Southeastern IN REMC — August 2022 Indiana Connection

Page 1

Scholarship Spotlight.

Southeastern IN REMC’s




PAGES 23-26


Snack time

from the editor

Ever since preschool conditioned us to expect mid-morning orange slices or crackers spread with peanut butter, snack time has become a high point in many of our days. These between-meal indulgences treat tummies and tastebuds to craveable salty, sweet or savory flavors before the “hangries” hit. And that’s a good thing for everyone concerned! Snacks can be junk food or something more nutritious. They could be chosen from a vending machine, grabbed at a service station, or purchased during a weekly grocery store run. Since they are synonymous with “treats,” they invariably evoke special memories and smiles. I fondly remember how I thought blobs of Cheez Whiz on white bread was the best snack in the world when I was a kid or when heating Pop-Tarts in a toaster qualified as “cooking.” Snack food, like the cast of “Friends,” has seemingly always been there for you. Generations of snackers just like you have probably thrown bags of potato chips into shopping carts only to rip them open right after returning to their cars. But after recently discovering a timeline chronicling when our snack favorites came to be, I learned “always” is truly a relative term. In the case of potato chips, their snack icon status didn’t happen until the first continuous potato processor was invented in 1943 leading (thankfully!) to large scale production of the chips. In the decades following, new taste sensations have been created to tempt us. In 1967, Doritos and Pringles entered the snack scene, putting a tasty new spin on crunch. In 1973, it was Cup Noodles, the easy-peasiest way to make ramen. Come 1979, Ring Pops were all the rage, followed in 1983 by Skittles. In 1989, Lunchables joined grocer’s refrigerated cases and kids’ lunchboxes were never the same. But in the 2010s snacking became less about cheat eating and more about making healthy choices. Snack trends over the past 10 years include kale chips, avocado toast, chickpea puffs, plant-based jerky and low-carb treats. We’re all realizing that our indulgences don’t always have to make us feel guilty and we can satisfy cravings while taking dietary concerns into account. I don’t know what the next trend in snack food will be, but I can’t wait to taste what mid-morning treats await me down the road. Bon appetit!


On the menu: November issue: Recipes prepared in a slow

cooker, deadline Sept. 1. December issue: Cocoa recipes, deadline Oct. 1. If we publish your recipe on our food pages, we’ll send you a $10 gift card.

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.

Giveaway: Keep your cool this month by treating yourself to some ice

cream! This month’s giveaway features ice cream-themed bowls, spoons, toppings and a scoop. To enter to win this sweet basket of goodies, visit or send your contact information to the address above. The deadline to enter is Aug. 31.

VOLUME 72 • 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. Member’s cost per issue is approximately 32 cents, plus postage. CONTACT US: 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600 Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606 317-487-2220 INDIANA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OFFICERS: Randy Kleaving President Steve McMichael Vice President Dr. Richard Leeper Secretary/Treasurer Tom VanParis Interim CEO EDITORIAL STAFF: Emily Schilling Editor Richard George Biever Senior Editor Holly Huffman Communication Support Specialist Ellie Schuler Senior Digital and Layout Design Specialist Lauren Carman Communication Manager Kiley Lipps Graphic Designer Amber Knight Creative Manager 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, Indiana, 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 Discovering beneficial electrification benefits. 12 INSIGHTS

backyard 14 COUNTY OF THE MONTH Spotlighting Porter County. 16 SAFETY Create an electrical safety plan before you plant a tree. 18 BACKYARD Tough beans? Possible solutions to a green bean problem.


Indiana Connection



cover story 20 FOOD Ramen Redo: Upcycling a college meal staple. 23 COVER STORY Youth programs back in full swing. 27 OUTDOORS Return of the eagle. 28 H OOSIER ENERGY/ WABASH VALLEY NEWS


29 TRAVEL Here comes the sunflower: Celebrating the state’s sunflower festivals. (Not in all editions.) 30 PROFILE Samantha Kuhn found a “gem” of a career in her own backyard. (Not in all editions.)

On the cover Using cumbersome rubber gloves protected by outer leather gloves, Fulton Goeppner focuses on attaching an electric insulator to a crossarm at the Indiana electric cooperatives’ Camp Kilowatt in June. Along with regular summer camp activities, camp-goers learned about electricity and what it’s like wearing electric lineworkers’ gear. PHOTO BY LAUREN CARMAN



co-op news CONTACT US 812-689-4111 800-737-4111 Fax: 812-689-6987 EMAIL OFFICE HOURS 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday STREET ADDRESS 712 South Buckeye Street Osgood, IN 47037 MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 196 Osgood, IN 47037 SERVICE INTERRUPTIONS To report a power outage: 800-737-4111 or SmartHub BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mike Thieman (District 6), President Melissa Menchhofer (District 5), Vice President Jesse McClure (District 4), Secretary Vince Moster (District 1), Treasurer Brad Bentle (District 2) David Smith (District 3) Darrell Smith (District 7) Bonnie Boggs (District 8) Casey Menchhofer (District 9)

A fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) product with speeds from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps. Residential pricing starts at $64.95 plus tax.

OUR MISSION To safely provide reliable electricity and diversified services to the members and communities we serve.

Learning at the Speed of Light HOW FIBER INTERNET IMPROVES EDUCATION While you’re checking off the items on that back-to-school list, you might want to consider adding SEI Fiber to the list. Fast and reliable internet is an important part of your student’s education. It helps he or she download assignments, upload homework, and access resources. It also helps he or she connect with classmates and instructors and participate in off-site learning when necessary. Many textbooks are accessed online, which means that schools are investing in technology and equipment such as tablets and other devices that connect to the internet rather than replacing outdated textbooks. A fiber broadband connection helps these devices perform better. Many schools issue each student a tablet or Chromebook for the school year to complete lessons and submit assignments. Lessons are often supplemented by audio, video, and interactive elements that must be accessed online. These digital learning materials help students engage with the content on a deeper level, but without high-speed internet, these tools and resources cannot be accessed and utilized.

Do your kids ever have to work on group projects? If you don’t have high-speed internet, you may become frustrated trying to schedule a time for the students to get together outside of the classroom to work on their project. With fiber internet, they can do a lot of the work online! Fiber internet is also helpful in speeding up the time it takes to complete homework after school. It helps them research and complete assignments quickly, so they can enjoy the evening with family and friends. We all want to give our children the best opportunity for success. An investment in fiber internet, is not just another item on the school supply list. It’s an investment in your child’s future.

For more information about SEI Fiber, including price packages and installation details, visit or contact the member services department at 800-737-4111.




co-op news


A scholarship is a great source of financial aid for college students, which is why high school seniors (and their parents) put so much effort into applying for as many scholarships as possible. Some require students to write essays, others are awarded based on academic achievements or athletic ability, and others are based on majors, interests, and more! When the REMC board of directors decided to offer three $500 scholarships for graduating seniors, they chose to make the process simple and the eligibility guidelines broad so more students would apply and have an opportunity to win. The brief online application was created and advertised during the months leading up to the cooperative’s annual meeting in March. “We were pleased to receive a total of 64 applications from students across our service territory this year”, said B.J. Myers, director of communications and creative services for the REMC. All eligible applicants were entered in a drawing, which took place during the annual business meeting at South Ripley High School. We caught up with our three college-bound scholarship winners in late June to talk to them before they head off to school to begin the next chapter of their lives. “I was so impressed by each of these students”, said Myers. “They have goals and a plan to achieve those goals, but they are also open to the opportunities that life has in store for them.”

To learn more about REMC scholarship opportunities and this year’s recipients, visit



co-op news


COLLEGE University of Cincinnati STUDYING Architectural engineering GOALS Work for a home construction company and pursue master’s degree. ACHIEVEMENTS Scholarships and recognition for working hard.

Rachel Meyer


COLLEGE Ivy Tech STUDYING Business GOALS Work my way up at Friendship State Bank while pursuing a higher degree. ACHIEVEMENTS Winning sectionals and conference and being a 10-year 4-H member.

Benjamin Schmidt


COLLEGE Southern Utah University STUDYING Biology GOALS Become an anesthesiologist. ACHIEVEMENTS Getting into the college I wanted to attend and getting a good scholarship.



co-op news


FOR HYBRID/HEAT PUMP WATER HEATERS Rebate for a new constructed water heater or replacing a gas or electric water heater.

Requirements • • • •

Rebated equipment must be installed in primary residence. Must be a heat pump or hybrid water heater. Need to be minimum 40 gallon all-in-one units. Submission must be within 90 days of installation date.

• •

Purchase date must be between Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 15, 2022. ​The rebated equipment needs to be installed/purchased prior to submission of the application.

There is no incentive for electric resistance tank or tankless water heaters.

All members must complete the Hybrid/Heat Pump Water Heater Rebate application and provide proof of purchase/receipt to receive a rebate. Limit of two rebates per member household per life of the rebated equipment. Members must submit a completed application and required materials to qualify for any rebate.

For more information and the full list of requirements, visit 8




Discovering beneficial electrification benefits GREENER ENVIRONMENT AND GREENER WALLET! As gas prices soared over the last several months, more drivers considered the appeal of electric vehicles. Those thoughts likely grew stronger when drivers stared at the gas pump’s ever increasing price display while they filled the tank. Transitioning from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle can help drivers save on long-term energy costs. Switching to a more energy efficient model can also reduce dependence on fossil fuel. It’s an example of beneficial electrification. The nonprofit Beneficial Electrification League defines “beneficial electrification” as applying electricity to uses that achieve one of the following conditions while not harming another: • •

• •

Saving consumers money Benefiting the environment while reducing greenhouse gas emissions Improving people’s quality of life Fostering a more resilient energy grid

It is not an “electrify everything” approach. Beneficial electrification has become possible in recent years as more renewable energy resources such as wind and solar



energy have been added to the grid while more fossil fuel sources, such as coal plants, are scheduled to be retired in the coming years. There are several reasons families and businesses would consider beneficial electrification improvements: It can help people achieve their sustainability goals. Families and businesses that switch to more efficient electric appliances and HVAC systems will reduce their carbon footprint. Many businesses now incorporate sustainability goals into their corporate strategy. Lowering their dependence on fossil fuels by reducing their energy use can help them reach those goals. Energy efficient upgrades can lower long-term energy costs. Energy Star-certified appliances use less energy and last longer than other products on the market, which lowers overall operation costs. Some electric co-ops may offer rebates for qualifying energy efficient upgrades, making them even more economical. In some cases, newer technology such as LED lighting can have additional benefits, including a longer lifecycle compared to older kinds of lighting.

Reduce dependency on volatile energy resources. Coal, natural gas and oil have seen drastic price fluctuations in the last few years given supply chain issues and global demand. Electricity is generated from a variety of resources, including wind, the sun, nuclear power and even landfill gas. By upgrading appliances and HVAC systems to efficient electric alternatives, you will be able to utilize the diverse resources generating electricity. Families and businesses that take advantage of beneficial electrification can reduce their carbon footprint and lower their long-term energy use. Contact your local electric cooperative’s energy advisor for details on options you should consider.

by Brian Hawk Energy Advisor Noble REMC


insights STATE FAIR NAMES FEATURED FARMERS Eighteen farm operations from throughout Indiana have been named this year’s Indiana State Fair Featured Farmers. The Featured Farmers will showcase different agricultural products throughout the 18-day fair.

July 29: Sheller Family Farms (corn), Hamilton County July 30: Martin Family Farms (swine), Warren County July 31: Red Frazier Bison Ranch (bison), Greene County Aug. 3: Goin’s Blueberry Lane (blueberries), Starke County Aug. 4: Gutwein Popcorn (popcorn), Pulaski County Aug. 5: Hodgen Farms (soybeans), Putnam County Aug. 6: New Age Provisions Farm (urban farmer), Marion County Aug. 7: Eggersman Brothers Cattle (beef cattle), Jackson County Aug. 10: Salomon Farms LLC (corn/ soybeans, custom baling), Whitley County Aug. 11: Countryside and Apple Hill Orchards (apples), Vanderburgh County Aug. 12: Wagler Dairy (dairy cattle), Brown County Aug. 13: Dutch Valley Growers (tomatoes and onions), LaPorte County Aug. 14: Superior Dairy (dairy cattle), DeKalb County Aug. 17: 3D Valley Farm (maple syrup and other farm delicacies), Harrison County Aug. 18: Mark and Peggy Jones (hardwoods), Orange County Aug. 19: Bourbon Bound Farms (whiskey/corn/cover crops), Jackson County Aug. 20: Lick Creek Flower Company (flowers), Madison County Aug. 21: Scott Farms (wheat, corn and soybeans), Cass County




Five tips to stay safe in extreme heat The dog days of summer typically bring the warmest, sultriest temperatures of the year. Even if you’re a summertime enthusiast, it’s important to stay cool during extreme heat. Take extra steps to cool off, keep hydrated and stay informed. Here are five tips recommended by the CDC to help you stay cool during extremely warm weather:


Stay in an air-conditioned home or building as much as possible. Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest. If your home is not air conditioned, call the local health department to locate public facilities or shelters.


If you must be outdoors, wear loose, light-colored clothing and apply sunscreen often.


Drink more water than usual. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more.


Take cold showers or baths to cool down.


Avoid using the oven or stove to cook. These appliances add heat to your home. Try using the microwave or a slow cooker instead.


county feature

Porter County Porter County sits in the middle of the three Hoosier counties touching Lake Michigan. This unique

Winds out of the north push white caps onto the shore of Indiana Dunes National Park. Across the southern end of Lake Michigan, the skyline of Chicago is visible through the blue haze.

geographical location gives the county its amazing “otherworldly”

County Facts

landscape and ecosystem that is the

alter how the National Park Service


Indiana Dunes.

cared for and maintained the 15,000

NAMED FOR: Capt. David Porter, an officer in the U.S. Navy who served in the First Barbary War, the War of 1812 and in the West Indies.

The lakeshore offers some of the most unspoiled natural areas in the state and is home to Indiana’s only “National Park.”

acres of property, it did elevate the Dunes in the eyes of the public. As Indiana’s only National Park, it now is listed among the likes of Acadia, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and

Indiana Dunes National Park hugs 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan and offers beaches, sand dunes, bogs, marshes, swamps, prairies, rivers, oak savannas, and woodland forests. The park is also noted for its singing sands. More than 350 species of birds have been observed in the park, and it has one of the most diverse plant communities of any unit in the U.S. National Park System. The park is

Great Smoky Mountains. Before the change in name and the onset of the pandemic,


the National Lakeshore, and its

COUNTY SEAT: Valparaiso

neighboring Indiana Dunes State


Park, received 3.6 million visitors a year, the equivalent of the seventh most-visited national park, behind

watching, camping, hiking, fishing,

Yellowstone. Indiana’s top tourist

swimming, cycling, horseback

attraction, the Dunes pulls heavily

riding, and cross-country skiing.

from nearby Chicago.

The park also features the historic

home to more than 1,100 native

The park also features the 1822

Indiana Dunes State Park Bathhouse


Joseph Bailly Homestead. Bailly was

and Pavilion on the beach.

Indiana Dunes was established by Congress in 1966 as “Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore” to preserve and

a fur trader on Lake Michigan. The Chellberg Farm, established in 1869, is also an historical attraction.

Visitors should also note that the National Park and the State Park operate separately and entrance

protect the area’s unique natural

Indiana Dunes State Park is also

for one doesn’t provide entrance to

habitat. It became the nation’s 61st

located on the lakeshore and is

the other. The NPS began requiring

“National Park” quietly in 2019.

surrounded by the National Park. The

entrance fees in April. A non-

While the change in name didn’t

park provides opportunities for bird

commercial family-sized vehicle is $25. A walk- or bike-in pass is $15.




Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes State Park


CREATE AN ELECTRICAL SAFETY PLAN before you plant a tree Trees and power lines often coexist without problems. However, there are precautions to take when planting a tree. Not only do dangers lurk for the person planting the tree, nearby power lines and trees can be harmed as well. Trees growing too close to electrical lines are the primary cause of momentary short circuits and flickering lights. When it storms, tree limbs that are too close to power lines can knock the lines out completely and create a greater threat to your safety. Overhead utility lines are the easiest to see and probably the ones we take for granted most. Although these lines look harmless enough, they are extremely dangerous. Meanwhile, underground utility lines can be buried very close to the ground’s surface. That’s why it’s so important to call before you dig. “You can’t spell plant without a plan!” is what Indiana Electric Cooperatives wants its DIY’ers to remember when landscaping. “Before you start planting, we encourage you to call your local 811 call center at least a few working days, but no less than two full working days, before you start planting,” said Jon Elkins, vice president of safety, training and compliance at Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “Never assume



the utility lines are buried deeper than you plan to dig.” Once you know where to plant to avoid underground utilities, find out where the prime planting spots away from overhead utility lines are. If you are planting a small tree that will grow no larger than 25 feet tall, planting it 25 feet away from power lines is a safe distance. If the tree is 25-40 feet tall, plant it 40 feet away from power lines. The bigger the tree, the farther it should be. So, if the tree is expected to grow more than 40 feet high, it should be planted 60 feet away from utility lines.

TIPS FOR SAFELY PL ANTING A TREE Call 811 to have underground utilities marked at least a few working days, but no less than two full working days, before digging (IC 8-1-26). Knowing their locations helps you dig safely, and planting a safe distance away will help prevent damage from roots. Create a basic plan, or a sketched diagram, before you begin planting to avoid future troubles. Using the information from the underground utility locator service will be a big help in setting some guidelines.

Keeping trees away from these utility lines not only keeps you safe, it keeps the trees safe as well. Trees planted too close to underground lines can suffer root damage. Trees planted too close to overhead lines need regular pruning.

Consider a tree’s potential growth when choosing its location. If it’s expected to grow higher than 15 feet, choose a spot 25 to 50 feet away from utility lines and your home.

Indiana Electric Cooperatives works hard to provide you reliable electric service. You can help by following these few simple guidelines when managing the trees on your property. Being aware of these dangers and how to avoid them can keep you, your home and the trees safe.

Call your local cooperative if you need help trimming a tree away from power lines. This will keep you and everyone around you much safer.


Ask Rosie TOUGH BEANS? Here are possible solutions to green bean problems. I have planted White Half Runner green beans in the same location in my garden for decades. For five years or more, I have experienced growth issues with my beans. I buy my seed from local farm supplies. My beans are not maturing to a full bean. I have thin, tough beans that are hard to eat. They break up, but the edges of the break are ridges. Some beans are just plain thin. Robie Beverly, Jennings County Do other plants grow in the same garden area and, if so, how do they perform? It’s difficult to be certain, but I suspect your beans may have inadequate nutrients. Have you applied any fertilizer to the bean plants? If not, I recommend applying a fertilizer product labeled for vegetable garden use. Be sure to follow label directions for application rate. If you have tried fertilizer in the past without success, you might try another garden location. You could make a raised bed or container garden using good quality soil mix and see if that improves performance. For more information on vegetable gardening, check out Purdue Extension Home Gardeners Guide at extmedia/HO/HO-32-W.pdf.



Longtime Indiana Connection contributer B. Rosie Lerner, a Tipmont REMC consumer, is a retired Purdue Extension consumer horticulturist. Questions about gardening issues may be sent to “Ask Rosie,” Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606, or use the form at


pull or dig weeds while they are

keep weeds out of a flower

young and before they set seed. A

garden filled with perennials? Becky Williams, Fulton County

pre-emergence herbicide in spring can help reduce many weed species by killing weed seedlings as they

It is a challenge to control

germinate. These products usually

weeds among perennial

need to be applied to soil and

plants, a challenge shared by most

watered in before mulch is applied

gardeners! For new gardens, it is

and early enough before weed

critical to start with a clean bed

seeds germinate.

before planting. Once the garden is established, you’ll use a combination approach to reduce weeds as much as possible. But there will always be weeds to battle. Applying a mulch can be super helpful in suppressing weed seed germination. Mulch makes weeds that do sprout easier to pull and helps conserve soil moisture. Hand

A general rule of thumb is to apply pre-emergence herbicide around the time that forsythia shrubs in are bloom. More information on weed control can be found in this Purdue Extension article: https://www. weeding-is-good-exercise/.






First, ditch the powdered soup mix for a more flavorful homemade broth.

EASY HOMEMADE RAMEN BROTH 1 T. sesame oil 3 t. grated ginger 4 t. grated garlic 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth) 4 cups water 1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms 2 packages instant ramen (noodles only!)


Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the garlic and ginger; stir fry for 2 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Add the broth and the water. Bring to a simmer; add the mushrooms and simmer for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened and the broth is flavorful. Remove mushrooms from broth. Remove stems from mushrooms, then slice mushrooms and return to the broth. Add the instant noodles to the hot liquid and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the noodles have softened. Top as desired. Makes about 4 servings. (Feel free to double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd.)





Then, personalize your ramen bowl with toppings of your choice. Here are some of our favorites. PROTEINS • Cooked shrimp • Thinly sliced pork tenderloin • Sliced Spam • Boiled or soft-boiled eggs, halved • Cubed tofu

VEGGIES • Shredded napa cabbage • Thinly sliced jalapeno peppers • Drained canned water chestnut slices • Drained canned bamboo shoots • Shredded carrots • Sauteed shiitake mushrooms • Baby corn • Chopped bok choy • Fresh bean sprouts • Thinly sliced green onions • Edamame • Boiled spinach

FLAVOR BOOSTERS • Chopped cilantro • Strips of seasoned nori (dried seaweed) • Sesame seeds • Chili oil • Sesame oil • Sriracha sauce • Soy sauce

Now, grab your chopsticks and dig in! 22


Camp Kilowatt comes with a lineman's view of the world — a bucket truck ride into the tree tops. Doug Williams, substation maintenance technician at Tipmont REMC, gives a lift to Katie Sterk, a camper from Kosciusko REMC.




“I touch the future. I teach.” is a quote attributed to Christa McAuliffe, the star-crossed classroom teacher who was to be the first teacher in space aboard the ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger. In their own ways, Indiana’s electric cooperatives have been touching the future, too … for decades. Fulfilling the cooperative commitment to community and education, they have taught our younger consumers — who will someday be their members, directors and civic leaders — about our country and the roles of co-ops and electricity. “Creating opportunity for our youth to have experiences outside of our communities broadens their personal growth,” said Neil Draper, president and CEO at Jay County REMC. Draper chairs the Youth Engagement Committee of Indiana Electric Cooperatives, the statewide association of Indiana’s 38 member distribution cooperatives. IEC coordinates two vital youth programs, Camp Kilowatt and the Indiana Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. Because of the pandemic restrictions and concerns for safety, this year’s camp and tour were the first since 2019. “Youth Tour and Camp Kilowatt give us the chance to offer some of our younger members the opportunities of a lifetime,” Draper said. “These programs are educational, fun, and oftentimes life-changing for the students who participate. Youth programs are vital to the growth of our community so it’s important that enterprises like this continue to flourish.”

On Youth Tour, Miriam Kline, left, and Autumn Miller give a “thumbs up” before the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument.

IN JUNE, 140 STUDENTS PARTICIPATED IN THE TWO PROGRAMS. Over the next four pages is a look back … at the faces of our future.



Riding the zipline at Camp Kilowatt are Jayden Wright, left, sponsored by NineStar Connect, and Damian Arnold, sponsored by Dubois REC.

CAMP KILOWATT For almost 20 years, Indiana’s Camp Kilowatt (formerly Touchstone Energy Camp) has mixed typical summer camp fare with little electrical twists: wall climbing and utility pole climbing; ziplines and zapping power lines. Because of the pandemic, this year’s camp, held June 8-11 at YMCA Camp Tecumseh in Brookston, was the first since 2019. Electric co-ops from

Assembling circuit boards gives Camp Kilowatt participants a chance to learn a little more about electricity and the electronic products they use.

around the state sent 71 participants who will be entering seventh grade this fall.

Traditional camp activities are also a big part of Camp Kilowatt, held at YMCA Camp Tecumseh. Conor Lowry (far left) and Bentley Fross, try their hands at canoeing, while Kaylee Fricke tests her marksmanship with archery.



The giant sculpture of Albert Einstein near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is always a popular stop for a group photo on Youth Tour.

YOUTH TOUR From June 16-23, 69 incoming high school seniors participated in this year’s Indiana Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. The tour provides young Hoosiers the opportunity to visit the nation’s capital, learn about government, experience American history and gain a better understanding about their electric cooperatives. The group represented 24 Indiana electric co-ops. Like Camp Kilowatt, this was the first since 2019 because of COVID. Hoosiers visited the Flight 93 Memorial, the Gettysburg Battlefield, Arlington National Cemetery and the museums, monuments and memorials in and While Youth Tour is a lot of fun, visits to the war memorials and places like the Holocaust museum are a time of reflection. Participants at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial take time to check out names of fallen soldiers engraved into the V-shaped black granite wall and read the Father’s Day notes that had been left just days before. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

around D.C. The group also spent a day on Capitol Hill, where they met with members of Indiana’s congressional delegation.



OTHER NOTABLE YOUTH PROGRAMS CALENDAR ART CONTEST Each year since 1999, Indiana Connection, supported by participating electric cooperatives around the state, has published a calendar illustrated with student art. The art is selected the previous spring from a contest open to all Indiana students, grades K-12. The calendar for 2023 is in production and will be available later this year. Beginning Aug. 26 and running through Oct. 1, the works of the 26 first place and honorable mentionwinning artists for the 2023 calendar will be exhibited at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, in conjunction with the opening of the Hoosier Artists Salon exhibition.

PAGE DAY High school students affiliated with an Indiana electric cooperative can apply to spend a day as a page at the Indiana State Legislature when it reconvenes next January. Look for details later in the fall.

JOIN US NEXT YEAR The Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., in June 2023, will be for students who are entering their junior year of high school this month (for the 2022-23 school year). Camp Kilowatt next June will be for students now entering sixth grade. If you are interested in participating or know someone in either of those classes, please look for application information and deadlines beginning later this year or early in 2023.



YOUTH POWER & HOPE AWARDS Indiana’s electric cooperatives honor middle school students who are committed to helping others in their communities. This year’s deadline to enter the Youth Power and Hope Awards is Oct. 3. Qualified candidates must be in grades 5-8. Up to five winners will each receive $500 and be featured in an upcoming issue of Indiana Connection. Learn more and apply online at youthpowerandhope.




Driving along the Big Flatrock River in Rush County, I had the exhilarating experience of seeing a fully mature bald eagle soaring across an open field. No mistaking the huge size, dark body and brilliantly white head of our nation’s emblem. Earlier in the year, I was mesmerized as an eagle perched in a large sycamore tree and proceeded to catch its dinner from the shallows of the river. My grandfather once owned the land where I watched the eagle fishing. He never had the chance to see this majestic bird. Bald eagles nested in Indiana until the 1890s. They are found mostly along major rivers and other large bodies of water. The loss of habitat, primarily Indiana’s drained wetlands and razed woodlands throughout the latter 1800s, chased them away. Small numbers still wintered in the state from November through March. In 1985, the first project of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program was the reintroduction of bald eagles.

Funded by private donations, 73 eaglets (7-8 weeks old) were obtained from Wisconsin and Alaska from 1985 through 1989 and brought to Indiana. They were placed in a 25-foot nest tower in a secluded bay on Lake Monroe. The birds were monitored and fed daily until they were old enough to fly at 11 to 12 weeks of age. Since then, the eagle population has continued to expand in this continuing comeback story. In 2020, there were over 350 nesting territories in Indiana. One of the great historical myths of our country is Benjamin Franklin proposing the national emblem to be a wild turkey! After the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, it tasked Benjamin Franklin — along with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson — with designing a seal to represent the new country. Given the opportunity to choose a national symbol, the Founding Father never

“ ...the eagle population has continued

to expand in this continuing comeback story. In 2020, there were over 350 nesting territories in Indiana.

suggested a turkey. According to his notes, Franklin proposed an image of “Moses standing on the shore, and extending his hand over the sea with the motto ‘Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.’ ” While the committee selected the scene from the Book of Exodus for the reverse of the seal, the Continental Congress was not impressed and tabled the concept. It wasn’t until 1782 when the Great Seal of the United States with the bald eagle as its centerpiece was approved. till next time,


JACK SPAULDING is a syndicated state outdoors writer and a member of RushShelby Energy. Readers can contact the author by writing to this publication, or by email to jackspaulding@hughes. net. Spaulding’s books, “The Best Of Spaulding Outdoors” and “The Coon Hunter And The Kid,” are available from as paperbacks or Kindle downloads.



Hoosier Energy news


300,000 Hoosier


homes and


businesses. In total, those member-owners own 20,000 miles of fiber optic infrastructure valued at more than $1 billion.

footprints, and you have quite a large inventory of assets.

The electric co-op members

“Now,” Sturm stressed, “we have

serve roughly 75 percent of

an opportunity to leverage those

Indiana’s land mass and have

assets and take things to the next

approximately 40,000 miles of

level to create something special

The consortium’s goal, Accord

electric lines. This broadens

for the state of Indiana.”

Chair James Tanneberger,

opportunities to expand data

president and CEO of South

service coverage throughout the

Central Indiana REMC, noted, is


“to work with fellow providers

“Our electric cooperative

even ownership split between

of all kinds to bring world-class

member-owners have built

northern and southern Indiana.

fiber connectivity and services

massive fiber networks

Potential benefits include

to residents, providers and

for purposes of improving

collaboration across the state

businesses throughout Indiana

electric reliability through

with a willing mix of non-

and beyond.”

implementation of smart grid

traditional partners.

Eight of Hoosier Energy’s 18

technologies,” said Accord

member cooperatives are among

Secretary-Treasurer John Sturm,

Accord’s full member-owners.

who is also CEO of JCREMC and

Three more Hoosier Energy

president of JCFiber. “We have

co-ops are associate members

also brought high speed internet

of what is one of the largest

to our members in some of

contiguous, fiber-based networks

the least populated parts of the

in the state of Indiana.

state. Add to that the impressive


Accord’s member-owners collectively serve more than



networks that our telephone cooperative member-owners built to bring broadband to their

Accord’s diversity is not only shown in its mix of electric and telephone cooperatives, but its

“Accord stands ready to coordinate with other networks and providers to greatly improve access throughout the state of Indiana, all while increasing economic growth and helping bridge the digital divide,” said Tony Clark, Accord board member and CEO/general manager of SEI Communications.

co-op news



cooperative career Professional progression:

FINDING A ‘GEM’ OF A CAREER IN HER OWN BACKYARD Samantha Kuhn grew up surrounded by all things electric cooperative. For most of her life, her dad was a cooperative CEO, including the CEO of Kosciusko REMC in northern Indiana. But as a college student interested in journalism, she never dreamed she’d follow her dad’s footsteps into a career at an electric utility … until she discovered all the different career gems the cooperative world contained. “I had a love for writing, wordsmithing, storytelling,” Kuhn said. “But when I found out the cooperatives had a magazine with statewide-level journalism, I was sold.” Today, Kuhn is marketing and communications manager at Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative, which serves consumers in northwest Ohio and northeast Indiana. She also provides contract services in that position for three other northwest Ohio electric cooperatives. After college, she went to work for Ohio’s statewide trade association based in Columbus. As she and her high school sweetheart made plans


for marriage, she knew she’d have to find something closer to home. Her fiancé was tied to a family RV business in northwest Ohio. “The great thing about the co-op world is people really care about their employees. Four Northwest Ohio coops, which I had fostered relationships with as associate editor of the Ohio electric cooperative magazine, were able to build a shared services position to fill a need the co-ops had in that area for communication,” Kuhn said. She was hired by Paulding Putnam but divides her time among four cooperatives in the area. In the communication positions, she writes, designs and manages various communication materials, news releases, social media messaging and marketing campaigns. “Every day is different — from designing to writing. Every day is something new. And I like the challenge of working with four different companies and building relationships,” she said.

2013 hired

2016 HIRED

Intern Kosciusko REMC

Associate Editor Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives


Samantha Kuhn Marketing and Communications Manager

Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative She also loves the culture of cooperatives and the concern they have for their communities, consumers and employees. “It is a good job for your soul,” she said. “Community service is part of the job description. We prioritize training, development, and a family atmosphere. We wear so many hats that every day is a challenge. So, growth opportunities are endless, and people are able to flourish if they choose to,” she said. “If you are able to find the hidden gem that co-ops are, it’s impossible not to fall in love and want to stay and grow yourself.”

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

2018 HIRED


Communications Coordinator Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative

Marketing and Communications Manager Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative



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