Southeastern IN REMC — July 2022 Indiana Connection

Page 1

Consumers will no longer pay utility receipts tax.

Southeastern IN REMC’s


JULY 2022

from the editor

Your email sign-off I can’t even tell you how many emails I send in a day. Nor can I tell you exactly what I’ve written in each correspondence. I probably spend just a few seconds composing most of them, clicking on “Send” quickly before tackling the next of many messages in my inbox. In most cases, I don’t bother with a formal sign-off like “Yours truly” or “Sincerely” or “All the best.” I’ve always thought those complimentary closes should be relegated to physical, pen-to-paper correspondence — not electronic messages. But apparently, some Gen Z’ers (those born between 1997 and 2012) are getting in the last word — or actually the last laugh — in their emails. According to a recent viral TikTok video and its 11,500 comments, this youngest workforce generation often ends its business emails with phrases like “Stay fabulous,” “Laterz,” “Hehe bye,” “That’s all,” “Mic drop,” “Umm yeah,” “Allllrighty then,” and “See yas later.” Notice I said business emails. I wonder how they sign off on their personal emails? Anyway, although I would never close a business email with “See yas later” or “Hehe bye” (nor would I expect my employer would want me to!), I do appreciate the easy, breezy, fun tone of these sign-offs — in appropriate instances. They’re like extensions of your personality and another way for your email recipient to get to know you and gauge your mood without having face-to-face contact. Perhaps, your tongue-in-check closing might even brighten your recipient’s day. Maybe I should adopt a sign-off. I’m leaning toward “Toodles,” “Going, going, gone,” “Happy trails to you,” and “You got this.” Or perhaps just a simple “Th-Th-Th-That’s all, folks!”


On the menu: October issue: Recipes using beer, deadline Aug.

1. November issue: Recipes prepared in a slow cooker, deadline Sept. 1. If we publish your recipe on our food pages, we’ll send you a $10 gift card.

Three ways to contact us: To send us recipes, photos, event listings, letters and entries for gift drawings, please use the forms on our website; email; or send to Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606.

VOLUME 72 • NUMBER 1 ISSN 0745-4651 • USPS 262-340 Published monthly by Indiana Electric Cooperatives Indiana Connection is for and about members of Indiana’s locally-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. It helps consumers use electricity safely and efficiently; understand energy issues; connect with their co-op; and celebrate life in Indiana. Over 304,000 residents and businesses receive the magazine as part of their electric co-op membership. Member’s cost per issue is approximately 32 cents, plus postage. CONTACT US: 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600 Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606 317-487-2220 INDIANA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OFFICERS: Randy Kleaving President Steve McMichael Vice President Dr. Richard Leeper Secretary/Treasurer Tom VanParis Interim CEO EDITORIAL STAFF: Emily Schilling Editor Richard George Biever Senior Editor Holly Huffman Communication Support Specialist Ellie Schuler Senior Digital and Layout Design Specialist Lauren Carman Communication Manager Kiley Lipps Graphic Designer Amber Knight Creative Manager Mandy Barth Vice President of Communication ADVERTISING: American MainStreet Publications Cheryl Solomon, local ad representative; 512-441-5200; Crosshair Media 502-216-8537; Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication. UNSOLICITED MATERIAL: Indiana Connection does not use unsolicited freelance manuscripts or photographs and assumes no responsibility for the safe‑keeping or return of unsolicited material. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $12 for individuals not subscribing through participating REMCs/RECs. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: If you receive Indiana Connection through your electric co-op membership, report address changes to your local co-op. POSTAGE: Periodicals postage paid at Indianapolis, Indiana, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to: Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606. Include key number.

No portion of Indiana Connection may be reproduced without permission of the editor.

JULY 2022







Indiana eats



05 CO-OP NEWS Energy news and information from your electric cooperative.

14 COUNTY OF THE MONTH Spotlighting Franklin County.

10 ENERGY Save dollars, make sense with heat pump retrofit.

15 INDIANA EATS Out-of-the-way café in Bean Blossom.



cover story 16 FOOD Fresh from the garden to the table. 18 SAFETY Ground-mounted utility boxes are not reading nooks. 20 COVER STORY


24 H OOSIER ENERGY/ WABASH VALLEY NEWS 25 RECALLS (Not in all editions.) 26 PROFILE Brent Buckles takes it to the limit in bike challenge. (Not in all editions.)

Water parks’ cool, clean fun.


Indiana Connection

On the cover A family swooshes through Cheetah Chase, the world’s first “launched” water coaster, at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari theme park in Santa Claus. The newest ride at the biggest of Indiana’s water parks was added in 2020 and propels riders at up to 20 mph through its chutes and tubes. PHOTO PROVIDED BY HOLIDAY WORLD & SPLASHIN’ SAFARI


JULY 2022

co-op news

CONSUMERS WILL NO LONGER PAY CONTACT US 812-689-4111 800-737-4111 Fax: 812-689-6987 EMAIL OFFICE HOURS 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday STREET ADDRESS 712 South Buckeye Street Osgood, IN 47037 MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 196 Osgood, IN 47037 SERVICE INTERRUPTIONS To report a power outage: 800-737-4111 or SmartHub BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mike Thieman (District 6), President Melissa Menchhofer (District 5), Vice President Jesse McClure (District 4), Secretary Vince Moster (District 1), Treasurer Brad Bentle (District 2) David Smith (District 3) Darrell Smith (District 7) Bonnie Boggs (District 8) Casey Menchhofer (District 9)

Utility Receipts Tax Beginning July 1, Hoosiers will no longer have to pay the utility receipts tax, a state-mandated tax on the sale of utility services. The elimination of this state tax was made possible through the efforts of Indiana’s electric cooperatives advocating for their consumers and negotiating with the Indiana General Assembly to repeal this tax, ultimately saving money for each and every electric cooperative consumer across Indiana.

“Southeastern Indiana REMC works hard for you, our consumer-members, in our community and at the Indiana Statehouse,” said Bryan K. Mathews, general manager at Southeastern Indiana REMC. “As the landscape continues to evolve, we want to ensure our consumers always have access to safe, reliable and affordable energy — now and for years to come.” Members will see this tax shown as a credit on the August bill for July energy use. This will be shown as a line item. There is no action consumers need to take.

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

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

Southeastern Indiana REMC actively engages with the Indiana General Assembly to build relationships with legislators, share the impact electric cooperatives have on the state and advocate for our consumer-members like you.

JULY 2022


co-op news

ECONOMIC DISRUPTIONS AND RISING ELECTRICITY COSTS BY BRYAN K. MATHEWS AND DONNA WALKER Record high inflation, supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine are having a dramatic impact on our costs to supply electricity. Specifically, natural gas, coal and power costs represent 35-40% of Southeastern Indiana REMC’s annual operating costs. In less than a year, these costs have increased 150% and are continuing to rise. This is a result of global supply and demand. Even here in Indiana we are impacted by the global economy, including the demand for U.S. coal in China and U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG) in Europe. This demand has been the largest driver of these cost increases. The tight labor market and disruptions to global supply chains are also creating challenges with getting skilled people and materials we need to operate and maintain the system. Southeastern Indiana REMC and Hoosier Energy are both non-profit organizations owned by those we serve, including you. Hoosier Energy generates and transmits electric power, and Southeastern Indiana REMC distributes the power to homes, farms and businesses.

Both of our cooperatives have reviewed plans and budgets and have taken action to postpone projects and reduce costs while not jeopardizing reliability of the system. The global nature of these challenges makes it difficult to know exactly how long prices may remain elevated. However, we expect the challenging environment to continue into the foreseeable future, possibly the next few years. Please know we will continue to do everything we can to minimize the impact to you. You can help minimize that impact by taking action to reduce electricity consumption. Turn off lights. Adjust your thermostat a little higher this summer. Consider a smart thermostat if you don’t already have one. Southeastern Indiana REMC also has several programs to help you optimize your energy consumption. Please call or visit our website to learn more about these programs. Bryan K. Mathews is general manager of Southeastern Indiana REMC. Donna Walker is president and CEO of Hoosier Energy.



JULY 2022

co-op news

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS INCREASED COSTS & RATES IMPACT WHAT HAPPENED? Beginning last fall, global energy costs have risen dramatically due to inflation, supply chain issues created by the pandemic, and most recently, the war in Ukraine. This resulted in the most volatile period the energy industry has experienced in 20 years.

WHO IS TO BLAME? There is no single group or person to blame. This is a result of global supply and demand which are being significantly impacted by the war in Ukraine.

WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING? Southeastern Indiana REMC and Hoosier Energy are both non-profit organizations owned by those we serve, including you. Natural gas producers and suppliers are benefitting from the higher prices due to increased demand and limited global supply. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission oversees natural gas and power markets prices.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO CUT COSTS? We have reviewed our plans and budgets and are postponing projects and expenses that can be put on hold without negatively impacting reliability.

HOW LONG WILL THIS LAST? It’s impossible to predict how long this will last, but we expect the volatility and increased costs to continue for the foreseeable future, possibly the next few years.

WHY WERE YOU NOT PREPARED FOR THIS? We have always prepared for volatility, but no one could accurately predict the impact of the war in Ukraine or the sudden global demand for coal and natural gas.

WHAT CAN I DO TO REDUCE MY BILL? Turn off lights. Adjust your thermostat a little higher this summer. Consider a smart thermostat if you don’t already have one. We also have several programs to help you optimize your energy consumption.

JULY 2022


co-op news


FOR MINI-SPLIT HEAT PUMPS Southeastern Indiana REMC offers a rebate for single room or whole home installations.

Requirements • •

Rebated equipment must be installed in primary residence. Single room installations must be: - Located and serviced by member​ - Occupied/used year-round (seasonal occupancy does not qualify) Submission must be within 90 days of installation date.

• •

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

SEER ≥ 19, EER ≥ 12.5 Variable/multi-speed compressor required unless noted otherwise.

All members must complete the Mini-Split Heat Pump Rebate application, provide proof of purchase and a copy of the equipment's AHRI (Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute) certificate to receive a rebate. Limit of two rebates per member household per life of the rebated equipment.

For more information and the full list of requirements, visit


JULY 2022



Save dollars, make sense with a retrofit In search of a lower energy bill, a cleaner environment or just a more comfortable temperature in your home? Odds are a heat pump retrofit will deliver all three and more. What is a retrofit, you ask? A retrofit integrates new components in your current HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system to improve its efficiency. That way, you won’t need to replace your entire HVAC system. In this case, we’re talking about installing an electric heat pump to replace fossil-fuel burning systems, such as propane, oil or even natural gas. According to Energy information Administration data from 2015, about 46% of the housing units (53.8


JULY 2022

million) in the United States have forced-air systems which use fossil fuels as their primary heat source. By converting the accompanying furnaces to heat pump air handlers, homeowners can save money two ways: • They don’t have to replace the full system. • They can save energy and lower their monthly energy bills. There are a few keys to a successful retrofit, however.

First, be sure to correctly calculate the size of your heat pump. If you underestimate the amount of heating and cooling needed, the equipment won’t be able to maintain comfortable temperatures, especially under extreme


conditions. It will also increase the workload and eliminate some of those efficiency savings. More common is oversizing the equipment. Not only does larger equipment cost more (and who wants to spend more money than necessary?), but oversized units will cycle on and off more often. That also leads to a loss in efficiency, not to mention additional wear and tear on the equipment. And with air conditioning, a short cycle fails to dehumidify the house sufficiently.

as well as potential environmental harm.

Finally, be sure you know how to use your new system to achieve the maximum benefits in both comfort and savings. The temperature setting is critical. Knowing how the system works and how to turn it on and off is also vital. With all of that in mind, a heat pump retrofit — done correctly — could save you plenty of dollars and make a lot of sense.

Second, retrofit projects must be done by trained technicians. Electrical work, if not done correctly, can result in shock or fire, while failed refrigerant connections could result in leaks and/ or equipment failure,


Shane Neher

Energy Advisor JCREMC



JUST A DOWNLOAD AWAY Avid gardeners know there’s always something to do in their quest to keep yards and gardens — and indoor plants — healthy and looking their best. To ensure your green thumb remains green, Indiana Connection’s gardening columnist B. Rosie Lerner, through Purdue University Extension, has compiled a Month-by-Month Gardening To-Do List. The checklist includes timely tips to help you care for your indoor plants, lawns, trees, flowers, vegetables and fruits every month of the year. To download a FREE copy of the to-do list, visit gardening-list.

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

ipshewan Sh e s t. 1 9 2 2

Auction & Flea Market

SHIPSHEWANA FLEA MARKET OPEN NOW THROUGH SEPTEMBER 28 Midwest’s Largest Flea Market Every Tuesday & Wednesday 8 am – 4 pm; Rain or Shine Weekly Antique Auction Every Wednesday, Year-Round


JULY 2022

Suicide prevention hotline goes operational on July 16 Every 11 minutes, someone dies by suicide. Starting on July 16, those contemplating suicide can call “988” for help. The new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number for mental health crises is similar to the 911 number for medical emergencies. Because callers only have to remember three digits, the Federal Communications Commission notes it will be easier for Americans in crisis to get the help they need. Though the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been around since 2005, previously callers had to phone a 10-digit number (1-800273-8255) to reach a network of trained crisis counselors. Callers

to the new hotline number will be redirected to the 800 number. Since 2008, suicide has been ranked as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, it is also the 10th overall leading cause of death in Indiana. Congress passed the bill which designated 988 as the national suicide hotline number in September 2020. Then-President Donald Trump signed it into law in October 2020. Two years earlier, Trump signed the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act into law. It had directed the FCC to study the use of a three-digit number for the hotline.


county feature

Franklin County Recreation and the celebration of history and culture make Franklin County in southeastern Indiana come alive. County seat Brookville sits at the southern edge of Brookville Lake. Brookville’s earthen dam was constructed in 1974 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers and impounds the East Fork of the Whitewater River for flood control and storm water management. The lake extends north into Union County. The reservoir area, which includes the Mounds State Recreation Area, provides boating, camping, golf, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, and fishing. To the west of Brookville is Metamora, once a stop along the Whitewater Canal, that now celebrates that heritage primarily as a tourist town. The canal was built in the 1830s and ran 76 miles from Lawrenceburg on the Ohio River to Hagerstown near the West Fork of the White River, opening the Whitewater River valley for commerce and industry. New communities, like Metamora, were platted right along the canal. That provided access to markets for agricultural products and supplied hydraulic power for mills and factories that made flour, lumber, paper, and more. Eventually a railroad was built on the canal’s towpath, creating an even more efficient transportation corridor. The canal’s water flow continued to provide power for the mills. In Metamora, visitors can experience what it was like in the 1800s. A horsedrawn canal boat, operating gristmill and Whitewater Valley Railroad are the main attractions. Along with all the historical features and attractions in Metamora, visitors will find also find


JULY 2022

gift, craft and antique shops, eateries and lodging to round out a visit.

Oldenburg isn’t called the “Village of Spires” for no reason.

The Whitewater Valley Railroad includes the “Metamora Local,” which travels on a two-mile scenic excursion along the restored canal, past the canal boat dock, a working aqueduct, and a restored lock. The ride lasts approximately 30 minutes. The “Valley Flyer” train to Metamora departs from the Connersville depot and offers a two-hour layover in Metamora for shopping, eating, and sightseeing before returning to Connersville. The Whitewater Valley Railroad operates other special events throughout the year. In the southwestern corner of Franklin County, the beautiful town of Oldenburg takes visitors not just back to another century but to another continent. The Old World charm of the town, first settled in 1817 by Catholic German immigrants from Cincinnati, is unmistakable. Oldenburg is called the “Village of Spires,” because of its churches and religious educational institutions. The town was platted in 1837. A German priest, Father Francis Joseph Rudolf, arrived in 1844 and helped develop the town for religious purposes. Soon after his arrival, he encouraged many nuns, among them, Sister Teresa Hackelmeier, to migrate to the small town and educate the children of the German immigrants. In 1851, Sister Hackelmeier established the Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenburg. From there, Oldenburg has continued to develop its rich Catholic and German roots that are still prevalent today.

County Facts FOUNDED: 1811 NAMED FOR: Benjamin Franklin POPULATION: 22,750 COUNTY SEAT: Brookville INDIANA COUNTY NUMBER: 24

Today, Oldenburg is a quaint town with a population of over 600. It is home to a diverse array of accredited institutions, including Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception and the Sisters of Saint Francis. Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception is a Franciscan Catholic co-educational college preparatory high school committed to academic excellence, social responsibility, leadership and personal and spiritual growth. The academy has seen several major changes in the past couple of decades, including the end of its resident program in 1999. In the fall of 2000, the school welcomed young men for the first time in its history. Steeped in rich German culture, Oldenburg prides itself on its authentic German food, architecture, and its hospitality. That hospitality and German heritage will be celebrated July 15-16 with the return of the annual Freudenfest, which means “Fun Day.” It is known as “The biggest little German festival in Indiana.”


Indiana eats

OUT-OF-THE-WAY The Farmhouse Café and Tea Room is located off the beaten path out in the country, three miles from Bean Blossom and five miles from downtown Nashville, Indiana. That outof-the-way location is just one reason you should visit this quaint southern Indiana eatery. A trip to the cafe is like traveling through time back to the Indiana of the 1800s. Not only is the vibe of the antique-filled dining area cozy and country, the menu features comfort food at

its finest. And the outdoor patio is the perfect spot to enjoy it. Sandwiches, including the big-as-a-plate tenderloin on a buttered brioche bun; a variety of tempting salads; and homemade soup round out the lunch menu. Standouts include Brown County’s Best BLT which elevates a traditional sandwich to a new level with a tasty handmade sun-dried tomato herbal mayo aioli. The Chicken Papaya Salad and Avocado and Smoked Fish Salad are as Instagram-worthy as they are delicious with their bright colors and flavors. Sully’s Blackbean Burger features a made in-house patty that perfectly blends

bean with heat. Just like the Blackbean Burger, the local-sourced Double Bison Burger gets a punch of flavor thanks to its achiote ranch sauce topping. The House Chicken Velvet Soup is served daily, along with two other soup options. At dinnertime (ThursdaysSaturdays) don’t miss the Oh-So-Good BBQ Ribs, dry-rubbed and basted with “Brown County Backwoods” barbecue sauce. The ribs are fall off the bone tender. The crowd favorite dessert is the carrot cake, and the cobblers and pies are all made with seasonal fruits. Though Iced Sassafras Tea is a real treat for those

used to typical black tea brews, anyone who visits Farmhouse Café must try the house specialty beverage, Herb Barn Lemonade. It’s a refreshing though unusual blend of frozen lemonade, ginger ale and milk. The brick building housing the café was formerly an Underground Railroad safe house and is just steps away from the Flower and Herb Barn nursery. Browse the nursery’s herbs, perennials, native flowers and grasses, garden art and antiques to cap off your day. Check Farmhouse Café’s Facebook page for current hours and specials.

FARMHOUSE CAFÉ AND TEA ROOM 5171 Bean Blossom Road, Ninevah


Farmhouse Café and Tea Room’s Double Bison Burger may just be the best in Brown County. The sandwich is piled high with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onion. It gets an extra flavor boost from the café’s achiote ranch sauce.

Bring on the flavor! The star attraction in the Avocado and Smoked Fish Salad is the smoked salmon, which is seasoned with cilantro, mustard seed and other spices.

The Chicken Papaya Salad is a perfect summertime lunch choice. Drizzle the sublime combo of papaya, avocado, chicken breast and mixed baby lettuce leaves with honey mango vinaigrette and enjoy! JULY 2022



Nature’s bounty FRESH FROM THE GARDEN TO THE TABLE SESAME GINGER CUCUMBER SALAD 2 T. rice vinegar 4 t. soy sauce 1 T. olive oil 2 t. minced fresh gingerroot 2 t. sesame oil 1 t. honey ¼ t. Sriracha chili sauce 2 English cucumbers 1 t. sesame seeds, toasted

For dressing, mix first seven ingredients. Trim ends and cut cucumbers crosswise into three inch sections. Cut sections into julienne strips. To serve, toss cucumbers with sesame seeds and dressing. Sprinkle with green onions.


MEXICAN STREET CORN SALAD Marilles Mauer Greensburg, Indiana 4 ears sweet corn

½ t. seasoned salt 1 avocado, pitted and diced 1½ cups shredded four-cheese Mexican cheese blend

2 T. melted butter

¼ cup diced red bell pepper

1 t. chipotle chili powder

¼ cup diced red onion

½ cup mayonnaise

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 T. lime juice 1 T. finely chopped cilantro


JULY 2022

½ t. kosher salt

Lime juice to garnish, optional Preheat grill. Brush ears of corn with melted butter. Sprinkle each with chili powder. Grill corn over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until lightly charred, rotating corn as it cooks. Remove. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, lime juice, cilantro and seasoned salt. Stir in cheese. Cut corn off cobs

with a sharp knife and transfer corn to the bowl with mayonnaise mixture. Stir to combine. In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Spoon grilled corn salad into a bowl and top with avocado mixture. Sprinkle with a little lime juice if desired. Serve.

food SKILLET BRUSCHETTA CHICKEN 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts 1 cup + 2 T. Italian dressing, divided About 1 lb. tomatoes, chopped (about 1½ cups chopped) 3 T. chopped basil leaves 2 whole garlic cloves, minced Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 T. olive oil 2 large zucchini, spiralized into noodles* Marinate the chicken in advance: Place chicken breasts into a large zipper bag or shallow plastic container. Pour 1 cup of dressing on top and make sure it covers every inch of chicken. Seal up and refrigerate for 2 – 24 hours (at least 8 hours for the best flavor). Make the bruschetta topping in advance: Combine the chopped tomatoes, basil leaves, minced garlic, and 2 T. remaining Italian dressing. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 – 24 hours. In a large skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 15 minutes, turning once. You want the chicken nice and browned on the outside while fully cooked inside. Remove the chicken from the skillet; do not clean out skillet. Add 1 T. olive oil to the skillet, followed by the zucchini noodles and ¾ cup of the bruschetta topping. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. The noodles will cook down, absorbing all the flavor. Remove from heat and place chicken on top of the noodles. If using a serving dish, place noodles on first and top with chicken. Evenly top each chicken breast with remaining bruschetta mixture. Serve immediately. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. Cook’s note: If you do not have a spiralizer, just cut the zucchini into super thin strips instead. Or use 1 pound angel hair pasta. If using regular pasta, you’ll want to cook it before using. Try tossing the cooked pasta with a scant ½ cup tomato sauce before adding to the skillet to give it more flavor. The zucchini noodles pick up a lot of flavor from the pan, but the regular pasta won’t.

JULY 2022




GROUND-MOUNTED TRANSFORMERS MAY SEEM LIKE SOMETHING ELSE KIDS CAN PL AY ON IN THE YARD, BUT THEY ARE NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR BURIED POWER LINES AND SHOULDN’T BE PL AYED ON OR TAMPERED WITH. In almost every suburban neighborhood one can find one of those green boxes that are usually situated near the street between every other house. While it may seem like a well-positioned gathering place for kids, just the right height for sitting, it is no bench for the school bus stop. Nor is it a desk for last minute homework, a base for a game of kickball in the street, or a launching pad for acrobats tumbling in the grass. These pad-mount transformers are part of the electrical system for the buried power lines bringing electricity to each home.


JULY 2022

“The pad-mount transformers are the same as the transformers you see on utility poles. The only difference is they’re mounted on the ground because the wires are underground,” said Jon Elkins, vice president of safety, training and compliance at Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “They’re designed to be safer, with a locked metal case around the transformer and conduit around the wires, but they’re still an electrical transformer. Just inside each box is 7,200 volts of electricity.” Transformers lower high voltage from the distribution lines to standard 120/240 household current used to power electronics, appliances and lighting. Overhead systems are easy to see: the straight bare wires mounted tightly to a pole or crossarm are the distribution lines. Wires from the distribution line connect to the transformer, and the lower voltage from the transformer flows along the service line from the pole to each home. Underground, the system is the same with the encased distribution lines buried usually along the street or sidewalk

and the service lines usually wired off from the pad-mount transformer to two homes. While ground transformers may have that outer casing around them, they lack the innate security of distance pole-top transformers and overhead power lines have. Their safety can be compromised by carelessness or by accident. “When they’re hit by vehicles or dug under, then they’ve been altered, which could present a potentially unsafe situation,” Elkins said. Consumers should always use caution and keep a safe distance from ground transformers — which is why they are plainly marked with warnings. “Kids may not understand why they shouldn’t be on or near them. We hope parents will show them the warning stickers and tell them about the dangers of electricity,” Elkins said. “The electrical equipment inside is designed to be safe, and people don’t have to be scared of it,” he said. “But it’s better to avoid the boxes altogether.”

Water parks packed with ‘splishy’ perks GOOD CLEAN FUN is

getting easier to come by all around Indiana. And that’s good — because it’s also the coolest fun around for our long, hot summer days. We’re talking the cool, clean fun of water parks. Almost everywhere we turn it seems, a community is announcing a ribbon cutting for a new water park or facility. Community pools, YMCAs, and activity centers are adding on to older facilities or building new ones out to make a splash. Water coasters, spiraling slides, wave pools, giant spilling buckets, and lazy meandering floating rivers,


JULY 2022

both indoor and out, are adding thrills, chills and relaxation for the whole family. “Communities have definitely found that there’s something special about having a slide or a couple of things that are just a little bit more family friendly,” says Leah Koch-Blumhardt, the fourthgeneration owner and director of communications at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus. Splashin’ Safari is not only the biggest water park in Indiana, it's also one of the Midwest's largest. In addition, the park, partly served electrically by Southern Indiana Power, the electric cooperative serving primarily Perry and Spencer counties, is home to three of the four best water park rides in the world, according to the most recent Golden Ticket Awards. The awards are presented to the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry.

Splashin’ Safari’s Wildebeest was named the Best Water Park Ride for the 11th consecutive year in a row, while Mammoth placed third and Cheetah Chase was fourth. Cheetah Chase, a water coaster, also won Best New Water Park Ride of 2020/2021. Splashin’ Safari is in the midst of its 30th season, having been added to Holiday World in 1993. “It was supposed to be a twophase project. The first phase was the lazy river and the kids’ area, and phase two was the wave pool,” Koch-Blumhardt says. “Over time, it became so popular that we added a family slide, and after that, we tried to get a water park attraction every year if we could.” Holiday World, the amusement park that began as Santa Claus Land, celebrated its 75th

continued on page 23

Photo provided by Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

Cool, clean fun

Swimmin’ holes that make a splash

Electricity and water don’t mix

Here’s a sampling of water parks around the state that are more than just your average local swimming hole.

During the summer, many Hoosiers will be enjoying pools and lakes around the state. Indiana Electric Cooperatives reminds swimmers that water and electricity do not mix. Avoid electric shock by using only battery-operated radios or similar electronics near the pool

Big Splash Adventure and Resort

when possible. Keep all corded electronics and appliances out of

Big Splash Adventure and Resort 8524 W. State Road 56, French Lick, Indiana 812-936-3866; Big Splash Adventure is a 40,000-square-foot indoor water park enclosed in glass and with a retractable roof. It’s located on a wooded hilltop near the famed French Lick Springs Hotel.

reach and away from water. Never touch plugged-in electrical appliances such as a radio or adjust wired patio or yard lights if you are wet or standing in water.

With a pirate theme, the park is headlined by Buccaneer Bay, a three-story children’s play zone with 10 platforms and nearly

If someone in the pool feels

50 interactive play features that keep all hands on deck. It is

electricity (almost like a stinging

open year-round. Plus, Big Splash has the convenience of a

feeling) or appears to have been

hotel with room and water park packages.

shocked, do not dive in. You could be shocked, too. Instead, turn off the power and use a non-metal shepherd’s hook to pull him or her out of the water to safety. Avoid swimming or going in the water near boats plugged into shore power or docks with

Deep River Waterpark

electrical services. If you are in

Deep River Waterpark

the water and feel electricity,

9001 E. Lincoln Highway, Crown Point, Indiana

you can but do not touch a metal


stay calm and swim to shore if ladder or any other metal objects.

Deep River Waterpark is Northern Indiana’s largest water park. The park features many fun activities and rides for all ages,

Staying safe while near the water is

from toddlers to grandparents. A major attraction is the Kraken,

simple but these tips can be easily

a six-lane mat slide racer ride. The ride propels you twisting and turning through a translucent tube.


JULY 2022


Splashin’ Safari 452 E. Christmas Blvd, Santa Claus, Indiana 812-937-4401; Trip Advisor and USA Today have voted Splashin’ Safari as #1 in the Midwest repeatedly. You will also find the world’s longest water coaster (Mammoth) and the #1 water park ride in the Indiana Beach Water Park

world (Wildebeest) there.

Indiana Beach Water Park

In addition, one admission price also lets you into the land park

5224 E. Indiana Beach Road, Monticello, Indiana

a bonus, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari continues to provide


free parking, free soft drinks and free sunscreen.

that continues earning acclaim for its wooden roller coasters. As

Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park is located along the shores of Lake Shafer. You will find six of the Midwest’s largest and wildest water slides, a splash fun zone full of fountains, the Big Flush water coaster and action river for relaxation. Parkside cabins and camping are also available.

Tropicanoe Cove

Tropicanoe Cove 1915 Scott St., Lafayette, Indiana 765-807-1531; Pine Lake Waterpark

Pine Lake Waterpark

From the spiraling Banana Peel tube slide to the leisurely Cattail Crik, Tropicanoe Cove offers the perfect blend of Hoosier hospitality with the pleasure of a watery paradise of cool summertime fun for the entire family.

4640 Indiana Highway 218, Berne, Indiana 260-334-5649; From adults to kids, Pine Lake is sure to entertain the whole family! There are four major slides; 10-foot, 20-foot, and 30foot jumps; a cable ride; log walk; splash pad; and more at this historical family-owned recreational lake.

Prophetstown State Park Aquatic Center 5545 Swisher Road, West Lafayette, Indiana 765-567-4919;

YMCA Camp Clay Aqua Park and Splash Pad 9196 Liberty-Union Road, Van Wert, Ohio 419-303-0130; This water park isn’t in Indiana (it’s about 10 miles east), but YMCA Camp Clay Aqua Park and Splash Pad in northwestern Ohio is a popular place for folks on both sides of the state line. Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative, which is based in Ohio but serves several thousand consumers in northeastern Indiana, sponsors a special day at the park and is planning next year’s “Member Appreciation Day” at the water park.

The aquatic center features a 30-foot tube slide, body flume,

The YMCA Camp Clay Aqua Park and Splash pad consists of

lazy river float area, adventure channel, zero-entry pool with

seven water attractions and three floating splash mats. Boating

play features, and an aquatic activity area where guests can

with canoes, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and peddle boats

enjoy playing basketball.

is also available. Another big attraction is a water zip line.


JULY 2022

continued from page 20 anniversary last year. And while its three famed wooden coasters continue drawing crowds and acclaim, the water park was named the #2 Water Park in the World in the same Golden Ticket Awards that noted its three water coasters. The Splashin’ Safari half has become every bit an equal in the Holiday World landscape in both acreage and has even a larger capacity as the original land amusement park. “Our water coasters have proven to be some of the highest demand attractions we have,” says Koch-Blumhardt. “Our water coasters will maintain hourand-a-half- to two-hour lines on certain days, so the demand is just steady and consistent all day. It’s just not anything you can experience most other places. And most other parks don’t have

three major water coasters like we do.” Water parks began evolving quickly in the early 1980s, she notes, as waterslide technology improved quickly allowing for more elaborate rides and rushes and bigger splashes. “You really started to see bigger water parks arrive. Once Disney got involved, all of a sudden, the expectation was not only that you have a

Photo Provided by Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

water park, but it needs to have some theming behind it, a story behind it.” As that technology becomes a bit more affordable, some of it will trickle — or splash — down and be available at the smaller community water parks, she notes. “I don't think you’re going to see a full Wildebeest or a full Mammoth or a full Cheetah Chase at your community water park anytime soon. But because those rides exist, it helps pave the way for some other, more thrilling slides for a local area pool. I can see them putting investment in some of those things. But we’ll continue to invest in kind of the shiniest, coolest stuff and we’ll still be a destination water park.”


KIDS WEIGH IN ON WAYS TO MAKE WATER PARKS EVEN MORE WONDROUS Before the school year ended in May, third graders at Brownstown Central Elementary in Brownstown offered Indiana Connection some opinions on what makes water parks special … and what would make them even more special. “Big Splash (in French Lick) is my favorite water park because I love their big water slide,” says Brantley. “On the big slide you get to go around in circles. I love their yellow water slide because you get to go so fast.” Brantley also likes the slower paced attractions. “I love the lazy river because you can stay there for hours and hours.” Along with the usual water park attractions, two other students dreamed of some even bigger perks: “If I created my own water park it would have … a pond with sea creatures living in it and an aquarium with turtles and penguins,” says Bannon “I would have a sea animal area for the little kids to pet the animals. … And I would have a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel,” notes Ariana. “And its name would be ‘Water World,’ and the hotels would look like they are under water.”

JULY 2022


Hoosier Energy news

Working together,


Over the past several months, economic outlooks changed dramatically, both domestically and globally. Year-over-year, inflation is up over 8%. Gasoline prices have increased almost 45% and are at record highs. Food prices are up more than 10%. The labor market, which is historically tight, creates additional pressure in these areas. Global supply chains were just starting to get sorted out following COVID disruptions but are now facing new uncertainty around the impacts of new lockdowns in China and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia is a major supplier of natural gas to Europe, and European demand for liquified natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. has risen dramatically in the wake of Russia’s invasion. At the same time, U.S. natural gas producers are conservatively ramping back up production following years of low prices.


JULY 2022

Hoosier Energy is the notfor-profit generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative providing electric power and services to your local co-op and 17 other memberdistribution cooperatives in central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois. We are not immune to this challenging combination of rising costs, labor shortages and supply chain issues. Natural gas, coal and power costs represent more than half of our annual operating costs. Those costs have increased approximately 150% year-over-year and are continuing to rise. The current challenges follow a national trend over the past several years of retiring coal generation and transitioning to more intermittent, renewable resources. To date, the pace of additions has not kept up with retirements of resources they will replace. This means available generation reserves for unexpected grid events are not as large as they once were. This increases the possibility for our regional grid operator to call for more frequent reductions in demand to preserve operational integrity and reduce the risk of prolonged, widespread power outages. We expect this challenging environment, including higher electricity prices, to continue

over the next few years. Hoosier Energy is constantly looking for opportunities to reduce costs and minimize the impact of rising energy prices and supply chain issues. We are also working with your local co-op and other member systems to find ways to soothe the impact whenever possible. Electric cooperatives have faced significant challenges in the past, including the 1970s energy crisis and 2008 Great Recession. Working together, we overcame these challenges, and we will do so again. Donna Walker is president and CEO of Hoosier Energy.









As Hoosiers continue to experience rising electricity bills, it is important for you to know the factors driving these cost increases and what can be expected moving forward. You should also know Hoosier Energy and your local electric co-op are doing everything possible to minimize the impact to consumers.

co-op news

JULY 2022


Taking it to the limit


Co-op employee tests himself through grueling 100-mile mountain bike ride Brent Buckles (left) with Josh Traxler. They are Northeastern REMC employees.



lectric linemen are a tough breed. They climb 30-foot wooden poles in all kinds of weather with only metal spikes strapped to their legs and a leather belt around the pole and themselves. They work within reach of live power lines protected physically by only rubber gloves and sleeves. But Brent Buckles, a former lineman turned service technician for Northeastern REMC, says riding a bicycle was the most grueling thing he’s ever done. Last September, Buckles completed the Marji Gesick mountain bike challenge, labeled the “toughest race in the Midwest.” The ride on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, from Marquette to Ishpeming, was 100-plus miles over rough terrain, rocks, and hills. Overall climbing elevation was 12,300 feet. The ride started at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Buckles completed it just over 22 hours later. Buckles, who turns 39 this month, had done mountain biking for years, but never anything like this. “This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Even the endless hours I spent training for this race did not fully prepare me for how tough it would be,” he says. While called a “race,” Buckles notes he was only competing against himself. “It was just a self-motivating thing, trying to push myself to my limits.”


JULY 2022

In fact, “Find your limits. Destroy them.” is how organizers market this ride. They spell out its challenges in the FAQ section of the ride’s website:

and pulling myself up with trees. That was the torturous part, and that was all in the middle of the night. I just pushed through.”

“In the event of an emergency call 911.”

“You may NOT accept mechanical assistance (from anyone but another rider).”

For the night portion of the ride on the unlit wooded trails, Buckles had a light on his helmet and one on the handlebars. He said some reflective arrows were on the trails, but that’s why GPS was so important.

Your bike is to be human-powered, with no level of assistance.

“It's all self-supported. And I preloaded the map on my computer for navigation.”

And that’s not even including the arduous course itself or the half-mile run cyclists make from the starting line to their bikes. Since there are no official aid stations along the trail, Buckles’ one-man support crew was Josh Traxler, a friend and colleague at Northeastern REMC. Every 20 miles, Traxler provided food, water, and anything else Buckles needed, including charging his GPS, and most importantly, encouragement. Buckles encountered many challenges throughout the day and night. He described 40% of the race required pushing his bike up steep inclines. He’d hurt his knee when he slipped on a rock at one point 20-some miles into the ride, but he pressed on. He said the only time he thought about dropping out was around mile 90. “But I knew that it would take longer to try to get back than it was to finish,” he says. “So, the last 10 miles took me over four hours because I was pushing my bike up hills

Buckles says there were checkpoints throughout where riders picked up tokens to keep them on the right path and motivated to the next. “After I received my last token and came back into town, I knew the finish line was up ahead. So, I FaceTimed my wife (Ashley) to let her cross the finish line with me.” Buckles placed 162nd out of 521 riders. Buckles notes he has no plans to do the ride again. It took him months to recover from the knee injury. “I wanted to see if I could do it. And luckily, I was able to complete it.” For now, he’s enjoying his solo rides and riding with Ashley and their two kids, Kirra, 12, and Sawyer, 10, who also enjoy mountain biking. The Marji Gesick race is a production of the 906 Adventure Team, a non-profit organization with a mission to empower people through outdoor adventure. For more information, visit



Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.