Page 1

Henry county REMC


DECEM BER 2 0 1 8

Gifts that keep on

giving 2019 director elections Now accepting candidate nominations in districts 2, 5 and 8

from the editor

Christmas state of mind

One of my favorite quotes about Christmas comes from an unlikely source: our country’s 30th president, Calvin Coolidge. He said, “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.” I perpetually plan for Christmas. As soon as Dec. 26 rolls around each year, I’m already thinking about the following Christmas and how I can make it extra special for everyone. I always try to prepare early, shopping throughout the year, wrapping gifts as soon as I can and poring through cookbooks for new cookie recipes to try. I love swooning over photos of others’ holiday décor, popping favorite Christmas movies into the DVD player (sometimes even in the middle of the summer) and, on the day after Thanksgiving, unpacking the 20 or so boxes to begin decorating the seven Christmas trees scattered throughout the house. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is sharing my love of the season with readers like you. Throughout the years, the Santa side of me has shipped out ornaments, music and movies to lucky readers. This year, in a nod to my obsession with adding holiday touches to every room of the house — including the powder room — I’d like to give one of you this sleighful of beautiful Christmas bath goodies. Look below to find out how to enter. I wish you the very best this holiday season. And, during this special time of faith, family and friends, let me close with more of Calvin Coolidge’s wise words: “To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

VOLUME 68 • NUMBER 6 ISSN 0745-4651 • USPS 262-340 Published monthly by:

ELECTRIC CONSUMER 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 272,000 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 Gary Gerlach President Walter Hunter Vice President Randy Kleaving Secretary/Treasurer Elmer Stocker Interim CEO EDITORIAL STAFF Emily Schilling Editor Richard George Biever Senior Editor Holly Huffman Member Relations/ Advertising Manager Ellie Schuler Senior Communication Specialist ADVERTISING Crosshair Media, 502-216-8537; GLM Communications, Inc., 212-929-1300; Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication.

EMILY SCHILLING Editor On the menu: April — Eggs: deadline Feb. 1. May — Southern Barbecue: deadline Feb. 1. If we publish your recipe on our food page, we’ll send you a $10 gift card.

Giveaway: To win the Christmas gift shown above, contact us as noted below by Dec. 17. Put “Merry Christmas” in the subject line.

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 Electric Consumer, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606.

UNSOLICITED MATERIAL: Electric Consumer does not use unsolicited freelance manuscripts or photographs and assumes no responsibility for the safe‑keeping or return of unsolicited material. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $12 for individuals not subscribing through participating REMCs/RECs. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Readers who receive Electric Consumer through their electric co-op membership should report address changes to their local co-op. POSTAGE: Periodicals postage paid at Indianapolis, Ind., and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to: Electric Consumer, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606. Include key number. No portion of Electric Consumer may be reproduced without permission of the editor.








03 FROM THE EDITOR 05 CO-OP NEWS What’s happening at your local electric cooperative. 10 ENERGY Three steps to stay comfortable all year long. 14 PRODUCT PICKS Have yourself an electronic Christmas.



16 INDIANA EATS Carriage on the Square Smokehouse: BBQ to get you back in the saddle. 17 FOOD Candy-coated Christmas: Sharing the sweetness of the season. 20 COVER STORY It’s the season of faith and hope. Charity is also a

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major component of these Hoosier-based companies’ business plans, not just during the holiday season, but all year round. 26 EVENTS CALENDAR 28 SAFETY Snow going: How to get ready for winter.



29 OUTDOORS Squirrel dinner by Chef Jack.

On the cover Luke Wright, founder of MudLove, is “the change” he wanted to see. Each ceramic mug, bracelet and more that MudLove sells provides one week of clean water to someone in need in the Central African Republic. The products are handcrafted at MudLove’s store and studio in downtown Warsaw and are sold in specialty shops and online. PHOTO BY RICHARD G. BIEVER



co-op news

Cost-of-service analysis conducted on HCREMC system CONTACT US 800-248-8413 Fax: 765-529-1667 OFFICE HOURS 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday STREET ADDRESS 3400 S. State Road 3 New Castle, IN 47362 MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box D New Castle, IN 47362 A night deposit box is available 24 hours a day. EMAIL SERVICE INTERRUPTIONS To report a power outage, please call 800-248-8413, day or night. MISSION STATEMENT The mission of Henry County REMC is to provide reliable, safe and cost-competitive electrical service to enhance the lives of our members and the communities we serve. BILL DUE DATES Bills mailed Jan. 9 are due Jan. 27. Bills mailed Jan. 15 are due Feb. 3. Bills mailed Jan. 31 are due Feb. 18.

HCREMC employees

quality, reliability and integrity of the

and directors work

service we provide. While virtually

to keep your local

all aspects of today’s cost of living

cooperative in

continue to rise, HCREMC prides itself

sound condition.

on avoiding routine price adjustments.

Management and

We believe that reliable electric service

the REMC board

at a reasonable price is something our

consider the needs and expectations of the membership (reliable service at a reasonable price). This includes ensuring lines are rebuilt, equipment is replaced when it reaches the end of its useful life and a highly trained skilled workforce is equipped with the necessary tools to perform duties in a safe and efficient manner.

members should be able to count on. The results of this study have revealed some changes are necessary. Industry pressures and consumer consumption trends have contributed to the results. The study demonstrated that, overall, HCREMC has seen a trend of increased demand (kW, instantaneous requirement for power) while seeing

Recently, HCREMC conducted a

a slightly decreasing trend in energy

cost-of-service analysis. A cost-of-

consumption (kWh, power used over a

service analysis (COSA) is a study

defined period of time). The resulting

that confirms the utility’s revenue

changes to the HCREMC rates will be

requirement and its equitable

announced in January 2019. Please

allocation across the various

watch your Electric Consumer for

member-owner classes of service.

more details.

The study helps us to identify the


costs associated with maintaining the


Know what’s below. Call 811 before you dig!


Happy holidays! HCREMC’s directors and employees would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Our offices will be closed Dec. 24 and 25 for Christmas and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 for New Year’s.



co-op news

AP P LY F OR Page Day Spend a day in the Indiana Senate with

JAN. 23

youth programs

touchstone energy camp

JUNE 5–8

Indiana Youth Tour

JUNE 13–20

students from REMCs

A fun, powerful

HCREMC wants to send

around the state.

and unique camp experience

you on a weeklong, all-inclusive

designed for students entering

trip of a lifetime to Washington,

seventh grade in 2019. Horseback

D.C. Monuments, museums,

riding, canoeing, zip lining, trying

legislators, friends, trip of a

out archery, swimming, learning

lifetime, history. Must be a high

about electrical safety and bucket

school junior to apply.

REQUIREMENTS: You must be available on Jan. 23 and have reliable transportation to and from the Indiana Statehouse that day. The program is open to high school students. APPLY: Visit find-legistlators to find your state legislator. Visit to apply. Submit your application by Jan. 11.

truck rides.

APPLY: Go to indianayouthtour.

APPLY: Go to

org and hover on the and

"community" tab for Youth Tour

hover on the "community" tab

applications. NEW this year,

for Touchstone Energy Camp

these applications must be

applications. NEW this year, these

completed online and are due

applications must be completed

March 4.

online and are due March 4.

Scholarships HCREMC’s Operation Round Up board will offer six onetime $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors graduating in 2019. Three females and three males will be selected. Candidates must have a parent or guardian living in the HCREMC service territory and must carry a 3.0 GPA or higher through the first semester of their senior year. Children of employees or directors of the HCREMC are NOT eligible to apply. Scholarship deadline is March 22.

Students pose for a photo in front of the Capitol Building on the Indiana Youth Tour to Washington, D.C.



co-op news

2019 director elections Candidate nomination packets due Feb. 28


eing an electric cooperative member offers a unique opportunity to be part of the decisionmaking process in this business. Because HCREMC

is a cooperative, it is owned by its members. That means members are responsible for electing other members to take the leadership positions on the board of directors to help shape business decisions for the company. Our service territory is split into nine districts with one director representing each district. District information can be viewed to the right. We are now accepting nominations for candidates to run in the 2019 director election. HCREMC districts 2, 5 and 8 are up for election. If you are interested in being a candidate, please visit to download a director nomination information packet. You may also visit our office for more information. Nomination deadline is Feb. 28. Election results are presented during the member’s annual meeting scheduled for April 18, 2019, at the First Baptist Church in New Castle. Watch your Electric Consumer or HCREMC’s Facebook or Twitter page for event details.

WHAT’S EXPECTED OF AN HCREMC DIRECTOR? The board meets on a monthly basis to hear detailed reports from the CEO on the operation of the cooperative. It is possible for directors to spend more than 25 days each year for REMC business. REMC directors are expected

CO-OP CONNECTIONS CARD FEATURE The Co-op Connections Card is a valuable benefit of being an HCREMC member and it is FREE! The card allows you to receive national and local discounts on products and services and saves you 10 to 60 percent on most prescriptions. Visit to access local, national and online deals. The list of participating businesses continues to grow, so check back periodically. This month, we would like to give a shout out to Papa John’s Pizza in

to read and be familiar with information and financial

New Castle. It offers a

reports from the cooperative and other national and state

free order of breadsticks

associations. Yearly training is involved. Directors are

with a purchase of any

elected to represent a specific district, but are responsible

regular-priced pizza. Simply show your Co-op Connections

for decisions affecting the entire membership.

Card. Visit Papa John's at 2020 S. Memorial Drive in New Castle or place an order over the phone at 765-529-3100.



co-op news

Understanding energy demand and purchasing


ou may not think you need to understand energy demand and purchasing, but do you ever look at your energy bill and wonder what it all means? If your answer to that question is “yes,” then you might be interested to learn how demand impacts your utility bill. To start, you need to understand how electricity is made and how it is delivered to your home. Before HCREMC can send electricity to your home, that electricity needs to be generated by a generation and transmission cooperative (G&T). Once the electricity has been generated, it travels over high voltage transmission lines to substations, where the voltage is reduced to a safer level. The electricity then travels over distribution power lines and finds its way into your home. So, while you pay your bill to us — your electric distribution cooperative — we don’t actually generate the electricity you

use. That is the job of the G&T. We do help to determine how much electricity our members need to power their homes and businesses, and you play a big part in determining how much electricity the G&T needs to create to keep the lights on in our community. That is where these terms “consumption” and “demand” come in. Consumption is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Demand is measured in kilowatts (kW). A lightbulb “consumes” a certain number of watts, let’s say 100 watts per hour. If that lightbulb stays on for 10 hours, it “demands” a certain number of kilowatts (in this case, 1 kW) from the generation station producing electricity. Now, if you turn on ten 100-watt lightbulbs in your home for one hour, you are still consuming the same number of kW. However, you are placing a demand on the utility to have those kW available to you over the course

Operation Round Up Hundreds of electric co-ops throughout

Scholarship: $5,000 for one

Operation Round Up (ORU) program to

scholarship awarded to an eligible

help non-profit organizations, schools

non-traditional student.

our community. The program supports job creation; enhances the quality of life; and supports those in need of food, clothing, shelter, health issues and other basic life needs. Recently, the HCREMC Operation Round Up board met to review grant requests in the community. The following grants were approved: • 2019 REMC High School Scholarship: $6,000 for six onetime, $1,000 scholarships awarded to eligible high school seniors.



HCREMC purchases kilowatt-hours from the G&T based on the average demand of our members. Peak demand refers to the time of day when the demand for electricity is highest. This is typically during the evening when families return home from work or school, cook dinner and use appliances the most. Using electricity during this peak demand period often costs more to both HCREMC and to our members. Demand is the reason your electricity bill fluctuates season to season and even year to year. Generating and distributing power can be a tricky and complicated business, but rest assured HCREMC will always meet the necessary demand to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to your family.

Small change is changing lives

• 2019 REMC Non-Traditional

the country, including HCREMC, use the

and community groups that improve

of one hour, instead of 10. This requires the generation and transmission plant to produce more power in less time in order to meet your demand.

• Believe to Achieve Mentoring: $1,000 for Christmas presents for children enrolled in organization's Lunch Buddy program. • Henry County Choral Festival Guild: $1,000 to support choir participants. • McMillien Health: $3,000 for health education programs for area schools. • The Ark Daycare & Preschool Ministry: $1,989 for playground expansion for the daycare.

• The Guest House Inc.: $2,500 as a match donation to aid in building a new bathroom for the residents. Non-profit organizations are encouraged to apply for an HCREMC ORU grant. The next grant application deadline is Jan. 7. Please visit for details.


Three steps – seal,


and equip – will keep you comfortable all year long!

With the winter weather temperature drops, you may have noticed your house feeling colder than you remembered last year. Or, you may have been reminded that your HVAC (short for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system isn’t working the way you liked, and that you’ve been meaning to look into ways to improve the situation. Look no further! If you want to improve your comfort during the cold (and, for that matter, warmer months), here are the three steps you should take:

If your home feels chilly, it could be from

Properly insulate your house to maximize comfort. Many

cold air making its way into your house.

houses can benefit from additional

Make sure you have the proper systems to heat and cool your home. After you have

You should search for and seal any air

insulation. This step should be taken after

sealed air leaks and properly insulated your

leaks. Search your home, high and low.

sealing air leaks. Air moving through the

home, you can check into new equipment.

I’m being literal here! The most important

insulation decreases its benefits. If part

Now that some of your house’s issues are

leaks to seal are up high in your attic and

of your HVAC’s ductwork is located in the

resolved, you may need smaller equipment

down low in your basement or crawlspace.

attic space, it is especially important to seal

to properly heat and cool your home to keep

Framing and places where plumbing or

that ductwork and bury it in insulation.

you comfortable. A smaller, right-sized, and

electrical wiring or ducts poke through the

By adding insulation properly, your HVAC

more energy-efficient system will reduce

ceiling also need to be checked. Sealing air

system will have to work less to maintain

your electricity use, which will help save

leaks keeps your warm, cozy air inside,

the temperature in your house, saving you

you money well into the future.

which also prevents cold outside air from

electricity and money.

Seal air leaks to prevent drafts.

coming into your basement or crawlspace.

The best way to diagnose potential issues in your home is to schedule an

recommendations on steps you can take to improve your home’s energy

Jeremy Montgomery

efficiency. If your home’s HVAC system is older than 8 years old, you may want

Parke County REMC

energy audit. You can contact your local electric cooperative’s energy advisor for details. Your co-op may even be able to provide the audit, which includes

to start researching replacement systems. You can get an idea of what options – and rebates – are out there to keep you comfortable all year long!






It supplies you with clean, affordable water. Now let it supply you with clean, affordable heat.

Hybrid Geothermal Add a Well-Connect in Hours. Heat for Half for Decades. (574) 453-0332

Mid-term recap elections


BY SCOTT BOWERS Although most political pundits

Meanwhile, both chambers of


projected a Democratic “Blue Wave”

the Indiana General Assembly

to occur in the 2018 midterm elec-

will again see Republican super

tion, Indiana remained solidly red.

majorities. Despite marginal gains

40 10

by the Democrats in the state


Control of the U.S. Senate hung in the balance in the race between incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly and Republican challenger Mike Braun. Polling throughout indicated a close race, but

hold a 40-10 seat advantage in the Indiana Senate and a 67-33 seat

serve as Speaker of the House.

67 33

State Sen. Rod Bray replaces


advantage in the Indiana House.


Indiana Secretary of State Connie

percent. With Braun’s victory,

Lawson, State Auditor Tera Klutz

Indiana will be represented by two

and State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell,

Republican senators for the first

all Republicans, were all decisively

time since 1998.

re-elected on Nov. 6.

Indiana’s five Republican and

No matter the outcome of the

two Democrat incumbent

election, Indiana’s electric

House members were all easily

cooperatives have always worked

re-elected. In the state’s two

constructively and successfully

open seat congressional races,

with elected officials from both

Republican Jim Baird (4th District)

parties on state and federal level

and Republican Greg Pence (6th

issues important to our industry

District) both notched significant

and the 1.3 million Hoosiers served

wins, receiving 64 percent of the

by our member cooperatives.

vote. For the first time since 2010, Democrats will control the U.S.




Pro Tem of the Senate.

defeated Donnelly



retiring David Long as President

ultimately Braun 51 percent to 45

legislative races, Republicans will

State Rep. Brian Bosma will again

the campaign


SCOTT BOWERS is vice president of government relations at Indiana Electric Cooperatives.





4 5 7




product picks

Have yourself an





Remember the good old days, when a handful of plastic Army men and a broomstick horse could make a kid happy for hours? Today, the toys are a bit more complicated but just as much fun. Here are some


electronic gifts to bring smiles to the kids on your gift list. by JAY N E C A N N ON
















Finally — a loyal companion for your child that doesn’t require feeding or daily walks. Meet Cozmo Robot, a tiny computer that syncs to a phone or tablet, plays games, expresses emotion and evolves as you get to know him. With the included Code Lab, your child can customize Cozmo into a perfect sidekick. $180. 888-280-4331;

The VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX lets your little one be part of the smart watch craze at an age-appropriate level. The watch features a camera for photos and videos, plus special effects, a calculator and a calendar. It comes in a variety of bright, fun colors. $55. 888-280-4331;

Little ones can work on math and reasoning skills with the Trademark Games Pretend Electronic Cash Register, which comes with play bills and coins, food, a basket, and even a bank card for make-believe spending. A working calculator tracks prices, and the cash register lights and sounds will help keep it real for your tiny merchant. $30. 800-462-3966;

Tired of sharing tablet time with your child? Here’s the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet, a kidoriented computer that’s not a toy. It includes access to games and educational content. You can even add Netflix, but don’t worry — the tablet has parental controls and a kid-proof case. $160. 888-280-4331;

Do you have a future Grammy winner on your gift list? You’ll be Santa of the Year when you give the Karaoke USA DVD/ CDG/MP3G Karaoke Machine with Screen/ Bluetooth/LED Display. Young singers will sing along into a professional microphone — to 300 included songs. A second microphone is included for duets. $220. 800-462-3966;

Got a budding LeBron on your gift list? Let your young athlete practice anywhere with the Franklin Sports Rebound Pro Frame Basketball Game. Features eight game options and a built-in digital scoreboard, and folds away when the season is over. $160. 800-462-3966;



Indiana eats

BBQ to get you back in the saddle BY NICK ROGERS In the days of horse-drawn carriages, the Greensburg carriage house was a place to park your ride. This former spot for steeds to sit back and relax is now a Decatur County restaurant halfway between Indianapolis and

CARRIAGE ON THE SQUARE 117 N. Broadway St. Greensburg, Indiana

Cincinnati to which barbecue fans often giddy


up and go.

Tuesday through Friday: 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

After a successful run of smoked meat sales

Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

from a food truck, Hans Schreiber opened

Carriage on the Square Smokehouse six years ago. The usual suspects, smoked fresh and in-house, are all there — pulled pork, brisket, chicken and (after 5 p.m.) ribs. Schreiber also smokes corned beef, slings smokehouse burritos, and offers some grits and mac-and-cheese dishes. He also puts his own barbecue-style spin on nachos — the Walking Pony for the sweeter side and the Running Pony for the spicier touch — and loaded, smoked potatoes (the Wobbling Carriage or, for a bit of a kick, the Runaway Carriage). Whatever your selection, slather it with one of six sauces or fixings named for Schreiber’s mother, aunt and four uncles. There’s the Linda Rose (sweet Kansas City style), Chad (spicy Kansas City), Faith (Carolina mustard), Art (creamy smoke sauce), Rolland (mild horseradish cream) and Gery (coleslaw topping). Plus, if you pay with cash, you can save 5 percent off your bill. If you’ve still got room — or just an unyielding sweet tooth — sample such ice cream options as graham cracker or key lime pie. Be careful, though: Once you’ve savored the flavors at Carriage on the Square, not even wild horses might be able to drag you away. Nick Rogers is a communications manager with Purdue Agricultural Communications.




Candy-coated Christmas

Crock-Pot Candy by Gale Rhodes, Battle Ground 1½ lbs. white chocolate

Layer these ingredients in the

(almond bark)

order given in the Crock Pot.

4 oz. German baking chocolate squares 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips 24 oz. dry roasted peanuts (lightly salted is best)

Cook on low for 2 hours. Stir and drop by teaspoonsful onto wax paper-covered cookie sheets. Cool. Makes 6 dozen candies.

Bonus recipe at

See J. Johnson’s recipe for Something Sweet.




Cream Cheese Mints

Peanut Butter Snowballs

by Mike Hackman, Columbus

by Riley Carothers, Elizabethtown

1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese (room temperature)

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2½ cups confectioners’ sugar

½ cup creamy peanut butter

Red food coloring

3 T. butter, softened

Cinnamon flavoring

1 lb. white candy coating, coarsely chopped

Green food coloring Mint flavoring

In a bowl, combine the sugar, peanut butter and butter.

Granulated sugar

Shape into 1-inch balls and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

Beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until consistency of pie dough. Separate into two equal portions. In one portion, add drops of red food coloring and cinnamon flavoring. In other portion, add drops of green food coloring and mint flavoring. Mix together each individual portion. Pinch off small piece of cream cheese mixture. Roll into ball. Pour granulated sugar into a bowl; roll ball in sugar. Press into silicone candy molds and turn out at once. Cook’s note: Can be eaten immediately or stored in the refrigerator indefinitely! This is a fun activity that you can involve even small children in!



Meanwhile, melt the candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl. Dip balls in melted candy coating. Cook’s note: Dark, white or milk chocolate confectionery coating is found in the baking section of most grocery stores. It is sometimes labeled “almond bark” or “candy coating” and is often sold in bulk packages. It is the product used for dipping chocolate. A substitute for 6 oz. chocolate coating would be 1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet, dark or white chocolate chips and 1 T. shortening melted together.



MudLove founder Luke Wright stands in the company’s break area where his employees are surrounded by the company’s motto: “Our collective purpose is to disrupt patterns of brokenness through thoughtful and creative pursuit of love.”

Gifts that keep on BY BRIAN D. SMITH While his fellow Hoosiers go gift shopping in the falling snow, Luke Wright will spend December selling items that promote running water. Wright’s craft studio/retail store in Warsaw, known as MudLove, specializes in pottery, bracelets, necklaces and other handmade creations. But there’s a heart behind the art: 20 percent of all profits go to Water for Good, a Winona Lake-based organization that drills fresh-water wells in the impoverished Central African Republic. As Wright explains, “We want our products to be a tool for putting love into action.” Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the state, the entire inventory of Amerie Boutique supports charitable causes near and far. A cotton sweater contributes to fair wages for disadvantaged women in Peru. A backpack repurposes scrap leather from India while offering enhanced opportunities to local artisans. A bracelet provides funding and job training for the residents of an addiction recovery program in Kentucky. “Our slogan is, ‘Shop with a purpose,’” says owner Gina Mullis, 34, of Evansville. In this season of giving, Indiana businesses like MudLove and Amerie exemplify the spirit of giving back. They hope to stir the humanitarian instincts of shoppers by offering them more charitable bang for their buck.




From left, Tim Strider, Beth Prall and Bryce Hoffhein — all employees at MudLove — work on the clay bracelets by punching the shape and holes out with specially designed equipment. They use Xacto knives to perfect the clay pieces.


o what’s the meaning of

destructive lifestyle,” Wright says. “But I

the bigger question of what had caused

MudLove? Wright, 33, who felt

spent my last two or three semesters in

it in the first place.

a divine calling to use his art for

the ceramic studio as much as I could.

the benefit of others, sought a name

That was where I found my peace and

that would literally and figuratively

my joy and my passion.”

symbolize his mission. ”Clay without

His path from college student to business owner was more haphazard than choreographed. A pre-pharmacy major at Indiana Wesleyan University, he was doodling idly in biology class one day when an epiphany struck. Wright, who had dabbled in art since

Mullis, of Amerie (pronounced AMer-ie), had already found her passion when a life-changing event rocked her world. Having spent six years teaching middle school English and



wonder about the future symptoms, severity and progression of their disease.

she resolved not to let MS rule her

young students in her care.

life. A friend suggested that the stylish

strange tingling in her arms, and by

his own life. “I was leading a fairly

well understood, so patients can only

opportunity to guide and educate the

he missed the creative process.

miles away – but first he had to refocus

the central nervous system. MS is not

Mullis decided to stop teaching, but

Then one morning she woke up to a

improve the lives of people nearly 7,000

sclerosis, an incurable, unpredictable

coaching cheerleading, she relished the

childhood, suddenly realized how much

That recognition would lead him to try to

yielded the chilling diagnosis: multiple and often incapacitating disease of

water is dust,” he says, “and the same is true for us.”

Several months of medical tests

week’s end she had lost feeling in her hands and feet. Mullis spent the next five days receiving steroid infusions of up to 12 straight hours, which alleviated the numbness. But that didn’t answer

educator open a clothing store, which appealed to her – kind of. “Something was missing,” she recalls. “I didn’t want to just sell clothes. I was coming from teaching, so it made sense to continue doing something where I could give to others.”

Her answer was Amerie, whose name is a combination of “amity” (friendship) and “reverie” (a state of dreamy meditation). After compiling a lengthy list of possible monikers, Mullis settled on Amerie “because the ‘A’ pops up first on searches.”

Wright knew little about business when he began selling his own creations. “But I had clay and I had ideas, and I was excited about clean water,” he says, noting that his family had attended church with Water for Good founder Jim Hocking. “He was fed up with people dying [from contaminated water], and I loved his story.” Wright first set up shop in a Winona Lake garage, and using an antique alphabet stamp set inherited from his grandmother, he created ceramic bracelets bearing affirmative messages such as “hope,” “faith” and “love.” Although he now disparages those early efforts as “pretty ugly,” the $1 bracelets found a following, attracting not only repeat customers, but purchases of five, 10 and other multiples at a time. He founded MudLove a year later, in 2009, and in the ensuing near-decade has raised $450,000 for clean water. His shop gained unexpected national attention in 2016 when Warsaw native Ben Higgins, who appeared on Season 20 of the reality TV show “The Bachelor,” visited MudLove during a hometown promotional stop and wound up wearing a “hope” bracelet around his wrist in all 12 episodes. A Washington Post story about the “electric-blue string bracelet with a

Gina Mullis displays some of the products her company, Amerie, sells. While in the process of opening a new storefront in downtown Evansville, Mullis kept a rack of clothes and other items handy in the small office of her apartment for private DECEMBER 2018sales events.


small clay plate” generated additional buzz, prompting a collaborative effort on behalf of Higgins’ favorite charity, Humanity and Hope United Foundation, which funds projects for the poor in Honduras. Higgins agreed to publicize the effort, and Wright agreed to donate half the proceeds of “hope” bracelet sales, which amounted to about $60,000. Wright supports local charities, too: The original garage in Winona Lake now hosts a “give back gift shop” called Belove (be-LOVE), featuring the wares of both MudLove and wife Whitney’s handmade jewelry business, Bel Kai. A homeless shelter, a battered women’s shelter and a nonprofit art studio have received donations from Belove, whose jewelry line includes everything from handmade necklaces and earrings to custom pieces sporting song lyrics and company logos.

Amerie, which turned 4 years old in November, began with five charitable brands and now handles 80, stocking products from 15 to 20 brands at a time. A common label is “fair trade,” meaning wages and working conditions adhere to accepted guidelines. Mullis is in the process of relocating her business from Newburgh to an Evansville storefront. Before that, she was reaping about 70 percent of her revenue from the shop and the other 30 percent online. Internet sales have skyrocketed during the transition, which would lead some business owners to consider operating online exclusively.

At MudLove’s retail store and studio in Warsaw, visitors will find a bin of small clay “plates” with a large variety of messages and words that can be used for necklaces or bracelets.

Left: Gina Mullis playfully peaks through a “Live Laugh Love” metal cutout — one of the home décor items she sells. Below: Cam Mutchler, one of MudLove’s newest employees, applies glaze to what will become bracelets. After graduating from high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, this past spring, the ceramics artist came to Warsaw to work at MudLove. “I felt God calling me to use the talent He gave me to give back to people in need,” he said.

But the bricks-and-mortar boutique is more than just a retail space to Mullis, says her mother, Tina Bowman of Indianapolis. “She has to have that interaction,” explains Bowman, who worked for 26 years at Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “She struggles financially, physically and emotionally, but this is what keeps her going.” Mullis acknowledges that Amerie is therapy for her – a positive pushback against a disease that leaves many patients debilitated and despondent – and she’d rather give back than give up. She has yet to take a salary from her business and works a second job as a student advisor for an Indiana digital school system. Still, every day at the boutique gives the former teacher a chance to continue educating. “There’s so much more meaning than just buying a shirt when you can hear the story behind it,” she says. “It’s not just shopping anymore – you’re part of an experience.”

I didn’t want to just sell clothes. I was coming from teaching, so it made sense to continue doing something where I could give to others.


Brian D. Smith is a freelance journalist from Greenwood. DECEMBER 2018



FLAGSHIP STORES: MudLove: 122 S. Buffalo St. Warsaw, IN 46580 Belove: 804 Park Ave. Winona Lake, IN 46590 Visit apps/locations to see more retailers. Partners with Water for Good so each purchased product provides one week of clean water to someone in the Central African Republic.

AMERIE WWW.AMERIE.ORG Based in Evansville and available online 317-694-4770 Supports a variety of non-profit organizations and carries brands that give back. Potter Juan Lopez carefully finishes off what will become a MudLove tumbler on the wheel.




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“A CHRISTMAS STORY COMES HOME,” Hammond (Lake), Indiana Welcome Center. View scenes from the holiday movie classic. Enjoy special events, contests and photos with Santa. Take your picture with “Flick” on the flagpole and browse the official “A Christmas Story” merchandise in the gift shop. Center hours vary. Free. 219-989-7979. KOUTS CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSES, Kouts (Porter), citywide. Visit local craftsmen and find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. Lunch served on Saturday. Maps available online. Free. 219-405-1452. christmas.


NEW YEAR’S EVE WITH THE TIME TRAVELERS, Delphi (Carroll), Delphi Opera House. Classic rock songs from the early days to the present. 9 pmmidnight. Tickets, $30. 765-5644300. info@delphioperahouse. org.



CHRISTMAS WALK, Terre Haute (Vigo), Fowler Park. Walk through the village and visit our pioneer volunteers in their 19th century cabins. For a small fee, enjoy carriage rides, crafts, hot drinks, and sweet treats. Stop into the gift shop for many homemade items. 4-9 pm. Free. 812-462-3392.


PURDUE CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY WINTER WORKS 2018 DANCE CONCERT, West Lafayette (Tippecanoe), Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts at Purdue University. The company will perform Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The selected eight new dance works by dance faculty and student artists will take place in the Nancy T. Hansen Theatre. Tickets: $14 adults, $11 students, $7 children (12 & under). 765494-5993.


KOKOMO NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATION, Kokomo (Howard), downtown courthouse square. Annual lighted ball drop, live music, fun activities and fireworks. 10:30 pmmidnight. Free. 765-457-5301. downtown-events.



BEDFORD CHRISTMAS AROUND THE SQUARE, Bedford (Lawrence), Downtown Square. Live entertainment, craft vendors, chili supper, free Santa photos, kids’ barrel train rides, and window decorating contest. Illuminated parade, 6 pm. Free. 812-329-4221.


SANTA CLAUS CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION, Santa Claus (Spencer). Roast chestnuts on an open fire, drive through Santa Claus Land of Lights and write a letter to Santa. Free. 812-937-4199. SantaClausInd. org/Christmas. Event also takes place on Dec. 7-9 and 14-16.




BUDDY JEWELL, Mitchell (Lawrence), Mitchell Opera House. Country star Jewell will perform a variety of his hit songs along with some Christmas tunes to celebrate the season! Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at 7 pm. 812-849-4447. aprince@



CHRISTMAS IN SHIPSHEWANA, Shipshewana (LaGrange), townwide. Light parade and tree lighting ceremony. Other holiday events include a “Gift of Lights” drive-through light display, Chocolate Day, Kids Day and Santa visit. Free. 866-631-9675. Event runs through Dec. 31.


NOBLE COUNTY EXTENSION HOMEMAKERS ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF COOKIES, CANDIES AND CRAFTS, Albion (Noble), Dekko Room, Noble County Office Complex South (2090 N. State Road 9). Homemade cookies and candies will be for sale at $7 per pound along with crafts for sale. 8 am-1 pm. 260636-2111.


SHIPSHEWANA ICE FESTIVAL, Shipshewana (LaGrange), downtown. Watch experienced ice carvers compete and create sculptures representing local merchants! $5 admission for chili cook-off. Pins for sale at participating merchants and at chili cook-off. Pin ensures January discounts. Check website for times. Free. 866-631-9675.



METAMORA CHRISTMAS WALK, Metamora (Franklin), Business District. Santa, carolers and lanterns along the Whitewater Canal. Shops open until 10 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings. Event hours vary. Free. 765-647-1212. Event runs until Dec. 16.


15TH ANNUAL HOLIDAYS UNDER THE SPIRES, Oldenburg (Franklin), Town Hall. Spend the day in the Village of Spires enjoying entertainment, old world style. 10 am-8:30 pm. Free. 866-647-6555.


WINTER WINE WALK, Corydon (Harrison), downtown. Sample wines from Southern Indiana wineries and do some holiday shopping. $15 admission fee includes souvenir glass for participants, hors d’oeuvres, and plenty of wine sampling. 3-7 pm. 888-738-2137.

This calendar is published as a service to readers and the communities electric cooperatives serve. Electric Consumer publishes events free of charge as space allows, giving preference to free community festival and events in and around areas served by subscribing REMCs/RECs. While Electric Consumer strives for accuracy, please note that events, dates and time may change without notice. Electric Consumer advises using contact phone numbers or internet sites to check times and dates of events before making plans. To add events to Calendar, please use the “Submit and Event” form under the “Talk to Us” or “Calendar” buttons at; or mail your info to: Calendar, Electric Consumer, P.O. Box 24517, Indianapolis, IN 46224. Please submit info two months before the date of the event.



safety outdoors

STORM KIT: Preparing your car for winter safety

Snow going


INSTALL WINTER WIPERS. Just be sure to remove them once spring rolls around. INSTALL WINTER TIRES. If you can see your breath, it’s time to install winter tires. KEEP WASHER FLUID FULL. Consider keeping a


he best time of the year to start winterizing your home is before the temperatures start to drop

and snow is already on the ground, but if you’re reading this and haven’t already made those small changes to your home, consider this your nudge to get started! Preparing your home for cold temperatures doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Understanding how to winterize your home to keep it running smoothly will not only keep you safe, but

• Insulate pipes in exposed or unheated areas.

spare bottle or two in the trunk.

• Keep your thermostat above 55 F.


• On especially cold days, open cabinets

PRESSURE. You should

to let warm air reach sink pipes.

Roof damage To avoid rooftop water damage from clogged gutters, clean your gutters after the last leaf of the season falls. This will keep ice and water from building up

check pressure more regularly during winter and refill your tires as needed. KEEP THE GAS TANK AT LEAST HALF FULL.

around the foundation of your home,

A full tank can help prevent

which could possibly cause leaking on

gas line freeze ups. Not

Protecting pipes

your roof.

only that, but if you’re ever

This winter, plan ahead for burst pipes,

Before a storm hits, have a professional

stranded, your engine may

water and tree damage, and unexpected

check the trees around your home.

be the only thing to keep you

power outages. Knowing how to prepare

Dead or dying limbs on your trees will

for these common incidences can be

most likely fall during the first big storm,

warm until help arrives.

beneficial to you and the safety of your

causing damage to not only your home


but possibly to your neighbors’ homes as

it will keep your energy bill lower, too.

If a pipe does burst in your home, avoid electrocution by calling your electric cooperative right away to turn off your electricity before going down in a basement or before touching any plugged-in appliances.



Winter appliances

unable to see behind you

When preparing for winter weather,

could create unsafe driving

remember to check on winter appliances


that have been stored away. Look over appliances like snowblowers and


Here’s how you can protect your pipes

generators to be sure the wiring isn’t

this winter:

cracked and that all other parts are in

KIT: ice scraper, bag of sand

• Turn off outdoor faucets and have

working order.

sprinkler systems blown out by a

Start preparing your home for winter


now and enjoy the comforts of knowing

• Drain outdoor hoses. • Remove and drain window A/C units.



you and your family will be safe from

and a shovel, cell phone, flares, first aid kit, flashlight and batteries, jumper cables, warm clothing,

unexpected dangers in and around your

non-perishable food and


beverage items.


Squirrel Dinner by Chef Jack

garlic and onion. After marinating for two hours, I drained and dried the pieces of squirrel, lightly coated them with hot sauce and rolled them in a flour dredge, then browned them in peanut oil in an iron skillet. Once browned on both sides, the squirrel


pieces were placed in a foil lined broiler

I haven’t had much of a chance to get out

water. He quickly bagged them up for me,

pan, covered and sautéed in homemade

and challenge the squirrel population this

and I was on my way.

blackberry wine, garlic, adobo, onion, and

Four squirrels were too much for my wife

red pepper. I slow-cooked the squirrel

year. The ones raiding the bird feeder and those making forays across our yard to the neighbor’s butternut trees live under an unspoken umbrella of protection here

and me to eat at one sitting, and I planned on fixing two and freezing two.

on the home front. However, their wood-

When I got home, my wife said, “Why

land cousins are fair game.

don’t you invite my sister, LeaAnn, and

On the way home from work a couple

our brother-in-law, Warren, for a squirrel

pieces at 275 F for three hours and basted them several times with the thickened blackberry wine sauce. The results were excellent! Paired with blackberry wine, the meal included


mashed potatoes, fresh sweet corn, home-

time friend and veteran squirrel hunter

I checked to see if they were “game” for

the pan drippings from the iron skillet. As

Bill Barker. I found Bill in his usual place…

some wild game. Warren couldn’t re-

for the squirrel, it was full flavored with a

standing at his work bench and fine tun-

member ever eating squirrel, and LeaAnn

touch of blackberry and fall-off-the-bone

ing one of his classic turkey calls. Before I

thought it was years ago, and she remem-


left, he casually commented, “Would you

bered it as being tough. But they said they

like to take home four squirrels I killed

were up to the challenge.

The meal got rave reviews!

Having gnawed on many a squirrel leg,

It never fails to surprise me when I see

weeks ago, I stopped by to see my long-

this morning? Karen and I have eaten about all the squirrel we want this fall.” You betcha, Bill!

I know how a fox squirrel, when fried by even the best cooks, can be tough and

made bread and squirrel gravy made from

individuals taste exotic fish or wild game for the first time and then say how good


it tastes. If wild fare is given good care

I was surprised and greatly pleased to

I made up my mind to try to make their

can’t beat the things that come from our

see Bill walk to his garage refrigerator,

wild game experience an enjoyable and

Good Lord’s larder for flavor or taste.

open the door and point to four young

tasty affair. Donning my chef’s hat, I

fox squirrels, cleaned and soaking in salt

quartered the squirrels and proceeded to

Thinking I might have squirrels to clean,

marinate the pieces in a dry red wine with

in the field and is properly prepared, you

Over the years, we have eaten and cooked just about anything you can name from the woodland and waters, and we’ve dined on a bunch of other exotic species as well… raccoon, muskrat, ‘possum, beaver, bison, quail, pheasant, prairie chicken, duck, goose, wild turkey, groundhog and so many more. However, I draw the line when it comes to the insect world. I’ll leave the dining on bugs, worms and such to the likes of Andrew Zimmern.

Squirrel… it’s what’s for dinner!

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

D E CE MB E R 2 018



pets safe during the holidays Keeping your The holidays are wonderful times for

prevent anxiety and carsickness. Have

inflammation of the pancreas, which can

families and friends. But they aren’t

veterinary records handy in case of

be life-threatening. Keep pets on a normal

without risks for our animal companions.


diet even though they may try to persuade

“Whether you are leaving your pet at home or traveling with them during the

ORNAMENTS. When using holiday

you not to!

decorations, remember that pets don’t

NEW PETS. Many love the thought of

understand the words “breakable,”

surprising somebody with a new puppy or

“family heirloom,” or “sentimental value.”

kitten on Christmas morning. However,

Rambunctious dogs, cats, and ferrets have

because the holiday household is full of

been known to topple many an ornament

hustle and bustle, decorations, toys, treats,

and knick-knack, and sometimes even

and stress, the excitement can cause a

whole Christmas trees. Help prevent

new pet to be confused or overstimulated.

mishaps by keeping larger and weightier

If you’ve decided it’s time for a new family

ornaments close to the floor, and valuable

member, consider waiting until the week

VISITORS. Pets can sometimes be

ornaments out of reach from curious

after the holiday. Puppy- or kitten-proof

overexcited, confused, or frightened by

mouths, noses, and wagging tails. Keep

the house, and introduce your new pet

the onslaught of holiday guests. You can

knick-knacks on shelves inaccessible to

into a quiet, safe environment.

help by keeping your pet in a quiet part of

your animal companions. Also, make sure

the house, and making sure he/she has

Christmas trees are tethered to a nearby

a safe retreat from children and well-

wall or window frame if you have ferrets

intentioned visitors.

or cats fond of climbing.

TINSEL. Long, skinny pieces of plastic


or string can be very dangerous to

greenery like holly, ivy, poinsettia, pine,

our furry friends. Cats and kittens are

cedar, balsam,

especially attracted to shiny tinsel. If

amaryllis, and

eaten, thin pieces of string or tinsel can

mistletoe can be

cause the intestines to bunch up, and

very toxic if a pet

can even cut through the intestinal

ingests them. Visit

wall. Either situation could be fatal, and

the ASPCA for a full list

would certainly necessitate a trip to the

of poisonous plants. If you


have an emergency, you can

holidays, planning is necessary to ensure they are safe,” said Dr. Steve Thompson, Purdue Veterinary Medicine clinical associate professor of small animal community practice. The following list can help pet owners as they consider safety for their animal companions during the holiday season:

TRAVELING. Pet owners who travel and leave their pet at home can board

call the animal poison control hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

the animal or find someone to watch

OVEREATING. People aren’t

it at home. Before boarding a pet, do

the only ones who sometimes

your homework and get references

indulge in too much of a

to ensure you’re using a high quality

good thing. Table scraps,

kennel. Animals should receive standard

garbage raiding, and counter

vaccinations about two weeks before

surfing can add up to lots of

boarding to ensure they have built up

rich food in a pet’s stomach,

the proper antibodies against common

which may lead to stomach

diseases. Animals that travel with you

upset. Even worse, too much

might need a mild sedative to help

rich food can lead to serious



Be sure to contact your veterinarian in case of a holiday crisis. In cases of emergency, contact the Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s Emergency and Critical Care team at 765-494-1107.

Hoosier Energy news

IMPROVING COOPERATIVE SERVICE Apprentices, trainers climb to success, safety through training program Hoosier Energy and membercooperative employees gain industry-specific training through the Department of Labor-certified Hoosier Energy Apprenticeship, Training and Safety program. The 8,000-hour program takes four years to complete and includes 13 hands-on technical schools for apprentices to attend. The program began in 1974 and has grown to include programs for line specialists, substation, metering, underground line work, energized lines, climbing school and bucket truck training. Standing in front, from left: James Hugart (South Central Indiana REMC), Jason Connell (Johnson County REMC), Jordan Clark (UDWI REMC), Ron Taylor (retired from Hoosier Energy), Dave Jones (Brownstown Electric), Dave Helton (Hoosier Energy), Brandon Gentry (Hoosier Energy) and Chris Thompson (Johnson County REMC) pose for a photo.

Your energy producer is a co-op, too!

Hoosier Energy is a generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative providing wholesale electric power and services to your electric cooperative. Founded in 1949 and based in Bloomington, the power producer generates power from coal, natural gas and renewable energy resources. The G&T delivers power through nearly 1,700 miles of transmission lines across central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois. DECEMBER 2018




Five middle school students join the ranks of community service award winners Every year since 2009, five community service-minded middle school students have been awarded Youth Power and Hope Awards from Indiana Electric Cooperatives and its magazine, Electric Consumer. This year’s winners — two sixth graders and three eighth graders from throughout the state — prove you’re never too young to make an impact in your world. All of these busy volunteers play key roles in helping others in their schools or communities. Each of the Youth Power and Hope Award recipients will receive $500. They are also being honored at the Indiana Electric Cooperatives’ annual meeting on Dec. 4.

Elysia Laub, Lowell Sixth grade, Lowell Middle School Daughter of Andrew and Heidi Laub Although Elysia Laub is only 11 years old, she’s well versed in community service. She and her family participate in their church’s Angel Tree at Christmastime, she raises money and participates in a walk for the poor and she makes Valentine’s Day cards for veterans. But her greatest impact was borne from a classroom activity conceived by her fifth grade teacher, Kerri Coapstick. During Coapstick’s “Genius Hour” on Fridays, students can pursue a topic they are passionate about. “While my other students were finding the best recipe to make slime or experimenting with art techniques, Elysia’s passion was to organize, promote and facilitate a school-wide food drive for the local food pantry,” Coapstick noted in her recommendation letter for Laub. As a result of Laub’s project, the school collected enough donations to fill the back of a pickup truck. “I did this food drive because I don’t think anyone should have to go hungry,” Laub said. “If want to change things, I have to do something. I can’t just sit around and wait.”



Campbell Lively, Kokomo Sixth grade, Hamilton Heights Middle School

Nathan Jekel, Floyds Knobs Eighth grade, Highland Hills Middle School

Daughter of Carrie Lively

Son of Mike and Elizabeth Jekel

When Campbell Lively built an “ARK" to ensure homeless community members would be warm in the wintertime, she started from the bottom up. ARK stands for Acts of Random Kindness, a program she created this summer. She came up with the business plan at camp, then began working on ways to make money to turn ARK into a reality. She raised $126 through sales of homemade friendship bracelets. With that money, she bought material to begin making blankets to sell and also donate to those in need. In three months, she raised over $1,300 for ARK.

For Nathan Jekel, community service is a lifestyle. “When someone helps someone else create a better life, then they can be inspired to help someone else,” he said. In just one year, Jekel has logged in over 200 hours of community service. He is a member of the Youth Leadership Board for Miles for Merry Miracles, a youth-led organization focused on improving and enhancing communities through youth development and wellness initiatives.

“Even though I am helping others, I am really the one who ends up feeling good about the service I am doing,” Lively said. “I have learned so much by giving back to others.” Jared Bourff, one of her sixth grade teachers, said he is motivated by her positive attitude and how she helps others. “She reminds me to pay it forward every chance I get,” he said. “Campbell has not only shown me what it means to be selfless, but also what it means to be a servant leader in her community.”

Jekel has since become a leader of Good to Grow Green, teaching over 500 elementary school students about healthy lifestyles, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and philanthropy. This summer, Jekel helped launch Teens for Tobacco Twenty-one (T4TT), which educates parents and students about the harmful effects of tobacco products and advocates raising the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco to 21. In addition to his other community-based activities, Jekel serves on the youth advisory board for his Indiana state senator, Sen. Ron Grooms.

Elliott Rosswurm, Attica Eighth grade, Attica Jr./Sr. High School Son of Nathan and Suzanne Rosswurm This junior high student council president helped found the “Start with Hello,” campaign at Attica Jr./Sr. High School. Inspired by a movement started by parents of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, the campaign was designed to get students to talk to others who may not be in their “friend” group. As part of the initiative, inspirational notes were placed on every locker at Rosswurm’s school, hot chocolate was provided to students and at lunch numbers were drawn to encourage students to sit at random tables to meet others. Student Council sponsor Rachel Swank said he went “above and beyond to make his classmates feel included and help end social isolation.” Another student council-led program that Rosswurm helped organize focused

on raising money to purchase four new microwaves for his elementary school. Through school-wide “dress up days,” such as pajama day, hat day and boot day, the student council raised enough money to purchase the microwaves in just a week. In addition to his involvement in student council, Rosswurm volunteers at a local animal shelter and is an active 4-H member. “Both student council and 4-H have provided me the opportunity to be involved in my community and to make a difference,” Rosswurm said.

Zeta Whitmer, Rochester Eighth grade, Rochester Middle School Daughter of Phil and Christa Whitmer Zeta Whitmer’s community service outreach is as near as her Fulton County community and as far as Uganda.

member of Rochester Middle School’s “Champions Together” program. "Champions Together” is a collaborative partnership between the Indiana High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics Indiana. It promotes servant leadership among student athletes and those with intellectual disabilities. Whitmer plans “Champions Together” activities and gives speeches about the program. Her school has been selected to be the state’s fourth official banner school. As president of her school’s National Junior Honor Society, Whitmer plans group community service projects and talks with local business leaders to discover ways to help the community. Within her school, her sixth grade social studies teacher Dan Bailey noted Whitmer spearheaded a campaign which impacted her fellow students. “One of Zeta’s ideas was to write inspirational messages on the walls of the school and bathrooms to address the self-image concerns that many middle school students struggle with.” Whitmer said one of the “coolest” things she has done to serve others is to make bracelets for and correspond with 23 Ugandan children.

Whitmer is president and executive board



cooperative career profile

Proud to work for a co-op Top 3

responsibilities in a day 1. Calibrate electric meters at consumers’ homes. 2. Complete routine equipment inspections. 3. Locate and mark underground lines.

Brad Wentworth Meter Technician Noble REMC

How long have you been in your position? I started in 1998 as a meter reader and this position in 2006.

What education and training was needed for this position? Our advanced metering infrastructure allows the cooperative and consumers to monitor electricity use in almost real time. I had to learn how this equipment works and about the tools I use to keep the meters functioning properly.

What part of your job do you find to be most fulfilling? I spend more time in public relations than most would think, and it’s one of my favorite parts. I know I’ll be interacting with our consumers at some point in every day, and I’ll be able to explain how our system works to reassure them how our meters help both the cooperative and them.



Why did you choose to accept a job at a co-op? I worked long hours at my previous job, and I wanted to transition to a job that would allow me to stay close to home and spend more time with family.

How would you describe working for a co-op? I am proud to work for my electric cooperative. When community members learn where I work, I get such positive and complimentary reactions. They enjoy that they’re able to receive service from an electric cooperative. I’d also never worked anywhere that asked for my input. Four days into this job, more than 20 years ago, I was asked to contribute my ideas. This kind of culture really sets electric cooperatives apart.

Interested in an electric co-op career? Visit to learn about available careers or tell us about yourself.

Always call 811 before starting fencing & landscaping projects. Landowners completing these projects were more than three times more likely to hit a buried utility because they did not call 811 before breaking ground.

Profile for IndianaConnection

Henry County REMC — December 2018 Electric Consumer  

Henry County REMC — December 2018 Electric Consumer