Carroll White REMC — February 2021 Indiana Connection

Page 1

Minnicus leaves lasting impact.

Carroll White REMC’s



pages 17–20

Indiana's wineries continue pivoting to COVID challenges


from the editor

Hoodie Hoo!

Counting the days until spring Some of my fondest memories have been of my silliest moments. I’m not one to laugh readily; my funny bone needs to be seriously tickled to bring on the chuckles. But I’m convinced that a good belly laugh is a powerful, restorative thing. It lifts your mood and the moods of those around you. It gives you a different perspective on things, sometimes when you need that perspective the most. And it just plain feels good! So, when I found out about a completely random, totally outrageous, February “holiday” (I use that term loosely!) that will surely inspire laughter from me and those around me, I just had to share it! It’s called Hoodie Hoo Day and it’s meant to be celebrated every Feb. 20 in the Northern Hemisphere. I’ve never seen it actually being celebrated though — and, believe me, Hoodie Hoo revelers would be quite conspicuous! To acknowledge this special day, you must go outside at noon on Feb. 20, wave your hands over your head and yell “Hoodie Hoo!” Why? Because by Feb. 20 you’re probably sick of winter. And if you, indeed, have had enough of the snow and the cold, and don’t care if an embarrassing video of you happens to show up on someone’s social media account, you may want to hearken spring with a hearty shout — just because. Your Hoodie Hoo outburst only has to last a moment. After you let out your wintertime frustrations, you can head back inside and enjoy your midday meal. But if you catch yourself smiling or giggling that afternoon, you know “Hoos” to blame! And I can guarantee you, that mood-lifting experience will give you just the boost you need to help you through the cloudiest of days.


On the menu: June issue: Berries, deadline April 1. July issue: Beans, deadline April 1. If we publish your recipe on our food pages, we’ll send you a $10 gift card.

Giveaway: Enter to win a Satek Winery prize bundle and one of Jack Spaulding’s books. Visit Entry deadline for giveaways: Feb. 26.

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

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

VOLUME 70 • NUMBER 8 ISSN 0745-4651 • USPS 262-340 Published monthly by Indiana Electric Cooperatives Indiana Connection is for and about members of Indiana’s locally-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. It helps consumers use electricity safely and efficiently; understand energy issues; connect with their co-op; and celebrate life in Indiana. Over 304,000 residents and businesses receive the magazine as part of their electric co-op membership. CONTACT US: 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600 Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606 317-487-2220 INDIANA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OFFICERS: Walter Hunter President Randy Kleaving Vice President Steve McMichael Secretary/Treasurer John Gasstrom CEO EDITORIAL STAFF: Emily Schilling Editor Richard George Biever Senior Editor Holly Huffman Communication Support Specialist Ellie Schuler Senior Creative Services Specialist Taylor Maranion Creative Services Specialist Stacey Holton Director of Creative Services Mandy Barth Vice President of Communication ADVERTISING: American MainStreet Publications Cheryl Solomon, local ad representative; 512-441-5200; Crosshair Media 502-216-8537; Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication. UNSOLICITED MATERIAL: Indiana Connection does not use unsolicited freelance manuscripts or photographs and assumes no responsibility for the safe‑keeping or return of unsolicited material. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $12 for individuals not subscribing through participating REMCs/RECs. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: If you receive Indiana Connection through your electric co-op membership, report address changes to your local co-op. POSTAGE: Periodicals postage paid at Indianapolis, Ind., and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to: Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606. Include key number. No portion of Indiana Connection may be reproduced without permission of the editor.







insights 03 FROM THE EDITOR 05 CO-OP NEWS Energy news and information from your electric cooperative. 10 ENERGY Your electric co-op is plugged into support statewide — and beyond. 11 I NSIGHTS


12 GRASSROOTS How a bill becomes a law. 13 COUNTY OF THE MONTH Spotlighting Jackson County. 14 INDIANA EATS Cerulean Restaurant the spot for Valentine’s Day dinners under the stars. 15 FOOD Going bananas.


Indiana Connection



backyard cooperative career 17 COVER STORY Vineyards at Valentine’s: Indiana’s wineries continue pivoting to COVID challenges. 21 SAFETY Common reasons for power outages. 22 BACKYARD Here’s the scoop on pokeweed.

23 RECALLS 24 H OOSIER ENERGY/ WABASH VALLEY NEWS 25 OUTDOORS Jack Spaulding recalls early possum hunting days. 26 C OOPERATIVE CAREER Professional progression: Keeping the meters running.

On the cover Indiana’s wineries, like all locally-owned food and entertainment businesses, have had to do a lot of pivoting and dancing around measures to keep customers and employees safe during the COVID pandemic. Valentine’s Day is yet the latest “holiday” they’ve had to work through. Here is how they are coping with COVID and looking to a brighter 2021. PHOTO BY TAYLOR MARANION



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safety, Service, and Community IMPORTANT DATES Cycle 1 January bills are due Feb. 5 and are subject to disconnect Feb. 25 if unpaid. Cycle 2 January bills are due Feb. 20 and are subject to disconnect March 11 if unpaid. Meters are read using the Automated Meter Reading system. Cycle 1 meters will be read on Feb. 1. Cycle 2 meters will be read Feb. 15.

USE WOOL DRYER BALLS TO REDUCE DRYING TIME Wool dryer balls can absorb extra moisture. These are an efficient alternative to dryer sheets, which can create buildup on the dryer’s filter and reduce air circulation. — U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


MINNICUS LEAVES LASTING IMPACT Touchstone Energy Camp’s ‘founding mother’ retires from REMC Peg Minnicus is passionate about learning and teaching. She used this passion to make a lasting impact at Carroll White REMC and the state as a whole.

on younger students to inspire them before they might consider Youth Tour, which is geared for high school students.”


Minnicus retired from Carroll White REMC on Jan. 8 after a 33-year career. Throughout her years of service, she worked in a variety of positions, mostly with member services. But her legacy is much more than the titles she’s had and the positions she’s filled. “Peg is the founding mother of Touchstone Energy Camp,” said Casey Crabb, Carroll White REMC communications and public relations manager. The camp is a statewide program that has impacted thousands of Hoosier kids. “I brought the idea for a youth camp back from Nebraska,” Minnicus said. “I met an electric cooperative employee who developed a camp in Nebraska for high school students. I received her newsletter, and I thought that we had the perfect venue to start a camp right in our own backyard …at Camp Tecumseh.” An Indiana REMC Touchstone Energy Camp team was formed and planning meetings began. “It took two years of planning,” Minnicus said. “We went to camps all around the state. We decided that this camp would focus

Sixth grade students going into seventh grade from across Indiana gather in Brookston, Indiana, each year to learn about energy while making new friends and enjoying camp activities and games. Activities include electricity generation and transmission education, bucket truck rides, alternative energy education and live line safety demonstrations. There are also traditional camp activities like horseback-riding, rock climbing, archery, internet safety, swimming and so much more. Along with other REMC employees from around the state, Minnicus is part of the fun and excitement each year at Touchstone Energy Camp. “The camp kept growing and growing,” she said, estimating that through the years, approximately 2,200 have participated in the program. Unfortunately, though, the camp was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. “Peg’s legacy will always be highlighted by being the driving force and founder of the Touchstone Energy Camp for youth all over Indiana,” said CW REMC CEO Randy W. Price. “Due to her steadfast commitment on this front, Peg received the Tom Taylor Award. “This award is presented annually to an Indiana electric cooperative



co-op news CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 member service employee who has demonstrated excellence in leadership, attitude and commitment to the electric cooperative principles,” Price said. “Receiving the 2009 Tom Taylor Award meant so much to Peg,” continued Price. “Tom was a very close friend and mentor to Peg. To be recognized on the state-level with this award was very appropriate.” In addition to state recognition, Minnicus received national recognition with a Spotlight on Excellence award in 2014. “It is so much fun to educate, inspire and offer encouragement to students,” Minnicus said. In addition to her commitment to the Touchstone Energy Camp for over 15 years, she also worked with the 4-H Electric program. A graduate of Delphi Community High School, she married Jerry Minnicus in 1984. Though neither of them were raised in a farming family, that didn’t stop them from starting a family farm. Minnicus Family Farms is primarily a row crop and cow-calf operation. They also offer freezer beef sales and custom hay baling services to customers. Son Mark received an associate degree in farm management from Muscatine Community College in Muscatine, Iowa. Daughter Morgan returned to the farm after completing her bachelor’s degree in animal science/agricultural economics from Purdue University. “Both our children live a mile away from us … in different directions,” Minnicus said. Mark and his wife, Rachel, have two children, Bailey, age 3, and 1-year-old Warren. Morgan and her husband, Jared Anderson, have



9-month-old Emersyn and daughter Mackenzie. Mark and Morgan are both part of the farming operation.

Peg Minnicus cherishes the time she spent with her mentor, Tom Taylor from Boone REMC, before he passed away. Taylor shared Minnicus’ passion for Touchstone Energy Camp. Minnicus received a statewide award named after Taylor in 2009.

Minnicus’ niece, Ephina, husband Josh and daughter Mercedes also live within a mile of her. “We are so fortunate to have our family close,” Minnicus said. In addition to her full-time REMC job, Minnicus has always been part of the family farm. “I help Morgan with the bookwork and correspondence,” she said. “I’m the organizer. I clean a lot of fence rows, help combine in the fall. Everyone loves it or they wouldn’t be involved.” Because she wanted to be an example to her children about the importance of education, after telling Mark and Morgan that they had to go to college, Minnicus decided to “walk the talk.” She herself began pursuing a degree and at the age of 50-something, she graduated cum laude from Indiana Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in management. Minnicus hopes to travel when the pandemic allows. She plans to meet with some of her REMC friends from throughout Indiana in Siesta Keys. Currently, Minnicus continues to serve on the Carroll County 4-H board and the Junior Achievement board. She is most excited about being named the president of the Camp Tecumseh board of directors.

“REMC is known for its relationship with members. It always looks out for the best interests of the members. I’ve seen a lot of change and improvements, but my favorite memory is working with the members and youth. The toughest part of leaving is walking away from the people.”

PEG MINNICUS “Peg’s career with the coop has been dedicated to learning in order to serve our members in exceptional ways. Her work ethic is to be applauded. Peg’s strong dedication to our members led her to be involved in so many efforts: RELITE, Leadership Edge, a CASA volunteer, Junior Achievement, 4-H, Touchstone Energy Camp and the Delphi Rotary Club. She exemplifies self before others.”


Survey shows satisfaction with co-op remains high

co-op news

In March and October of 2020, Carroll White REMC surveyed its members. Member responses will help CW REMC make decisions to meet future challenges. March survey results were revealed in an earlier edition of Indiana Connection. In this issue, October survey results are being shared. The October phone/online survey involved 260 CW REMC residential members. Overall, satisfaction with Carroll White REMC continues to be very good, with a mean rating of 8.92 with 73% giving a top rating of “9” or “10.” This is higher than co-op norms (8.85) and consistent with the March study.

ACSI Measures Overall Satisfaction 10 - Very Satisfied

19% 22% 21% 19%




1-5 Not Satisfied

Extent Live Up To Expectations 52% 53% 52% 53%


4% 7% 5% 7%

29% 24% 23%


15% 9% 12% 14% 10% 9% 9% 8%

32% 36% 34% 37%

10 - Exceeds Expectations



20% Phone (mean=8.94)

8% 13% 10% 11%


Online (mean=8.90) Total (mean=8.92) Co-op Norms (mean=8.85)

41% 28%

1% 1-5 Falls Short

8% 4% 9%

A cooperative is defined as “a private business organization that is owned and controlled by the members who use its products, supplies and services.” At the very heart of CW REMC is its dedication to member owners. One survey question focused on whether those contacted viewed themselves as “member owners” or “customers.” Forty-four percent viewed themselves as a member of the cooperative as opposed to being a customer. This number, the survey revealed, is lower than coop norms (51%). Some surveyed view themselves as both member owners and customers. Member identity is impacted by the age of the members or tenure of members (how many years they have been cooperative members). Those who did identify themselves as member owners are more satisfied with the cooperative than those who see themselves as customers. “As our demographics change and technology impacts the way we connect with members, it is imperative that we emphasize the concept of member owners,” said Casey Crabb, CW REMC communications and public relations manager. “We will be addressing innovative ways to communicate with members to define the distinct difference between a customer and member owners.”

Phone (mean=8.66) Online (mean=8.53) Total (mean=8.59) Co-op Norms (mean=8.46)

CW REMC’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is 86, also the same rating as in the March 2020 study. The retention estimate is 81%, an increase of four percentage points. Both are higher than Touchstone Energy (75% and 71% respectively) and industry leaders. The mean rating for other ACSI measures evaluated very well and are higher than cooperative norms and consistent with the March study. In the second quarter of 2020, 124 individual Touchstone Energy co-ops received an ACSI. Eighty-two of those cooperatives scored 86 or lower. CW REMC placed in the 66th percentile among those co-ops.

Member Identity Views Self as Member/Owner or Customer 51% 56% 54% 46%

View self as Customer

3% View self as Member/ Owner

View self as Both

Total Member Identity

Phone Online

11% 7% 10%

Total Co-op Norms 29%

46% 37% 41% 49% 40% 44% 51%




Energy Efficiency and Conservation


How Actively Co-op is Addressing Energy Efficiency and Conservation 5 - Very actively

36% 34% 36%

18% 4


75% 44%

Phone (mean=4.25)

Aware, not signed up

Online (mean=4.27)

25% 19%



2% 2% 2% 3%

Don't know/No response

Aware, signed up


13% 10% 12% 13%


1-2 - Not actively

SmartHub Functions Used (n=109)

Awareness/Use of SmartHub


Viewed electric bill


Paid electric bill


Reported outage


Set up auto payments



Why Not Signed Up (n=61)

16% 24%

Total (mean=4.26)

Not interested

Co-op Norms (mean=4.20)

Prefer/use other method of payment No computer/internet/Not computer savvy/Don’t use

Not aware/Don't know


54% 10% 32%


Energy efficiency and renewable energy are high priorities on many fronts, including at CW REMC. When asked how actively CW REMC is addressing energy efficiency and conservation, more than half evaluated positively, giving a rating of “4” (22%) or “5” (34%). One-fifth of those surveyed indicated an interest in purchasing solar panels for their home, giving a rating of “4” (9%) or “5” (12%). The survey revealed that younger members, those paying higher electric bills, and men were more interested in purchasing solar panels for their homes than their individual counterparts. Few members surveyed were interested or currently own an electric vehicle. Fewer than one-tenth of members are likely to purchase an electric vehicle in the next three-five years with only three members currently owning one.

32% 11%

No reason/Thinking about it


Want the paper bill


Two-thirds of CW REMC members are aware of SmartHub, including 44% who have signed up for it. Those who have signed up for it are most likely to use it to view and/or pay their electric bill, Conversely, those who have not signed up for it indicate they have not done so because they have no interest in it or prefer to pay their electric bill using other methods.

Co-op Communication How Often Read Indiana Connection 44% 31% 38%



High Speed Internet


22% 23% 22%

Amount of Communication From Carroll White 4% Too much 2%

Not enough

3% 5% 4%

Phone Online Total


Level of Interest in New/Alternative High Speed Internet Service Currently Has Broadband/High Speed Internet Service


5 - Very interested


72% 62% 52%





13% 12% 13%


12% 14% 13%


1 - Not at all interested


Total (mean=3.78)

32% 18%

“It is interesting to note that two-thirds of members who already have broadband/high speed internet are more likely to indicate interest in a new or alternative service,” the Survey Executive Summary stated. FEBRUARY 2021

17% 13% 15%

88% 81% 85%

About right

Don't know/No response

5% 14% 9%

Online (mean=4.32)

In 2020, CW REMC published a series of articles in Indiana Connection on rural broadband/high speed internet service. The recent survey revealed that six in 10 CW REMC members currently have high speed internet service at their home.


Never/Don't receive

32% 25%

Phone (mean=3.25)

3% 3% 3%



Six in 10 members always read Indiana Connection when they receive it. An additional 25% of members occasionally read the monthly publication. Most of the members surveyed believe the amount of communication they receive from CW REMC is about right. However, there are a few (4%) who say it is not enough.

“We would like to thank all the members who participated in the survey. CW REMC board members, staff and employees are available to answer your questions and concerns at any time.”



Your electric co-op is plugged into support — statewide and beyond When several Hendricks Power Cooperative members contacted Energy Advisor Steve Hite for recommendations about contractors outside of that cooperative’s service territory, he didn’t know the answers. But he knew where to go to find them. He asked the energy advisors at nearby electric cooperatives for recommendations in their areas and then shared those suggestions with members. This is one example of “Cooperation Among Cooperatives,” which is one of the Seven Cooperative Principles that guide how electric cooperatives operate. It’s the cooperative difference: together, we can collaborate and work to better serve our members so that everyone benefits.



“I’m obviously very fortunate to have some energy advisors to talk with when I have a question or concern,” Hite said. “I appreciate the whole co-op mentality. It’s just a really good setting.” We receive a variety of questions from residential members, ranging from high bill complaints to new service or even questions about particular programs or calculating appliances’ energy use. When we don’t immediately know the answer to a question, we frequently reach out to our counterparts who may be more knowledgeable on specific topics or situations. “It’s like that across the board with all of the co-ops,” said Jake Taylor, energy advisor at LaGrange County

REMC. “It seems like pretty much everybody supports each other. Our energy advisors are pretty great, and they all have individual talents.” We also work with Indiana Electric Cooperatives, the organization that serves the 38 electric cooperatives in the state. IEC organizes ongoing training and events for electric co-op employees, including energy advisors. That provides us with an opportunity to meet and discuss recent events, and learn about new technology and tools that can help us support our members. We even have opportunities to meet and interact with energy advisors and employees across the U.S. through message boards and email lists organized by National Rural

Electrc Cooperative Association, our national organization that serves electric cooperatives. All of this support means that your local electric cooperative is also part of a much larger national network of support – one committed to providing the strongest support possible to the members we serve. “I think it makes us a lot stronger when we cooperate,” Hite said. “It’s a different way of working.”

by Jeremy Montgomery Energy Advisor Parke County REMC

CALENDAR CONTEST DEADLINE NEXT MONTH Indiana students who have a penchant for drawing, painting and collage have until March 19 to enter the Cooperative Calendar of Student Art contest to illustrate the 2022 wall calender. First place winners in grade divisions kindergarten through grade 12 will receive $200 each. Their winning artworks will illustrate the calendar’s

ORDER YOUR 2021 CALENDAR TODAY! Please send ______ copy (copies) of the Cooperative Calendar of Student Art 2021 at $6 each to: Name:

cover and the 12 months of the year. One “artist of the year” will also be selected and will earn an


additional $100. In addition, the judges will select honorable mention winners whose artwork will also

City, State and ZIP:

appear in the calendar. They will receive $75 each. The contest is open to Indiana public, private or home-schooled students. They must be in grades kindergarten through 12th grade during the 2020-21 school year. A complete set of rules and required entry forms are available at

Price includes shipping and Indiana sales tax. Make check payable to “Indiana Electric Cooperatives.” Send this completed form and a check to Indiana Connection Calendar; 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600; Indianapolis, IN 46240. Some electric co-ops have free calendars available for pickup in their offices. Contact them directly for more information. FEBRUARY 2021


grassroots energy

HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW Understanding this process is an essential component of grassroots advocacy and civic engagement. While the process can be quite complex, when boiled down there are seven basic steps that lead to a bill becoming a law. There needs to be an idea. The idea is written down by a member of Congress, either a senator or representative, and is submitted as a bill.

upon by the presiding officer, the entire chamber can then offer amendments to the bill and vote on the passage of the bill and/or any new amendments.

The bill will be introduced to the legislative body in which it was written (either the Senate or House of Representatives). Then, the speaker of the house and the president pro tempore (or vice president/lieutenant governor) can assign the bill to a committee.

If successfully passed out by the chamber, the bill then goes to the other chamber. For example, bills that originate in the Senate are passed to the House of Representatives, and vice versa for bills that originate in the House of Representatives. Once in the opposite chamber, the bills go through a very similar process of committee assignment. The new committee then decides which of the remaining bills will be heard, and then begins the same process of research, discussion, amendments, etc. If the bill is voted upon and passed out of committee, it (with any new amendments that were also voted upon), it goes back to the full chamber. The full chamber can again propose new amendments and vote on the bill.



Once in committee, the chairman of the committee decides which bills will receive public hearings and which ones will not. Members of the committee will research, discuss and offer amendments (or changes) to the bill. The public will also have a chance to testify on the bill and its proposed amendments. The chairman can then decide whether to offer the bill and/or amendments for vote by the whole committee. If passed out of committee, the bill and any amendments also passed go back to the entire chamber.


The new bill (with any passed amendments) goes back to its originating chamber (either the Senate or House of Representatives). If called





If both the Senate and House of Representatives have voted to pass the bill, then they must work out any difference between the two versions. For example, if the second chamber passed the bill with any new amendments, then the first chamber


must also pass those new amendments. Both chambers must vote out the exact same bill. If it passes, it goes to the president (federal level) or governor (state level). Finally, the president or governor then considers the bill. He or she can approve the bill and sign it into law, or veto the bill, stopping it from becoming a law.


It is important to note most bills never become a law. There are several ways to stop a bill, and the vast majority will stop before they can become a law. And, if a bill is lucky enough to get to the final stages and becomes a law, it often looks very different from the time it was introduced. Many times, amendments are added to change the bill and the law actually passed looks quite different from the bill that was introduced. As you can see, this process is quite complex, which is why it is so important to have people like you ready as grassroots advocates. Your voice is incredibly important and may need to be called upon at any of these stages.

county feature

Jackson County Jackson County was not named


after the President Andrew Jackson


— contrary to popular perception.

roots with

Rather, it was named in honor of


Gen. Andrew Jackson, the hero of


the Battle of New Orleans at the

lyrics made

end of the War of 1812. Obviously,


the same person — but different

a radio


staple in the

Jackson County was formed in 1816, even before Indiana became

1980s and 1990s.

a state, and long before Jackson


became the seventh president in



became an

That some rowdy behavior and individuals should emerge from a county named for the fiery populist Jackson, who pushed individual


John Mellencamp, who famously sang about his small town roots back in the 1980s, adorns this downtown mural in his hometown of Seymour.

accomplished painter and helped start and has supported Jackson County’s Southern Indiana Center for the Arts.

liberty while bending convention

Mellencamp’s Jackson County

and rules, is apropos.

past come alive with an audio

Jackson County was the site of the first recorded train robbery of a moving train in the United States. On Oct. 6, 1866, the Reno Gang robbed an Ohio and Mississippi Railway train, making off with over $10,000. Popular musician John Mellencamp, whose 1984 hit song about his fights with authority (“but authority always wins”), was born and grew up in Seymour. Mellencamp, who was first given the stage name of “Cougar” when he started cutting records in the 1970s, dropped the Madison Avenue name as his catchy songs

driving tour, created by the Jackson County Visitor Center. “The Roots of An American Rocker” offers a glimpse of Mellencamp that most people have never seen. The CD features stops at many of John’s old stomping grounds and a

y t n u Co acts F FOUNDED: 1816

NAMED FOR: Gen. Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans against the British in the War of 1812, who later became the seventh president of the United States. POPULATION: 44,111 (2018 estimate) COUNTY SEAT: Brownstown

detailed map of Seymour. The county is also home to the

fishing, hiking, photography and

Muscatatuck National Wildlife

enjoying nature.

Refuge, a refuge to provide resting

The 18,000-acre Jackson-

and feeding areas for waterfowl

Washington State Forest and

during their annual migrations.

Starve-Hollow State Recreation

The refuge is on 7,724 acres. In

Area offer some of the best

addition to wildlife viewing, the

camping and outdoor recreational

refuge provides opportunities for

opportunities in southern Indiana.



Indiana eats

Left: The Winona roll is just one of the specialty rolls on the Cerulean Restaurant’s inspired sushi menu. Smoked salmon, black tobiko, cream cheese and red pepper tempura make this roll a feast for the eyes — and the palate.


Right: Wintertime outdoor dining is warm and cozy in one of Cerulean Restaurant’s igloos. Book an igloo for a Valentine’s Day dinner under the stars.

Cerulean Restaurant the spot for Valentine’s Day dinners under the stars BY J E NNI F E R BA R G ER Nestled in the heart of the Village of

herbs and veggies. The dining area

That’s an easy question: Valentine’s

Winona, overlooking the Winona Lake

delights the senses under white

Day dinner under the stars, in a

canal, you’ll find Cerulean Restaurant,

lights and there’s a buzzing bar

private glowing igloo, with superlative

home to superlative sushi, bountiful

with knowledgeable and friendly

sushi, bountiful bento boxes, and

bento boxes, and delectable desserts

bartenders. Throughout the warmer

delectable desserts!

that will tantalize your taste buds.

months of the year, there is live

Get a load of some of these desserts:

music, and on most nights, you'll find

crème brulee bread pudding,

a casual, no-rush atmosphere there

chocolate pralines crunch, blood

that lends itself to long conversations

orange sorbet. (#dontmindifido)

and big laughs.

The atmosphere at Cerulean is

Why are we talking about the Garden

perfect, with quiet and private high-

in February? Because the Garden got

back booths lining the walls. Cerulean

a serious upgrade this winter.

is a Valentine’s Day favorite — and the ideal spot for a quiet dinner out with friends.

IGLOOS! Adorable, cozy, warm, and glowing igloos. You can enjoy an amazing meal under the stars, or in

Please don’t take my word for it; you’ve got to give Cerulean a try. You won’t regret it. Jennifer Barger is manager of marketing and communication at Kosciusko REMC in Warsaw.

Cerulean Restaurant

However, if you’re more of a social

the snow, for that matter, without

butterfly, you might want to walk

sacrificing comfort or social distance.

1101 E. Canal St. Winona Lake

However, you've got to reserve the


right past the quiet booths and head out to the Garden.

igloos. So, call ahead – what would be

The Garden is everything you’re

sweeter than Valentine’s Day dinner

imagining: An outdoor courtyard,

under the stars?

lined with boxes of home-grown






BANANA CRUMB MUFFINS Patricia Hall, New Salisbury, Indiana Topping: ½ cup all-purpose flour

1½ cups all-purpose flour 1 t. baking soda

¼ cup sugar

1 t. baking powder

1 t. cinnamon

½ t. salt

4 T. butter, room temperature

3 large ripe bananas, mashed ¾ cup sugar 1 egg, slightly beaten

Mix together topping ingredients and set aside while you prepare the muffin batter. For the muffins: In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, combine the bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Mix well. Stir the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill muffin cups ⅔ full. Do not use paper muffin cups. Using hands, arrange coarse pea-size crumbs of the topping over the muffin batter. Bake at 375 F for 18-20 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Cook’s note: These freeze well in individual freezer bags. Take them out of the freezer the night before for a quick breakfast in the morning.

⅓ cup melted butter FEBRUARY 2021



BANANA BARS Pam Spinner, Derby, Indiana 1½ cups sugar 1 cup sour cream ½ cup butter, softened 2 eggs 1¾ cups (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed 2 t. vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose (or wheat) flour 1 t. baking soda ¾ t. salt ½ cup chopped pecans (optional) Frosting: 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened ½ cup butter, softened 2 t. vanilla extract 3¾ to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Grease and flour a 15 X 10-inch jelly roll pan.Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, sour cream, butter and eggs until they are creamy. Next, blend in bananas and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking soda, salt and blend them for 1 minute. Stir in pecans if desired. Spread the batter evenly into your pan. Bake for 20 -25 minutes until golden brown.When cooled completely, frost and cut. Yield: 36 bars. Cook’s note: These store great in the fridge. I have also frozen some of them

GENEVA’S BANANA OATMEAL COOKIES Glenda Ferguson, Paoli, Indiana ¾ cup butter, softened 1 egg, beaten 1 cup mashed bananas 1½ cups flour ½ cup sugar 1 cup brown sugar ½ t. baking soda 1 t.salt ¼ t. nutmeg ¾ t. cinnamon 3 cups oatmeal ½ cup nuts, optional Mix butter, egg and bananas together. Add the flour, sugars, soda, salt and spices. Stir in the oatmeal a little at a time. Drop onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes until cookies are browned around the edges. Yield: 3½ dozen cookies. Cook’s Notes: The cookies spread out a bit when baking, so allow space in between the drops of batter. Instead of adding nuts, I like to add mini-chocolate chips, so that there is a little taste of chocolate with the banana and oatmeal.




A new vintage for Satek Winery sleeps under the January snow at Nob Hill Vineyard in Clear Lake in far northeasternmost corner of Indiana. PHOTO PROVIDED BY KAY AND RON KUMMER


Valentine’s Indiana's wineries continue pivoting to COVID challenges


get out,” said Shane Christ, the

Valentine’s Day has always meant

Steuben County.

Rural Indiana has seen an

Though COVID has continued the

wine industry in the past 30 years.

wining and dining, dancing and romancing. But this year, the continuing cloud of COVID-19 has kept Cupid on the q.t. Leave it to Indiana’s enterprising wineries and vineyards to keep the crafted potables Hoosiers have come to love accessible and a part of this Feb. 14 or any special occasion,

winemaker at Satek Winery in

public hibernation into 2021, he noted, “There’s a lot of things we can do that do not require social gathering.”

Flourish extraordinary growth in the state’s This form of agritourism gets folks out into the Indiana countryside to enjoy the fruits of the vines and the

“Folks are finding ways to travel and

handcrafted labors of love.

get out, and wineries seem to be a

There are now over 120 wineries and

great outlet,” said Jill Blume, enology specialist with the Purdue Wine Grape

vineyards dotting the state. Thirty years ago, there were nine. Those

despite the pandemic.

Team which supports the wineries.

“In the past, we have always looked

“Some of these wineries are remote

jobs. Indiana’s wine production in

and a little hard to find,” she added.

2018 exceeded 2.4 million gallons (12

“So, it’s a little adventure in that sense.

million bottles) and was ranked 11th

It’s a fun country drive, and I think a lot


of people are ready to get some air.”

continued on page 18

to Valentine’s Day as one of the first ‘holidays’ where people unearth themselves from their house after a long winter and are anxious to

wineries provide almost 4,000 full-time



continued from page 17



$95 million Indiana wine sold

continued from page 17 Eight wine trails, mapped out from Indiana’s southern shores of Lake Michigan to the northern banks of the Ohio River and almost everywhere in between, provide Indiana’s 630,000 annual “wine tourists” conveniently charted routes. Indiana’s wineries serve up vast varieties of fermentations from whites to reds, sweets to dries, and traditional grapes to any number of fruits and combinations. While for the past year social media has been filled with running jokes alluding to wine’s ability to see

$94 million tourism expenditures $603 million total economic impact 2.4 million gallons produced

many of us through such things as quarantines, social distancing,

$590,000 vineyard revenue

parents traumatized), the real spirit

“During the summer, the wineries

of Indiana’s wineries isn’t what’s

were a lot better able to pivot and seat

consumed. Rather, Indiana’s wineries

people and keep everyone socially

and vineyards are really about

distanced from each other. The

celebrating friendship, family and life’s

traditional model where you walk in,

good times together — very often in

stand at the bar and taste two or three

the beautiful rural settings.

samples and then make a purchase is

“We are really proud of that winery is,” said Rachel Gibson, executive director of the Indiana Winery and Vineyard Association.




no longer a viable model while we’re fighting COVID,” Gibson said. “In a lot of cases, people have had to rethink their tasting rooms altogether to figure out seating areas and so on.”

“When you visit a winery, in most

Wineries have had to be creative

cases, you’re looking at the vineyard;

maintaining and growing their

you’re seeing where the grapes are

customer base during COVID,


she said. “As an industry, we’ve

all small businesses, especially in the entertainment, food and tourism industries — has left many wineries

3,900 full-time jobs

Visit indianaconnection. org/talk-to-us/contests.

has kept the kids at home and some

The pandemic ­— as it has on most

$120 million paid wages

two wine glasses, a jar of chocolate sauce and a gift certificate to Satek Winery.

school closures and e-learning (that

agritourism element of what a farm

600 grapebearing acres


struggling. Wine bars and tasting

actually done pretty well. These are entrepreneurs. They’ve all figured out a different niche and a different business model and a different product they’re offering.”

rooms had to close or reduced

Wineries started offering curbside

capacity, and many special popular

sales and free delivery of online

annual events were canceled.

orders. Some offer virtual wine tasting

in which a customer buys a “wine-

The winery isn’t

sampling kit” at the winery, then goes

celebrating 20

home and logs into Zoom for the

years in 2021, like

virtual tasting experience with the

Satek, nor even 20

winery’s experts.

months. It opened

Wineries that have developed relationships with wholesalers and are able to sell their products beyond their tasting rooms have certainly been more insulated during the pandemic, noted Christ, who is the president of the winery and vineyard association. “If you look at the sales of your liquor stores and grocery stores … that’s what’s really been the lifeline to a lot of wineries.

15, 2020, and is celebrating two months in business this Valentine’s Day. Owner and one of its winemakers Adam Brockman, a chiropractor by day at his next door Complete Wellness Center, has turned his hobby into a

Day, wineries are preparing special


traditional events, like pairings of wines and chocolates, were still scheduled at many of the state’s wineries. But, as with most things during this time, interested readers are


its doors Dec.

For special events, like Valentine’s boxes of selected wines. Some

Adam Brockman and Megan Harth opened Bottom of the Barrel Winery on Main Street in Tell City, next to his wellness center, just before Christmas.

Opening a new establishment during a socioeconomic hardship might not be ideal, but for Brockman, it’s become

works for Valentine’s Day that would include wine and chocolates.

an unlikely business plan. The

Bottom of the Barrel’s roots sprung

39-year-old Perry County native

from the building itself — which once

opened his first clinic across the river

housed a dry cleaning business —

Satek, which celebrates 20 years in

in Hawesville, Kentucky, in 2008

that Brockman bought about a year

business in 2021, will continue one

— during the great recession. “It’s

and a half ago. “The building needed

item that’s related to Valentine’s Day

something we’ve been through before,

a lot of repairs done,” he said, “so I

that Christ says has developed a “cult

and we’ve been able to build our

had been asked if they could drop a

following” in recent years. That’s its

clinic system.” (Brockman, who is also

dumpster in my clinic parking lot.” He

chocolate sauce. The sauce, which is

a doctor of naturopathic medicine,

ended up buying the building.

about 5% alcohol, is specially made for

has clinics in Evansville; Hartford,

Satek by a chocolatier in California’s

Kentucky; and Santa Rosa Beach,

He and fiancée Megan Harth, a nurse

Napa Valley using Satek wines. “It’s a

Florida, as well.)

always encouraged to visit the local wineries’ websites for latest details.

nice little gift item,” Christ said.

Fruition Down state from Satek, about as far down state as you can go without driving into the Ohio River at the bottom of the state, is Bottom of the Barrel Winery in downtown Tell City.

practitioner at his clinic, then asked themselves what would they want to

The winery on Main Street opened

see in town. “It was just like a lightbulb

with limited hours before Christmas to

clicked when we came up with the idea.”

allow holiday shopping. It then hosted

Two other wineries were already

a special New Year’s Eve gathering for a limited number of couples that included a bottle of wine and a meat and cheese board. He said a similar limited gathering for couples is in the

in Perry County. One, Winzerwald Winery, was 25 miles up the road along I-64; the other, Blue Heron, sits

continued on page 20 FEBRUARY 2021


continued from page 19 in the hills directly above the Ohio River at Rocky Point. Brockman said Bottom of the Barrel will join Blue Heron on the Hoosier Wine Trail that connects wineries along the river. “Our winery and theirs will really be able to play off of each other. You can come to Perry County, and you can see the beauty where Blue Heron is, and you can come here and have a little bit of a different atmosphere — like a big city vibe in a small town.” The name they chose for their winery, Brockman said, sums up their attitude: “Have fun; don’t take yourself, or the wine, too seriously; and make it through anything thrown your way.”


the artifacts left behind. The cleaning

not to judge the wine under the 2020

chemicals, of course, and most of the

label by the memories.

old equipment were long gone. But before gutting the entire building down to its brick walls, they found clothing,

“One bright spot of 2020 was our growing year. Our summer was really hot; it was really dry; and it was really

Brockman and another winemaking

still in the plastic garment bags, that

hobbyist crafted Bottom of the Barrel’s

customers never claimed — including

wines with professional vintner Gary

wedding dresses. “That would be

Humphrey, who owned and operated

good for bachelorette parties,” he

River City Winery for over 10 years

quipped. “You can also come pick out

“Though the yields were about

upriver in New Albany. Humphrey

your dress.”

the same as a typical year, the

is on the board of the Indiana Wine Grape Council and produced the “Wine of the Year” at the 2012 Indy International Wine Competition.

He said originally, they hoped to have the winery open for the city’s annual Schweizer Fest in August. But when the festival was greatly pared down

long; and that proved to be one of the better growing years for producing fruit,” he said.

concentration of the flavors in the grapes was much higher, and the fruit chemistry was ideal,” he explained. “I am expecting some outstanding wines throughout the state.”

Brockman noted he intends to

because of COVID, they decided to

eventually create a vineyard on land

take a little more time with the wines

With the new vintage and the hope

he owns on the outskirts of Tell City.

and preparation. He did want to

COVID subsides soon, Christ predicts,

But for now, the grapes and apples

make sure they opened before the

“It’s going to be a great summer to

used to make their wines came from

end of the year. “I just thought it was

get out of the house. It’s going to be a

Indiana and Michigan. “The tanks

important to give people something

great summer to go visit. It’s going to

came from Italy,” he added. “We were

that we can look forward to; 2020

be a great summer to catch back up

fortunate that we ordered them before

wasn’t a great year, but 2021 is

with your friends and go out to dinner.”

COVID hit, otherwise we probably still

something we can look forward to.”

And along with catching up and dining,

wouldn’t have them.” Keeping in line with thoughts of Valentine’s Day and romance, one interesting thing about putting the winery in a building once occupied by a dry cleaner, Brockman noted, was



Forward Shane Christ at Satek noted another thing wine lovers can especially look forward to this entire coming year is

there’s sure to be some wining, and maybe a little dancing and romancing.

Richard G. Biever is senior editor of Indiana Connection.

the 2020 vintage. The year itself might be best forgotten, but Christ advises

For more information on Indiana’s wineries and trails, visit


power outages Common causes of Power outages are never convenient. Sometimes, it’s no mystery why we are left in the dark, like when lightning and thunder rattle windows and walls. Other times, an outage may come out of the blue. The length of time it takes to restore power will vary by the cause. Most electric cooperatives attempt to share outage information through social media platforms. Here are some of the most common causes your cooperative might be facing.

WEATHER The most common cause for power outages is Mother Nature. A heavy build-up of ice and snow on power lines, poles and equipment can bring them down. Wind also causes widespread damage. High winds following a heavy ice storm can be particularly devastating. Extremely hot weather can cause power lines to sag into vegetation and can also cause unusually high demand that can overburden transformers and other electrical equipment causing them to fail. Lightning strikes can cause major damage to electrical equipment, transmission towers, wires and poles.

If the lights go out in the middle of a thunderstorm, lightning is probably the culprit.

TREES During high winds, snow and ice, tree limbs can snap or entire trees can topple onto power lines.

ACCIDENTS A vehicle hitting a utility pole can break the pole and knock lines from their overhead perch. Excavation work can disturb buried electric service lines causing an outage. Always call 811 before any gardening or digging project.

PLANNED OUTAGES If an electric cooperative is performing maintenance or upgrading its equipment, it may need to temporarily turn off the power. The cooperative will usually try to notify consumers. This is why it’s always a good idea to make sure your cooperative has updated contact information. If you experience an outage, alert your cooperative. While most co-ops have upgraded to digital systems that automatically detect outages, others still rely on notification from their customers before they come out to investigate the cause and restore power.

ANIMALS Squirrels, snakes and other small animals and birds can climb on poles and electrical equipment which may cause a short circuit or equipment to shut down.

VANDALISM People shooting at insulators and transformers is still a sad cause for power outages in rural areas. Thieves also steal copper wire and other pieces of electrical equipment. Both acts of vandalism can be extremely costly and deadly.

RESIST THE URGE TO TALK TO LINE CREWS DURING OUTAGES Stopping your car or truck on roads near electric cooperative crews is hazardous, especially when road conditions may already be treacherous with ice and snow. For safety’s sake, the best thing for you to do when you see crews working is to let them do their jobs, without distractions. It is dangerous for others to be milling around when they’re repairing lines.




Ask Rosie

B. ROSIE LERNER is the Purdue Extension consumer horticulturist and is a consumer of Tipmont REMC.



I have a lot of these plants (pictured below) growing in the field near my home. Can you identify this plant for me? And is it poisonous? I have horses and am concerned that this could make them sick.


This is a very common weed called pokeweed. It is native to much of Eastern North America, including Indiana. All parts of the pokeweed plant are poisonous, especially roots and seeds, but its toxicity is generally considered to be low.

(According to the U.S. Forest Service, young leaves and stems when properly cooked are edible and provide a good source of protein, fat and carbohydrate. Regional names for the plant include poke, poke sallet, poke salad, and pokeberry.) Pokeweed can reach up to 10 feet tall and has distinctly red stems and berries that change from green to dark purple when ripe. It is perennial from a large tap root, dying back to the ground each year. The fruits are important food for mockingbirds, northern cardinals and mourning doves which spread the seed everywhere in their droppings. So, pokeweed can poke up in many new places each year. For more information on pokeweed and its toxicity, see Purdue Extension’s Guide to Toxic Plants in Forages. www. extension.purdue. edu/extmedia/ws/ws_37_ toxicplants08.pdf



ROSIE RETIRES B. Rosie Lerner has spent her career making Indiana a more beautiful and bountiful state when it comes to flower and vegetable gardens. After 36 years, Rosie retired as the Purdue Extension consumer horticulture specialist at the end of 2020. In her role, she served two stints as the Purdue Master Gardener state coordinator; developed programs, publications, news releases and teaching materials for home gardeners; served as the horticulture liaison to the Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory; and was a member of various related boards and professional organizations. And while she has retired from Purdue, she has graciously offered to continue answering gardening questions for Indiana Connection readers. So, those with questions may continue asking them through the handy online “Talk to Us” form at that allows you to upload photos, too; or mailing them to: “Ask Rosie,” Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240.

co-op news

use your

voice POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT HELPS ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES CONTINUE TO PROVIDE SAFE, RELIABLE AND AFFORDABLE ENERGY. You can help Indiana’s electric cooperatives continue to make rural Indiana a better place to live by signing up to be a grassroots advocate today!

visit FEBRUARY 2021


Wabash Valley Power news

Taylor connected a Sense, which is a home energy monitor that tracks electricity use in real time, to the LaGrange County REMC member’s circuit breaker box. The Sense is able to show the home’s electricity use in real-time as appliances in the home turn on and off. Over time, the home energy monitor also learns the energy use of individual appliances, systems and other devices, and tracks that use. Taylor and the LaGrange County REMC member learned that there were several issues with appliances that were contributing to the high energy bills. “Sense takes high level information about real-time electricity consumption and translates it into something that’s easy for homeowners to understand,” Taylor said. “You can look at your house’s energy use and see what it costs you. They’re amazing.”



Home energy monitors can even indicate abnormal energy use that can be a sign of an issue. Laura Matney, who is marketing manager at Wabash Valley Power Alliance, had an electrician install a Sense at her home (electricians are recommended to install the device). The Sense showed that her basement’s lift pump, which moves water in pipes from the basement to ground level, was unexpectedly turning on several times an hour. She explored the issue and discovered that a leak was causing the pump to work more than normal. “I don’t know that I was expecting it to find particular problems,” Matney


yM rg

Taylor started in the homeowner’s basement, at the circuit breaker box. He didn’t have to travel any further.

Home energy monitors such as Sense parse out each device using electricity in a home. In many cases, the Sense can name the type of appliance such as a refrigerator or television (and may even know the brand of the device). It may take a few days – or even a few weeks – for the Sense to detect all of the devices, systems and appliances that cycle on and off in a home. That can be useful for homeowners to track and determine their home’s energy use.


LaGrange County REMC Energy Advisor Jake Taylor helped a co-op member scour his house to find the culprit causing the member’s high energy bills.

it or

Home energy monitors can unearth interesting discoveries


om EH



said. “I got the Sense so I could get a better idea of what appliances are using energy and when.” She hopes that as she learns more about her family’s electricity use, the household can take steps to conserve energy. While she started discovering new details shortly after it was plugged in, she noticed it takes the Sense several weeks to discover the majority of devices and appliances that use power in the home. “I think it’s a good tool, but it’s not a device that is just a one-time setup and you’re done,” Matney said of Sense. “You learn along with it, and it’s an ongoing effort but the knowledge and savings can be worth it.”


Trapper Jack Note to readers: Jack Spaulding has just released his second full-length book. In “Coon Hunter and the Kid,” Jack shares tales of a rural Midwestern boy’s journey to manhood and the lifelong bonds and lessons learned on the hunting trail. For this month’s column, we present an excerpt.

I asked Anders, “What’s for supper?” Anders just smiled and said, “Boy, it’s something special I know you will like!” Clara opened the oven, pulled out a roasting pan and set the main course

As a young boy, I considered myself to

catch possums. Rush County was full

be an excellent outdoorsman. Truth be

of possums. Heck, sometimes Mom

known, I didn’t own a gun; I didn’t catch

would hit a couple with the car just

many fish; and I had to be the worst

getting to town.

trapper in history. One entire trapping season, all I caught was a cold. It’s depressing for a budding mountain man to know he’s being continually outsmarted by the likes of a bunch of muskrats.

The bargain I struck with Mr. Mantooth gave me renewed incentive and confidence. And, sure enough, I found I was able to outsmart possums. All I had to do was get them into a gunny sack and drop them off on Anders’

About the time I was ready to call it

porch. Soon the silver was rolling

quits, our neighbor Anderson Mantooth

in. My best week, I racked up three

asked me how my trapping career

possums. I sacked up one small one

was going. Before I could tell Anders

and two 50-centers for Anders!

the muskrats on Flatrock River had advanced degrees in trap avoidance, he said, “If you catch a possum, keep me in mind. I’ll pay you 25 cents for a small one and 50 cents for a big one.”

One day the following summer, Anders asked if I would like to eat supper with him and his wife, Clara. Being polite and always half-starved, I readily agreed, washed up, and took a seat

Eureka ... my little eyes had dollar

at the table. Clara’s kitchen always

signs for pupils! Old Anders had just

smelled good, but this evening, it

made me a rich man! I knew I could

smelled especially good.


Indiana Connection has four copies of Jack’s book to give away. To register to win one of the randomly drawn books, go to and click on “Enter a Contest” under “Talk to Us.”

on the table. There, looking at me while swimming in a half-inch of grease was one of the 50-centers from last fall! As I recall the meal: the potatoes and corn were excellent, and the whole milk was nice and cold. As for the possum … it was good. The meat was a light yellow in color, a little stringy and greasy, and with just a few bites … very filling!

JACK SPAULDING is a syndicated state outdoors writer and a member of RushShelby Energy. Readers can email him directly at jackspaulding@ Jack’s first book, “The Best of Spaulding Outdoors,” a compilation of his favorite articles over 30 years is now available as a Kindle download or as a 250-page paperback from Amazon. com.



cooperative career Professional progression:

KEEPING THE METERS RUNNING Just out of high school, Scot Price was

Four years later,

uncertain about the direction he wanted

he graduated from

his life to take. He took a manufacturing

the apprenticeship

job assembling electric meters in West

as a full-fledged

Lafayette, knowing it wasn’t going to be

journeyman lineman.

long term.

Scot Price Senior Manager of Operations

Tipmont REMC

“By becoming a

remain the

In 1990, he took a job on the other side

journeyman lineman, I was a tradesman

backbone of the electric industry. “I loved

of the meter — at Tipmont REMC — an

and marketable to go anywhere in the

being a lineman. I loved being outside. I

electric distribution cooperative that

country. I had a skill set,” Price said. “I

thought it was the most rewarding career

makes some 24,000 meters spin. He’s

felt very blessed to have been given that

path for me and still, to this day, think it

been keeping meters running ever since

opportunity to have achieved that goal.

was a great opportunity for me. But I knew

along those lines — as he’s moved up the

From that progression, it opened doors

at some point I didn’t want to necessarily

chain of command for the Linden-based

throughout my career.”

be an old man getting up at 2 in the

electric cooperative over his 30-year

Today, Price is the senior manager


of operations overseeing the outside

morning and changing out poles in the ice and snow.”

“I had a decent factory job, but I knew it

operations at Tipmont’s Battle Ground

“I often dreamed about what it would be

wasn’t really going to provide the future

office. He supervises 16 employees,

like to experience the trade in another

for me. Getting on at a co-op was an

which includes linemen at the co-op’s

area, but co-ops are so generous in their

amazing gift,” Price said.

northern hub. Tipmont, which serves

benefits,” Price noted. “Each year you

consumers in eight northwest central

stay, you acquire more vacation time,

Indiana counties, has a second line crew

accrue more benefits. It made it that much

based at its main office in Linden.

more difficult for you to want to go on and

His first job at Tipmont was as a groundman. The entry-level job assisted lineworkers as they worked on power lines. Within the first year, the REMC

After completing his apprenticeship and

had an opening for an apprentice

becoming a lineman in 1994, Price joined

lineman which Price pursued and got.

the special group of individuals who

1990 hired Groundman

1994 Job CHange Apprentice Lineman

2006 Promotion Journeyman Lineman

2007 JOB CHANGE Staking Engineer



start somewhere else. I was treated so well … why would I?”

2008 Job change Assistant Line Superintendent

2010 Promotion Operations Supervisor

2016 PROMOTION Senior Manager of Operations

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