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July 2014



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July 2014 Writer Amy Higgins and son, Jack, search for a geocache. Photo by Associate Editor Donna Wallin.

4 4 Viewpoint

20 Recipes Cool off this summer with simple, cool,

Colorado electric co-ops review EPA proposal for impact to members

5 Letters 6 Calendar 7 Co-op News 12 NewsClips 14 Backyard Power Packs

refreshing strawberry recipes

22 Gardening

Harvesting juicy, grapes is a tangible dream

24 Outdoors

Co-ops meet challenges of integrating solar into the grid

16 Treasure Hunting


Family-friendly sleuthing makes traveling more exciting

140,000 new solar installations in the United States last year


The official publication of the Colorado Rural Electric Association || Volume 45, Number 07

Are Gray Drakes really at the Big Thompson?

25 Energy Tips 29 Funny Stories 30 Discoveries


years ago grapes were first made into wine


Explore online

This month’s extras — • A state-by-state list of tourist attractions with nearby geocaches •V  ideos showcasing four Discoveries •A  video flyfishing on the Big T


the year letterboxing is believed to have started

COMMUNICATIONS STAFF: Mona Neeley, CCC, Publisher/Editor@303-455-4111; Donna Wallin, Associate Editor; • Amy Higgins, Editorial Assistant/Writer; ADVERTISING: Kris Wendtland@303-902-7276,; NCM@800-626-1181 OFFICERS: Bill Midcap [Fort Morgan] President; Don Kaufman [Sangre de Cristo] Vice President; Jack Schneider [Poudre Valley] Secretary; Jim Luek [Highline] Treasurer; Kent Singer [CREA] Executive Director BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Jim Elder [Delta-Montrose]; John Porter [Empire]; Don McClaskey, Tom Walch [Grand Valley]; John Vader [Gunnison]; Jim Lueck [Highline]; Megan Gilman [Holy Cross]; Dan Mills, Tim Power [K.C.]; Jeff Berman [La Plata]; Jeff Hauck [Mountain Parks]; Donna Andersen-Van Ness [Mountain View]; Debbie Rose [San Isabel]; Eleanor Valdez [San Luis Valley]; Dave Alexander, Kevin Ritter [San Miguel]; Randy Phillips [Southeast]; Ginny Buczek [United Power];

EDITORIAL: Denver Corporate Office, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216; Phone: 303-455-4111 • Email: • Website: • Facebook: • Twitter: @COCountryLife Colorado Country Life (USPS 469-400/ISSN 1090-2503) is published monthly for $9/$15 per year by Colorado Rural Electric Association, 5400 N. Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216. Periodical postage paid at Denver, Colorado. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Colorado Country Life, 5400 N. Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216 Publication of an advertisement in Colorado Country Life does not imply endorsement by any Colorado rural electric cooperative or the Colorado Rural Electric Association. Editorial opinions published in Colorado Country Life magazine shall pertain to issues affecting rural electric cooperatives, rural communities and citizens. The opinion of CREA is not necessarily that of any particular cooperative or individual.



Colorado’s electric co-ops consider how details in the requirements will impact members BY KENT SINGER || CREA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR || KSINGER@COLORADOREA.ORG


On June 2, 2014, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, formally announced the issuance of new rules that will significantly impact how electricity is generated in the United States. The objective of the EPA rules, known as the “Clean Power Plan,” is to reduce the carbon dioxide coming from existing U.S. power plants by 30 Kent Singer percent of 2005 levels by the year 2030. These rules follow another set of rules proposed last fall for new power plants. Whether you support or oppose the proposed rules for existing plants, they represent one of the most significant shifts in energy policy that has occurred in this country in decades. If implemented as drafted, the rules would require all electric utilities in the United States to adjust their power supply mix to include more natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts, and less coal-fired generation. As member-owned, nonprofit electric utilities, electric co-ops are carefully examining the proposed rules to evaluate how they will be implemented and whether or not they will result in higher electricity costs for co-op member-owners. Once the rules are published in the Federal Register, we will have 120 days to file formal comments and suggest changes to the rules. The EPA plans to adopt final rules next June. Anyone who is interested will have the opportunity to provide comments at a public hearing in Denver on July 29. The approach the EPA has taken to regulate carbon dioxide emissions differs from its approach regarding other pollutants. While the agency usually sets emission standards for individual power plants — the so-called “inside the fence” approach — the new rules require utilities to reach a certain emission rate through a combination of power plant improvements, fuel switching, energy efficiency and other measures. This is referred to as the “outside the fence” approach. It is not completely clear that the agency has the authority to take this approach under the Clean Air Act, so it is likely there will be legal challenges to the rules. The rules comprise some 1,600 pages of documents, so it will take some time for all utilities, including Colorado’s

electric co-ops, to fully evaluate whether we can meet the objectives outlined in the rules at a reasonable cost. One of the key “building blocks” of the rules is the EPA’s assumption that utilities can rely more heavily on natural gas power plants to provide electricity. Since electric utilities all across the United States are already shifting to natural gas due to the currently low cost of that fuel, it might seem that this requirement in the rule will not increase costs to electric co-ops. Our concern, however, is that the increased reliance on natural gas is likely to result in an increase in the cost of that commodity, which would translate to higher costs for electricity. The rules require each state to develop implementation plans to achieve the emission reduction rates established by the EPA. Given the complexity of the rules, it’s not clear how each Colorado utility will be affected by this rate and what

Electric co-ops are carefully examining the proposed rules to evaluate how they will be implemented. 4 July 2014

actions will be required to meet the standard. It is also not clear as to what extent actions taken by utilities to reduce their carbon output in the years leading up to the adoption of the rules will be counted toward compliance. (Colorado’s electric co-ops have added significant amounts of renewable energy that does not emit carbon to their power supply mix and those efforts should be recognized by the EPA.) There are many details to be worked out, and the states will play a critical role in determining how the rules are implemented. Electric co-ops exist to serve the needs of our memberowners in the most reliable, affordable and environmentallyresponsible way and we will be spending a great deal of time and effort in the coming months examining the proposed EPA rules and considering whether modifications are necessary. This is a process that will take many months, and probably years, to resolve and we will keep you informed all along the way.

Kent Singer, Executive Director

[letters] Ludlow Revisited The egregious attitude of Rockefeller and other robber barons (at the time of the Ludlow Massacre) bothered me as their money and power kept them from being punished, but life was good and there was opportunity for everyone who wanted to make the effort. I chalked it up to history, something we would learn from but never repeat. What I see today is a return to the thought process that existed at the time of the Ludlow Massacre. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Big is the only way to survive; medium or small size will be bought out or destroyed by big. Fewer and fewer of us will have the opportunity to determine our own path. The legislature, at every level, is being used to pass new laws and regulations that further handicap individual effort. Too many capitalists today retain the attitude evidenced by Rockefeller during the Ludlow Massacre: grow by acquisition, not intelligence. Buy someone else’s product, but make it too difficult for that person to take it to market himself.

Don Stark, Colorado Springs

Thank you for the honest portrayal of the Ludlow Massacre. As a grandchild whose striking grandfather was bonked on the head more than a few times by (security) for a mine in western Pennsylvania, I’ve seen way too many whitewashed stories of the miners’ struggle for a decent life. Miners, steelworkers, textiles workers (and others) have suffered at the hands of their employers in order to improve their conditions, which improved the conditions for everyone.

Mary Ann Uzelac via Facebook

Books for Reading Thank you for the donation of new books to our library. There is a good assortment and they will be enjoyed by many.

Jan McCrachen, Akron Public Library director

Got a comment? Send your letter to the editor by mail to Colorado Country Life, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 or email

CORRECTION Our apologies for misspelling Loel Sirovy’s name on page 29 of the May 2014 issue. July 2014 5


[July] July 11 Buena Vista Friday Wine Share Casa del Rio Clubhouse 6-7:30 pm • 719-395-4884 July 11-13 Cuchara Cuchara Hermosa Art Show Cuchara Community Center July 11-August 9 Durango Juried Exhibit Durango Arts Center July 12-13 Glenwood Springs Art Festival 8th St and Grand Ave 10 am-5 pm • 561-746-6615 July 12 Ovid Ovid Days Ovid City Park 5 pm • July 12 Pueblo Raku and BBQ Cup & Bowl Pottery 719-404-3469 • cupand July 12-13 Salida Arts Festival 410 W Rainbow Blvd 10 am-7 pm • 719-539-2971 July 13-August 3 Durango Music in the Mountains Various Durango Locations July 13 Steamboat Springs “Writing a Book that Sells” Seminar Colorado Mountain College 10 am-3 pm • 970-870-4444 July 15-19 Grand Junction Mesa County Fair Mesa County Fairgrounds 970-256-1528 • mesa 6 July 2014

July 15 Lake City Arts & Crafts Festival Town Park 9 am-5 pm • July 17 Grand Lake “Shrek The Musical!” Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre 7:30 pm • 970-627-3421 July 18 Calhan Summer Fest In Front of Town Hall 3 pm-12 am • 719-347-2586 July 18 Colorado Springs Tee Up For Life Golf Tournament US Air Force Academy Silver Course 719-357-6557 • teeupfor July 19 Castle Rock “What’s Buggin’ My Plant?” Gardening Class CALF’s Lowell Ranch 9-10 am • 303-688-1026 July 19 Colorado Springs Native American Intertribal Festival and Traditional Powwow Freedom Financial Services EXPO Center 719-329-0251 • onenationwt. org July 19-20 El Paso County Wagon Train Trail Rides Various El Paso County locations July 19-20 Fort Collins Festival of the Arts Front Range Village 10 am-5 pm • 561-746-6615 July 19 Kremmling Planes, Trains & Automobiles Rendezvous Town Square

July 19 Punkin Center Garden Tractor Pulling NW Corner of Highways 94 and 71 1 pm • challengermotor July 19-20 Winter Park Alpine ArtAffair Downtown Winter Park July 20 Calhan El Paso County Fair Car Show El Paso County Fair & Event Center 719-541-4645 • nocat65@ July 21 Lake City “Hear Us Dance” Performance Moseley Arts Center 7:30 pm • 970-944-2706 July 24-27 Durango Fiesta Days Durango Fairgrounds July 26 La Veta Francisco Fort Day Francisco Fort Museum 719-742-5501 • francisco July 26-27 Mesa Bottles & Cans Music Festival Powderhorn Mountain Resort July 27 Littleton Creedence Clearwater Revisited Hudson Gardens 6:30 pm • July 27-August 9 Vail International Dance Festival Various Vail Locations July 31-August 2 Westcliffe Summer Arts and Crafts Fair Hope Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall 719-783-9138

[August] August 1-3 Westcliffe Square Dance Weekend Westcliffe School Gym monarch.mavericks@yahoo. com August 2-3 Beulah Outdoor Arts & Crafts Show Behind Songbird Cellars August 2-3 Grand Lake Arts and Crafts Fair Town Park August 2 La Veta Studio and Gallery Tour Gallery in the Park 9 am-5 pm • spanish August 6-10 Steamboat Springs Wine Festival Various Steamboat Springs Locations 435-640-7921 • steamboat

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TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE TO: Calendar, Colorado Country Life, 5400 N. Washington St., Denver, CO 80216; fax to 303-455-2807; or email calendar@coloradocountry Items will be printed on a space available basis. For more information on these and other events, visit


[Country News] 2014 K.C. Electric Association’s Annual Meeting Recap BY TIMOTHY J. POWER || GENERAL MANAGER


On June 5, 2014, almost 100 people attended K.C. Electric Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting at the Cheyenne County Fairgrounds. The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, and the national anthem was sung by our new chief financial officer, Ron Baxa. He did great. The minutes from last year’s meeting were approved; directors and guests were introduced; and the nominees for director positions were announced. Next, we recognized our directors and employees with service awards. These awards included the following: DIRECTORS n Robert Bledsoe, 30 years n Luanna Naugle, 5 years EMPLOYEES n Don Malone, 35 years n Robert Rueb, 35 years n George Unruh, 35 years n Ron Wolfrum, 35 years n Jacque Schmidt, 25 years n Jason Scheler, 10 years

Thanks to all these directors and employees for many quality years. The service awards were followed by the election of directors. The majority of ballots were cast by mail, but there were still some members who cast their vote at the meeting. After all ballots were collected, I presented my report on K.C. Electric’s financials for the year. I pointed out that electricity sales were strong and we finished the year with total margins of just over $2.4 million. The board of directors approved K.C. Electric’s largest capital credit retirement ever, $1.6 million. Checks were mailed to members in December. Capital credit checks are a big benefit of

n Christina

being a co-op member. After my report, we honored the recent scholarship winners. These included the following: (Kyle Franz 1109420001) nPayton Liming, Liberty High School, $1,000 Basin Electric Cooperative scholarship

Stratton, Flagler High School, $1,000 K.C. Electric scholarship n Kayla Flynn, Stratton High School, $1,000 K.C. Electric scholarship n Morgan Howard, Cheyenne Wells High School, $500 Tri-State scholarship n Michaela Keeler, Burlington High School, $500 Tri-State Generation and Transmission scholarship Flynn and Keeler were in attendance to accept their scholarship certificates. Congratu[continued on page 8] lations to each of these July 2014 7

[Country News] Annual Meeting Recap [continued from page 7]

well-deserving scholarship winners. President Penny spoke next. He talked about our recent territory swap with Mountain View Electric Association. This swap better defined our borders and will help both co-ops better meet future requests for service. He stressed how the two co-ops found a way through a contentious issue to come to a resolution that worked. Our territory swap should serve as an example of what can be done when two (or more) sides come together to work out an issue. Thank you, Mountain View, for working with us on this historic action. (And thanks Kevin, for taking the time and effort to make such a presentation.) President Penny was followed by Mike McInnes, the new general manager of TriState Generation and Transmission. McInnes explained various milestones of Tri-State in 2013. He also discussed what Tri-State is facing in terms of regulatory compliance. McInnes has his hands full at Tri-State but seems to be meeting the challenge, and we appreciate his attendance at our meeting. As usual, we gave away lots of door prizes throughout the meeting. And, once again, the grand prize of $1,500 went unclaimed, as the person’s whose name was drawn was not in attendance. But five members in attendance did win $100 each. Thanks to all the vendors and organizations that provided us with door prizes this year. Your support definitely helps. When McInnes finished, the election results were announced. Dan Mills and Kevin Penny defeated Dan Miltenberger in a close race and were re-elected to represent Kit Carson County. Bob Bledsoe (Cheyenne County) ran unopposed and was also re-elected. Congratulations to all of them. (WIN* John Cross 1009100000) As the meeting was winded down, Penny informed the members that the 2015 Annual Meeting will take place on June 4 in Seibert at the new High Plains High School. To conclude, I want to say thanks to Cheyenne County personnel for all their help. And thank you to the 4-H Club of Cheyenne Wells for the delicious pies and refreshments. You did a great job. Thanks also to all those who came to the meeting. And finally, thanks to Ben Orrell and all those employees of K.C. Electric who helped with the meeting. 8 July 2014

See you in Siebert at next year’s annual meeting!

[Country News]

Washington Rules Have Local Impact BY TIMOTHY J. POWER || GENERAL MANAGER


Cooperatives, like most local businesses, work through the highs and lows of a cyclical economy. So when a potential economic hazard arises and we have an opportunity to affect the outcome, you better believe we do whatever we can to prevent or mitigate it. That’s why I am concerned about new rules coming out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to limit greenhouse gases blamed for climate change. (Elvira Herrera 920400009) Not-for-profit electric cooperatives work every day to provide affordable, reliable electricity to the more than 42 million Americans we serve. At K.C. Electric Association, we steadfastly focus on ways to slow the rising cost of electricity and find ways to help you save on your electricity bill. Environmental regulations share part of the blame for rising electricity costs. Electric co-ops have invested billions of dollars in equipment to reduce air pollution already, but greenhouse gases pose a far more difficult challenge to capture, and the new technology just isn’t ready for prime time. Equally troubling to comprehend, the EPA readily admits that cutting these emissions would not have much global impact on overall greenhouse gas levels. The bottom line is that these regulations unfairly and disproportionately affect members of electric cooperatives. They target regions of the United States most dependent on coal for electricity.

And increasing electricity prices could endanger efforts to attract new businesses, let alone retain current employers. By harnessing America’s ingenuity, we can do better. This debate should be about working together to develop a sustainable energy future. This debate should be about how the government supports utilities in a collective effort to develop technologies that can reduce greenhouse gases at a justifiable and reasonable pace. That’s why our local power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, has joined other co-ops in pushing an XPRIZE initiative ( to find technologies that actually can turn greenhouse gases into a useful resource with market value. Creating a sustainable energy future requires us to make ambitious changes. A power plant that closes down will not emit greenhouse gases; it also won’t incubate a new technology, give a bright young engineer an opportunity or ensure that its community continues to receive reliable, affordable electricity. To help our communities thrive, we need Washington, D.C., to recognize the potential harm of these regulations and find a different path to a better energy future. Let your voice be heard by visiting

Stay Safe Around Irrigation Equipment


Safe Electricity advises owners and operators of irrigation equipment to beware of potential electrical hazards. Common irrigation pipe is 30 feet long — long enough to reach overhead power lines when lifted. (Allen Charles 1107080001) However, irrigation equipment itself can be dangerous without contacting overhead lines. The combination of water and electricity can be just as deadly. The sprays of water from irrigation systems should not be near overhead power lines. Because the impurities in water serve as conductors of electricity, a stream of water reaching uninsulated wires will become the path for the deadly voltage and can energize the entire irrigation system. Owners and operators of irrigation systems should take precautions and use the following tips to enhance safety while working around irrigation equipment: • Make sure the irrigation system wiring is properly grounded. Before the start of each irrigation season, have a qualified electrician check the pump and wiring. • Stay away from the piping during lightning activity. Keep an eye on weather forecasts so that you can plan to stay safely indoors during a thunderstorm. Consider installing lightning arresters to help protect your equipment from the damaging effects of lightning. • If fuses continually blow or circuit breakers repeatedly trip,

have a professional check the wiring. This could indicate a potential electrical hazard. •A  lways shut off and lock the master For more information on electrical safety, electrical control visit switch before servicing the machine. •A  void moving irrigation equipment on windy days when pipes could be blown into nearby power lines. Keep pipes horizontal to the ground rather than vertical to minimize the risk of contact with power lines. • If an irrigation pipe comes in contact with a power line, never try to remove it yourself. Stay away from the pipe and call K.C. Electric Association for help. • S tore unused irrigation pipes far away from power lines or electrical equipment. • Position irrigation pipes at least 15 feet away from power lines. • P osition the water jet streams so that there is no chance of them spraying onto power lines. If this happens, the entire system could become energized, creating a danger for anyone nearby. July 2014 9

[Country News] THE COUNTRY KITCHEN No-Bake Fruit Cheese Pie 1 9-inch graham cracker crust or baked pie shell 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk ¼ cup lemon juice 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 can fruit pie filling In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in milk until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into prepared crust. Chill 3 hours until mixture is set. Top with desired pie filling. Blueberry and cherry are good. Refrigerate until served. (Susan McClendon 606200003) Donna Smethers, Hugo



Electric co-ops clear rights-of-way in order to keep power flowing safely to your home. Trees may seem harmless on a calm, sunny

Granny’s Rhubarb Pie

day. But add a bit of wind on a

Crust 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup shortening 5 tablespoons water 1 egg 1 teaspoon vinegar

giants may threaten your home’s

Filling 3 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb cut into ½ inch pieces 2 cups sliced and peeled tart apples 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained ¼ cup honey 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 cup sugar 3 tablespoons flour 1 tablespoon margarine In a bowl, combine flour and salt, then cut in shortening until mixture looks like crumbles. Combine water, egg and vinegar. Stir into flour mixture until a ball forms. Divide dough in half. Roll one portion on lightly floured surface. Transfer to 9-inch pie pan. Set aside. In a bowl, combine rhubarb, apples, pineapple, honey and lemon juice. Combine sugar and flour and the add to rhubarb mixture. Pour into pie crust and dot with margarine. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ¼ hours or until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender. Lila Taylor, Stratton 10 July 2014

stormy night and those towering electric supply. K.C. Electric is committed to providing safe, reliable power, and the right-of-way program is the key to fulfilling that promise.


Each month, K.C. Electric offers consumers a chance to earn a $10 credit on their next electric bill. If you recognize your 10-digit account number in this magazine, call 719-743-2431 and ask for your credit. It couldn’t be easier. In May, Craig Quint of Cheyenne Wells and Gary Borns of Hugo called to claim their savings. Get acquainted with your account number, read your Colorado Country Life magazine and pick up the phone. That’s all the energy you’ll need to claim your energy bucks. You must claim your credit during the month in which your name appears in the magazine (check the date on the front cover). June 2014 11


Support Colorado’s Co-ops as We Pedal the Plains


Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are getting ready for the third annual Pedal the Plains bike tour this September. The electric co-opsponsored team will ride from Wiggins to Fort Morgan to Sterling and back to Wiggins along with an expected 1,000 other bicyclists exploring Colorado’s eastern plains September 19-21. And, by riding the 173-mile route, they will be raise money for Energy Outreach Colorado, a non-profit that Pedal the Plains helps provide home energy assistance 2013 team ready to for low-income Coloradans. Anyone roll out of Eads. interested in riding or in sponsoring a rider should contact Colorado Country Life Associate Editor

Donna Wallin at dwallin@colorado The bike tour is expected to bring 1,000 riders and their support teams to northeastern Colorado where they will participate in the bike ride, as well as local community events. It will be an opportunity for this part of the state to share what makes it special with visitors from Colorado’s Front Range and from across the country. For information on how to donate to the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives bike team’s efforts for EOC, visit

Tri-State, DU Conduct Power Line Research

R Inside a wind turbine

Co-op Leaders Visit Southeastern Colorado


Directors from the Colorado Rural Electric Association board spent Thursday and Friday, May 29 and 30 getting to know more about southeastern Colorado as part of CREA’s once a year board meeting on-the-road. Hosted by Southeast Colorado Power Association, directors toured Lamar Light and Power’s 4.5-megawatt wind farm outside of Lamar (above), walked through Colorado Mills sunflower seed processing plant and learned about a center-pivot irrigation system and its energy needs. The board also met with John Stulp, special policy advisor to the governor for water and chair of the Interbasin Compact Committee, to discuss water issues. 12 July 2014

Research at the University of Denver into new, super power lines that can carry more energy over longer distances is set to continue with additional funding. If power lines could carry more electricity than today’s aluminum and steel conductors, that would allow more electricity to reach population centers without building additional lines. These “superconductors” would also allow existing transmission corridors to carry energy from renewable wind and solar projects to metro areas. That is why Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, power supplier for 18 of Colorado’s 22 electric co-ops, has an ongoing project at the University of Denver focused on advanced carbon-core transmission line. DU recently announced that this conductor testing will continue as part of a new research center largely funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. “Tri-State has been supporting research at DU on advanced technologies in transmission line conductor for about six years,” said Art Mander, delivery resource strategy manager. “During that time we’ve seen a lot of progress and an expansion of this research.” “The center will utilize the most advanced aerospace technologies to design novel materials and structures for the next generation electrical grid,” said Dr. Maciej Kumosa, director for the new center.


Co-ops Lead in Satisfied Consumers


84 Despite an industrywide drop in electric utility consumer satisfaction, electric coop82 eratives have kept a clear lead over investor82 owned and municipal electric utilities, 80 according to the 2014 American Customer 78 Satisfaction Index or ACSI. Overall, co-ops received a customer 76 satisfaction score of 81 on a 100-point scale. Touchstone Energy-affiliated cooperatives 74 74 also received a score of 81, while those co73 72 ops unaffiliated with Touchstone Energy received a score of 80. Municipal utilities 70 received a score of 76 and investor-owned 2011 (IOUs) utilities received a score of 75. “Smaller, rural cooperative utilities hold a strong lead over the other utility categories,” ACSI said. Customer satisfaction with gas and electric utilities overall fell 1.8 percent compared with 2013 scores. Individual utilities dropped by as much as 5 percent. ACSI blamed some of this on an unusually harsh winter and price increases. When consumers were asked to rate the ability of their utility

83 81


Co-ops 77 76

76 76 75



IOUs Municipals


“to provide reliable electric service,” electric cooperatives scored the highest at 89, followed by municipal utilities at 87 and IOUs at 85. Electric co-ops also led in perceived quality of service at 85, followed by IOUs at 82 and munis at 81. The report was based on phone and email interviews conducted between October 2013 and March 2014. Find more information at July 2014 13



Co-ops meet challenges of integrating solar into the grid BY REED KARAIM


The idea of getting your power from the sun is appealing on many different levels. It’s clean energy, it seems simple and it promises freedom; you generate your own electricity, making you less dependent on the grid. Yet, residential solar power isn’t as simple as it seems, and unless you’re willing to invest in an expensive battery system and backup generation, the average household can’t sever its cord from the nation’s grid. The sun shines only part of the day, but modern life demands electricity 24/7. For this reason, most homes with rooftop solar arrays choose to remain connected to their local power lines. But as solar and other renewable forms of energy grow in popularity, they are changing the relationship between the grid and many residential electrical users. Power once flowed only one way: down your electric co-op’s lines and into homes. But today, for a home or small business with solar panels, it can flow in different directions at different times of day. When the sun is shining, a residence with solar panels can provide power for itself and direct any excess power onto the grid. Residential solar is a piece of what the utility industry calls “distributed generation,” that is, smaller, embedded sources of power generation separate from central power plants. The rules governing distributed generation and, in particular, payments for excess power that will flow onto the grid vary by state and utility. Consumers who are interested in residential solar installation should always contact their local electric cooperative first. No matter how it is handled, this new direction for power flow is changing a fundamental part of the power business. Apart from states’ specific legal regulations, cooperatives across the country are working with their members to find ways to accommodate the new sources of power generation, including residential solar, while preserving the safety and reliability of the system and ensuring fair rates for all members. “The co-ops that have had to deal with increasing amounts of residential solar have found the technical challenges aren’t any greater than other challenges they’ve faced,” says Andrew Cotter, a program manager for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Cooperative Research Network. “When members coordinate with their co-op, the co-op has the skill set to maintain a safe, reliable grid. It’s something they’re very good at.”

Co-ops connecting with solar

So, how are cooperatives meeting this new challenge? The beautiful Hawaiian island of Kaua’i feels far removed from many of the problems of today’s world, but when it comes to distributed generation, the island provides a glimpse into a more complicated future. On Kaua’i there is no national power grid, just the island’s small, self-contained grid. Diesel fuel for generation has to be shipped in across the Pacific. That makes energy costs high and means Kaua’i has a lot of people with solar panels on their roofs. As a result, Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative, the local power supplier and distributor, deals with a higher percentage of renewable distributed generation than any other electric co-op in the nation. Roughly 2,000 members have solar arrays that can send power back into the co-op’s self-contained grid, amounting to about 20 percent of the co-op’s daytime electrical load. “It’s a technical challenge,” says Mike Yamane, KIUC chief of operations. To provide highquality, reliable power, electrical utilities control the frequency and voltage of the current moving down their lines. But as more distributed generation comes on line, says Yamane, this process becomes more difficult. “Photovoltaic systems aren’t really meant to regulate frequency or voltage,” he explains. As the amount of distributed generation on a line rises, another potential danger is called “islanding.” This can occur when an outage brings down the local grid, but a line continues to be live because power keeps feeding in from distributed generation. Islanding can be a safety 14 July 2014

hazard for linemen working to get the power back on and can cause problems when the grid does power back up. These and other aspects of distributed, renewable generation can impact a power system’s overall stability if the right measures aren’t taken. KIUC, for example, has operating parameters its members must follow with their power inverters, which convert direct current from a solar cell into alternating current used on the grid, and with the relays that connect solar panels to the network. Another challenge of distributed generation is that solar power is highly variable. The energy generated regularly rises and falls during the day and can plummet or climb hour by hour, depending on the weather. For cooperatives and other utilities, integrating this variable supply into the overall power requirements of a local system takes planning and experience. Craig Kieny is the senior power resource planner for Vermont Electric Cooperative, based in Johnson, Vermont. VEC has about 350 members with solar panels that can feed into the co-op’s system, and that number is growing. When Kieny is planning how much power his co-op will need from its suppliers, he uses models that look at solar generation patterns along with data on how much is on — or soon to come on — his own system. “It can be hard to do,” he says, “but we do it.” That attitude describes the co-op approach toward distributed generation in general. From 2009 to 2013, the percentage of cooperatives that purchase excess power generated by members grew from 20 to 45 percent, according to an NRECA survey. About two-thirds of all co-ops now interconnect with member-generated power. “It’s going to be a major force in the industry in our lifetimes,” Cotter says. And as backyard generation grows in popularity, electric cooperatives are also taking extra steps to make sure their members’ needs are truly being served.

Growing with the flow

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, there were 140,000 new solar installations in the United States last year, a 41 percent jump from 2012. Not all those installations are household systems, but as the cost of solar panels keeps falling and more states are providing generous incentives for solar, more consumers are considering this option. CRN has researched various ways to safely integrate new excess power into the grid, including the potential for battery storage to smooth out the peaks and valleys that come with renewable generation. NRECA has developed a tool kit that includes model applications and contracts to help co-ops work with members who choose to install the

necessary components for distributed generation. Cooperatives are also working to make sure their members have good information when making decisions about their power. For consumers, a home solar array can be an expensive proposition, costing thousands of dollars to install. Vendors sometimes provide plans that lower the up-front costs, but not all vendors are forthright in helping consumers assess the costs and benefits of a system. To provide members with another option, many Colorado electric co-ops have invested in “community solar arrays,” sometimes called solar gardens or farms. These are larger arrays from which members can acquire the power from one or more panels or, in some cases, just a portion of a panel. The co-op handles all the maintenance and the member receives a credit on his or her monthly bill for his or her solar generation. The consumer buys just as much solar generation as he or she wants or can afford, opening new opportunities for consumers who may not have a great roof for solar. Co-ops are working together to develop a standardized design that co-ops will be able to use to build community arrays and bring costs down even further. “We’ll be able to beat a residential system on price nine times out of 10,” Cotter says. “It’s another way to make sure we’re serving our members’ needs.” Reed Karaim writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Virginia-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. July 2014 15

Treasure Hunts Along the Road

Family-friendly sleuthing makes traveling more exciting BY AMY HIGGINS


Road trip activities are often tedious and predictable: the license plate game, 10-minute pit stops, mounds of munchies and the occasional snooze. But there are ways to break up the monotony, get a little exercise and have fun. Try geocaching and letterboxing. These scavenger hunts

Photo courtesy of

aren’t new, but they aren’t as familiar as your traditional traveling games. They have gained worldwide attention and can be played within feet of your home, in the middle of nowhere and abroad. No matter where or how far you

Register for a free basic membership on Under “Play,” locate the “Hide & Seek a Cache” page, enter the postal code, state or approximate address of your desired location and click on any geocache in the list provided for directions. 16 July 2014

travel, it’s practically guaranteed a geocaching or letterboxing treasure is nearby. On your next road trip, take a little detour and include a few stops to search for hidden treasure.


Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Geocaching was first reported by The New York Times in October 2000. It has since become a worldwide sensation, says Eric Schudiske, public relations and special media manager for Geocachers can be found all over the world, several of whom are deeply ingrained in the geocaching community. Several groups go so far as to schedule geocaching events and outings. Geocaching uses global positioning system devices to locate the coordinates to a specific treasure, or geocache. Simply register for a free basic membership on, locate the “Hide & Seek a Cache” page, enter the postal code, state or approximate address of your desired location and click on any geocache in the list provided. Lists are sizable and range in difficulty and terrain, so you’ll have many options to choose from. Once you decide which geocache is the most enticing, enter the coordinates in your GPS device and follow the clues. Find out if the geocache’s description offers additional hints, such as a decryption, as these hints can be critical to finding the cache. And remember to pack a pencil and notebook for the road. Smartphone users can install the free “Geocaching Intro” app, which accomplishes the same goals as the website but its portability comes in handy, especially on road trips when you

need to look up a tip or resolve to abort a particular mission and move to a different cache. Geocaches have hidden compartments and come in many forms: plastic containers, boxes, bags, fake rocks and logs, tools, nuts and bolts and magnetic containers, such as the geocache titled “Cherry Knolls 8: Elvis” in Centennial, Colorado. With a difficulty rating of one star, this particular find is easy enough for an amateur geocacher, but fun to hunt down nonetheless. When you find the geocache, open it, check the contents, sign the logbook and take a picture as a reminder of your journey. Some caches contain treasures. If you choose to take one, it is expected that you replace the treasure with another of equal value. When your mission is complete, it’s important to return the cache to its original spot so others can enjoy the treasure hunt in the future. As you become more familiar with the game, challenge yourself to the more difficult hunts. Or relocate or create a geocaching trackable, a traveling game piece. Common types of trackables include Travel Bug® Trackables and Geocoins. These games pieces are etched with a code so users can find details of the trackable on the Geocaching. com website. The game piece travels from one cache to another, sometimes all over the world and, recently, one traveled to space. To learn about space travel, the fifth grade class at Chase Elementary School in Waterbury, Connecticut, gave astronaut Rick Mastracchio a special Travel Bug® that traveled with him to the International Space Station in November 2013. The Travel Bug® arrived back at the elementary school when he returned in May Astronaut Rick Mastracchio 2014.

brought a special travel bug to the International Space Station in November 2013.


Geocaches come in all shapes and sizes, so keep your eyes peeled during your search.

It is believed that letterboxing began in 1854 in England. In a hard-to-reach area of the park, James Perrott, a Dartmoor National Park guide, left his contact information in a bottle, inviting those who found the bottle to contact him and to leave their own information for others to find. That was letterboxing in its infancy. The game never went away, but it didn’t gain a lot [continued on page 18] July 2014 17

[continued from page 17]

of popularity in North America until it was resurrected in 1998 when Smithsonian magazine wrote an article about the pastime. Today, letterboxing is different. Letterboxing players start by establishing a trail name and stamp design as their identification. Many diehard letterboxing enthusiasts create their own one-of-a-kind signature stamp using wine bottle corks, foam, erasers, rubber or any other ink-absorbent material. Then, with a writing implement, notebook, ink pad, compass and clues in hand, they set out to find letterboxes.

Geocaching takes time …

Letterbox clues can be found online at or By doing a simple location-based search, players can obtain a list of letterboxes in that area. Choose your desired letterbox, read the clues, print a map of the area, gather your letterboxing supplies and you’re ready for the hunt. Letterboxes range in size and type. One letterbox could be a Tupperware container while another might be a fake rock, so be observant. Many letterboxes require you to hike for miles and others can be found feet from your home. When you locate a letterbox, you’ll find a logbook and stamp inside. Imprint the enclosed stamp impression in your personal logbook and write about your experience. Next, stamp the letterbox’s logbook with your personal stamp and record your letterboxing name, hometown and date. Finally, return the letterbox and its contents to its original location. The LetterBoxer’s Companion — Exploring Mysteries Hidden in the Great Outdoors by Randy Hall is a popular guide for letterboxing “newbies” and could come in handy during your letterboxing road trip. In the book, Hall offers tips on following clues, creating your personal stamp and letterboxing etiquette.

Actively Searching … but keep on searching …

… because you never know what exciting treasure awaits

With geocaching and letterboxing you’re not only experiencing a fun adventure and testing your problem-solving skills, you also benefit from the exercise. “There’s a study, for the first time, that tracks the health benefits of geocaching,” Schudiske says. “People who geocache are less likely to be obese or call in to work sick.” In February 2014, researchers from the Geocaching for Exercise and Activity Research project concluded a study on how much physical activity is involved while hunting for geocaches. One thousand study participants — 75 percent of whom identified themselves as frequent geocachers — used a pedometer to track their movement while geocaching. Results of the study showed that geocachers walked an average of 10 miles per month, with 1.5 miles walked per geocaching trip. Who doesn’t like a little treasure in their life? Start a tradition and give letterboxing or geocaching a shot on your next road trip. Whichever path you choose, be sure to go back to the websites and share your experience with people who enjoy treasure hunting as much as you. Amy Higgins, a Centennial, Colorado, writer with Colorado Country Life magazine, enjoys geocaching with her son, Jack, 8.

Watch the behind-the-scenes footage of Amy and Jack on their geocaching hunt. 18 July 2014

Geocaching at Colorado State Parks Geocaches are all over the Colorado map, including several state parks. Although you’ll likely find caches near or around most state parks, the following parks have known caches, according to Colorado Parks & Wildlife: Photo courtesy of

Cheyenne Mountain State Park — several caches can be found throughout the park. GPS rentals are available at the visitor center. Sylvan Lake State Park — one cache is hidden within the park boundaries, and more are located throughout the surrounding forest. Ridgway State Park — Four known caches are in this park. Lathrop State Park — Five known caches are in this park.

Create Your Own Geocache Hiding a geocache can be just as fun as finding one, but there are several steps to take before others can see it at “One thing that is very important is to make sure you are hiding in place where people aren’t going to get upset about being on private property,” says Deb Schwab, president of Geocaching Colorado. If you have any doubt, get permission. Check to see what other caches are in the area before you set your heart on a particular spot; geocaches need to be at least a tenth of a mile apart. Find a durable, waterproof container that will fit inconspicuously into your hiding place and then place a pencil and logbook inside your cache so geocachers can sign when they find it. Your last step is to go to to register your cache. You will be asked for the exact coordinates of your cache, so be sure to have them handy beforehand. Include a description of the location of the cache and provide a hint. After you complete the online registration of the cache, it will be sent out for review by a volunteer geocacher. Once your cache is approved, it will be posted on the website for others to find.

Have Fun!

Castlewood Canyon State Park — Ten different photo caches are in this park. Each photo cache includes coordinates on the back of the picture. Find the cache that matches the photo, take a picture of it and return it to the visitor’s center. If the pictures match, you’ll win a small prize. Jackson Lake State Park — Two known caches are in this park. State Forest State Park — Ten known caches are in this park. GPS device rentals are available at the Moose Visitor Center. Before you go, be sure to check the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website at http://cpw.state. for tips for treading on state park land. For a list of geocaches around fun tourist destinations throughout the United States, visit our website at Some of these destinations are well-known, others are lesser-known and sometimes peculiar, but all have geocaches nearby.

Geocaching Special Events Meet geocaching enthusiasts and hunt for caches at these special geocaching events. Be sure to RSVP one week prior to the event at July 8 — “2014 NoCo Geo-Night Out #7,” 6:30-8 pm at Palomino Mexican Restaurant in Loveland. July 25-27 — “GCCO Lake Granby Camping Weekend July 2014” at Cutthroat Bay on Lake Granby. August 12 — “2014 NoCo Geo-Night Out #8,” 6:30-8 pm at Old Chicago in Fort Collins. August 16 — “In View of the Pony,” 6-10 pm near Capitol Lake near Aspen. July 2014 19


A Chilling Effect Cool off with simple strawberry recipes, perfect for a summer day BY AMY HIGGINS || AHIGGINS@COLORADOCOUNTRYLIFE.ORG Beautiful Berries Strawberry slices make great decorations on desserts. Stem, hull and then


Strawberries grow gorgeously in Colorado and can yield pounds of summer goodness. And even though strawberries are scrumptious without any frills, you can opt to create a refreshing summertime snack just by mixing in a few ingredients. Beat the heat this summer with some of our favorites:

use an egg slicer to create even slices. If you’re feeling ambitious, try creating a strawberry flower. Scan here to see how or go to colorado

Strawberry Salsa 5 fresh strawberries, hulled and diced 1 peach or mango, peeled, pitted and diced 1 kiwi, peeled and diced 1 small jalapeĂąo, seeded and diced 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1 green onion, chopped 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

and click on Recipes.

Combine all ingredients. Serve with tortilla chips or atop grilled chicken or fish.

Fruity Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette Freeze as You Please Frozen strawberry

For Vinaigrette: 8 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1/8 cup sugar 1 tablespoon cider vinegar 1/8 teaspoon poppy seeds

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt 4 cups frozen strawberries 3 tablespoons honey 1/2 cup plain yogurt 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon sugar Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until creamy. Add more honey or sugar for additional sweetening. Serve immediately or store in airtight container in freezer.

recipes are ideal on a hot summer day. If your harvest is more on the small scale, just hull and freeze the berries as they ripen and save

For Salad: 8 ounces spinach leaves 1/2 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced 1 apple, cored and sliced 1 pear, cored and sliced 2 tablespoons pine nuts

for future chilled recipes. This also prevents strawber-

For vinaigrette, place all ingredients in blender. Puree until smooth.

ries from going bad between batches. 20 July 2014

For salad, place all ingredients in a large bowl. Top with vinaigrette and toss to combine.

Strawberry Agua Fresca 2 cups water 1/4 cup sugar 3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled 1/8 cup fresh lime juice In a small pitcher, combine water, sugar and lime juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Blend strawberries until smooth. Combine strawberries and sugar water mixture. Stir well. December 2013 21


Growing Grapes for the Carboy

Harvesting the juicy, junior-sized fruits is a tangible dream BY KRISTEN HANNUM || GARDENING@COLORADOCOUNTRYLIFE.ORG My husband recently asked me why we’re hanging on to the huge, 10-gallon, narrow-necked glass carboy that sits on our deck. It’s from my mother who used it, just once, for a spectacularly unsuccessful and moldy experiment making dandelion wine. I don’t want to throw out the carboy because I might use it one day to make wine, the kind of wine I like. That would be wine made from grapes, not dandelions. Admittedly, I’ve grown loads of dandelions and never a single grapevine, but I’ve thought about growing grapes for years. It’s a daydream that ends with a flourish and my uncorking a bottle of wine made from grapes from my own backyard. Grapes are one of the most widely grown fruits in the world. They grow in Alaska, the tropics and, most importantly for us, in Colorado. And wine making started 8,000 years ago; it’s nearly as basic as bread. Wine growing takes time and dedicavines. In fact, if you have a cedar fence tion. John Martin recalls the long road that gets a lot of sun, you have the beginhe and his wife, Kayann Short, traveled nings of a ready-made trellis. to create their first palatable wine. In Martin says the first step in becoming 2002, they planted their first grapevines a grape grower, whether for table grapes, at Stonebridge Farm, a cooperative farm raisins, juice or wine, is deciding where outside Lyons. It wasn’t until 2010, eight to plant your vines. They need at least six long years later, that they finally managed hours of sun per day, and the more the to bottle wine that was drinkable. better. Just as crucially, they need dry feet; Now Martin teaches classes on viticultheir area must have good drainage. ture at their farm in hopes of enlightening The next step is deciding what kind of others on how to grow grapes and bottle vine to grow, a decision that can get as potable wine at a faster pace than he did. complicated as you’d like since there seem Looking out over his 84 vines it seems to be as many varieties of grapes as there doable, even to a procrastinator like me. are roses. However, the choice really boils (Find out more about Martin’s classes at down to two simple parameters: what’s available and your growing zone. Martin has an entire range of vines, If you live around Grand Junction and from foot-long 2-year-olds poking bravely Palisade, you are in one of the sweet spots upward to venerable-looking 12-yearfor growing the noblest of grapes, Vitis old vines, planted that first year in 2002, vinifera, the grapes that were first made their bare branches sprawling over his into wine about 8,000 years ago. homemade wire trellises. He assures me Most of us, however, can’t grow Vitis that they’re easy-to-maintain perennivinifera. It’s too cold sensitive for most of als and that they don’t really need much Colorado. space. He says if you have enough room in But we can grow vines that produce your backyard for an apple tree, you have table grapes; Martin has one vine in his enough room for three or four grapegreenhouse that produced 115 pounds of

M 22 July 2014

grapes last year. Or take a look at the hybrids between Vitis vinifera and American grapes that are hardier in colder climates. Happily, grape breeders have had increasing success over recent decades in creating new hybrids that both survive cold winters and taste good. De Chaunac, Frontenac, Corot Noir, Marquette, Léon Millot and Maréchal Foch are just a few vines that will produce red wine in growing zones 5 and lower. You can scroll through an extensive list of grape varieties at This site also has other great resources for beginning to expert grape growers. Colorado State University’s master gardener program has an 82-page Colorado Grape Growers’ Guide at PUBS/Garden/550a.pdf. At Stonebridge, Martin muses on how every region in France and Italy has its own vines that make wines unique to that area. “We don’t have that tradition in this part of the United States,” Martin says. “We’re trying to establish that pride of place.” I’m definitely not throwing out the carboy. Video tips for growing grapes.

Read previous gardening columns at colorado Search for Gardening. Kristen Hannum is a native Coloradan gardener. Email or write her with wisdom or comments at June 2014 23


Buggin’ Out About Gray Drakes Are Gray Drakes really at the Big T?



I met a guy who told me he lucked into a hatch of Gray Drakes on the upper Big Thompson recently and enjoyed some of the best dry fly-fishing of his life. He didn’t say he caught a lot of fish, only that he had a lot of fun catching the ones he did. “Mostly browns,” he said. “Coupla rainbows. Chunky ones, too: 12- to 13-inches. Mighta been a 14-incher in there, too. It was wonderful.”

WiseSavers Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense. – U.S. Department of Energy 24 July 2014

and Yellow Drakes. Never its Gray drakes. I’ve heard about the Green and Yellow Sallies, Golden Stonesflies, March Browns, Blue-winged Olives, Red Quills, Blue Quills, Ginger Quills, Quill Gordons, little Black Caddis flies, Early Brown Stoneflies and 11 different kinds of midges. I’ve heard about Willow Flies, Crane Flies and nocturnal, aquatic moths, which I’ve actually seen. But Gray Drakes? No one’s ever said Jack to me about those.

He seemed tickled that he was there to see the bugs come off in the first place, but he was really proud that he figured them to be Gray Drakes right off the bat, so he tied on a big, gray dry fly, and proceeded to “just whack ’em,” as he put it. The thing is, the guy said he didn’t know much about trout stream entomology, but he did know a big fly from a little one and these were big. He also heard the big ones are The thing is, the guy said he didn’t called drakes, and these were know much about trout stream enobviously gray, so he called tomology, but he did know a big fly them Gray Drakes. What else? He tied on a size 12 Gray Wulff, from a little one and these were big. and bam! Fish on. Whether or not they were actually Gray Drakes remains None of which proves a thing, I know, something of a puzzle to me. The only except possibly that I need to pay more Gray Drakes I’m familiar with are those of attention to the bugs on the water — or the genus Siphlonurus, which are endemic more attention to the fishermen I talk to. It to the freestone creeks and streams of the does, however, make the point nicely that Catskill, Adirondack and Pocono mounmatching an insect hatch with an artificial tains back East. In the 25 years or so that dry fly and catching a trout on it is as much I’ve been fishing the Big T, I never saw a a matter of common sense as entomologiGray Drake hatch on the river that I know cal expertise: You match the size and color of. Nor do I know anyone else who has. of the bug on the water with one that looks And, I’ve never heard anyone talk about just like it from your box. It doesn’t matter Gray Drakes on the Big T. I’ve heard them talk about its Green Drakes, Brown Drakes what you call it as long as it catches fish. and Slate Drakes; its Mahogany, Speckled

Watch flyfishing on the Big Thompson at Miss an issue? Catch up at Search for Fishing.

Supporters Seeking Signatures on Rural Representative Question


Restoring Colorado, a citizens committee, is gathering signatures in support of a ballot initiative that would require representatives to the State House to be elected by county. The proposal would change House district boundaries to coincide with county boundaries. Currently, both the Colorado House and Senate districts are based on population. The Senate would remain that way. With the Colorado House including one representative from each county in the state and the Colorado Senate including representatives from districts based on population, the Colorado General Assembly would more closely match the federal governing bodies. Proponents chose the House as the practical legislative body to modify since it currently has 65 representatives and would only drop to 64 members, if the ballot initiative passes. A grassroots organization is looking for volunteers to help gather 120,000 signatures statewide. For information, visit


Call 303-455-2700 ext. 703 for more information on becoming an exhibitor or summit sponsor.

[energy tips]


Keep up with your air conditioner’s needs BY JAMES DULLEY


There are several maintenance tasks you can do each year to keep your air conditioner running efficiently, but don’t eliminate regular professional service. Heating and cooling systems are packed with complex electronic circuit boards and controls that require specialized training to test. Adequate airflow through the outdoor condenser coils is imperative for proper efficiency and a long life. The hot refrigerant expels its heat to the outdoor air. If airflow is impeded and reduced so the refrigerant does not cool as designed, it can throw off the entire system. Keep 1 to 2 feet of clearance around the housing where the coils Turn off the power to the AC are exposed to unit and vacuum the blower and the outdoor air. evaporator coils. This may require trimming back a few shrubs or removing items stored around the unit. If any heat transfer fins on the coils are bent and touching impeding airflow between them, use the tip of a scraper to separate them. Don’t flex the fins too much or they may break; they don’t have to look uniform to be effective. Make sure all the screws on the housing are tight. Change the indoor filter regularly. Switch off the electricity to the unit and remove the cover over the indoor blower unit. Clean dust off the blower and any evaporator coils you can reach with a vacuum brush attachment. Seal any leaking duct joints with aluminum or duct tape and close the bypass damper for the humidifier. For more information on air conditioners, visit Click on Energy Tips. July 2014 25

Colorado's Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Team Raising money to help those who struggle to pay their heating bills

Powering the Plains Ride with or sponsor Colorado's Touchstone Energy Cooperatives' Team A team of representatives from local electric co-ops will ride in this year’s Pedal the Plains bicycle tour of eastern Colorado. They will ride from Wiggins to Fort Morgan to Sterling and back to Wiggins September 21-23. If you would like to ride with the team, call Donna at 303-455-4111. If you would like to sponsor the team and help raise money for Energy Outreach Colorado, fill out the form on the right and send it with your check. Make check payable to CEEI/EOC. 26 July 2014

Sponsor our team and help raise money for To send your tax-deductible donation, fill out this form and send it and a check to: CREA/Pedal the Plains, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216

Name: Address: City: State: ZIP: I would like to contribute: r $20 r $50

r $75


r Please send receipt



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Rather than run the dryer, hang your clothes to dry. The excess heat a dryer emits will be eliminated and you’ll save on your electric bill. July 2014 27

[classifieds] TO PLACE A CLASSIFIED AD Please type or print your ad on a separate paper. Indicate how many months you would like your ad to run and which month to start. There is a minimum of 12 words at $1.63 per word/month. Be sure to include your full name and address for our records. Check MUST accompany this order or call to pay by credit card. Send your ad before the 10th of the month to: mail: Colorado Country Life 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 phone: 303-902-7276 fax: 303-455-2807 email:



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REAL ESTATE BAYFIELD/VALLECITO – Beautiful mountain retreat, 4bd, 3ba, 3436sf on 1.2 acres, well water, septic, 5 minutes from Vallecito Lake. $467,900. 970-884-9324. (163-07-14) CUCHARA, COLORADO CONDO. Southern front range 9000+ elevation. 2bd, 1ba, 2 decks, $65,000. Great view, hiking, fishing, hunting. for photos, details (171-07-14) DURANGO, COLORADO — Exceptional lot in the Estates of Edgemont Highlands $209,900. More information and photos at or call 970-749-2088. Linda Crowther, Keller Williams Realty (107-07-14)

TICKETS NFR & PBR RODEO TICKETS – Las Vegas. All seating levels available. Call 1-888-NFR-rodeo (1-888-6377633) or *BBB Member; Since 1990. (912-11-14)

VACATION RENTAL KAUAI VACATION RENTAL, 2bdr, full kitchen. Minutes from beaches. $600/wk. 808-245-6500; makana; (756-05-15) KONA, HAWAII, Paradise Villa condo located on the 18th fairway of Kona Country Club with sweeping ocean views; 3bdr, 2ba specials. (503) 369-2638; www.konacondo. info (116-11-14)

OLD COWBOY STUFF–hats, boots, spurs, chaps, Indian rugs, baskets, etc. ANYTHING OLD! Mining & railroad memorabilia, ore carts! We buy whole estates. We’ll come to you! Call 970-759-3455 or 970-565-1256. (871-11-14) OLD GAS AND OIL items: Gas pumps, advertising signs, globes, etc. Pieces, parts, etc. considered. Also 1932-34 Ford cars and trucks, parts and pieces, too. Any condition. Brandon, 719-250-5721. (519-11-14) OLD POCKET WATCHES – working or non-working and old repair material. Bob 719-859-4209 watch (870-06-15) VINTAGE FISHING TACKLE. I buy rods, reels, lures, creels, etc. Gary, 970-222-2181 (170-10-14) WANT TO PURCHASE minerals and other oil/gas interests. Send details to: PO Box 13557, Denver, CO 80201. (402-03-15) WANTED: JEEP CJ OR WRANGLER. Reasonably priced. No rust buckets. 888-735-5337 (099-04-15) WE PAY CASH for minerals and oil/ gas interests, producing and nonproducing. 800-733-8122 (099-02-15)

Call Kris at 303-902-7276 to place a classified ad.

[funny stories] When I was babysitting my 3-year-old grandson, Brice, we decided to play hide-and-seek. He took off down the hall and entered the hall closet. I knew where he went, and I also knew he forgot to close the door all the way. I slowly made my way down the hall, and then whispered, “I think I just heard something. I’m sure I did. Maybe it came from the closet.” A soft little voice came out from the closet: “I think it was me, Grandpa!”

June Winner

Jack Hanks, Wellington

Send us photos of you with Colorado Country Life We’re Looking …

On the 4th of July last year, my 5-year-old granddaughter asked how old grandpa was. I said he was 70. Then, she asked how old I was. I told her I was 69. “You look a lot older at 69 than you did at 68,” she said. Wanda Brooks, Fountain

for photos of readers and their copy of Colorado Country Life. Got a great pic of you or your family member with the magazine

My husband was high in a shade tree trying to

at some fun place? Send it and your name and address to info@

retrieve our pet parakeet after it flew out the back door. All five of our children were anxiously watching when I called out, “Be careful, honey. You’re not the man you used to be!” Our youngest son, who was 4 at the time, said in a hushed voice, “Who was he then, mom?” We’ll post it on our Facebook page. And on July 18 we’ll draw a winner from the submissions and send that winner a $25 gift card.


Vivien Boyce, Canon City

Congratulations to Dan Adams of Pueblo West, who won a $25 gift card for submitting the photo above in front of Adams Ribs and Bar-B-Que.

My recently engaged sister asked my 6-yearold nephew to be in her wedding. “Michael, would you like to be my ring bearer?” she asked. Michael burst into tears. “I don’t know how to be a bear,” he said. “I can only do a mountain lion!” Candy Gobrecht, Lafayette

Here’s a few of July’s photos from readers: (Clockwise from top left) Ashley Valdez of Pueblo West, James Grillo’s dog Brody of Parker and Mountain View Electric members Carrie Daniels, Angela Dunwoody and Debbie Yirku. Thanks for sending photos.

We pay $15 to each person who submits a funny story that’s printed in the magazine. At the end of the year, we draw one name from those submitting jokes and that person will receive $150. Send your 2014 stories to Colorado Country Life, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 or email funnystories@ Don’t forget to include your mailing address, so we can send you a check. July 2014 29


ResQMe® LumbarCushion Long road trips can do a number on your back. Tempur-Pedic™ has the solution: the LumbarCushion-Travel. Designed specifically for those who intend to sit for a long period of time, the LumbarCushion’s ergonomic design helps support the back, making your trip more pleasurable. The LumbarCushion costs $59. For more information and to order, call 888-811-5053 or visit tempurpedic. com.

Hopefully you’ll never have to use the ResQMe® escape tool, but if an inexpensive purchase could save your life, it seems crazy not to have one. Imagine being trapped inside your vehicle because of an electronic malfunction or following a car accident. ResQMe® has a sharp steel blade that cuts through seat belts and a spring-loaded spike that shatters car windows, making it possible to exit your vehicle. The ResQMe® escape tool is light enough to attach to your keychain and small enough not to get in the way. In addition, it comes in a variety of bright colors — blue, yellow, orange, green, pink and red — making it easier to locate in a stressful situation. It also comes in black. The ResQMe® escape tool costs $10 to $15. To learn more and to order, visit Visit and click on the Contest tab to find out how to win a ResQMe.

SleepPhones® After a long day on the road, there are few things that sound as divine as a good night’s sleep. The last thing you want is traffic noise or your partner’s snoring keeping you awake. That’s where SleepPhones® come in. Hidden within a SleepPhones® headband are small, removable speakers that rest comfortably by your ears. The speakers don’t stick in your ears, so even side sleepers can indulge. Just plug your SleepPhones® into your CD player, iPod or MP3 player, slip on the soft headband and turn on sounds that soothe you, such as ocean waves, meditation tracks or white noise. SleepPhones® headbands are lightweight, washable and come in three colors: black, lavender and gray. Original SleepPhones® cost $39.95; SleepPhones® Wireless headphones cost $99.95. For more information and to buy, visit

SitOrSquat It can take 100 miles or more before you find a rest area, and many times it’s a filthy, frightening experience when you arrive, making that grove of trees 10 miles back a pretty good alternative after all. Charmin has a solution to this predicament: SitOrSquat. This brilliant app locates public lavatories in the area and provides reviews about them from other users. In addition, SitOrSquat users can narrow their search to locate restrooms that are handicap accessible or have a baby changing table. The free SitOrSquat app can be downloaded on Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, and iTouch (iOS versions 4.0 and above), as well as Android devices. 30 July 2014


HandiRack When on a road trip, there always seems to be more luggage than your car can handle. Most roof racks on the market are expensive, bulky and difficult to use. That’s not the case with the HandiRack rooftop storage system. To use, place the uninflated HandiRack on your vehicle’s rooftop, pass the strap through the open doors and clamp the strap to the heavy-duty buckle on the other side. Next, close the doors, inflate the rack with the double-action HandiPump (included with the rack) and strap on your luggage. When you’re done, release the buckle, deflate the rack, fold and pack it away in the drawstring travel bag. The HandiRack can hold up to 175 pounds, is completely portable and fits most cars. Starting around $85, it is a perfect space solution for traveling. For more information, visit


PEAK Amp You throw caution to the wind when traveling by vehicle. At any given moment, you can get a flat or need a jumpstart. But the PEAK Jump-Starter with Inflator offers peace of mind. The 600-amp PEAK Jump-Starter with Inflator lets you jumpstart your own car and pump your tires, relieving you of the burden of finding a person or place to get assistance. This product has an alarm and light that will warn you if you hook up the jumper cables incorrectly, which could blow up your battery if done the wrong way. It also comes with a digital LED display that shows your tires’ PSI, a built-in AC charger, a 12-volt outlet and a 1-amp USB port. You can purchase a jump starter with inflator with more juice, but expect to pay more. This particular model costs around $60 and is available at most major car service centers.

Staying organized when traveling may not be your strong suit, but there are handy products that can help you get there. For example, GRID-IT!® uses a system of rubberized elastic bands and zippered pockets that hold your personal items firmly in place. From gadgets and gizmos to hygiene products and tools, GRID-IT!® organizers keep important items secure, making it easier to locate belongings when they’re needed. GRID-IT!® organizers range from very small to very large and come in a variety of colors, such as black, gray, blue and red. Prices range from $9.99 to $49.99. For more information and to order, visit

Visit colorado and click on the Contest tab for information on how to win a Grid-It. Two will be given away. July 2014 31

Colorado Country Life July 2014 KC  

Colorado Country Life July 2014 KC

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