Page 1

Do we have your contact information?

Bartholomew County REMC’s



We YouTube





from the editor

Early to bed and early to rise As much as I say I hate getting up early, my darned internal clock usually awakens me at 5 a.m. even on those days I can sleep in. Of course, I also typically nod off by 9 p.m. (no late night TV for me!) so I get an adequate amount of sleep most nights. Early to bed and early to rise may not necessarily make someone healthy, wealthy and wise, but according to author Tamara Rahoumi, having some extra alone time

VOLUME 69 • NUMBER 2 ISSN 0745-4651 • USPS 262-340 Published monthly by:

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 280,000 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

in the morning can do wonders for your attitude. For instance, during those early morning hours you aren’t constrained by workday pressures or deadlines. There’s no need to make decisions and, in most cases (hopefully), you don’t have to worry about anyone else’s needs but your own. Your time is your own so you can just pause and, as they say, “be in the moment.” This is your time to reflect, enjoy the stillness all around you (if no one else is awake) and revel in the calmness that always seems to be lacking during the rest of the day. Since your brain tends to become more analytical as the day goes on, those early hours are your most creative. I can vouch for that. Some of my best ideas are born when I’m alone with my thoughts in the morning. The next time you’re wide awake before the alarm goes off and you can’t go back to sleep, don’t fret. Try reveling in these “found” hours of solitude. The peace and quiet may be just what you need to tackle your daily grind.


INDIANA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OFFICERS: Gary Gerlach President Walter Hunter Vice President Randy Kleaving Secretary/Treasurer John Gasstrom CEO EDITORIAL STAFF: Emily Schilling Editor Richard George Biever Senior Editor Holly Huffman Member Relations/ Advertising Manager Ellie Schuler Senior Communication Specialist Taylor Dawson Creative Services Specialist 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: Readers who receive Indiana Connection through their electric co-op membership should report address changes to their 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.








03 FROM THE EDITOR 05 CO-OP NEWS What’s happening at your local electric cooperative. 10 ENERGY


16 INDIANA EATS Magically Delicious. Voodoo Public House in Peru. 17 FOOD Squeeze the Day: Lemon

Replace your furnace filters.



20 COVER STORY Hoosier YouTubers make their mark with unique videos.

14 COUNTY OF THE MONTH Spotlighting Brown County.




Indiana Connection



28 OUTDOORS If the water’s brown, turn around. 29 SAFETY Educate children on bus safety before they leave for school.


32 H  OOSIER ENERGY/ WABASH VALLEY NEWS 33 TRAVEL Gene Stratton-Porter: Her Legacy Lives On. (Not in all versions) 34 PROFILE

30 PETS Hot weather hazards for dogs. (Not in all versions)

Heartland REMC’s Neil Draper wears many hats.

31 PRODUCT RECALLS Rocking sleepers, ceiling fans, charging cables.

On the cover Do you watch YouTube beauty tutorials or check out the channel for travel advice? Then you may recognize Jessica and Tyler Braun, stars of their own YouTube channels who are featured in this month’s cover story. Learn how the Brauns and other Hoosier YouTubers are making their mark while making their own unique videos. PHOTO BY TAYLOR DAWSON





Stay healthy, stay safe this summer “S” is for “summertime” as well as other priorities to focus on during summer’s dog days. Turn the page for info on addressing stress, caring for your sight and staying safe.


• Feeling anxious or scared • Crying for no apparent reason • Becoming withdrawn • Inability to concentrate • Obsessive thoughts • Increased use of drugs (including cigarettes) or alcohol

DEALING WITH STRESS So you have identified that you are stressed — now what? The following are suggestions on how to manage stress: • Identify what in your life is causing you stress. Develop a plan to deal with it.

stress ADDRESSING STRESS Don’t let stress control your life. You have too much work and not enough workers. Your in-laws come to stay for a few days and end up staying for a month. You have a new baby. You’ve been promoted. You’ve been fired. What do all these situations have in common? They are all causes of stress.





Stress is the way that we react physically, mentally and emotionally to the challenges, changes and demands in our lives. Not all stress is bad. Positive stress, such as a new job or promotion, can stimulate and energize us. It’s when we feel overwhelmed and believe we can’t cope with the demands in our lives that stress becomes negative.

Aug. 15 is National Relaxation Day. Celebrate this day with a moment of reflection. Do you know how to recognize the signs that you may be under too much stress? Although not everyone’s symptoms are the same, typical signs of stress include:

If negative stress continues for too long, the body and the mind begin to break down under the strain. Serious health problems, both mental and physical, can arise. Often, people don’t even realize what’s happening to them until they end up at their doctor’s office or in the hospital.

• Fatigue

• High blood pressure • Frequent headaches

• Sleeping problems • Nausea and other stomach problems • Susceptibility to illness and accidents • Loss of appetite or overeating • Depression • Reduced self-esteem

• Schedule a quiet time every day. • Exercise. Physical activity is one of the best stress remedies around. • Practice time management. Do essential tasks and prioritize others. And keep in mind that not everything is essential. • Eat healthy and get enough sleep. • Talk with friends, family or a counselor about what is bothering you. • Volunteer. Helping others can help to take your mind off your problems. • Tackle one thing at a time. • Build time into each day to have some fun. That is essential. • Learn to laugh at your mistakes. We all make them. • Focus on your good qualities and accomplishments. We all experience stress on a daily basis. How we react to it is up to us. Just remember that no matter how bad a situation seems, it will get better.


diseases, early detection

offers other ways for


and treatment are the only

women to keep their eyes

the typically known

way to preserve vision.


side effects of smoking,

Women are more prone to

Regular eye exams are

EAT HEALTHY AND STAY FIT. The American Journal

develop eye disease. Although most people will experience some sort of change in their vision over time, women are more prone to eye disease than men, according to Prevent

a must for women of all ages. Even women who are pregnant can still have their eyes safely dilated. Another eye disease that affects mostly women is chronic dry eye. In fact,

of Clinical Health found

disease, smoking increases the risk for eye diseases.

can be lowered by eating


three-and-a-half servings

venturing outdoors,

of fruits or vegetables a

wear brimmed hats in

day. Green leafy vegetables

conjunction with UV-rated

especially contain loads of

sunglasses. UV rays are

nutrients for the eye.

extremely dangerous to the

that the risk of cataracts

Blindness America.

one in 12 women over the

The four leading causes

which may be caused by

of blindness cataracts

a decrease in estrogen


— glaucoma, diabetic

levels due to menopause.

Antioxidants have been

age of 50 has the condition,

including cancer and lung


retinopathy and age-related Chronic dry eye symptoms

shown to reduce the


macular degeneration —

include blurred vision, light

progression of some

a key role in eye disease.

are all more prevalent in

sensitivity and sensation of

illnesses, including

Research your family’s

women than men. In fact,

itchiness or irritation in the

age-related macular

health history and notify

women make up two-thirds

eyes. Without treatment,

degeneration. Vitamin

your eye care professional

of the more than 3.4 million

some may ultimately suffer

A, riboflavin (vitamin

of any eye diseases that run

Americans age 40 and older

vision loss.

B2), Vitamin C and zinc

in your family.

who are visually impaired. Unfortunately, because there is no cure for these

Besides early detection, Prevent Blindness America


are good sources to help maintain eye health.

DON’T GET BURNED BY BATTERIES About 3,700 people a year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for battery-related chemical burns — and many of those treated are children under the age of 16. Take a few minutes to find out how to avoid the risk of being burned by household batteries. Take care when recharging. Rechargeable batteries are great, but you must be careful to use the right kind of charger for the type and size of battery you have. Never use an automobile battery charger to recharge flashlight batteries and never try to recharge a disposable battery. In both cases, the battery can easily rupture, which puts you at risk for a painful chemical burn.

Don’t mix batteries. If you try to replace just one of several old batteries in an appliance, the batteries may overheat and rupture. The same thing can happen if you mix alkaline batteries — the most common type — with carbon-zinc batteries in the same appliance. Always use a complete set of new batteries

MAKE SURE BATH TIME IS A SAFE TIME Taking a bath can be surprisingly hazardous. In fact, about 80 children die from bathtub drownings every year nationwide.

of the same type when

Keep your shower and tub

replacing batteries.

— and your family — safer at

Install batteries properly. Be sure to put the positive

bath time by following these guidelines.

for any reason. Children can drown in just a few inches of water, and can easily topple

and negative ends of the

To reduce the risk of

into the tub while you’re

battery in the right position

scalding, set your home’s

dashing out to answer the

in your appliance; reversing

water heater to a maximum

phone or to get a towel.

the battery runs the risk of

of 120 F. A safety test: Hold

Don’t leave an older child in

overheating, rupture, and

your hand under the tap when

charge of a younger one in the

chemical burn. This problem

the hot water alone is running.


often arises when children try

Uncomfortable? Your water

to replace batteries in toys.

heater is set too high.

Don’t let your kids replace batteries by themselves; do it for them! — Consumer Product Safety Commission

Get supplies before filling the tub. Collect soap, towel,

Keep electrical devices like

diaper, clothing and bath toys

hair dryers, curling irons

first. Place them where you

and electric razors well away

can reach them easily.

from the tub.

Place a soft, insulated cover

Never leave a child

over the faucet to guard

unattended in the bathtub

against accidental bathtime burns and bumps. The


covers are available at stores that sell baby supplies Prevent bathtub slips and falls by placing a rubber mat in the tub or affixing non-slip adhesive decals or strips to the bottom of the tub. Teach your child to use extra caution when getting out of the tub. Place a nonslip bathroom rug near the tub to safely secure wet feet.




Replace your furnace filter TO PREVENT BLOWING MONEY OUT THE WINDOW!


hen you drive your vehicle,

air through easily. The blower and

give additional advice on energy

you may casually glance

other components have to work

efficiency tips to help you save

at the corner of your

harder and harder the longer the


windshield and see the sticker that reminds you when it will be time for the next oil change. If you go too long without addressing the dirty oil (and old oil filter) it can lead to trouble for your car’s engine. Your furnace filter is very similar: It also needs to be changed periodically to avoid larger troubles happening farther down the road.

filter goes unchanged.

system to ensure that it is ready

REMINDER. Each month when

to work at peak efficiency all year

your electric bill comes, take a

long. For advice on your furnace

moment to look at your filter. If it is

or other systems in your house,

too dirty or damaged, your furnace

contact your local electric co-op’s

will have to work twice as hard, and

energy advisor.

you will lose efficiency, costing you more on your electric bill. Likewise, if you have a programmable

There are several reasons why

thermostat, it may also have

you should regularly replace your

an option to set a reminder to

furnace filter:

change your filter. You should take


advantage of it!



air filter is essentially a fine mesh

have a filter thicker than 1 inch,

screen. As air from the house

that additional surface area buys

passes through the screen, particles

you more time before the filter is

get caught in the filter. The filter

really dirty. It doesn’t hurt to look at

catches the dust, hair, and particles

it each month, though you should

that would otherwise build up

expect the thicker pleated filters

inside the system. Without it,

to last longer before needing to be

all those particles end up in the

swapped out with a clean filter.

furnace itself and impede the air flow. This leads to an inefficient system and those inefficiencies have a way of making your energy bill higher.

If you’re still feeling a little unsure about when to change your air filters or what kind to use, you can ask a professional who is North American Technician Excellence


(NATE) certified. You can also

ABOUT IT! Left unchecked, caught

contact your local cooperative’s

particles can build up on your

energy advisor, who can answer

furnace filter until eventually the

questions and provide support

filter is too thick with grime to let

about your furnace filter and



Maintain your heating and cooling


Cindy Denney


Director of Marketing Jay County REMC



Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa

Today readers. After a month of online

Claus, Indiana, favorite destinations of

voting, readers named Splashin’ Safari

Hoosier families for over 70 years, have

as their favorite among 20 attractions

been honored recently not only by two

nominated for America’s “10 Best” outdoor

notable publications but by a popular travel

water parks.

site as well.

In another recognition, Popular Mechanics

Holiday World has been named to the Hall

magazine named Holiday World’s roller

of Fame of the world’s largest travel site,

coaster, The Voyage, as the best roller

coaster in Indiana in its list: “The Best

The TripAdvisor Hall of Fame recognizes businesses that have won the site’s “Certificate of Excellence” for at least five consecutive years. The Certificate of Excellence is awarded to the top 10 percent of attractions, restaurants, and lodging worldwide. Splashin’ Safari, meanwhile, was chosen the best water park in the nation by USA

On Holiday World’s The Voyage, riders will experience 24.3 seconds of zero-G, one of the steepest drops on any wooden coaster, and 90-degree banking at highway speeds.

Roller Coaster in Every State.” The Voyage is 1.2 miles long and is consistently voted a top 10 wooden roller coaster by enthusiasts worldwide. The Voyage also ranked among the top 10 roller coasters in another USA Today poll. Half of Holiday World is served electrically by Southern Indiana Power, a memberowned electric cooperative headquartered in Tell City. PHO TO CO URTESY O F HO LI DAY WO RLD

Hope for the future

Awards honor young community servants You’re never too young to make a difference in your corner of the world. The Youth Power and Hope Awards program recognizes Indiana students in grades 5-8 who exemplify one of the most important cooperative principles, Concern for Community. Up to five winners will be named. Each winner will receive $500. Winners will be formally recognized at the Indiana Electric Cooperatives annual meeting in Indianapolis on Dec. 3. They will also be featured in an Indiana Connection article. Applicants do not have to live within REMC/REC territory although they must be Indiana residents. Deadline to apply is Oct. 4. For more information and application forms, please visit our website,



STORY FOR SALE Ever dream of owning a whole town? Well, the small southern Indiana town of Story — which comes complete with a gourmet restaurant, saw mill, grain mill and a ghost — is for sale. Asking price? $3.8 million. Story, named after its founder, Dr. George P. Story, is located near Nashville, Bloomington and the Brown County State Park. The three people who own Story’s only employer — The Story Inn — are the only living residents of the 17.4-acre town. The Blue Lady, however, is the town’s resident spirit. Said to be the wife of the town’s founder, the ghost who haunts The Story Inn reportedly trails blue ribbons in her wake.



county feature


BY NICK ROGERS Brown County, just an hour’s drive

The state’s most forested county

south of Indianapolis, has become a

soon will bloom into majestic, au-

multifaceted mecca for live music,

tumn-drive beauty. Brown Coun-

noteworthy artwork and outdoor

ty State Park offers 16,000 acres,


20 miles of tree-lined roads (with

Pick-and-grin pilgrimages don’t get

y t n u o C acts F FOUNDED: 1836

bigger than those to the Bill Monroe Music Park & Campground in Bean Blossom. Founded by the Father of Bluegrass, the park will host the 21st annual Bean Blossom Blues Fest


POPULATION: 15,035 (2017)

trails across 27 systems. At 48.7 miles,

Bluegrass and Country Hall of Fame

Hickory Ridge Trail offers a variety of


access loops for novice or advanced

You can also schedule a tour at Nash-

Nashville also will host Clint Black,

ville’s Indiana Raptor Center, where

Art Garfunkel, George Thorogood,

injured hawks, owls, eagles, falcons

Josh Turner, Tesla and more during

and vultures are rescued, rehabili-

its introductory season.

tated and eventually returned to the

galleries. Inside are works from both modern talents and legends of the Brown County Art Colony, a creative cabal formed in 1907. T.C. Steele was the first major artist to join that colony, and regularly scheduled tours of his Nashville studio and home also are available.




County Music Center in county seat

the country’s longest-operating art

Indiana Raptor Center

nature center exhibits and more.

bands, jam sessions and Bill Monroe


Hoosier National Forest

of endangered Yellowwood trees,

Brown County, with 260 miles of

Brown County Art Gallery is one of

Brown County State Park

including a 90-foot Fire Tower, views

Festival (Sept. 18-21), which boasts 30


Bill Monroe Music Park & Campground

recreational opportunities aplenty —

The Hoosier National Forest also hits

Established in 1926, Nashville’s


[two-lane] covered bridge), and

(Aug. 22-24) and the Uncle Pen Days

The newly opened 2,000-seat Brown Jacob Jennings Brown, a hero in the War of 1812

Indiana’s only “double-barreled”

wild. And if you want to see what some call Brown County’s best-kept secret, seek out directions to Browning Mountain — a 928-foot climb to a sandstone circle known as “Indiana’s Stonehenge.”

Freelance writer Nick Rogers is a communications manager for Purdue Agricultural Communications.

Indiana eats


Jackfruit Barbacoa Tacos

Peru restaurant gives new spins to classic favorites


reativity reigns on Voodoo

when Chili-Spiked Sweet Tea and

Public House’s menu. And

Cream Stout BBQ are available?

foodie fans of this popular

Furthermore, why not sample

Peru eatery couldn’t be happier

duck wings, served with cher-

with the culinary magic Rose

ry-chipotle compote and smoked

Ryan, chef and co-owner, per-

paprika dip?

forms in the kitchen.

Voodoo Public House has its

For example, with the inspired

roots on wheels. Daniel Douglass

addition of bacon and truffle oil,

and Chef Ryan, who had lived in

deviled eggs are elevated beyond

Lafayette at the time, got involved

your standard summer picnic

in the food biz through a food


truck they owned and operated.

Sure, the restaurant’s burgers can be topped with ketchup and mustard, but why not give them a Voodoo makeover with extras like Asian or celery slaw, mango, pulled jackfruit, peanut butter or fromager d’Affinois, a creamy French cheese? Out of the ordinary truly CAN be extraordinary!

The Voodoo Truck — so named because Douglass refers to Ryan as a magician in the kitchen — was a huge hit and their tacos were legendary. When the glass’ hometown — so did the food truck. In time, as business boomed, Douglass and Ryan decided to transition their business to an actual building. Thus,

upgrade — and another initial.

Voodoo Public House opened its

The B.A.L.T. sandwich, featuring

doors four years ago. Both locals

a toasted baguette topped with

and those traveling through this

avocado, field greens, basil aioli

small north central Indiana com-

and balsamic vinaigrette as well

munity can’t get enough of the

as the Applewood-smoked bacon,

eclectic and delicious fare.

Ryan herself.

Portabella & Swiss Bison Burger with Bacon

couple moved to Peru — Dou-

The classic B.L.T. even gets an

is a favorite not only of diners, but

Flatbread with Paprika-Lime Chicken, Avocado, Chipotle Aioli, Cilantro and More

Check out Voodoo Public House’s Facebook page to learn about the


Voodoo Public House’s wings are

restaurant’s specials. When you

just as interesting. Oh, yes, you

visit Voodoo, be sure to go hun-

can order Buffalo wings, but why

gry and be ready to experiment


settle for the same-old-same-old

with new flavors.

Tuesday–Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Peru, Indiana

Friday–Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.



Monday: Closed



the day When life gives you lemons, try these readers’ recipes

Lemon Sherbet Ice Cream Dominic Sellers Charlestown, Indiana 2 quarts half and half 4 cups sugar Juice of 8 lemons (about 2¼ cups) 3-4 T. grated lemon peel In a large bowl, stir cream and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly add lemon juice and peel. Mix well. Pour into the cylinder of an ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.



Lemon Whipped Cream Torte

Sour Cream Lemon Pie

Grace Sellers, Charlestown, Indiana Filling:

Sour Cream Lemon Pie Janet Zelt, Hoagland, Indiana

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup sugar

1 ¼ cups sugar, divided

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

2 t. grated lemon peel

1¾ cups milk

½ t. vanilla extract

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 cups cake flour

¼ cup lemon juice

1 T. baking powder

1 t. vanilla extract

¼ t. salt

1 t. grated lemon peel

¾ cup milk

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

6 egg whites

Lemon slices for garnish if desired

1 9-inch baked pie crust In a mixing bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar. Add lemon peel and Filling:

vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually

1 cup sugar

add to creamed mixture alternately with milk; set aside. Beat egg

3½ T. cornstarch

whites until peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until

1 T. grated lemon peel

stiff peaks form. Fold into creamed mixture. Pour into three greased

½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten 1 cup milk ¼ cup (½ stick) butter 1 cup sour cream

and wax paper-lined 9-inch round pans. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire rack. For filling, combine sugar and flour in a saucepan. Gradually add milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2

Whipped cream

minutes more. Remove from heat. Gradually stir a little of the hot

Lemon rind twist to garnish if desired

filling into the yolks. Return all to the pan. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, vanilla and lemon peel. Cover and cool. Fold in the cream. Spread

Combine sugar, cornstarch, lemon

between each layer and on top of the cake. (Do not frost sides.) Cover

peel, lemon juice, egg yolks and

and chill. Garnish with lemon slices if desired. Yield: 12-16 servings.

milk. Cook over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Cool to room temperature. Stir sour cream into cooled mixture and pour into baked pie crust. Chill. Before serving top with whipped cream. Top with a lemon rind twist, if desired. Serves 8. Cook’s note: The filling is also very good with a vanilla wafer crust.



Lemon Whipped Cream Torte

Jessica and Tyler Braun of Carmel, Indiana, are living their lives in front of the camera as stars of their own YouTube channels. Jessica hosts JAMbeauty89 and Tyler explores the world in his TylerTravelsTV videos. P HO TO B Y TAYL OR D AWS ON





Jessica Braun tackles makeup reviews, vlogs and unboxings of makeup, clothes and other goodies on her YouTube channel — JAMbeauty89.

The perky young woman with expressive hazel eyes sounds slightly tentative as she introduces herself to the unseen audience on the other side of her computer. “Hey, everybody, my name is Jessica, and I am brand new to YouTube, and this is a brand new channel.” She spends 45 more seconds foreshadowing her 8-minute video, “Best and Worst in Beauty,” before reviewing her first cosmetic, a blush that she awkwardly describes as “really, really nice”; “really, really pigmented”; and “just kind of … nice.” Then, suddenly, Jessica Braun is in her element. Entertaining, engaging, genuine, the Carmel resident dismisses a bronzing makeup product with a frown and a slow shake of her head, explaining that because of her fair skin, “it’s just ‘Bad News Bears’ for me.” And in those moments of spontaneity, a star is born on YouTube, the internet website where average people can share their own video recordings with the world.

Today, what began as a diversion in

TylerTravelsTV, generated countless

2013 has evolved into a profession

requests for free trip advice.

for 30-year-old Jessica, whose YouTube channel, JAMbeauty89, has attracted half a million subscribers and enough ad revenue to enable her to leave her teaching job last year. Her husband, Tyler Braun, also mixes business and YouTube, having started his own travel agency (People Mover Travel) in 2016 after his YouTube channel,

Jessica ranks among Indiana’s most successful YouTubers, and her husband claims a respectable 60,000 subscribers of his own. But they’re far from the top of the heap, even among Hoosier YouTubers. For instance, globetrotting millennials Damon Dominique of Fort Wayne



Content creators Justin Gerald (fourth from left) and Andry Rakotomalala (third from right) gathered with other Indiana YouTubers in February.

and his friend Jo Franco have

YouTube now encompasses an

doesn’t take his 350 subscribers for

attracted 1.2 million subscribers to

estimated 23 million individual

granted, noting that if they were all

their DamonandJo channel with such

channels, with subject matter as

assembled in a room, it would be a

videos as “11 More Things I Hate

diverse as how-to advice, popular

substantial audience.

About Paris” and “Almost Kidnapped

music, sports highlights, old and

in Italy.”

current TV shows, personal family

Nationally, the highest paid YouTube star of 2018 was a 7-year-old California toy critic named Ryan Kaji. His Ryan ToysReview channel has

recordings, and the ever-popular funny cat videos. YouTube users watch more than 1 billion hours of content a day.

Besides, like many YouTubers, Rakotomalala is not singularly focused on parlaying his recordings into a career. He enjoys the creative outlet that his channel provides, as well as the opportunity to entertain

garnered 20 million subscriptions,

Naturally, not every channel draws

and amuse the people who view his

spurred a Walmart toy line, and

hordes of viewers and subscribers.

material. “I don’t do professional

earned its namesake $22 million last

For every DamonandJo and Jessica

videos,” he says. “I do fun videos.”

year, Forbes magazine reports.

Braun, there are innumerable

And as if to prove his point, a recent

others struggling to make their

video features Rakotamalala taking

mark. Madagascar native Andry

an exhausting hike in a Puerto Rican

Rakotomalala, now

rain forest and quipping, “You see,

of Indianapolis,

YouTube, I hike and give myself pain


for you guys!”

Such a bonanza seemed far-fetched in 2005, when debuted on the internet. Its three founders envisioned it as a dating site where singles could introduce themselves by video. But five days later, when no one had submitted any, they decided to allow anybody to upload videos about anything (within the bounds of legality and taste). A year later, still-unprofitable YouTube sold to Google for $1.6 billion. The gamble paid off:



organize a meet-up of Indiana YouTubers this past February, and eight of them showed up.

Justin Gerald says he didn’t start a YouTube channel to get famous,

Rakotomalala counts at least

but it almost

another 100 active Hoosier

happened along the way. Gerald,

YouTubers, the vast majority of

of Cedar Lake, is a ghost-hunting

whom – like him – have yet to

enthusiast who saw YouTube as a

find widespread popularity. But he

place to post videos of his group’s

Tyler Braun of Carmel shares how he spent 48 hours in Barcelona, Spain, in one of his videos on his YouTube channel — Tyler Travels TV.

Tyler and Jessica Braun document their Disney trips in videos on his YouTube channel.

investigations. He now has 18,000

a YouTube channel, it’s best to

“sponsorship,” “dedicated video” and

subscribers and says his team’s

play to your strengths. Before

“influencer,” and has even put out a

paranormal pursuits once caught

she became a teacher, cosmetics

video explaining the business side of

the eye of a cable TV network

reviewer Jessica Braun went to

YouTube. She’s learned that success

contemplating a new show.

Roosevelt University in downtown

is not only defined by how many

Chicago to study musical theater. A

subscribers you have, but how many

class in stage makeup taught her

minutes the average person watches

such esoteric skills as how to make

your videos. She knows not to

someone look like a witch or a

jump at every promotional offer that

monkey – but it also broadened her

comes down the pike, no matter how

knowledge of skin products.

lucrative or flattering it might seem.

His advice to would-be YouTubers? “You’ve got to be in it for the right reasons. If you’re not passionate about it, people are going to see that, and it’ll fail.” It’s also important to develop a thick skin, because anytime you put yourself in front of a worldwide

And her performing arts experience

audience, you risk criticism and

didn’t hurt when it came time to

mockery, sometimes in rude terms.

gaze into a camera and speak

Remember, too, that while an enjoyable video may look like it was all fun and games from the word go, veteran YouTubers know better. “My Top 10 videos take anywhere from 20 to 30 hours to do,” Gerald says, “and if we’re doing an actual ghost hunt, we put two weeks into one video.” That’s why, if you’re going to create

“In a given month, I probably get contacted 50 to 60 times,” she says, “and I accept about two of them.”

directly to a YouTube audience.

And she tries to keep it all in

(It’s also how she met her future

perspective. “We are fully aware of

husband: The two had been cast as

how lucky and blessed we are,” says

Aladdin and Princess Jasmine in

Jessica. “And we know it could be

Indianapolis’ Beef & Boards Dinner

taken away at any moment.”

Theatre production of “Aladdin,” and shared a stage kiss before they ever smooched with more serious intent.) Thanks to her YouTube popularity, Jessica has become conversant in industry terms such as “monetized,”

Her new career as a full-time YouTuber enables her to spend more time with her husband and their 1-year-old daughter, Genevieve –



although being a YouTube couple can create strange problems. Tyler now finds himself watching travel shows not as entertainment, but with an eye on visual effects. And sometimes the Brauns have to remind themselves to film their own everyday family memories, not just material for their next videos. But Jessica also cherishes the YouTube side of their lives and looks


forward to the day when Genevieve will similarly appreciate it. “In the future, we can watch videos of trips we took when I was pregnant with her,” says Jessica.

Indiana YouTubers featured in this article


These are the kinds of

JAMbeauty89: Make-up reviews, vlogs, unboxings

moments that average]

YouTubers can experience,

Carmel, Indiana

regardless of the size of their audience. “There’s enough room for everybody in the water,” Jessica says. “And even if only a couple of people are watching, think how cool that is.”

TYLER BRAUN TylerTravelsTV: Travel, Disney parks, food, photography] Carmel, Indiana

ANDRY RAKOTOMALALA Vlogs, travel, subscriber requests

Brian D. Smith is a freelance journalist from Greenwood, Indiana. Indianapolis, Indiana

JUSTIN GERALD Dust Productions: Ghost hunting investigations, interviews Cedar Lake, Indiana



calendar NORTHWEST


FULTON FUN DAY FESTIVAL, Fulton (Fulton), various locations. Activities include Mush Ball tournament, 5K race/walk, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, tractor pull, chalk art contest, and more. Entertainment, food, crafts and demonstrations. 574-857-6101 or 574-835-6604.


ROUND BARN CAR, BIKE & TRUCK SHOW, Rochester (Fulton), Fulton County Historical Society. Registration 11 am-1 pm. Entry fee for show participants. Music and food available. Free. 574223-4436.


AUKIKI RIVER FESTIVAL, Kouts (Porter), 1097 Baum’s Bridge Road. Historical re-enactors, shopping, crafts, food and music. Demonstrations and activities throughout the weekend. Saturday, 9 am-5 pm; Sunday,10 am-4 pm (CST). Cost: $5; children 12 and under free; Kankakee Valley Historical Society members free.



STATELINE HERITAGE DAYS, Union City (Randolph). Community festival celebrating Union City, Indiana, and Union City, Ohio. Live music, antique tractor displays, food vendors. Free. 765-584-3266.


CHOCOLATE WALK, Greenfield (Hancock), downtown. Visit various stores and locations to gather samples of chocolate. Admission charge. 317-477-4188. Chocolate-Walk-453/details


TASTE OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Crawfordsville (Montgomery), Gen. Lew Wallace Study & Museum. Sample food from restaurants, caterers and food vendors. Three musical acts will also perform. Tickets: $7/adult; $3/student; children 6 and under are free. $1/food ticket. Noon-10 pm.



OLD SETTLERS FESTIVAL, Odon (Daviess), Odon City Park. Parade, food, carnival rides, bingo, nightly entertainment. Free. 812-636-8218.


12TH ANNUAL GOOD SAMARITAN FUND, Paoli (Orange), Paoli United Methodist Church. Pork barbeque dinners, silent auction and music throughout the evening. 3:30-7 pm. 812-865-3209.




LUCILLE DILLON AMISH QUILT AUCTION, Cannelburg (Daviess), Simon J. Graber Community Building. Authentic hand-stitched, Amish-made quilts. See beautifully made comforters and discuss the art of quilt making. events/39834-lucilledillon-amishquilt-auction,



AMISH ACRES ARTS AND CRAFTS FESTIVAL, Nappanee (Elkhart), Amish Acres. 300+ vendors. Family-style Threshers dinner in the century old barn and guided tour of the historic house and farm. Free. 800-8004942.


LIGONIER MARSHMALLOW FESTIVAL, Ligonier (Noble), Sept. 2 Downtown Square. Rides, entertainment, games, contest, food, merchandise and more. Free. 260-302-2052.


910 1718

PIG ROAST IN THE PARK, Scottsburg (Scott), Beechwood Park. Music, food, craft booths, kids’ games, fireworks, sporting and various activities. Free. 812-752-9211.


SWISS WINE FESTIVAL, Vevay (Switzerland), Riverfront Park. Over 100 varieties of Indiana wines, craft beer and spirits, grape stomp, riverboat cruises, three stages of entertainment. Free. 812-427-9463.

ST. MARY OF THE KNOBS KNOBSFEST, Floyds Knobs (Floyd), St. Mary of the Knobs Catholic Church. Music, food, and beer garden. Games, bingo, silent auction, kids’ zone, vendors and raffles. Saturday, 5:30 pmmidnight; Sunday, 10:30 am-3 pm. 812-989-8514. mhartlage@yoursmk. org.

This calendar is published as a service to readers and the communities electric cooperatives serve. Indiana Connection publishes events free of charge as space allows, giving preference to free community festival and events in and around areas served by subscribing REMCs/RECs. While Indiana Connection strives for accuracy, please note that events, dates and time may change without notice. Indiana Connection advises using contact phone numbers or internet sites to check times and dates of events before making plans. To add events to Calendar, please use the “Submit and Event” form under the “Talk to Us” or “Calendar” buttons at; or mail your info to: Calendar, Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240. Please submit info two months before the date of the event.

HOG ROAST & TRACTOR PULLS Aug. 31, 7 p.m., garden tractor pull Sept. 1, 5 p.m., farm stock tractor pull Burney-Clay Township VFD 8433 W. County Road 100 South Burney, IN 47240 Bring this ad for a free drink. For more info, visit our Facebook page (Burney-Clay Township VFD) or call 812-593-1685 (Day of Pull: 812-663-8198).




When boating...

If the water’s brown, turn around! B Y J ACK SPAULDI NG Summertime brings kayakers and canoeists out to run the rivers and streams here in Indiana. Nothing is more fun than a leisurely trip down a river or stream, floating past the banks covered in wildflowers while bathing in the luxury and warmth of Mother Nature. Among the beauty and tranquility, danger can lurk in the form of the rainstorms we experienced through this year’s wet spring and summer, or popup showers that can ignite any humid summer afternoon. Midwest storms can quickly drop 2 or 3 inches of rain. Even though there may have been no rain in the local area, storms farther up the watershed can send river and stream levels to dangerous levels within a few hours. Heavy rains can turn even the most peaceful stream or river into a raging torrent producing Class 4 rapids and some of the most dangerous river conditions imaginable. Downed trees called “sweepers” pose one of the greatest dangers. If the stream or river is blocked by a tree, the current can pull a boat or kayak into the limbs. This can turn the craft sideways of the flow causing it to capsize. Even if the occupants are wearing life jackets, the current might pull them into the limbs and hold them under water with no escape possible.



I have seen two channels of a river with the water roaring around an island. Where the two flows of water came back together and met, giant waves were formed which would flip a kayak and dump even the most skilled canoeists. What had been a peaceful waterway the day before had been quickly turned into a frightening out-of-control flow no one should consider entering. Another relentless threat is a low-head dam where the water runs over the structure and produces a rolling underwater current at the base of the dam. A horrific current will grab a person and continually roll him or her back to the base of the dam and submerge the person … even if that person is wearing a life jacket. Chances of breaking free from the back current of a low-head dam with high water are slim or none. To help stem the tide of water-related accidents, Indiana conservation officers have some suggestions. Regardless of why you are around bodies of water, you should always recognize the danger water poses, even to strong swimmers or experienced boaters. If you are going to be around water, please remember these basic safety tips: • Always wear your life jacket. • Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return.

• Go with a buddy. • Never venture around flooded or fast moving waterways. • Avoid alcohol. My advice: If you come to a stream or river and the water is brown … turn around. Brown, murky water is a sure sign the river or stream is flowing at higher than its normal rate and may present unimaginable downstream dangers. If you still want to enjoy some time in your kayak or canoe, I suggest heading to one of the lakes or reservoirs in one of our state parks and do some leisurely paddling. And always (ALWAYS!) wear a life jacket. My good friend and retired conservation office Monte Beaver once said, “I’ve never seen a drowning victim wearing a life jacket.” ‘til next time,

Jack JACK SPAULDING is a state outdoors writer and a consumer of RushShelby Energy living along the Flatrock River in Moscow. Readers with questions or comments can write to him in care of Indiana Connection or email

Learning starts now Educate children on bus safety before they leave for school The bus stop can be a dangerous place

electrical pole and accidentally touch

always listen for instructions from first

for children: bullies, speeding cars,

a power line. This could be a fatal mis-

responders or the bus driver.

and, electricity? That’s right, electrical

take so make sure your child knows

dangers are everywhere! The things

the dangers.

that seem like minor risks in the mo-

In an emergency, your child may need to jump out the vehicle, with both

Stay away from pad-mount trans-

feet together, avoiding contact with

formers (those big green boxes) or

the bus and the ground at the same

“Children are very impressionable

other electrical equipment. Children

time. Then, he or she should shuffle

from a young age, so it’s our duty as

might view these green boxes as play-

away with small steps, keeping both

parents, grandparents or guardians to

ground equipment, perfect for climb-

feet together and on the ground at

inform them of the dangers around

ing and playing on. So, warn your kids

all times. This will reduce the risk for

them,” said John Gasstrom, CEO of

to not put their fingers, sticks or other

electrical shock or electrocution. Take

Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “Those

objects through cracks in a trans-

the opportunity to practice this with

dangers could even be at the bus stop

former, and explain to them why they

your child, even if it’s just from your

or on their way to school.”

should never touch or go near areas

own vehicle.

ment could end up being deadly.

Keep these situations in mind when

where they see hazard stickers.

Talking to your kids about scary situ-

talking to your children about school

Plan with your children the dif-

ations can sometimes be difficult but

bus and bus stop safety:

ferent scenarios they could find

having continuous and proactive con-

themselves in. If their school bus was

versations is a great way to help them

ever in an accident involving power

remember when the time comes. You

lines, what would they do? First, as-

might not think they’re listening in

sume that the lines are still energized

the moment, but when they’re in a

(which means it’s still dangerous).

tough situation, you want to be that

They should remain in the bus as the

voice inside their heads reminding

driver calls 911. If your child must

them to be safe.

Don’t play near or around power lines or poles while waiting for the bus. A lot can happen in the few minutes children are waiting for the bus. Children are curious by nature and like to explore. For instance, your child could climb up a nearby tree or

exit the vehicle, advise him or her to




Hot weather hazards for dogs B Y B R IA N D . S MITH

It’s a day made for the outdoors, with temperatures in the mid-70s and a balmy breeze stirring the humid Indiana air. Even your 10-year-old bulldog Max seems invigorated, bolting into your fenced backyard when you open the door. But when you check on him a half hour later, Max looks anything but energetic. Flat on his stomach, tongue dangling, he doesn’t even move when you call his name. Could your beloved companion’s life be in danger? Indeed it could, says Dr. Jessica Leto, a veterinarian with Angel Animal Hospital in Greenwood. “Heatstroke can occur within 10 minutes of being in a hot, humid, poorly ventilated environment,” she says. “But people don’t realize that it can also occur when humidity alone is high and the temperature is only in the 70s.” Excessive panting and bright red (sometimes bluish) gums are reliable indicators of overheating. Your pooch may also act lethargic or unresponsive to commands – or, worse yet, experience convulsions, vomiting or diarrhea. A healthy dog’s (and cat’s) temperature is between 99 to 102.5 degrees, Leto says, and at 103 it’s considered hypothermic (elevated). Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches 105 degrees and continues to rise; if untreated, it can lead to multi-organ failure, a seizure and/or coma, and eventually, death.



What to do if your dog appears overheated? Don’t burn rubber to the vet’s office before you’ve taken a crucial first step. ”The best thing owners can do is start cooling measures as soon as possible before or while on the way to the veterinarian,” Leto says. “If you do nothing during those minutes, it could be a matter of life or death.” Wrap your furry friend in towels saturated with lukewarm water. Don’t use ice or cold water, which can constrict blood vessels and keep excessive body heat trapped inside, says Thomas Dock, director of communications for the 11 Noah’s Animal Hospitals in central Indiana.

If the pavement is too hot for you, it’s too hot for Fido.

Of course, hot weather poses additional hazards for dogs, so keep these tips in mind: •

Never leave an animal in a parked car, even for a few minutes with the windows cracked. On an 80-degree day, the temperature can reach 99 degrees in 10 minutes.

Hairless, short-haired and light-colored pets can get sunburned. But use dog sunscreen, not human sunscreen, which may contain toxic zinc oxide, Dock notes.

If you allow your pet outside, make sure there’s plenty of shade and cold water available. A doghouse may not be cool enough; Leto suggests a dog cooling mat or vest and even a kiddie pool for quick cooldowns.

Don’t walk your dog in the heat of the day – try mornings and evenings. To avoid scorching your pet’s footpads, put your hand on the pavement or asphalt for several seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for Fido.

Brian D. Smith is a freelance journalist from Greenwood.

product recalls

Infant deaths lead to recall of 5.4 million rocking sleepers The reported death of over 35 infants using two popular brands of infant sleepers has led to a major recall of almost 5.4 million sleepers. Fisher-Price has recalled all models of its “Rock ’n’ Play Sleeper,” and Kids II has recalled all models of its “Rocking Sleepers.” Fatalities occurred in both brands after the infants rolled from their back to their stomach or side while unrestrained, or under other circumstances. The Fisher-Price sleepers were sold beginning in 2009 for approximately $40 to $149; the Kids II sleepers were sold from March 2012 through April 26, 2019, for approximately $40-$80. The models were sold at major retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target and Toys “R” Us and online. Consumers should immediately stop using the sleepers and contact the appropriate company for details, or the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website (posted at the bottom of the page), for a full list of the recalled models and refund or voucher information.

FISHER-PRICE: Call 866-812-6518, or go online at www.service.

Individual sleepers may look different. and click on “Recall & Safety Alerts.”

KIDS II: Call 1-866-869-7954 or visit and click on “IMPORTANT RECALL INFORMATION” for more information.

Hunter recalls lighted ceiling fans for potential shock hazard Hunter Brunswick has recalled six models of ceiling fans with three and four lights. The wires for the light kit can be damaged, posing an electric shock hazard to the consumer. This recall involves Hunter Brunswick ceiling fan models 52262, 52263, 54178, 54179, 54184, 54185. The model number can be found on a label on top of the motor housing. The recalled ceiling fans have three or four lights. The fans have four blades and range from 44 inches to 60 inches in blade span. They came in multiple color options and were sold from November 2017 through May 2019 for between $150 and $300 at lighting stores nationwide and online.

Target recalls USB charging cables Target has recalled the heyday 3 Foot Lightning USB charging cables. The metal around the cord can become electrically charged if it contacts the USB wall charger plug prongs while charging, posing shock and fire hazards. The cables are used to charge cellphones and other electronics that use lightning connector charging cables. The metal charging cable is purple, green, and blue iridescent. The word “heyday” is printed on the cable’s connector. The model number 080 08 8261 is printed on the side of the product’s packaging. Target has received 14 reports of the cables smoking, sparking or igniting, including two reports of consumer finger burns. The cables were sold at Target stores nationwide and online from June 2018 through January 2019 for about $15. Call 800-440-0680, or go online at, and click on “Help,” then “Product Recalls” at the bottom of the page, then on “Electronics” or click on the “Product Recalls” tab on Target’s Facebook page for more information.

Hunter has received one report of damaged light kit wires. No injuries have been reported.

As a service to our readers and to promote electrical

Call 866-326-2003 or go online at and click on the “Recalls” link at the bottom of the page for more information.

by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

safety, here are some recent recall notices provided Visit for full details of these recalls and for notices of many more.



Wabash Valley Power news

Plan for the future to save money... and stay comfy! The excitement of buying a house can soon be tempered by additional price tags that come with the purchased property. Older houses frequently mean older appliances and heating and cooling systems, which also are likely more inefficient than newer systems available today. They may even require you to plan for replacements in the not-too-distant future. Fortunately, new (and even existing) homeowners can benefit greatly from a little planning: See what needs maintenance. While reviewing your home’s appliances and heating and cooling systems, make note of those that need routine maintenance. Where is the furnace filter? When does the water softener need more salt? When was the dryer vent last cleaned? By noting the systems that need maintenance, you can get into the routine of doing the updates needed to help your appliances and systems last longer while also operating at peak efficiency.

Create a (future) shopping list. Your home’s appliances likely will be of varying ages, and some will need to be replaced sooner than others. Consider what appliances and equipment you will want to buy when it comes time for a replacement. You will make much better decisions when you have time to shop and compare, rather than having to make a purchase once something unexpectedly breaks down. Don’t forget to see what Power Moves® and other rebates may be available for energyefficient upgrades – which also will help you save money in long-term energy costs. Don’t forget your electric co-op’s best secret – your energy advisor! Your local electric cooperative’s energy advisor has seen it all – new homes and older homes, from brand new energy efficient systems to those in dire need of replacement. Your energy advisor can provide advice on available options for your home to help you make the best

decision possible. Even better, your energy advisor can provide support on how you can get an energy audit done on your home. An audit will provide a detailed analysis of your home’s energy use and an actionable plan on steps you can take to reduce long-term energy costs. Some co-ops even provide these audits for their members! By making plans ahead of time, you will know the proper equipment and appliances to buy when it comes time. And by planning routine maintenance, you can extend the life of older heating and cooling systems and appliances. For advice on maximizing the efficiency and comfort of your home, contact your local electric cooperative’s energy advisor. For more ideas on how to plan for your new home – including do-it-yourself projects – visit

Hoosier Energy news

Did you know... Hoosier Energy is a non-profit generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) founded in 1949 to provide wholesale power and services to member distribution cooperatives. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, we serve 18 locally owned member cooperatives in southern and central Indiana and southeastern Illinois. Our mission is to provide members with assured, reliable and competitively priced energy and services in a safe and environmentally acceptable manner.



Facts about your co-op’s power provider





Gene Stratton-Porter: Her Legacy Lives On BY NICK ROGERS

fiction like “Freckles” and “A Girl of

observe wild-

A 19th-century description of

the Limberlost,” as well as nature

life on a hike

Indiana’s 13,000-acre Limberlost

guides — and adapting several into

in Loblolly

Swamp advised visitors against

films through her own produc-


a “treacherous … quagmire, filled

tion company. At the peak of her

with every plant, animal and hu-

popularity, Stratton-Porter earned

man danger known.”

$2 million — equal to $50 million

Such strong words would warn


About 90 minutes north, the Gene StratGENE STRATTONPORTER

off most. Thankfully, Gene Strat-

Thanks to the Indiana State Mu-


ton-Porter had quite a few of her

seum and Historic Sites, you can

State Historic

own to write about Limberlost. In

visit Stratton-Porter’s Limberlost

Site (or the

its environs, the Wabash County

estate in Geneva, as well as another

Cabin at Wildflower Woods) was

native became one of America’s

picturesque site she called home in

Stratton-Porter’s residence from

bestselling early-20th-century

Rome City.

1914 to 1919 and is now her final

novelists, a noteworthy naturalist,

At Limberlost, tours are available

a trailblazing entrepreneur, and a

of both Stratton-Porter’s Queen

staunch conservation advocate.

Anne-style home (where she and

Born in August 1863, Stratton-Por-

her family lived from 1895 to 1913)

ter defied her era’s expectation of

and a greenhouse. You can also

modest lives for women by writ-

view her extensive collection of

ing 26 books —popular works of

moths (which she studied) and

resting place. Visitors can observe her memorabilia, view a garden, explore wooded paths and take in 99 acres of restored wetland and prairie. Freelance writer Nick Rogers is a communications manager for Purdue Agricultural Communications.


200 6th St.; Geneva 260-368-7428

GENE STRATTON-PORTER STATE HISTORIC SITE 1205 Pleasant Point; Rome City 260-874-3790

The 120-foot-long wisteria-covered arbor behind Gene Stratton-Porter’s Rome City “Cabin at Wildflower Woods” is the centerpiece of her formal gardens. AUGUST 2019


career profile

Wearing many hats Top 3 responsibilities in a day: • Answer questions from consumers about power quality or general engineering issues. • Check the outages from the previous day to make sure the system’s coordination worked as planned. • Communicate with my co-workers about various ongoing projects.

What part of your job do you find most fulfilling? I enjoy figuring out the solution to a unique problem that, once fixed, often makes our system work more efficiently. I take pride and feel a sense of accomplishment when something I worked on makes our consumers’ lives better.

What’s the most challenging part of your job? Keeping up with technology and finding solutions to problems that fit our needs. There are often many equipment options and ways to approach something, but it’s important to find the best solution for our electric distribution system. That’s where our network of colleagues at neighboring electric utilities is especially valuable.

Have you had to master new skills in this role? Without question! Electric utilities are incredibly complex and have many moving parts. As the engineer, I have to know a little about a lot and a lot about



Neil Draper System Engineer Heartland REMC

little. Mastering job-specific skills has been a large part of being successful in this job.

Why did you choose to work for an electric cooperative? I was ready to work in a smaller company where values and integrity are paramount. My family is also very important to me. Working for a local electric utility allows me to be

near them without the concern of a corporate relocation.

How would you describe working for a co-op? It allows you to wear a lot of hats and get experience in many different areas. Some days I’m in the office all day working on something at my desk. Other days I’m harnessed on top of a power transformer in a substation preparing for maintenance. I love the diversity!



Profile for IndianaConnection

August 2019 — Indiana Connection  

August 2019 — Indiana Connection