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Glades Electric Cooperative

J U N E 2014

A Salute to Old Glory The Stars and Stripes stands as a patriotic reminder of American freedom. Read about Ned Ebert, the flag man of Sarasota, and test your knowledge about the Star Spangled Banner flag, page 14. PHOTO BY MARCY CHAPMAN

Are You Ready for Hurricane Season?

PAGE 4

ď Ž

Racing for a Cure PAGE 6


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IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION: Jitterbug is owned by GreatCall, Inc. Your invoices will come from GreatCall. All rate plans and services require the purchase of a Jitterbug phone and a one-time set up fee of $35. Coverage and service is not available everywhere. Other charges and restrictions may apply. Screen images simulated. There are no additional fees to call Jitterbug’s 24-hour U.S. Based Customer Service. However, for calls to an Operator in which a service is completed, minutes will be deducted from your monthly balance equal to the length of the call and any call connected by the Operator, plus an additional 5 minutes. Monthly minutes carry over and are available for 60 days. If you exceed the minute balance on your account, you will be billed at 35¢ for each minute used over the balance. Monthly rate plans do not include government taxes or assessment surcharges. Prices and fees subject to change. 1We will refund the full price of the GreatCall phone and the activation fee (or set-up fee) if it is returned within 30 days of purchase in like-new condition. We will also refund your first monthly service charge if you have less than 30 minutes of usage. If you have more than 30 minutes of usage, a per minute charge of 35 cents will be deducted from your refund for each minute over 30 minutes. You will be charged a $10 restocking fee. The shipping charges are not refundable. Jitterbug and GreatCall are registered trademarks of GreatCall, Inc. Samsung is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. ©2014 Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC. ©2014 GreatCall, Inc. ©2014 by firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc.


Glades Electric

Neighbors Working for Neighbors

Members acknowledge that $3.96, plus actual postage, is the cost to publish 12 issues a year of Florida Currents (USPS-8300). Published by Ruralite Services Inc., 2040 A St., Forest Grove, OR 97116—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 Forest Grove, OR 97116 and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Please send address corrections to P.O. Box 558, Forest Grove, OR 97116. 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, P.O. Box 558, Forest Grove, OR 97116-0558; (503) 357-2105; email info@floridacurrents.com. Subscription services: Nonmember subscriptions $12 (US) 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. Extra copies: $2 each, pre-payment required. Supply is limited. Identify edition, month and year. Contact Ruralite Services. Reprint permission: Direct all requests to Ruralite Services. MANUSCRIPTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS

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 www.nationalcountrymarket.com PRINTED IN FLORIDA

Trend Offset Printing Services 10301 Busch Drive North Jacksonville, FL 32218 © 2014 Ruralite Services Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

Exploring the Unique Benefits of Cooperative Membership By Abby Berry

You set up your electric service account with Glades Electric Cooperative and think to yourself, “That’s done. Now I just have to pay my monthly bill.” The truth is, we are more than a utility provider you pay each month. We have more to offer than electricity—and want you, our members, to know about these benefits. There are more than 900 electric cooperatives in the United States serving 42 million members. GEC, your local electric cooperative, serves more than 12,000 members with lines stretching across more than 2,600 miles. What makes being a member of an electric cooperative unique? We’re all in this together. You are a member of GEC—not a customer. That means you have a voice when it comes to the way we do business. Each spring, you have the option to vote for your board of directors. These directors play a key role in making important decisions for our co-op, which is why members’ voices must be heard. We’re local. It’s likely that you know an employee at GEC. Our employees—your friends and neighbors—share the same concerns for our community you do. Each year,

GEC participates in Relay For Life events, health and safety expos, blood drives, classroom presentations, county fairs and more. To learn more about our mission to strengthen our community, visit www.gladesec.com or follow us on Facebook. We’re not-for-profit. GEC doesn’t offer profits to investors. We return money over and above operating costs to you, our members, based on electricity consumption. Annually, electric co-ops nationwide return millions of dollars to members through capital credits. We’re here for you. At GEC, our mission is to provide you with safe, reliable and affordable electricity. We care about our members’ quality of life, which is why our employees continuously find innovative ways to improve our service. We look forward to introducing our new advanced metering infrastructure, which will open many opportunities for enhanced service for our members. These are just a few facts about electric cooperatives that make us unique. For more information about GEC and the services we offer, visit www.gladesec.com.  Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Virginia-based service arm of the nation’s consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.

Inside

June 2014 Vol. 3, No. 8

Unfurling the Flag Man 14

Ned Ebert started raising the “standard” while attending high school in Sarasota— and he never stopped. Also In This Issue Side Roads 10 In the Kitchen 16 Florida Gardener 18

Festival Roundup 22 Outdoor Pursuits 24 Parting Shot 30

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

JUNE 2014

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Glades  Electric

Neighbors Working for Neighbors

Are You Ready for Hurricane Season? Even though the 2013 hurricane season proved to be mild, forecasters are predicting an about-face for 2014. June 1 marks the official start of the hurricane season, with the peak storm threat occurring from mid-August to late October. When the Global Weather Oscillations—a leading hurricane and climate cycle prediction company—released its 2014 hurricane predictions, the upcoming season was described as stronger and more dangerous than a year ago, with 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes. While many weather organizations predicted 2013 would be a strong season, GWO was the only one that did not. Glades Electric Cooperative wants you to be prepared in the event of one of these dangerous storms. Keep your family safe with these handy tips. Before the Storm: •  Put together an emergency kit and plan. Communicate the plan with your family. •  Know the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you prepare for the storm surge and possible tidal flooding. •  Secure your home: Cover all windows with either storm shutters or boards, clear loose and clogged rain gutters, and bring all outdoor furniture indoors. •  Learn your community’s hurricane evacuation routes. During the Storm: •  Listen to the radio or TV for information, if possible. •  Avoid using the phone, unless there is an emergency. •  Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, keep the refrigerator thermostat on the coldest setting and keep the doors closed. After the Storm: •  Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to GEC. •  Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads. Watch for fallen objects, downed power lines, and weakened walls, bridges or sidewalks. •  NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds or similar areas. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas. n For more tips on planning before, during, and after the storm, visit www. ready.gov/hurricanes.

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Cooperation Among Cooperatives: Restoring Power After a Major Storm Cooperation among cooperatives—one of the seven principles that guide all cooperatives—encourages using teamwork to overcome challenges. Electric cooperatives best demonstrate this during times of need, such as working together following a natural disaster to restore power as quickly and efficiently as possible. Glades Electric Cooperative and its wholesale power provider, Seminole Electric Cooperative, practice this principle, along with electric cooperatives throughout the United States and Florida. June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which continues until November 30. Leading up to that time, GEC prepares its employees and consumers should tropical storms or hurricanes head this way. The unpredictable season requires months of planning, manpower and preparation. Throughout the year, GEC reviews its plan of action for before, during and after the storm. Although there is no way to completely “storm proof” power lines and equipment, electric cooperatives perform what is known as system hardening before each hurricane season. This involves your electric co-op checking distribution lines and power poles, and proactively trimming trees. Seminole regularly monitors 400 miles of high-voltage transmission lines it owns and operates, addressing overgrown trees or brush. Maintaining appropriate tree clearances is necessary


so branches and limbs do not come in contact with power lines and cause faults and outages. Managing surrounding vegetation beforehand also helps crews avoid excess debris when accessing power lines that need repairing. GEC also is in contact with the Florida Electric Cooperatives Association—the statewide organization comprised of 17 member cooperatives, including GEC and Seminole. When disaster strikes, FECA handles statewide communications and coordinates resources, including identifying which cooperative systems are affected and what supplies are needed. While cooperatives keep some backup materials on hand—such as poles and wires— depending on the severity of the storm, coordinating delivery of extra resources can be the most important way FECA helps. When a cooperative is spared from a storm’s destructive path, it may send available employees to help co-op systems that were not so lucky. Responsibilities range from power restoration and cleanup to warehouse stocking and office duties. This practice of sharing manpower allows cooperatives to restore electricity more quickly and safely. The teamwork demonstrated following a major storm is an important way cooperation among cooperatives is put in practice. Every new hurricane season presents a unique set of challenges. Seminole and GEC are dedicated to providing safe and reliable electricity, and will strive to overcome any obstacles to maintain that commitment.

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Glades  Electric

Neighbors Working for Neighbors

GEC Takes Lead in Racing for a Cure Community comes together to raise money for the American Cancer Society Almost everyone in America today can tell a story of how their life has been affected by cancer. At Glades Electric Cooperative, individual stories joined a cooperative story a year ago. Shortly before the 2013 Relay For Life in Lake Placid, one of the cooperative’s employees, Jeanie Perkins, received devastating news. She was given a diagnosis of stage four ovarian cancer. Jeanie immediately began treatment. She was disappointed she could not participate in the 2013 event with her coworkers, who rallied to support her. GEC dedicated the 2013 event not only to all of the employees’ loved ones affected by the disease, but to Jeanie and her ongoing fight. A year later, Jeanie excitedly joined the 2014 GEC Relay For Life Team front and center as a banner carrier during the Survivors Lap. She noted how much she enjoyed the event and the survivors’ dinner. She says she was grateful for the

support of her co-workers the past year. Jeanie was not the only GEC employee making waves at the event. Employee Chelsea Lowder gave up her position as team captain to spend the past year helping organize the event as chairwoman. Chelsea worked throughout the year with people from across the community to ensure the event was a success, the survivors and caretakers were honored, and fundraising occurred to benefit the American Cancer Society. Taking over as the GEC Powered For A Cure team captain was Member Service Representative Sandra Padilla. Sandra organized more than 20 team members and kept everyone motivated during the event, April 4-5 in Lake Placid. After fundraisers throughout the year—including Jeanie Perkins, right, a Glades Electric Cooperative accounting bake sales, raffles and a golf employee, visits with co-worker Courtney Brown during Relay For Life. Top, Jeanie helps carry the banner during the Survivors Lap. tournament—the GEC team 6

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raised more than $3,700. Team GEC Powered For A Cure joined 13 other teams in the overnight event that celebrates more birthdays. The event raised almost $60,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society. Teams keep at least one member on the track at all times to symbolize that cancer never sleeps. The rest of the team doesn’t rest much throughout the night. With a DJ on hand, specialty laps, games and food at every tent, the event is truly a celebration, and all members of the team enjoy the event into the morning. The overnight event symbolizes the hardships faced by those with cancer. At the beginning of the event, relayers are strong, full of energy and walk their laps with ease. By midnight, many lose most of their energy and are tired. At 5 a.m., when final laps are taken, those who make it through the event see the light at the end of the tunnel and find new energy. The Lake Placid Relay For Life is one of 5,200 Relay For Life events in


Left, some of the Glades Electric Cooperative Relay For Life team members. Below, Lake Placid Relay For Life Chairwoman Chelsea Lowder, left, with her GEC co-worker Sandra Padilla, who served as captain for the co-op’s Powered For a Cure team. Below left, Carmen Ortiz paints her sister Victoria Padilla’s face at the GEC Powered For A Cure booth.

communities throughout 20 countries. The American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser is special to its community, but the movement’s true power lies in the combined commitment of thousands of participants, volunteers and supporters committed to helping

the organization save lives. All donations collected by Relay For Life go to the American Cancer Society, which invests funds in groundbreaking research in every type of cancer, and provides free information and services to cancer patients and their caregivers. n june 2014

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Glades Electric

Neighbors Working for Neighbors

Operation Round Up Monthly Report More than 70 percent of Glades Electric Cooperative members participate in Operation Round Up. This program helps people in GEC’s service area who have exhausted normal avenues of financial assistance. Sign up today, and your electric bill will be rounded up to the nearest dollar. The extra is placed in the fund for deserving individuals and organizations. As of April 28, your Charitable Trust Board of Directors has approved $824,329.25 in disbursements. These funds have provided assistance with food, emergency lodging, disaster relief and specific emergency needs for 540 individuals and/or families and 115 community organizations.

Turn to page 25 to learn how your contributions make a real difference. The trust does not fund utility bills (electric, phone, water and gas) or budgets of organizations. Organizations in counties served may apply for funding for a specific need or project. The Charitable Trust Board of Directors meets monthly to review applications for funding. ď Ž If you know of people who need and deserve assistance and live within our service area, encourage or help them to complete an application. Applications can be picked up at each of our three offices: Moore Haven, Lake Placid and Okeechobee.

Alerts and Reminders We all forget important things once in a while: where we left our keys, the time of an important meeting or the due date of a utility bill. Glades Electric Cooperative is making it easier for you to remember your due date. Our Alerts and Reminders program can send you an email or text message before your bill is past due, let you know if you missed the due date, or provide you with payment confirmation or notification of changes to your account. This valuable service is free to members. Call a member services representative at (800) 226-4024 or go to www.gladesec.com and send us a message.

$25

Kelly Brantley District 3 Ortona/Palmdale Dori Evans District 4 Lakeport Lori Thompson District 5 Venus/Hicora

David McCadam District 8 Lake Josephine

Winners should call (800) 226-4024 or sign their name on this page and mail it to:

JUNE 2014

Beverly Eaves District 2 Hendry County

Jerry Chasteen District 7 Lorida

Eric and Connie Rollins No. 10185-001 Bette Sullivan No. 13266-001

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Barbara Hughes District 1 Moore Haven

Lee Andrus District 6 Highlands Park

Credit Winners

Florida Currents $25 Credit Glades Electric Cooperative P.O. Box 519 Moore Haven, FL 33471

Charitable Trust Board of Directors

Angela Hodges District 9 Okeechobee

Church of the Month

First Baptist Church of Venus 350 CR 731 Venus, FL 33960-2113

The next meeting of the Charitable Trust Board of Directors is June 26 at 1 p.m. in Moore Haven.


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Side Roads

Discoveries Off the Beaten Path

The People of Pensacola Leon Martin brings the faces he encounters to life by telling their stories on a popular Facebook page By Susan Suggs

Postcards From Florida

LEGOLAND, Winter Haven

ND y (LEGOLA ier) Photograph ward Linsm Litherland Ed , ip up Ch ro G 12 ts en © 20 nm ai rt lin Ente Florida/Mer

The 150-acre theme park has more than 50 rides, shows, attractions, restaurants, shopping, botanical gardens and water park geared to families with children ages 2 to 12. The water park features a Build-a-Raft Lazy River where guests build their own LEGO rafts, five water slides, joker Soaker water playground, LEGO Wave Pool and Duplo Splash Safari. 10

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The way most people get to know Leon Martin is through his Facebook page, People of Pensacola. What you won’t see on that page is a photo of Leon. Instead, you will find captivating photos and stories about the people he finds in and around the city. Leon has always enjoyed traveling and photographing city landscapes. “On occasion, I would photograph people and end up engaging in a casual conversation with them,” he explains. “I heard a number of pretty cool stories, so I thought why not combine the two and do it here in Pensacola?” He shares his photos and human interest stories with the community. “You know the saying, there are no original ideas,” Leon says. “I stumbled upon a Facebook page called Humans of New York done by Brandon Stanton and found there are also a number of similar pages in different cities. “I wanted to create a page that was unique to our community for our people. The response has been overwhelming. In just over two months, the page had 5,600 followers, and the number grows daily.” Leon collects photos and stories outside his job as a sergeant with the Pensacola Police Department’s Uniform Patrol Division. However, he credits his 26-year career as a patrol officer, street crimes detective, traffic division motorcycle officer, detective and investigator with his ability to approach strangers and strike up a conversation. “During my career, I have heard some amazing stories from so many citizens,” he says. “My Facebook page combines my love of photography with the interesting stories right here in our city. “Pensacola is a city as diverse as any place on earth. Every facet of my job as part of the police force requires interaction

with people in the community. No one knows our citizens better than those who serve them on a daily basis. Our city is filled with good, kind, honest people who live here because of the quality of life.” Leon says he approaches every person in a friendly, unobtrusive manner. “I always ask if they mind if I take their photo first,” he says. “The photos lead to them asking me what it is for or about. This generates a conversation that segues into key questions such as ‘What is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you?’ or ‘What is your biggest regret?’ About 90 percent of the people I approach allow me to take a photo and will speak with me. Not all of them are as frank and open as others. Some have an interesting look, but very little life experience and therefore don’t have interesting stories. I pick and choose which stories to share.” Leon respects the decision of those who choose not to be photographed, understanding they might be going through a difficult time or are intensely private. A couple of stories have left a lasting impression with him. One was a man who lives under the Pensacola Bay Bridge. “After I spoke with him in a park, he allowed me to visit his home under the bridge,” Leon says. “He introduced me to his friends and we had a conversation covering a number of topics, including what it was like for them to be homeless. “I felt honored that I gained his trust enough that he would not only take me to his ‘home,’ but allow me to photograph it. I think he appreciated that I just sat down and engaged in ‘man talk’ without judging them.” Since then, Leon has visited the man a few times, providing him with clothing and other items donated by a local church. “I think people connect with the plight of the homeless, particularly veterans, because this is a military town,” Leon says. “People tend to respond more to


The Running Man

Leon Martin travels the streets of Pensacola taking photos and sharing stories of people in the community.

stories that stir them emotionally, either heartbreaking or uplifting.” One of his profiles, The Running Man (see story at right), generated a lot of interest. The runner who dresses colorfully and waves to cars that pass by is a local icon. “I had seen him running on the west side of town for many years, and always wondered what his story was,” Leon says. “I was fortunate enough to see him and was able to photograph and talk to him.” Leon is pleased his Facebook page has received such a positive response. “Ninety-nine percent of the comments received on a story and photo are positive,” he says. “My page calculates how many people a particular post has reached and gives how many ‘likes’ a post has from individuals. The Running Man story reached 102,912 people, had 3,210 likes and was shared by followers 1,183 times. Those numbers are pretty stunning.”

Leon wants to keep his focus on the interesting stories. He is considering more in-depth interviews with Pensacola icons—a suggestion by fans of his page. As a result of the attention his profiles have generated, he now contributes a weekly feature to a local community website, Progress+Promise. “I am grateful that Progress+Promise has given me a chance to freelance with them around the stories I do for my own page and my full-time job with the Pensacola Police Department,” he says. Leon hopes to turn the stories into a book, but has no immediate plans. “I have a few more years before I can retire, but I am planning something similar to this page, but on a broader spectrum, for making my project bigger and better,” he says. n To read Leon Martin’s profiles, see www.facebook. com/humansofpensacola.

“My name is Randy, but people call me ‘The Running Man’ because I really love to run. I have worked as a maintenance man at the Pensacola Naval Air Station for 36 years.” Congratulations on your long career! How many miles per day do you run? “I run by the hours so I don’t know how far I run, I just run for America. I carry two U.S. flags. The flag on the top is for all of the living Americans and the flag on the bottom is in honor of those who have died. I always wear my flag hat. If a fire truck, police car or bus full of kids come by, I always give a salute. “ As I am standing on the roadside talking with him, The Running Man receives numerous honks and waves from motorists. Do you appreciate the response you get from people? “Yes, sir. Everyone is my friend. The best thing is, if a funeral comes by, I give them a salute and a bow because everyone has a soul you can appreciate and I run for them.” ­—Posted January 18, 2014

The Running Man always carries two flags. Photo by Leon Martin

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Perfect Pairings Readers Capture Their Favorite Moments We always are looking for outstanding photos for Parting Shot, Outdoor Fun and the feature section of Florida Currents.We pay $25 for one-time use. Email high-resolution picture files to photos@ floridacurrents.com.

Sisterly Bonding Top: There is nothing our family loves more than to take long walks on the beach together. I photographed my girls in Mexico Beach on a long stroll with a beautiful sunset. Anitra Mayhann, Wewahitchka Right: My twin granddaughters, Amber Kay, left, and Aubrey Kate check out the Gulf of Mexico while waiting for a beautiful sunset on Estero Beach, Fort Myers. Sharon Vinson, Okeechobee

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Contrasts (Left) Top: This is my son, Jonathan Williams, in Lignum Vitae Key State Park in the Florida Keys. The young boy found a mighty old vehicle. How it got there could be another story. The only access to the island is by boat. David Williams, Key Largo Bottom: My family was walking through a hotel lobby and spotted this oversized couch. I grabbed my granddaughter, Elise Rose Badgley, age 3, and put her on the couch. Her expression tells it all. Ellis Rosenberg, Fairfax, Virginia

Tips to Winning Photos

Here are five tips for improving your chances of being published: Interesting photos finish first. A picture that elicits an immediate response will get noticed. It might even get published. Submit something unique that you haven’t seen in Florida Currents before. XX A good photo reproduces well. Make sure your photo is sharply focused. Send a high-resolution digital picture file or good-quality photograph. Poor resolution is one of the main reasons for non-use. XX Subject matters. People and animals are great subjects for photos because they have appeal to readers. Unusual signs, buildings and geological formations also make good subject matter. XX Tell us a story. Tell us what is going on in the photo, even if it seems obvious to you. Give us complete context. XX Pay attention to the details. Identify everyone in the picture, including family pets. Include your mailing address and email address. XX

Close Encounters (Above) Top: This particular giraffe at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs seemed friendly and not photo shy. I believe it started a bond between the two—a bond my son Barrett wasn’t expecting. Maybe next time I won’t use organic sunscreen that makes him smell like a vegetable. Tammy Parker, Cheyenne, Wyoming Bottom: This is my 5-year-old granddaughter Mia. Her friend is Ranger, my hairdresser’s dog. I was getting my hair cut and Mia was visiting with Ranger, eye to eye! Christine Reid, Century JUNE 2014

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A Banner Story: Unfurling the Flag Man

Sarasota resident Ned Ebert started raising the ‘standard’ in high school and never stopped By Marcy Chapman

How do you make a living selling flags? “Every school, church and bank needs one, and since they are made out of cloth, they wear out,” says Ned Ebert, owner of The Flag Man shop in Sarasota. Ned has been selling flags to people and businesses all across the country since 1971. His customer base is diverse: from ranchers in nearby East Manatee and DeSoto counties to landscape designers, returnees and retirees from military service, churches, government agencies, car dealerships, professional golf tournaments, condos and hotels. Ned moved to Sarasota from Virginia when he was 12. He was part of the first graduating class at Brookside Middle School. While at Sarasota High School, he was responsible for raising and lowering the school’s American flag each morning and afternoon. As a souvenir from that time, that very flagpole glimmers under the bushes in front of Ned’s flag shop. After high school, Ned studied advertising at the University of Florida. Jobs

How Many Stars and Stripes?

Today’s national flag displays 50 stars and 13 stripes. How many stars and stripes make up the Star Spangled Banner flag that Francis Scott Key wrote about in 1814? See page 30 for the answer. 14

june 2014

with the railroad and as an advertising specialist in Clearwater followed. “I worked near a little flag shop and, to me, it seemed the neatest thing in the world,” Ned says. That glimpse into marketing flags led Ned to open his own flag store. He remains The Flag Man today, offering American and foreign flags, flag poles, rope, finials and the trucks that hold the finials. Throughout the years, some interesting customers have passed through the door of the small vintage Florida cottage that houses his shop. It is nearly obscured by dense tropical foliage—leftovers grown wild from a plant nursery Ned once had in Apopka. He laughingly recalls a customer who was hesitant to leave her car. “Television entertainer Sally Jesse Raphael and her husband pulled into the driveway of the shop one afternoon,” Ned says. “Sally seemed a bit intimidated—maybe it was the jungle-like atmosphere—and stayed in her car. Her husband purchased $300 worth of flags for a party.” Ned recalls using a crane to install a flag for Bobby Vinton at his home on Manasota Key. He and the crane were called back the next day when Bobby decided to change the flag’s location. Another customer who left an impression on Ned was a performer who doubled in movies for Elvis. “A customer in Myakka ordered a flag as a surprise Christmas gift for her husband,” adds DeDe Horne, Ned’s sister and assistant. “Ned was instructed to have it installed in the middle of their pasture. Nosy horses and cows had to be

Ned Ebert has had a lifetime reverence for the flag, and he has made it his livelihood for 43 years.

warded off to get the job done.” Each year, a customer from Arcadia buys a flag from Ned to honor his grandson—the first military casualty in Afghanistan from Manatee County. The soldier’s boyhood hobby had been collecting Tonka trucks. His granddad always gave him one on his birthday. Continuing that tradition, he places a flag and a little Tonka truck on his grandson’s gravesite. A recent day at the shop finds Ned and DeDe in a bustle. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is due in Sarasota for an event at a restaurant. Two of the restaurant’s staff, having just discovered their flag looked worn, rush to the shop to buy a new one. “We knew who to call,” they say. “You’re the best.” All of Ned’s flags are made in America. “My best sellers are for residences and commercial locations, 3-by-5 and 5-by8-foot sizes, and custom flags,” he says.


Visitors at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., view the Star Spangled Banner flag. Star Spangled Banner flag photos courtesy of the National Museum of American History

‘The Star Spangled Banner’ Turns 200 This Year

Some of the flags are much larger. A hotel on Boca Grande wanted a 60-foot flag, and a nearby furniture store inquired about an 80-foot one. The larger Stars and Stripes can run up to $12,000. “It has an interesting history,” Ned says of the American flag. “At one time, they tried to pass laws to prohibit importation of American flags. In the 1980s, there were many people selling flags, but today there are only a few. “During the period around 9/11, flags became very scarce. You couldn’t get them and had to wait in a queue. Years ago, the real estate industry was one of my biggest clients, buying flags for model homes and open houses, but not today.” Orders for custom flags are diverse. Planners for a regatta in Key West—once known as Bone Island—wanted a flag depicting skeletons leaning against a palm tree and a bottle with a message. Sarasota’s Asolo Theatre requested a flag with a swastika for a production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” The flag

manufacturer refused the order unless it was received on the theater’s letterhead and with an agreement to return the flag afterward. Being a merchant for Old Glory for more than 40 years has unfurled unique opportunities for Ned. “I have learned more about people in this business than in any other,” Ned says. “They just like to sit here on the porch and talk.” n

Who Sewed the Flag?

Betsy Ross purportedly sewed the first Stars and Stripes flag design—a claim still disputed by some. But who sewed the massive 30-by-42-foot Star Spangled Banner flag? See page 30 for the answer.

It was 200 years ago that Francis Scott Key penned the poem—”The Defence of Fort McHenry”—that ultimately became the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner.” The flag that defiantly flew over Fort McHenry the morning of September 14, 1814, after a 25-hour bombardment by the British navy and inspired the national anthem now resides at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The flag is a shadow of its former self. The elements, time and custom have taken their toll. When the museum acquired the flag in 1912, it was discolored with age, fragile, frayed and torn. It measured 30 feet by 42 feet when it was new, but by 1912 it was only 30 feet by 34 feet. The difference had been snipped away piece by piece and given as souvenirs by its private owners throughout the years. The pieces became highly prized and collectible in the late 1800s. Some of the snippings have been returned to the museum. However, the missing 15th star— perhaps given away as a momento— has never been located. The flag is on display in a climatecontrolled environment, where hundreds of thousands of visitors view it each year.

june 2014

15


In the  Kitchen

Recipes That Satisfy

Spice up Dinner With Asian Flair These Asian-inspired one-dish Thai-Style Curry meals with noodles transform Beef and Pasta dinnertime from basic to extraordinary Chock-full of beef and fresh vegetables

in a creamy coconut-curry sauce—this shows how a little creativity can go a long way. 1 box spaghetti 1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, about 3/4- to 1-inch thick 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided

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3 cups broccoli florets 1 medium bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips 1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges 2 to 3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger 1 serrano or other hot chili pepper, minced 14-ounce can light coconut milk 1/4 cup red curry chili paste (can be found in the Asian section of the supermarket) Roasted peanuts, finely chopped (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; return to pan. Meanwhile,


cut steak in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Toss with garlic; set aside. Heat 1½ teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of beef; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until outside of beef is no longer pink. Remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining beef and 1½ teaspoons oil. Remove from skillet. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet. Add broccoli, bell pepper and onion. Cook and stir 1 minute. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water; continue cooking and stirring for 1 minute. Stir in ginger and chili pepper. Add combined coconut milk and curry paste to skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Return beef to skillet; remove from heat. Toss beef mixture with pasta. Garnish with peanuts, if desired.

onion; set aside. While noodles are cooking, make the sauce in a medium saucepan. Combine the chicken broth, fish sauce; and soy sauce and bring to a boil over mediumhigh heat. Reduce the heat to low to keep the broth just below a simmer. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pork and cook until browned and cooked to 145 F, 1 to 2 minutes per side (you may have to do this in batches). Let stand at room temperature for 3 minutes. Arrange the pork on top of the noodle bowls. Ladle the piping-hot broth over the top of the pork and noodles; garnish with basil and lime wedges and serve.

Courtesy of Dreamfields

5 cups water 4 chicken thighs, skinned 2 ounces ham 1 medium cucumber, peel only if skin is waxed or bitter 2 large eggs ¼ teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon cooking oil

Serves 6-8

Simple Vietnamese Pork Noodle Bowl Savory pork tenderloin and fresh lime contrast the spicy and sweet essence of vibrant basil in this dish. Pork tenderloin is one of the leanest proteins available. 1¼ pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices 12 ounces rice noodles 4 cups prepared slaw mix 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 4½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 4½ teaspoons fish sauce 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce 2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Arrange the noodles in six serving bowls. Top with slaw mix and

Serves 6

Courtesy of Dreamfields

together. Fry in a hot pan greased with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, turning and tipping the pan to make a thin sheet. Remove eggs; cut into thin strips. Season the chicken broth with soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Bring 10 to 12 cups of water to a boil. Gradually add the dried noodles. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the white core of the noodles disappears. Rinse under cold running water. Place noodles in a bowl and mix well with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Divide the noodles into four bowls and arrange ham, cucumber, chicken and egg over top. Serve with seasoned broth on the side. Serves 4

Courtesy of Wheat Foods Council

Cold Chinese Noodles

Seasoned Broth 4 cups chicken broth 1 tablespoon light soy sauce 1 tablespoon vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar 2 teaspoons sesame oil 10 to 12 cups water 10½ ounces dried Udon noodles 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add the chicken; cook 15 to 20 minutes. Remove chicken and shred. Chill broth; skim fat from surface and discard. Slice ham into long, thin strips. Slice cucumber diagonally and cut into thin strips. Beat eggs and ¼ teaspoon salt

Asian Sesame Noodles 12 ounces Asian wheat noodles 2 tablespoons sesame oil 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into strips 1 bunch green onions, chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 head bok choy, with stems removed, or cabbage leaves, cut into strips 1 tablespoon sesame seeds ½ cup roasted cashews, optional 1 teaspoon salt, optional

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm sesame oil. Sauté chicken for 5 to 7 minutes, until browned and liquid is gone. Add onions and pepper; cook 3 minutes longer. Add bok choy leaves and sesame seeds and cook an additional 3 minutes. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Combine with chicken, cashews and salt; and serve immediately. Serve with soy or teriyaki sauce on the side. Serves 8 Courtesy of Wheat Foods Council

JUNE 2014

17


Florida Gardening

Advice From the Front-Yard Farmer

A Tasty Addition to Home Gardens One of summer’s loveliest sights is a massive blueberry plant heavy with plump, juicy berries as blue as the thumb of an I-10 hitchhiker in January. And one of the best ways to spend a summer afternoon is picking—and eating—those tasty berries. In most instances, the U-pick blueberry farms are the way most Floridians experience the joy of picking blueberries. However, many others harvest blueberries from plants growing in their own backyards, or perhaps among other landscape plants in the front yard. The rabbiteye blueberry is a handsome plant native to north Florida. It is remarkably well adapted to the climate in the northern part of the state and, to a lesser extent, in central Florida. For areas south of Ocala and north of Sebring, the southern highbush blueberry is a better choice. The southern highbush requires less

Rabbiteye blueberries are native to north Florida and thrive in home gardens. Blueberries are easy to care for and are bothered little by heat, humidity, disease or pests. Plan for blueberries now and plant between December 15 and February 15. Photo by Dennis Gilson

cold weather. All blueberries require at least some cold temperatures to produce fruit, so they often don’t do well south of Sebring. Blueberries are easy to care for and are bothered little by heat, humidity, disease or pests. The best time to plant is mid-December through mid-February. Now is an excellent time to begin planning and taking steps to help you be successful. First, determine where you are going to plant your blueberries. You will need space for at least two plants because it takes two to produce fruit (cross pollinate). The more sun your planting site receives, the bigger the berries

Dennis Gilson lives and gardens in Niceville. Widely known as the Front-Yard Farmer, Dennis has grown vegetables, fruits and berries in the Florida Panhandle for more than 30 years. He shares his experience and offers timely advice at his website, FrontYardFarmer.com.

18

JUNE 2014

your plants will produce. Allow at least a 7-foot by 7-foot area for each rabbiteye, and an area that measures about 4-foot by 4-foot for each southern highbush. For a hedgerow effect, space southern highbush plants 3 feet apart, or about 5 feet apart for rabbiteye plants. Soil pH is the factor with the most impact on blueberry success in Florida. A pH range of 4.5 to 5.5 is optimum. Now is the perfect time to test the pH of the soil where you intend to plant your blueberries. Early action is best because it takes three or four months for the soil pH to change even after amendments have been made to it. A soil test is simple and inexpensive, generally costing $10 or less. Contact your county’s cooperative extension office for details. Peat moss or pine bark often is used to increase soil

organic matter when planting blueberries at home. Rabbiteye blueberries like at least 1 percent organic matter; southern highbush blueberries need closer to 3 percent organic matter in the soil to thrive. Peat moss and pine bark may be incorporated into the soil at planting. Incorporate about a quarter to a half a cubic foot of peat moss— or a mix of peat moss and pine bark—into the planting hole. Pine bark is also excellent mulch for blueberries. It should be 3 inches deep and spread at least 2 feet in all directions around each plant. Water should drain well. Blueberries don’t like their roots to remain saturated. Blueberries respond well to frequent, light fertilization. There are many established rabbiteye blueberry cultivars to choose from and others that are new to the market. The mid- to late-season varieties are the best choice because they are less affected by late spring frosts. The harvest season for rabbiteyes ranges from May to July, depending on the variety. Southern highbush are the earliest blueberries to ripen in the country, ripening as early as February. 


Travel Journal

Tips for Affordable Family Adventures

Explore a Natural Treasure Take a one-tank adventure and explore the natural wonders, cultural treasures and historic sites of one of Florida’s 161 state parks, 10 state trails, nearly 800,000 acres and more than 1,600 miles of multiuse trails. A state park likely is within a 100-mile radius of where you live. It offers an affordable getaway with year-round, family-friendly events and outdoor fun. With more than 30 activities—from hiking, bicycling and horseback riding to kayaking, swimming and fishing—everyone will find something to enjoy. Outdoor recreation is just one way to enjoy your state park experience. Take part in one of the many ranger programs, and learn about wildlife, go on a hiking adventure or enjoy the camp life experience with a night program. Enhance your experience by planting trees, participating in a service project or volunteering at a visitor center or museum. The Friends of Florida State Parks (www. friendsoffloridastateparks. com; 800-338-1980) can provide information about becoming a volunteer. State parks are open 8 a.m. to sunset every day of the year. If you plan to visit often, an annual pass will allow you to enjoy any of the parks for

A ranger at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in

pennies a day. The cost varies depending on whether you opt for an individual or family pass. Discounts are available to seniors and those who have served in the U.S. military. The state’s Nature and Heritage Tourism Center (800868-9914) is a good resource to learn about Florida’s natural and cultural resources and recreational opportunities, including information about outfitters and outdoor tours. For more information about the state parks, visit www.floridastateparks.org. Up Close With Manatees If you want to snorkel or swim with manatees, you can do so, supervised, at Crystal River. It is the only place in North America where it is legal. Physical contact with the endangered Florida manatee is off limits elsewhere, including state parks, which are managed as natural systems. Resource protection is stressed. You can view these gentle

Fort Lauderdale conducts an interpretive

program for visitors.

Photo courtesy of Florida State Parks

giants from the underwater observatory in the main spring at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Did You Know? The Pinellas Trail, which connects St. Petersburg with central and north Pinellas County, is the longest urban linear trail in the eastern United States. The 38-mile-long trail is popular with joggers, walkers and in-line skaters. The fully-paved trail also is equipped with bike racks and regular refreshment stops, making it a great place to spend a few hours or even a full day riding your bike. Reader Tip “One of the best things we did was to purchase a state

park pass—in our case, with a military discount—before we took a weeklong, top-tobottom scenic ride around the Sunshine State. Even if we didn’t stay too long in each park along the way, we did see a lot of places we’d like to visit again and learned even more about Florida than just driving by and reading a sign.” —Kay McCullough, Ocala Tell Us Your Travel Tip What’s your favorite activity? Where’s the best beach and why? Where do you like to go for a weekend getaway? What is your go-to hidden gem or family-friendly activity? Send your travel tip in 100 words or less—along with a photo there, if possible—to info@floridacurrents.com. 

Kris Wetherbee is an author and award-winning recipe developer. She writes about outdoor living, travel, gardening, natural health and cooking for numerous publications, including Florida Currents. Visit her website at www.kriswetherbee.com.

JUNE 2014

19


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LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 9/19/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

R ! PE ON SU UP SAVE CO

• 3-1/2 Ton Capacity

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REG. PRICE $219.99

1/2" DRIVE

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discount . Cannot be used with other supplies last. by calling 800-423-2567 or HarborFreight.com or l purchase with original receipt. Offer good while er per day. LIMIT 8 - Good at our stores . Limit one coupon per custom ses after 30 days from origina or coupon or prior purchal coupon must be presented. Valid through 9/19/14 Non-transferable. Origina

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LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 9/19/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

REG. PRICE $14.99

LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 9/19/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

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12" SLIDING COMPOUND DOUBLE-BEVEL MITER SAW WITH LASER GUIDE

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R ! PE ON SU UP LOT NO. 95578 CO

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4-1/2" ANGLE GRINDER

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Festival  Roundup

Things to See and Do

June 4, 11, 18 and 25, Panama City Life of the St. Andrews Hermit St. Andrews State Park hosts a new program about Theodore Tollofsen from 10 to 11 a.m. Teddy was a Norweign sailor who found himself shipwrecked on the shore of the St. Andrews peninsula in 1929. He stayed with remnants of the boat on the sandy peninsula for 25 years. www.floridastateparks.org; (850) 233-5164

June 5, Pensacola Pen Air Federal Credit Union Fiesta Day Parade Catch some beads when floats parade down Palafox Street at 6:30 p.m. DeLuna LXII, his queen and court make appearances. The Blue Angels serve as grand marshal. www.fiestaoffiveflags.org

June 6, Panama City Friday Fest Bay County’s largest street festival draws more than 200 show cars, 50 vendors and live bands, filling up six blocks of Harrison Avenue. Local shops and restaurants stay open late. Festivities run until 10 p.m. www.pcbeach.org

June 7, Wellborn 21st Annual Blueberry Festival Blueberry treats and entertainment await at Andrews Square. Activities begin at 7 a.m. with a blueberry pancake breakfast and end at 5 p.m. The parade is at 10:30 a.m. Fresh blueberries, plants and products are sold. The event also features food, crafts and children’s activities. www.wellborncommunityassociation.com

How to Submit Your Calendar Events Want to include a family-friendly event in an upcoming listing? Send it to info@floridacurrents.com. Include the date, town, times, details and a way for readers to get more information. Please submit the item at least 60 days before the event. If you own the rights to a high-resolution photo promoting this year’s event, or from a past year’s event, please attach it along with photo credit information. June 7, Pensacola 24th Annual Historic Pensacola Village Open House Take a tour of the Lavalle, Dorr and LearRocheblave houses every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Living history programs are planned throughout the day. Visitors can play Victorian leisure games, and free kids’ activities include candle dipping, calling cards and a photo booth. The Pensacola Children’s Museum hosts Climmie the Clown. Admission is free this day. www.historicpensacola.org

June 7-8, Statewide License-Free Saltwater Fishing Grab your fishing rods and tackle box to take advantage of license-free fishing days. www.myfwc.com/fishing

June 7, Port St. Lucie Frog Watch ... Record the Ribbit Savannas Preserve State Park invites you to become a citizen scientist from 7 to 9 p.m. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums program helps increase knowledge about amphibian populations. Participants meet local frog and toad friends, then collect information for a national database critical to the design of conservation strategies. Reservations are requested.

June 8, Lakeland Cycling With Friends Bring your bike and helmet and join the Friends of Colt Creek State Park on organized rides on the road or trails from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Other activities include canoeing/kayaking and family outdoor games. Refreshments and merchandise are sold to raise funds to support the park. www.floridastateparks.org; ccspfriends@gmail.com

(850) 435-3560

June 7, Milton Annual Plant and Yard Sale Milton Garden Club hosts its annual event at 5256 Alabama St. Spots are available to rent. (850) 626-2003

22

jun e 2 0 1 4

www.keywestbacchanalia.com; (305) 766-3356

June 13-15, Titusville 4th Annual Sea Turtle Festival Rangers provide a unique opportunity to view a loggerhead sea turtle laying her eggs Friday and Saturday nights at Canaveral National Seashore. A reservation is required. Festival activities include a sidewalk sale, informational programs, an art social and music. Cleanup at Playalinda Beach is Sunday from 8 to 10 a.m. www.titusvilleseaturtlefestival.com

June 13-15, Key West Inaugural Mystery Writers’ Key West Fest Fans of mystery fiction can learn how their favorite authors craft tales of murder and mayhem. Presented in part by the Mystery Writers of America, the festival features acclaimed authors sharing insights on intrigue with readers and offers aspiring writers a chance to pitch their plots to editors and e-book publishers. www.mysterywriterskeywestfest.com

June 14, Sebring Saturday Night Cruise Cruisers from near and far descend on the downtown circle from 5 to 8 p.m. to see classic cars, listen to live entertainment and enjoy food. www.SebringCruise.com

June 14, Bradenton 53rd Florida State League All-Star Game Although baseball has been played at Bradenton’s McKechnie Field since the 1920s, this is the first time the city hosts an All-Star Game. The Bradenton Marauders, the Class A-Advanced minor league team that plays in the FSL, are in their fourth season at McKechnie Field. www.bradentongulfislands.com

June 12-15, Panama City Beach Battle at the Beach Baseball Bash Watch 8-and-under to 15-and-under teams compete in pool play at the 10th annual event at Frank Brown Park. Grand Slam World Series events follow through July.

June 14, Key West Swim Around Key West Long-distance solo swimmers and relay teams of two to six people, with or without fins, compete in this U.S. Masters Swimming-sanctioned 12.5-mile swim clockwise around Key West from Smathers Beach. The Florida Keys Community College event is open for all age groups.

www.grandslamtournaments.com

www.fkccswimaroundkeywest.com; (305) 809-3562

June 13, Bradenton Pirates and Princesses 5K Home Run Participants are encouraged to dress as pirates or princesses for the inaugural event, which starts and ends on Old Main Street.

June 14-15, Sebring Heartland Triathalon Swim, run, ride and conquer as the Heartland Triathalon returns to downtown Sebring. Fun for all ages and the USAT Florida Regional Youth Championship.

www.floridastateparks.org; (772) 398-2779

June 7, Pensacola Hurricane Preparedness Party Learn how to stay safe during a disaster and cook without electricity. The event from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Seville Square Park includes vendors, concessions, entertainment and interactive activities for the entire family.

June 13-15, Key West Fifth Annual Key West Bacchanalia Join celebrity chefs, Bravo TV Top Chef stars and renowned mixologists and enjoy some of the best rums, spirits, wine, beer and food from local restaurants in one of the Keys’ premier events.

www.BradentonMarauders.com/ PiratesandPrincesses5K

www.HeartlandTri.org


Seventh Annual Youth Field Day Students ages 8 and older, parents and youth leaders will learn about beef cattle management and production, wildlife and toxic plants from faculty and staff of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona. The event is Thursday, June 12, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The goal is to excite students about agriculture and science, reveal future opportunities in those fields, and foster a love of learning that will promotes agriculture and good stewardship in current and future generations. Preregister at www.ufrcrecyfd2014.eventbrite.com. For more information, call (863) 735-1314 ext. 204. June 15, Osprey Father’s Day Orienteering Workshop Learn to use a compass from 9 a.m. to noon at Oscar Scherer State Park, 1843 S. Tamiami Trail. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. www.floridastateparks.org; (941) 483-5956

June 18, Islamorada Dolphin Defenders The History of Diving Museum at MM 83 continues the free “Immerse Yourself!” series with a presentation by Hal Goforth. The program begins at 7 p.m. www.divingmuseum.org; (305) 664-9737

June 21, Port St. Lucie Solstice Drum Circle Join local African drumming enthusiasts and drum, dance, sway and tap your way through the evening with this percussion palooza hosted by Savannas Preserve State Park. All ages are welcome. No reservations required. www.floridastateparks.org; (772) 398-2779

June 21-22, Pensacola June Fest Talented youth and adults from the Panhandle area express their musical skill in concert at William Bartram Memorial Park. (850) 602-3292

June 21, Panama City 8th Annual Panhandle Women’s Expo Join the Central Panhandle Chapter of the American Red Cross from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Panama City Mall for health screenings, entertainment, displays and demonstrations by local businesses focused on all things women. www.pcbeach.org; (850) 763-6587

June 27-28, Wewahitchka Gaskin Park Catfish Tournament Throw your line out for a chance to break the state record at this annual fishing tournament. www.floridacatfishclassic.com; (850) 639-2605

June 27-28, Chipley 58th Annual Panhandle Watermelon Festival Country star John Anderson highlights opening night at the Ag Center. Watermelon contests are at Pal’s Park. Enjoy hamburgers and hot dogs, a fun run, pancake breakfast and parade. Food and crafts vendors are scattered throughout the grounds. Pick up a free slice of watermelon at the Kiwanis table while supplies last. www.panhandlewatermelon.com

June 27, Pensacola Hill-Kelly Drive-In Movie Community Maritime Park hosts a free nostalgic, family fun-night watching “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.” Watch from your car or the grassy lawn. www.pensacolamaritimecommunitypark.com; (850) 436-5670

June 28-August 30, Sebring In Focus: Photography Exhibit To showcase local talent, Highlands Museum of the Arts houses shots from photographers of all ages. The submission deadline is June 6. www.HighlandsArtLeague.org jun e 2 0 1 4

23


Outdoor Pursuits

Enjoying the Natural World Around Us

Five Ways to Beat the Heat The heat and humidity are here, and the discomfort factor is only going to rise as summer intensifies. But that doesn’t mean the only alternative is to stay indoors, crank the AC and sit around watching the Outdoor Channel all day. Here are five ways to make steamy-weather outings more enjoyable. • Timing is everything. Hit the trail or the river early in the morning. The earlier the better, because temperatures and humidity are at their lowest points of the day. Also, most animals are more active then, so it’s a good time to go wildlife watching. • Just add water. Water has a cooling effect whether inside, outside or around you. For that reason, activities in or near water are ideal for hot summer days. Whatever the activity, drink lots of water. Supplement water intake with sport drinks that replenish electrolytes. Use water for every cooling trick in the book, such as adding ice to water bottles, tying a wet handkerchief around the neck, wearing a wet shirt,

Heat injuries are a real possibility on hot, humid days. Drink lots of fluids before, during and after outings. Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion: confusion, dizziness, headache, rapid heart rate, profuse sweating, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting. Failing to recognize and address symptoms promptly could lead to the more serious condition of heat stroke. Photo by Angel Rodriguez

or pouring cold water on head, neck, elbows, ankles or behind the knees, where arteries and veins are closest to the skin. • Made in the shade. When you have a choice, stay in the shade, particularly when biking, hiking or doing other strenuous, nonwater activities. Shaded areas are cooler, even during the heat of the day. • Keep it light. Limit food intake to light meals and snacks. Avoid food high in protein or fat, since they tend to stoke the body’s internal furnace and increase the heat. Avoid caffiene and alcohol, which contribute to dehydration. • Dress for success. Wear lightweight, breathable, loose-fitting clothes. Cotton

Many of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons or bird watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.

24

JUNE 2014

or the new, high-tech fabrics are best, especially if light colored. Fishing Without a License Free fishing days are an excellent way to get out on the water, especially for occasional anglers or when introducing non-anglers to the sport. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission offers eight license-free fishing days a year: four saltwater and four freshwater. Half of those days occur in June: June 7-8 for saltwater fishing and June 14-15 for freshwater. For more information, visit www.myfwc.com. Tips for Bargain Hunters • Shop when you don’t need it. Off-season or endof-season sales generally offer the best prices. One caveat: You may not find the best color or size selection. • Most retailers have a bargain aisle in their stores. That is where they stash oneof-a-kind, discontinued or out-of-season merchandise at

discounted prices. • Check for web-only specials on outdoor retailer websites, such as Cabelas “bargain cave.” Shoppers can save 30 percent or more with these online specials. What Day is It? Go Fishing Day, June 18. Most of us don’t need an excuse to go fishing, but this is just one more reason to hit the water. National Catfish Day, June 25. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed this special day in 1987. He was referring to the farm-raised catfish industry, but it applies to fishing for the wild ones, too. Got a Tip or a Whopper? Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If selected for publication in Florida Currents magazine, we will send you $25 for onetime use. When sending a photo, identify people and pets, and tell us the story behind the picture. Email your submission to info@ floridacurrents.com. 


Glades  Electric

Neighbors Working for Neighbors

Making a Difference in Local Communities Glades Electric Cooperative and the Glades Electric Cooperative Charitable Trust are proud to support local communities and neighbors. All funds administered from the GEC Charitable Trust come from Operation Round Up. The program is funded by members who choose to round up their electric bills to the nearest dollar. Funds stay in Glades, Hendry, Highlands and Okeechobee counties and support programs such as St. Joseph’s Food Pantry and Early Learning Coalition of Florida’s Heartland Inc.’s literacy program. Other recipients provide education, health care and specialty programs. Here is a little information about two organizations that recently received funding.

St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, Moore Haven Funds were provided to the community organization that serves the needs of Glades County and is associated with the Harry Chapin Food Bank based in Fort Myers. St. Joseph’s Food Pantry is open Saturdays from 10 to 11 a.m. at 24065 U.S. Highway 27. Volunteers and recipients are welcome, regardless of religious affiliation. Learn more about the organization on Facebook by typing in St. Joseph Food Pantry Glades County.

Early Learning Coalition of Florida’s Heartland Inc. Funds were provided to promote literacy to 250 children in our area. The organization’s goal is to ensure young children have access to high-quality early care and education experiences. The organization also serves as a point of access to resources and referrals for health care and family support services. It has served the four-county area of Charlotte, Desoto, Hardee and Highlands since 2004, administering state and federal funds to provide child care financial assistance to eligible low-income families. Families can enroll their 4-year-olds in voluntary prekindergarten programs through the coalition. The Highlands office is at 6432 U.S. Highway 27 South, Sebring. Learn more about this program at www.elcfloridasheartland.org.

june 2014

25


Glades  Electric

Neighbors Working for Neighbors

Harnessing the Power of the Sun From the Sun Belt to the Snow Belt, solar energy systems are taking off

When it comes to capturing and delivering resident-owned solar power, the market for this renewable energy source is growing in popularity and becoming more affordable—even beyond the Sun Belt. Since the 1800s, people have tapped into the sun’s power, harnessing it to do everything from cooking food and running handheld calculators to fueling rockets and supplying the power grid. Today, photovoltaic systems use solar cells and panels to capture and convert sunlight into electric power. When a PV system absorbs sunlight, energy passes on to electrons. Those flowing, energized electrons break free and, in the right conditions, join an electric current, which can then bring power to your home. Despite conventional wisdom, consumers living in Arizona and elsewhere in the Southwest—where sunshine is constant—are not the only ones benefiting from solar energy installations. It is time to debunk the misconception

Rooftop solar panels are gaining popularity in both sun- and snow-drenched regions. 26

june 2014

that sun-drenched regions are necessary to produce solar energy, says Andrew Cotter, senior program management adviser for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Cooperative Research Network. Tapping solar energy in cold climates is possible, even in places where there is “12 percent less solar energy available,” Cotter says. A solar energy system with a 1-megawatt array would produce about 1,590 megatt-hours a year in Bismarck, North Dakota. The same system would produce 1,580 MWh a year in Jacksonville, Florida. How can such a cold place generate as much solar power as a sun-drenched locale? “While Bismarck has less sunshine, the cooler weather allows the PV modules to take better advantage of what sun is available,” Cotter explains. “PV panels lose efficiency when they get too hot.” The fact PV panels work better in cooler weather and gain from reflected sunlight off the Bismarck snow make up for the smaller amounts of sunshine. For both co-ops and members, the solar energy market is growing exponentially as the costs of PV system equipment and installation decrease. From a utility perspective, the cost of solar in 2012 was $2,340 per kilowattpeak—a drop of more than 40 percent from 2010. Homeowners installing rooftop solar systems also saw a cost savings. In 2012, the price was under $2,000 a kWp. The 2010 price was $5,710 per kWp. “Dealing with increasing amounts of resident-owned solar is something that co-ops have found to be no more challenging than other obstacles they have faced,” Cotter says. “As long as memberconsumers communicate their interest in residential solar, the co-ops have the skill set to maintain a safe, reliable grid. It’s something they are very good at.” n


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Glades Electric

Neighbors Working for Neighbors

Florida Rural Electric Credit Union

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New Auto: 2.97%* Used/Refinanced Auto: 3.27%* * Annual percentage rate. Subject to credit approval. Offer subject to removal without prior notice. Refinance applied to cars financed at other institutions. Current FRECU loans do not qualify.

Federally insured by the NCUA 28

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GEC Introduces Advanced Metering Infrastructure Glades Electric Cooperative is upgrading to new powerline carrier automated meters, also known as AMI. The system uses two-way digital communication through power lines between GEC and its meters. The new system will bring many benefits to GEC members.

EFFICIENCY With remote meter reading and reconnection, we can save time and money (and reduce air pollution).  With more detailed data about demand and use, we can distribute power more efficiently. 

RELIABILITY

AFFORDABILITY

New meters help us locate— and respond to—outages faster and more safely.  New meters can help us improve power quality, reducing surges and blinking.  New meters mean consistent billing periods. 

new technology to help us serve you better

Operating more efficiently can help minimize cost increases.  GEC can use the new data to help members address high bills.  Improved detection of power theft decreases the impact of cost for all our members. 

Progress Continues on AMI System Steady progress continues with training and installation of equipment for Glades Electric Cooperative’s new automated metering infrastructure. The projected two-year implementation plan begins with installation of equipment in GEC substations that will serve as the communications hub. Meters also will be installed for members to record and transmit data across GEC’s power lines to the cooperative’s offices. Member service representatives are available to answer

specific questions about the system. Answers to common questions are listed here. Watch Florida Currents for answers to more questions. Q. Will current meter readers at GEC keep their jobs?

A. Yes! GEC is dedicated to its employees. All meter readers will continue to be employed by GEC. We are excited to move them into positions that will enhance the service provided to members. Q. How much will this cost?

A. There is no extra cost to

members to install the new system. No rate increase is anticipated in association with this project. Q. What is the difference between new and old meters?

A. The new meters are digital electronic devices, while the old ones were electromechanical devices or a radio read AMR meters. The new meters will continue to display the meter reading, but in a digital LED format. The biggest difference is the new meters have an electronic circuit board module

that receives and stores the kilowatt-hour and demand consumption recorded by the electronics in the meter, and is able to transmit this and other system data securely back to the cooperative’s computers via GEC’s power lines. Q. Will the co-op continue to need access to my meter?

A. Routine inspections of all meters and services will continue to identify safety hazards, theft or other problems. Reasonable access to the meter and GEC equipment must be maintained.  JUNE 2014

29


Parting Shot

Readers Share Their Special Photos

Patriotic Pooch

Proving no effort is too small, bantamweight Chihuahua Mr. Bean, also known as Taco, happily waves a pair of American flags—and wags his tail—encouraging people to vote. Who did Taco back in the last election? Jill Patterson says her dog played coy and refused to reveal his choice. “Unlike Punxsutawney Phil, who predicts the arrival of spring, or Octopus Paul, who accurately predicted World Cup series results, Taco is keeping his opinions to himself, preferring to look cute and stay on everyone’s good side so that he is sure to get his daily treat,” she says.  Photo by Jill Patterson, Key Largo

wanted

Do you want to see YOUR photo on this page? Answers to flag trivia questions (pages 14-15): How many stars and stripes? The Star Spangled Banner flag has 15 stars and 15 stripes, one for each state at the time. In 1818, the number of stripes was reduced to its current 13 stripes in recognition of the 13 original colonies that declared independence from Great Britain in 1776. Who sewed the flag? A delegation of American military officers in charge of the defenses of Baltimore commissioned local seamstress Mary Pickersgill to make the flag. With the help of a handful of assistants, Mary completed the massive flag and a smaller storm flag in six weeks. She delivered them to Fort McHenry on August 19, 1813. 30

JUNE 2014

Florida Currents pays $25 for reader-submitted photos printed in the magazine. We are looking for interesting and humorous images: kids in entertaining situations, animal antics, funny signs, heartwarming expressions ... something special that says “wow” at a glance and puts a smile on the face of readers. Not all photos are suitable. The image must be high resolution, at least 700KB in size (but not larger than 5MB, or your picture may not make it through our email filters). Smaller file sizes—often those taken with cell phones—are too small for good reproduction, and will not be considered. The image needs to tell a story just by looking at it, but the odds of your photo being selected improves if you elaborate in your submission so we understand the complete story behind the picture. Identify all people and animals pictured by name. Remember: Other people are sending in photos, too. What makes your submission stand out? Email your best shots (one photo per email message, please) to photos@ floridacurrents.com. Include your name, mailing address and phone number. Don’t forget to tell the story behind your picture. If your photo is printed, we will send you $25.


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Offices Open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday 26733 U.S. Hwy. 27 East/P.O. Box 519 Moore Haven, FL 33471 (800) 226-4024 or (863) 946-6200 Fax: (863) 946-2150 214 SR 70 West Lake Placid, FL 33852 (800) 226-4025 or (863) 531-5000 111 SW Park St. Okeechobee, FL 34974 (800) 226-4023 or (863) 467-5111

Power Interruption Number Moore Haven..............................(800) 226-4024 Phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. Please have your location or account number handy when you call.

Board of Trustees John “Jack” Coxe, President, District 8 Lake Josephine, (863) 655-3056 James “Jim” Aul, Vice President, District 7 Lorida, (863) 441-0441 Russell Henderson, Sec./Treas., District 3 Ortona and Palmdale, (863) 946-0865 Donnie Lundy, Trustee, District 1 Moore Haven, (863) 946-0402 Barney Goodman, Trustee, District 2 Hendry County, (863) 983-7324 Shannon Hall, Trustee, District 4 Lakeport and Brighton, (863) 946-3242 Ladd Bass, Trustee, District 5 Venus and Hicoria, (863) 441-2227 Lee Henderson, Trustee, District 6 Highlands Park, (863) 633-9281 Irene Lofton, Trustee, District 9 Okeechobee, (863) 467-1219 The next meeting of the Board will be at 9 a.m. June 26 at the Moore Haven headquarters office. Any changes to this schedule will be posted in the lobby of all three district offices.

Executive Staff CEO Jeff Brewington CFO Jennifer Manning Dir. of Business Development Paul McGehee Dir. of Employee Services Yvonne Bradley Dir. of Information Technologies Bradley Hill Dir. of Member Services Margaret Ellerbee Dir. of Operations Tracy Vaughn

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CEO’s Message

Two Victories for Your Co-op

The Florida legislative session has come to a close, and this year we came away with a pair of victories that may help grow our service territory. The first item was legislation proposed by Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. His proposal will lead to a slight decrease in sales taxes on utilities and also directs more dollars to education from taxes collected on utility bills. The second piece of legislation was your cooperative’s brainchild. In an attempt to make our area more attractive and affordable for new businesses, we proposed a sales tax credit on utility bills for businesses locating in rural areas of economic concern. As you are all aware, our entire service territory is a Jeff Brewington rural area of economic concern. We didn’t get all we initially asked for, and it took some last-minute maneuvering to get our legislation through, but we have a start. More than half a million dollars in credits will be available to businesses in these rural areas. Next year we will ask for more. I cannot close without saying thank you, members, for your outstanding response to our campaign against the Hendry County utility franchise tax. At this time, it appears that tax will not see the light of day—and that is because of you taking action. Please also take the time to visit www.action.coop and join us in the fight to combat costly federal regulations that will make the Hendry County utility franchise tax look 13272_CAN_Postcard2up_Layout 1 10/9/13 2:26 PM Page 1 like a drop in the bucket.

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Florida Currents June 2014  

Florida Currents June 2014