societies, the

lack of skilled craftsmen and

quaint town is full of life with other

and geologist, Owen purchased the successful religious community in 1825 from George Rapp and the Harmonie Society.

laborers and experienced leaders,

historic buildings, distinctive one-of-

Rapp and the Harmonists founded the

New Harmony became known as a

a-kind eateries and specialty shops,

town in 1814, coming to the Indiana

center for advances in education and

antiques, art galleries, festivals, and

Territory outpost from Pennsylvania.

scientific research. Town residents

later attractions like the Roofless

The religious society constructed 180

established the nation’s first public

Church and the labyrinths. After

buildings in the 10 years they were

school system open to both boys and

visiting New Harmony, you might

Indiana, and many are still standing

girls, the state’s first free library, and a

believe Owen’s vision didn’t really fail

today. Under the leadership of Rapp, a

civic drama club.

but was merely deferred. Today, New

German immigrant, the hard-working Harmonists built a thriving town.

If you go... Tour tickets may be purchased at the Atheneum Visitors Center, 401 N. Arthur St. (corner of North and Arthur streets). Information on ticket sales and scheduling tours can be obtained by calling 812-682-4474 or 800-2312168.


APRIL 2021

More than 30 structures from the Harmonist and Owenite Utopian

Tours include an orientation film at the Atheneum/Visitors Center, Atheneum exhibits, special programming (if available) and access to numerous historic sites and special exhibits. Visitors should set aside approximately two hours for a typical tour. Tour pricing varies.

Harmony IS a Utopian place to visit on the Wabash River after all.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, please visit https://visitnewharmony. com and historic-new-harmony for up-to-date details on community activities and Historic New Harmony events, dates, times and tours.

Smokers recalled due to heating element defect

product recalls

This recall involves all units of the Presto Indoor Electric Smokers with Model No. 0601304 or 0601405. The heating element/wiring on the smoker is defective, posing an electric shock hazard to consumers. The model number is displayed on a sticker located on the underside of the smoker. The smokers, which prepare smoked meat, fish and vegetables, were sold in black stainless steel and camouflage finishes. The smoker was sold at various home appliance stores nationwide and online from June 2018 through December 2020 for between $70 and $110. Presto has received reports of five smokers tripping circuit breakers and GFCI outlets. No injuries have been reported. Return the product to the store where it was purchased for a refund; or call National Presto at 833909-1524; or go online at or and click “Recall Alert”

Shock hazard pulls reins on ‘Powerhorse’ Northern Tool & Equipment has recalled its Powerhorse 13000ES Portable Generator, Model #799215, due to a wiring error that can cause an electrical shock to users. The generator is blue with white Powerhorse logos, a black frame and two wheels. Powerhorse 13000ES is printed in white on the top front. Affected generators were sold at Northern Tool & Equipment stores nationwide and online from July 2016 through September 2020 for about $1,850. Call Powerhorse Product Support at 866-443-2576; or go online at and type “Recall Products” in the search bar for more information.

As a service to our readers and to promote electrical safety, here are some recent recall notices provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Visit for full details of these recalls and for notices of many more. APRIL 2021



Ask Rosie



Twenty years ago, I planted six Norway spruce trees around the house. Now they are 45to 50-feet tall and started to lose needles back in November 2020 by the hundreds. Could it be a disease or squirrels are chewing them off to make a nest? Do Norway spruce have a known lifespan? The samples appear normal, not brown or dried out. There are plenty of seed cones around the tree. I’ve never had this many needles fall off in one season. Eugene Pigula, DeMotte, Indiana


Norway spruce can be very long lived, but up to 35 years or so might be more expected in many urban/suburban landscapes in Indiana. It is difficult to assess why the needles are dropping just based on these photos. If it is primarily the older, interior needles dropping, that could just be normal shedding of older needles. All evergreens shed some of their needles every year, based on the age of the needle. In the case of Norway spruce, needles live for 2-3 years depending on environmental conditions. Stressful

conditions such as heat and drought and poor soil drainage can hasten needle drop. Or if the plant put on a lot of needle growth 2-3 years ago, this could just be a large amount of normal needle drop. But, if it’s the younger needles at the tips of the branches that are dropping, then there could be a more serious problem. Your local Jasper County office of Purdue Extension can help you assess your tree’s health. (https://

Jasper/about.) Another option would be to submit your plant for diagnosis to the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at the West Lafayette campus. Information on how to submit a sample can be found at https:// Pages/digitalimages.aspx and https://ag.purdue. edu/btny/ppdl/Documents/ Downloadable%20 image%20guides/Tree%20 Pictures%20for%20 Diagnosis_s.pdf.

Tipmont REMC consumer B. ROSIE LERNER is a longtime Indiana Connection contributer who recently retired as Purdue Extension’s consumer horticulturist. Questions about gardening issues may be sent to “Ask Rosie,” Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606, or use the form at PHO TO BY RI CHARD G . BI E V E R


APRIL 2021



T- R I FF IC M AK E OVE R Editor’s note: This month we introduce an occasional column featuring easy-to-make projects for your home. The projects appear courtesy of Plain & Simple, a bi-monthly Amish craft and décor magazine published in Shipshewana, Indiana. Plain & Simple features craft-making instructions, quilt patterns, gardening information and recipes.

To learn more about Plain & Simple magazine, and to find out how to subscribe, call 260-768-7651 or email Visit the magazine’s website at

BY MA R L EN E F RY Turn an old lamp (perhaps a flea market find?) into an eye-catching accent piece. All you need are a few supplies you probably already have on hand. Supplies needed: • Old lamp and conical-shaped lampshade (Choose a shade shape that is similar to what is shown in the photo.) • Masking tape • White chalk paint • Paint brush • Old black T-shirt (size will depend on the size of the lampshade) • Sewing machine Instructions 1. Remove shade from lamp and tape off light bulb base. 2. Using chalk paint, paint the entire lamp base with a paint brush. 3. While the paint is drying, cut off the arms of the T-shirt. 4. Turn the shirt inside out and sew the armholes so only a small seam remains. 5. Turn the shirt right side out and slip the shirt over the shade. Adjust the folds until it has a nice consistent look all around the shade. The T-shirt should only cover the OUTSIDE of the lampshade. Placing any part of the T-shirt INSIDE the lampshade could result in a fire.

Tip: Use an LED lightbulb in your lamp. You’ll use less electricity and since an LED doesn’t produce the heat that other bulbs do, there’s less risk of combustion or burnt fingers.

6. When the base is dry, reattach the shade. APRIL 2021


Hoosier Energy news

Co-op careers

How to stand out in the crowd Five years ago, Tina Dixon joined

be when applying for a job. From

department. With over 20 years of

Where can candidates find information about electric cooperative job openings?

experience today, Dixon helps the

Dixon: Candidates can easily

information on their work experience.

electric cooperative connect job

find open positions at electric

This can reduce the likelihood that

applicants to available positions.

cooperatives throughout Indiana at

they will move forward in the interview

She is on the frontline of seeing the


Once candidates are aware of job openings, how do they apply for jobs?

What can applicants do to differentiate themselves?

Hoosier Energy’s human resources

grammatical and spelling errors to not providing enough detailed background

Hoosier Energy workforce being built and how it is adapting to change. “Through my experience at Hoosier Energy what stands out to me, beyond working with intelligent and respectful people, is that the company places safety in high regard,” Dixon said.

Dixon: They should simply click on the job opportunity link at or follow the instructions on the website. The link

She also says that the career growth,

will take them to the website of the

education and training opportunities

co-op that is hiring. From there, they

for employees are excellent.

should follow the co-op’s application

Putting your best foot forward The first step toward an electric co-op

process. If their skills and experience seem to fit the position, the co-op’s human resource manager or hiring manager will contact them to set up an interview.

career is finding an open position. common questions to help applicants

What are common mistakes that you see from applicants?

take the next step in their career.

Dixon: I often see applicants not

Dixon discusses this and a few other

being as thorough as they should


APRIL 2021

Dixon: One way candidates can stand out is to highlight the work they have done and how that relates to the job available. Connecting specific work experience and putting that on the resume they submit can help a lot. Hoosier Energy’s workforce helps its 18 member cooperatives succeed. With a 1,700mile transmission network and an energy portfolio of coal, natural gas and renewable energy resources, the cooperative provides wholesale power and services to its members. If you are interested in a career at Hoosier Energy — or at any of Indiana’s electric cooperatives — visit for more information.


Keep your distance

from downed power lines Power lines crisscross our countryside, bringing the benefits of electricity. But storms or accidents can knock them from their perch and put them on the ground or within reach. Just because they’re down doesn’t mean they’re dead. “Keeping your distance from downed power lines and knowing what to do if you see one are the first steps to safety,” said John Gasstrom, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives. ”There is no way of knowing whether a power line is still live, and if you happen to touch one that is, consequences could be deadly.” If you see a downed power line, the first step is to move away from it and anything touching it. Keep a distance of 35 feet because the ground around downed power lines may be energized. But if you are in a car, the first step is to stay put. If power lines fall on the car, the car can become energized. People who are safe inside will remain safe — as long as they stay put. Opening a door and stepping out can kill the person leaving the car. Even if power lines are not on the vehicle, they could be hanging low. Fallen power lines are hard to see against trees and

foliage, especially at night. Anyone stepping from a car might walk into an energized line and also be electrocuted. Here are some other basic tips for safety: • If you see someone in direct or indirect contact with a downed line, DO NOT touch him or her. Call 911 for assistance. • NEVER attempt to move a downed power line or anything else in contact with it using an object such as a broom or stick. • If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line while you’re in the vehicle, stay inside the car. Call 911 or honk your horn to get help. Tell bystanders to stay away from the vehicle. • If you must exit the vehicle for life-threatening reasons, such as if the car has caught on fire — jump out and clear from it, making sure to land with your feet together. Make sure you do not touch the car and the ground at the same time. Then, shuffle away with your feet touching until you reach a safe distance.

making a safe escape If your car comes in contact with a utility pole or fallen power lines, stay in the car. If there is an immediate threat to your safety, exit the vehicle in this way: 1. Open the door without touching the metal door frame. 2. Jump out and away from the vehicle. Do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. 3. Jump with both feet together so both feet land at the same time. 4. Shuffle away with the toe of one foot shuffling forward along the length of the other foot. Both feet should be in constant contact with the ground. 5. Keep shuffling 30 or more feet until you are safely away from the car and power line. 6. Watch for low hanging power lines or lines on the ground. 7. NEVER attempt to get back into a vehicle in contact with a power line.

APRIL 2021


cooperative career Professional progression:

‘CO-OP’ IS IN HIS BLOOD If ever someone was destined for a career in the electric cooperative industry, it would have to be Blake Kleaving. The Perry County native is a thirdgeneration co-op guy who’s already had multiple jobs, including college internships, with multiple electric cooperative organizations large and small. “Every step of the way,” he said, “it’s all been interconnected. The spark is just seeing the impact electric cooperatives have on people in rural America.” In February 2020, Kleaving began his most recent position at Hoosier Energy, the power supply cooperative to 18 electric cooperatives across the southern half of Indiana and in southeastern Illinois. In his third time around with Hoosier Energy, he works with Hoosier’s member electric cooperatives to help end-of-theline consumers save energy and money through an array of energy efficiency and demand-response programs. “I absolutely fell in love with what I’m doing now. It’s right in line with the strategic focus on ‘beneficial electrification,’” he said. The position lets him have an impact across the entire Hoosier system, he said,

2012 INTERN 2009 SELECTED Student Delegate


APRIL 2021

Marketing and Member Services Intern Hoosier Energy

and lets him work with the CEOs and communication/ member services staff at the cooperatives and with their consumers. It’s the latest in a progression of positions that have also included large and small electric distribution cooperatives and a college internship with a national financing cooperative. Kleaving has a deep affinity for rural Indiana, having grown up on a farm. And his connection to electric co-ops runs back through his dad, Randy Kleaving, a director for Southern Indiana Power, and his maternal grandfather, who also served on Southern Indiana Power’s board long before Blake was born. When Blake was a senior in high school, he was selected to participate in the 2009 Indiana Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. During that trip, he was tapped to represent Indiana on the national co-op association’s Youth Leadership Council. That opportunity led to his first college internship with Hoosier Energy. After earning his master’s degree from

2015 INTERN Corporate Communications and Marketing Intern NRUCFC

Blake Kleaving

Manager of Energy Management Solutions

Purdue University Hoosier Energy in 2016, he took a job with a large distribution cooperative in east central Illinois. In 2018, he returned to Hoosier Energy for a year before joining Daviess-Martin County REMC, a small distribution system served by Hoosier.

A short stint as an account manager for ag equipment sales outside the co-op “family” — in 2017 — helped him realize he wanted a cooperative career. “I was just trying to make an impact where I could and learning along the way,” he said. “It took being out of co-ops to realize how much I love them. This is where I want to work the rest of my life.”

INTERESTED IN AN ELECTRIC CO-OP CAREER? Visit to learn about available careers or tell us about yourself.


2016 HIRED Marketing and Member Services Representative Corn Belt Energy Corporation

2018 Job change Energy Efficiency Program Coordinator Hoosier Energy

Member Services Coordinator Daviess-Martin County REMC

2020 JOB CHANGE Manager of Energy Management Solutions Hoosier Energy