Southeastern IN REMC — March 2022 Indiana Connection

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Working for YOU.

Southeastern IN REMC’s


Saturday, March 26, 2022 South Ripley High School

MARCH 2022

Celebrating 83 Years of Service

As we reflect on the accomplishments of the cooperative over the past year, we are grateful for our board’s leadership and confidence in our team. We are also grateful for the faith and trust of our members, which gives our work purpose and meaning every day. Looking ahead, we’re more committed than ever to our mission, “to safely provide reliable electricity and diversified services to the members and communities we serve.” Southeastern Indiana REMC is powered by impassioned cooperative leaders from across our seven-county service territory and a team of creative and dedicated employees. Please join us on Saturday, March 26, at South Ripley High School for the 83rd annual membership meeting. We are excited to get back to an in-person meeting this year, and we’ve got a great event planned for you and your family. We look forward to visiting with you!


Notice is hereby given that the annual meeting of the members of Southeastern Indiana REMC will be held at South Ripley High School located at 1589 S. Benham Road, Versailles, Indiana, on Saturday, March 26. This meeting will be held for the express purpose of: • Presentation of officers, manager and committee reports • Election of three directors • Any other business which may properly come before the meeting • Door prizes (Must be present to win.) Please detach and bring the official registration card attached to the back cover of this publication to the annual meeting.

General Manager

DOOR prizes Electric Rototiller Smart TV 10 $50 Bill Credits

Your ticket to the meeting is on the back of this month’s magazine! BE SURE TO BRING IT WITH YOU.

Annual Report inside.

Southeastern IN REMC’s

s e e B


Protecting pollinators is rewarded with bountiful harvests and honey

pages 19-22

MARCH 2022

from the editor

DOWN AND DIRTY I remember eating dirt as a preschooler totally oblivious to the fact that it was, well, dirty. And, in the not-so-distant past, though I certainly washed my hands throughout the day, I rarely used disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. I would, I suppose, when I wasn’t near a faucet before digging into my French fries at lunchtime. But I certainly never did before grabbing and pushing a shopping cart at the grocery store. Nowadays, most of us are on high alert for germs, and we think twice before touching anything on which nasty bacteria may be lurking. But how do you know exactly where those germs are lurking? As it turns out, it may be places that you may not even consider. •

Our workplaces are germ-filled minefields. We might want to carry a canister of wipes wherever we go, wiping down door handles, office equipment, telephones, and breakroom appliances whenever we touch them. Desktops are apparently the filthiest places in our offices, harboring 21,000 bacteria, viruses, and fungi per square inch. That’s 400 times more than a toilet seat. A telephone is even worse with 25,000 germs per square inch. At home, kitchens and bathrooms are the main areas germs thrive. A favorite haunt for E. coli, mold, salmonella and other bacteria: dish sponges — since they stay wet and moist. You can reduce the germs by microwaving the sponge for 30 seconds every five to six days. Although I’m not a fan of scanning QR codes at restaurants to view their menus on my phone, I read once that restaurant menus (and salt and pepper shakers) are germ magnets (since they’re handled by so many but so rarely cleaned). I’m fine with forgoing menus. But if a restaurant does provide you with a menu, be sure you wash or sanitize your hands after you order and never lay your silverware on top of your menu. When I’m at a restaurant, I usually plop my purse on the floor since I’ve heard purse snatchers can easily grab it if you hang it on your chair. But floors are dirty places so I need to remember to wipe the bag with mild soap or disinfectant every few days and let it air dry. I mentioned shopping carts earlier. If there are cart wipes near where you grab the cart at the store, use them. Those cart handles could contain 11 million microorganisms! A swipe of a disinfectant wipe will kill nearly 100 percent of those germs.

Bottom line: Though we’ll never be able to avoid all germs we can be more vigilant about keeping them at bay. Disinfect, disinfect, disinfect!


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.

Giveaway: Enter to win a $30 gift card from The Mean Bean Bistro and Brew in Bremen. Enter the contest at

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 71 • NUMBER 9 ISSN 0745-4651 • USPS 262-340 Published monthly by Indiana Electric Cooperatives Indiana Connection is for and about members of Indiana’s locally-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. It helps consumers use electricity safely and efficiently; understand energy issues; connect with their co-op; and celebrate life in Indiana. Over 304,000 residents and businesses receive the magazine as part of their electric co-op membership. CONTACT US: 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600 Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606 317-487-2220 INDIANA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OFFICERS: 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; Crosshair Media 502-216-8537; Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication. UNSOLICITED MATERIAL: Indiana Connection does not use unsolicited freelance manuscripts or photographs and assumes no responsibility for the safe‑keeping or return of unsolicited material. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $12 for individuals not subscribing through participating REMCs/RECs. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: If you receive Indiana Connection through your electric co-op membership, report address changes to your local co-op. POSTAGE: Periodicals postage paid at Indianapolis, Ind., and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to: Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606. Include key number.

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

MARCH 2022










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

14 COUNTY OF THE MONTH Spotlighting Jay County.


16 FOOD Potato chips: Out of the bag and into readers’ recipes.

Continuing to explore EVs.


Indiana Connection



cover story 18 INDIANA EATS Mean morning (and midday) meals at Mean Bean Bistro and Brew. 20 COVER STORY Keepers of the bees.


24 H OOSIER ENERGY/ WABASH VALLEY NEWS 25 DIY Join the outdoor improvement boom. 26 SAFETY Be prepared for spring’s fickle foul weather.

On the cover A frame pulled from a beekeeper’s hive teems with honeybees — a sight to behold. But over the past 16 years, especially, honeybees and native Indiana pollinators have all faced challenges that threaten their survival that include widespread pesticide use, parasites, loss of habitat, and viruses that spread hive to hive. PHOTO BY ESTHER BOSTON PHOTOGRAPHY


MARCH 2022

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

$1.5 million

in patronage capital refunds issued to co-op members Patronage refunds (also known as

our seven cooperative principles –

capital credits) are retained margins

members’ economic participation.

left over at the end of a year at a not-for-profit electric cooperative. Since a cooperative’s “shareholders” are also the people the co-op serves, capital credits reflect each member’s ownership in the cooperative.

the REMC target its optimum equity range. When cash is available and equity is high, the board of directors

credit refunds was issued to members

control the system's equity.

of Southeastern Indiana REMC for retained margins from 1999 and a portion of 2020. Active members receiving distributions saw a credit on their bill statement this month and inactive members or beneficiaries, with a minimum refund of $5 and a valid address on file, received a check in the mail.

cooperative business model. Did you know that SEIREMC has returned $30,418,955.23 to its member-owners since 1939? Doing so follows one of


our 501(c)(12) tax status, it also helps

approves capital credit refunds to help

things members love most about the

Residential pricing starts at $64.95 plus tax.

meet IRS requirements to maintain

This month, $1.5 million in capital

Getting money back is one of the

A fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) product with speeds from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps.

While capital rotation is required to

While you will not get rich from a capital credit refund, we do hope you enjoy the extra cash this month. We also hope you take great pride in the fact that you are a member-owner of this cooperative. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

For more information about patronage capital, please visit the Patronage Refund page on our website at

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

MARCH 2022


co-op news


Director Candidates

Southeastern Indiana REMC is governed by a nine-person board of directors elected by the membership. As a member/owner, you can vote for the 2022 director elections online, through mail or in person at our 2022 Annual Meeting. There are three director positions up for re-election.


Jesse McClure Jesse McClure and his wife, Laura, have been members of Southeastern Indiana REMC for 12 years. His business experience includes customer service knowledge, negotiating contracts as a sales representative in the steel industry, and settling claims for Liberty Mutual Insurance. McClure has served as an REMC board member for three years and is currently the board secretary. He has completed the Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) certification through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and is currently pursuing the Board Leadership Certificate (BLC). He is a graduate of Rising Sun High School in Rising Sun and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University. McClure has served on the Rising Sun Volunteer Fire Department and as a founding member of the Rising Sun Volunteer Fire Department Scholarship Board.


Melissa Menchhofer Melissa Menchhofer and her husband, Tom, have been members of Southeastern Indiana REMC for over 30 years. They operate a livestock and grain farm, and Menchhofer is the financial manager of the family business. Her business experience also includes managing the finances of several local, mid-sized businesses and non-profit organizations. Menchhofer has served as an REMC board member for seven years. She is currently vice president of the board and represents the cooperative on the Indiana Electric Cooperatives (IEC) board of directors. She has completed the Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) and Board Leadership Certificate (BLC) certifications and is currently pursuing the Director Gold Credential Program (DGC), all through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). She is a graduate of South Ripley High School in Versailles, Indiana, and holds an associate degree from Purdue University. Menchhofer has served the community as a poll worker on election day and has participated in REMC community service day projects. She has also served in various leadership capacities at her church, serving as treasurer and visual media specialist, and coordinating the funeral meal ministry.


MARCH 2022

co-op news Andrew Iceberg Andrew Iceberg has been a member of Southeastern Indiana REMC for five years and has been a life-long resident of Bear Branch. His business experience includes raising cattle and crops on the family farm, and serving as former deputy clerk-treasurer for the City of Rising Sun. He currently works as a quality technical representative for North American Stainless. Iceberg is a graduate of Rising Sun High School in Rising Sun and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University. He currently serves as a member of the Ohio County Community Foundation Junior Grants Committee and has served as a former member of the Ohio County Fair Board. He is a past member of a local insurance group and currently holds the office of church council vice president for Saint Paul Lutheran Church – Dewberry. He has also helped clean up local parks and donated clothing and labor for those in need. Iceberg is a member of the Saint Paul Lutheran Church – Dewberry, in Cross Plains.

Doug Rump Doug Rump has been a member of Southeastern Indiana REMC for 27 years. He recently retired with 40 years of experience, including 22 years in utilities management at Fernald, 10 years as a safety director at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, and five years as the town manager and utility superintendent for the Town of Dillsboro. He has experience with budgets and grants, has worked with various local, state, and federal agencies, and on multiple public works projects for water, wastewater and road infrastructure. Rump is a high school graduate and attended Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Additionally, he has taken OSHA certified classes and previously held wastewater certifications in Ohio and Indiana. He is a community-minded individual, having served as a former volunteer firefighter for the Dillsboro Fire Department, an EMT for the Dillsboro Emergency Unit, a youth group leader for St. Paul Lutheran Church, a 4-H leader, and a member of the Dillsboro Civic Club. Rump is a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church.


Casey Menchhofer Casey Menchhofer and his wife, Marie, have been members of Southeastern Indiana REMC for 12 years. His business experience includes owning and operating two companies (Menchhofer Seed Service LLC and Menchhofer Insurance Service LLC), working as a project engineer in construction for the Indiana Department of Transportation, and growing up on a farm. Menchhofer has served as an REMC board member for three years and is currently pursuing the Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) certification through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). ​ e is a graduate of South Ripley High School in Versailles, Indiana, and holds two Bachelor of Science degrees in H engineering from Purdue University — civil engineering and land surveying and geomatics. Menchhofer has served on the local Purdue Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) advisory committee and seedsman advisory panels, supported 4-H events, and sponsored several non-profit events. Menchhofer and his family attend Hopewell Baptist Church in Holton. MARCH 2022


co-op news

REMC EXPO There will be a total of 10 booths in the REMC expo this year. All booths will be in the gymnasium. Energy Explorers Booth Southeastern Indiana REMC will provide children in attendance with electrical safety and conservation educational materials. Children will receive a scavenger hunt list.

Co-op Careers Booth Learn about upcoming opportunities at SEIREMC and other co-op job opportunities in Indiana.

Community Booth We will highlight the ways we are active in the community by sharing information about events we typically sponsor, like the Polar Plunge, Relay for Life, Pumpkin Show, Swiss Wine Festival, and the Merrill Downey race at Lawrenceburg Speedway, or things we participate in, like the 4-H animal auctions, touch-a-truck programs, paint the town pink, and drug take back events. We’ll also provide brochures and flyers about some of our community-focused programs, such as Camp Kilowatt, Operation Round Up, scholarships, mobile mammograms, blood drives, and Youth Tour.

Beneficial Electrification Booth Learn about electric vehicles and the Cooperative Charge and My Solar programs.

Energy Wise Booth Learn about our rebate program and receive a smart energy kit. We'll collect the registration cards for the door prize drawing here, too.


Load Management Booth We will share information about the time-of-use rate and the beat the peak and generator programs.

Power Restoration & Safety Booth Learn about the power restoration process and electrical safety.

Vegetation Management Booth We will share where we will be clearing right-of-way this year. Learn about the vegetation management program.

SEI Fiber Booth Learn more about our fiber program. We’ll help you preregister or sign up for service.

SmartHub Booth Do you know all of the features of our SmartHub app? We'll help you create an account and/or sign up for paperless billing.



live line demo

The Southern Sirens

The Hopewell Baptist Church group will be selling food for its “Operation Christmas Child” project fundraiser.

The REMC will be presenting their live line safety demonstration.

MARCH 2022


Better read this if you are 62 or older and still making mortgage payments. It’s a well-known fact that for many older Americans, the home is their single biggest asset. With interest rates near historic all-time lows while home values are still high, this combination could create the perfect dynamic for getting the most out of your home equity. But, many aren’t taking advantage of this unprecedented period. According to new statistics from the mortgage industry, senior homeowners in the U.S. are now sitting on more than 10.1 trillion dollars* of unused home equity. Not only are people living longer than ever before, but there is also greater uncertainty in the economy. With home prices on the rise, ignoring this financial option may prove to be short-sighted when looking for the best long-term outcome. All things considered, it’s not surprising that more than a million homeowners have already

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used a government-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loan to turn their home equity into extra cash for retirement. It’s a fact: no monthly mortgage payments are required with a government-insured HECM loan; however, the borrowers are still responsible for paying for the maintenance of their home, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and, if required, their HOA fees.

It’s times like these that your largest asset can be a life saver. Today, HECM loans are simply an effective way for homeowners 62 and older to get the extra cash they need to enjoy retirement. Although today’s HECM loans have been improved to provide even greater financial protection for homeowners, there are still many misconceptions. For example, a lot of people mistakenly believe the home must be paid off in full in order to qualify for a HECM loan, which is not the case. In fact, one key advantage of a HECM

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is that the proceeds will first be used to pay off any existing liens on the property, which frees up cash flow, a huge blessing for seniors living on a fixed income. Unfortunately, many senior homeowners who might be better off with a HECM loan don’t even bother to get more information because of rumors they’ve heard. In fact, a recent survey by American Advisors Group (AAG), the nation’s number one HECM lender, found that more than 9/10 clients are satisfied with AAG’s service.** While these special loans are not for everyone, they can be a real lifesaver for senior homeowners — especially in times like these. The cash from a HECM loan can be used for almost any purpose. Other common uses include making home improvements, paying off medical bills or helping other family members. Some people simply need the extra cash for everyday expenses while others are now using it as a safety net for financial emergencies. If you’re a homeowner age 62 or older, you owe it to yourself to learn more so that you can make the best decision for your financial future.

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* ** Based on client satisfaction surveys as of September 13, 2021. Reverse mortgage loan terms include occupying the home as your primary residence, maintaining the home, paying property taxes and homeowners insurance. Although these costs may be substantial, AAG does not establish an escrow account for these payments. However, a set-aside account can be set up for taxes and insurance, and in some cases may be required. Not all interest on a reverse mortgage is tax-deductible and to the extent that it is, such deduction is not available until the loan is partially or fully repaid. AAG charges an origination fee, mortgage insurance premium (where required by HUD), closing costs and servicing fees, rolled into the balance of the loan. AAG charges interest on the balance, which grows over time. When the last borrower or eligible non-borrowing spouse dies, sells the home, permanently moves out, or fails to comply with the loan terms, the loan becomes due and payable (and the property may become subject to foreclosure). When this happens, some or all of the equity in the property no longer belongs to the borrowers, who may need to sell the home or otherwise repay the loan balance. V2021.06.21 HYBRID NMLS# 9392 ( American Advisors Group (AAG) is headquartered at 18200 Von Karman Ave., Suite 300, Irvine, CA 92612. Licensed in 49 states. Please go to for full state license information. These materials are not from HUD or FHA and were not approved by HUD or a government agency.


Continuing to explore EVs

With the government

be even greater on some

may not have full power

use by 15-40%, depending

directing funds to


for an EV, they do still have

on driving patterns, but

some capacity to be used

this is more than offset

as a power storage device

by the savings in gas. For

— charge them with solar

example, if you pay 10

build a robust charging infrastructure and automobile manufacturers

How do you dispose of the used batteries?

ramping up production, the

This is one of the

or wind, and then use

cents per kilowatt-hour for

interest in electric vehicles

developing stories as the EV

that energy to meet needs

electricity, your monthly EV

is growing. We received

industry grows. Lithium-

in inclement weather or

recharging cost would be

several responses after a

ion batteries can be

during demand spikes in

$25 to $33 per month if you

recent article on EV myths,

recycled, and one company

the electrical grid.

drive 1,000 miles.

so we want to explore some

is reclaiming the elements

of those questions in a

from batteries to transform

While this information

follow-up article.

waste into high-value

Where are EV batteries made?

material for future batteries.

The EV battery industry is

the EV industry will

How much does it cost to replace the batteries in at EV?

The process for recycling

dominated by companies

continue to evolve

and upcycling batteries

in Asia, including China,

rapidly in coming years

still has a long way to go

South Korea and Japan. The

as manufacturers phase

Cost varies depending on

to be clean and efficient,

silver lining for the United

out production of internal

the make and model of the

but as we start to see more

States is that federal and

combustion engines.

car, but generally it will cost

EV batteries retired, there

private-sector funding is

about $5,000 to replace

will then also be a greater

expected to significantly

an electric vehicle battery.

demand for recycling that

increase U.S. EV battery

However, many electric

will likely lead to more

production by 2030.

vehicles sold in the United

advances in recycling

States have a warranty on

processes and help lower

the battery pack that covers

associated costs.

eight years and at least 100,000 miles. That may


MARCH 2022

Another option is to reuse them. Although, batteries

reflects today’s situation,

How much will our electric rate go up with all these EVs? Adding an EV to a home increases the electricity

by Nick


Energy Advisor Harrison REMC


Now, THIS is a Knife! This 16" stainless steel blade is not for the faint of heart —now ONLY $99!




n the blockbuster film, when a strapping Australian crocodile hunter and a lovely American journalist were getting robbed at knife point by a couple of young thugs in New York, the tough Aussie pulls out his dagger and says “That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife!” Of course, the thugs scattered and he continued on to win the reporter’s heart. Our Aussie friend would approve of our rendition of his “knife.” Forged of high grade 420 surgical stainless steel, this stick tang knife is an impressive 16” from pommel to point. Secured in a tooled leather sheath, this is one impressive knife, with an equally impressive price. This fusion of substance and style can garner a high price tag out in the marketplace. In fact, we found stainless steel blades with bone handles in excess of $2,000. Well, that won’t cut it around here. We have mastered the hunt for the best deal, and in turn pass the spoils on to our customers. But we don’t stop there. While supplies last, we’ll include a pair of $99, 8x21 power compact binoculars, and a genuine leather sheath FREE when you purchase the Down Under Bowie Knife. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Feel the knife in your hands, wear it on your hip, inspect the impeccable craftsmanship. If you don’t feel like we cut you a fair deal, send it back within 30 days for a complete refund of the item price. Limited Reserves. A deal like this won’t last long. We have only 1120 Down Under Bowie Knifes for this ad only. Don’t let this beauty slip through your fingers at a price that won’t drag BONUS! Call today and you under. Call today! you’ll also receive this

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The deadline to enter artwork in the Cooperative Calendar of Student Art Contest is March 18. This is the 25th anniversary of the contest and calendar. 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


Painting the town Send us your mural photos for June feature

Our June issue will focus on photos of murals taken by you, our readers! Do you have a favorite mural in your hometown that you marvel at whenever you see it? Is there a mural that best represents your hometown’s or state’s spirit? The murals can be painted either indoors or outdoors. When submitting your photo, please indicate where the mural is located and include any background information you may have about the mural and what you like most about it. Submit your photo by April 15. If we publish your photo, we will send you a $50 check. One randomly selected submission will also receive $50. Our address: Indiana Connection, Murals, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240. You can also send us your photo online at


MARCH 2022

I just wanted to let you know how much I thoroughly enjoy this publication! I look forward to receiving it each month and save many of the stories, recipes, and travel destinations. So many of the stories are heartfelt and inspirational. Who knew that I would be crying when reading a magazine from my electric cooperative! Thank you and your staff for all that you do to make the magazine possible!

Laura Duwel, via email

SETTING THE EV RECORD STRAIGHT I want to set the record straight about the article on electric vehicles in the January issue. I am an engineer in the IC engine and power industry and this article does not represent the facts. The biggest issue I see with the article is that it failed to mention the efficiencies associated with the coal-fired power plant. This ranges anywhere between 33-35% according to multiple sources (i.e. 65% or more of the energy is lost in the process). There are also electrical transmission and distribution losses. For the state of Indiana, these losses average around 6%. Also, the modern automobile internal combustion engines average around 30-35% efficiency (not 20% as stated in the article). Finally, coal has one of the highest CO2 emissions per BTU of energy released (from burning). If you take all this into account, a car engine operating on gasoline actually emits almost half the CO2 compared to an EV deriving all its power from coal. Please don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of EVs. The message just needs to be clear that we need to focus on renewable forms of electrical energy like solar, wind, hydro-electric and nuclear.

Joe Reynolds, Memphis, Indiana

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MARCH 2022


county feature

Jay County Jay County, which sits along on Indiana’s eastern edge with Ohio, is a portal into significant passages of Indiana geography, history, and culture. To name three: The Wabash River. Indiana’s official state river enters Indiana through Jay County. The river’s origin is just over the state line, and the Wabash meekly flows in along Jay County’s northeastern corner, south of the tiny burg of New Corydon. Then, the river draws a wide inverted “J” shape as it loops some 500 miles around the state — upward and westward through northern Indiana and then sharply southward to form the state’s southwestern border with Illinois. Two-thirds of the state’s landmass lies within its watershed. The Salamonie River, a tributary of the Wabash, originates near Salamonia in southeastern Jay County and flows northwestwardly into Blackford County before joining the Wabash River in Wabash County. Native Americans. Jay County is home to the National Center for Great Lakes Native American Culture. NCGLNAC is not-for-profit organization whose mission is to continue and preserve traditional Great Lakes Native American art, history, and culture by passing those traditions on to Native people and educating the general public about its importance. The area was home to Woodlands peoples and is within traditional Miami territory. Nineteen years ago, the Jay County Fair Board donated 30 acres of wooded land north of the county fairgrounds in Portland to NCGLNAC. The site includes a


MARCH 2022

cleared grassy area, a variety of woods and wetlands, and a small lake. Though it is not developed, an ambitious master plan for the site includes a cultural center. In the meantime, NCGLNAC continues hosting an annual gathering of Native American nations at the Tri-State Antique Gas Engine and Tractor Association Grounds, which are adjacent to the county fairgrounds. The pow wow is scheduled for June 11-12. On April 2-3, NCGLNAC hosts Cultural Arts Classes Session 1 at the Lions Civic Center in Portland. Session 2 will be May 21-22. Loblolly Marsh Nature Preserve. Said to be named for the original Miami word for “stinking river,” Loblolly is 440-acre restored wetland in northern Jay County that was once was part of the large Limberlost Swamp. The swamp covered some 13,000 acres straddling the JayAdams county line just south of the Wabash River. The swamp attracted international attention in the early 1900s thanks to Hoosier writer, photographer, and naturalist Gene Stratton-Porter. She visited the swamp from her nearby home in Geneva to photograph and write about the Limberlost’s flora and fauna. Discovery of oil and natural gas in the area, along with the desire to increase farmland, led to the draining of the swamp at the very

Jay County is home to the 19th Annual Jay County Fiber Arts Festival, March 11-12 in Portland. Learn more at

County Facts FOUNDED: 1835

NAMED FOR: John Jay, co-author of The Federalist Papers, Secretary of Foreign Affairs under the Articles of Confederation, and first Chief Justice of the United States. It is the only county in the United States named for Jay. POPULATION: 20,478 (2020 estimate) COUNTY SEAT: Portland INDIANA COUNTY NUMBER: 38

time Stratton-Porter was using it as the backdrop to her beloved novels. In the early 1990s, the land for Loblolly was purchased from five different landowners who entered their land into the Wetland Reserve Program and work began to restore parts of the historic wetland. The return of the natural habitat has brought a resurgence of the natural insects, birds, and wildlife to the restored area. It helps complete the story of Stratton-Porter that begins at her Geneva home, an Indiana State Historic Site. Writing about the wetland restoration and Stratton-Porter in the March 2020 of Smithsonian Magazine, Kathryn Aalto, a historian and educator, noted the “the greatest tribute to her by far is the Loblolly Marsh Nature Preserve.”

Annual Report

co-op news

2021 Annual Meeting Minutes The 82nd annual meeting of the membership of Southeastern Indiana Rural Electric Membership Corporation was held virtually, beginning at 6 p.m., EDT, on March 30, 2021. Proper notice of the meeting had been mailed to each member, and the 2021 director election voting packet was postmarked on March 1, 2021. President Darrell Smith called the meeting to order. Those directors present were: Brad Bentle, Bonnie Boggs, Jesse McClure, Casey Menchhofer, Melissa Menchhofer, Vince Moster, Darrell Smith, David Smith and Mike Thieman. Following the call to order, Brad Bentle sang the National Anthem. Mike Thieman gave the invocation. Special guest State Rep. Randy Frye addressed the REMC membership and reported on district 67 and the state of Indiana. The official notice of the annual meeting and the certification of the mailing of said notice were read by Secretary Vince Moster. Secretary Moster announced a quorum was present. The minutes of the 2020 annual meeting were approved. Members heard reports from President Darrell Smith, Treasurer Brad Bentle, General Manager Bryan K. Mathews, IEC Director Melissa Menchhofer, and Hoosier Energy Director David Smith, regarding the state of the cooperative. Attorney Robert Wickens announced the results of director elections. Brad Bentle, District 2; David Smith, District 3; and Mike Thieman, District 6, were elected by the membership. There were 3,307 voters in the 2021 director election. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned by the president.

MARCH 2022


co-op news

STATEMENTS OF REVENUE Years ended Dec. 21, 2021, and 2020





$50,750,315 4,710,743 11,671,765 933,593 756,946

$50,372,772 4,599,421 10,875,553 738,851








$39,594,985 14,329,032 2,430,025 2,821,096

$40,111,733 12,285,069 2,371,720 2,343,534




$4,800,229 1,431,418 2,340,288

$4,515,065 1,362,400 2,101,015




$1,076,289 2,158,006

$1,496,061 1,537,779






MARCH 2022


co-op news

balance sheet

Years ended Dec. 21, 2021, and 2020

ASSETS AND OTHER DEBITS Utility Plant Less Accumulated Provision for Depreciation Net Utility Plant Investments in Associated Organizations Other Investments Current and Accrued Assets: Cash - General Consumer Accounts Receivable Material and Supplies Prepaid Insurance Other Prepayments Total Current and Accrued Assets Regulatory Assets Deferred Debits TOTAL ASSETS AND DEBITS

LIABILITIES AND OTHER CREDITS Member and Patron Equities: Patronage Capital Other Margins and Equities Total Member and Patron Equities Long-Term Obligations to Lenders Accumulated Operating Provisions Current and Accrued Liabilities Deferred Credits TOTAL LIABILITIES AND CREDITS



$169,955,916 39,963,311 129,992,606 31,205,213 945,192

$145,254,982 38,323,027 106,931,955 30,775,380 860,493

6,089,361 46,744,025 13,918,483 140,817 11,027

10,625,979 8,767,593 1,279,976 134,884 10,584









$84,596,711 3,345,364 87,942,075 79,352,111 4,114,891 56,406,414 1,231,230

$83,361,232 1,903,525 85,264,757 51,553,770 5,631,454 16,017,447 1,076,536




MARCH 2022


co-op news

Where your dollar went in 2021 Purchased Power, 58.45% Operations and Maintenance, 21.15% Customer Accounts, 3.59% Administrative and General, 4.16% Depreciation Expense, 7.09% Gross Receipts Tax and Other Taxes, 2.11% Interest on Debt to Lenders, 3.45%

2021 INCOME BREAKDOWN RESIDENTIAL: $50,750,315 (74%) INET AND VOICE: $933,593 (1%)

COMMERCIAL and INDUSTRIAL: $16,382,508 (24%) OTHER: $756,946 (1%)





Cost Per kWh (Residential)



0.1408 0.1348

Number of Services



27,336 27,231

















INET/VOICE Services Miles of Line Average Number Services per Mile Member Equity


MARCH 2022



Stand Up Straight and Feel Better Discover the Perfect Walkertm, the better way to walk safely and more naturally It’s a cruel fact of life, as we age, gravity takes over. Our muscles droop, our bodies sag and the weight of the world seems to be planted squarely on our shoulders. We dread taking a fall, so we find ourselves walking less and less– and that only makes matters worse.


Old Way

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POTATO CHIP BROWNIES Kathi Tooley, Berne, Indiana

2 sticks butter, melted 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips 2 cups sugar 4 eggs 1 t. vanilla 1 cup flour 1 t. baking powder 3 T. cocoa powder 1 cup potato chips, broken into pieces 1 cup milk chocolate chips



MARCH 2022

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 9-by-13-inch pan. Line with parchment paper. Combine melted butter with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate is melted. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Fold in flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Spread half of brownie batter into the pan. Top with potato chips. Spoon remaining batter over the potato chips. Bake 45-50 minutes. Cool. Melt the milk chocolate chips. Drizzle over the cooled brownies. (If desired, you could sprinkle more potato chips on top at this point.) Refrigerate until firm (20 minutes). Cut into squares.



Alberta Millikan, Plymouth, Indiana

1 cup brown sugar

2⅔ cups flour

1 cup white sugar

1 t. baking soda

1⅓ cups butter (2 sticks plus 5 T.)

2 cups crushed potato chips

2 eggs

2 cups butterscotch chips

2 t. vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans

Cream sugars and butter. Add eggs and vanilla, then add rest of ingredients. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 F.


Doris Ann Kahlert, Berne, Indiana 3 cups diced ham

½ cup sweet pickle relish

2 t. minced onion

2 t. prepared mustard

¾ cup mayonnaise

1 cup diced celery

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1 T. lemon juice

¼ t. salt

1 cup crushed potato chips

¼ t. pepper Combine all ingredients except potato chips. Place in a casserole dish. Sprinkle potato chips on top. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes at 425 F. Yield: 8 servings.

MARCH 2022


Indiana eats

Big Daddy Biscuit

Panino Italiano Sandwich

Caesar Salad

Mean morning (and midday) meals The Mean Bean Bistro and Brew

varieties as well as classic style), and

in Bremen is one of those places

a breakfast croissant sandwich with

that refuses to be pigeon-holed. It’s

egg, cheddar cheese and choice

a cozy coffee shop, brewing up all

of protein (a veggie version is also

your favorite hot and cold beverages

available). A variety of pastries is

— and not just of the java variety.

available as well as a la carte items

It’s a breakfast spot, serving a variety

like fruit, yogurt and granola, and


of classic and trendy must-tries. (Is

baked oatmeal.

that an Avocado Toast calling my name?) And, for the lunch bunch, Mean Bean has perfected the three midday menu “S’s”: sandwiches, soups and salads.

Sandwiches are served in half and whole sized portions. Meat lovers shouldn’t miss the Panino Italiano, a tasty combo of ham, pepperoncini, and provolone.

Bremen native, is a regular at the

The Chicken Salad Croissant and

bistro which joined Bremen’s

Chicken Classic sandwich are other

restaurant scene in April 2015.

favorites. Mean Bean also serves

Through the years, owner Kim

seasonal salads and a variety of

Wilcox’s menu has delighted both


through the quaint northern Indiana town.

When it comes to “brews,” choose between a variety of popular coffee styles and flavors, including plain

Everyone from the hungriest eaters

drip coffee and a cup of strong Red

to those who crave just a light bite

Eye coffee. Chai, iced and hot tea,

should start their day at Mean Bean.

hot cocoa, Italian soda, smoothies,

Favorites include the Big Daddy

lemonades and other soft drinks

Biscuits (homemade biscuit, hash

are on the menu as well. Frozen hot

brown casserole, bacon, ham,

chocolate, a not-to-be-missed treat,

sausage gravy and two over easy

is another a Mean Bean specialty.

eggs), pancakes (three special


MARCH 2022

110 W. Plymouth St. Bremen

Enter to win a gift card from The Mean Bean Bistro and Brew in Bremen. Learn more on page 3.

pepperoni, salami, tomato, onion,

Indiana Sen. Ryan Mishler, a

local diners and those traveling

The Mean Bean Bistro and Brew

ABOUT STATE SEN. RYAN MISHLER: Sen. Ryan Mishler has represented District 9, which includes Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall and St. Joseph counties, in the Indiana Senate since 2004. He chairs the Appropriations Committee and also serves on the Health and Provider Services, the Tax and Fiscal Policy and the State Budget committees. Mishler is president of both Mishler Funeral Homes and Bremen Monument Company. He serves on the Bremen and Kosciusko County chambers of commerce and is a member of the American Legion Post 191, the Masonic Lodge 414, the Scottish Rite of South Bend, and the United Methodist Church.

s e Be


Protecting pollinators is rewarded with bountiful harvests and honey BY RICHARD G. BIEVER


Between a drought and a lack of pollinators, the Community Share Gardens at Lebanon’s St. Peter’s Episcopal Church had little harvest to share in 2013. But help soon came from above — on the wings of … not a snow white dove … but honeybees. From the church’s small but active congregation (weekly attendance is 30-some adults and children), two parishioners in particular, Chuck and Sandy Dailey, looked into what could improve the then 2-year-old garden ministry. The husband and wife team of now-retired Rolls-Royce engineers spent 2014 researching options, including beekeeping. By the spring of 2015, the St. Peter’s Apiary ministry was born. Chuck Dailey, now the ministry’s senior and a certified master beekeeper, has overseen up to nine hives on the church’s 8-acre grounds. “Once we got the bees, our gardens became so much more,” Dailey said. “The harvest is so much better.” But he noted honeybees don’t pollinate everything. By making their

gardens safe for their honeybees — by practicing natural pest control methods and no longer spraying pesticides — it also brought back native pollinators like bumblebees and butterflies. “The native pollinators have really been bountiful because of our honeybees.” The cornucopia the church began producing on half-acre plots and raised beds allowed the church to share its wealth of produce with the larger Boone County community, and beyond. Produce went to the food pantry run by St. Joseph’s, the Catholic church in Lebanon. Produce went to the Shalom House, a Saturday soup kitchen in town for seniors. And through beekeeping, St. Peter’s also connected with the Indiana Black Farmers Co-op.

Members of the cooperative grow gardens where they can in Indianapolis for those living in Indy’s food deserts where fresh healthy produce is harder to come by. Four groups from the co-op accepted an offer from St. Peter’s in 2020 to come north to Boone County to farm a halfacre plot the church provided. They then take the produce they grow there back to the markets in Indy. “We’ve been really trying to expand our ‘Care of Creation’ ministry,” Dailey, 63, noted. “That is taking watch over what we’ve been given and being good stewards of the earth and everything that we have.” continued on next page MARCH 2022


continued from page 19

Plight of the humble bees Honeybees play essential roles in pollinating plants that humans and animals rely on for food. Declines in bee populations — including 20% of honeybee colonies per year in Indiana — threaten that food supply. Insecticide exposure, loss of flowering plants and nesting habitats, disease and parasites like varroa mites, and poor hive maintenance are all factors in the decline. The national media has been abuzz with the plight of honeybees on and off for some 16 years. Dubbed “Colony Collapse Disorder” in 2006, the syndrome includes widespread honeybee deaths and the mysterious abandonment of hives by worker bees. Since then, much research has been directed at honeybees that help pollinate three quarters of the grown food we consume. Overall, the number of honeybees kept in the United States has been declining since 1950. The Department of Agriculture said there were some 5.6 million honey-producing colonies then. Today, there are around 2.8 million. In Indiana, it’s estimated there are currently over 6,000 honeyproducing colonies. Most colonies will have around 60,000 bees which include the workers we most often see gathering the nectar, the male drones that mate with the queen, and the one queen who lays the eggs. While culturally honeybees appear everywhere symbolizing natural goodness — from breakfast cereals to perfume to even alcohol (mead) — most people who slather golden honey across their breakfast biscuit or drop a dollop in their midday tea may not realize that honeybees are not native to North America. They are imports from Europe. The first colonists


MARCH 2022


Children from the summer Caring Hands Camp suited up to get a close up look at beekeeping at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lebanon. The camp is an annual program of the Boys and Girls Club of Boone County.

brought domesticated honeybees with them in the early 1600s for the natural sugar and the wax they provide.

analysis, 28% of North America’s 47 bumblebee species “face some level of extinction risk.”

The plight of the honeybee is real, but honeybees are hardly at risk of extinction. “They’re not a native species. So, they’ll never be an ‘endangered species’ in the United States,” said Kathleen Prough, chief apiary inspector with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. “In Europe they can be but not here.”

They don’t get the media attention, but native pollinators — bumblebees, butterflies, hummingbirds — also pollinate plants that grow into the fruits and vegetables we eat. And some of the same issues affecting honeybees, especially pesticides, is affecting native pollinators. Many, like bumblebees, nest in the ground. Any pesticide on the ground can kill them.

In fact, more honeybees are on the planet today than at any time in history noted Alison McAfee, a honeybee researcher at North Carolina State University, writing in Scientific American. “For some reason, maybe because they are small, honeybees are not generally viewed as the massively distributed livestock animal that they are.” Scientists, meanwhile, know little about the population status of most indigenous bees. Data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature indicates that many species are declining. Of particular concern: bumblebees. According to a 2015

“The biggest thing I tell people,” Prough said, “is if you plant flowers, the more native flowers you plant the better because they’ll attract native bees. And the honeybees will show up, as well.” She also noted a large variety of native flowering bushes and trees that attract both honeybees and native pollinators. For folks interested in becoming a beekeeper, Prough, 60, who is retiring this month from the DNR, suggests connecting with other beekeepers at their local meetings. “Talk to the beekeepers, go out with a beekeeper

into their hives,” she said. “You have got to get used to bees flying around you. That freaks some people out even with a hat and veil.”

Healing power of bees “The Keeper of the Bees” was the last work of famed Hoosier writer and naturalist Gene Stratton-Porter. Published originally as a magazine series shortly after her December 1924 death in a vehicle accident, the story was pollinated with her common theme of nature’s power. The piece spoke of reconciliation and healing for a wounded World War I veteran, an aging ailing beekeeper and a precocious child who come together through beekeeping. Stratton-Porter seemed to foreshadow how beekeeping would come to be used to heal the afflicted. Veterans suffering PTSD, people with all kinds of physical and mental conditions find relief in bees. “They’re getting veterans into beekeeping because once you get in the hive, you just calm right down,” Prough explained. “You don’t want to be super hyper when you’re in the hive because the bees will know. You just calm down and just go slow and watch the bees.” Ross Harding, 36, an Indianapolis-area beekeeper who makes his living keeping bees and selling the honey, noted humans and honeybees have been working together since the days of the Old Testament. “It’s a special relationship we’ve had for thousands of years, a long, long time. So, there’s all this folklore about people talking to bees, and how statistically beekeepers live longer …. It’s weird ... it’s like that all across the world,” he said. The ancient Greeks spoke of a special healing power in bees. And Harding noted “apitherapy” — that uses honey, pollen, bee secretions like “royal jelly,” and bee venom — is a thriving alternative medicine for many people in the U.S. Apitherapy is considered a traditional medicine in some parts of Europe and Asia.

stewards of the Hives and the earth It’s apropos that the apiary at St. Peter’s has become a ministry. St. Peter’s likes to note that most all churches offer coffee and doughnuts. But what other churches can offer coffee, doughnuts, and honey — especially honey that’s harvested on the church grounds? continued on next page

YOUR PERFECT LAWN COULD BE KILLING POLLINATORS Once upon a time, running barefoot through the yard meant treading carefully for fear of stepping on a bee making its way from one flowering white clover to the next and getting stung. And there was a time kids put dandelion and clover flowers into old jelly or peanut butter jars and then caught honeybees. They’d watch the bees up close and hear them buzz around next to their ear for a bit before opening the lid and letting them fly away. Throughout much of suburbia and even down country lanes, those are cherished memories younger generations never experienced. That’s because at some time between “once upon” and now, Americans started spending $75 billion a year for the perfect lawn. But in getting rid of clover and dandelions, we also rid our yards of honeybees and native pollinators. While those flowering “weeds” may be unsightly to you, it’s important to remember they’re food to bees and other pollinators, said Doug Richmond, a professor of turfgrass entomology and applied ecology for Purdue’s College of Agriculture. He joined other researchers studying the impact lawn care practices have on pollinators several years ago. These researchers created a pollinator-friendly guide for lawn care that includes:

Wait until May or June to apply pesticides if you need to use them at all. Early-season pollinators and colonies of bees are still recovering from winter stress in March and April.

Use granular formulations of insecticides, which fall to the ground and avoid direct contamination of flowering portions of blooming plants. If you must spray, mow first to remove the flowers and the presence of pollinators. Establish plots of diverse, pollinator-friendly native plants that bloom from early spring to fall. Check with your local Master Gardeners for ideas on what to plant. Source: Purdue University

MARCH 2022


Ross Harding looks over a frame of bees pulled from a hive. Harding, a professional beekeeper for about 10 years, cares for hives around urban and suburban Indianapolis. He sells the honey he collects to numerous restaurants and venues. PHO TO BY ESTHER BO STO N PHO TO G RAPHY

continued from page 21 Dailey noted that while honey is a beneficial byproduct, “Our main focus is teaching beekeeping.” Last year, the ministry welcomed over 200 individuals, adults and children, who visited its hives to learn about the importance of pollinators. “We suit them up and take them in,” he said. The church offers regular tours of the apiary twice a month. But if someone just stops by the church, Dailey said he and Sandy, who live nearby, are there about every day tending the hives or working in the gardens. Dailey is also the education chair for The Beekeepers of Indiana. With local groups all around the state, the association brings beekeepers and those interested in beekeeping together to share information and insights. Dailey regularly gives talks across the state on beekeeping, including at the Indiana State Fair. In the meantime, St. Peter’s developed another new ministry — “The Harvest House Community Center” — led by Sandy Dailey, a certified master gardener. In an 800-square-foot teaching kitchen beside the church, the


MARCH 2022

Daileys and a member of the Boone County Master Gardeners lead young people from the community through activities based on the Junior Master Gardeners curriculum. They teach the basics of gardening, the need for pollinators, and basic canning and food preparation techniques. The food grown by the youth at the church is either used by the youth themselves or donated to local food pantries. “And so we’re trying to be good stewards, we try to be good teachers,” said Dailey. And the church tries to be good neighbors, too. A bottle of honey is given every year to those who live alongside the church. “A lot of them grow fruit trees and different vegetables and things,” Dailey said. “That’s just more food sources our bees have.”

pollinators back … back here, anyway. Bumblebees are huge here. They’re probably one of the hardest working pollinators.” The Care of Creation ministry uses pollinators as a teaching tool to youngsters about the fragile balance in the greater circle of life. And Dailey said the humble honeybee and other pollinators highlight humankind’s role. “We’re placed here to leave the earth better than we found it,” he said. “I have my ‘Masters Certification’ in beekeeping, but we’re placed here as stewards, not as masters. And not just honeybees, but native bees. They’re all important to us because our food source really depends on these guys.” Richard G. Biever is senior editor of Indiana Connection.

Was it just honeybees that turned St. Peter’s gardens around after that one rough harvest in 2013?

For more information about beekeeping, visit The Beekeepers of Indiana website:

“No,” Dailey said. “It was a combination of honeybees and being very conscientious about what we do. Our realization that ‘hey, stop putting stuff on plants that kills pollinators’ has really brought our native

For more information about St. Peter’s Apiary Ministry and the other “Care of Creation” ministries at the Boone County church, visit

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Waylan Case, left, and Mitchell Werner, right, with Andy McComas, institutional director at North American Lineman Training Center.

Hoosier Energy news

CLIMBING TOWARD THEIR DREAMS SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS GRADUATE FROM LINEMAN TRAINING SCHOOL Whether it was first grade or eighth grade, the dream began early. On Dec. 17, 2021, that dream became reality for Jasper, Indiana’s Mitchell Werner and Greensburg, Indiana’s Waylan Case as they graduated from the North American Lineman Training Center. Both claimed their diplomas from the school in McEwen, Tennessee, with the help of a scholarship from Hoosier Energy. Werner and Case are the inaugural recipients of the W. Eugene Roberts and Daniel L. Schuckman Memorial scholarships, respectively, a tribute to more than 35 years of dedicated service to Hoosier Energy and its members.

THIRD GENERATION CAREER It is a third-generation dream come true for Werner, whose grandfather, Eugene, and father, Matthew, also worked as linemen. And he knew it early on in life. “In first grade, we were asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow


MARCH 2022

up?’” Werner recalled. “I drew a picture of a lineman because of my dad and grandpa.” However, where his father broke into the business by signing on as an apprentice, the son opted to attend lineman school.

“I was interested in welding or electrical work, but welding was being inside too much for me, so I decided to pursue the lineman thing,” said Case, a graduate of Greensburg High School and member of Decatur County REMC.

“It shows that you’re not messing around,” Werner said. “You spent (a lot of money) already, so they know this is something you want to do, that you’re serious about it.”

He also had uncles who worked as electricians, so Case got some experience doing wiring. But he wanted to do more than go from the breaker to the outlets; he wanted to go from the power lines to the breaker.

Now he has his first job, working for Duke Energy in Bloomington.

Earning the scholarship was a bonus.

FROM THE POWER LINES TO THE BREAKER It’s a similar story for Case, although his dream began a little bit later in life. His father, Alex, is an agricultural seed salesman whose clients are sometimes both farmers and linemen. So, when Case showed interest in the electrical field as an eighth-grader, his dad mentioned the possibility of becoming a lineman.

“Anyone who goes to school is hurting for money or has a loan, so this was a good opportunity to help keep me afloat,” Case said. “It sure helps a lot.” So will the job Case begins for Brink Constructors, a traveling contractor. Case will head to Colorado to begin his career and perhaps pursue his interest as an avid outdoorsman between shifts.

co-op news




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Wear proper safety material. As you are cleaning up, wear proper protection to prevent injury. Work gloves, safety


pring is a fickle season that brings nature’s renewal of buds and blooms to the trees and fields and also brings dark, powerful rolling storms that can wreak havoc. From 2016 through 2020, the National Weather Service recorded 28 deaths, 133 injuries and over $64 million in property and crop damage from weather events in Indiana alone. Weather disasters can occur yearround, but most of the worst storms Indiana receives come in the spring. “While not all damage can be prevented, being prepared can minimize damage and reduce injury or death,” said John Gasstrom, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives. Here are some tips from your electric cooperative for staying safe before and after a storm hits.

BEFORE THE STORM • Make sure your cell phone is charged. Consider purchasing an external battery charger for your phone to charge it without electricity. • Have a battery-operated radio available so you can stay updated on the latest weather watches and warnings. • Unplug appliances and other electrical items, such as computers. Damage can occur from power surges caused by nearby lightning strikes.


glasses, heavy-duty work shirt

• Have an emergency kit ready and create a family communication plan.

with long sleeves, work pants, and steel-toe work boots are a good idea if you are clearing large amounts of broken,

FOLLOWING THE STORM • If you are driving and come upon fallen power lines, turn around. Never drive over or around fallen lines.

splintered or sharp debris. •

Always assume a downed power line is live. Downed

• If a downed power line falls on your vehicle, stay in the vehicle. Call 911. Exit only if your life is in immediate danger from a fire or other reason. Then, jump clear of your vehicle being certain to never touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time; then shuffle away keeping your feet together at all times. • While checking for damage outside your home, be aware of hazards from exposed nails, broken glass, and broken tree branches dangling on other limbs.

Stay away from power lines.

power lines pose a particularly dangerous threat in areas where individuals are clearing fallen trees and branches from roads and lawns. Let the professionals handle this job. It’s not worth the risk. If you see a downed power line that is sparking or on fire, call your electric utility immediately. •

Stay away from damaged buildings or structures. If a building has been subjected

• To avoid the chance of a fire or explosion, use a flashlight, instead of a candle or torch, to inspect your home in the dark.

to flood waters or high winds,

• Since downed power lines could still be energized, do not touch them or any objects in contact with them. Call 911 to report the downed lines.

until professionals can

When the spring storms arrive, know how to keep yourself, your family and your property safe from harm during severe weather.

it may not be structurally safe. It’s best to stay away from these types of structures assess the extent of the damage. •

Never operate gasoline-powered equipment indoors. Gas engines emit carbon monoxide — an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas you should never breathe.

MARCH 2022

There's more to 811 than

SUBMITTING A TICKET You know you need to contact 811 before you dig—but did you know that there is much more to safe digging than that, and contacting 811 is just the first step?

Quick 811 Spring Tips: • Submit your free locate request at at least two full working days before you plan to start digging for your spring projects. • Working days are every day except Saturday, Sunday, and state and national holidays. • If a contractor is needed for the project, request they contact Indiana 811 before they start digging. • It’s fast, easy and free. As always, please follow the Five Steps to Safe Digging:



Follow us for damage prevention news and tips. @IN811

Indiana 811







REGISTRATION • VOTING BALLOT • ENERGY KIT • PRIZE DRAWING Detach and bring this card to the annual meeting on March 26.

voting instructions The option of in-person voting is available for those who attend the annual meeting. For those with scheduling conflicts and those who are limiting their risk of exposure to COVID-19, the following voting options are available. Voting began Feb. 22 and ends at 11:59 pm EDT on March 22.


Ballots were mailed Feb. 22. Complete your paper ballot by filling in the circles next to your selections. Mail completed ballot in return envelope provided to Survey & Ballot Systems, P.O. Box 46430, Eden Prairie, MN 55344. Envelopes must be returned by March 22.


To access the login page of the official SEIREMC 2022 Director Election, please type into the address bar located at the top of your internet browser screen. You will need your Member Number and Election Passcode to log in. (This information can be found on the ballot mailed to you.) Do not mail your ballot if you plan to vote online.


App: Open your SmartHub app, log in and click the “Vote Now” button. Online: Log in to your SmartHub online account and click the “Vote Now” button.

If you have any problems voting online, please email

THIS IS YOUR OFFICIAL REGISTRATION CARD. Please bring this card with you to the annual meeting on Saturday, March 26.

Do not throw this card away! Tear it off and keep it. It’s your ticket to the annual meeting.




11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

1 – 2:30 p.m.



VOTING Districts 4, 5 and 9

Renewable energy activities presented by Hoosier Energy Door prize drawings


Musical performance by Southern Sirens

Special Guest Speaker: State Rep. Randy Frye, House District 67




Beneficial Electrification, Co-op Careers, Community, Energy Explorers, Energy Wise, Load Management, Safety, SEI Fiber, SmartHub, and Vegetation Management


Presented by SEIREMC Journeymen Linemen

South Ripley High School 1589 S. Benham Road Versailles, IN 47042

Districts 4, 5, and 9

DRAWING FOR DOOR PRIZES Grand Prizes (Must be present to win): Electric Rototiller Smart TV

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