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Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative

O C TO B E R 2016

A Local Community Tradition Since 1973, the Kinard Volunteer Fire Department has hosted a Halloween carnival to raise funds to support the purchase of firefighting equipment. Above, Chief Doyle Daniels and Volunteer Jimmy Yon invite everyone to attend this year’s event October 29. For more information, see page 6.

Solar Amendment Protects Consumers PAGE 4    Vampires Lurk in Your Home PAGE 28 n

Gulf  Coast

Members acknowledge that $3.96, plus actual postage, is the cost to publish 12 issues a year of Florida Currents (USPS8300). Published by Ruralite Services Inc., 5605 NE Elam Young Pkwy., Hillsboro, OR 97124—a not-for-profit Oregon cooperative corporation—the magazine serves the communications needs of consumer-owned electric utilities in Florida. Preferred Periodicals postage paid at Hillsboro, OR 97123 and at additional mailing offices.

Safety starts here.

Postmaster: Please send address corrections to 5605 NE Elam Young Pkwy., Hillsboro, OR 97124. HOW TO CONTACT FLORIDA CURRENTS

Have a problem receiving your edition of Florida Currents? Utility members should contact the local utility office listed on the back cover. Nonmembers should contact Ruralite Services, 5605 NE Elam Young Pkwy., Hillsboro, OR 97124; (503) 718-3717; email Subscription services: Nonmember subscriptions $12 (U.S.) per year; $25 (foreign) per year. Prepayment required. Allow 4 to 8 weeks for first issue. Be sure to identify which local edition you want to receive. Order online at Extra copies: $2 each, prepayment required. Supply is limited. Identify edition, month and year. Contact Ruralite Services.

Replace the batteries in smoke detectors when you roll back your clocks. We value your membership. We value you.

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Please do not send unsolicited materials. If interested in writing for Florida Currents, query first. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope for writer’s guidelines. Address requests and queries to Ruralite Services. DISPLAY ADVERTISING INQUIRIES

Contact Jessah Willis National Country Market 611 S. Congress Ave. Suite 504 Austin, TX 98704 (800) 626-1181 or (512) 441-5200 PRINTED IN FLORIDA (800) 568-3667


October 2016 Vol. 5, No. 12

Politics, Presidents and Power 12

Trend Offset Printing Services 10301 Busch Drive North Jacksonville, FL 32218

Learn the role presidents have played in making public power what it is today.

© 2016 Ruralite Services Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

Also In This Issue Side Roads 10 In the Kitchen 16 Great Picture Hunt 18

Travel Journal 20 Festival Roundup 22 Parting Shot 30

Your utility pages: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 25, 28, 29, 26, 32

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Gulf  Coast

Amendment 1 Protects Consumers The constitutional amendment both promotes solar and protects consumers

Solar power is an emerging energy option in Florida. Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative wants to make sure it is developed the right way in our state. Unfortunately, big, for-profit, out-of-state companies have come to Florida looking to make big bucks by leasing rooftop solar panels. Thankfully, standards are in place to protect you and your family from businesses driven only by high profit margins. These protections help ensure the safety of your family, our line technicians and first responders. They also protect you from contracts that are misleading or fraudulent. Disturbingly, big solar companies are lobbying the state Legislature. They are working on a constitutional amendment for the 2018 ballot that would circumvent existing standards that protect you from shady solar business practices. This November, you can stop their lobbying efforts by making sure solar-related consumer protections are addressed in the Florida Constitution. Proposed Amendment 1 will guarantee consumer protections survive big solar’s lobbying efforts by establishing three protective rights in Florida’s constitution:

Protection 1: Your right to own, rent and use solar generation and solar electricity. Currently, your right to have and use solar is not listed in the Florida Constitution. Amendment 1 fixes this problem by cementing into Florida’s constitution your right to have solar generators and to use solar power. Amendment 1 would guarantee your ability to buy solar equipment for your home or office—or rent it, if you prefer—and to use the electricity it generates. Protection 2: The right to be protected from fraudulent or unsafe solar providers. Solar power is a great resource. Unfortunately, there are some bad actors in the solar industry. As with all electric generation, there are safety risks. Amendment 1 ensures necessary standards can continue to protect you and your family from substandard installations and unsafe solar equipment. It also allows the government to protect you from predatory solar companies only focused on their profits. Protection 3: Treat all Floridians fairly. Even when a home has solar panels, it almost always has to be connected to the grid because electricity cannot be stored affordably.

Help Reduce the Demand for Electricity


Southport (850) 265-3631; (800) 568-3667


Wewahitchka (850) 639-2216; (800) 333-9392


Panama City (850) 481-1188


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H2O Plus, a program available to you from Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, has the potential to dramatically reduce the demand for electricity. But we need your participation. Using energy wisely has never been easier. A device that allows our power supplier to cycle your unit for short periods is installed on your electric water heater. By managing energy use when demand is high—when you and your neighbors use the most electricity—our supplier can reduce demand when electricity is most expensive, putting off the need to build facilities to generate more power, alleviating or postponing those costs.

An added benefit is the reduction of greenhouse gases, which helps our environment. You still will have enough hot water for showers and household chores. In fact, you shouldn’t even notice a difference in the amount of hot water available. For more information, please call GCEC Energy Services Representative Manuela Heyn. She will take your information and, after ensuring the program is a good fit for your household, schedule someone to come to your home and install the device at no cost to you. For your participation, GCEC will make a one-time $25 credit to your electric bill. We look forward to hearing from you soon. n

Therefore, most solar users will continue to rely on their utility’s electric grid when the sun does not shine. Amendment 1 ensures that those who do not have solar generators are not required to pay more than their fair share of the cost to maintain the electric grid, and will not be forced to subsidize the electric rates of those who choose to use solar.

The Bottom Line At Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, we believe in providing safe, affordable and reliable power. Amendment 1 will help solar meet those criteria—and that is good news for all of our consumer-owners. As always, if you would like to know more about Amendment 1 or solar power in general, please contact us. n

The proposed amendment to Florida's constitution would specifically give you the right to own, rent and use solar power. It also would add protection against shady solar business practices and ensure electric rates for those who choose to use solar are not subsidized by those who do not. Photo sourtesy of NREL

GCEC Tree-Trimming Program Ensures Safety and Reliability Do you live in the Crystal Lake or Fountain areas? Gulf Coast Electric will be clearing rights-of-way in those areas during October. GCEC has about 2,600 miles of distribution line. If vegetation comes into contact with power lines, it can interfere with your electric service and cause a dangerous situation. Vegetation must be cleared from power lines to provide reliable electric service and prevent a hazardous condition. When a person signs up to be a member of the cooperative, there is an agreement between the member and GCEC to allow right-of-way maintenance. The agreement gives GCEC the legal right to remove from the

right-of-way anything that could interfere with safe, reliable electric service for all members. The co-op realizes most people regard trees as an asset, but if the cooperative’s right-ofway clearance is not maintained, tree limbs and other growth coming into contact with power lines could increase the number of power outages. GCEC tries to work with landowners to preserve landscaping when maintaining rights-of-way. However, federal law requires GCEC to eliminate hazardous conditions. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to bring you quality, reliable service. n

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Gulf  Coast

A Frightfully Fun Night Kinard Halloween Carnival supports the fire department and the community By Lindsay Peak

For more than 40 years, the Kinard Volunteer Fire Department has not only responded to calls for help in the community, but has provided a frightfully fun night to all who dare attend the annual Kinard Halloween Carnival. Chartered in 1973 and motivated by a strong desire to help others, the fire department began with a donated 6x6 truck it could only hope would crank when firefighters needed to jump into action.

The family-friendly event features games and food, including boiled peanuts. 6

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After pulling the truck to a fire one evening, “we had reached a point that we didn’t have anything dependable and something had to be done to continue serving the community,” says Chief Doyle Daniels. A meeting was called and the group of volunteers was on its way to a solution. They would host a carnival for the community. It would be a great way to raise money for the equipment they desperately needed but could not afford to buy. In true Kinard spirit, a community member stepped up and offered to lend the department the money it needed to put on the carnival. With a budget of $350, planning moved forward. The first Kinard Halloween Carnival filled the old school building on Highway 73 with a couple hundred people and raised about $500. For 25 cents, children could fish for prizes at a fish pond. Hot dogs also were sold. The event turned out better

The cake walk always provides fun entertainment, with the possibility of winning a delicious treat.

than anyone expected. The excitement grew when the money borrowed to host the carnival was donated back to the fire department. From that successful start, the carnival has become a timeless tradition for many generations. “Every year it got a little bigger and a little bigger,” says Jimmy Yon, one of the department’s original volunteers. Eventually, the gathering moved outdoors to better

Event Details

Saturday, October 29 Beginning at 5 p.m. CST XX Kinard Community Center XX 5416 SW State Road 73 XX XX

The Kinard Halloween Carnival is a community staple. Clockwise, from top, about 1,500 people attended the gathering last year. Fishing for prizes at the fish pond has been a tradition since the inception of the fundraiser in 1973. A custom-made scuba diver costume won first place in the 0-1 age group. The John Deere costume won second in the same age group.

accommodate the growing attractions and crowd, which usually includes people from surrounding counties. Through the years, the fire department has been able to buy the equipment it needed and support the community. “We try not to get carried away with it,” says Jimmy. “It’s been for the kids from the start, and we try to keep it that way.”

Booth prices have not changed since the start. Kids can still catch a prize for 25 cents at the fish pond. The desire to make each year a little better also has not changed. There are a variety of game booths, a haunted hay ride, a car bash, a cake walk, a cake auction, a costume contest and lots of food. The costume competition is friendly but fierce, bringing

out plenty of creativity. “Lots of people in the community that were once in the costume contest are now entering their children in the contest,” Doyle says. The cake auction often results in bidding matches. “It took experience to fine-tune this,” says Johnny Skipper, who has helped with the carnival for many years. “Over the years, they’ve built

a reputation that the carnival is a family-friendly event.” Fire department volunteers appreciate the support they receive from the community: baking cakes for the cake walk and auction; donating prizes; helping cook; and bringing friends and family to enjoy the fun. The Kinard Halloween Carnival is a tradition many will share for years to come. n O C TO B E R 2 0 1 6


Don’t Wait — ! e t a D e h t k c e Ch s Every 10 Years




Replace Smoke Alarm

Fire Prevention Week Age matters when it comes to your smoke alarms. Oct. 9-15, 2016 Check the manufacture dates on your smoke alarms today!


October 6, 2016

Remove the smoke alarm from the wall or ceiling.


Smoke alarms should be replaced 10 years from the date of manufacture.


Put the alarm back on the ceiling or wall if it is less than 10 years old.


A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.

Test smoke alarms at least once a month by pushing the test button.

Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. For the best protection, make sure all smoke alarms are interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.

For more information about smoke alarms, visit and 8

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Look at the back of the alarm for the date of manufacture.

If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Go to your outside meeting place. Call the fire department from a cellphone or a neighbor’s phone. Stay outside until the fire department says it’s safe to go back inside.

Gulf  Coast

Trading Post For Rent Horse barn with five stalls, paddock and about 4 acres of pasture in Wewahitchka, one block from the old courthouse. Lease by the stall, with discount for multiple horses. (740) 334-0341. Modern three-bedroom, two-bath home in Lynn Haven. Features a great room with fireplace, large eat-in kitchen, separate dining room, twocar garage and privacy-fenced backyard. About 2,050 square feet on a 100x150 lot. Rent is $1,495 a month. (850) 271-0289.

For Sale Coca-Cola collection. Room full including bottles and signs. $500 OBO. (850) 722-4030. Miniature donkeys. Jacks and Jennys, black, brown, gray and paints. All ages. $300 and up. Make great pets. Also standard donkeys. Betty, (850) 899-7424. Quarter horses. Ride well on trails, gentle, good for lessons. (850) 773-1957. 2007 4-door Buick Lacrosse with 83,000 miles and leather interior. $7,500/OBO. (850) 814-2600. Zero-turn Husqvarna finishing lawn mower with 42-inch cut and steering wheel. (850) 814-2600. Two cherry Howard Miller curio cabinets with adjustable shelving, lights and mirrors. 7 feet tall, 4 feet wide and 22 inches deep. $400 each or $700 for both. (850) 814-2600.

Stuffed deer and bobcat in glass case with mirror and lights. (850) 814-2600. Treadmill and exercise bike with adjustable seat and wheel. (850) 814-2600. About 175 elephants from 2 inches to 2 feet with curio cabinet with 5 shelves and 2 drawers. 6 feet tall, 30 inches wide and 16 inches deep. Some elephants too large to fit in cabinet. (850) 814-2600. 30-foot fifth wheel Keystone Cougar. New roof, tires, wheels and converter. A/C and furnace in good working order. Clean and well maintained. $10,500. (850) 258-5690.

Miscellaneous Home service installations: child protection devices, pet doors, closet and garage shelving/ organizers, flat-screen TV mounts, surround sound, surveillance equipment, digital thermostats, whole-house water filters, washer and dryer, showerheads, weather-stripping, curtain rods, blinds, etc. (850) 722-4619 or (850) 596-2788 or email for more details and free estimates.

sprinkler system. Free estimates. (850) 722-4619 or (850) 596-2788 or email proactivems@ for details.

Real Estate FSBO. Two adjacent lots, about 2.5 acres on paved road, 10 miles north of Wewahitchka, 45 minutes from beaches. Borders the Chipola River and Cypress Creek. Cleared and ready to build. Quiet and peaceful; no neighbors. Deeded restrictions. Has underground utilities, deep well and many fruit trees. $69,900. (850) 648-4214. Two- or three-bedroom cabin. About 1,200 sq. feet with large screened porch. 150 feet on West Arm Creek in Meeks subdivision. (850) 271-9040. ½-acre corner lot. (850) 639-2220. FSBO. Bayfront home with pool, guest house, dock and boat lift. Private bay front road in East Bay. (850) 871-9342 or (850) 624-3946. Log cabin house near boat ramp in Wewahitchka. Furnished, new roof, cook shed and fence. High and dry. (850) 832-5054 or (850) 271-4750.

Complete home maintenance service: replace all filters, clean A/C coils, flush water heater, clean dryer vent, clean drains, lubricate all hinges, locks and doors. Inspect all home equipment including fireplace, fire extinguisher, garage door opener/motor, well pump, and

Trading Post is a FREE service to members of Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative. GCEC reserves the right to edit or reject ads. PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY OR TYPE. Please circle the category that applies:

For Rent

For Sale

Real Estate






Name: Address: City/State/Zip:


Mail your ad to: The Trading Post; Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative; P.O. Box 8370; Southport, FL 32409; return with your electric payment; or email ad information to

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Gulf  Coast

Please Use Generators Safely Flashlights, bottled water and portable generators—these are but a few of the items many residents in the area have on hand during hurricane season. More people are investing in generators to power refrigerators, freezers, lights, fans and other appliances during a power outage. While generators can be convenient and useful at these times, they also can be dangerous—even deadly—to their owners and utility workers. It is important to be aware of the manufacturer’s safety and operating instructions for the generator before using it. The first danger is carbon monoxide poisoning. The colorless, odorless, tasteless, poisonous gas is in the engine exhaust. Exposure can be fatal. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, never run a generator in your home, garage or other enclosed space. Operate it only outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area away from air intakes to your home. As an additional precaution, purchase an inexpensive CO detector. Another danger of using a generator is electrocution—not only for you, but

We Need to Know Which Members Have Generators If you plan to use a generator at your home during an extended power outage, GCEC must know about it. We ask that you complete this form and return it so we may note your account. Please mail completed forms to: Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative Attention: Engineering P. O. Box 8370 Southport, FL 32409 By being aware of this, we can prevent our employees from being harmed. We appreciate your cooperation.


O C TO B E R 2 0 1 6

for utility workers. To avoid this, plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load. Never attempt to operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating the generator is designed to handle. This can overload and damage the generator and possibly cause a fire. If you connect a portable generator to the main electrical supply coming into your home, the electrical generator could feed back in Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative’s system and electrocute workers who are repairing electrical lines. To avoid back-feeding of electricity into the utility’s system, you must have a qualified, licensed electrician install a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch between the generator and utility power in compliance with all state and local electric codes. This switch connects

your home to the generator, but disconnects it from utility power. GCEC can provide information on GenerLink—a five-inch device installed behind your electric meter that automatically disconnects your house from the electric utility grid, preventing the possibility of back feed. All generator installations must be inspected by GCEC prior to hookup. For an appointment or more information about generators, call (850) 265-3631. n

YES, I plan to use a portable generator during an extended power outage. Name on account________________________________________________________ Account number________________________________________________________ Mailing address_________________________________________________________ Service address (if different than mailing address)_____________________________ Telephone number______________________________________________________ Generator size__________________________________________________________ Do you have an automatic disconnect?


 NO

Gulf  Coast

Vampires Lurk in Your Home Vanquish energy drains from devices eager to take a bite out of your wallet By Brian Sloboda

spot is the entertainment center. When the television is turned off, it isn’t really off. It is sitting there, waiting patiently for someone to press the on button of the remote— and waiting uses energy. TVs also use energy to remember channel line-ups, language preferences and the time. VCRs, DVD players, DVRs, and cable or satellite boxes also use energy when off. The problem is significant. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the average home loses 8 percent of its monthly energy consumption to these energy vampires. A full 75 percent of the power used to run home electronics is consumed when those appliances are turned off, according to the U.S.

Vampires have frightened people for generations. The fangs, the wings, the immortality: It’s scary stuff. Though that’s all legend— a subject for movies and Halloween costumes—a different breed of vampire lurks in your home right now. These vampires do not drink blood. Instead, they consume electricity. An energy vampire—also known as a phantom or parasitic load—is any device that consumes electricity when turned off. These originate with electronic devices that provide the modern-day conveniences we love, but also waste energy and cost us money. Vampire loads can be found in almost every room of a home, though a favorite

Typical Power Consumption of Household Items (In Watts) Device




40-inch LCD TV




42-inch Plasma TV




DVD player








Xbox 360




Nintendo Wii




Power tool battery charger




Coffee maker




Courtesy of E Source


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Common Home Energy Vampires TVs Stereos XX VCRs, DVD players/DVRs XX Cable/satellite boxes XX Computers XX Battery chargers XX XX

Department of Energy. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the average electric co-op residential member consumes roughly 13,900 kilowatt-hours a year. If 8 percent of this power is consumed when electronics are turned off, the average home wastes 1,112 kWh annually. The good news is—unlike their TV and movie counterparts—a sharp stake is not needed to kill off these vampires. To eliminate the power consumption of an energy vampire, simply unplug the device or plug it into a power strip and use the power strip’s switch to eliminate electricity to everything plugged into it. Power strips work like an extension of the wall outlet. They cut all power to plugs completely when they are switched off. There is always a catch. Some devices use standby power to make life more convenient. If you unplug your television or cable/satellite receiver box, what happens? When plugged back in, the TV or set top box usually will

have to run its initial setup program. Depending on the device, it could take up to 20 minutes for channels to be recognized or for the user to reset preferences, which is not something most are willing to do every day. But numerous devices in the home can be unplugged easily and safely, or plugged into a power strip without causing any inconvenience. Computer equipment— such as printers, scanners, desktop computers and broadband modems—can be unplugged without harm. Cellphone, tool and other battery chargers also should be unplugged when not in

use. Even though the charger is not charging anything, it still draws power. A newer device, a smart strip, is finding its way onto store shelves. Smart power strips allow you to plug devices into a specially marked section of the power strip so they will still have power when turned off. Other devices that can be turned off safely are plugged into the rest of the strip. This allows you to turn off parts of a home entertainment system—such as the stereo, DVD player or home theater audio system— without losing the ability to record programs to a DVR or

having to reprogram the television every time you want to watch a show. For devices that cannot be turned off, consumers should look for Energy Star-certified devices or ask the salesperson about a device’s standby power consumption. There can be big differences in power consumption between manufacturers, and sometimes even between models from the same manufacturer. As in the movies, it is impossible to kill off all of the energy vampires in your home. But every energy vampire vanquished means that much less of a bite out of your wallet. n O C TO B E R 2 0 1 6



Offices 722 West Highway 22 P. O. Box 220 Wewahitchka, FL 32465 (850) 639-2216 or (800) 333-9392 9434 Highway 77 P. O. Box 8370 Southport, FL 32409 (850) 265-3631 or (800) 568-3667 6243 East Highway 98 Panama City, FL 32404 Phone: (850) 481-1188

CEO/General Manager Michael E. White

Trustees President Waylon Graham Vice President Jimmy Black Secretary Eddie Jones Treasurer Rupert Brown Doug Birmingham Robert Byrd Gary Cox Kinneth Daniels Betty Moore Trustees normally meet the third Tuesday of each month at 12:30 p.m. CST. The board meets at the Wewahitchka office in even-numbered months (February, April, June, August, October and December) and the Southport office in odd-numbered months (January, March, May, July, September and November). The mission of GCEC: Fulfilling the changing needs of our membership and communities by providing cost effective, reliable and safe utility services through a dedicated and responsive workforce. 32

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GCEC President’s Message

Why We Celebrate Co-ops Every October, cooperatives from all sectors across the country celebrate National Cooperative Month. The purpose is to recognize the cooperative difference and remind you, the members of the co-op, about Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative’s purpose. I admit I occasionally have been somewhat cynical of the many different “days” and “months” that are celebrated. But National Cooperative Month is truly an opportunity to celebrate. It informs others about our unique business model, which is based on the Seven Cooperative Principles: •  Voluntary and Open Membership. •  Democratic Member Control. •  Members’ Economic Participation. •  Autonomy and Independence. •  Education, Training and Information. •  Cooperation Among Cooperatives. •  Concern for Community. For co-op employees and members who are familiar with the principles, October is a great opportunity to renew our connection to each other and the purpose of our co-op. You can review our mission statement in the left-hand column. In the United States, more than 29,000 co-ops serve in every industry. Many co-ops from different sectors join together during the month to educate members in the community about cooperatives. There are more co-ops in our local community than most people realize. Credit unions and Ace Hardware stores are just two examples. Co-ops are even represented on the shelves at our local grocery stores, such as Land O’Lakes, Welch’s, Organic Valley, Cabot Cheese, Sunkist, Ocean Spray and many more. According to the latest data, more than 130 million people belong to a co-op in the U.S. alone, and co-ops employ more than 2 million Americans. This speaks to the heart of why we must take every opportunity to celebrate and teach others about the cooperative business model. So, plan your own co-op celebration by buying co-op products, look to do business with co-ops right here in our local community and be an active member of GCEC.

Waylon Graham

2016 October GCEC Florida Currents