Southeastern IN REMC - May 2023 Indiana Connection

Page 1

MAY 2023
21-25 Ride along on a family road trip — in an electric vehicle THERE YET? Are we Southeastern IN REMC’s Tips to stay safe around electricity — see pages 6-7.

Meet the team: Richard Biever

Senior Editor Richard Biever is a rare talent and the lifeblood of Indiana Connection magazine. Here’s more about him, in his own wonderful words.

My role at Indiana Connection is to tell the stories of Indiana’s electric cooperatives and their consumers. As senior editor, I generally write and photograph most of the cover stories. Writing about the people of rural and suburban Indiana, state history and places, and how electric co-ops connect has been an incredibly satisfying career for over 34 years.

Three facts about Richard:

• Some of my favorite things, coincidentally, have their beginnings the year I was born. My two favorite musical artists, Bob Dylan and the Beatles, started recording in 1962; the first season of my favorite baseball team, the New York Mets, was also in 1962.

• Tell City, on the Ohio River, was my dad’s hometown and where I grew up. Perry County is where Abraham Lincoln’s family crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky and settled when Lincoln was a tot. Of course, the land where Lincoln spent a quarter of his life and grew to adulthood became part of Spencer County when it was formed in 1818. That’s still a source of personal pride because Spencer County is where my mother grew up.

• I am passionate about iconic electric cooperative mascot Willie Wiredhand. Willie is the friendly face who’s represented consumer-owned co-op power since 1951. I have done my utmost to keep Willie alive and vibrant as our spokesplug promoting electrical safety and efficiency, and representing co-ops in a light way.

If there’s been a story in the last 34 years you’ve loved, Richard likely wrote it.

Win a prize pack of Richard’s favorite things, including a Willie Wiredhand bendy and a Bob Dylan CD!

On the menu: August: Recipes for one pot dinners ready in 30 minutes, deadline June 1. September: Crunchy recipes, deadline July 1. If we publish your recipe on our food pages, we’ll send you a $10 gift card.

Giveaway: Win a prize pack of Richard Biever’s favorite things! Visit or send your contact information to the address below. The deadline to enter is May 31.

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.


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 311,000 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.


8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600 Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606 317-487-2220


Randy Kleaving President

Steve McMichael Vice President

Dr. Richard Leeper Secretary/Treasurer

John Cassady CEO


Stephanie Groves Editor

Richard George Biever Senior Editor

Holly Huffman Communication Support Specialist

Lauren Carman Communication Manager

Kiley Lipps Graphic Designer

Ashley Curry Production and Design Coordinator

Amber Knight Creative Manager

Mandy Barth Vice President of Communication


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.


Indiana Connection does not use unsolicited freelance manuscripts or photographs and assumes no responsibility for the safekeeping or return of unsolicited material.


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If you receive Indiana Connection through your electric co-op membership, report address changes to your local co-op.


Periodicals postage paid at Indianapolis, Indiana, and at additional mailing offices.


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.

editor MAY 2023 3
Richard Biever

On the cover

It’s the “Outer Banks or Bust” for the Garner family vacation — a journey of 1,000 miles from Rochester — all on electricity. TJ Garner, from left, wife Ashley, and their kids Mallorey and Maggie made the trip in Fulton County REMC’s EV, a 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD.

cover story food 18 contents 4 MAY 2023 MAY 03 FROM THE EDITOR 05 CO-OP NEWS Energy news and information from your electric cooperative 10 ENERGY Driving forward: The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program 12 COUNTY Fountain County 14 INDIANA EATS Meet (and eat) at the drive-in 16 TRAVEL Upcoming strawberry festivals 18 FOOD It’s strawberry season 20 SAFETY Take care charging your electric vehicle 21 COVER STORY Ride along on a family road trip — in an electric vehicle 28 HOOSIER ENERGY/ WABASH VALLEY NEWS 29 BACKYARD
are tops for summer crops
a beaver believer
ALL EDITIONS) 29 energy backyard FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA Indiana Connection 10
MAY 2023 PAGES 21-25 Ride along on a family road trip — in an electric vehicle THERE YET? Are we 21




Fax: 812-689-6987



7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday


712 South Buckeye Street

Osgood, IN 47037


P.O. Box 196

Osgood, IN 47037


To report a power outage: 800-737-4111 or SmartHub


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)


Service. Mission. Country. These three words describe our nation’s veterans, and they also succinctly describe a core co-op ethos.

Veterans are innately motivated to serve, and in a similar vein, electric co-ops are guided by foundational principles that put their community first. Electric co-ops were founded to bring electricity to rural areas where there was none. In doing so, they powered local economies and helped them thrive. I believe this connection to an essential mission is why there are so many veterans in the utility industry and why they are generally such a great fit for electric co-ops.

closely together because they know their lives depend on each other’s actions. This fosters a high level of self-discipline, a sense of personal responsibility and a passion for excellence.

The utility industry is increasingly complex and undergoing a transformation. While there are the traditional engineering and vegetation management aspects of the industry, it now also encompasses technology, cybersecurity and the electrification of the transportation sector and other areas of the economy. Veterans are adept at responding to changing conditions and learning new technologies, which is essential in our evolving industry.


Residential pricing starts at $64.95 plus tax.


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

Today’s veterans are highly skilled, and many veterans are trained in disciplines such as engineering, electronics or mechanics — which are all beneficial to the utility industry. Southeastern Indiana REMC is proud to have employed many veterans through the years, and we’re grateful for their contributions to the co-op and to our community.


Our veteran colleagues joined the coop equipped with training in leadership and teamwork. That’s because while on active duty, servicemembers work

May is Military Appreciation Month and at Southeastern Indiana REMC, we are grateful to have veterans within our ranks. At the national level, electric co-ops support the “Vets Power Us” program, aimed at employing and honoring veterans and their families. This effort involves partnering with other electric co-ops across the country along with the Department of Labor, the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration and others to hire veterans in the energy industry.

I hope you’ll join me in recognizing the sacrifices veterans have made to our great country –– and the many contributions they continue to make to our community. Veterans, we salute you!

co-op news MAY 2023 5
A fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) product with speeds from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), thousands of people in the United States are critically injured or electrocuted as a result of electrical fires and accidents in their own homes every year. An average of 51,000 electrical home structure fires occur each year, claiming almost 500 lives, injuring more than 1,400 people and causing more than $1.3 billion in property damage.

Many electrocutions and home fires are preventable by understanding basic electrical safety principles. There are several measures you can take to help ensure your safety and that of your loved ones, so try to keep the following tips in mind:


Check to see that all of your electrical outlets are fully covered by outlet plates.


Make sure that your electrical panel doors are easily accessible and unblocked by clutter and furniture.


Keep liquids and drinks away from electrical items such as televisions and computers.


Examine your electrical cords regularly and check for signs of wear, fraying or cracking.

6 MAY 2023
to help you stay safe around electricity


Cords from appliances such as toasters and electric griddles should be placed away from hot surfaces — cords can be damaged by excess heat.


Use a surge protector to shield your computer and other electronic equipment from possible damage caused by voltage changes.

for kids


Situate your computer equipment and entertainment centers so they have plenty of space around them for ventilation.


Use extension cords as a temporary solution and never as a permanent power supply.

Never insert anything other than an electrical plug into an electric outlet. You can damage your home and hurt yourself if you do!


Make sure grounded (three-prong) appliances and equipment are plugged into grounded outlets.


Avoid using an extension cord outdoors unless it is plugged into a grounded outlet.

Stay away from green box transformers or other electrical equipment; they can shock you.


Use lightbulbs that correspond with the recommended wattage on your light fixtures. Overheated fixtures can lead to a fire.


If you're relying heavily on power strips, contact a qualified, licensed electrician to install additional outlets.

Don’t go near power stations, substations or anything that says “High Voltage.”

MAY 2023 7


Southeastern Indiana REMC offers a rebate for a new construction heat pump installation or for replacing another electric resistance heat, gas, A/C or heat pump. Rebated equipment must be installed in primary residence.


Stick-Built or Modular Home SEER ≥ 16, EER ≥ 10

Mobile/Manufactured Housing SEER ≥ 14, EER ≥ 10

*Mobile/manufactured homes are defined as factory assembled, transportable, designed for transportation on own chassis, can be placed on temporary or permanent foundation and intended for year-round occupancy. Modular homes must be residential single family homes.


Dual/Variable/Multi-Speed Compressor ONLY. Units that do not qualify include window air conditioners and “thru-the-wall” heat pumps (hotel-type machines). Single speed compressors for mobile/manufactured homes only qualify.


Must be replacing primary heat source for entire home. Single Speed Compressor

Dual/Variable/Multi-Speed Compressor

The following DO NOT qualify for 100% electric resistance replacement: Heat pump with electric resistance, space heaters, gas furnace, wood stove, wood pellet stove, A/C, back-up heat, generators.

All homeowners must complete a rebate application form and provide proof of purchase to receive any 2023 rebate. Application must be received by Southeastern Indiana REMC by Dec. 15 and within 90 days of the rebated equipment's installation date in order to qualify for the 2023 Rebate Program.

For more information and the full list of requirements, visit

8 MAY 2023


The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program

It may not have happened yet, but sooner or later, you’re going to see electric vehicle charging stations popping up where there were none before.

When they do, odds are it will be part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program that was created by the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in late 2021.

In a plan that has received approval from the Federal Highway Administration, the Indiana Department of Transportation is investing nearly $100 million to build an electric vehicle charging network at strategic locations across the state of Indiana over the next five years.

The NEVI program means that the Indiana Department of Transportation will contract with partners to build Level 3 DC Fast Charge charging stations along Indiana’s federally designated alternative fuel corridors (AFCs). Those consist of I-64, I-65, I-69,

I-70, I-74, I-80, I-94, I-265, I-275, I-465 and I-469.

This will feed into a national initiative to create a network of at least 500,000 reliable chargers across the United States to help support the growing adoption of electric vehicles.

NEVI funds must be invested in DC Fast Charge charging stations that are compliant with federal guidelines. Some of the primary requirements are that each station must have at least four ports that can charge simultaneously, be located every 50 miles along an AFC — less than one mile from an exit or intersection — and be accessible to the public 24 hours a day.

Indiana’s plan will result in at least 44 charging stations across the state. Once completed, every Hoosier should be within 40 miles of a NEVI-funded charging station. Locations are to be determined with federal guidance and a datadriven approach based on electric vehicle miles traveled, EV adoption

rates and growth models. Existing and planned stations as well as electric grid capacity are among other factors to be considered while promoting convenient usage by passenger EVs, along with mediumand heavy-duty vehicles.

The NEVI program will also fund 80 percent of the installation of EV charging stations along with up to five years of operation and maintenance. The remaining 20 percent of costs are to be funded by site owner-operators from whom the state of Indiana expects to seek proposals by mid-2023, with the installation of charging stations beginning in 2024.

10 MAY 2023

Fountain County COUNTY FACTS

Fountain County is named for James Fountaine (1757–1790), an officer who served in the American Revolutionary War and the Northwest Indian War. Fontaine was from Virginia and began a military career at an early age. After the Revolutionary War, he moved to Kentucky, where he served as major.

He was killed Oct. 22, 1790, in a battle with the Miami nation, led by Little Turtle, near where the St. Joseph River and St. Marys River merge to form the Maumee River, near modern Fort Wayne.


The Wabash River defines half of Fountain County’s shape, forming the northern and western sides. And while the state song, “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away,” was written by Paul Dresser, who grew up downstream in Vigo County, the bridge over the Wabash River at Attica bears Dresser’s name.


George Dewey Hay, the founder of the Grand Ole Opry, is one notable native of Fountain County. He was born in Attica in 1895.

After World War I, Hay worked in radio in Chicago before moving to Nashville, where he started the original Grand Ole Opry radio program, from which the country music stage show of the same name evolved.

Hay died in 1968 and was honored as a Sagamore of the Wabash in 1988.


Named after the road it is situated near, Old 55 Distillery ( is an awardwinning family business in Newtown offering whiskey and bourbon made from locally sourced grains, plus a tasting room and facility tours.


NAMED FOR: James Fountaine



county feature 12 MAY 2023
Attica Newtown Covington WabashRiver



I just wanted to call and say that I just read the March Indiana Connection, and this is the best one I’ve ever read. The story about Hunter Smith is inspiring and the recipes were wonderful, and I never do anything like this, but I just think you guys needed to know that whoever wrote the article with Hunter Smith in it did an excellent job.


Via telephone


Mr. Biever,

That was not only a beautiful story, but also beautifully written.


Via email


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

We know how to find all water leaks underground. Call us!




If you’re looking for a dining experience with a hint of nostalgia, consider cruising to one of Indiana’s drive-in restaurants. Jesse G. Kirby is credited as the originator of the drive-in concept in the United States, and he founded Kirby’s Pig Stand in the early 1920s in Dallas, Texas. Over the next decade, the trend spread throughout the country, and the concept of ordering food and having it delivered to your car became more common as families began owning automobiles.

Triple XXX was Indiana’s first drive-in, and it opened in West Lafayette in 1929. The restaurant still serves its famous frosty root beer today — although the company no longer employs carhops. Pull in to Triple XXX (2 N. Salisbury St., West Lafayette), or one of these other local standouts, the next time you’d like to enjoy a tasty blast from the past.

As the name suggests, hot dogs are the name of the game at this spot. You can wash down your dog with a milkshake or a flavored fountain drink and pick up a branded T-shirt while you’re there. You’ll receive 10% off your order if you come to the restaurant wearing a Mr. Weenie shirt!

Featuring an authentic intercom system and food delivery by carhops, Don’s Drive In has been in business for 45 years. It’s the place to order one of their ice cream “flurries” swirled with your favorite candy, as well as root beer floats, juicy burgers and fries. The restaurant is cash only, so come prepared.

Opened in 2014, The MUG is owned by Chris Baggot, who also heads up Tyner Pond Farm, a regenerative farm with grass-fed beef and pastureraised chicken and pork. The quality of meat shines through in their offerings, making their hamburger and pork tenderloin two must-try options.

Indiana eats 14 MAY 2023 DON’S DRIVE IN 15437 U.S. Highway 41 Kentland | 219-474-6323 MR. WEENIE 600 N. Broadway St. Peru | 765-473-6564 THE MUG 117 Apple St. Greenfield | 317-477-7550 Stop by for a meal and a memory

Strawberry Fields may be forever — at least in some of our Beatle-inspired minds — but the juicy red morsels of late spring and early summer are fleeting. Be certain not to miss out on these first fruits of the season by visiting a strawberry festival near you.

All around Indiana, festivals featuring strawberries kick off summer by bringing communities together for good times, good treats and often, good causes. Here are some festivities to check out around the

Strawberries on the Square

May 26 | 11 a.m. until sold out, EDT

Johnson County Courthouse lawn, Franklin

Strawberries, shortcakes, ice cream and whipped topping are the main attraction, but the festival offers much more. Food vendors will be open around the courthouse square, and there will be a car cruise-in and bluegrass music from 7-9 p.m.

Crawfordsville Strawberry Festival

Friday, June 9 | 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Saturday, June 10 | 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Sunday, June 11 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Historic Lane Place, Crawfordsville

Each June, Crawfordsville and Montgomery County residents come together to create the largest local event of the year, the Crawfordsville Strawberry Festival. The strawberry-themed festival features food, fun, arts & crafts and topnotch entertainment for all ages.

St. Joseph Strawberry Festival

June 4 | Noon-4 p.m., EDT

St Joseph Catholic Church, 410 S. Race St., Princeton

Join in this fellowship and community event featuring all things strawberry. Includes outdoor food, kid’s games, a dunking booth, basket raffle, games of chance and a barbecue meal (11 a.m.-2 p.m.). events/5979258855515484

Strawberry Fun Farm Weekends

June 10-11, 17-18, 24-25 Saturdays 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sundays 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Johnson’s Farm Produce, 8960 E. Ridge Road, Hobart

Fun Farm Weekends include a variety of delicious strawberry treats and activities for kids. In addition, the $12 admission fee includes access to the “UPICK” fields and wagon rides.

Please check each event’s website or Facebook page before attending, as dates/information may change.

travel 16 MAY 2023

It’s strawberry season



Veronica Sellers, Charlestown, Indiana

1 box yellow cake mix

1⅓ cups orange juice

4 eggs, separated

1½ teaspoons grated orange peel

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup plus ¼ cup sugar, divided

2 cups whipping cream

2 pints fresh strawberries, washed and tops removed

Powdered sugar, to taste

In a mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, orange juice, egg yolks and orange peel. Beat on medium speed for 4 minutes. Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spread the meringue evenly over the cake batter. Bake at 350° F for 35 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Cool in pans on wire racks (meringue will crack). Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Mash ½ cup of strawberries with remaining sugar; fold into whipped cream, adding powdered sugar to taste. Loosen edges of cakes from pans with a knife. Using two large spatulas, carefully remove one cake to a serving platter, meringue side up. Gently spread the top of the cake with about half of the cream mixture. Slice the remaining berries; arrange half the berries on top of cream mixture. Repeat layers.


Marilles Mauer, Greensburg, Indiana

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

1¼ cups sugar

3 eggs

3 tablespoons strawberry


Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 drops red food coloring

⅔ cup finely chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, mix butter and

sugar on medium-high speed until lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add the strawberry preserves, lemon juice and zest, vanilla extract and red food coloring and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix once more. With the mixer on low, begin adding the dry ingredients a little at a time until everything is added and blended. Add the strawberries and mix on low until incorporated. Scoop out dough by generous tablespoons and put on prepared baking sheet, spacing about an inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then cool on a wire rack before serving.


Patricia Zobrist, Knox, Indiana

2 (10-ounce) bags of frozen strawberries, thawed

2 (6-ounce) cans frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed

2 (2-liter) bottles of ginger ale, chilled

1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, stems and leaves removed, and sliced

Add frozen strawberries to a blender and blend until pureed. Pour lemonade into a punch bowl and stir in processed berries. Add ginger ale and stir, then sprinkle in the fresh strawberries. Serve immediately.

food MAY 2023 19


Do you recall all the safety rules you were taught about refueling when you first learned to drive? Things like: shut off the engine; don’t smoke; don’t leave the pump unattended; and don’t overfill.

If you are among the growing number of drivers sliding in behind the wheel of an electric vehicle, different “refueling” considerations apply.

The most basic electrical safety lesson is that electricity and water don’t mix. However, EVs and their charging stations are designed to handle whatever Mother Nature throws your way, be it dust or rain. That being said, there are precautions to think about when charging an EV, whether you are in your garage or at a public charging station.

“You might not have to worry about spilling gasoline or setting off an explosion at the pump,” said Jon Elkins, vice president of safety, training and compliance at Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “But, just as when you use anything electric, there are a few things to keep in mind.”

Using a Level 1 charger plugged into your garage’s 120-volt/15-amp outlet is the easiest way to charge your vehicle, though it is the slowest. Always use the charger provided by the vehicle’s manufacturer. Before you plug into any electrical outlet, have a qualified electrician inspect and verify the electrical system (outlet, wiring, junctions and protection devices) for heavy-duty service according to your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Check the electrical outlet and plug while charging and discontinue use if

the electrical outlet or plug is hot, then have the electrical outlet serviced by a qualified electrician.

In addition, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when charging. Some of the most common guidelines are:

• Do not use extension cords, multioutlet power strips, surge protection strips or similar devices.

• Do not use an electrical outlet that is worn or damaged, or one that will not hold the plug firmly in place.

• Do not use an electrical outlet that is on a circuit with other electrical loads.

The Level 2 electric vehicle charger uses 240 volts and 20 to 40 amps. This will recharge the car more quickly. You will probably need to have a qualified electrician install the charger and a separate service and plug at your home, similar to the 240 service for an electric range, water heater or clothes dryer.

Before using a public charger, always inspect it first to make sure it doesn’t appear damaged. EV charging stations are designed so the cable remains de-energized until it’s connected to the port on the vehicle. Once connected, the vehicle starts communication with the device, conducting measurements to determine everything is safe and working properly, and only then will it begin the flow of energy.

EV Charging 101

Switching over to an electric vehicle allows you to “fill ’er up” with kilowatts at a fraction of the cost of gasoline. But just as fuels come as gas, diesel, or E85, or in different octanes, electric vehicles have three general types of chargers., which promotes EV awareness, has outlined the three currently commonly used.

Level 1:

Charger uses a standard 120-volt outlet. All drivers can charge their EV at Level 1 at home, which requires no extra equipment or installation. On average, a full charging time is about 8 hours — but varies by model. Consult the automaker’s website for more information.

Level 2:

Charger uses a 240-volt outlet. Homeowners may decide to install a charging station — also known as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) — in their home. This requires professional installation of an outlet type commonly used by large appliances like electric ranges and dryers. There are also many Level 2 chargers across the United States in public areas. On average, full charging time varies from 2 to 6 hours.

Level 3:

These “DC Fast Charge” networks provide about 80 percent of a vehicle’s potential battery power in about 15 minutes. Though historically reserved for commercial and industrial settings, they are becoming increasingly accessible for use in charging passenger vehicles.

safety 20 MAY 2023


Ride along with the Garners on vacation ... in an electric car

Motorists have long been told we were on a journey to a greener place. Just around the bend was a new world where electric vehicles would easily merge alongside gas-powered vehicles. But for decades, as we rounded the curves, topped hills and traveled long stretches, we passed untapped power lines. And from the back seat of America came the dispirited plea, “Are we there yet?”

At last, after false starts, dead ends and detours, the electrification of transportation is becoming reality.

To that point, TJ Garner, chief operating officer at Fulton County REMC in Rochester, accepted a challenge from Indiana Connection and his employer to take his family on spring break in the co-op’s electric car. This was more than just a short jaunt in the 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD.

Garner, wife Ashley, and their two daughters were heading to Rodanthe on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. That’s a two-day drive of just over 1,000 miles. Before leaving, Garner carefully charted the trip to locate public charging stations all along the way.

EVs are expected to fully merge into the mainstream by the early 2030s. And, some orange-coned construction zones for electrical infrastructure will need to pop up. But when kids in the backseat of an EV on a long trip start asking, “Are we there yet?,” as kids have asked probably since the days of the Conestoga wagons crossing the dusty plains, that’ll be the sign that EVs as mainstream transportation have arrived.

On the next four pages, follow the Garner family’s “EV travelog” and “TJ’s takeaways” for anyone considering a similar journey.

MAY 2023 21
The Garner family, Ashley (from left), 11-year-old Mallorey, 3-year-old Maggie and TJ get set for a 1,000 mile drive — in an all-electric Ford Mustang.


FRIDAY, MARCH 24: Rochester, Indiana

The car is packed with four suitcases in the back hatch; what was left for a week on the Outer Banks is shoved in the “frunk” (the front trunk of an electric vehicle where the engine is normally located for gas-powered cars). The battery is charged to 100% — for now.

This trip is going to take me out of my “if it isn’t half full, it’s empty” mentality. At a couple of points, we’ll be putting the estimated 312-mile battery range of the REMC’s Ford Mustang Mach-E to the test more than my comfort range normally likes, especially as we get into the mountains of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.

STOP 1 • 80 miles • Carmel, Indiana

After a short first leg down U.S. 31, we arrived at the charger at 67% of charge. Adding only 13% to the battery did not take long. Since it was cold and blustery outside, Ashley and the girls just stayed in the car. After the battery charges to 80%, the kW input really drops off, and it’s almost a waste of time to add more, as long as you have enough at 80% to get to your destination or the next charger.

STOP 2 • 120 miles • Cincinnati, Ohio



STOP 3 • 80 miles • Georgetown, Kentucky

Out of Indiana and into Ohio: With the seat warmers on and the girls snuggled up in blankets, we arrived at the EVgo station where there were three chargers. Two were 50 kWs, the other was a 150 kW. The faster one was being used when we arrived, so I pulled up to one of the slower ones and plugged in. After I was plugged in for all of three minutes, the car at the faster charger left, so I switched. This charge of about 30 minutes took the car’s battery from 29% to 80%. At the charger, the guy next to us was charging his Kia and admiring the Mustang. I told him about the 1,000-mile trip we were on. He said, “You must be braver than me.”

Into Kentucky: All those horse farms we passed along I-75 seemed fitting since I was driving a Ford Mustang EV. The weather changed, and the sun came out. The temperature jumped up about 20 degrees. The car’s built-in navigation system picked up on this change just north of Lexington. We arrived at the Electrify America charger with 51%. Plugging into the 150 kW charger got us back up to 80% in 20 minutes. At this station, we had the only car parked at any of the chargers.

22 MAY 2023
Rochester 1. Carmel 2. Cincinnati 3. Georgetown 5. Asheville 4.Williamsburg
Day 1

STOP 4 • 115 miles • Williamsburg, Kentucky

The car needed one last charge to get us to our destination of the day — Asheville, North Carolina. We arrived at the Electrify America station this time with 38%. Three cars were charging at this stop. The car suggested we charge to 84%, but the charge slowed down so much after 80% that I couldn’t wait any longer. After 25 minutes, we were on the road again. Upon leaving, the navigation system said we should arrive at the hotel we were staying for the night with 25% battery remaining.

SATURDAY, MARCH 25 Asheville, North Carolina Day 2

Day 2 of the trip started with me leaving the family at the hotel and heading to the Electrify America station next to the hotel. The charger area was busy for being a little before 8 a.m. I was able to get the last spot in the six-bay station. It took an hour to get me to 80%. Then, it was back to the hotel to get the girls and back out onto I-40 heading east.

STOP 5: END OF DAY 1 183 miles • Asheville, North Carolina

The so-called “range anxiety” never affected me in the Mustang … until I missed my exit and had to drive all over the state of North Carolina to get back on the right path. As the battery’s percentage kept dropping, my anxiety kept increasing. We finally arrived at the hotel with 12% battery left. I’m sure this would not bother many people, but as a new EV driver, I was in panic mode. Luckily, the hotel was a block away from an Electrify America station. That was intentional, on my part, in planning the trip.

STOP 1 • 175 miles • Jamestown, North Carolina

Jamestown was planned out perfectly from the car’s onboard navigation. It brought us to a charger that was a half mile off the path. That would have been perfect — if I could have gotten the charger to connect. The app needed for this charger at Shell Energy was one that I did not have in my rolodex of charging apps on my phone, and for some reason I could not download one. So, after messing with it for a few minutes, I looked for the closest one down the road. We had to go about 10 miles out of the way, but it was at a nice little grocery store. This was a 45-minute charge to 80%, and off we went.


STOP 2 • 160 miles • Tarboro, North Carolina

The final stop before Rodanthe was at Edgecombe-Martin County Electric Membership Corporation in Tarboro. This charger was one of my favorite charger spots. The charger was in the parking lot of the cooperative. Though there was no bathroom (the cooperative office was closed on this Saturday afternoon) and no snacks, what I liked about this location was the empty parking lot. Every other charging station we used was in a busy parking lot. The girls got to get out and run off some energy without any worry of traffic. An hour on the dot, and 80% charged, we were ready for the beach.

STOP 3: ARRIVED AT DESTINATION 142 miles • Rodanthe, North Carolina

We arrived at the beach in the late afternoon with about 80 miles left of range. I immediately plugged the car into a 120volt wall outlet at the vacation home we are renting with my parents, my two sisters and their families — 14 of us with ages ranging from 3 to 72. My Ford app said the Mustang would be fully charged in four days, Tuesday at 11 p.m. There is a public charger down the road that I hope works because it’s the only one faster than the wall outlet for 90 miles.

MAY 2023 23
1. Jamestown 2. Tarboro 3. Rodanthe


Day 3


Rodanthe, North Carolina

For the journey home, the Mustang had charged to 98% on the car’s portable charger plugged into a 120-volt outlet at the beach home. Its range read 245 miles. We said goodbye to the rest of the family and headed out just before 8 a.m. We essentially retraced our route. We made two stops in North Carolina before reaching Asheville for the night. Nearing Asheville, we hit a headwind of 40 mph. That, with the mountains, made the range drop fast. I got a little nervous when the car’s “low battery” alarm dinged at 21%. It dinged again at 11%. But, we made it to the hotel, and I recharged at the same station I used on the way to Rodanthe.


Asheville, North Carolina Day 4

We left the hotel at 7 a.m. with 80% charge. Stops included stations just east of Knoxville, Tennessee, and the two in Kentucky where we had stopped on the way down. The last gave us enough juice to skip the stop in Ohio.

Back home again in Indiana, the car’s navigation took us to an Electrify America station on Indy’s northeast side in Fishers. Mallorey was in charge of hooking up the charger at this stop. She did great!

We arrived home in Rochester that evening with 33% battery left. We unpacked, and I dug out the portable charger to charge the car overnight so it was ready to go in the morning — when it was back to work for the Mustang and me.


I was skeptical about taking this trip in the Ford Mustang EV. The farthest I had driven it previously was 96 miles. Even then, I made sure I was fully charged before I left and plugged into the free charger while there. Range anxiety was a big deal to me. After 2,100 miles, here are some things I learned:

• Room for four: I was surprised how much we were able to fit into the Mach-E. No issue with not having enough room for a family of four and all the things needed for a week at the beach.

• Use the Ford: Before the trip, I plotted the route that would give me the most access to chargers along the way. This helped me with my range anxiety. After driving a few hundred miles, I decided to trust the car’s built-in navigation system. It gave me an exact mile range to my next charger. Seeing that the mileage was always less than total miles left on the battery really did keep me from worrying about not making it to the next charging destination.

• Charge time: The time needed to recharge added about 3.5 hours each way. On the way down, it actually was nice having those extra stops to break it up. On the way back, it seemed longer. But by then, no matter if you’re stopping at gas stations or charging stations, you just want to get home.

• The cost: The big question most folks probably have is “What was the difference in the wallet?” I knew the price of charging along the road had gone up, but I had no idea it was now an average of 45 cents per kWh (the average kWh costs Indiana residential electric consumers about 17 cents). If I drove those same miles and was able to charge at my home rate, I would have spent only $75. As it was, we spent $268 for 596 kWhs I had to buy along the way. If we would have taken our Ford Explorer that gets 25 mpg, we would have spent around $294 for the 2,100 total trip (using an average of $3.50 for a gallon of gas). So, there was some savings on fuel cost, but not a lot. This trip was never about saving time or money. Like any family trip, it was about making memories. Our girls will have many from our EV journey.

24 MAY 2023


EVs have evolved since first arriving in car showrooms over a decade ago. Yet, as with any new technology, myths based on earlier perceptions persist. Here are three common ones.


MYTH: Electric vehicles don’t have enough range to handle daily travel demands.

FACT: EV range is more than enough for typical daily use.

A typical U.S. household’s daily travel is about 50 miles; only 15% of households travel over 100 miles on a typical day. Most EV models go above 200 miles on a fully-charged battery, with nearly all new models traveling more than 100 miles on a single charge.

Range estimates for specific EVs are available from the “Find a Car” tool on — click on the car you are interested in and check out the “EPA Fuel Economy” information in the table.

MYTH: There’s nowhere to charge.

FACT: Most EVs can be plugged into the same outlet as a toaster! When you need to charge fast on the road, you’ll find over 51,000 stations in the U.S. available to the public. Many people can meet their driving needs by plugging in only at home with a standard 120-volt outlet or a dedicated 240-volt system. For those who live in apartments or condominiums, EV charging stations are becoming a common amenity.

Access to EV charging will increase significantly in the coming years as charging infrastructure is built out along highways and in communities.

MYTH: EVs are not as safe as comparable gasoline vehicles.

FACT: EVs must meet the same safety standards as conventional vehicles.

All light-duty cars and trucks sold in the United States must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. To meet these standards, vehicles must undergo an extensive, long-established testing process, regardless of whether the vehicle operates on gasoline or electricity. EV battery packs must also meet their own testing standards. Moreover, EVs are designed with additional safety features that shut down the electrical system when they detect a collision or short circuit.

MAY 2023 25


Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) are, in general, small-scale energy resources that provide electric capacity or energy close to where they are used. DERs are an evolving part of the utility landscape for consumers — and for Hoosier Energy, as well.

In an effort to maximize the benefits of technologies such as battery storage, electric vehicle charging, smart devices and more, a DER Strategy Subcommittee was formed in September 2022 and has been gathering momentum ever since.

The 13-member subcommittee is comprised of six member cooperative representatives, five Hoosier Energy representatives and a pair of facilitators from Hoosier.

The range of diversity within the committee, from energy advisors to engineering, marketing and customer service, allows for the consideration of multiple perspectives as the committee looks to find its footing.

The roots of this new committee are in an old group — the Demand Side Management Subcommittee. The work the previous committee did and the recommendations it made, based on internal

program statistics, member cooperative survey data and the vote of the committee members, ultimately led to the formation of this DER Subcommittee. Now, the focus is on Hoosier Energy’s strategic priorities in distributed energy resources and integrated planning.

Discussions focus on the future, not just of the utility industry, but on how cooperative members can continue to find value and satisfaction in the programs offered.

Those programs, whether currently in place or planned for the future, cover everything from educational resources to emerging technologies.

Whether it’s electric vehicles or smart thermostats, distributed energy resources will only continue to become a bigger part of the future, and Hoosier Energy’s DER Subcommittee is ready to grow with them.

28 MAY 2023 Hoosier Energy news
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beaver believer

The United States' national bird is the bald eagle; our national mammal is the American bison. It’s time for us to give the beaver its due and declare the waterway engineer as our official national rodent.

Some may disagree, saying we already have the groundhog. Granted, the pasture poodle even has its own day, Feb. 2, delegated as Groundhog Day. But the notion our meteorological misfit forecasts the weather is bogus: There are always six more weeks of winter! While our bald eagle is inspirational and the bison represents strength, neither had the impact that the American beaver did in forming and developing our nation.

Early in the history of our country, the beaver was highly sought after for its luxurious pelt. Millions of hides were exported to England and Europe. The pelts were shaved for their hair, which was used in the manufacturing of felt for the top hat industry. “Beaver” hats were the rage.

Trappers and fur traders set out from the East Coast colonies and Canada to follow the “brown

gold” of beaver pelts, which led to the rapid demise of the animal in the Midwest. By 1810 or 1820, the beaver had been hunted and trapped into local extinction. As beaver colonies disappeared, trappers, fur traders and explorers continued traveling west and north. News of their finding fertile valleys, open plains, mineral deposits and vast timber resources attracted the attention of settlers looking for a better life. Wagon trains soon followed.

Reintroductions of beavers in Indiana began in 1935 and continued through the first open trapping season in 1951. The initial reintroduction was done with animals purchased from Michigan and Wisconsin and released on Jasper-Pulaski and Kankakee state game preserves. As the animals reproduced, they were live-trapped and moved to other parts of the state. By 1986, beavers were found in 43 Indiana counties, and they are now found throughout the state.

While some might consider beavers to be pests, they create wetlands by constructing dams and forming ponds that provide

habitat for other species including fish, mammals, waterfowl, songbirds, amphibians and insects. The wetlands they engineer also improve water quality and mitigate drought and flooding conditions downstream.

Canada has made the riparian rodent one of its national symbols. In my opinion, it’s time we proclaim it as our national rodent! It even has a great motto: “Busy as a beaver.”


is a syndicated state outdoors writer and a member of RushShelby Energy.

Readers can contact the author by writing to this publication, or by email to jackspaulding@hughes. net. Spaulding’s books, “The Best Of Spaulding Outdoors” and “The Coon Hunter And The Kid,” are available from as paperbacks or Kindle downloads.

30 MAY 2023
Mature adult beavers can grow to 3 feet long and weigh up to 60 pounds. They have waterproof hair, webbed back feet for swimming and the tell-tale flat, nearly hairless, paddlelike tail.

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