Ohio Cooperative Living - December 2020 - Adams

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COOPERATIVE Adams Rural Electric Cooperative

Naughty or nice

ALSO INSIDE Join the annual Christmas Bird Count Always a holiday at Castle Noel Hunkering down on Kelleys Island



24 DIFFERENT KIND OF FARM Ohio program helps woodland owners manage their property for wood, wildlife, and recreation.

28 NEED A LITTLE CHRISTMAS? Find comfort and joy — plus Bing

Crosby, Ralphie Parker, and Frosty the Snowman— at Castle Noel.

30 WINTER’S TALE Even after the departure of the last tourist from Kelleys Island each season, life still goes on. Cover image on most editions: South Central Power Company member Laurence Landon caught his cat, Kiwi, in a moment of obvious temptation for this month’s Member Interactive. See more “Naughty or Nice” photos on page 40. This page: Lake Erie ice is one factor that makes winter travel to or from Kelleys Island uncertain at best, forcing residents to make a sometimes-difficult decision whether to leave or hunker down.



Rearview mirror L

ooking back, I doubt that too many of us will think of 2020 as a great year. It was strange, sad in many ways, and long — 366 days, to be exact. That’s right: 2020 not only seemed long — it was long.

Many of us are happy to turn the calendar to 2021, but the last 12 months weren’t all bad. There were some bright lights in the electric cooperative world. • Member satisfaction (as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index) with Ohio’s electric co-ops reached a record high of 86.5 in 2020 (make sure to check out our story on page 4 to see what goes into that rating). • Co-ops returned $37 million in excess revenue to their members in the form of capital credits — one of the perks of co-op membership. • Ohio linemen brought the wonder of electricity to the remote, impoverished Guatemalan village of Tierra Blanca Sebol, enabling light, sanitation, refrigeration, and connections to the outside world never before possible — then safely returned home after the pandemic temporarily closed that country’s borders. • Co-ops awarded 13 economic development grants across the state to assist communities served by electric cooperatives with plans for growth. • We were able to work collaboratively with regulators to further improve the environmental impact of power plant operations, while continuing to provide affordable, safe, and reliable power. • Our Central Ohio Lineworker Training program reached a record enrollment of 118 apprentice lineworkers, as we continue to train a new generation of co-op employees. • Co-ops worked with investor-owned utilities to complete grid upgrades that will improve service to some of the state’s underserved areas. As we prepare to close the book on the old year and start chapter 1 of the new, don’t let the 2020 Grinch steal your Christmas. We continue to find blessings — some in plain sight, some deep within our hearts and minds. Wishing a merry Christmas to all and an even better new year.



We continue to find blessings — some in plain sight, some deep within our hearts and minds.

DECEMBER 2020 • Volume 63, No. 3

Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives 6677 Busch Blvd. Columbus, OH 43229 614-846-5757 www.ohiocoopliving.com




Patrick O’Loughlin President & CEO Patrick Higgins Director of Communications Jeff McCallister Managing Editor Rebecca Seum Associate Editor Anita Cook Graphic Designer Contributors: Margaret Buranen, Colleen Romick Clark, W.H. “Chip” Gross, Becky Linhardt, Catherine Murray, and Damaine Vonada. OHIO COOPERATIVE LIVING (USPS 134-760; ISSN 2572-049X) is published monthly by Ohio Rural Elec­tric Co­op­eratives, Inc. It is the official com­munication link be­tween the elec­­­­tric co­operatives in Ohio and West Virginia and their mem­bers. Subscription cost for members ranges from $5.52 to $6.96 per year, paid from equity accruing to the member. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to editorial and advertising offices at: 6677 Busch Boulevard, Columbus, OH 43229-1101. Periodicals postage paid at Pontiac, IL 61764, and at additional mailing offices. Nothing in this publication may be reproduced in any manner without written permission from Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives, Inc. All rights reserved. The fact that a product is advertised in Ohio Cooperative Living should not be taken as an en­dorse­ment. If you find an advertisement mis­leading or a product unsatisfactory, please not­ify us or the Ohio Attorney General’s Of­fi ce, Consumer Protection Sec­tion, 30 E. Broad St., Col­um­bus, OH 43215. Periodicals postage paid at Colum­bus, OH, and at additional mailing offices.


Satisfaction: Survey index shows that Ohio co-ops go about their business in the right way.


Union Rural Electric Cooperative: The communities served by this central Ohio co-op celebrate both agricultural heritage and technological advances.


Star quilter: Internationally known quiltmaker Nancy Crow creates contemporary art at her Ohio farm.

Cheryl Solomon

Birds of a feather: Ohio birders flock together for the annual Christmas Bird Count — and you can join them.



All in one: Cleanup’s a breeze when you fix these hearty, delicious meals in but a single pan.

electric cooperative.

American MainStreet Publications 847-749-4875 | cheryl@amp.coop



19 LOCAL PAGES News and information from your

For all advertising inquiries, contact




Cooperative members: Please report changes of address to your electric cooperative. Ohio Cooperative Living staff cannot process address changes. Alliance for Audited Media Member Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

What’s happening: December/ January events and other things to do around the state.


Naughty or nice: Members make their case for a spot on Santa’s list.


Visit Ohio Cooperative Living magazine online at www.ohiocoopliving.com! Read past issues and watch videos about our articles or our recipes. Our new site features an expanded Member Interactive area where you can share your stories, recipes, and photos and find content submitted by other co-op members across the state.

www.ohiocoopliving.com DECEMBER 2020 • OHIO COOPERATIVE LIVING  3


The right way Survey index shows that members appreciate how co-ops go about their business.



very now and then, Anthony Smith, president and CEO of Union Rural Electric Cooperative in Marysville, finds he’s dashed out of the house in the morning without eating breakfast, so he ends up in the drive-thru lane at the fastfood place next to his office to grab a bite on his way to work. It’s nearly always quick and without incident, but one recent morning, the worker who handed him his sandwich stopped him. Because Smith lives in the community and writes a regular column in URE’s local pages in Ohio Cooperative Living, folks often recognize him when he’s out and about, and he’s never quite sure what to expect when they do. “Sometimes, people might want to talk to me about their rates or some little problem they might be having,” Smith says, “but she just looked at me and said, ‘Thank you.’ She wanted to tell me what a difference we had made to her family by providing an unexpected bill credit on her last electric bill.” Like many electric cooperatives, URE issues capital credits to its consumer-members. When the amount collected from electric bills is more than the cost to provide electricity, that excess money is returned to the members who pay those bills. Customers of investorowned utilities like AEP and Dayton Power and Light don’t see those returns — profits are given to shareholders instead.

Co-op employees such as Union Rural Electric Cooperative CEO Anthony Smith (gray shirt) can often be found interacting with co-op members in a way that employees of similar industries do not.


Often, cooperatives hold those excess funds in reserve for a number of years, using them for improvements and maintenance to the electrical system, before issuing the credits. But this year, Smith and the URE board recognized that the community was being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and decided on an early distribution of the entire

2019 credit to try to ease that burden. It was enough in many cases to pay nearly an entire month’s electric bill, even for newer members who usually have to wait much longer to be eligible for that distribution. “That’s just who we are,” Smith says. “We’re not here for the big profit — we provide a service and we improve lives, in lots of ways besides just keeping the lights on.”

2021 ACSI coming soon Ohio electric cooperative members

Ohio electric cooperatives don’t just give lip service to customer service. Anyone can say they care about the customer, but the co-ops live that attitude every day. Nearly all survey their members, using the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to put actual data behind the anecdotal evidence they get in the drive-thru lane.

may have the opportunity to share their

ACSI is the only national cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction in the United States. In Ohio, electric cooperatives ask their members about such things as member service, cost and quality of electric service, social responsibility, bills and payment options, communication, and employees.

Consumer-members will be

In the latest survey, which was completed in the early stages of the pandemic in Ohio, 14 of the state’s 24 co-ops earned their highest-ever scores. In an industry where the average satisfaction score is 73, Ohio’s co-ops averaged 87, and five — including URE — were at 90 or above. “Members recognized everything the co-ops did to safely and positively respond to the COVID-19 crisis,” says Doug Miller, vice president of statewide services for Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, the statewide trade association that provides services to the co-ops. “When we do the right thing each and every day, we build up a bank of capital in the form of loyalty and trust among our members. Then when have to make difficult decisions like rate increases or a return to normal collection procedures after the voluntary suspension of disconnections, the members understand that we’re doing what we need to do.”

opinions, viewpoints, and attitudes about the co-op when the next round of surveys begins in March.

contacted at random, and their responses will be analyzed to compile the co-op’s satisfaction index score. More than that, though, responses help the cooperatives in their continual efforts to provide the best in service to their members. “This isn’t just some survey where you get results and put them on a shelf,” says Kristen Appleton, marketing project coordinator for Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives. “The co-ops read every single response and use them as a way to see what they’re doing right and

“We’re definitely proud of our ACSI score,” Smith says, “but it’s really just a side effect of who we are in the community. Since we’re right here, we can make decisions and take action a lot more quickly than maybe some of the larger investor-owned utilities can to take care of any needs that might come up.

where they might need to improve.

“It’s also a way to help us tell our story,” he says. “That number reinforces that, hey, this is another reason you can be proud of this co-op, which, by the way, you also own and are an important part of.”

ops listen to their members and try to

“I think if you look at the continued improvement in the overall scores over the years, it shows that the codo right by them.”





ust to the northwest of Columbus, Union Rural Electric Cooperative (URE), based in Marysville, is a not-forprofit electric and natural gas distribution cooperative serving over 10,000 consumermembers. Alongside the city of Marysville and Union County, URE has enjoyed prosperous growth over the last three decades. The communities served by URE have a proud agricultural heritage but celebrate the increased investments made in the advanced manufacturing, smart mobility, and research and development sectors in recent times.

Diverse membership Unlike the typical rural electric cooperative, URE boasts an impressive mix of residential, commercial, and industrial accounts. The mix includes automotive manufacturing facilities and several automotive suppliers, which are critically important to the economies of Union County and the state of Ohio. The cooperative serves a few K-12 school facilities and families with students enrolled in five school districts. Also included in the member mix are city and county government facilities, chain and locally owned restaurants, automobile dealerships, hotels, and various retail accounts, all of which contribute to the economic strength and diversity of the area.

Commitment to its community Commitment to community is a top priority at URE. Each year the co-op sponsors various activities, such as youth sports, 4-H, farmers markets, and local fairs and festivals. All sponsorship efforts are designed to boost economic development and improve the quality of life in Union County. The future is bright in and around Union County, and URE is positioned to be there powering the way.


Co-op Spotlight appears regularly in Ohio Cooperative Living to give a glimpse into the land and the people of Ohio’s 24 electric cooperatives.

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Internationally known quiltmaker Nancy Crow creates contemporary fabric art at her Ohio farm. BY MARGARET BURANEN


ancy Crow’s quilts hang in the Smithsonian and the Museum of Folk Art. They’ve been on exhibit in China, England, France, and other countries. Some of her quilts even appear on the covers of two of Maya Angelou’s books. Crow has curated quilt exhibits in the U.S. and abroad. The six books she wrote on specialized quilting and fabric art techniques will be valuable references for artisans for years to come. She’s even been inducted into the International Quilting Hall of Fame. In short, Crow, a member of South Central Power Company, is a star in the quilting world. Continued on page 10

Nancy Crow has written six books on specialized quilting and fabric art techniques. She works out of her family farm near Baltimore, Ohio.


Continued from page 9

Surprisingly, for a fabric artist as accomplished as Crow is, she did not learn to sew when she was young. She became an avid knitter in high school, but didn’t create any fabric art until she took a course in tapestry weaving at Ohio State University. Her BFA and MFA degrees from the university were focused on ceramics art. When her first son was born, though, Crow wanted to make a crib quilt for him. It spurred a stage when she began using familiar quilting patterns, but with a twist. “I went through a traditional stage,” she says. “The people I knew were all self-taught. We studied block patterns [and made quilts with those designs]. But I always changed the patterns so they were my own.” Her talent has flourished in the tranquil setting of the farm she and her husband, John Stitzlein, own near Baltimore, in Fairfield County. Red and black oaks line the quarter-mile entrance lane, forming a canopy overhead. Goldenrod, poppies, coneflowers, ironweed, and other native plants bloom in the 6-acre pollinator garden. With its wooded acres of native trees, the farm will eventually be under a conservation easement, which will keep the land safe from future development.


It’s within that setting that Crow creates her contemporary quilts in her spacious, sunlit studio. Floorto-ceiling shelves hold bolts of fabric carefully arranged by gradual shadings within a spectrum of colors. “I hand-dye all of my colors,” Crow says. Crow’s inspiration for a new piece could be one or more colors, a shape, something she sees on the farm, or a combination of several of those. Then she goes to the wall of her studio. She begins with a drawing hung on the wall. “Then I cut fabric by eye,” she says. “I start by pinning up a line or a shape. I have to get a ‘skeleton.’” Her process is far from straightforward. She doesn’t know where the art will take her until it is finished — no pattern to follow exactly, no piece of graph paper with the squares colored precisely. “Art is about experimenting and what you discover. It’s what is not known,” she says. For Crow, art is also quite physical. She thinks and works in the vertical plane, creating large, vertical art that will hang on a wall someday. It requires Crow to climb up and down a ladder countless times. She climbs up to pin a piece of fabric to the wall, then climbs down and moves across the studio to see how it looks — whether it goes or doesn’t.

Sometimes, unfortunately, the cut fabric doesn’t fit in the design as she imagined it would. Sometimes, it’s only when she’s almost finished the design that Crow realizes it’s not up to her standards. “Every time I fail, I’ve lost six months,” she says. “I have to be able to accept that, but I’ve learned that if I keep going, something wonderful will happen.” COVID-19 has at least temporarily halted the workshops Crow holds on quilting techniques, fabric dyeing, elements of composition and design, and more, which is a shame, because she enjoys teaching other quiltmakers and fabric artists. The experience of working with students has taught Crow that “people have far more ability than they think,” she says. “It’s up to the teacher to pull that out.” Crow’s goal for each piece of fabric art she creates is “to do work that shows more growth than what I did before.” “I want to be able to make work that I consider to be profound and to be still working in my 90s.” An exhibit of Crow’s quilts is hanging at the International Quilt Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln through March 7, 2021. Take a virtual tour at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=bBJymIVtbrw.

Nancy Crow’s quilting studio, at the family farm near Baltimore, is awash with fabric of all colors. She says she works vertically, on quilts that hang from her walls rather than sitting on tables.



Birds of a feather Ohio birders flock together for the annual Christmas Bird Count — and you can join them! STORY AND PHOTOS BY W.H. “CHIP” GROSS


professor of biology and ecology at Ashland University, Merrill Tawse has been running the same wild-bird survey route annually for more than 40 years. It’s not for his work, though; it’s purely for pleasure. “I look forward to it every year,” he says. “It’s great exercise and a break from my normal teaching routine. I guess I just enjoy stomping around outdoors any time of year.” Known as the Christmas Bird Count, it’s a December tradition not only for Buckeye birders but for birdwatchers throughout the U.S. and beyond — from above the Arctic Circle to the southern tip of South America. Coordinated by the National Audubon Society, the annual CBC began more than a century ago, ironically, as a bird hunt. Before 1900, rural people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas “side hunt.” Sides (teams) were chosen, and team members fanned out through the countryside with their rifles and shotguns. Whichever team amassed the most feathered or furred quarry by the end of the day won the contest. As an alternative to those hunts, Frank Chapman, an early officer of the then-fledgling National Audubon Society, suggested a “Christmas Bird Census” that would record the number of wild birds present during the holidays, rather than hunt them. Thus, the Christmas Bird Count was born … er, hatched. I joined Tawse and his lab assistant, Tyler Theaker, before dawn on a Saturday morning last December to tag along on a section of the CBC near Mansfield. With the temperature hovering around freezing and precipitation changing back and forth from wet snow to rain, the weather couldn’t have been much worse for birding.


Nevertheless, Tawse and Theaker had already recorded six screech owls on their official list. Starting at 4 a.m., the pair had made about a dozen stops along the survey route, playing a loud recording of screech owl calls into the darkness that the real birds answered. CBC survey areas are 15-mile-diameter circles, and there are 75 of them scattered across Ohio. Teams of birders volunteer their time to identify as many wild bird species as possible within those circles — by sight or sound. The observations are made over a 24-hour period anytime during a three-week window from midDecember through early January. Tawse calls it “citizen science,” with the birding among groups friendly, yet intense. An air of competition pervades to see which group can see not only the most species of birds but also the most unusual. We spotted about 30 species during our half-day of tallying, including a pair of Virginia rails, an effort Tawse pronounced “good for the weather conditions.” At noon, we headed for Gorman Nature Center near Mansfield to warm up with a bowl of hot chili as we conferred with members of the other teams and compiled a master list of birds observed that morning. The list would eventually be submitted to the Audubon Society’s national office and added to its database. When asked what changes he’s noticed in wild bird populations over the years, Tawse mentioned a general decrease in avian numbers overall, especially with grassland species in Ohio such as meadowlarks and ringnecked pheasants. He was quick, however, to mention an encouraging trend. “When I began participating in the CBC during the 1980s, there were only four bald eagle nests in the state,” he said. “Today, there are more than 700 nests, and the population of eagles continues to soar.” How appropriate then, it seemed, that the final two birds we added to our list last December were a pair of mature bald eagles. You don’t need to be an expert birder to participate in the Christmas Bird Count. If you feel less than confident in your bird ID skills, you will be matched with accomplished birders, which is a great way to learn. Young people are also encouraged to participate; last year, members of the Lexington High School Biology Club assisted on some of the Mansfield CBC survey routes. To contact a Christmas Bird Count coordinator near you, go to www.audubon.org/ conservation/join-christmasbird-count, or call your local nature center.



The annual National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count brings with it tons of camaraderie — and more than just a little friendly competition — among the birders.

Email Chip Gross with your outdoors questions at whchipgross@ gmail.com. Be sure to include “Ask Chip” in the subject of the email. Your question may be answered on www.ohiocoopliving.com!

www.ohiocoopliving.com DECEMBER 2020 • OHIO COOPERATIVE LIVING  13

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We would like to thank the following for their generosity in supporting our efforts to fight blood cancers at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s 2020 virtual Light the Night Walk:

Gold Sponsors Tom and Mary Beth Alban National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation

N.F. Mansuetto & Sons, Inc. George V. Hamilton, Inc.

Silver Sponsors James Alban

Donna Cole

American Oncology

F&M Mafco

The Community Foundation of Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives

Patrick and Nancy O’Loughlin

National Renewables Cooperative Organization

One Source Advisors Tri-State Coating and Machine

Bronze Sponsors ABT Manufacturing Artina Promotional Products Frank and Jill Carsonie Cleveland Pump and Repair Services Martin and Claire Dasler Doe Weldon Trucking Kurt Helfrich Patrick and Julie Higgins Highland Consulting Gordan and Trudy Iseminger Tom Kain Randy Keefer Rick and Wendy Lemonds For the latest Honda Heritage Center news and updates, follow our social media pages:

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All in one


Cleanup’s a breeze when you fix these hearty, delicious meals in but a single pan. RECIPES AND PHOTOS BY CATHERINE MURRAY

LIGHT AND LEMONY SHEET PAN SHRIMP Prep: 8 minutes | Cook: 12 minutes | Servings: 5 1 pound fresh green beans, stems removed 1 medium red onion, sliced 1½ pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning 1 pint grape tomatoes 1 whole lemon, sliced Preheat oven to 450 F. Layer green beans, red onion, and shrimp onto sheet pan. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning. Finish layering the tomatoes and lemon slices. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until tomatoes begin to wrinkle and onion is soft. Remove pan from oven and serve immediately. Per serving: 272 calories, 8 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat), 287 milligrams cholesterol, 599 milligrams sodium, 17 grams total carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 34 grams protein. DECEMBER 2020 • OHIO COOPERATIVE LIVING  15

ONE-SKILLET CREAMY TUSCAN CHICKEN Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 15 minutes | Servings: 4 1 pound thin, boneless, skinless ¼ teaspoon black pepper chicken breasts 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 4 cloves garlic, sliced ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional) 1 cup heavy cream ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped Note: If sun-dried tomatoes are packed in oil, omit the butter. Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with mixture of the four spices. Sear with butter (or sun-dried tomato oil) in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Set chicken aside. In the same skillet, lower heat to medium and add garlic. Sauté for a minute or two. Pour in heavy


14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained 2 tablespoons capers 4 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach

cream, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers, and spinach. Bring to a simmer, stir, then return chicken to skillet. Cover with lid and continue cooking until chicken is heated through and spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Per serving: 419 calories, 24 grams fat (11 grams saturated fat), 152 milligrams cholesterol, 524 milligrams sodium, 15 grams total carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 38 grams protein.

Have you tried one of our recipes? Do you have a recipe to share with other Ohio co-op members? Visit the Member Interactive page on www.ohiocoopliving.com to find recipes submitted by our readers and to upload yours.

www.ohiocoopliving.com While you’re there, see a video of a couple of these tasty dishes being prepared.

LOADED SWEET POTATO FRIES Prep: 5 minutes | Cook: 20 minutes | Servings: 6 20 ounces frozen sweet ¼ cup cheddar cheese potato fries 1 avocado, sliced ½ cup cooked black beans 4 tablespoons light sour cream ½ cup corn kernels 3 scallions, diced ½ teaspoon cumin 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro ½ teaspoon paprika *BBQ chicken, BBQ jackfruit, or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder chili could take place of the pulled pork. 8 ounces pre-cooked BBQ pulled pork* Spread out sweet potato fries on a baking sheet or sheet pan. The more spread out they are, the crispier they’ll get. Follow the instructions on the package for temperature and cook time. Cook on bottom rack and flip fries halfway through cook time. When fries are at their desired doneness, pull baking sheet out of the oven. Push fries a bit closer together. Evenly spread black beans and corn on top, then sprinkle with cumin, paprika, and garlic powder. Top with pulled pork (or alternative meat option) and cheddar cheese. Switch oven to the broil setting and move pan to the oven’s top rack. Broil 2 to 5 minutes until pulled pork is heated through, watching carefully so the cheese doesn’t burn. Remove from oven; top with avocado slices, sour cream, scallions, and cilantro. Serve immediately. Per serving: 650 calories, 34.5 grams fat (10 grams saturated fat), 82 milligrams cholesterol, 1,213 milligrams sodium, 61 grams total carbohydrates, 9 grams fiber, 27 grams protein.


ONE-POT BEEF STROGANOFF Prep: 5 minutes | Cook: 30 minutes | Servings: 4 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced 1 small sweet onion, diced 1 pound lean ground beef 3 cups beef broth 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ teaspoon dried thyme ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper 8 ounces egg noodles, uncooked ¾ cup sour cream 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (optional) Melt butter in a large pot or skillet over medium heat. Sauté mushrooms and onion, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Onions should be golden brown and beginning to caramelize. Add ground beef and break up the pieces as it browns, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and egg noodles. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. If liquid begins to evaporate before the pasta is cooked, add more water or beef stock. Stir in sour cream and cook another minute until heated through. Garnish with parsley (optional) and serve hot. Per serving: 386 calories, 19 grams fat (10 grams saturated fat), 122 milligrams cholesterol, 877 milligrams sodium, 18 grams total carbohydrates, 1.5 grams fiber, 35 grams protein.



Capital credits returned to members T

here are seven principles that guide electric cooperatives. One of these principles is Member Economic Participation. Members contribute equity to and democratically control the capital of the cooperative. This is accomplished through capital credits. Federal law allows cooperatives to be tax-exempt as long as the cooperative operates on a nonprofit basis. Any margins, or profits, that Adams Rural Electric makes each year are allocated back to the member in the form of capital credits. Margins are the amount of money that remains after expenses are deducted from the revenues earned by the cooperative each year. The allocation of margins each year is based on the percentage of kilowatt-hours each member used for the year compared to the total kilowatt-hours the cooperative sold. Capital credits are allocated to all members whether they have a residential service, church, or business. The total of capital credits allocated to each member represents the value of that member’s ownership in Adams Rural Electric. These capital credits are a way that each member furnishes capital for the cooperative to operate and to complete long-term capital projects, which offsets the need to borrow money. The retirement of capital credits is when the funds are returned to our members, and it is one of the

most important things the cooperative does. The Adams Rural Electric Board of Trustees approves general retirements based on the financial condition of the cooperative. This is reviewed each year at the October board meeting. This year, the board of trustees approved a record general retirement of $650,000. In November Erika Ackley 2020, Adams Rural Electric MANAGER OF FINANCE retired the balance of 1997 AND ADMINISTRATION and 67% of 1998 capital credits to members who had service during those years. Checks were mailed to members if a good address was on file. If there was a past due amount on the electric bill, the capital credit was applied to that amount before a check was mailed. The Adams Rural Electric Board of Trustees also approves capital credit retirements each month to the estates of deceased members. The estate retirements through November 2020 is $143,998. With the general and estate capital credit retirements, Adams Rural Electric has retired over $10 million to its members over the years.





ost of us drive by rows of utility poles every day. But how much do we really notice them? These often-overlooked poles play an important role in delivering reliable power to the members of Adams Rural Electric. In fact, it takes over 24,000 utility poles to support the nearly 1,328 miles of line that provide electricity to the more than 7,500 homes and business served by the co-op. That’s why it’s so critical for the co-op to protect and maintain these poles. Wind and storms have an obvious effect on utility poles — sometimes snapping them right in half. However, other elements of nature can also have negative consequences. Excessive moisture, insects, and woodpeckers can cause poles to deteriorate. People can be harmful to poles as well, even if they don’t intend to. Anytime a nail, staple, or other fastener is attached, it creates an additional pathway for water and insects to access and weaken the pole. This is one of the primary reasons that it is illegal to attach anything other than authorized electrical equipment to a utility pole. Anything else, such as advertisements, posters, deer stands, birdhouses, or basketball hoops, can lead to damage. In addition to reducing the life of the pole, unauthorized attachments can also pose a hazard to Adams Rural Electric’s linemen. Nails, tacks, and screws can tear their essential protective gear, like rubber gloves or flame-retardant clothing, exposing workers to the risk of electrical shock. In November and December of each year, Adams Rural Electric contracts with Epic Utilities Services to inspect 1,800 poles on our system. Epic’s crew will check the condition of each pole by exposing the pole just below the surface to check for decay or damage. They will also bore into the pole to look for internal damage. If a pole has signs of weakening, then the pole is put on a list to be replaced by Adams Rural Electric’s crews. Epic is currently inspecting poles on or near the following roads: Bethlehem, Polley, Eckmansville, Coomer, Patton, Marshall, Cherry Fork, Narrow Gauge, Glasgow, Jericho, Hamilton, Rhodes, Tulip, Tobe Lewis, West Fork, Abner Hollow, and Waggoners Riffle. 3500347200 Regular inspections help prolong the lifespan of utility poles. If you see a potentially damaged pole, please contact our operations department.

This pole on Eckmansville Road is decayed and split.




2021 GRADS

Are your parents Adams Rural Electric members? You could win a scholarship from

ADAMS RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. First place: $1,200 • Second place: $1,000 • Third place: $800 Fourth place: $700 • Fifth place: $600 The first-place winner will go on to compete in the statewide contest held by Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives. To obtain rules and applications for the

Children of Members Scholarship •  Visit www.adamsrec.com •  Call the co-op at 800-283-1846 •  Stop by the co-op office •  Ask your guidance counselor Deadline to apply: Feb. 1, 2021 DECEMBER 2020  •  OHIO COOPERATIVE LIVING 21


Adams Rural Electric hopes our members are blessed with health, happiness, and peace this holiday season. Our offices will be closed Dec. 24 and 25 for Christmas and Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day.



COOPERATIVE Adams Rural Electric Cooperative

The annual cost of Ohio Cooperative Living magazine to Adams Rural Electric Cooperative members is $6.24.


937-544-2305 | 800-283-1846 www.adamsrec.com

Staying in the game

Help for disabled farmers

ALSO INSIDE Bobcats on the prowl Buckeye treasure hunt Ohio (cyber) gift guide

Congratulations! Congratulations to Garnett Seal! She found her account number in the local pages of the magazine and received a $20 credit on her electric bill. Look for the hidden account number each month and call the office if you find your number.


Donald C. McCarty Sr. President

Charles L. Newman Vice President

Kenneth McCann Secretary


4800 St. Rte. 125 P.O. Box 247 West Union, OH 45693 OFFICE HOURS

Mon.–Fri., 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m.

Stephen Huff Blanchard Campbell William Wylie M. Dale Grooms William Seaman John Wickerham

Erika Ackley Jacob Alexander Alice Baird Jennifer Baughey Nathan Colvin Kacee Cox Joan Drummond Brett Fawns Joyce Grooms John Hayslip David Henry Steve Hoop

Randy Johnson Samuel Kimmerly Dave Kirker Rodney Little Dave McChesney Kristina Orr David Ralston Cody Rigdon Zachary Rowe Dewayne Sexton Mike Whitley Jordan Williams

Bill Swango General Manager

PAY YOUR BILL AT 800-809-6352 HIDDEN NUMBER BILL CREDIT We provide three convenient ways to pay: online, by phone, or directly from your bank account. Failure to receive your bill in no way relieves you from paying it. If you don’t receive your bill, contact the office before the due date and we’ll issue another one.


Pay at these collection stations: First State Bank — Georgetown, Hillsboro, Manchester, Peebles, Ripley, Seaman, West Union, and Winchester. National Bank of Adams County — 218 N. Market St., West Union.

Find your account number in the Adams REC local pages (the four center pages of this magazine), then call our office, and you will receive a $20 credit on your electric bill. You must call by the end of the month in which your account number appears. Your call affirms permission to publish your name as a winner in an upcoming issue of Ohio Cooperative Living.

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A different kind of farm

Ohio program helps woodland owners manage their property for wood, wildlife, and recreation. STORY AND PHOTOS BY W.H. “CHIP” GROSS



n Buckeye State forestry circles, having your woodlands named Ohio Tree Farm of the Year is a big deal. To have your woods named National Tree Farm of the Year is a really big deal. To garner both those titles in back-to-back years is simply off the charts. The husband-and-wife team of Randy and Koral Clum were so honored in 2017 and 2018 for the work they have done for decades on their 152-acre Hepatica Falls Tree Farm in Harrison County. “We still can’t believe it,” say the Clums. “There are so many impactful people that we highly respect who have come before us that those honors were truly humbling.” The Clums are members of the Ohio Tree Farm Program — first organized in 1946 — a part of the American Tree Farm System. The goal of both the national and state programs is to assist private landowners with better managing their woodlands for wood, water, wildlife, and recreation. Some 31% of Ohio is forested (7.8 million acres), with the greatest proportion of those trees growing in southern and southeastern Ohio. The majority of Ohio forests and woodlands (more than 73%) are family forests, owned by private, non-industrial landowners. The purpose of the Ohio Tree Farm Program is to provide knowledge and assistance to family-forest owners so that they can, in turn, sustainably manage their woodlands.

Woodland owners without a written management plan can receive help from the Ohio Tree Farm Program (www. ohiotreefarm.org) with identifying an appropriate forestry professional to assist them with developing a plan. Forestry professionals available to provide assistance include ODNR Division of Forestry Service foresters, private consulting foresters, Soil and Water Conservation District foresters, and industry foresters.

To qualify for the Ohio Tree Farm Program, a family-forest landowner must:

One of the main benefits, among a dozen or more, to a landowner having his/her woodlands certified as an Ohio Tree Farm may include a tax incentive under the Ohio Forest Tax Law (OFTL) or Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) programs. For more information about the Ohio Forest Tax Law, contact the ODNR, Division of Forestry. For CAUV information, contact your county auditor’s office.

• Own 10 or more contiguous wooded acres. • Be committed to the sustainable management of their woodlands. • Have an acceptable written management plan that is designed to meet ownership goals and sustain the woodlands for future generations.

W.H. “Chip” Gross, Ohio Cooperative Living’s outdoors editor and a member of Consolidated Cooperative, is a certified tree farmer who writes from his 13-acre Ohio Tree Farm in Morrow County.


Need a little Christmas? Find comfort and joy — plus Bing Crosby, Ralphie Parker, and Frosty — at Castle Noel. STORY AND PHOTOS BY DAMAINE VONADA


iven the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems as if everyone could use some holiday cheer, and Castle Noel in Medina is just the place for a healthy dose of everything merry and bright. From film stills of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas to Cousin Eddie’s ramshackle RV from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to a Blizzard Vortex that spins visitors through a makebelieve snowstorm, Castle Noel delivers a one-of-a-kind combination of a Christmas movie museum, interactive Yuletide experiences, and an unabashedly festive trip down memory lane. Its mastermind is Mark Klaus, a sculptor, collector, curator, historian, and entrepreneur who has created the nation’s largest year-round indoor Christmas entertainment attraction inside a former church and some storefronts in Medina’s Public Square Historic District. Yes, Klaus is his actual last name, and with his white beard and lifelong love of Christmas, he not only looks like Kris Kringle but also possesses a kind of Clark Griswold-like zeal that one would expect of someone who has amassed the world’s largest collection of holiday movie costumes, props, and memorabilia. Klaus’s helper is his wife, Dana, a real-life Mrs. Klaus who does everything from leading tours to traveling to New York City to acquire Christmas window 26   OHIO COOPERATIVE LIVING  •  DECEMBER 2020

Castle Noel’s displays include a bevy of movie paraphernalia from holiday flicks — including the infamous rooftop snowman from Christmas with the Kranks and the Santa suit worn by the villain in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

displays from Bloomingdale’s, Lord and Taylor, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Castle Noel’s incomparable array of department store windows transports visitors to a wonderland of whimsical scenes. “We have a multi-million-dollar collection,” Mrs. Klaus says. “But it’s nothing unless we’re bringing joy to people. Otherwise, it’s just stuff.” One of Castle Noel’s prize possessions is the outfit Will Ferrell wore while portraying Buddy in Elf. The Klauses have also recently acquired the baby clothes that Buddy’s daughter Susie wears at the end of the movie. The costumes are displayed together in a vignette, similar to other such displays, specially designed to evoke the film. Visitors, for example, view the costumes of Patrick Stewart and other A Christmas Carol cast members through imaginary shop windows graced by details like period candlesticks, while the Christmas with the Kranks display includes the rooftop Frosty, a movie poster signed by the cast, and costumes worn by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. Other exhibits feature Cindy Lou Who’s bedroom set from The Grinch; the miniature house — complete with glitzy light show — that doubled for Danny DeVito’s home in Deck the Halls; and Bumble, the gigantic yeti used for the abominable snow monster in Rudolph the RedNosed Reindeer. “We lured Bumble to Medina with gingerbread cookies,” Mrs. Klaus explains with a smile. Like the holiday season itself, Castle Noel appeals to all ages. A multigeneration favorite is the “I Had That” Toyland Experience, which has toys, games, and dolls — including Continued on page 28


Dana Klaus demonstrates Castle Noel’s Santa Chimney Squeeze (with plenty of sanitizer on hand), while Mark Klaus (below) stands with Cousin Eddie’s RV from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Continued from page 27

a Mrs. Beasley and a stuffed lion — that materialized on Christmas mornings in Mark’s and Dana’s houses from the 1950s to the 1980s. Although the Klauses collected toys for years before opening Castle Noel, the exhibit is growing because people keep bringing in their childhood playthings. “The woman who donated her Teddy Ruxpin bear cried when she saw it in the showcase,” Mrs. Klaus says. While Santa’s Chimney Squeeze, “Castle Noel’s official training center,” gets guests wiggling and giggling their way through inflatable walls, the venue’s signature attraction is the Grand Hall. The soaring space contains an Enchanted Forest, with animated owls that once inhabited a Lord and Taylor window, as well as a big red slide where visitors take rides á la Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story. “Anyone over 80 who goes down the slide gets their photo on our Wall of Fame,” says Dana. “Our oldest rider was 101½.” Because of the virus, Castle Noel offers only private, reservation-required tours for limited numbers of guests, and on orders from Santa, a sani-elf continuously wipes down the facility with disinfectant. In the spirit of the season, the Klauses also have devised a special space for personal visits with the Jolly Old Elf. “There’s a lot of Christmas magic happening behind the scenes,” says Mrs. Klaus. “Santa will be here until December 23.” Castle Noel, 260 S. Court St., Medina, OH 44256. 330-721-NOEL (6635); www.castlenoel.com


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he very best hunting knives possess a perfect balance of form and function. They’re carefully constructed from fine materials, but also have that little something extra to connect the owner with nature. If you’re on the hunt for a knife that combines impeccable craftsmanship with a sense of wonder, the $79 Huntsman Blade is the trophy you’re looking for. The blade is full tang, meaning it doesn’t stop at the handle but extends to the length of the grip for the ultimate in strength. The blade is made from 420 surgical steel, famed for its sharpness and its resistance to corrosion. The handle is made from genuine natural bone, and features decorative wood spacers and a hand-carved motif of two overlapping feathers— a reminder for you to respect and connect with the natural world. This fusion of substance and style can garner a high price tag out in the marketplace. In fact, we found full tang, stainless steel blades with bone handles in excess of $2,000. Well, that won’t cut it around here. We have mastered the hunt for the best deal, and in turn pass the spoils on to our customers. But we don’t stop there. While supplies last, we’ll include a pair of $99 8x21 power compact binoculars and a genuine leather sheath FREE when you purchase the Huntsman Blade. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Feel the knife in your hands, wear it on your hip, inspect the impeccable craftsmanship. If you don’t feel like we cut you a fair deal, send it back within 30 days for a complete refund of the item price. Limited Reserves. A deal like this won’t last long. We have only 1120 Huntsman Blades for this ad only. Don’t let this BONUS! Call today and beauty slip through your fingers. Call today! you’ll also receive this

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Winter’s tale Even after the departure of the last tourist from Kelleys Island each season, life goes on. BY BECKY LINHARDT



elleys Island is both the largest American island on Lake Erie and also the town that covers the island’s entire 4.4 square miles of land. During summer, it’s one of Ohio’s most popular travel destinations, drawing upward of 250,000 visitors during the tourist season. “Downtown is pretty lively in the summer,” says Jordan Killam, director of the Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. “Visitors patronize our businesses, dock at our marinas, stay in our lodging properties, and tour our nature preserves.” Kelleys Island State Park and its sand beach is also a big draw. As the summer season comes to an end, though, and the tourist-related business slows to a trickle and then stops altogether, residents of the island begin making their own winter plans; the decision to stay put or to pack up and go is not one to be made lightly. There is no bridge to Kelleys Island from the mainland, 5 miles away. Air service is available year-round — but only weather permitting. Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line schedules service into late fall and resumes service in the spring, but some years, the lake ice can linger, and spring fog can cause flights and ferries to be canceled. It’s never a sure bet whether you can get on or off the island in a pinch. In the early 1900s, it was common for more than 1,000 residents to brave the conditions and stay the winter, but today that number is more like 100 to 150.

When Lake Erie freezes out the ferry service to Kelleys Island, air service is the only way to get things, or people, on or off the island — but even that’s not always available if the weather turns harsh.

Continued on page 32


Continued from page 31

Alexi Panehal bought a cabin on the island in 2001, near her father’s. When she retired from the Diplomatic Corps in 2015, she decided to take up residence on Kelleys Island to write books. She says there are three types of residents who stay over winter: “socializers, ‘see you at church on Sunday,’ and those who hibernate.” “The socializers organize a variety of activities,” Panehal says. “They started dancercise and yoga classes five days a week for anyone who was interested, a book club, a ‘girls in winter’ group, Wii bowling, and VFW potlucks every Sunday.” There are also traditional island events such as the Christmas potluck, held the Friday after Thanksgiving (the mayor acting as Santa), and the December fish fry. New Year’s Eve is usually celebrated at the Kelleys Island Winery, and at the end of the winter, before the ferry starts running again, the ice party in March — on the ice, thickness permitting. Winter life routine includes school for the few children who stay after the tourist season — this year, there are eight enrolled at Kelleys Island School. “We have the opportunity to design programming for the individual student,” says Cindi Herndon, president of the school board. “We connect students with island entities in after-school sessions: the fire department, the Coast Guard, gallery and artist visits, Lego groups, Runners Club, and more.” 32   OHIO COOPERATIVE LIVING  •  DECEMBER 2020

to about six winter residents,” says Fire Chief Bobby Skeans. “We respond to fire calls, critical health issues, accidents, people through the ice — we are always updated on our water rescue training.” The island’s EMS has had Life Flight available to evacuate critical patients to hospitals in Sandusky or Toledo for decades now — but that, of course, also depends on Mother Nature’s mood. “Life Flight is always weather permitting, so in the winter we have sometimes had to get creative,” Skeans says. “We have even transported via airboat across the ice.” Electricity, of course, is a tricky bit for an island town. Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative maintains service on the island year-round via a pair of underwater cables and keeps an employee there 24/7 for the entire year — with additional staff sent over as needed.

As much as they love their fair-weather homes, the winter proves to be too much of a challenge for some longtime residents. Pat and Lori Hayes have owned The Inn, an iconic bed-and-breakfast on Kelleys, for 40 years. But they seal the place snugly for winter and leave the island. Basic services continue for those who stay. Safety services are the responsibility of the Village of Kelleys Island. “We don’t salt roads; that has been a taboo for a long time, so no expense there,” says Mayor Ron Ehrbar. “We do have to budget for heating and higher electric bills. Since we always have police on the island, we budget for the extra cost when we have to fly officers over.” The volunteer fire department personnel are fully certified for their specialties. “In the winter, the 15-member crew is down

Life goes on during winter on Kelleys Island. Even as tourist attractions such as the iconic glacial grooves sit lonely, students enrolled in the state’s smallest public school district get individualized attention, including a visit from U.S. Coast Guard personnel.

Continued on page 34


Continued from page 33

“We get some severe winds, so preparation for winter includes dealing with tree issues early, and we have to make sure there are enough supplies here to last the winter,” says Dave Ervin, the Hancock-Wood lineman who staffs Kelleys full-time. “With fewer folks on the island, I get to know the ‘winter people’ by name, even join in on potlucks.” To keep the Island Market stocked, Rob and Elic Watkins order heavy nonperishables for delivery before the ice sets in. Bread, milk, and other fresh items are flown in once the ferry stops running. “We bought our airboat to be able to collect goods from the mainland for the store,” Elic says. Josh McGinnis, vice president and general manager for Griffing Flying Service, says winter and summer seasons are quite different for his business. “During summer, we fly mostly one trip a day into Kelleys, with the U.S. mail,” he says. “During winter, we fly four or five trips into and out of Kelleys each day, including the U.S. mail, UPS, FedEx, local


There are social events organized for the island’s year-round residents, including yoga and dance classes, a Christmas potluck, and an end-of-winter party out on the lake ice, weather permitting.

freight deliveries for groceries, and passenger travel for the locals and for utility workers. We have flown a number of things to and from the island, anything from normal packages to large outboard motors, bathtubs, construction supplies, caskets, tires — lots of things.” “We first wintered over in 1992,” says Kelleys Island resident Sandy Alexander. “Our decision to stay harkens back to the idea of a great adventure. We have a good social life with friends — walks, talks, organized activities. There is a real feeling of community.” “The natural beauty and close ties to the full-time residents are my favorite things about the island,” says longtime resident Rick Holmes. “The winter up here is serene, quiet, and low-key.” Although “it’s not everyone’s cup of tea,” he says, “I feel this is my home here.”



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COOPERATIVE Butler Rural Electric Cooperative

Ohio Cooperative Living has been a valued presence in rural Ohio homes and businesses for the past 60 years. 83.4% of our readers have taken action from something they have seen in Ohio Cooperative Living.


Staying in the game

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THROUGH DEC. 26 – Lake of Lights, Saulisbery Park, 13344 St. Rte. 67 W., Kenton, 6–9 p.m. “People’s Choice” contest for best holiday lighting display contest will take place on Facebook. www.facebook. com/LakeOfLights. THROUGH DEC. 31 – Lights Before Christmas, Toledo Zoo, 2 Hippo Way, Toledo, Sun.–Thur. 3–8 p.m., Fri./Sat. 3–9 p.m. Over 1 million lights, the awardwinning Big Tree, and more than 200 illuminated animal images. 419-385-5721 or www.toledozoo.org. THROUGH JAN. 1 – Blaze of Lights Festival, N. Main St., Bluffton, 5–8 p.m. Free. Celebrate the season with holiday lights and vintage folk art displays, food and shopping, entertainment, horse-drawn wagon rides,


PLEASE NOTE: Because of the developing coronavirus situation, many of these planned events may have been postponed or canceled. Please seek updated information before traveling. COMPILED BY COLLEEN ROMICK CLARK

and train rides for the kids. Opening parade on Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. 419-369-2985 or www.explorebluffton.com. THROUGH JAN. 3 – North Pole Express, 12505 Co. Rd. 99, Findlay, Fri./Sat. 5:30–9:30 p.m., Sun. 5:30–8:30 p.m. $4; under 13, $3. Hop on board our quarter-scale locomotive for a trip through a winter wonderland of sparkling lights and festive decorations. See operating model trains and hundreds of decorated trees, plus a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus on select days. 419-423-2995 or www.nworrp.org. DEC. 10–23 – Winter Wonderland Light Display, Sandusky Co. Fgds., 901 Rawson Ave., Fremont, Sun.– Thur. 6–8 p.m., Fri./ Sat. 6–9 p.m. Drive-through only; $5 per car. Donations of food items accepted for food pantry. 419-332-5604 or www.sanduskycountyfair.com. DEC. 13 – Fort Meigs Holiday Open House, Visitor Ctr., 29100 W. River Rd., Perrysburg, 1–4 p.m. Free. War of 1812 soldiers and civilians will be on hand to provide demonstrations and answer questions about the war and camp life. Enjoy holiday music, refreshments, and hands-on activities. 419-874-4121 or www.fortmeigs.org. DEC. 26–27, 29, 31, JAN. 2– Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides at Spiegel Grove, 1337 Hayes Ave., Fremont, 1–4 p.m. $5.50, under 3 free. Ride through the grounds in a horse-drawn sleigh, as President Hayes did. Rides are by South Creek Clydesdales. Horse-drawn trolley

website for times and updated event information. 330836-5533 or www.stanhywet.org/events. THROUGH DEC. 31 – Holidays at the Mansion, Victorian House Museum, 484 Wooster Rd., Millersburg, Sun.– Fri. 1–4 p.m., Sat. 1–8 p.m. Tour the 28-room mansion, transformed into a holiday wonderland. 330-674-0022, www. holmeshistory.com/events, or www.facebook.com/ VictorianHouseMuseum. THROUGH JAN. 9 – Steubenville Nutcracker Village and Advent Market, Historic Fort Steuben, 120 S. 3rd St., Steubenville. Free. Over 150 unique, THROUGH DEC. 23 – Holiday Lantern Tours, Hale life-size nutcrackers in an outdoor display with lights Farm and Village, 2686 Oak Hill Rd., Bath, 5:40–9 and music. Market open on weekends. 740-283-1787 p.m. $12–$20. Take a lantern-lit tour of the Village or www.steubenvillenutcrackervillage.com. and visit the historic houses, decorated for the DEC. 4–6, 11–13 – The Polar Express, Dennison season. Experience the sights, sounds, and flavors Railroad Depot Museum, 400 Center St., Dennison, of Christmas as celebrated in the 19th-century departures on Fri. 6 and 8 p.m., Sat./Sun. 2, 4, 6, and Western Reserve. Tours depart every 20 minutes. 8 p.m. Starting at $52. Your adventure begins on Dress appropriately for this indoor/outdoor activity. board our decorated train as the story is read aloud Reservations required! 330-666-3711 ext. 1720, and festive elves entertain you. Hot chocolate and halereservations@wrhs.org, or www.wrhs.org/events. chocolate chip cookies specially made by Mrs. Claus THROUGH DEC. 27 – Drive-Thru Holiday Lights, will be served. When the train arrives at the North Medina Co. Fgds., 720 W. Smith Rd., Medina, Fri.–Sun. Pole, you will see Santa and his workshop out your 6–10 p.m. www.mainstreetmedina.com. train window. 740-922-6776 or https://dennisondepot. THROUGH DEC. 30 – Deck the Hall: “We Wish You a org/polar-express. Merry Christmas,” Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, 714 DEC. 12 – Sports Card Show, Hartville Marketplace N. Portage Path, Akron. Over 1 million lights illuminate and Flea Market, 1289 Edison St. NW, Hartville, 9 the estate in a spectacular display, and the historic a.m.–4 p.m. Free. Over 30 vendors selling sports Manor House is decorated in style for the season. See cards, memorabilia, autographs, and much more! Something for everyone, from the entry-level collector

ride may be used in addition to or in place of the sleigh depending on demand and staffing ($4.50 for trolley). Bring a face covering; physical distancing will be observed. 419-332-2081 or www.rbhayes.org. DEC. 31 – Concert: “Classical Mystery Tour (Beatles),” 7 Town Square, Lima, 7:30 p.m. Free. Take a trip down Penny Lane and hear all your favorite Beatle hits, faithfully reproduced by the Lima Symphony Orchestra. 419-222-5701 or www. limasymphony.com. JAN. 2–3 – Tri-State Gun Show, Allen Co. Fgds., 2750 Harding Hwy., Lima (2 miles east of Lima on St. Rte. 309), Sat. 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Sun. 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m. $6, members and under 18 free. Over 400 tables of modern and antique guns, edged weapons, and sportsmen equipment. 419-647-0067 or www. tristategunshow.org, JAN. 9 – “Around the World with Col. Webb Hayes,” Hayes Presidential Library and Museums, Spiegel Grove, 1337 Hayes Ave., Fremont, 9:30–11:30 a.m. Free. Focused on K–grade 3, but any age welcome. Webb was the son of President Rutherford and First Lady Lucy Hayes. Kids can participate in a craft or activity inspired by Webb’s adventures and the locations he visited. 419-3322081 or www.rbhayes.org.

to the seasoned veteran. 330-877-9860 or https:// hartvillemarketplace.com/events. DEC. 12 – Solon Hometown Holiday Market, Solon Community Ctr. Gymnasium, 35000 Portz Pkwy., Solon, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Celebrate the holiday season while shopping local. Artists and crafters will be selling their original handmade items. Full concession stand on site. www.avantgardeshows.com. DEC. 13 – Holiday Craft and Vendor Show, Lorain County Community College, 1005 N. Abbe Rd., Elyria, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Free. More than 40 vendors and crafters. Mask required; temperature check at door. www.facebook.com/events/212671919999698. DEC. 20 – Flea Market of Collectables, Medina Co. Fgds., Community Ctr., 735 Lafayette Rd., Medina, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. $2. Early bird special admission: 6–9 a.m., $3. A treasure trove of vintage items and collectables. 330-948-4300 or www.conraddowdell.com. DEC. 26 – After Christmas Sale at Tis the Season, 4363 St. Rte. 39, Berlin. Save 50% storewide (collectibles not included) at Ohio’s largest yearround Christmas shop. 330-893-3604 or www. tistheseasonchristmas.com. DEC. 27 – Cleveland Reptile Show and Sale, Medina Co. Fgds. Community Ctr., 735 Lafayette Rd., Medina, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. $5. Features more than 40 reptile breeders and importers as well as merchandise, cages, and feeders for your reptiles. Mask required to enter; social distancing enforced per governor’s mandate. www.facebook.com/clevreptileshow.





THROUGH DEC. 28 – Fontanini Nativity Display, Crossroads Ministry Ctr., 2095 W. Fair Ave., Lancaster, Wed./Fri./Sun. 6–9 p.m. Walk through one of the nation’s largest Nativity displays, featuring nearly life-sized Fontanini figures. 740-6533330 or www.facebook.com/Fontanini-NativityDisplay-725713464188952. THROUGH JAN. 3 – Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights, Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds, 3311 S. Old State Rd., Delaware, Sun.–Thur. 5:30–9:30

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the developing coronavirus situation, many of these planned events may have been postponed or canceled. Please seek updated information before traveling.

p.m., Fri./Sat. 5:30–10:30 p.m. $20–$30 per car; $60 season pass. Drive-through light show. 614-412-3499 or https://butchbandosfantasyoflights.com. THROUGH JAN. 4 – State Auto’s Christmas Corner, 518 E. Broad St., Columbus. Free. The historic life-sized Nativity will be on display. Because of coronavirus concerns, there will be no lighting ceremonies, musical performances, or Christmas Eve ceremony. Face coverings and physical distancing required for all guests. www.stateauto.com/Christmas. DEC. 12–13, 19–20 – Mt. Perry Santa Train Rides, Zanesville Western Scenic Railroad, 5700 OH 204 NE, Mt. Perry, 3–7 p.m. Rides depart hourly. $8, C. (6–15) $5, under 6 free. For discount ride, bring unwrapped children’s gifts or food items for food pantry. 614-5959701 or www.zwsr.org. DEC. 19–20 – Scott Antique Market, Ohio Expo Ctr., Bricker and Celeste Bldgs., 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, Sat. 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Free admission; $5 parking. 800 exhibit booths. info@scottantiquemarket.com or www. scottantiquemarkets.com.


JAN. 8–10 – Columbus Build, Remodel, and Landscape Expo, Ohio Expo Center, Kasich Hall, Columbus, Fri. 12–7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. $6, under 18 free. From top-quality exhibits to informative seminars to insightful demonstrations and more, you’ll discover thousands of smart, stylish, and cost-effective ways to design or renovate your home. www.homeshowcenter.com. JAN. 8–17 – Ohio RV and Boat Show, Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17th St., Columbus, Wed.–Fri. 12–8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. $14, C. (6–13) $3, under 6 free. Hundreds of campers and boats, plus ATVs, motorcycles, golf cars, and much more. www.ohiorvandboatshow.com. JAN. 10 – Winter Ohio Guitar Show, Makoy Ctr., 5462 Center St., Hilliard, 11:30 a.m.–5 p.m. $9. Buy, sell, or trade guitars, amps, effects, and parts. Over 100 dealers. www.ohioguitarshow.com. JAN. 12 – Inventors Network Meeting, Rev1 Ventures for Columbus, 1275 Kinnear Rd., Columbus, 7 p.m. The focus this month is “How to Commercialize/ Monetize My Invention.” 614-470-0144 or www. inventorscolumbus.com.


and every Fri. at 6 p.m. beginning on Dec. 4. $16–$21, under 3 free. www.hvsry.org/trainlist/#santa. THROUGH JAN. 1 – Dickens Victorian Village, downtown Cambridge. Stroll the streets to view scenes depicting life in 1850s England, featuring life-sized, handmade mannequins wearing real vintage clothing. Many Village activities have been curtailed due to coronavirus concerns; checks website for updates. 800-933-5480 or www. dickensvictorianvillage.com. THROUGH JAN. 1 – Guernsey County Courthouse Holiday Light Show, 801 Wheeling Ave., Cambridge, 5:30–9 p.m. nightly. Four different light and music shows performed each evening. 800-933-5480 or www.dickensvictorianvillage.com. DEC. 19–20 – Holler: Special Preview, Majestic Theatre, 45 E. Second St., Chillicothe, Sat. 1 and 7 p.m., Sun. 1 and 4 p.m. $20. Limited seating; face

coverings and social distancing required. 740-7722041 or www.majesticchillicothe.net. DEC. 21 – Solstice Watch, Sacra Via Park (between Third and Second Sts.), Marietta, 4–5:30 p.m. Free. Weather permitting, we will view the sun setting on the western Muskingum Valley bluff between 4 and 4:30 p.m. in near perfect alignment with Sacra Via. Maps and a brief commentary will be provided. 740373-1480 or www.mariettacastle.org. DEC. 28 – Visit with the Pioneers, Campus Martius Museum, 601 Second St., Marietta, 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Visit the home of General Rufus Putnam to meet with some of Marietta’s citizens from the early 19th century. 740-373-3750 or www.campusmartiusmuseum.org.

THROUGH DEC. 31 – Light Up Middletown, Smith Park, 500 Tytus Ave., Middletown, 6–10 p.m. daily. A drive-through fantasy light display. See Santa and Mrs. Claus every Friday and Saturday evening, 7–9 p.m. www.lightupmiddletown.org. THROUGH JAN. 1 – Christmas at the Junction, EnterTRAINment Junction, 7379 Squire Court, West Chester. See the magic of Christmas at the home of the world’s largest indoor train display. Take the family on a “Journey to the North Pole” where you’ll meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. 513-898-8000 or www. entertrainmentjunction.com. THROUGH DEC. 27 – Holiday Lights at Lost Creek DEC. 11 – Oxford Musicians Virtual Holiday Reserve, 2385 St. Rte. 41, Troy, Fri./Sat. 6–10 p.m., Concert, 7:30–8:30 p.m. An online performance and Sun. 6–9 p.m. $10 per car, $15 per van. Be transported fundraiser for the Oxford Community Arts Center and into a winter wonderland filled with over 60 animated the Ohio Arts Council. See website for details: https:// light displays. The 1.25-mile driving tour takes you oxarts.org/event. through the woods, down charming farm lanes, and past the historic Knoop Homestead aglow with lights. DEC. 13 – Cin City Reptile Show, Holiday Inn, Centre Park of West Chester, 5800 Muhlhauser Rd., West www.homegrowngreat.com. Chester, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. $7. Thousands of exotic

reptiles, amphibians, inverts, supplies, and feeders. www.cincityreptileshow.com. DEC. 16, 23, 30 – Bluegrass Wednesdays, Vinoklet Winery, 11069 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Enjoy dinner, wine, and an evening of lively bluegrass music by Vernon McIntyre’s Appalachian Grass. Restricted seating because of COVID precautions, so early reservations are strongly recommended. 513-385-9309 or vinokletwinery@ fuse.net. JAN. 9–10 – Wedding Expo and Show, Wright State University Nutter Ctr., McLin Gym, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Dayton, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. $5 in advance, $8 at door. Fashion shows at 1 and 3 p.m. Giveaways, door prizes, demonstrations, and seminars. Find everything you need to plan your dream wedding from over 100 of Dayton’s best wedding professionals and businesses. www.weddingapolis.com.

THROUGH DEC. 20 – Santa House, Logan, Fri.– Sun., 6–8 p.m. Visit Santa in the newly built warm house in Worthington Park. 740-385-6836 or http:// explorehockinghills.com. THROUGH DEC. 20 – Santa Train, Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, Nelsonville Depot, 33 W. Canal St., Nelsonville, every Sat. and Sun., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.,



THROUGH DEC. 27 – Celebration of Lights, Morris Park, Fairmont, Fri.–Sun., 6–10 p.m. Suggested donation of $10 per car. See over 475 holiday light displays in this drive-through tour. New: Walkers Nights every Thursday through Dec. 17, 6–10 p.m. 304-366-4550 or www. celebrationoflightswv.com. THROUGH JAN. 1 – Winter Festival of Lights, Oglebay Resort, Wheeling. Featuring 300 acres of twinkling lights over a 6-mile drive. 3D holographic eyewear transforms every point of light into a magical display. Per-car donation requested; valid for the entire festival season. 877-436-1797 or https://oglebay.com/events/ festival-of-lights.

DEC. 31 – New Year’s Eve Train and Fireworks, Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, Nelsonville Depot, 33 W. Canal St., Nelsonville, 10:30 p.m.–12:30 a.m. $22–$35. 740-249-1452 or www.hvsry.org/trainlist.

Submit listings AT LEAST 90 DAYS prior to the event to Ohio Cooperative Living, 6677 Busch Blvd., Columbus, OH 43229 or events@ohioec.org. Ohio Cooperative Living will not publish listings that don’t include a complete address or a number/ website for more information.

DEC. 31–JAN. 1 – New Year’s Eve Party, North Bend State Park, 202 North Bend Park Rd., Cairo. Ring in the New Year with an evening of live music, delicious food, and celebration. 304-643-2931 or www.northbendsp.com.





1.  My great-granddaughter Avrey Jean sneaking a cookie from Santa’s plate. Jean Evans South Central Power Company member




2.  Our grandson, Jeffrey, the “elf on the shelf.” Patti Quaglia South Central Power Company member

3.  My youngest daughter, Eloie (1), decided to tie up her brothers, Trenton (10) and Gage (8), and her sister, Kaydance (13), so she could have the presents to herself! Tabitha Schneiter Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative member

4. Our grandsons, whom I call my dynamic duo, posing nicely in front of our tree. Robin Richards Carroll Electric Cooperative member

5.  I am not sure what my 17-monthold granddaughter, Raychal, was contemplating in this picture. Rhoda McKenzie South Central Power Company member






6.  Oliver is a Hurricane Katrina rescue. Santa was made by his GreatGrandma Neorr and the quilt by his Great-Grandma Luke. Patricia Beam Tricounty Rural Electric Cooperative member

7.  My daughter and granddaughters enjoying the Christmas spirit. So blessed! Charlene Bowling Butler Rural Electric Cooperative member

8. Our dog, “Edges,” ready for Santa. Tim and Kelly Coble Firelands Electric Cooperative members

9. Z ane Reber wondering why Santa is holding his newborn brother, Zander Reber. Tracey Reber Holmes-Wayne Electric Cooperative member


10. M y son, Henry, waiting for his first visit from Santa. Stephanie Powell

Below: Our granddaughter, Lilly, choosing nice over naughty to our Haflinger, Felita. Valeria Manemann Pioneer Electric Cooperative member

North Central Electric Cooperative member

Send us your picture! For March, send “In like a lion” by Dec. 15; for April, send “Travel abroad” by Jan. 15. Upload your photos at www.ohiocoopliving.com/memberinteractive. Your photo may be featured in our magazine or on our website.


DID YOU KNOW? Co-ops give money back to their consumers! That’s right —co-ops are not-for-profit, so when there’s money left after bills are paid, it is returned to consumers as “capital credits” or “patronage capital.”


Ohio electric co-ops returned more than $39 MILLION to members in 2019.


Nationally, electric co-ops returned $1.2 BILLION to members in 2019— $17 BILLION since 1988.

Members paying their bills generate operating revenue for the co-op.

When all the bills are paid, the extra money at the end of each year, called “margins,” is allocated to members.


The co-op’s board approves a return to members, called “capital credits” or “patronage capital.”

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