Carroll White REMC — August 2021 Indiana Connection

Page 1

Lineman retires after 32-year career.

Carroll White REMC’s


pages 16–20


from the editor

Calm down

How do you relax? Perhaps you take a walk or ride your bike around the neighborhood. Maybe you de-stress in a warm bubble bath or while napping in a hammock. I personally enjoy temporarily escaping reality by immersing myself in a good book. No matter what method you use to calm your mind, it’s just important that you take the time to relax. But if kicking back and tuning out isn’t yet part of your regular routine, you may want to take note of a day devoted to that peaceful easy feeling. Aug. 15 is Relaxation Day. Mark that on your calendar and start planning your day. Many of us have experienced increased stress and anxiety during the pandemic. The uncertainty and isolation of these unprecedented times can take their toll on our minds and bodies. Now more than ever, not only is our own self-care a must; we need to encourage others in our lives to schedule time to rejuvenate their minds and bodies. Indulge in hobbies you may have been too busy to enjoy. Watch a movie that makes you laugh. Play board games with your family. Book a massage. Listen to soothing music while taking deep breaths to calm your mind. If you don’t do these things regularly, make Aug. 15 the day to start. Then make them part of your routine. I’m often overwhelmed by my always-full to-do lists and how there are never enough hours to accomplish all that want to do. But I know that burning out while ticking off my task lists is not healthy. Join me in a day of calm. It could make all the difference in your life.


On the menu: December issue: Chocolate, deadline Oct. 1.

January issue: Sheet pan meals, deadline Oct. 1. If we publish your recipe on our food pages, we’ll send you a $10 gift card.

Giveaways: Enter to win a $50 gift card from The Log Inn, this month’s Indiana

Eats-featured restaurant. For details and to enter, visit contests. Entry deadline: Aug. 31.

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 71 • NUMBER 2 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 Digital and Layout Design Specialist Taylor Maranion Senior Brand and Visual Design 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.








03 FROM THE EDITOR 05 CO-OP NEWS Energy news and information from your electric cooperative. 10 ENERGY Mini-split systems are efficient, secure. 11 INSIGHTS






12 COUNTY OF THE MONTH Spotlighting Bartholomew County.



Mascoting as big cats is a family legacy.


21 SAFETY Educate children on bus safety before they leave for school.

Sustenance afield: Salt and preservatives preserve us. (Not in all editions)

The Log Inn famous for Lincoln visit — and fried chicken. 14 FOOD Pepper up.

22 BACKYARD Limelight pruning primer; Jim Dandy to the rescue. (Not in all editions)


Indiana Connection

24 H OOSIER ENERGY/ WABASH VALLEY NEWS 25 TRAVEL The Big Peach in Bruceville. 26 PROFILE Nick Stainbrook’s mindboggling blessing.

On the cover It’s all in the family for second generation mascot Mason Hinkle who fires up game day crowds as Pioneer Jr.-Sr. High School’s Pepe the Panther. He took over the role from his mom, Candice, five years ago. PHOTO BY RICHARD G. BIEVER



co-op news “This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.” CARROLL WHITE REMC P.O. Box 599; Monticello, IN 47960 800-844-7161 (Toll Free) MONTICELLO OFFICE 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday DELPHI OFFICE 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday EMAIL CEO Randy W. Price BOARD OF DIRECTORS Kevin M. Bender, 219-863-6652 4280 W, 700 N, Delphi

Margaret E. Foutch, 219-279-2677 7535 W, 500 S, Chalmers

Gary E. Gerlach, 574-595-7820 9833 S. Base Road, Star City

Kent P. Zimpfer, 765-479-3006 4672 E. Arrow Point Court, Battle Ground

Tina L. Davis, 219-204-2195 7249 W, 600 S, Winamac

Ralph H. Zarse, 219-863-6342 1535 S, 100 E, Reynolds

Aaron Anderson, 765-427-5592 6634 W, 300 S, Delphi

MISSION STATEMENT “Creatively enhancing our community through safety and service.”

Safety, Service, and Community IMPORTANT DATES Cycle 1 July bills are due Aug. 5 and are subject to disconnect Aug. 24 if unpaid. Cycle 2 July bills are due Aug. 20 and are subject to disconnect Sept. 9 if unpaid. Meters are read using the Automated Meter Reading system. Cycle 1 meters will be read on Aug. 1. Cycle 2 meters will be read Aug. 15.

SHOPPING FOR LIGHTBULBS? Know the difference between lumens and watts. Lumens measure the amount of light produced by the bulb. Watts measure energy consumption. Energy-saving LEDs come in a variety of colors and brightness levels and last 15-25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. — U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Lineman retires

after 32-year career After 32 ½ years, CW REMC lineman Gary Kirk is retiring. A 1982 graduate of Delphi Community High School, Kirk started his work career at Globe Valve. When a job opportunity opened at Carroll County REMC, Kirk immediately applied. “I wanted a stable job,” Kirk said. “I knew REMC would never close. I knew it was labor intensive, but nothing surprised me.” Kirk’s career path took him from a groundman’s position to work as a journeyman lineman. During his tenure, Kirk also worked as a service man, meeting with contractors and managers. Site security was also part of this job. Mike Chapman, a Carroll County REMC employee, was Kirk’s mentor. “Mike retired before the consolidation,” Kirk said, laughing when realizing he eventually became the “old” guy and the mentor to the young linemen. Like many veteran REMC employees, the ice storm of 1991 stands out as his most challenging experience. When storms start rolling through the area after his retirement, Kirk said it will be a new experience for him not to engage in “work mode.”

The biggest change during Kirk’s REMC tenure was the consolidation between Carroll County REMC and White County REMC, GARY KIRK creating Carroll White REMC. “This was a huge change. There was a big difference in the facilities,” he said. “Now, we have over-the-top facilities in both Delphi and Monticello.” Kirk’s work base was in the Delphi office. Kirk was part of the first group of Hoosier linemen who traveled to Guatemala in 2012 to bring power to unserved areas of that country. He recalls the experience as “one of the most memorable, humbling and fulfilling accomplishments while I was at the REMC.” “This was the first Project Indiana trip,” Kirk said. During two two-week shifts, he and the Indiana REMC crews labored under primitive conditions. The terrain was rugged and dangerous.


WHOLESALE POWER TRACKER ADJUSTMENT Beginning with electric usage on July 1 to be billed in August, there is an adjustment in the wholesale power tracker on your bill. The new tracker is now $0.004440. This tracker is added to each kilowatt-hour you use. What this means is the average residential user of 1,200 kWh per month would see an increase of $5.35 per month. The reason for the increase is a fluctuation in the wholesale power market. The tracker is the mechanism that allows for the changing wholesale market, just as there are adjustments at your local gas pumps for your vehicle. Recently, we have been fortunate to have some negative numbers in the area of the power tracker. This new tracker adjustment is expected to remain in effect throughout 2021 and will be evaluated in 2022. AUGUST 2021


co-op news CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 When their two-week stint was completed, the crew members had completed 20 miles of power lines … by hand. “You don’t realize how good we have it until you look at countries like Guatemala,” Kirk said. “They struggle everyday … just to survive.” When reflecting on his REMC career, Kirk said, “I had a willingness to work hard, learn the job to be the best lineman I

could while making a positive impact to those I served. I want the members to know that I made a lot of good friends and appreciated the trust they place in us.” In his retirement, Kirk and his fiancé, Pennie Gillock, will divide time between Lafayette, a cottage on Lake Freeman, and Fort Myers, Florida. He looks forward to more time with Pennie, his future son-in-law, Brett; daughter-in-law Nicole; and grandson Mason.

FREE CONCERT FOR MEMBERS Carroll White REMC is partnering with Bank of Wolcott to host a free community concert on Aug. 14 at the White County Fairgrounds in Reynolds. The concert will feature The Flying Toasters. “Bank of Wolcott and CW REMC share many members/customers,” noted Casey Crabb, CW REMC communications and public relations manager. “Cosponsoring this event is a win-win.” The Flying Toasters consists of five men and three women. Describing its sound as “party band” music, the Indianapolis-based group performs rock, rhythm and blues, and radio hits from the 1970s to today. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7:15 p.m. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. The event will take place rain or shine.

From the boardroom The Carroll White REMC board of directors met on June 24. Roll call was taken and the minutes of the previous board meeting were approved. The board went through its annual reorganization 6 2021 andAUGUST the following were

elected to serve as officers: Kevin Bender, president; Margaret Foutch, vice president; Ralph Zarse, secretary-treasurer; and Kent Zimpfer, assistant secretary-treasurer. Gary Gerlach reported on Indiana Electric

Cooperatives and Energy Advisor Joe Spear also made a presentation. That was followed by a Wabash Valley Power Alliance report. New Wabash Valley Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy John

Cassady spoke to the board. Reports were given on the ACES Member Conference, the CFC Summer Summit, Carroll White REMC’s Annual Meeting as well as each department presenting its monthly information.

co-op news


celebrates 10th annual meeting Hundreds of Carroll White REMC members were on hand for the co-op’s 10th Annual Meeting on June 23 at Twin Lakes High School. “With all signs of the pandemic trending downward, due in part to many receiving vaccinations, we really wanted to get back to some normalcy and greet our members in-person this year,” Board President Kevin Bender said. Grace Fry, a 2021 Twin Lakes High School graduate, sang the National Anthem. Pastor John Westfall, an REMC member from St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Delphi, gave the invocation. Westfall’s father, Ross Westfall, served as a White County REMC board member from 1968-89. The elder Westfall was the co-op’s representative on the Indiana Electric Cooperatives’ board.

Recognizing board members Bender recognized the REMC’s board members who oversee the financial and operational interests of the cooperative. A special tribute was given to Milt Rodgers, a District 1 director from 2011 until he passed away on Oct. 9, 2020. Rodgers also served as board representative to Wabash Valley Power Alliance, your co-op’s power supplier. “Milt was a tireless worker for REMC,” Bender said. “He was thoroughly immersed and engaged in his responsibilities here. Milt

Kevin Bender with Pat Rodgers

PRESIDENT’S REPORT High-speed broadband

The REMC board

service is the most talked-

commissioned a

about subject in our industry

feasibility study

and the REMC board has

to find out what

been examining how to bring

would be needed

this technology to our service

to build fiber


throughout our

In November and December

served as a tremendous role model for each of his fellow directors.” A plaque was given to Rodgers’ wife, Pat, in honor his service to Carroll White REMC.

2020, we surveyed members

District 7 Director Tina Davis was appointed to serve as CW REMC’s Wabash Valley Power Alliance representative.

forward. Out of 2,795 survey

about current broadband service levels and asked if they’d be interested in a broadband project if the board approved moving respondents, over 90% said they would approve a decision to pursue broadband across our area.

entire service territory which


includes parts of nine counties. The feasibility study revealed that for CW REMC to engage in providing broadband to our service territory would cost the cooperative an estimated $80 million to $100 million. Keep in mind that our total utility



co-op news CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 plant in service for our cooperative is just under $80 million — and we have been in business since 1937. Many existing broadband companies in our service territory are working diligently to reach the underserved in rural areas. With their efforts and new technology like satellite and wireless, these providers are making huge strides. Board members questioned building a fiber system worth millions of dollars when they were uncertain about how many CW REMC members might sign up to be part of this new service. This uncertainty raised questions of stranded assets and putting members at risk. While there is grant money available for broadband creation and expansion, the REMC board could not risk our members’ electric cooperative on speculation. The board of directors was diligent in processing all the gathered information. Through difficult, deep conversations and numerous meetings, the board concurred that it is not the appropriate time nor is it necessary for Carroll White REMC to enter into the broadband fiber business. Instead, the team at CW REMC is working to improve the reliability of its existing electrical system to

Message from CW REMC CEO Randy W. Price Two years ago, the CW REMC board adopted a strategic plan that prioritized how to focus on best serving members while embracing our core mission of safety, service and community.

program which will allow members to make

Technology was and remains a top

businesses with pay back options tied to

cooperative priority. During the COVID pandemic, our efforts paid off as we adapted to finding new ways to complete our work and even improve how we do business in

efficiency upgrades to their homes or their monthly CW REMC bill. The Looped In program makes it easier for CW REMC members to install geothermal

unprecedented, challenging times.

heating and cooling systems. CW REMC will

The new technology work plan ties

cutting your initial investment by at least one-

the financial and physical success of the cooperative together so we can excel in serving members and the communities in our service territory. As technology rapidly advances, we are evolving from power line carrier to radio frequency meters. This enables us to more rapidly know when an outage occurs or how we can best assist you with billing concerns. Rural electric cooperatives are nationwide leaders in mastering automated meter use. We plan to continue to advance their use.

purchase the Loop portion of this installation, third. REMC will then lease the Loop back to members as a monthly fee on their existing electric bills. The new Text Notification Program is a major upgrade from the existing text program. Members are alerted about power outages and restoration efforts specific to their individual accounts. Members need to sign-up for Smart Hub to receive this service. The virtual lobby tool allows members to view programs, services, energy efficiency methods and many more tools and

ultimately best serve its members.

Two areas that we must stay on top of are

information that allow us to best serve them.

We recently adopted a new

disaster recovery and cyber security. With constant monitoring, we are diligent on these

Our CW REMC team works hard on your

technology work plan to improve our core mission … to provide

fronts to ensure safety for the cooperative

reliable, economical, dependable

and our members.

electricity to the members we

On the member engagement front, new


programs are being rolled out to enhance member opportunities. Partnership for Efficiency is a new low interest loan



behalf. Never hesitate to connect with any team member to voice your concerns or expectations. The better we know you, the better we can serve you.


continued on pages 22-23



comfort Add-on


DO YOU HAVE A RO O M THAT NE VE R RE AC H ES T H E TEM PE RATU RE YOU S ET A T Y OU R TH E RM OSTAT ? You are not alone! There are many reasons to consider adding additional heating and cooling to trouble areas like this and there is a solution I have found that is efficient and secure. Known as mini-split heat pumps, these units don’t require ductwork to provide heating and cooling solutions to your home. These units have

A common question I

window unit?” They are

with a system like this. If

get about these systems

cheaper to purchase and

you find that additional

is “Are they energy

don’t require professional

heating and cooling is

efficient?” Overall,

installation but there are

needed for a space in

yes. They are efficient

three things I want you

your home, mini-split

because air does not

to keep in mind:

systems provide a safe,

have to move from the unit located on one side of your home through ductwork to the other side. Mini-split systems are installed on a wall

• Window units only offer cool air.

noisy. • They can reduce the security of your

placed outside in close

home as it can be

proximity to the wall

challenging to secure

unit. This is one way

the windows they are

these units help increase

installed in. Conducting an energy

their own thermostat and

Another common

efficiency audit is always

can condition up to four

question is “Why

something I recommend


shouldn’t I just use a

before moving forward




• They tend to be

and the heat pump is


efficient solution to


Matt Brames

Manager of Cooperative Communication Dubois REC

MARKETPLACE Our Marketplace offers maximum exposure for your business or organization at a minimal cost. Please contact Cheryl Solomon, 847-749-4875 or, for other small business advertising opportunities in Indiana Connection.

Indiana Connection magazine, staffers receive awards Indiana Connection magazine — as


well as staff members Richard G.


Biever, Taylor Maranion, and Emily


Schilling — were recently honored

of cooperative

by the Cooperative Communicators




The magazine received a third place


award in the member publication category. Maranion, the magazine’s senior brand and visual design specialist, received the coveted photographer

Local Loan Originators We Lend in 48 States Loan Program Variety Low and No Down Payment Competitive Rates GSlater@

of the year honor. Schilling, Indiana Connection’s editor, won first place in the headline writing category. Biever, the magazine’s senior editor, earned an honorable mention in the portrait photography category.

Nearly 500 entries representing the best in writing, photography, programs and projects and publications were submitted in this year’s competition by professional communicators from

The awards were presented at CCA’s

across the United

annual institute in June. CCA is a

States and Canada.

Indiana Connection Editor Emily Schilling earned a first place award for her “Haute Dogs” headline in the July 2020 issue. This photo was part of Taylor Maranion’s Photographer of the Year-winning portfolio.



The distinctive 192-foot spire of the North Christian Church is one reason the church, built in 1964, is a landmark in Columbus, a city of landmarks.

county feature

Bartholomew County Bartholomew County celebrates its bicentennial this year. Parts of the county’s yearlong celebration will focus on looking forward to what’s next. But in celebrating the county, the story of county seat Columbus cannot be emphasized enough. For a city of its size, Columbus, population around 46,000, has a unique place in the nation for its noted architecture and public art. The American Institute of Architects ranked Columbus sixth in the nation for architectural innovation and design — right behind Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The city’s visitors’ guide lists over 90 buildings and pieces of public art by internationally-noted architects and artists. Columbus has been called “Athens on the Prairie.” Seven buildings, constructed between 1942 and 1971, are National Historic Landmarks, and approximately 60 other buildings sustain the Bartholomew County seat’s reputation as a showcase of modern architecture. The seven are:

FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH, 1942 • 531 FIFTH ST. Completed in 1942, it was the first contemporary building in Columbus and one of the first churches of contemporary architecture in the United States. The design includes a 166-foot high free-standing bell tower.

CUMMINS INC. IRWIN CONFERENCE CENTER, FORMERLY IRWIN UNION BANK, 1954 • 500 WASHINGTON ST. The center is a low, glass-walled building set in a grove of trees.




County Facts FOUNDED: 1821

Unusual domed lights and an open interior creates a large open room and a feeling of openness and friendliness.



of Tippecanoe. He later

The Miller House is located in a residential neighborhood and is not accessible to the public. Entry is obtained via tours which start at the Columbus Visitors Center.

MCDOWELL EDUCATION CENTER, 1960 • 2700 MCKINLEY AVE. McDowell was designed as an elementary school with four cluster buildings that had three classrooms each and connecting open-air walkways. The school changed to adult education in 1988 and it was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 1999.

NORTH CHRISTIAN CHURCH, 1964 • 850 TIPTON LANE The sloping roof of this six-sided building blends with the landscaped earth mound which surrounds it. This low line accentuates the slender 192-foot spire, topped with a goldleaf cross, which gives its distinctive design.

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, 1965 • 3300 FAIRLAWN DRIVE First Baptist Church is positioned on the brow of a gently sloping knoll. This elevation, combined with its peaked non-dimensional bell tower, emphasizes the building’s function

Joseph Bartholomew, a general in the Indiana militia who fought at the 1811 Battle became a state lawmaker. POPULATION: 82,753 (2018 estimate) COUNTY SEAT: Columbus INDIANA COUNTY NUMBER: 3 as a place of worship. The steep roof, twice as high as the supporting brick walls, is covered with hand-laid slate. The highlight of the interior design is a wall of pierced brick at the front of the chancel.

THE REPUBLIC NEWSPAPER OFFICES, 1971 • 333 SECOND ST. The glass and steel design provided onlookers with a window into the business of communications. The open concept reflected the daily newspaper’s role as a central link in the information for the community. Originally, the paper’s printing presses could be viewed from the street. The newspaper later moved its offices near Fair Oaks Mall and the Indiana University J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program moved into the building in August 2018. Architecture tours are available. For more information, visit

Indiana eats

INN-COMPARABLE The Log Inn famous for Lincoln visit — and fried chicken Its claim to fame as Indiana’s oldest

Elpers, and their

restaurant is reason enough to draw


curious diners to The Log Inn in Warrenton, Indiana, 12 miles north of Evansville. But once there, the restaurant’s locally famous fried chicken, always fresh and made to order, turns first-timers to fans.

Besides the

Family-style meal featuring fried chicken, corn, mashed potatoes and green beans.

chicken, fried low and slow using grandmother Victoria’s recipe,

The Log Inn was built by Henry

diners most

Haub in 1825. In the 1840s, it was

often rave about

a main stagecoach stop between

the catfish,

Evansville and Terre Haute, and an


inn. Abraham Lincoln, then an Illinois

coleslaw and

attorney, stopped there in 1844 while

pie. Family-style meals featuring

campaigning for his role model,

comfort food staples like mashed

presidential candidate Henry Clay.

potatoes and rolls are available for

The building fittingly later became a

parties of three or more. Diners can

stop on the Underground Railroad.

also order a la carte off the menu.

It served the community as a general

Lincoln-philes are thrilled to enjoy

store, tavern and dance hall through

their meals in the Lincoln Room where

the years and through various owners.

the revered 16th president spent

In 1965, Pete and Victoria Rettig

time in 1844. The Lincoln Room is in

opened The Log Inn restaurant in the

the original portion of The Log Inn;

building. The restaurant passed on to

through the years — starting post-Civil

their daughter, Rita, and her husband

War — the several additions were

Gene Elpers in 1978. It is currently

made to the building.

run by the Elpers’ children: Kathy

The restaurant’s walls are adorned with historical photos, artwork, awards, and

Rita Elpers and her family run The Log Inn.

memorabilia — many donated by local

residents and regular patrons of the landmark restaurant. Among the memorabilia: a copy of a 2016 “Time” magazine article which mentioned The Log Inn as one of 240 reasons to celebrate the Fourth of July. The Gibson County restaurant was also featured in the Food Network’s “The Best Of” Viewers’ Choice

Holzmeyer, Trish Elpers and Daryl


ENTER TO WIN a $50 gift card to The Log Inn

THE LOG INN 12491 County Road 200 E. Haubstadt, Indiana


Open for dinner every night except Sundays and Mondays.



food SALSA

Patricia Kay Sharp, Monticello, Indiana 6 lbs. tomatoes ½ lb. peppers (suggested: 1 jalapeno pepper, ½ each yellow, red and orange bell pepper, 1 whole green pepper, and 3 banana peppers) 2 T. cilantro 1 (4 oz.) can green chiles 2 cups ketchup ½ head garlic, minced 1 cup white vinegar ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup pickling salt Rinse and dice all tomatoes; place them in a colander over the sink to drain excess liquid. Rinse and dice all peppers, removing stems and seeds first. Dice cilantro. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and rest of the ingredients; stir together thoroughly. Spoon into clean glass jars. This recipe makes one gallon so you can divide salsa into four quart jars or eight pint jars. Cover with lids. Place in refrigerator. Use salsa within one year. Cook’s Notes: You can adjust the peppers to your taste. This combination is very tasty but not hot. This is a great way to use up those extra tomatoes.



Pepper Up



CREAM CHEESE FILLED PEPPERS Glenda Sensenig Cutler, Indiana

In a small bowl, mix chili powder and brown sugar. Set aside. Wash, halve and seed peppers. Fill each pepper with ½ oz. of cream cheese. Cut bacon slices in half. Wrap ½ of a bacon slice around each

1 T. chili powder

pepper half, securing each with a toothpick.

½ cup brown sugar

Arrange in a baking dish. Sprinkle brown

8 mini sweet peppers 8 oz. cream cheese 8 bacon slices, raw

sugar mixture over pepper halves. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

K’S SUMMER PENNE Beverly Allen Sellersburg, Indiana

1 red pepper, cored and diced 1 yellow pepper, cored and diced 1 orange pepper, cored and diced 1 small sweet onion, diced Oil, cooking spray or butter 16 oz. penne pasta, cooked according to package directions Approximately 15 (more or less to taste) grape tomatoes, quartered Oregano, basil, salt, and pepper, to taste Shredded mozzarella if desired

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS ¼ cup pine nuts Fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, tarragon, basil, oregano, parsley Cooked, diced chicken Yellow summer squash, diced Saute peppers and onion in oil, cooking spray, or butter until tender. Add cooked penne and mix together. Add tomatoes and cook until heated (tomatoes should still have their shape, not mushy). Add seasoning and/or fresh herbs; mix together. Add optional additions if desired. Serve warm. Top with shredded mozzarella, if desired. Makes 8-10 servings.




OUT OF TH When Candice Hinkle — then Layman — first asked if she could don the fuzzy black suit and oversized head of her high school’s mascot, she let more than one cat out of the bag. Her high school was Logansport. The mascot was Felix the Cat, the famous feline of film and funny pages — and Indiana’s oldest mascot. “There was no actual ‘Felix’ being Felix,” Candice, Class of 1996, recalled. “They might catch one of the kids and say, ‘Hey, we need somebody to be Felix tonight. Would you do it?’” Given the chance to be Felix, Candice took the role and made it hers. She not only animated Felix in a way no Felix had been before (or since), she later went on to portray two other mascot cats, The Puma at







St. Joseph College on a mascoting

started with Felix when Candice was

onto the gridirons as normal school

scholarship, and Pepe the Panther at

just her son’s high school sweetheart.

activities are expected to resume. And

Pioneer Jr.-Sr. High School in Royal Center where she was teaching.

“I just have to laugh to think that my interest in mascoting would lead to an

mascots are a big part of that rah, rah, sis, boom, bah.

And to show that the claw doesn’t fall

entire family affair!” Candice, now 43,

“A mascot is the embodiment of

far from the paw: Candice’s then-

said recently. “They always say one

school spirit,” explained Matt Jones,

future sister-in-law, Shannon Hinkle,

decision can change your life. One

principal at Logansport High School.

followed in her pawprints as Felix;

decision as my 16-year-old self to step

“A mascot is there to cheer alongside

Candice’s son Mason took over from

out of my comfort zone changed an

the crowd and build a sense of

her as Pepe, the Pioneer mascot; and

entire family dynamic over 25 years

belonging to the school at its games

daughter Valerie hopes to step into the


and events. A mascot entertains and

Pepe costume next year after her big brother graduates.

MASCOT’S MEOW All over Indiana later this month, high school

heightens the engagement of the crowd.”

If all that wasn’t enough, Candice’s

students will step out of their comfort

Logansport, he noted, has all that in

mother-in-law, Barb, has always been

zones beneath veils of fleece, foam

Felix, as a source of entertainment

there, too. She was the seamstress to

and fuzz as fierce or farcical school

while being a big part of the history

adjust or fix all three costumes. She

mascots. They’ll lead their teams back


Mascoting is the Hinkle Family legacy. Candice Hinkle started it off, when she was still Candice Layman, in the mid-1990s by assuming the full-time role of Felix the Cat, the iconic Logansport High School mascot (inset photo at left). Her son, Mason, is now Pepe the Panther at Pioneer Jr.-Sr. High School in Royal Center (far left and far right). Below, Mason and Candice pose with Shannon Hinkle, far right, Candice’s sister-in-law who followed her as Felix in high school and Valerie Hinkle, Candice’s daughter, who hopes to follow older brother Mason as Pepe next year.




After she got the part of Felix, she

gave her a tryout slip at the start of her

and tradition of the high school.

started doing research into her role.

sophomore year.

(Please see story on page 20.)

She read about Felix and watched his

Jones, who grew up in Logansport

has antics. And Felix is kind of ornery

and whose father taught at the school, was five years ahead of Candice, but the legend of her portrayal of Felix lived on when he returned to the school system as a teacher and then

old black and white films. “Oh, so Felix sometimes,” she learned. “I can do that. Just being creative and thinking outside the box was my favorite part of being Felix.”

Because of the new awareness and celebrity Candice had brought to Felix, several students wanted to be the mascot the following fall, and tryouts had to be held. “I was someone who would never really talk to anybody; I really kept to myself,” recalled

Her biggest fan, she said, was her

Shannon. “And so I thought this would

boyfriend, Jeremy Hinkle. “It was a

be a perfect way to get out of my shell.

interactive personality,” he noted.

natural fit. It really was,” said Jeremy.

Candice had a lot of fun. And nobody

Candice said peering through the

“She’s always had a real bubbly

really knows who’s behind the mask

personality. And she’s always been

and the costume.”

administrator. “Candice took Felix to another level as an animated and

mesh eyes of the Felix costume, she found freedom to really clown around. “I was outgoing, but I didn’t know that I could entertain crowds of 4,500 people. It’s like a transformation. I found my groove when I became

outgoing and wanting to talk and play around with people and just be the class clown.” Jeremy said that as a farm kid, he didn’t get to attend too many high


school games, but he always made it

She said she learned so much about

appeared as Felix. The couple dated

herself — through Felix. “I learned that I’m kinesthetic. I move with my body. If I hear music, I’m moving my hands and my legs. And what made Felix was how much I moved. Mascoting is all about telling a story through your body. Because you can’t talk, right? So you’ve got to communicate in other ways.”




a point to attend the games Candice throughout high school and married just after college.

Shannon won the part as Felix for the 1996-97 school year and continued playing the role of Felix until she graduated in 1999. Shannon said she was always more introverted, not boisterous and a class clown like Candice — until she got into the Felix costume. “It’s kind of that switch that clicks, and you just feel invincible,” she said. “You just know

After Candice graduated from

what you have to do. And you know

Logansport, Jeremy’s little sister

that you make people smile. And when

Shannon tried out for Felix. As a

you make people smile, you feel good.

freshman, she knew Candice had been Felix, but she said she never thought much about it until someone

Felix the Cat, Logansport High School’s mascot since 1926, is everywhere around the school. Along with its celebrity mascot, Logansport also has the oddly unique nickname “Berries.” The dubbing is believed to have been aptly derived from the similarities in name and color to the red and black Loganberry.

Felix the Cat has been updated in looks (and costumes) over the years, but is still a mainstay at the Berry Bowl, the home gymnasium for the Logansport High School teams.

If it’s jumping around acting crazy,

grade son Mason asked if he could

then by golly, that’s what you’ll do. If

be Pepe. She let him try it on for size,

it’s sitting on the floor playing blocks

and he never gave it up.

with kids, then that’s what you need to do.”

Mason said he was more quiet than his mom. “I don’t normally like talking

Meanwhile, after graduation,

to people as much, … which is kind of

Candice had gone to St. Joseph

a nice thing because as Pepe you are

College in Rensselaer (which

expected to be silent,” noted Mason,

has since shuttered) on a softball

now 17 and entering his senior year.

scholarship. But the softball coach

“It’s a different mindset when you’re

He’s not kidding about “owning it.”

had also seen her perform as Felix

actually in Pepe. I’m happy chasing

Little sister Valerie, who’s a freshman

and recommended her for a mascot

people around, having my tail pulled

this fall, has asked about filling in as

scholarship, too. St. Joe’s mascot was

… off in some cases.”

Pepe. “She’s bugged me for the past

also a cat — a school-color purple feline known just as “The Puma.” Candice passed some of Felix’s zany

“From seeing both,” said Jeremy, “Felix as a cartoon was always kind of

himself. “So it took me until maybe all of eighth grade to fully go into it and just own it.”

two years to let her do it a few times,” said Mason.

the jokester, the prankster; Candice

So far, he hasn’t let her. But her time

tried to bring that to Felix when she

may come. She has been assisting

was on the basketball court during

Pepe, carrying his water bottle and

After college, Jeremy and Candice

halftime. Pepe, however, doesn’t have

making sure little kids don’t pull his

moved to rural Cass County as Carroll

a cartoon or anything to model after.

tail. She hopes to step into the suit

White REMC consumers. Candice

So, it’s kind of been Mason figuring

next year. “I want to get a taste for it,”

settled in as a fifth grade teacher in

out what he can get away with.”

she said. “I just like messing around in

antics and ornery humor on to the Puma during her four years there.

the Pioneer school system in Royal Center. In 2016, just like 22 years earlier at Logansport, she discovered Pioneer Jr.-Sr. High School had a mascot — another big cat named Pepe the Panther. Its costume was hardly being used. “I used to be a mascot,” she told folks at the high school. “Let me do it.” She reprised her crazy antics to the enjoyment of Pioneer fans. “I did it for three football games and had a blast,” she said.

“It has been fun watching Mason develop his own bag of tricks,” said Candice. “I never thought he’d stick with it this long, but he really has

front of other people, like dancing and stuff and not having to worry about them knowing who you are, because you have that mask on. ”

enjoyed himself — immensely! There


is a sense of pride as a parent to see

Candice took a year sabbatical from

that something so unusual you did and

her 20-year career as a teacher,

enjoyed as a kid, is now something

and then resigned to pursue a new

your own children like doing!”

calling — the ministry. She is working

Mason admits it took him a couple of years to grow into the role. “It was really hard at first to let go and not be Mason, anymore,” he noted. “I’m

Her comeback, however, was short

Pepe. I can do whatever I want. I don’t

lived. Out of the blue, her seventh

have to sit in the bleachers,” he told

to become a Lutheran minister. This summer, she’s been interning as a chaplain at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. “We just had to do a thing about what are your CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 AUGUST 2021



open to multiple types of people, and

And then that clues you in for this

squashed dreams.‘Oh, I thought one

just be loving to them — from little

profession. I know to back off, or, go

kids to older folks. I learned in my

forward, or give them their space. Now

That was my biggest dream.’”

youth that God had given me a special

that I’m being called to be a pastor, I

While she was joking, she did note

skill to be able to relate to people of

can use those skills to be with people.”

all ages, and races, denominations,

day I’d be a mascot in Disney World.

that mascoting did prepare her for the calling she’s now undertaking. “By

ethnicities, everything. By being a mascot, you observe people and their

being Felix, I learned that I could be

body language and their emotions.



BAGGED FELIX THE CAT Don Oriolo, who carries on his father’s legacy as the artist of Felix the Cat, visited Logansport High School for two days in 2016 to celebrate Felix’s 90th anniversary as Logansport’s mascot.

Felix the Cat was among the first celluloid celebrities. Created in 1919, the anthropomorphic cat was a contemporary of the likes of Charlie Chaplain and predated Mickey Mouse. His cartoon misadventures made him as feline phenom in the early 1920s. So, how did such a big celebrity come to be the mascot at Logansport High School and recognized as the state’s first high school mascot? As the story goes … the Logansport basketball team was having its endof-the-season banquet at a hotel in downtown Logansport in March 1926. Next to the hotel, a store’s window display featured a small stuffed Felix toy which serendipitously sported the team’s colors of black and red. As the team entered the hotel, Coach Cliff Wells bought Felix at the store. He then sat it on a table at the banquet. At some point before the next season, Wells gave the doll to Raymond




“Curly” Hupp, his senior captain on the 1926-27 team. Hupp kept the doll in his locker. At a home game early that next season, Logansport found itself down at halftime. As the team returned to floor for the second half, Hupp grabbed Felix from his locker and placed it on the floor during warmup. When the team came back to win, Felix was seen as a good luck charm. “From that point on,” said Matt Jones, Logansport’s current principal, “Felix was the official mascot of Logansport High School and the first known mascot in the state of Indiana.” The cartoon Felix underwent changes in the ensuing decades: making talking cartoons, getting face lifts and getting a “bag of tricks.” New animated cartoons for TV by Joe Oriolo, who also created Casper the Friendly Ghost and was a protégé of the original Felix artist, brought Felix to a new

generation of youngsters in the 1950s and 1960s. Always highly revered at Logansport, Felix became a living, breathing mascot for the first time in the late 1980s when the first Felix costume was donated. Felix has been interacting with fans, dancing, acting silly and firing up the home team ever since. In December 2016, Logansport celebrated Felix’s 90th anniversary with the school. The celebration took place in conjunction with a girls/boys varsity basketball double-header. Other mascots — including Boomer from the Indiana Pacers and high school and college mascots from around the state — joined the Felix festivities. For the event, Logansport also brought Oriolo’s son, Don, who carries on his father’s tradition as the Felix illustrator, to town. Oriolo appeared at a community event, singing, drawing images of Felix and telling stories from Felix’s past. He also talked about cartooning to both high school and elementary classes. “The tradition of the cat story is such a critical part of our rich traditions,” noted Jones. “We’re just extremely proud with the connection with Felix the Cat. It just goes hand-in-hand with Logansport High School.”



Educate children on bus safety before they leave for school


he school bus stop is a place where friendships can be forged for life. But there are also hazards children should be aware of. Distracted drivers who don’t see or choose to ignore the stopped school bus lights are something children all need to watch for as they stand on the curb or cross the road. But there are also electrical hazards that children should be taught to avoid. “A lot can happen in the few minutes children are waiting for the bus,” said John Gasstrom, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “It’s our duty as parents, grandparents or guardians to teach them of the dangers around them.” Keep these situations in mind when talking to your children about school bus and bus stop safety:

DON’T PLAY NEAR OR AROUND ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT • Warn your child not to climb up trees and electrical poles or on

guy wires that might put them dangerously close to overhead power lines. • Warn your child to stay away from pad-mount transformers (the big, usually green boxes) or other electrical equipment in your neighborhood. Children might view these as perfect for climbing and playing on or lying on while waiting for the bus. But 7,200 volts of electricity are usually coursing through them. • Do some homework yourself: before the school year starts, find out exactly where the stop will be. Check it out yourself for blind spots and dangers curious kids might get into while waiting in the morning.

THINK HOW TO STAY SAFE IN CASE THERE’S A BUS ACCIDENT • If the school bus is ever in an accident and ends up in a ditch, the bus may have hit a utility pole. Power lines may have dropped and

be touching the bus. Teach your child to assume any fallen lines are still energized and dangerous. Let your child know if he or she is OK after an accident, remain in the bus as the driver calls 911. • In an emergency, your child may need to exit the bus. Show him or her how to jump clear from the bus with both feet together, avoiding contact with the bus and the ground at the same time. Then, he or she should shuffle away with tiny steps, keeping both feet together and on the ground at all times. This will reduce the risk for electrical shock or electrocution. Tell your child to look closely for fallen power lines to avoid accidently walking into them. Take the opportunity to practice this with your child, even if it’s just from your own vehicle. Talking to your kids about scary situations can sometimes be difficult but having continuous and proactive conversations is a great way to help them remember should the time come.



Attorney Patrick Manahan conducts board election Several years ago, CW REMC members changed the Articles of Incorporation and voted to allow mail-in and electronic ballots in board elections. Also, the Indiana General Assembly passed a bill allowing votes cast by mail-in ballots or electronic ballots to be counted as a quorum at annual REMC meetings. There were 1,980 ballots cast in this year’s election. Two board members were elected: Gary Gerlach serving District 6 and Aaron Anderson serving District 1. Gerlach has served 42 years on the CW REMC board of directors. He has represented the REMC on the Indiana Electric Cooperatives board for 21 of those years. He served on the IEC executive board for 10 years with four of those years as board president. “I have made many trips to Washington, D.C., to meet with elected officials to discuss issues concerning rural electric cooperatives and Indiana,” Gerlach said. This will be Anderson’s first term on the CW REMC board. “I feel that my career at Indiana Packers has really helped me develop effective communication and leadership skills that will translate well to a position on the board,” he said. “The current project that I am on has also provided me some great insight into adapting to a changing technological landscape and trying to manage the changes and challenges that come along with it.”

COBANK SHARING SUCCESS GRANTS PRESENTED Board President Bender presented Sharing Success grants to area non-profit organizations in conjunction with CoBank, one of REMC’s lending institutions. The grant consists of $10,000 donated by CoBank matched with another $10,000 from the REMC. Four local organizations received grants: • The White County Boys and Girls Club was awarded $8,000 to assist with summer youth programs. • The Abby & Libby Park Foundation in Delphi received $2,300 to assist in purchasing a special swing designed for handicapped use. • The Town of Yeoman received $5,700 to assist with building a new community shelter. • Adams Mill received $4,000 to help with a restoration project at this historic site.

Carroll White REMC Annual Scholarships Presented Scholarship winners are selected by a committee of CW REMC directors and leadership team members. Graduating seniors must receive service from CW REMC to qualify for the $1,000 scholarships. • Miranda Thompson, West Central High School • Kinsey Westerhouse, North White High School • Guadalupe Amador, Twin Lakes High School • Haley Nelson, Delphi Community High School

Gary Gerlach (District 6) and Aaron Anderson (District 1) were elected to the CW REMC board.



• Thomas Tullius, Frontier High school • Evan Fritz, Delphi Community High School

Kinsey Westerhouse is one of the 2021 scholarship recipients.

• Delaney Zeck, Lewis Cass High School • Branden Buschman, North White High School • Jacob Roller, Pioneer High School • Jenna Swaim, Twin Lakes High School


Junior Board Chairman Avery Dawson introduces the new members of the Junior Board of Directors.

During the past

co-op news

Annual Meeting door prizes

three school years, Carroll White REMC

Kids’ door prize winners included:

has sponsored a youth engagement

Nintendo Switch: Austin Pritts

program, the Junior Board of Directors. Alicia Hanawalt, the REMC’s director of human resources, presented certificates to graduating Junior Board members.

• Emily Hagen, Winamac High School • Sarah Padilla, Winamac High School

Junior Board Chairman Avery

“We have gained a better

Dawson from Tri-County High School

understanding of what an electric

introduced the Junior Board members.

cooperative is, how it operates and

SENIOR MEMBERS • Katlyn Sherinian, Vice Chairman, Delphi Community High School • Guadalupe Amador, Secretary, Twin Lakes High School • Jaden Long, Treasurer, Delphi Community High School • Nathaniel Burns, Twin Lakes High School • Emily Johnson, Carroll High School

JUNIOR MEMBERS • Clayton Bridwell, Twin Lakes High School • Elyse Perry, Delphi Community High School • Leah Schneider, Tri-County High School

the career opportunities available within the industry,” Dawson said. “We sharpened our leadership and teambuilding skills and learned how to properly conduct business meetings.” This year, the board spent over 70 hours collectively volunteering in White, Carroll and Pulaski counties. Carroll White REMC logs these volunteer hours and money is placed in a special account that cannot exceed $1,000. These funds are donated to an area non-profit organization. This year, the Junior Board of Directors donated the $1,000 to the Abby and Libby Memorial Park in Delphi. Abigail Williams and Liberty

X-Box “S”: Corbin Brown Huffy 20-inch bicycle: Issabella Owens Dynacraft 24-inch bicycle: Samantha Wilson

Other door prizes included: $25 bill credit: Barbara J. Disney $25 bill credit: Ag Venture Inc. $25 bill credit: Brian and Heather Burns $50 bill credit: Donna Romein $75 bill credit: John and Julie Danford $100 cash: Paul and Shirley Pretorious $100 cash: Kenneth Berkshire $100 cash: Linda Whitney $250 cash: Gary and Janis Johns $500 cash: Deloris Alma

German would have been graduating in 2021. Abby’s mother, Anna Williams, accepted the donation.



Wabash Valley Power news

Sunny Savings? Talk with your local electric co-op about solar energy to avoid getting burned

These dog days of

actionable steps you can

available with arrays

certified to ensure that

summer might have you

take to minimize energy

in Indiana, Illinois and

you are maximizing

considering putting those

waste. Even upgrading

Missouri. Your energy

energy savings. You may

loitering summer sunrays

to LED lighting or to

advisor can provide

find that by taking these

to work making electricity

ENERGY STAR® certified


steps, your home will be

for your home.

equipment can lead to

Advances in technology

significant savings.

…But First: Seal, Insulate, Equip! Before

much more comfortable year-round while also lowering energy use

have helped make the

If you are considering

you consider a major

cost of solar energy more

buying solar panels,

investment, you should

affordable. More people

your energy advisor

first make your home

than ever before are

can help shed light on

as energy efficient as

considering adding solar

expectations. If a solar

possible. Consider air

panels to their home. But

energy company provided

sealing wasteful cracks

before you contact a solar

financial details about

and crevices to prevent

As solar energy becomes

panel sales company,

savings, your local energy

treated air from escaping.

more affordable, you may

review these steps to see

advisor can double check.

After your home is

be considering its benefits

if solar energy may be

Sometimes projected

properly air sealed, you

more than ever. You’ve

right for you.

savings can be based on

should maximize your

trusted your local energy

unrealistic assumptions.

home’s insulation. Once

advisor for answers about

Unfortunately, sometimes

you have done that, you

your home’s energy use.

people learn this after

can double check to make

You can trust him or her

they sign contracts. If

sure your home’s heating

as well to help answer

you want green energy,

and cooling equipment

your questions about

there may be lower cost

is efficient and properly

solar power That way, you

options. Some electric co-

sized for your home. You

can soak in the benefits

ops offer Co-op Solar, a

can search for equipment

without getting burned!

community solar program

that is ENERGY STAR®

Talk to Your Electric Cooperative If you want to lower your energy bill, your co-op’s energy advisor can review your home’s energy use and may even provide a home energy audit to provide



– saving money in the process – and lowering the amount of solar panels you need to purchase and pay for.

Peachy KEEN


Turn at the giant peach for produce and more PHO TO S BY RI CHARD G . BI EVER

How a roadside produce

But what has kept

make Knox County and

berries. Whenever family

stand called “The Big

locals and passersby

the surrounding areas a

members from Chicago

Peach” could become

coming to the Big Peach

melon mecca. Southwest

visit, they always have to

so iconic in the heart

for generations is its

Indiana’s sandy soils

visit the market. “They’re

of southwest Indiana’s

extraordinary variety of

and climate are well-

from the city so they like

melon country says a lot

fresh seasonal produce,

suited for producing

seeing a produce stand

about marketing. While

peach slushies, cider,

cantaloupes and melons.

like this.”

the popular family-

ice cream, and jars of

Small roadside stands that

owned market along U.S.

local honey, jellies and

rely on the honor system

41 north of Vincennes

jams, and salsa and

up to large enclosed

began with a peach

sauces. The family-

markets, like the Big

orchard on the property

owned market also

Peach, dot U.S. 41 from

in 1954, its giant 20-foot-

sells embroidery items,

Terre Haute south to the

tall concrete peach

T-shirts, homemade pies,

southernmost tip of the

alongside a yellow mini–

gift items, fudge, and


Washington Monument

more. Come autumn,

that make for a vintage

specials include caramel

and kitschy attention

apples, apple cider, apple


butters, pumpkin butter

“The kids get really

and persimmon pulp.

For the Flynn family, driving down from Terre Haute to Vincennes’ Rainbow Beach Family Aquatic Center, The Big Peach was a great rest stop before hitting the beach: A potty break for

“Everyone knows

the kids, and ice cream.

the Big Peach,” said

Dad Larry Flynn said they

Mattie Hagemeier, 24,

stop there all the time

a WIN Energy REMC

to check out the snacks,

consumer from up the

jams and jellies. “We

excited. They’ve just

Now’s the season for juicy

road in Carlisle, who

know they are localized

never seen a peach that

watermelons, cantaloupe

stopped in to purchase

here,” he said.

big,” said Esmeralda

and other melons that

some green beans and

Cavazos, who’s managed the shop for seven years. She said kids equate the peach with the popular children’s book and movie “James and the Giant Peach.” Copies of the books are sold at the market, too.

THE BIG PEACH is open daily from May through October, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Its address is 7738 N. Pierce Road, Bruceville, Indiana 47516, but it’ll be easier looking for the giant peach and Washington Monument on the west side of U.S. 41, just south of the Sullivan-Knox County line. Find The Big Peach on Facebook at Gabriel Flynn cools down with a chocolate ice cream cone. His family made a pit stop at the Big Peach while traveling from Terre Haute to Vincennes.

cooperative career Professional progression:

A MIND-BOGGLING BLESSING When Nick Stainbrook joined JCREMC in 2001, he came in as a 19-year-old local kid waiting his turn to become a lineman. But he had to wait in line for an apprentice position to become available. So, for the first year and a half, his position meant taking care of the JCREMC building, cleaning, mowing grass, pulling weeds. Twenty years later, Stainbrook is now heading up the engineering and operations for JCFiber, the REMC’s young fiber subsidiary. He supervises six engineers and techs as the Franklin-based cooperative, serving consumers in Johnson, Morgan, Shelby and Brown counties, joins others across the state on the “splicing” edge to bring high-speed internet to rural Hoosiers. “I love the challenge,” said Stainbrook, now 40. “When I first took it on, it was definitely mind boggling how fiber optics work and how you handle them vs. the electric. It’s definitely a different animal than what I was used to.” Stainbrook worked nine years for JCREMC as a journeyman lineman after graduating from the four-year lineman apprenticeship program. Then, in 2015, he accepted a staking engineer position which began his introduction to fiber. The cooperative had installed fiber to tie its substations

2001 hired Utility Man



2002 promoted Apprentice Lineman

together as the electric utility industry became increasingly driven by information and reliant on realtime analytics. The employee who handled the fiber for the cooperative announced his plan to retire, which allowed him to mentor his successor. Stainbrook stepped up. “At that point, we had no real idea of what it was going to turn into,” he said. “We were connecting equipment and connecting substations, but we weren’t really selling it a whole lot to customers. I just raised my hand and said ‘I’ll do it,’ and didn’t really realize what I was getting into.” By 2018, JCREMC’s new CEO saw a need for high-speed fiber internet for residential and commercial consumers in the electric cooperative’s service area. Pilot programs were put in place and marketed, and Stainbrook was named director of fiber operations for the cooperative’s new JCFiber subsidiary. JCFiber now serves over 700 residential and 120 commercial customers. A multi-phase plan announced at the end of 2020 should bring service to an additional 5,000 JCREMC members over the next four years.

2006 GRADUATED Journeyman Lineman

Nick Stainbrook Director of Fiber Operations


Looking back, Stainbrook shakes his head while pondering the unbelievable changes within JCREMC and within himself in 20 years. Now, with a bachelor’s degree under his belt he’s managing a new side of the business that is helping bring a better experience to his community. “To land where I’ve landed — in such a good job with a cooperative — and then having the versatility to go into the fiber industry and, pretty much, lead the charge … most people don’t get those kind of opportunities. It’s been a blessing,” he said. “When I first started here at 19, I barely understood what the cooperative did. It was one of those things where you put in for a job and got it. And it turned into a career.”

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


2018 promoted

2019 promoted

Staking Engineer

Fiber Project Supervisor

Director of Fiber Operations

Know what’s below. Beneath the surface of our towns and neighborhoods lies a network of buried utilities that all play a critical role in our homes and communities. That’s why it’s so important to avoid damaging these underground lines when digging for projects large and small. When you contact Indiana 811 at least two full business days before digging, our member utilities will mark the lines they operate with paint or flags. If your dig site has private underground utilities, you’ll want to go one step further and identify the location of these private lines. That’s because Indiana 811 members will never locate privately owned facilities. Always contact Indiana 811 before you dig, and if you think private utilities may be near your planned dig site, contact a private utility locating company. To learn more about private utilities, visit



What are public utilities on private property? • Any utility owned and/or operated by a utility service provider.

What are private utilities? • Not owned and/or operated by a utility service provider. • Run from the service meter to another location on the property.

• Run from main lines onto a property, ending at a meter. • Examples include service lines for electric (red), natural gas (yellow), communications (orange) and water (blue). • Indiana 811 members will mark these lines after you contact Indiana 811.

• Examples include phone or internet service to outbuildings, sprinkler systems, water pipes leading to pools, gas lines to fire pits, and septic systems. • Indiana 811 members will not mark these lines after you contact Indiana 811.

Follow us for damage prevention news and tips. @IN811

Indiana 811

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