Get to know junior board members.
Carroll White REMC’s
Revival: RELIGHTING A BEACON IN WEST BADEN
from the editor
Motto mix-ups Do you know what Indiana’s state motto is? •
The Journey Takes You to a Crossroads
Back Home Again in Indiana
The Land of Hoosiers
The Crossroads of America
If you picked the last choice, congratulations. You’re one of 80 percent of Hoosiers who can still recall at least one fun fact from their Indiana history lessons. But the thing is, another 20 percent of us have no idea what our state motto is. And, it’s not just Hoosiers who mix up mottos. According to Solitaire Bliss, a surprising two in five Americans don’t know their state’s motto. In fact, a whopping 87 percent of those from North Carolina thought their motto was “First in Flight.” Sure, that slogan appears on license plates as an homage to the first successful airplane flights by the Wright Brothers but the real motto is the more philosophical “To Be, Rather Than to Seem.” In several other states, some of those polled also opted for mottos that seem to literally represent their homeland. Nine percent of Floridians think their state motto is “Our State of Snowbirds” which is actually apropos. In New York, over half of those polled think the state motto is “Empire State of Mind.” (Nope, that’s a 2009 song by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys!) John Denver’s song “Take Me Home Country Roads” is so famously associated with West Virginia that 36 percent of polled mountaineers (those from West Virginia) think it’s their state motto. Let’s face it: Missouri’s state motto, “The Welfare of the People is the Highest Law,” doesn’t roll off the tongue. Maybe that’s why 51 percent of those polled thought the Show Me State’s motto was “Show Me Yours, I Will Show You Mine!” Perhaps the funniest faux state motto comes from our neighbors to the south who weren’t “chicken” when boasting (and roasting) about their state and its top agricultural industry. One in 10 Kentuckians think “Land of Succulent Poultry” is their state motto. Although that phrase may have wings, let’s not forget that Kentucky Fried Chicken creator Harlan Sanders was a Hoosier! Perhaps somewhere within that fact there’s a motto in the making!
EMILY SCHILLING Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
On the menu: June issue: Summer salads, deadline April
1. July issue: Fresh from the garden recipes, deadline April 1. If we publish your recipe on our food pages, we’ll send you a $10 gift card.
Three ways to contact us: To send us recipes, photos, event listings, letters
and entries for gift drawings, please use the forms on our website indianaconnection.org; email email@example.com; or send to Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606.
VOLUME 71 • 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 firstname.lastname@example.org IndianaConnection.org INDIANA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OFFICERS: Randy Kleaving President Steve McMichael Vice President Dr. Richard Leeper Secretary/Treasurer John Gasstrom CEO EDITORIAL STAFF: Emily Schilling Editor Richard George Biever Senior Editor Holly Huffman Communication Support Specialist Ellie Schuler Senior Digital and Layout Design Specialist Taylor Maranion Senior Brand and Visual Design Specialist Lauren Carman Communication Coordinator Chuck Snider Director of Communication and Creative Services Mandy Barth Vice President of Communication ADVERTISING: American MainStreet Publications Cheryl Solomon, local ad representative; 512-441-5200; amp.coop Crosshair Media 502-216-8537; crosshairmedia.net 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.
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03 FROM THE EDITOR 05 CO-OP NEWS Energy news and information from your electric cooperative. 10 ENERGY Gain a clearer perspective on windows. 12 INSIGHTS
14 COUNTY OF THE MONTH Spotlighting Washington County.
20 COVER STORY Relighting a beacon in West Baden.
15 INDIANA EATS Tolon: Fort Wayne restaurant serves sublime seasonal
24 SAFETY Hit a pole? Stay in the car!
specialties. 16 FOOD Pasta-bilities: Highlighting the versatile noodle. 18 ELECTRICITY FACTS
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA
outdoors 28 PROFILE Brittany Sams’ professional progression at LaGrange County REMC. 29 OUTDOORS Assume all ice is thin ice.
25 RECALLS 26 TRAVEL Retracing the places where Abe Lincoln grew to adulthood. (Not in all editions.)
30 H OOSIER ENERGY/ WABASH VALLEY NEWS
On the cover The First Baptist (Colored) Church of West Baden Springs glows with the anticipation of a new beginning. Restoration of the church, the last remaining structure representing the Black community of West Baden and French Lick from the days of racial segregation in the early 1900s, was completed by volunteers last fall. PHOTO COURTESY OF ELIZABETH MITCHELL
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) www.cwremc.coop 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 email@example.com INTERIM CEO
GET TO KNOW two junior board members Carroll White REMC’s junior board of directors helps local students enhance their professional skills. HANNAH COSGRAY
Junior board a learning opportunity for Cosgray When North White Junior-Senior High
food stand worker
School student Hannah Cosgray
at the White
joined the Carroll White REMC junior
County 4-H Fair,”
board of directors in August 2021, she
Cosgray said. “I
had two goals in mind. “I wanted to
Gary E. Gerlach, 574-595-7820
gain confidence in myself as well as
the mobile food
9833 S. Base Road, Star City
learn more about unfamiliar topics,”
pantry. With my
Cathy Raderstorf 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
Kent P. Zimpfer, 765-479-3006 4672 E. Arrow Point Court, Battle Ground
Tina L. Davis, 219-204-2195 7249 W, 600 S, Winamac
Ralph H. Zarse, 219-863-6342 1535 S, 100 E, Reynolds
Aaron Anderson, 765-427-5592 6634 W, 300 S, Delphi
After just a few months on the board, Cosgray is doing just that. “I have learned a lot about how electricity works and the different types of ways to generate electricity,” Cosgray, 18,
junior board members, I was part of the cleanup crew at the Flying Toasters concert, co-sponsored by CW REMC and the Bank of Wolcott.”
said. “I also have found how friendly
“Creatively enhancing our community through safety and service.”
and understanding the people at CW
In her free time, the Monticello native
enjoys playing sports and being
Safety, Service, and Community IMPORTANT DATES Cycle 1 January bills are due Feb. 5 and are subject to disconnect Feb. 24 if unpaid. Cycle 2 January bills are due Feb. 20 and are subject to disconnect March 15 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.
SEAL AIR LEAKS About 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through inefficient windows. Caulk and weatherstrip windows to seal air leaks. When running your home heating system, lock all operable windows to ensure the tightest seal possible. — U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK www.facebook.com/ carrollwhite.remc FOLLOW US ON TWITTER www.twitter.com/cwremc
As she’s gained confidence to participate in the board’s meetings, she said she is learning to embrace her role as a leader. “I am determined and a motivator,” Cosgray said, referencing her unique abilities. Junior board members are expected to give back to the community. Cosgray is no stranger to community service and sharing her talents. She assisted the White County United Way in an open house at its new location. “I have been a concession stand worker, youth basketball volunteer, and a Tri Kappa Monon/Lions Club
with friends. She is a member of her school’s cross country team, plays basketball and participates in track. Cosgray is a member of the Spanish Club, Student Council, National Honor Society, and the White County United Way junior board of directors. Following graduation, Cosgray plans to major in communication sciences and disorders at Butler University and then apply for a master’s program in speech-language pathology. The daughter of Mitch and Dee Cosgray, she has two older sisters: Kelsey and Kaitlyn.
continued on page 6 FEBRUARY 2022
co-op news continued from page 5
Schneider furthered leadership skills in junior board position When Tri-County High School student Leah Schneider joined the Carroll White REMC junior board of directors last school year, she had a pretty specific goal in mind. “I was interested in applying the skills I had already gained through my extracurricular activities to real life situations and furthering those skills,” she said. Those activities include the National Honor Society, Student Council, Sunshine Society, Youth Group, FFA and the Tri-County track team.
Schneider said that during the junior
A year later, Schneider has not only
board meetings she tries to keep
met her goal, she’s surpassed it.
the dialogue going, helping mem-
Now a high school senior, Schneider
bers engage in conversations. “The
is chairperson of the junior board
unique ability that I bring to the table
and is gaining experience that will
to assist the junior board is my abili-
be beneficial in her future. “I have
ty to keep the meetings interesting,”
learned how much work really goes
into running an electric cooperative,” Schneider said. “I think that my time spent as a junior board member will help me with my future professional plans.” Not only that, the experience has been fun for the 17-year-old. “I have enjoyed my time spent on the CW REMC junior board,” Schneider said. “I would like to thank everyone for this great opportunity.”
She plans to attend Purdue University this fall. Although she will initially major in agricultural economics, she plans to transfer to the School of Nursing as soon as possible. Schneider; parents Eric and Jessica Schneider; and siblings Grayson, 14, and Ella, 11, live south of Remington. In her spare time, Schneider enjoys baking and spending time with friends.
Chuck Leavitt, third from right, gathers with his family at his daughter’s wedding.
Leavitt brings years of experience to new role at REMC
huck Leavitt, Carroll White REMC’s
Leavitt takes the co-op’s commitment
and Reliegh, 4. Youngest daughter
new director of engineering, has
to serving its members seriously.
Carli, 24, is a 2021 University of
many years of experience working not
“As an employee, I am committed
Evansville graduate who currently
only in the electric cooperative industry
to use the members’ money in the
attends Marian University’s
but the private sector and investor-
most efficient way possible, to bring
nursing school in Indianapolis.
owned utility world as well.
the members electricity at the most
“I worked for Alpha Engineering of Indiana for nine years and then
reliable price possible, and to improve
An Elwood native, Leavitt graduated
for 15 years,” Leavitt said. “In 2012, I
from Purdue University in 1997 with
began work at South Central Indiana
a degree in electrical engineering
REMC (headquartered in Martinsville,
technology. In 2003, he received
Indiana) as manager of engineering.”
his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan
On Oct. 25, 2021, Leavitt joined the
experience will help him lead CW REMC’s engineering department in a
Leavitt and his wife of 34 years,
He, his wife and daughter and two of the grandkids deliver hot meals to people on Thanksgiving. “The grandkids enjoy it the most!” Leavitt said. “It is very fun to see the girls enjoy the experience.”
More about Chuck Leavitt
He enjoys cookouts with his family.
the system,” he said.
joined Cinergy/PSI or Duke Energy
CW REMC team. He is confident his
His favorite book: “Night” by Elie Wiesel.
His life philosophy: Life is a
positive and efficient direction.
Joni, live in Lebanon and have
journey, not a destination. “To me,
“REMCs are much different than a
three children. Son Ryland, 32,
it means do not get so focused on
Duke Energy,” Leavitt noted. “I like
lives with his wife, Kelly, and
your destination that you ignore
the culture of the REMC and how we
three-year-old daughter Amelia
work together to solve problems and
in Evansville. Daughter Ashleigh
complete projects. I like how REMC
Woodard, 29, lives next door to her
keeps things real and as simple as
parents with husband Daniel and
their two daughters, Paisleigh, 6, FEBRUARY 2022
Gain a clearer perspective on windows Homeowners may grumble
simply because they do pull
this time of year that
the warmed air their way.
their windows welcome
Even a triple-pane window
the wintry chill into their
doesn’t have the insulation
house. Some may think that
value to completely stop
replacements clearly are the
answer to energy savings.
Typical windows get about
Yet it’s important to get the
IMPROVE YOUR EFFICIENCY If your home feels drafty
your home to keep you comfortable.
in the winter, you may
You can schedule an energy
benefit from the energy
audit to learn more. An
audit will include action
adage: Seal, Insulate, Equip!
items you should take
Properly air seal any gaps
to improve your home’s
an R-3 rating (the greater
full picture to make the best
or cracks in your home that
energy use. You can contact
the R-value, the greater
decision for your home.
allow treated air to escape,
your local electric co-op’s
the power to keep heat
causing your heating
energy advisor for more
THE MOVING TRUTH
where you want it). For
system to work more than
information; your co-op
comparison, an average
needed. Search low and
may even offer the audit!
insulated wall has an R-11
high: water and gas line
Get a clear idea of steps you
rating while an energy
connections going through
can take to improve your
efficient home would have
a foundation wall in a
home’s energy use and
an R-19 to R-40 rating.
crawlspace or basement
in the price of new
Of course, there may be a
are common culprits, all
windows!). Windows, even
time when your windows
the way to ductwork in
the very best, are never
need to be replaced or
the attic. Next, make sure
going to prevent as much
repaired. Here are some
that your home is properly
heat transfer as a well-built
common warning signs:
insulated to ensure that
In most circumstances, upgrading windows will not automatically rush in energy cost savings (especially when factoring
• Faulty window
The confusion arises because of how heat moves
operation • Excessive
within a house. Heat
moves to areas of lesser
heat. The natural heat movement in a house gives you the impression that the windows are leaking
• Decay and water
desired temperature. After your home is properly sealed and insulated, you can look into new equipment. You may even find that smaller equipment
damage on window
that uses less energy will
properly heat and cool
• Severe storm damage
your home can maintain a
Member Services Director Miami-Cass REMC
Indiana students who have a penchant for drawing, painting and
25th anniversary of the contest and calendar.
DEADLINE NEXT MONTH
collage have until March 18 to enter the Cooperative Calendar of Student Art contest to illustrate the 2023 wall calender. This is the
First place winners in grade divisions kindergarten through grade 12 will each receive $200. Their winning artworks will illustrate the calendar’s 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 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 2021-22 school year. A complete set of rules and required entry forms are available at indianaconnection.org/for-youth/art-contest.
MARKETPLACE Our Marketplace offers maximum exposure for your business or organization at a minimal cost. Please contact Cheryl Solomon, 847-749-4875 or cheryl@amp. coop, for other small business advertising opportunities in Indiana Connection.
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Washington County Named for our first president,
just delicious pancakes
Washington County shares the
and waffles but includes
nation’s most popular county name
with those in 30 other states.
tours of the farm.
Many stories about George Washington have been fabricated. One of the most enduring and endearing myths has to do with a cherry tree to illustrate his honesty. When he was 6 years old, the story goes, he told his father he could not tell a lie when confessing that he had
Indian maple syrupmaking demonstration and a demonstration of pioneers boiling the sap. Festivalgoers can learn about modern sap collecting, too. In addition, visitors can
new hatchet given to him as a gift,
perhaps on his Feb. 22 birthday.
chicken, pork chops,
though, it’s not cherry trees that bring Washington and Washington County to mind: it’s maple trees.
PHO TO PRO VI DED BY LM SUG ARBUSH, LLC
There’s a Woodland
damaged a prized cherry tree with a
This month and next, especially,
Pure maple syrup comes in a variety of jugs and decorative glass bottles at the LM Sugarbush farm in Washington County. The family farm hosts its annual maple syrup festival beginning Feb. 26.
pulled pork, music, over 50 craft
and food vendors as well as
NAMED FOR: U.S. President George Washington
many activities and games for young and old. The Sugarstore allows visitors to stock up on maple goodies, T-shirts, mugs,
POPULATION: 14,011 (2018 estimate)
and much more!
COUNTY SEAT: Salem
American and Hoosier heritage as in
Festivalgoers are encouraged
to dress in comfortable clothes
INDIANA COUNTY NUMBER: 88
And, honest to goodness, maple trees — or more accurately, the sap that gives us pure maple syrup — are just as much a part of Native
Due east of the county seat of Salem, is the LM Sugarbush farm, a 140-acre family-owned operation that hosts an annual Maple Syrup Festival.
pure maple syrup and other
and sturdy shoes. (Waterproof boots are recommended because the parking areas can get extremely muddy.) The busiest hours for the festival are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.,
The 2022 Festival will be held
so if you arrive then, you may
over two weekends, Feb. 26-27,
experience some waiting.
and March 5-6. Hours each day are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. This will be the 31st annual festival. Parking and admission are free.
Established as Leane and Michael’s Sugarbush in 1981, the operation shifted in 2013 and became LM Sugarbush, LLC. Maple syrup is
The festival, which draws up to
available year-round and can be
12,000 people each year, offers not
ordered online, or folks may visit the
farm to purchase maple products by appointment only. The farm hosts several open house days throughout the year as well.
FOR MORE I NFORMATI ON, CONTACT: LM Sugarbush, LLC, 321 N. Garrison Hollow Road Salem, Indiana 47167 812-967-4491 • 877-841-8851 LMSugarbush@gmail.com www.lmsugarbush.com or on Facebook
Serving sublime seasonal specialties The farm-to-table concept — which celebrates and elevates fresh, local ingredients — was foreign to Fort Wayne when Tolon Restaurant debuted in the city’s historic downtown in February 2016. But, oh, what a difference six years makes! Farm-to-table is now all the rage and Tolon is renowned in northeast Indiana for serving sublime seasonal specialties in an intimate, industrial chic setting. Husband and wife Matthew and
this version’s egg yolks get a
Nicky Nolot (“Tolon” is “Nolot”
distinctive umami flavor boost
backwards) are Tolon’s hands-
from sriracha and miso paste (and
on owners. Nicky grew up on a
bacon, chives and sesame seeds).
small family farm in north central Indiana. Matthew, who once won a national pork championship, is the restaurant’s chef.
Though Tolon’s logo specifically celebrates pork, the restaurant’s menu highlights a variety of farm-to-table meats and seafood, all artfully presented. P HO TO S P R OV ID E D B Y TOL ON R E STA U R A N T
herbed salad and grilled duck fat
it’s his protein of choice. Pork is
toast. Diners can choose from a
even celebrated in Tolon’s logo:
variety of meats, seafood, burgers
the restaurant’s name, with a fork
and noodles as their main course.
used in place of the “l,” placed in the middle of a silhouette of a pig.
not-to-be-missed combination of French fries topped with a duck
first course items. It’s accented
with pork, it’s not surprising that
potatoes. The duck fat frites are a
is another standout among the by smoked almond salsa matcha,
specialties is all about duck — and
614 S. Harrison St. Fort Wayne
Matthew calls it, “God’s butter” —
Considering Matthew’s success
However, one of Tolon’s notable
Roasted bone marrow — or as
Be sure to check out Tolon’s selection of homemade sweets, ice cream and sorbets to end your meal. Tolon also serves cocktails featuring craft spirits made in the Midwest and a selection of wines.
egg, basil aioli and smoked sea
Tolon is open for dinner
Wednesdays-Saturdays and for
Another incredible egg dish is Tolon’s tasty take on deviled eggs. Unlike the typical picnic staple,
brunch on Sunday. Check its website or Facebook account for menu selections and restaurant updates. FEBRUARY 2022
FENNEL LEMON SPAGHETTI Patricia Piekarski, Harvey, Illinois
4 T. olive oil 1 onion, sliced thin 2 heads fennel, sliced 4 garlic cloves, grated 2 t. salt 2 t. pepper 12 oz. spaghetti 2½ oz. Parmesan cheese Zest and juice of 1 lemon
F O O D P R E PA R E D B Y IN D IAN A C ON N E C TION S TA FF P HO TOS BY TAY L OR MA R A N ION
Heat oil in wide shallow pot. Add onion and fennel; cook for 5-6 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add about 5 cups cold water, salt, and pepper. Add spaghetti and bring to boil. Toss spaghetti. Boil about 10 minutes. Stir in cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice. Serve. Editor’s note: Feel free to adjust salt and pepper to taste.
food HIGHLIGHTING THE VERSATILE NOODLE
Pasta-bilities CREAM CHEESE NOODLES
Marilles Mauer, Greensburg, Indiana
2 T. butter
½ cup milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ t. salt
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened and cut into chunks
½ t. pepper 1 lb. noodles, cooked
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add cream cheese and reduce heat to low. Stir until cream cheese is about half melted. Add milk and continue to cook and stir until smooth. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in noodles.
BEEF AND NOODLES Jen Selinsky, Sellersburg, Indiana 8 cups hot water
8 beef bouillon cubes
1½-2 lbs. round steak
4 T. evaporated milk
1 cup steak sauce
½ t. baking powder
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
1-2 cups flour
1 oz. chopped onion 1 t. black pepper 1 t. salt Combine water and beef bouillon cubes. Let cubes dissolve. Bring to a boil. Place steak in an ungreased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, mix steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion, pepper, and salt. Pour over meat. Bake in a 350 F oven for 20 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Trim fat and cut into bite-sized pieces.
To prepare noodles, mix eggs, milk and baking powder in a bowl. Add flour until mixture is stiff. Roll dough on floured wax paper to 1/16-inch thickness. Cut into ½-inch strips and drop into boiling broth. Stir continually for 15 minutes or until noodles are tender. Pour the beef cubes, noodles, and broth into a slow cooker. Cook on low heat for one hour.
Editor’s Note: We used a little over 2 cups of flour in the noodles. Instead of wax paper, we rolled out the noodle dough on heavily floured parchment paper.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ELECTRICITY
Electricity turns dark into light, makes hot foods cold and cold foods hot, washes the dishes and searches the internet. It is essential to our everyday lives, so much so that we rarely think about it. But behind the scenes, interesting things are happening. Here are three interesting facts about electricity that cause even some experts to scratch and shake their heads.
ELECTRICITY MUST BE USED OR STORED AFTER IT’S GENERATED.
A rechargeable battery stores electricity — more on that later. But the kind of electricity you use in your home needs to be used after it’s generated. It’s true. Electricity produced from power plants, solar panels, wind turbines and hydro dams in the U.S. needs to be perfectly timed for when you decide to cook dinner, wash clothes or watch TV. The national grid of power generators, wires and
Electricity produced from power plants, solar panels, wind turbines and hydro dams in the U.S. needs to be perfectly timed for when you decide to cook dinner, wash clothes or watch TV.
substations are an incredibly complex network that makes electricity flow smoothly. A vast and intricate system of devices controls that power flow in a precisely balanced way. It’s one reason utility operators must be strategic when adding renewable energy to the nation’s fuel mix — a coal or natural gas plant can ramp generation up or down fairly quickly to meet changing energy demand. But solar energy and wind power depend more on the whims of Mother Nature, which adds an extra degree of difficulty to power
management. However, technology advances could be a gamechanger. Large-scale battery storage technology is rapidly improving, allowing big batteries to offer another way for electric utilities to better balance the flow and timing of electricity. Wider use of large utility-scale batteries could also make it much easier to add more
POWER OUT? BLAME A SQUIRREL.
While severe weather causes most outages, if it’s nice out and your electricity goes off, it could be caused by a squirrel.
solar and wind energy to our grid — by
We all know to play it
storing energy when it’s breezy and
safe around electricity,
sunny, then using it at night and during
but squirrels don’t.
They scamper Many power outages are caused by squirrels and other critters.
and chew around transformers, substations and utility poles where they can disrupt high-voltage
equipment, shutting down power for you and me.
HIGHWAYS COULD CHARGE ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN THE FUTURE.
occupancy-vehicle lanes for rush-hour traffic in large cities, there could be stretches of vehicle-charging lanes. Futurists expect electric trucks would be the most likely users of wireless
But it’s not just squirrels. Snakes,
If researchers have their way, electric
charging lanes. Most electric cars,
birds and other critters can find their
vehicles wouldn’t need to plug in—
after all, can charge overnight in a
way into dangerous places. There’s
they could charge while they’re being
residential garage. Wireless dynamic
no official recordkeeping of wildlife-
truck charging could keep the
caused power outages, but estimates run as high as 20%.
“Wireless dynamic charging” projects are underway around the world. The
deliveries rolling rather than having drivers sitting and drinking coffee for the several hours it could take a
Electric utilities are constantly devising
idea is similar to wireless chargers you
new ways to keep wildlife away from
can buy for your home electronics, the
dangerous electrical equipment
kind you can set near a charger rather
— the resulting power disruptions
than actually plugging in the smart
Electricity is such a basic part of our
are inconvenient for us energy
phone or other device.
everyday life, so it’s easy to forget
consumers, and always fatal for the squirrel.
Charging cars while they’re driving along the freeway is of course a lot more ambitious. But some developers
Wireless dynamic charging projects are underway around the world. Some developers predict that within five years, in addition to today’s special high-occupancy-vehicle lanes for rush-hour traffic in large cities, there could be stretches of electric vehicle charging lanes.
predict that within five years, in addition to today’s special high-
conventional plug-in to get trucks back to full power.
about it. But every now and then it’s good to think about all its benefits and mysteries. That awareness can help make sure we pay attention to safety precautions, but also, sometimes it’s good just to be amazed.
Relighting a Beacon in West Baden BY RICHARD G. BIEVER PHO TO CO URTESY O F ELI ZABETH MI TCHE LL
The salvation and revival of the West Baden Springs Hotel 15 years ago was nothing short of a miracle … as much a miracle as raising the architectural marvel in the first place.
Just as much a miracle has been another revival that is quietly nearing
Called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” when it originally opened in 1903 for its towering dome above a grand atrium, the posh hotel catered to the nation’s rich and famous in the heady days before the 1929 stock market crash. The Great Depression brought its closure as a hotel, and a half century later the Eighth Wonder was crumbling from neglect.
Mitchell, a historian and member of the Bloomington Second Baptist
completion. Though not as grandiose in design or scale but as equally “too important to lose” for many was a little single-story white clapboard church just down the street and around the corner from the famed hotel. That structure was the home of the First Baptist (Colored) Church of West Baden Springs. “It's a miracle to me that it was even there for us to restore,” said Elizabeth Church whose members volunteered to restore the landmark structure. Built in 1920, the church is the last remnant of a once vital, thriving community of African Americans in West Baden and French Lick. People of color were the bellhops, nannies, maids, porters, and waiters recruited to Springs Valley to tend to the daily needs of the wealthy guests at the two large luxurious hotels and mineral spas. Because of racial segregation, the African American community couldn’t be served in the existing white establishments in the towns. They had to have their own hotel, restaurants, barbershops, beauty salons, school, social clubs, and even churches.
And, while the church bore the
to its congregation in such a dark and
designation of “Colored” in its name,
shameful time in our nation’s past
it was open to all. “We didn’t name
awaits the hiring of a new pastor and
it that. The dominant culture put
re-dedication — by this spring, it’s
that name on it,” Mitchell added.
“That church has a legacy of helping anybody in need, regardless of the color of their skin.” With the Depression, the West Baden hotel closed and French Lick’s declined. With the loss of jobs, the Black community moved away. Membership at the church dwindled until the church was eventually shuttered. A white Baptist congregation used the building for a while in the 1980s. Then, like the grand hotel, the
“It was a beacon of light back then,” said Mitchell, “and will be a beacon of light again.”
Sanctuary and survival At the turn of the 20th century, Springs Valley was the Las Vegas of the day. Some 14 trains daily carried socialites from around the country to and from West Baden and neighboring French Lick for the advertised “medicinal”
church, too, sat empty for decades.
waters of Springs Valley spas, the
When the church was added to
and the gambling and the cavorting.
the Indiana Landmarks’ 10 Most
Pastor Dr. Bruce Rose and Elizabeth Mitchell celebrate at a special service at the First Baptist (Colored) Church of West Baden Springs as the restoration neared completion.
pamper and the pander of the resorts,
mean they left racial segregation. “During Jim Crow, there was a community within a community. Blacks
While Blacks who migrated to the
formed their own businesses because
northern states from the South at the
we had to go get our hair cut. You had
time mostly settled in industrial cities,
to have another Black person open
remote French Lick and West Baden
a shop to do that. So, you had Black
there except for this church,” Mitchell
dressmakers, tailors … all those had
said. “Everything else is gone. That’s
With their business booming, the
their own businesses.”
why it was so important to save it.”
hotels actively sought out Black
A school was established for the
To celebrate the restoration and thank
workers for the service positions. “All
children of the Black employees
the service jobs were Black people,”
in French Lick. The Hotel Waddy
said Mitchell, who was instrumental
was built and billed as “The World’s
in raising funds for the church’s
Greatest and Complete Negro Health
restoration and chronicled the project
Resort” where Black visitors stayed.
Endangered List in 2014, the Second Baptist congregation took up the yoke to save it. “Nothing is standing that indicates there were Black people
the volunteers, the donors, and the West Baden/French Lick community, two special services were held inside the church last fall. Now, the historic church that gave hope and inspiration
for a documentary. “Somebody had to get the luggage. Some served meals, cleaned the slop jars or changed beds, did the cleaning, did the spas.
P H OTO C OU R T E S Y OF TH E FR E N C H LIC K W E S T B A D E N MU S E U M
of their employment, the Black workers were intimidated by local racists, warned to leave the Valley, and threatened with their lives if they
“They came to this area
didn’t. And while the French Lick and
because the hotel jobs were
West Baden white communities and
good jobs, with good pay — at
their hotels were fierce competitors at
least for African Americans at
that time, Mitchell noted, the Blacks
the time,” she noted.
from both towns and both hotels
But just because they left the
formed a tight community for their own
South and were holding good Joe Louis, World Heavyweight Champion boxer, left, trained at West Baden, but because of racial segregation he could stay only at the Hotel Waddy.
Beyond the security of the palaces
jobs necessary for the success of the towns, she said, didn’t
preservation, their shared values and support for one another.
continued on page 22 FEBRUARY 2022
continued from page 21
for religion and culture. The church
placed on top. But the structure in
served as both spiritual and social
between was in dire straits.
While an African Methodist Episcopal
sanctuary amid a rising tide of new
Church was established in French
racial tension. At the same time, the
Lick, a Baptist congregation was
Ku Klux Klan re-emerged and became
begun in 1903 by Eliza Cornish, a
a force in Indiana riling up hatred
The old walls were bowing outward,
respected Black woman in the West
toward Blacks, Catholics, and Jews.
and siding was missing. “The animals,
Baden community. She called French Lick/West Baden, with the gambling, drinking, and prostitution, “The Devil’s Hell Hole.” “Thus, a church was sorely needed to combat the devilish activities,” Mitchell noted. The members first met informally at
After the church became vacant in the 1990s, the West Baden Historical Society and then the Town of West Baden took ownership. In the meantime, because of its ethnic heritage, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
the West Baden opera house and
They estimated restoration would take a quarter of a million dollars.
the dust, you could see the rafters where they had a fire,” Rose said. “We didn't know where we’d get the money. We didn't have the money in the Southeast District treasury to do the project.” A couple of years passed before the project got rolling because of
Restoration and revival
the daunting task ahead. But finally,
hotel, sold his workers the land for a
When the church landed on the
congregation. “We had people with
church building for $1. “Lee Sinclair
endangered landmark list, the
skills and talents. I had a carpenter
knew how important faith was to the
Southeastern District Association of
by trade in the congregation. We
Black community,” Mitchell noted. “He
the Indiana Missionary Baptist State
also had guys with masonry skills. I
wanted to make sure his workers had
Convention took note. The association
really felt like the Lord was saying we
a place to worship.”
purchased the building for $1 with the
needed to take the lead on it,” he said.
promise to restore it.
“And we just went at it.”
of the hotels and the towns, Sinclair
After surveying the church’s condition,
The Second Baptist Church in
also didn’t like his employees crossing
however, there was hesitancy — even
Bedford also came aboard providing
the tracks to attend the AME Church
among a group of faithful. Dr. Bruce
volunteers including a skilled plumber.
in French Lick. Mitchell pointed
Rose, pastor at the Second Baptist
out, though, that many in the Black
in Bloomington, noted the historical
community attended both churches.
society did what it could to stabilize
then in homes. In February 1909, Lee E. Sinclair, owner of the West Baden
In keeping with the competitiveness
Once completed in 1920, their Baptist Church became a thriving center
the building: basement walls had been reinforced; a metal roof had been
Rose said he looked at his own
On the first demolition day, Rose said 25 to 30 volunteers showed up at West Baden from the two churches. They tore out all the old drywall and took the building down to the studs. Over the course of the reconstruction, the core group of volunteers ended up being six to seven guys, all between the ages of 70 and 80, who faithfully took the hour drive down to West Baden on Wednesdays and Fridays. Through times when donations were plentiful and when they were not, through a worldwide pandemic and
A core group of six to seven volunteers from the Second Baptist Church in Bloomington worked two days a week, on and off, for over six years to complete the restoration of the West Baden church.
their own personal health issues and
then on, little bit by little, as money
age, through faith and perseverance,
came in, we did the work.”
the volunteers brought light and life back into the building.
Mitchell said the folks of West Baden and French Lick also got involved.
“We just had a really great, great
“It wasn't just outsiders that saw the
camaraderie and fellowship,” Rose
need. The community saw the need,
noted. “And then Liz (Mitchell) came
and they welcomed us. People just
aboard helping with the fundraising. It
helped out on every hand.”
was just a walk of faith.”
On hot days, local folks would bring
After they stripped the building down,
lemonade and water. Workers would
they straightened the bowed walls,
find $10 bills or notes offering to help
and rebuilt floors, doors and windows.
stuck in the church door.
The original pews were saved and refinished, and the original bell in the bell tower was restored. They were able to incorporate part of a stained-glass window which had been salvaged from a historic church torn down near Terre Haute. One of the older volunteers, Ron Williams, who had been a carpenter by profession, told Rose he had prayed the Lord would give him one more opportunity to do a major project before he died. “He also happened to be raised in French Lick. So, it was like a homecoming for him,” Rose said.
The Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble, directed by Raymond Wise, performed at the church’s reopening service in October of last year.
The West Baden Springs Hotel provided warehouse space, carpenters who helped sand down and reinforce the pews, and on occasion accommodations so the volunteers could work overnight at key times when they needed to be there, Mitchell said. “They've been really good.” Mitchell said there were trying times for sure. She recalled one afternoon when the project’s fund ran out of money. “It was down to nothing, nothing!” she said. In tears, she turned to Rose who assured her that God hadn’t taken them that far to leave
HOW YOU CAN HELP While the church is mostly
Williams became the on-site project
them short. That afternoon, he prayed
manager. But sadly, he died in the
about it at the altar. And the next day,
spring of 2019 before the completion.
someone donated $10,000.
The Second Baptist in Bloomington
“A theme that comes to me over the
would like to make a 501(c)(3)
held different fundraisers suggested
course of all these years is ‘the Lord
tax deductible contribution
by the congregation … such as “Re-
will provide,’” said Rose. “Every time
to the renewal project, please
Ring the Bell for a Dime a Day” project
we were down to the end, the Lord
make a check payable to
because most folks could afford
stepped in right on time. The Lord will
“S.E.D.” and include in the
$36.50 for the year. A “GoFundMe”
provide! And that's a fact.”
memo that it’s for the “West
“And anytime we set a date to get
Baden Renewal Project.”
page was started. Grants were acquired.
things done, it didn't happen. So,
A couple who frequently visited
it wasn't our call to make,” added
Springs Valley noticed the whole
Mitchell. “We have so many miracle
community had been refurbished —
stories like that.”
except that church. “And that was upsetting to them. That couple,” who wanted to remain anonymous Mitchell said, “gave us a jump start. And from
“It's been a labor of love,” Rose said. “I can't wait to turn the keys over and say, ‘Look what we were able to accomplish. Praise the Lord!’”
complete, some needs to be met include a baptistery pool and a sound system. If you
Mail it to: Second Baptist Church, P.O. Box 2205, Bloomington, IN 47402.
Richard G. Biever is senior editor of Indiana Connection. Additional sources for this story include WTHR, Channel 13, Indianapolis; Indiana Landmarks. FEBRUARY 2022
MAKING A SAFE ESCAPE FROM DOWNED POWER LINES If your car comes in contact with a utility pole, power lines may have fallen. If that happens, stay in the car and call for help. A fallen power line could still be energized
Hit a pole?
STAY IN THE CAR! O
n a late wintry Saturday afternoon, Nick and Blake decided to take Nick’s car to a movie — despite falling snow and parental advice to stay home. Moments later, where the county road zigged and zagged a mile past their neighborhood, Nick’s car did neither. It slid straight off and bumped into an electric cooperative utility pole. The car’s air bags exploded, but both teens were unhurt. Then, they did something that could have turned this property damage accident into a multiple fatality: they stepped out of the car. “Stay in the car, stay in the car, stay in the car!” is the mantra Indiana Electric Cooperatives wants drivers to remember. “When a power line is involved, even a minor accident can become tragic,” said John Gasstrom, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “It cannot be stressed enough that staying inside the vehicle, and warning passersby to stay away, too, is the safest route. Only after a first responder arrives on scene and says it’s OK, should you get out.” However, staying inside the vehicle may go against a driver’s first inclination. You want to get out and check the car. But stepping out of the car immediately after striking a utility pole may KILL YOU. Here’s why: •
Power lines can fall. When a pole is struck, power lines can fall, and
hardware can break loose from its insulated perches atop the pole. •
and could be energizing your car. If you step from the car, you could become electricity’s path to ground and be electrocuted. Only if the accident has caused a fire or there is another immediate threat to your safety should you
Fallen power lines can still be energized. Even touching the ground, power lines can still be carrying 7,200 volts or more. They may not spark or buzz. Fallen power lines are hard to see. Silhouetted against the sky or glistening in sunlight atop poles, power lines may seem easy to see. But when knocked down and twisted with tall grass or trees as a background, especially at night, power lines are almost impossible to see. Electricity seeks the quickest path to ground. If you get out of the car and touch a live power line and the ground, you become that path. That amount of electricity passing through you can kill you instantly. If you are alive, you are safe. It’s not easy to know if power lines have broken loose and are on your car. But if you are alive, you are not that deadly “path to ground.” If you were in that path, you’d already be dead. Call 9-1-1. After hitting a pole, call 9-1-1. Tell them you hit a pole. And wait patiently. Tell passersby to stay back. Wait till you know it’s safe before exiting.
exit the car. To be safe, here is how to you must exit:
Open the door without touching the metal of the door frame. With both feet together, hop out and away from the vehicle so no part of your body touches the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Maintain your balance.
Keeping your feet together, slowly shuffle away so that the toe of one foot moves forward along the length of the other foot. Keep both feet in constant contact and always touching the ground.
Keep shuffling 30 or more feet until you are away from the car and power line.
Be watchful for low hanging power lines or lines on the ground.
see more at goiec.org/3p3B15Y
product recalls Older portable air conditioners recalled after fire death
Electric fillet knives recalled for laceration hazard
Seven models of Royal Sovereign portable air conditioners, sold between 2008 and 2014, are being recalled. A faulty drain motor in the air conditioners can ignite the plastic enclosure of the unit, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers and risk of serious injury or death. Royal Sovereign is aware of 11 reports of the portable air conditioners catching fire or smoking during use resulting in over $1 million in property damage, two injuries and one death due to smoke inhalation. On Aug. 24, 2016, a woman died from smokerelated injuries and her two children were injured after their Royal Sovereign air conditioner caught fire.
The trigger mechanism on certain units of the American Angler Electric Fillet Knife, model number 32300, can become stuck in the “on” position, posing a laceration hazard. The firm has received 23 reports of the EFK’s trigger becoming stuck in the “on” position. No injuries have been reported. The knives were sold in orange and gray and are used as a fishing tool for filleting fish. They were sold at Walmart, Bass Pro Shops and other retailers nationwide and online from January 2019 through October 2021 for between $110 and $150.
The recalled portable air conditioners were sold online at Amazon. com and in Sears, COSTCO, Home Depot, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Best Buy stores nationwide from March 2008 through August 2014 for about $290. Contact Royal Sovereign at 833-947-3699, or online at www. Recall-PAC3012.com; or https://www.royalsovereign.com and click on “Recall Information” at the top of the page for more information on model numbers in the recall.
Contact Scott Fetzer Consumer Brands at 833-656-1147 or online at www.americananglerusa.com/efkrecall or www.americananglerusa.com and click on “EFK Recall Replacement” under “Relevant Links” for more information. As a service to our readers and to promote electrical safety, here are recent recall notices provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Visit www.cpsc.gov/en/recalls for full details of this recall and for notices of many more.
The Lincoln Pioneer Village, near downtown Rockport, lets visitors step back into a settlement of 14 log structures representing the time Abraham Lincoln lived in Indiana.
Lincoln’s Trail: Retrace the places where Lincoln grew to adulthood PHO TO CO URTESY O F THE LI NCO LN PI O NEER V I LLAG E
very grade schooler
Lincoln spent his formative
the Lincolns settled in what
log cabin and outbuildings.
knows that President
years in Indiana, growing
became northern Spencer
The farm is staffed with
Abraham Lincoln was born
from a boy to a man of
park rangers in period
in Kentucky — on Feb.
21. Here, he grew into his
12, 1809. And, he lived
6-foot-4 adult frame. Here
in Illinois as a lawyer and
he developed his intellect,
a lawmaker before being
his love of knowledge,
elected president in 1860.
his compassion and
But he did more than just
empathy for others, and his
pass through Indiana on his
melancholia after the deaths
way, as was said upon his
of his mother and sister.
The facade of the visitors center includes five large relief sculptures depicting the four places President
clothing who demonstrate the activities that were a common part of the Lincoln family’s daily life.
Lincoln called home during
Located on the farm is
his lifetime: Kentucky, 1809-
the Lincoln Cabin Site
1816; Indiana, 1816-1830;
Memorial. It consists of a
Illinois, 1830-1861; and
bronze casting of cabin
This year, plan a trip along
Washington, D.C., 1861-
sill logs and fireplace of
the Lincoln Trail in southern
1865. The fifth relief marks
an excavated cabin the
Lincoln was only 7 years
Indiana to walk in the
his place among the ages.
Lincolns had started in 1829
old when his family moved
barefoot prints of one of our
The visitor center also
but left unfinished before
north across the Ohio River
nation’s greatest presidents
includes a small museum,
moving onto Illinois.
within days of Indiana’s
— who grew up a Hoosier.
theater, gift shop, meeting
death, to belonging “to the ages.”
statehood in December 1816. They came to the harsh unsettled Hoosier wilderness for a new start,
LINCOLN BOYHOOD NATIONAL
and the farm is a Pioneer
Beyond the center is the
Cemetery where Lincoln’s
Lincoln City, Indiana
Living Historical Farm that
mother, Nancy Hanks
operates from April through
Lincoln, who died at age 34
September. While no original
in 1818, is buried.
The most well-known of
property lines, common
Indiana’s Lincoln sites, the
in Kentucky, and the taint
Lincoln Boyhood National
of slavery. Here, Abraham
Memorial and Living
Lincoln lived for what would
Historical Farm, sits on
be a quarter of his life.
200 acres of land where
Between the visitors center
away from disputes over
hall and chapel.
structures from Lincoln’s time remain, the farmstead replicates a typical 1820s frontier farm and includes a
On Feb. 6, the site will host its annual “Lincoln Day.” The program will include a special speaker, music,
and a wreath laying at the grave of
the Jones store where he worked
Nancy Hanks Lincoln. The event
are among the buildings.
starts at 2 p.m. (CT) and is held outdoors; please dress accordingly. It may be canceled or postponed if it is raining or snowing. LINCOLN STATE PARK Lincoln City, Indiana
The museum on the grounds houses hundreds of artifacts from the area’s historic past, including a hutch made by Lincoln and his father.
travel Other Lincoln sites LINCOLN FERRY PARK near Troy, Indiana
The Village, built in 1935 by the
Historians say this picnic area where
Across Ind. 162 from the national
Works Progress Administration,
the Anderson River flows into the Ohio
memorial is a 1,747-acre park
was designed by a local artist/
is where the Lincoln family ferried into
established in 1932 as a memorial
sculptor, George Honig, to bring
Indiana in December 1816. At this same
to Lincoln’s mother. The Little
Lincoln’s life on the Indiana frontier
spot some nine years later, a 16-year-
Pigeon Creek Baptist Church and
to life. It was among the many
old Lincoln was hired to operate a ferry
Cemetery, located within the park,
efforts that began in earnest in the
across the Anderson. It is where he also
is where Lincoln’s sister is buried.
1920s and 1930s to commemorate
ferried passengers out to meet passing
Sarah Lincoln Grigsby died in 1828
Lincoln’s years as a Hoosier.
steamboats in the middle of the Ohio.
“We believe most of the cabins
were dismantled and brought
during childbirth. Sarah (called Sallie by her brother) was buried with her child in her arms.
here,” notes Nancy Kaiser, the
Many other Little Pigeon Creek
Village director. “However, one
community sites important in
of the cabins original to Rockport
Lincoln’s youth are within the park
is where the first court of law
was performed since Rockport
LINCOLN PIONEER VILLAGE AND MUSEUM Rockport, Indiana
is the county seat. All cabins are furnished showing how life was back in the day with no electric,
The Lincoln Pioneer Village and
minimal furnishings, and the bare
Museum consists of 14 log cabins
necessities they had.”
and structures replicating those significant to Lincoln’s time in Indiana. Lincoln’s home place, the church the family attended, the law office he walked 19 miles to, and
The Village was used in 1954 as a set for the movie “The Kentuckian” which was directed by and starred Burt Lancaster.
This marker on the Rockport riverfront shows the spot where Lincoln and Allen Gentry launched a flatboat in 1828 to deliver goods to New Orleans. It was on this trip that 19-year-old Lincoln first saw a slave auction which strengthened his resolve to work against slavery. COLONEL WILLIAM JONES HOME Gentryville, Indiana The home, a restored Federal-style residence built in 1834, is a state historic site open for public tours. As a young man, Lincoln worked odd jobs for Col. William Jones, a local merchant. In 1844, visiting his boyhood home while campaigning for presidential candidate Henry Clay, Lincoln stayed overnight at the home. Jones also had been an Indiana lawmaker. When the Civil War began, despite being in his 60s, Jones volunteered for an Indiana regiment and was killed in the battle of Atlanta in 1864. The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Living Historical Farm (left) includes a recreated farmstead and cabin on the actual land where Lincoln grew from ages 7 to 21. While the Boyhood Memorial is open year-round, the historical farm is in operation only from mid-spring to early fall. PHO TO CO URTESY O F LI NCO LN BO YHO O D NATI O NAL M EM O RI AL
THE CO-OP FAMILY When Brittany Sams was hired as an accountant at LaGrange County REMC, her college degrees and experience prepared her for accounting and business, of course. But no education or previous experience prepared her for the not-for-profit business model and the many accounting differences that come with a consumer-owned utility. The plan was for her to be transitioned in and mentored by the REMC’s retiring finance manager. However, the finance manager’s retirement came the week before Sams started. That’s when Sams fortunately experienced another cooperative concept for which she was unprepared: the cooperative principle of “cooperation among cooperatives.” The steep and bumpy learning curve she faced alone was smoothed by accountants from other Indiana REMCs, near and far, who offered her advice and mentored her. “It was very unusual,” she recalled. “I couldn’t believe another company was willing to help. People were so helpful and open: ‘This is how we do it.’; ‘This
2013 hired Staff Accountant
Brittany Sams discovered that the co-op culture was all about helping others through events like the REMC's Community Day and other volunteer opportunities in the community.
is who we use.’ It’s just something you don’t see every day. Most keep that kind of information a secrect; you don’t share it with other companies.” “It was eye-opening. It’s an amazing culture. Cooperatives all over the state are willing to help each other. You don’t even realize this network exists until you’re a part of it.” Sams quickly moved from staff accountant into a more strategic role as manager of finance and administration and also handled human resources. Today, just over eight years down the road from when she started at the REMC, she is the REMC’s manager of marketing and strategy. The new role, which she’s been in for just over a year, includes working with the long-term strategic development with both the original electrical portion of the cooperative and its new broadband division.
Manager, Marketing and Strategy LaGrange County REMC
From her own experiences when she was the new kid on the cooperative block, she now works closely, too, with succession planning within the REMC. And, she strives to help other employees develop their leadership skills and grow from within the local REMC and through that broad statewide network that came to her aid. “People say the cooperative culture is all one big family,” she noted, and she agrees with that. “That’s because the cooperative truly tries to do the right thing. We want to do the right thing for our community and consumers, make good decisions on their behalf, and run the cooperative in a positive way.”
INTERESTED IN AN ELECTRIC CO-OP CAREER? Visit WePowerIndiana.org to learn about available careers or tell us about yourself.
Manager, Finance and Administration
Manager, Marketing and Strategy
ASSUME ALL ICE IS THIN ICE Indiana ice fishermen watched the last days of 2021 go by with springlike temperatures and not a sign of fishable ice. January edged in at first with similar warmth but finally dropped into ice-forming temperatures. Ice fishermen have become impatient waiting for “first ice” and the chance for ice fishing. Day-to-day up and down temperatures have brought frustration for anglers waiting for some safe, fishable “hard water.” Fishermen are not the only ones waiting for safe ice. There will be others out; and it’s important to keep a watchful eye for other people who may venture out on neighborhood retention ponds, lakes and other waterways and find themselves in trouble. Every winter, thousands of Hoosiers safely enjoy fishing, skating, hiking, or just sliding around on frozen ponds and lakes. However, every year people drown after falling through ice. Don’t let this happen to you or yours. When thinking about getting on the ice, put safety first. Believe all ice is thin ice unless proven otherwise. Here are a few tips to remember when considering standing on or walking on a frozen body of water: • No ice without testing and confirmation is safe ice. • Do not go alone. • Test the thickness of the ice
with an ice auger. At least 4 inches of ice is recommended for ice fishing; and 5 inches is recommended for snowmobiling. • If you don’t know the thickness of the ice don’t go out on it. • Wear a life jacket or flotation coat. • Carry ice hooks and rope gear. • Before going on the ice, leave a note of your whereabouts with a friend or family member. • Never attempt to test the thickness of the ice while alone. Wearing a life jacket is especially important when on ice. If you fall through, a life jacket will keep your head above the water until help arrives. Remember a new coating of snow, while perhaps beautiful, can make for treacherous ice conditions. Snow can serve as insulation, causing water to freeze at a slower rate. When snow and rain freeze into ice, it is not as strong as solid, clear ice. Another potentially dangerous situation is when you encounter a pet or other animal in distress on the ice. If this should occur, do not go after the animal. Instead, contact local emergency response personnel such as the fire department, who are equipped to make a rescue.
A few more tips: • Some bodies of water can appear to be frozen solid but have thin ice in several potentially unexpected areas. • Flowing water, such as rivers and streams, should be avoided when covered by a layer of ice. • Similarly, water surrounded by sand may freeze with inconsistencies in the thickness of the ice. • Underground springs, wind, waterfowl, and other animals can also keep areas of ice thin. Dress for the cold, and enjoy the winter weather, but make safety a priority. till next time,
JACK SPAULDING is a syndicated state outdoors writer and a member of RushShelby Energy. Readers can contact the author by writing to this publication, or by email to jackspaulding@hughes. net. Spaulding’s books, “The Best Of Spaulding Outdoors” and “The Coon Hunter And The Kid,” are available from Amazon.com as paperbacks or Kindle downloads.
Wabash Valley Power news CLOSED LOOP GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP SYSTEM
Get (more) green to go green! It now pays more than
temperatures to help cool
A $1,000 Power Moves
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ever – literally – to
and heat your home.
rebate is available for
installing a geothermal
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systems. A $250 Power
the best time to explore
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available for upgrading
should seek experienced
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heat pump with a newer,
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more efficient geothermal
your available options.
heat pump. You also
You also can contact your
can check with your
energy advisor at your
tax professional about
local electric co-op, who
possible tax credits for
can provide guidance on
installing a geothermal
your first steps.
consider installing a closed loop geothermal system to heat and cool your home.
While Hoosiers endure frigid winters and blistering summer heat above ground,
The Power Moves®
rebate for closed loop
geothermal systems has
remains pretty stable
increased to $2,000 for
year-round. A closed loop
2022. The rebate is for
geothermal heat pump
closed loop geothermal
takes advantage of that
heat pumps installed in
stability by exchanging
new homes or in existing
heat within the ground
homes without an
and your home. That
existing geothermal heat
requires much less
Geothermal heat pumps are more efficient than traditional heating and cooling systems by tapping into the earth’s naturally moderate
electricity to maintain comfortable temperatures indoors in extreme temperatures compared to other types of heating and cooling systems.
More information about the geothermal Power Moves rebates available can be found at PowerMoves.com/geothermal. Additional information about closed loop geothermal systems can be found at energystar.gov.