Page 1

2020 Annual Meeting recap.

Jackson County REMC’s


UNLEASHING ICAN is a win-win for two groups of people in need of help pages 20–24


Still cool

from the editor

AFTER ALL THESE YEARS James Dean truly was the man, the myth and the legend. The Fairmount, Indiana, native may have lived fast and died young, but even after his death on Sept. 30, 1955, his iconic presence endures. I’ve been intrigued by Dean since my freshman year of college. I fell under his charismatic spell during a humanities class movie screening of “Rebel Without a Cause.” I thought it was so cool that he was a Hoosier and, in the age before Google, I set out to learn more about him the old-fashioned way: books. I found out about his growing-up years, his early career, and his love of racing cars. I discovered his other movies — including one of my all-time favorites, “Giant.” This epic three-plus-hour-long classic chronicles the lives of a wealthy Texas ranch owner, his family, and the ranch hand (Dean) who strikes it rich when he discovers oil. Dean had just finished filming the movie when he died in a car crash enroute to a road race. He was only 24. Each year, the town of Fairmount has commemorated the anniversary of his death by celebrating his life on the last full weekend of September. Events have included a look-alike contest, a 1950s dance contest, screenings of his three films and a parade. Authentic James Dean memorabilia is displayed, too. This year’s Remembering James Dean Festival, which would have acknowledged 65 years since his death, has been canceled due to the pandemic. Although fans from near and far won’t be converging on his Indiana home this month, they will continue to do what the festival was designed to do: remember James Dean. And, while around the world he remains an ageless representation of teenage angst, in Fairmount he is much more than a legend. He is one of the community’s own. Isn’t that really the best way to be memorialized?


On the menu: December issue: Homemade food for holiday

gift-giving, deadline Oct. 2. January 2021 issue: Recipes featuring oatmeal, deadline Oct. 2. If we publish your recipe on our food pages, we’ll send you a $10 gift card.

Giveaway: Enter to win two $25 gift cards from Gordon’s Milkshake Bar.

Visit Entry deadline for giveaway: Sept. 30.

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

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

VOLUME 70 • NUMBER 3 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 280,000 residents and businesses receive the magazine as part of their electric co-op membership. CONTACT US: 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600 Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606 317-487-2220 INDIANA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OFFICERS: Walter Hunter President Randy Kleaving Vice President Steve McMichael Secretary/Treasurer John Gasstrom CEO EDITORIAL STAFF: Emily Schilling Editor Richard George Biever Senior Editor Holly Huffman Communication Support Specialist Ellie Schuler Senior Creative Services Specialist Taylor Maranion Creative Services Specialist Stacey Holton Creative Services Manager Mandy Barth Communication Manager 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.








Indiana eats



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


10 ENERGY Two household systems that can help you manage your energy use.



cover story




Spotlighting Henry County.

Unleashing hope: ICAN is a win-win for two groups of people in need of help.

28 BACKYARD Mystery seeds from China.



Ten ways to chill out on National Chocolate Milkshake Day. 18 FOOD Prep these reader favorites in just a half hour.


Indiana Connection

29 DIY

Be safe around electricity when moving farm equipment.

The future of lighting has never been brighter. 30 H  OOSIER ENERGY/ WABASH VALLEY NEWS

On the cover Dustin, an incarcerated offender at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, shares a moment with Maple, the service dog he’s training for Indiana Canine Assistant Network. ICAN provides service dogs for clients with physical and health issues and gives inmates a chance to learn skills they can use after prison. PHOTO BY LIZ KAYE/



Jackson County REMC news

CEO REMARKS ADDRESS: 274 E. Base Road P.O. Box K Brownstown, IN 47220-0311

Dedicated to providing you with essential services


The last few

Given the circumstances and the

months have

format of this meeting, I am going


been a true

to make this very brief. If a member

testament of our

has any questions, feel free to

commitment to

contact me.

Local calls: 812-358-4458 Toll-Free: 800-288-4458


our members and

shutdown, we were able to

Some operational highlights from 2019 include:

transition how we do business

• We implemented a rate change


OFFICE HOURS: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday


the communities we serve. Through the COVID-19

almost overnight and still provide

in April 2019 which supports the

the same excellent service you

sustainability of the cooperative.


• We completed several projects

I am proud of the willingness of

in the $1.9 million construction

every employee to do whatever it

workplan to enhance the

Online: By phone: 1-888-999-8816

took to serve our members during

reliability of electric service.


honored to be part of this amazing

right-of-way at a budgeted cost

Jackson County REMC team.

of $1.4 million, which continues

812-358-4458 (local) 1-800-288-4458 (toll-free) day or night

this unprecedented time. I am

• We trimmed over 500 miles of

our commitment to maintaining continued on page 6

BOARD OF DIRECTORS: President John Trinkle, District 3 Vice President Walter Hunter, District 2 Secretary-Treasurer Jerry Kelley, District 5 John Hackman, District 1 Paul Elliott, District 4 Mark Trisler, District 6 Curtis Wischmeier, District 7 Dave Hall, District 8 John Miller, District 9

Annual meeting attendees registered, voted for directors, and received registration gifts and ice cream sandwiches while remaining in their vehicles.



Jackson County REMC news report in the June/July edition

Jackson County REMC Board President John Trinkle, surrounded by fellow board members, addresses the REMC membership during a virtual business meeting.

of the Watt Highlights, which highlighted our financials for the year. The cost breakdown for where your dollar goes is always interesting. Almost 71% of every dollar we collect goes toward wholesale purchased power costs. The statement of operations for 2019 shows electric operating margins of $5.6 million. Electric

continued from page 6

Once the pre-drop survey is

our right-of-way program for

complete, we turn it over to our


contractors to install the drop and

• We ended 2019 with 1,036 miles of fiber-optic cable installed

splice and test the fiber-optic cable to your home or business.

and 2,245 active fiber accounts,

Once we get the job back from our

with over 800 in the queue to

contractors, we will contact you to

get connected. Today we have a

schedule one of our technicians to

total of 1,264 miles of fiber-optic

complete the install.

cable installed and 3,641 active fiber accounts, with over 1,000 accounts in the queue to get connected.

also ended 2019 with $153.1 million in electric assets. Fiber operating margins were negative $2.6 million. The financial model projected negative margins for a few years due to the capital ended 2019 with $28.9 million in

time, especially when we started

fiber assets and $32 million in long-

from scratch. Another time factor

term debt.

In almost every location, take-

high-speed fiber-optic broadband

rates have exceeded the projected

connection. I know several of you

take-rates by 30%, which is a true

are still patiently waiting to get

indicator of the need for a reliable


high-speed broadband connection

optic mainline network should be

payments on long term debt. We

requirements of the project. We

proved was the need for a reliable

a fiber-optic backbone and fiber-

credit retirements and principal

steps in the process, and it all takes

is the demand from our members.

construction of over 2,000 miles of

infrastructure investments, capital

As you can see, there are several

One of the many things COVID-19

At our current pace, the

margins are used for cash reserves,

within our service territory. Even though mainline construction will be completed by the end of 2021, we will still be doing installs

We continue to leverage our partnerships with our national organization, NRECA; our statewide organization, IEC; and our power provider, Hoosier Energy. These organizations have been especially helpful in providing support and resources to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

in the home well into 2022. I can

I am excited about what the future

assure you we will do what we can

holds for Jackson County REMC.

As each section of the mainline

to get those of you patiently wait

As I said before, I am honored to

construction is complete, the next

connected as fast as possible.

be part of your local electric and

completed by the end of 2021.

step is for us to contact you to let you know the area is ready for a pre-drop survey.

Now a quick financial review: You all received the 2019 annual



broadband cooperative.


Jackson County REMC news

2020 Annual meeting recap

Over 700 members attended this year’s drive-thru meeting.

This year’s Annual Meeting was

During the virtual business ses-

ballots were cast with 2,764 of those

different than ever before due to

sion, REMC CEO Mark McKinney

coming from the pilot program of

COVID-19. On Thursday, July 23,

and REMC Board President John

mail-in and online. Three hundred

we had a drive-thru registration

Trinkle both presented short talks

sixteen election ballots were cast at

where you could register, vote and

to the members during the virtual

the drive-thru registration.

pick up ice cream sandwiches and

business session. (McKinney’s talk

registration gifts.

is printed on pages 5 and 6 of this

There was no in-person business meeting this year. The business meeting was recorded and posted to our Facebook page on July 24. The drive-thru registration boasted a large turnout with over 1,000 attendees and over 1,400 ice cream sandwiches handed out.

magazine.) The election of three board members was also held. Re-elected by the members to represent districts three, six, and nine, respectively, were John Trinkle, Mark Trisler and John Miller. This year was our first year to offer a pilot program of mail-in and online ballots. A total of 3,080 election

The board reorganized for the coming year during a short meeting following the business session. John Trinkle was re-elected to the post of president; Walter Hunter was re-elected as vice-president and Jerry Kelley was re-elected as secretary-treasurer. Thank you to all our members who attended our drive-thru meeting and/or voted in this year’s election.



Jackson County REMC news

Fiber-to-the-home process

step by step!

Faster, more reliable fiber internet from your local electric cooperative, Jackson County REMC. NO data caps, NO hidden fees and FREE installation!







Residential electrification Two household systems that can help you manage your energy use

Heating water and


efficiency units to

efficiency but their

heating and cooling the

improvements and

operate in cold climates,

goals are the same — to

air in your home are

reductions in costs

showing effectiveness

help their consumers

two energy-intensive

for these systems are

in heating across the

better understand the

household systems.

helping consumers


benefits of electrified

Finding ways to reduce

better manage their

the energy they use

energy use. One way

while increasing

this is taking place is

comfort can be

through electric air

challenging. Adding to

source heat pumps

the complexity are the

(ASHPs). These units

various energy sources

provide a cost-

available, including

effective way to heat

propane or natural gas

and cool your home

and electricity.

by transferring heat

When it comes to the benefits that electricsourced climate controls and water heaters provide, consumers like you have choices.

from one place to another instead of only generating heat. Examples include


electric water heaters incorporate heat pump technology as well to assist in heating

equipment that can both increase the comfort of their homes and reduce their overall energy consumption.

water while reducing the amount of energy needed. Some of these water heaters can be two to three times more efficient than conventional electriccoil water heaters. by

floorboard heating

Electric co-ops have

and combustion

different approaches

heating systems. New

toward helping members

technology in ASHPs

increase energy

also allow for high


Advancements in

Blake Kleaving

Manager of Energy Management Solutions Hoosier Energy



I enjoy reading Emily Schilling’s “From the Editor” in the REMC magazine each month. July’s column was especially interesting to me ... I could have written it! I, too, enjoy the Hallmark Christmas movies. It is what this crazy world needs right now, movies that make you feel good. I especially enjoy the County of the Month, Indiana Eats, Food, Backyard, and Travel sections of this little magazine. Keep up the good work! Chris Seal, Daviess-Martin County REMC member

Youth Power and Hope Awards

deadline Oct. 2 Indiana’s electric cooperatives, along with Indiana Connection, are accepting applications for the Youth Power and Hope Awards. This awards program honors fifth through eighth graders who are leaders in their communities. Five winners will receive $500 and be featured in an upcoming issue of Indiana Connection. Interested students must submit an application, examples of how they have been involved in their local communities, and a reference letter from a trusted adult by Friday, Oct. 2. Visit for an application and to learn about past award recipients. Contact us at or 317487-2220 if you have any questions.

Get out and vote The 2020 general election is just around the corner. Polls will open on Nov. 3. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5. Who can vote? To vote in the 2020 general election, you must be both a U.S. citizen and a resident of Indiana; be at least 18 years of age on or before the general election; not currently be in prison after being

COOKIE TIP I read with interest your editorial on baking cookies (in the July issue). This is what a good friend of mine told me years ago: If the instructions say remove from oven in 10 minutes, that is what you do because after removing a cookie sheet from oven, the cookies continue to bake for 5 minutes. This was good advice and I followed it. Try this and you will be happy. Rosalie Spirek, Angola


convicted of a crime; have lived in the precinct where you vote for at least 30 days prior to the election; and are registered to vote.

How to vote. There are two ways to vote in the general election: by absentee ballot or in-person on Election Day. To register for an absentee ballot, you must qualify under one of the 11 reasons listed on the Indiana Secretary of State’s website. Visit https://www. If you plan to vote in-person on Election Day but are not sure where to go, visit and click on “Find My Polling Location.” You can search by both voter registration (your name and birthday) as well as by county. By casting your vote on Nov. 3 you can be assured your voice is heard on the local and national levels. As you evaluate the candidates and determine who to support, remember that elected officials play a very important role in ensuring that your electric cooperative can continue providing safe, reliable, and affordable electricity.





county feature

Henry County An old biplane is parked on a basketball court in a relief sculpture representing Henry County (pictured on right). It’s part of the permanent 92 county artworks built into the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis. The basketball court for Henry County might be obvious: the New Castle High School gymnasium is among the largest high school gyms in the nation, and New Castle is home to the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum. The county has produced 13 Hoosier high school hoops legends who are in the Hall of Fame. The airplane, however, is one of Indiana’s little-known claims to fame: Millville in eastern Henry County is the birthplace of Wilbur Wright. Wright is the oldest of the two brothers who invented, built and flew the world’s first successful motor-operated airplane. If Henry County was the basketball court in the IMS sculpture, the plane is perched right about on top of Millville. Wilbur Wright was born in the tiny town on April 16, 1867. He was the third child of the Rev. Milton Wright and Susan Catherine Koerner Wright. In the spring of 1869, the family moved to Dayton, Ohio, where the other famed brother, Orville, was born in 1871. As adults in Dayton, Wilbur and Orville pursued their growing interest in powered flight and by 1901 began putting their



theories to the test on the Atlantic shoreline at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. On Dec. 17, 1903, they made the first free, controlled flight of a power-driven airplane. Wilbur piloted their flyer for 59 seconds over a distance of 852 feet. Over the next several years, they continued perfecting their flyer and the controls to make fixed-wing powered flight practical. Today, the home in Millville is operated as the Wilbur Wright Birthplace Museum. It includes the original house where Wright was born and a full-size replica of the brothers’ first plane. The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame is located in New Castle. The Hall is a 14,000-squarefoot museum full of memorabilia and interactive displays about basketball in the state. Thirteen New Castle graduates are in the Hall, including Indiana University basketball legends Steve Alford and Kent Benson.

y t n u o C acts F


FOUNDED: 1822 NAMED FOR: Patrick Henry, a Founding Father of the U.S. and orator best known for his 1775 declaration: “Give me liberty, or give me death!” POPULATION: 48,271 (2018 estimate) COUNTY SEAT: New Castle

Wilbur Wright

BIRTHPLACE MUSEUM FESTIVAL LOCATION: 1525 N. County Road 750 E. Hagerstown, Indiana 47364 DATE: Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 TIME: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Vendors will be on the museum grounds from 9 a.m- 6 p.m., and dinner will be served from 5-8 p.m. 765-332-2495 Please check with the museum before planning to go for up-to-date information, especially concerning COVID-19 changes.

Marketplace Our Marketplace offers maximum exposure for your business or organization at a minimal cost. Don’t miss this opportunity to reach over a half million consumers at an affordable rate! Please contact Cheryl Solomon, 847-749-4875 or, for small business advertising opportunities in Indiana Connection.

CUSTOM POLE BARNS, DESIGNED TO LAST Buy Factory Direct & Save! 22 Colors, Fast Delivery. Two Convenient Locations: • Dayton, OH (937) 503-2457 • Decatur, IL (217) 864-5835

SHIPSHEWANA FLEA MARKET OPEN MAY THRU SEPTEMBER 30! Midwest’s Largest Flea Market Every Tuesday & Wednesday 8 am – 4 pm; Rain or Shine Weekly Antique Auction Every Wednesday, Year-Round

WE LIVE IT — YOU’LL LOVE IT Visit Switzerland County, Indiana Great Outdoors, Small Town Feel History, Shopping, Cuisine Award-Winning Local Wines Campgrounds and Boat Launches SEPTEMBER 2020


Shake Indiana eats

Ten ways to chill out on National Chocolate Milkshake Day

it up!

valpo velvet shoppe

fair oaks farms

just cream ice cream boutique

silver dipper ice cream

cone palace


Traders Point Creamery gordon’s milkshake bar

zaharakos the chocolate moose

Traders Point Creamery’s Chocolate Milkshake



Where do you go for a good chocolate milkshake? Go to our Facebook page and let us know! Enter to win two $25 gift cards from Gordon’s Milkshake Bar. Learn more on page 3.

Indiana eats Not that you need an excuse to enjoy a rich and creamy milkshake, but Sept. 12 is the designated day to raise a toast to everyone’s favorite sweet indulgence. Celebrate National Chocolate Milkshake Day by popping into one of these 10 Hoosier ice cream shops that offer exceptional chocolate shakes. The Chocolate Moose Bloomington, Nashville IU alums are certainly familiar with this Bloomington mainstay which opened in 1933 as May’s Café. The ice cream is homemade and includes vegan varieties.

to order from Ivanhoe’s extensive menu. One choco-licious choice: Chocolate Anonymous, a chocolate shake with chocolate wafers and a Hershey bar.

Cone Palace

Valpo Velvet Shoppe



The hand-spun shakes at this Howard County restaurant come with your choice of flavor and topping in four sizes: child, small, medium and large. Soft serve and frozen yogurt flavors change weekly so you’ll have to visit often.

Fair Oaks Farms

Just Cream’s Zanzibar Chocolate Ice Cream Shake

Just Cream Ice Cream Boutique

Fair Oaks

Fort Wayne

Stop by the Cowfé for cups, cones, sundaes, floats, malts and shakes made from Fair Oaks Farms’ homemade ice cream. Order Fair Oaks’ famous grilled cheese sandwich or pick up some awardwinning cheese while you’re there.

This northeastern Indiana shop’s shakes can literally go from “simply” to “extremely” delicious: your choice. Made from super premium ice cream, shakes can be garnished with sweet treats like cotton candy, Rice Krispie treats, cookies, and doughnuts. Or, milkshake purists can opt to crown their icy delights with just whipped cream and maraschino cherries.

Gordon’s Milkshake Bar Indianapolis 317-453-1360 Located in Indy’s trendy Mass Ave district, this newbie business (open since December 2019) has already been voted one of the capital city’s best dessert bars by readers of The Indianapolis Star.


north of Indianapolis: Dutch chocolate milk with vanilla ice cream, whole milk with chocolate ice cream and Dutch chocolate milk with chocolate ice cream. Besides chocolate, try shakes in a variety of seasonal flavors like wildberry and pumpkin spice at the Creamery’s Dairy Bar.

Silver Dipper Ice Cream West Lafayette

Started in 1920 as Valparaiso Home Ice Company, this northwestern Indiana company makes ice cream, sherbet, sorbet and frozen yogurt. A variety of frozen gourmet novelties including ice cream cakes and pies, custom cookiewiches and chocolate-dipped bananas are available. Enjoy a chocolate shake made by trained “soda jerks,” otherwise known as “expert scoopers.”

Zaharakos Columbus A trip to Zaharakos is like a journey to the past. This national historic landmark is part ice cream parlor/soda fountain and part museum (with a display of mechanical musical instruments and soda fountain relics). Come for the ice cream treats and shakes and enjoy the old-timey atmosphere featuring music from an onsite player piano.

Silver Dipper’s chocolate shake won’t disappoint. Neither will the 50-plus flavors of ice cream that have Purdue students — and other locals — coming back for more.


Traders Point Creamery

With 100 different flavors of shakes and 100 different flavors of sundaes, there’s something for everyone at this ice cream institution. You’ll have a tough time choosing which variety of chocolate shake

There are three ways to make a chocolate milkshake at this family-owned artisan creamery and organic dairy farm just

Zionsville Zaharakos’ Chocolate Milkshake



food CRACKER-CRUSTED BUFFALO SHRIMP ½ cup hot pepper sauce ¼ cup butter, melted 36 round buttery crackers, crushed (about 1 ¼ cups) 25 uncooked large shrimp (about 1 lb.), peeled with tails left on, deveined ¾ cup blue cheese or ranch dressing Hot pepper sauce for serving, optional Celery stalks Heat oven to 350 F. Mix hot pepper sauce and butter in a shallow bowl. Place cracker crumbs in another shallow bowl. Dip shrimp in sauce mixture, then in crumbs, turning to evenly coat both sides of each shrimp. Place in a single layer on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes or until shrimp are done. Serve with dressing, extra hot pepper sauce if desired, and celery. Cook’s note: Can substitute panko bread crumbs, crushed potato chips or pretzels, or crushed crackers of your choice for the crushed buttery crackers

BREAKFAST NACHOS Marilles Mauer, Greensburg, Indiana 3-4 medium/large potatoes 2 T. oil ½ t. salt 1 lb. roll pork sausage 4 eggs 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese Other favorite toppings, optional



Preheat oven to 425 F and place a baking sheet with a raised edge in oven. Wash the potatoes and slice them thinly (about 1/8 inch thick). Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl and toss them with the oil and salt until evenly coated. Place the prepared potatoes on the heated baking sheet in a single layer. (Try not to let them touch or overlap for even cooking.) Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook the potatoes for about 25 minutes. Halfway through baking time, turn the potatoes over. While potatoes are baking, brown and crumble sausage in a skillet; set aside. About 10 minutes before the potatoes are done, scramble eggs in another skillet; set aside. Once the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and sprinkle with half the cheese. Sprinkle the sausage on top and then cover with scrambled eggs. Add the diced tomatoes on top. Can add other favorite toppings if desired. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return the pan to the oven for about 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.


Have a


half hour? SAUSAGE DRESSING Kathleen Tooley Berne, Indiana 1 (6 oz.) box long grain and wild rice mix 1 lb. sausage 1 small onion, diced 1 small bell pepper, chopped 1 (4 oz.) can sliced mushrooms Prepare long grain and wild rice mix as directed on package. Meanwhile, saute sausage, onion, pepper and mushrooms

BAKED FISH PARMESAN Patricia Piekarski, Harvey, Illinois 3 T. butter, melted ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 ⅓ lbs. fish fillets, about ½ inch thick

Combine butter, bread crumbs and cheese in a bowl. Place fish in single layer in a

in a skillet. When rice is done, add to the skillet. Mix well. Cook’s note: Serve as a side dish or main dish.

shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with crumb mixture and bake in a 450 F oven for 10 minutes or until done.




UNLEASHING HOPE ICAN is a win-win for two groups of people in need of help Collin Kreiner was just 6 months old when doctors told his parents he had cerebral palsy. The condition affected the right side of his brain and left him with a partial paralysis. The diagnosis came after his parents had noticed Collin was not using his left hand. He kept it clenched in a fist — as if he needed something to hold on to. Vanessa was an adult when she was convicted of a crime and sentenced to the Indiana Women’s Prison in Indianapolis. Life was spinning too fast, she noted, and she had not slowed down to see and appreciate the beauty in things. The future seemed empty behind bars. What she had had of a life on the outside, she let slip through her hands.



Ryan and Claudine Kreiner react with tears as they see their son Collin receive his ICAN service dog, Maj, at the graduation ceremony at the Indiana Women’s Prison in June of 2019.

And then, as Collin’s parents shed tears among a room full of others like them, Vanessa handed Maj’s leash to Collin at the graduation. It was an act


Vanessa together with Maj is Indiana Canine Assistant Network.

between other inmate handlers, like

Since its beginning in 2002, ICAN

Collin, taking home an individual

A L L PH OTOS B Y L IZ K AY E /IC A Ndog.or g

The program that brought Collin and

repeated several times that evening Vanessa, and other recipients, like Collin Kreiner is all smiles posing with his service dog, Your Majesty (Maj for short), at the Indiana Canine Assistant Network graduation ceremony in June 2019.


service dog, like Maj. “It was amazing to see him the night of graduation and all the people that were coming up to him,” Ryan Kreiner said of Collin, the third of his four

has fostered 201 similar unions. The statewide nonprofit has brought new hope and possibilities to individuals living with a disability who need a service dog and to the offenders who train them. It repairs the brokenness those in both groups often feel through

sons. “I’ve never seen him like that

the unconditional love of these dogs.

rom these seemingly divergent

before. He was beaming. You could see he was just so excited to have

“They’re very parallel experiences,”

paths came a common band

Collin and Vanessa could firmly

Maj. And I was watching Vanessa and

cling to. Staring down an uncertain

him when they were going to meet on

implacable future, both found hope

the stage, and you could just see the

and redemption on the end of a leash

connection with those two.”

of a dog named Your Majesty.

Collin even noticed how his normally

In June of 2019, Collin, now 14 and

stoic dad responded, asking afterward,

an eighth grader from Noblesville,

“Dad, are you crying?”

and Vanessa, still incarcerated at the Women’s Prison, met for two weeks inside the prison walls. That’s where Vanessa, who had become a dog trainer and spent months handling and living with Maj at her side, taught Collin and Maj how to work together.

“All the stuff he’s been through,” Ryan continued. “It’s so great to see him get something that he wanted and succeed in something and be ...”

explained Jillian Ashton, ICAN’s president. “Even though their reasons may be different, the sense of isolation and not being able to participate in the community wholeheartedly for whatever reasons — barriers of intimacy, barriers of physical abilities, whatever — and then the dog just changes all that.” She added that the trainer and the client come together with the sole purpose of just helping each other. “And the dog is the conduit. There’s restitution and

“… the star!” injected Collin’s mom,


Claudine, completing her husband’s






The professional training and experience the offenders gain handling the dogs has given most of those who have been released from prison the encouragement, confidence

ICAN, which just this summer moved

• facilities — for occupational

its office from Indianapolis’ west

physical therapy units, rehab

side to a new location in Zionsville,

centers, schools and courthouses

primarily serves residents of Indiana.

(to help children in CASA — Court

ICAN also works with other similar

Appointed Special Advocate —

organizations in surrounding states.


and skills to succeed and not repeat

ICAN currently works with 60 adult

the poor choices that put them there.

men and women offenders in three

level of the spectrum to assist with

prisons: Pendleton Correctional

disorders affecting developmental,

Facility at Pendleton, the Correctional

communication and other skills.

BEGI N N IN GS ICAN was founded with that two-fold mission: to train and place high-

Industrial Facility at Pendleton, and the Indiana Women’s Prison in

quality service dogs with individuals


with disabilities; and to provide

ICAN’s service dogs assist:

foundational life skills to inmates through their experiences as trainers. The dual purpose makes ICAN stand out as one of the few organizations like it in the U.S.

• autism — for those on the higher

• diabetics — for those who have a hard time sensing rapid changes in blood sugar, dogs are trained to

• mobility/stability — for those who have suffered strokes or other

detect the chemical changes and alert the diabetic of the onset of low or high blood sugars and assist.

traumatic brain injury. Dogs help

Puppies for the program are raised by

stabilize the clients as they get up

trained volunteers who help socialize

and move, clear

the dogs and teach basic obedience

pathways and

skills. They also work at stimulating

open doors. This

the dogs’ cognitive abilities and acuity

is ICAN’s primary

through rubbing, touching and noises.

clientele, Ashton

At about 16 weeks of age, each dog is


assigned an offender inside a prison

• veterans — for service men

to begin the first round of its Level 1 training.

and women

From there, ICAN uses a 6-weeks-in/

who live with

3-weeks-out training schedule that

physical and/

repeats until the dog is about 2 years

or brain injuries

old and is ready for its permanent

with a secondary

placement. For six weeks, the dog is

diagnosis of

trained in various skills by its selected

PTSD. Just by

inmate handler. For three weeks,

their calming

it is taken out of prison and placed

nature, dogs help

with a trained volunteer known as a

reduce PTSD.

“furlougher” who socializes the dog

ICAN at a glance Founded in 2002, Indiana Canine Assistant Network is a non-profit organization that trains and places

• Number of active client/dog teams — 108 • Number of inmate handlers — 60

assistance dogs with children and adults

(recidivism rate of past handlers is

living with disabilities AND provides

less an 15%, Indiana average is 33.8%

foundational life skills to carefully

in 2017)

• Number of outside volunteers — 140 • Number of people waiting for a dog — 85 • Average wait for client/dog pairing — 2-3 years • Accreditation — ICAN is accredited

screened incarcerated adults through

• Number of dogs in program — 60

by Assistance Dogs International and

their experiences as trainers.

• Average graduation rate for dogs in

is the only accredited service dog



program — 60%

program based in Indiana

to the noises and distractions of the

dog specialized skills based on the

outside world it will face with a client.

selected client. About six out of

The dog then returns to the handler for

10 dogs that enter the training will

another 6-week training session.

graduate and serve ICAN clients.

To be a trainer for ICAN, the offender

The overall cost to train a service

must not have committed a crime

dog is about $25,000. To receive an

against children or animals. Handlers

ICAN dog, the client is asked to cover

must also have four years or more

10% to demonstrate a commitment

of their sentence remaining, have

to the dog and the training. But once

high school diplomas or GEDs, and

that partnership is created, ICAN

be referred by their counselors. They

continually monitors and maintains

then complete an application and go

that relationship and provides support

through an interview process with

to the client throughout the working life

Sean Diamond, ICAN’s director of

of the dog, usually about 8-10 years.

training, and key staff at the prison.

“When you’re placing a dog with

Diamond, himself, is an ICAN success

somebody with a health concern,

story. He turned his life around after

especially a degenerative health

he turned his love and experience of

concern like MS, the client

working for ICAN while in prison into

experiences changes,” noted Ashton.

his career after he was released.

“So we may have to do some tune-up

As the dog approaches its second birthday, a client is carefully matched to the strength of each dog. Bigger, stronger dogs, might be assigned to bigger clients needing mobility

work on the dog to make sure that the dog’s skills are keeping up with the individual’s changes.”


and stabilization help. A dog who

Over the years, Collin Kreiner has

has shown a keener sense of

had surgeries to help his mobility.

smell might be trained in sensing

But he’s also been diagnosed with a

hypoglycemia and be matched with

seizure disorder and attention-deficit/

a diabetic. “Finishing school” for the

hyperactivity disorder.

dog is with a handler at the Indiana Women’s Prison who teaches the


ICAN costs Training a dog to become an ICAN service dog takes two years. The total cost for training and for ICAN to provide lifetime support for the dog and its partner is $25,000. Here are some of the costs based on just one year in training:

$600 dog food, bedding and crates

$2,000 veterinary care, and heartworm and flea prevention

$75 grooming and hygiene

$750 An ICAN trainer at the Pendleton Correctional Facility cradles the dog he’s training. Offenders become attached to the dogs they train and the dogs give unconditional love back to the offenders, many who grew up never knowing the love of a pet before. It helps them in their relationships with others inside the prison and with their families.

team training/graduation (per client-canine team)

$300 x-rays for joint health

$500 balance and training vests, bandanas, collars, leashes

$500 spay/neuter

$125 toys, Nylabones and treats SEPTEMBER 2020




Do you like dogs? Want to help ICAN meet its multipurpose mission? Here are three ways to volunteer: PUPPY RAISERS

• Welcome a future service dog into their home when the dog is approximately 8 to 16 weeks old. • Go through training with ICAN volunteers. • Socialize the puppy to home life and world experiences. • Begin basic obedience training.


“If you met him, he doesn’t use his disability as an excuse. He makes his own adaptations, but sometimes he does get frustrated,” said his mom. With the arrival of Maj, who’s also been trained to assist Collin during a seizure, Collin, his parents and his

“super nice, super welcoming” trainer. “I think it’s taught her to do good in life, and not just throw away your life and act like it doesn’t matter.” ICAN has shown offenders and their clients, two groups of people broken in different ways, that their lives do matter. ICAN brings hope.

three brothers are all sleeping easier.

“Hope is defined as a promise for a

Even though Maj takes up most of his

better future,” noted Vanessa. “With

bed and pushes Collin to the edge as

the training and character-building

dogs do, Collin said, “She makes me

skills that ICAN has provided for me,

feel safe at night. I’m not afraid I’m

I can now say that my future looks

going to wake up and have a seizure.

promising — not only for me but, more

And if I do, she’ll be next to me.”

importantly, for my children.”

Collin is grateful for what Maj has

This story was written by senior editor Richard G. Biever using some source material from ICAN.

brought to his life and recognizes what ICAN has done for Vanessa, the

• Attend puppy-raiser classes with their puppy.

FURLOUGHERS • Give dogs the opportunity to leave their prison training environment and practice skills in real-life situations. • Go through training with ICAN volunteers. • Take a dog for three weeks at a time. • Attend monthly meetings to maintain skills.

OTHER VOLUNTEERING ICAN does a lot of outreach and special events. One, for example, is “Puppy Love Valentines,” a fundraising program in which volunteers deliver gift boxes with one of the dogs-in-training.

FOR MORE INFORMATION If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, sponsoring ICAN dog training or making a financial donation or know someone who can benefit from a service dog, please contact Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN) at 317-672-3860 or visit 24 SEPTEMBER 2020

The Kreiner Family — dad Ryan, Collin and mom Claudine — gather around Maj and Vanessa. Vanessa served as Maj’s final ICAN trainer at the Indiana Women’s Prison.

WINE & WAGS GOES ONLINE ICAN’s largest annual fundraising event, Wine & Wags, is going virtual this year because of the pandemic. The incredible online experience will be filled with stories of clients, handlers in prison, released handlers and community members.



Thursday, Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m. There is no cost to view the virtual event. Visit to register. The link will then be emailed to you. Questions? Contact Dino at 317-6723864 or



Be safe


• Watch out for power poles, too.

Indiana’s farmers are shifting into high

If you strike one, it may break,

gear as they move into their fields to

dropping a live line on your metal

bring in their crops. The increased

tractor or combine.

activity puts farmers and farm workers at greater risk, warns John

• When considering the height of equipment, don’t forget about the

Gasstrom, CEO of Indiana Electric

radio antennas and GPS receivers


that may reach another couple of

“Combines and grain augers are large

feet above the roof.

pieces of equipment,” says Gasstrom.

• Remember new equipment could

“People assume everything will fit

be bigger and taller than what it

under the power lines, but that isn’t

replaced. Don’t assume the new

always the case. The biggest cause of

equipment will fit in the same space.

electrocutions on farms is equipment accidentally touching power lines.” Here are some tips Indiana Electric Cooperatives recommends for farmers

• When moving equipment near power lines, have a spotter on hand to ensure your safety. • If you’re not completely sure

to protect themselves and their

equipment will fit under a power


line, find an alternate way to

• Always look up and around before moving or raising equipment. Keep in mind power lines sag between poles, especially on hot days. A good rule of thumb is to stay at least 30 feet from all power lines and power poles. • Never try to raise power lines to allow passage of tall equipment.

move it. • If you’re in equipment that touches power lines, stay in the cab and call for help. Tell others to stay away. In the rare case of a fire that requires you to escape, jump clear of the equipment. Keep both feet together and shuffle or hop at least 30 feet away.

Even non-metallic objects such

“Working the land has enough

as wood poles or branches can

hazards in the work itself,” says

conduct electricity.

Gasstrom. “With care and planning, moving to and from the fields shouldn’t



be one of them.”

Knowledge is power for farm safety Anyone who operates farm equipment and augers should be educated about safe operating procedures and hazards, including the possibility of coming in contact with electric lines. Your electric cooperative reminds you to be alert when you’re at work.

• Remember: Lower grain augers to a horizontal position before moving from location to location. Pay attention to where power lines are located before raising an auger into position.

• Think safe, think 10 — the 10-foot rule, that is! When working with farm equipment or machinery, stay away from power lines at least 10 feet in every direction. If you need to work within 10 feet of an overhead power line, call your electric cooperative first.

product recalls

Gas fireplaces recalled due to burn hazard Miles Industries has recalled two models of Valor H5 propane gas fireplaces: Model 1150ILP with serial number ranging from 20001 through 20365 and model 1150JLP with serial number ranging from 20366 through 21502. A delayed ignition, due to pilot degradation, can cause gas in the fireplace to accumulate prior to burner ignition. When ignition takes place, it can cause the glass window to shatter, posing burn and laceration hazards. The recalled fireplaces were sold in seven different trim and front options with a log set and a mesh barrier screen that was installed in front of the glass. The fireplaces are a fully enclosed rectangular sheet metal box with a glass front. The exhaust is vented to the outside through a ventilation duct. The fire places were sold at Southern Fireplaces & More, Custom Hearth, On Fire, Abercrombie & Co., Southern Hearth & Patio stores and other specialty hearth stores from July 2014 through March 2020 for between $3,700 and $5,500 (not including installation).

Call 866-420-3360; or go online at and click on H5 Recall Notice for more information.

Christmas tree’s mode-switching controller can overheat Willis Electric has recalled its Home Accents Holiday Artificial Christmas Trees due to a burn hazard. The Christmas tree’s foot-pedal controller can overheat. This recall involves mode-switching foot-pedal controllers included with 2019 Home Accent Holiday 7.5-feet and 9-feet artificial pine Christmas trees. Multiple model numbers are involved. The recalled trees were sold exclusively at Home Depot from June 2019 through December 2019 for between $80-$360.

Call 866-210-5958; or go online at and click on the recall tab for more information. As a service to our readers and to promote electrical safety, here are some recent recall notices provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Visit for full details of these recalls and for notices of many more.

career profile

Working together to provide

essential services How long have you been employed here at Jackson County REMC? 8.5 years. Before working here, what was an interesting job that you have had? I worked in Maine on a trail crew doing search and rescue. How has the company changed since you have been here? We are using technology to offer many services to our members. Most currently we are offering fiber to our members through our Smart Grid Fiber Project. What is your favorite part of working here? I love the camaraderie and atmosphere of the company as well as the ability to help provide essential services to our membership. If you could have any other job in the world, what would it be? I would be a scuba instructor on a tropical island.



Nancy Stidham Vice President of Cooperative Services Jackson County REMC What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work? I enjoy spending time with my family, camping and being on the lake, reading, and traveling. What is your hidden talent? I like to sew and make clothes. What motivates you to wake up and go to work? Helping people.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability what would it be? I would like to be able to sing. Music makes me happy.

INTERESTED IN AN ELECTRIC CO-OP CAREER? Visit to learn about available careers or tell us about yourself.

do-it-yourself What’s “old” is new again when it comes to lighting — but only on the outside. That’s good news for those who love the look of yesteryear. Contemporary products using older materials like wrought iron, watermark glass, or mesh shades offer even more ways to express your personal lighting style. These nostalgic looks do get 21st century updates with LED technology and connected home capabilities.


never been brighter Mainstream use of incandescent lightbulbs is dwindling, and for good reason. While many people still favor them (and are buying up what’s left), incandescents waste energy by giving off more heat than light, are inefficient, and have short lifespans. Long-life LED bulbs have power- and moneysaving qualities that make them a desirable choice. The upfront cost of LEDs can be a turn off, but replacing them less often while gaining energy savings over time just makes good sense. And, the technology behind them only continues to improve. If you’re replacing entire fixtures, try new retrofitted light replacement kits with LED lights built right in. It can be a very simple fix if you’re updating a slew of recessed can lights, for instance. If you’re considering a home lighting overhaul, take a look at modern or updated vintage designs available now with LEDs.

Make a big statement One design trend is to eliminate multiple

lights in a room in favor of one oversized light fixture as a statement piece that creates a “wow” factor. People who enjoy a minimalist look in décor may choose a very substantial light fixture as a room’s focal point and conversation piece.

Shapes, colors, and textures Chandeliers and pendants are trending toward geometric shapes, such as circles, rounded triangles, or hard-angled squares, sometimes with multiples intertwined. Abstract shapes and clean lines in chandeliers and sconces are popular with folks who dislike elaborate designs. The color palette for fixtures is expanding, and one finish that’s trending this year is gold. Expect to


see beautiful soft gold (not brass) finishes, with long-standing favorites like brushed nickel, bronze, and black holding strong. The exciting thing about home lighting options today can’t be pinned down to one aspect like technology, cool new design choices, or efficiency. It’s really a combination of all these things. Gone are the days of just throwing a few lamps around your space and regularly replacing short-life bulbs in builder’s grade fixtures that came with the house. Lighting possibilities are endless, and the future of lighting has never been brighter. Visit your local Do it Best store or for thousands of the best home improvement products.

Jason Bolinger

Jason Bolinger is the owner of Garrett Hardware in Garrett and is a member-owner of Do it Best Corp., a Fort Wayne-based cooperative of thousands of hardware stores, home centers and lumberyards throughout the US and around the world. (This article is for informational purposes only. Indiana Connection and Do it Best Corp. assume no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein, or for injuries, property damage, or the outcome of any project.)



Hoosier Energy news

Putting safety


Observation process helps identify where to make improvements When asked to use a No. 2 pencil,

Bubble after bubble, details of the

Capturing safety information like

fill circles completely and make

job are categorized. If the job is

this is important but what you do

no stray marks on the form, these

completed properly, with safety at

with the data is where the value

instructions are likely to bring back

the forefront of the work being done,

lies. Once scanned, data collected is

memories of school years when

the task is marked as “safe.” If there

then searchable through a database

scantron technology was used for

were safety issues not addressed,

so that analysis can be performed


such as forgetting to check fall

to find opportunities for additional

protection harnesses, the task is


Hoosier Energy’s Merom Generating Station’s Job Safety Observation

marked as “at-risk.”

“We can see where the ‘at-risk’ areas

Team is utilizing this technology in a

Unsafe practices are discussed on the

are as we go along so we can identify

new way.

spot. The goal is to help employees

trends. If we need to fix something,

build safety habits through the work

retrain or make improvements, we

they do – and the work is diverse.

have the data to figure that out,” said

Using a custom form that is specific to the power plant, members of the team observe work practices and

The safety review process includes

identify safety procedures. They use

topics such as permits and

the forms to identify if practices are

procedures, personal protective

safe or at-risk.

equipment, excavation, ladders and

“We worked directly with the Scantron company to develop our form for the specific safety items that we wanted. The custom form allows us to identify and address at-risk areas and make proactive changes in order to improve working conditions and maintain a high level of safety for our employees,” said John Sneed, area coordinator – I&E maintenance at the Merom Generating Station. A safety observation begins during a job briefing — scantron and pencil in hand. Throughout the process, safety leaders are able to identify risks involved with a job or task, that can include climbing, using a forklift, or connecting rigging equipment.



fall protection.

Sneed. Area Coordinator John Sneed, left, observes Electrician Rich Beller at Merom’s Electrical Maintenance Shop as he performs a circuit breaker repair.



Profile for IndianaConnection

Jackson County REMC — September 2020 Indiana Connection  

Jackson County REMC — September 2020 Indiana Connection  

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