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COOPERATIVE Pioneer 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

Experience Honda’s innovations from its earliest products to the HondaJet and NSX.

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:

HondaHeritageCenter @heritagecenter


Louis and Barbara Lukancic Nick Mascia Paul and Jayne McKnight Dwight and Denise Miller Moly-Cop USA Neumann Company Ron Overstreet/Worthington DQ Jim Palmisano Bill Roberts Steve Rowe Neal and Erin Shah Niranjan and Vina Shah

Thank you!

Your support was critical as our company exceeded its ambitious goal of $50,000 raised for this year’s event.

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.




A RE CAP OF 2020 We’ve almost made it — we’re officially a month away from the end of 2020. What a year it has been! Although many of you may feel like 2020 was a rough year, there were plenty of positives to take away at Pioneer — we tried new things, we pushed ourselves outside of our comfort zone, we remained dedicated to our members, and we proved that we can adapt to change. And, on top of all that, our team of employees achieved our highest member satisfaction score ever with a 90 ACSI rating! Despite the circumstances that the pandemic necessitated, our employees were able to remain efficient and effective while keeping safety at the forefront. Even during the brief time we had employees reporting to various offices or in some cases, from home, our workload remained steady and our employees remained productive — and in some instances, creative. Among the most innovative was our marketing and energy use specialist, who came up with a creative new way to reach our members. Unable to provide energy use consultations and visit homes, he created a video series titled, “Tips from Ted,” and recorded videos from his cubicle, around the office, and even at his home to share energy efficiency tips and tricks. All of these can still be found on our website. Our annual meeting was approached differently this year. Instead of the in-person event that you’ve come to know and enjoy, we went virtual. While we love seeing all of you in person, this was the best and safest option for everyone involved. We certainly hope you had a chance to view it. We were happy to return an extra bonus capital credits retirement this year to our members as pandemic relief during the shutdown. In 2020, we also deployed text messaging services to Pioneer members. We offer text notification of peak alerts for those members participating in our load management program and look to begin outage status texting by the first part of 2021.

Our information technology department and a crossfunctional team of employees successfully completed a tabletop cyberattack exercise put on by the National Ron Salyer Rural Electric PRESIDENT & CEO Cooperative Association and NUARI. The half-day exercise tested Pioneer’s procedures if the co-op would endure a cyberattack in the future. We also tested our member service representatives’ capability to answer your calls from their homes, which could be utilized in the future if needed. Our operations and engineering groups didn’t miss a beat — completing 750 equipment inspections, the Hickory Hills extension project, the exit circuits for Haas Substation, final testing of the substation, and putting it into service, among other projects and annual maintenance. Our entire group of employees continued to serve you during a time that was, and continues to be, critical, with more people staying home and working from home. And finally, our employee fundraising initiative is again proving to be successful as we prepare to donate $1,500 to food banks throughout our service territory and we adopt a family for Christmas — a tradition we’ve held for nearly 30 years at Pioneer — all made possible through employee contributions and fundraising efforts throughout the year. Like you, I’m looking forward to what I hope will be a more ‘normal’ year in 2021, and I’m incredibly proud of the continued safety focus and the work we’ve accomplished throughout 2020.




H A P P E N Do you believe in magic? Tammie Rafferty, executive director of Project Believe, sure does.

the same thing,” says Tammie. “Five people came to my home to help me wrap all of the gifts.”

Tammie’s life changed in 2002 when she agreed to take in and eventually adopt a 10-year-old girl named Mary who suffered from mental challenges due to childhood trauma.

In 2007, Tammie founded Project Believe, a notfor-profit organization located in Tipp City that is dedicated to providing comfort and support to youth orphaned by mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

When Mary was only 14, she had a psychotic break, and it became evident that she would face unique challenges throughout her life.

Mary was eventually diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. She spent 15 months hospitalized at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital–College Hill Campus in an attempt to find the correct combination of medication and therapeutic support to allow her to live the most normal life possible. While Tammie visited Mary during her treatment, she realized that other teens in her unit didn’t have many visitors. In fact, most were wards of the state. While she was taking her daughter some comfort items and coloring books, she realized others only had hospital-issued supplies. To provide a bit of Christmas “magic,” Tammie decided to create comfort kits for the 10 patients in Mary’s unit. This one small act of kindness was a seed that kept growing. “The following year, Mary was home, but I wanted to continue to remember the other kids, so I did


Project Believe’s reach goes well beyond Tipp City and Miami County. The organization supports facilities in Dayton, Springfield, Greenville, Sidney, Van Wert, and Washington Court House, all of which house kids from multiple counties. The young people who benefit from Project Believe are mostly youth who are in foster care but not living in foster homes — instead, they are living in residential treatment centers and group homes to address mental health issues that are often a result of severe trauma. The children range in age from 6 to 18, but most are teenagers. “They are getting the very essential help they need but have very few personal belongings or outside support,” says Tammie. Thanks to contributions from friends, family, local businesses, and social media, what started as a small kind gesture grew into the amazing gift of Project Believe. The organization now supports nearly 300 children by providing comfort and support throughout the year.

Project Believe was built on the values that no child should feel alone or forgotten, every child deserves the comforts of home, promises are made to be kept, and that magic happens when communities come together and care. Its cornerstone program is Christmas Magic. The group asks for community support to collect gifts from a specific list of essentials and activities to give to the children on Christmas morning. Some of the items that can be donated to the organization include pajamas, socks, fleece blankets, gloves, underwear, knit/crocheted hats/scarves, 24-count crayons, coloring books, playing cards, small puzzles, matchbox cars, stuffed animals, and wall calendars. “The gifts are wrapped and packaged for delivery and then hidden at each of the facilities we support until the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve,” says Tammie. And then staff members bring out the gifts for a magical Christmas morning.” In addition to Christmas Magic, Project Believe also delivers backpacks packed with school supplies every August to each of their sites, a tradition that they call Back-to-School Magic, as well as Valentine Magic, when they collect handmade and store-bought valentines by the thousands and shower kids with them each Valentine’s Day, reminding these children they are not alone or forgotten. “We receive a lot of thank you notes from the kids we support and those are priceless to me. I also love watching the ripple effect of Project Believe on others,” says Tammie. “We have families who make our Wrap Party a yearly tradition, an elderly lady has told me that making hats and scarves makes her feel

like she has purpose, and then there’s the groups of kids who pool their resources to help — I like seeing others being part of the magic.” One of Tammie’s favorite events each year is the annual Wrap Party that grew from five people in her living room in 2008 to more than 200 volunteers in 2019. Unfortunately, due to COVID, Project Believe will not hold their traditional wrap party this year, however, they are in the process of creating a virtual wrap party. “A few years ago at a wrap party, a young girl who was volunteering approached me, pointing at my name tag, and asked if I was the same ‘Magic Tammie’ who sends valentines because she had received one of mine,” says Tammie. That was a full-circle moment. “I’ve had a teenage boy once tell me he felt rich — like a king — as he twirled with his new pajamas, blanket, and granny scarf,” says Tammie. “And another young lady told me we had made her feel like she had a family.” That’s exactly why Tammie and Project Believe do what they do. Interested in learning more about Project Believe, giving, or the wrap party? Visit the Project Believe Facebook page.



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Merricks, Lonnie L Mertz, Joseph P Mescher, Benjamin M Metcalfe, Dawn Metzger, Norman D Meyer, Courtney Meyer, Johnetta M Meyers, Tina M Miami Valley Steel Service Michael, Richard A Mid Ohio Contracting Middleton, Ronald W Mike’s Auto Wrecking Mikhalkevich, Vladimir Millcreek Realty Co Inc Miller, Barbara J Miller, Connie Miller, David Miller, Edward C Miller, Elizabeth Miller, James P Miller, James H Miller, James R Miller, Marcus Miller, Matthew J Miller, Michael P Miller, Nicole Miller, Robert H Miller, Roger E Miller, Stewart M Miller, Teresa Miller, Timothy D Millet, Michael E Millhouse, Heather Milligan, Richard Sr Mills, Donald R Mills, Paula S Miramontes, Cecilia Mitchell, Carol L Mitchell, Doug Mjm Restaurants Inc Moeller, Donna M Moeller, Thomas F Moffitt, James F Jr Mollette, Timothy D Monarch Machine Tool Co Money, James E Monnier, Jeffrey T Monnin, Catherine E Monnin, Richard Monnin, Robert J Monroe, Patricia A Monroe, Thelma M Monsauret, W A Montalbano, Nicole B Montgomery, David G Montgomery, Myra L Moody, Robert E Moon, Suzanne K Moore, Ada L Moore, Eric Moore, Randall Moorer, Marcia Moorman, Chastity N Moran, Michael P Morgan, Doris Jeanette Morris, Darlene Morris, Mary F

Morrison, Connie Morrison, Denise Morsey, Carla J Moser, Floyd N Moses, James Mosier, Valerie Motherwell, Michael J Motter, Janet L Mowen, Donna M Mt Carmel Joint Cemetery Mueller, Philomena A Mueller, William J Muldoon, D R Mulligan, Carmen Mullins, Sharon Murnahan, Kimberly Murphy, Danielle E Murphy, Elige Jr Murphy, Michael E Murphy, Molly Murphy, Ruth E Murphy, Steven H Murray, David W Murray, Mary Lynn Murray, Melissa A Mustar, Bryant Mutzner, Ralph E Myers, James H Myers, Janalee A Myers, Kenneth L Myers, Mary J Myers, William H Nadolny, Nancy Z Nagel, Elicia A Nationstar Mortgage LLC NBD Bank Neeld, Angela M Neher, Frederick J Nelsh, Wanda G Nelson, Mary J Nelson, Renalyn J Neu, Jerome E New Haven Construction New Life Christian Church Newbold, Tessie F Newman, Carmen Newman, John Newman, Tina Newport, Carole J Nichols, Darrell E Jr Nickels, Sheldon Niles, Bruce W Nishiyama, Hirokazu Nisley-Paiott, Zella L Nitchman, Wayne M Nixa, Anthony E Noble, Edward E Noble, Eric Norris, Brittany Norris, Dale E Norris, Norman E Jr North Star Blue Flame Gas Norton, R M Nuckles, Edith M Null, Paul E Jr Nunn, Lora Nuss, William B Oakes, William R

Oakleaf, Laurietta J Oakleaf, Mallory Oakwood Homes O’Brien, Frank D O’Connor, Amy O’Connor, Anna O’Connor, Barbara J Oder, Karen S Oder, Ryin Oehler, Deborah E Officer, Carolyn S Oguchi, Kazuki Ohio Bell Telephone Co Oliver, Robert Olson, Steven B Omer, Don L O’Neil, Robert W Opsomer, Stephanie N Orahood, Ralph Osborne, Raymond V Ostendorf, Charles E Ostendorf, Keith W Ostrander, Barbara Otte, Kathleen Overs, J M Owen, Jeffrey Owens, Patrick M P & W Outdoor Advertising Pace, James M Pack, William R Page, Ronald A Palermo, Philip D Palmer, Milton C Pandin, Linda L Pandin, Theodore J Park, Diana Park, Monica Parker, Brandon Parker, Jennifer S Parker, Lisa Parker, Michael A Parks, Brett D Parks, Linda Parks, Lois Parthemore, Gordon K Patel, Mehendra Pattee, Rita S Patten, Don L Patterson, Jeffrey S Patterson, Kevin J Patterson, Robert R Patton, Stephen P Paul, Chloe Paulsen, Catherine E Paulus, Marjorie R Pavcovich, Terry L Paxton, John A Payne, Erica L Peak, Melissa Pearson, Charles Pearson, Linda L Pederzani, Gene E Jr Pelfrey, Jeffrey A Pelini, Gary II Pelishek, Michael R Pendleton, Carol Pennell, J D Pennington, Charles W Jr

Pennington, Geraldine Pennington, Lonny Penry, Karla J Perdue, Dale Perdue, Lori Perez, Javier C Perine, Jeff Perkins, Baina L Pernell, Tami Perry, Nancy P Peters, Brooks Peters, Jonikka C Peters, Molly Beth Peterson, Kitsey Petry, Raymond & Juanita Petty, Guy Pfarrer, William S Jr PGIM Corporation Philipps, Summer Phillips, Robert Phlipot, James Phlipot, Nicholas Phoenix Bridge Co Inc Picker, Carl R Jr & Karen Pickering, April M Pierce, Barbara J Pierce, Carolyn A Pierce, Edward K Pierce, Richard A Pierre, Michelle K Pike, Euen C Pike, Nancy Pingleton, Kenneth Pinkham, Kimberly E Piper, Randy M Pitsenbarger, David Pittl, Michele M Platt, Nancy Pleiman, Carol Pleiman, Jennifer Pleiss, Rita R PLM Real Estate LTD Poffenbarger, Denise Pohl, Patricia R Poland, Dustin T Poland, Evelyn Poling, Denny Pomeroy, Warren D Pope, Roger Poppel, Mark Porter, Robert S Posey, Claudia D Possum Hollow Woodworks Potter, A Michelle Potter, Alph Potter, Amy Potter, Ellen W Potts, Benjamin F Potts, Candy Potts, Rosemary I Powar, Nilesh Powell, Brittany Powell, Kim S Powers, Jill Prater, John R Pratt, Philip W Pratt, Shaun D Prescott, Janiel

Presson, Mary Preston, Edward L Price, Barry A Price, Duane C Price, Evan D Price, Gary M Price, Lawrence Prince, Marilyn Profitt, Nellie Propst, Josh Prudhomme, Dolores Pruett, Connie J Pryor, Sharon Pulda, Deborah A Purkey, Scott Purpus, Donald G Purtee, Tonja T Puthoff, Brandan J Pyles, Michael D Queen, Walter F Quick, Sandra C Quickery, Teresa R H Thackery Inc Ramby, Joseph Ramey, Randolph Randall, Brad L Randall, Debbie Randall, Jason V Randall, Jayme L Ransdell, Michael D Jr Ratcliff, Scott Ratcliff, Steve E Rath, Robert J Ratliff, Sonya D Rausch, Jane Rawlins, Roberta Ray, Kevin E Red Tail Pay Lakes LLC Redman, Cathy Reed, April A Reed, Barbara E Reed, Donna M Reed, Marilyn C Reed, Thomas Reed-Fisher, Margaret J Reeder, Jarrett Reel, Robert D Rees, Garald V Jr Reese, Ruth A Reinig, Wayne E Reish, James R Reisinger, Richard E Renner, Dorothy A Reprogle, Karla Rethelford, Ruth Retherford, Karen Reynolds, Debra Reynolds, Harold C Reynolds, Michael W Reynolds, Nancy Reynolds, Rhonda Reynolds, Rick Rhine, James M Rhoades, Jamie Rhoades, Mike Rhoades, Thomas E Jr Rice, John A Rice, Lester R & Louise

Rice, Mary E Rice, Paul L Richard, Anthony J Richard, Jerry L Richards, Christina Richardson, R E Richardson, Tamara N Rickman, Terry W Ricks, Paulette S Ridenbaugh, Chynna Rief, Daniel Riffell, Donna F Righter, Carrie M Rios, Justin M Risden-Curnutte, Barbara J Rishel, Darrell Risner, Ralph Rister, Mickie Ritchie, Marie Robbins, Jerry E Robbins, Wendell Robe, Sue K Robe, Todd E Roberts, Cindy Roberts, Deanna M Roberts, Lori Roberts, Paul J Roberts, Rachael A Roberts, Stephanie L Roberts, Stephen M Roberts, Teresa A Roberts, Tippi Roberts, Todd Roberts, Tracy L Roberts, Vinia D Robinett, Heather A Robinette, Randall Robinson, Brian Robinson, Bud Robinson, George H Robinson, Robert W Robinson, Scott Robinson, Thomas Robison, Diana Roby, Cindy Rode, Donald W Rodriguez, Jessica A Roe, Heather L Roe, Randy Roediger, Blaine V Roegner, Keith Rogers, Jammie L Rogers, Michael D Rogers, Robert L Rohr, Cathy E Roller, Mark A Romohr, Karen D Ronai, Debra K Rontson, Aimee Roof, John L Roof, Judy Ropp, Patricia Ropp, Toni M Rosales, Lukie Rose, Lisa Rose, Ralph E Roseman, Jennifer L Rosengarten, Jerry

Ross, Eugene Ross, Timothy W Rossiter, Joseph Rost, William A Roth, George D Roth, Laura L Roth, Matthew Roth, Samuel O & Wanda Roth Realty Inc Routson, Jeffrey M Rowe, Kimberly C Rowe, Larry E Roweton, Daniel L Rowland, John E Royse, Shirley F Ruck, D Gregory Rucker, Nancy M Ruiz, Kathleen A Runkle, Robert N Runyon, Kenneth L Rupp, Kenneth F Rush, Rick Russell, Bradley Russell, Clinton E Russell, Donald A Russell, Emma Russell, Jeffrey T Russell, Sharon L Russell, Sheila Rutan, Stephanie L Ruth, James H Rutherford, Janie R Ryan, Dustin Ryan, Joseph S Ryan International Air S & S Mechanical Contract Saba Valley Farm Sager, John R Sagraves, Jessica Sakoyiamah, Daniel Salyers, John Sanchez, Victor Sanders, Jody L Sanders, Sally M Sanders, Timothey L Sanford, Alan Sanford, Helen R Sargeant, Robert Sargent, Mark Sargent, Mary L Sarson, Linda Satterfield, Dan Satterfield, Steven R Sattler, Connie Saunders, Doreen K Saunders, Kenneth L Sav-A-Ton Oil Inc Saylor, Dale K Scalf, Terry F Schaffer, Valerie K Schaub, Pamela S Schemmel, Rosemary K Scherer, Lillie Schilliger, Eleanor M Schlabach, Ed A Schlabach, James H & Betty Schlachter, Kevin M Schmidt, Franklin E III

Schmidt, Susan Schmitz, Mark Schoeppler, Ingo C Schuck, James A Schultz, Edward H Schulze, Alex Schulze, Joachim R Schumpert, Otha D Schwalm, Scott Schwartz, Clara J Schwartz, Lavaun A Schweitzer, Andrea L Schwilk-Thomas, Marian C Scott, Kevin A Scott, Sonia Scott, Terri S Sears, Barbara S Seay, Maren J Seger, Douglas T Seidel, Rick Seipel, Beth Seiter, Eric F Self, Patricia L Sellers, Pamela N Sellman, George R III Sells, Cheryl Sells, Tammy Servos, David E Sesco, Clarence Seterus Inc Settlage, E Joan Sexton, Aaron Shade, Joann Shafer, John W & Emily V Shamblin, Broaddus Shanahan, Brent Shanklin, Bernice Shanks, Richard P Sharp, Charlotte A Sharp, Danette D Sharpe, Robert Shaw, Angie Shaw, Charles L Shaw, Jonathan Shearer, Robert D Shelby County Arc Shelly Materials Inc Shepherd, Bill Sherer, Robert K Shields, William V Jr Shindeldecker, Angela M Shinkle, Teresa Shinozaki, Hiroaki Shipley, Janet Shipley, Joann M Shirk, Max Shirkey, Mark A Shockley, Mildred Shoemaker, Jeremy A Shoffner, Joshua Shoffner, Renee Short, Tom Shover, Joseph Showman, Brian Shrider, David G Shroyer, Randall D Shy, Janice Siders, Russell A


Sigrist, Emily Silva, Caroline Silva, Pamela Simon, Elaine M Simon, Louis N Simpkins, William J Jr Simpson, Elaine M Singer, Bradley C Singer, Sonia W Singh, Amit Sipek, Judith J Sisco, Helen S Sites, Kelly Sizemore, Ron L Skaggs, Gary Skaggs, Lisa Skinner, Brent A Slagle, Howard Slatzer, Tamatha Slife, Dolores Slife, Paula L Slife, Thomas Sloan, James F Slocum, Ronald Slone, Ivan Slonecker, Elton Slygh, Randell A Smick, Kay Smiddly, Annett Smith, Allison M Smith, Alonzo G Smith, Amanda K Smith, Andrew Smith, Barbara A Smith, Beatrice A Smith, Benjamin E Smith, Carl D Smith, David Smith, Denise Smith, Dennis F Jr Smith, Dick Smith, Earl W Smith, Gregory W Smith, Harry C Smith, Irene R Smith, James R Smith, Jeffrey M Smith, Judy Smith, Larry E Smith, Nelson L Smith, Paul Smith, Robert W Smith, Rodney D Smith, Ron W Smith, Ronald L Smith, Ruth T Smith, Sandra K Smith, Shannon Smith, Sharon Smith, Sharon G Smith, Steve C Smith, Tim E Smith, Tricia F Snapp, Andrew Snapp, Phillip Snider, Richard Snow, Gordon Snyder, Nancy L

Snyder, Pamala A Snyder, Robert L Snyder, Steve E Soakie, John A Sohigro Service Co Sonntag, William Sotzing, Kenneth L Southwest Landmark Inc Southworth, Jennifer W Sovine, David W Sowers, Doris L Sowers, Gary E Sowers, Jerry L Sowers, Thomas H Spaeth, Terry M Spangler, Dale E Spangler, Michele Sparks, Cheryl L Sparks, Patricia Sparrow, Carl J Spear, John D Spence, Randall W Spencer, Angela Sphagnum Moss Peat Farm Spillers, Steven C Spires, Cynthia L Spitzer, Catherine S Spofford Homes Spradlin, Jeremy Sprague, Allen & Shirley R Sprague, Allen D Spreher, Cassie J Spreher, John E Jr Springer, Lorna L Sprouse, Samuel J Stabler, James W III Stacy, Randell Staffan, W Drue Stahler, Amy Stallard, Joseph A Stallings, Gene Stapleton, Donald R Star, Nancy R Staten, Joann Steele, Jeremy Stegner, Christine Steinke, Douglas C Stephan, Rick Sr Stephens, Brenda C Stephens, James M Stephens, Julania Stephens, Terry W Steveley, Larry Stevens, Gary A Stewart, Carolyn J Stewart, Lucille Stewart, Robert Stidam, Ronnie Stidham, Deborah L Stires, Samuel Stiteler, Renee Stittums, Tresa Stockov, James G Stockton, Sharon K Stockwell, Danny Jr Stoddard, Robert L Stolle Corp Flt Operation Stoner, James


Storehalder, Sarah L Storts, O Eugene Stowe, Adam D Strader, Tammy Straley, Terri Strater, Doyne C Strobel, Rhonola Stroman, Glenna M Strong, Linda C Stroud, Eric Stroup, Samantha Strunk, Jennifer R Strunk, Rebecca Stubbeman, Harry C Studebaker, Amber G Studer, Angie M Stumbo, Alfred A Jr Sturgell, Stephanie K Suiters, Debbie Summers, Loretta Sumner, Cheryl Sunlight Realty Suthers, Sheryl Swabb, Steven K Swackhamer, Cindi Swafford, Sue Swartz, Ronald Swary, David A Swecker, Sandra J Sweitzer, Bruce Sweitzer, Penny S Switzer, Sarah Synder, Bobbi Taira, Masaaki Tarbutton, Freda M Taylor, Cheryl A Taylor, Dave H Taylor, James & Carol Ann Taylor, Jason R Taylor, Jeremy R Taylor, Joanne Taylor, Joe A Taylor, Julie Taylor, Lois I Taylor, Matthew Taylor, Myrna A Teague, Shirley A Teasley, Cheryl L Teets, Vicky L Terra Industries Terry, Cathy Jean Terry, Vickie Tevis, Alton D Thacker, Charles E Thaman, James R The Lewis E Brown Trust Revocable Trust Thoma, A B Thomas, Angela J Thomas, Arnold M Thomas, Bobbie Jo Thomas, Christen Thomas, Eric K Thomas, Howard D Thomas, Jerry W Thomas, John Erik Thomas, Julia Thomas, Max W

Thomas, Penny Thomas, Roger D Thomas, Tina Thompson, Beth Thompson, Cheryl Thompson, Debra M Thompson, James V Jr Thompson, Janet W Thompson, Jeffery L Thompson, Loyal L Thompson, Matthew K Thompson, Michael L Thompson, Patricia Thompson, Paula J Thompson, Ronald L Thompson, Sharon Thornton, Kenneth A Thurman, Deann M Tidwell, Jean Tieche, Bruce A Tipp City Golf Carts Tippie, Patricia L Toczylowski, Gary C II Todd, Thomas Toler, Donna Tomlison, Avanelle Toney, Matt S Tourney, Cheryl A Tracy, Amanda Tracy, Thomas A Trainer, Aaron Trainer, David W Sr Trajlov, Vukasin Transki, Carrie Travers, Ronald W Travis, Howard R Treacle Creek Ranch Inc Treloar, Cathy Jane Trigger, Vicki R Trinity Wireless Towers Inc Trisler, Kathy P Tschudi, Jeanette M Tufts, Cheryl A Tuggle, Pamela Tullis, Andrea S Tully, Randy Tuplin, Glen Turner, Holly K Turner, Richard L Ulbrich, William B II Ullman, James E Unger, Amy Valentine, Patricia Valore, Joseph P Vance, Michael T Vandegrift, Christina Vandenbrock, Ruth M Vanfossen, Carol A Vanhoose, Jason Vanmatre, Brian M Vawter, Karen S Veloz, Jorge Veneroni, Don Vermillion, Rhonda Vermillion, Scott Vest, Preston Vestal, Calvin Vestal, Colette L

Vipperman, R W Virag, Adam Vititoe, Dawn S Vititoe, Tony M Voisard, Pamela A Voisard, Ronald L Voltz, John Von Aschen, Jeanne Vondenhuevel, James Lee Vonier, Jerry J Voorhees, Zoe Voris, Joseph P Voris, Robert E WPTW Radio Inc Wade, Phyllis Wade, Tony V Wagner, Brian T Wagner, Kathy J Wagner, Tammy Wahl, Richard L Walch, Lauren A Waldren, Charles Waldroop, Donnie Walker, Danny Lee Walker, Diane M Walker, Gayla L Walker, Joy Walker, Lani Walker, Sandra K Wallen, Mary A Waller, Mark Waln, Ralph Walters, David Walters, Edna Walters, Eric B Walters, Grover J II Walters, James Walton, Joseph Ward, Angela Ward, Ann L Ward, Dawn E Ward, Diana J Ward, Jerry P Ward, Linda M Ward, Mary C Ward, Robert M Ware, Paula R Ware, Rosella Wargo, Shannon Warner, Christopher D Warner, Thomas Warren, Charles Z Warren, Nancy L Wasmer, Jana Waters, Angela Waters, John Watkins, Marvin O Watson, Carole J Watson, William L Watt, Joni A Wayman, Darrell Waymire, Donna Weaver, Ashlee M Weaver, James R II Weaver, Mellanie Weaver, Valerie Weaver, William R Webb, Philip

Webb, Susan K Webb, William L & Nancy Weidner, Bruce Weigel, Matt R Weiler, Jim C Weitzel, Gene Welch, Richard E Welling, W R Wells, Beatrice A Wells, Bruce A Wells, Julia Wells, William A Wells Claims Inc Wendel, Trena A Wendeln, Matt Weng, Thomas R Wentworth, Amy D Werling, Eugene Wert, Jennifer L West, Geraldine R Westfall, Heather Westwood, Becky Wheatly, Jamie Sue Wheeler, Joseph R Jr Whitaker, John C White, Amy B White, Botema J White, Carol

White, Daniel R White, Helen L White, Julia D White Advertising Co Whitman, Rosemary Whynot, George Ernest Wiggins, Glenna Wilber, Valerie M Wilburn, Marshall Wilhelm, Kimberly Wilkins, Donna L Williams, Elizabeth A Williams, James E Williams, John I Williams, K Scott Williams, Lori Williams, Mark T Williams, Michael K Williams, Nancy- Guardian Williams, Patrick K Williams, Ritchie Williams, Robert Williams, Ronald L Williams, Stella Williams, Todd D Williamson, Debra K Williamson, Lisa Willis, Jana

Wills, James A Wilmer, Pam Wilson, Casandra S Wilson, Christopher Wilson, David Wilson, David W Wilson, Jack L Wilson, Jason Wilson, Phyllis J Wilson, Ron Wilson, Susan Kay Wilson, Tammy Winterton, Lisa Wion, Christopher M Wise, James & Cameron L Wise, Misty Witham, Barbara I Wolf, Michael S Wolfe, James R Wolfe, Jean Wolfe, Melanie S Wood, Charlotte S Wood, Donna Wood, Michael D Wood, Snow Wood, Stephanie J Woodruff, Denia L Woodruff, Greg

Woodruff, Kerry Woodrum, Shaun R Woods, Cathy A Woodward, Christoph R Woolever, Kim Wooten, Shonnon R Sr Wren, Stacia Wright, Douglas & Beleta L Icenogle Wright, Lora M Wright, Norma Wright, Patrick Wright, Wilbur Wuebben, Carl R Wuenneman, T B Wyatt, Bradley C Wyatt, Tom Wyen, Doug Yamamoto, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Kiyoshi Yantis, Kimberly D Yates, Collin Yates, Tracy Yeager, Jack A Yearout, Glenn A Yingst, Martha L Yocom, Brad A Yoder, Doug

Young, Elmer L Young, Floyd Jr II Young, Jeffrey A Young, Lynne Young, Therese A Yount, Carole J Zart, Celesta M Zeilman, Charles B Zimmer, J R Zimmerman, David A Zion, Clarence E Zirkle, Martha Zoldak, Sheila Zollinger, Richard H Zolman, Neal Zweifel, Charles J Jr

OUTSTANDING ESTATE CAPITAL CREDITS Pioneer is also attempting to locate administrators for the estates listed below. If you are an administrator or have contact information for any of these estates, please contact Pioneer at 800-762-0997 or memberservicereps@pioneerec.com. Abbott, Kenneth Allebach, Rich E Ashenfelter, Harold Bailey, Judy Bair, Melvin Baker, Sonja A Ball, Craig A Barhorst, Michael J Bennett, Connie L Boggs, Dorothy K Boggs, Joyce L Boldman, Helene D Brandyberry, Jerry A Braunm, Jessie Brewer, Donald H Briddell, Ronald T Brown, Gary L Brown, Donald L Bryson, James D Bumgarner, Walter Butts, Max Campbell, Ralph E Carr, Betty Chambers, Helen Coon, Rosemaree Corbett, Eleanor Cremeans, Leon W Davis, Lois A Dell-Hawkins, Christina Dilbone, William C

Dillon, Marshall Dotson, Cathy Eagle, Gail A Eberts, Janet Eisenhut, Helen Ensley, N K Epping, Gwendolyn Ernst, Joseph Evans, Etoile Evans, Richard Fair, Kathy J Fiste, Raymond Furrow, Alma M Gleeson, Carol J Godwin, Margaret Goins, Katrina E Gordon, Larry A Grant, Nancy M Gyurkan, Clara Mae Hale, Hershal Jr Harding, Nancy A Harris, George R Heidenreich, Robert L Helsel, Bert Hix, Donald W Huffman, Sonja A Huffman, Alice E Hurley, Dixie A Icenhour, Tolly Icenogle, Marie

Isham, Ruby M Johnson, Robert H Keller, Jean Kramer, Douglas R Lane, John D Sr Lhamon, Nichol Long, Jesse S Luebke, Joann Luebke, Joann A Mangus, Mamie C Mason, Harry M Mayne, Arthur H McKinney Family Revocable Living Meyer, Ruth Ann Moore, Linda Moore, Debra Moorehead, Robert D Mowery, Terry L Myers, Howard E Nagel, Timothy O Nesser, Homer Norman, Richard Oakes, Roger D Obrien, David M Okane, Marie A Osborne, Mary Pearson, Rod E Peters, Thomas Petrey, Larry E

Pitts, Dorothy M Pruitt, Bernice Rader, Charles E Jr Rarey, Carolyn S Regula, David L Reynolds, Harvey G Rhoades, E J Riethman, Norbert B Robinette, Lester E Roby, Jennifer L Roeth, Jean L Ropp, Elmer J Rowe, Patty A Schetter, William M Schmidt, Mary Schultz, Daniel G Seifert, Vickie Sells, Linda Sells, Jim C Shaffer, Deloros Shaffner, Miriam E Shambaugh, Jerry N Sharp, Margaret E Sims, Edward A Small, John E Smith, Shirley L R Sowards, Thomas C Jr Stafford, John Stapleton, Alice Steinke, Ivan

Stem, Leonard W Stull, Lillian M Terry, Donald Thurman, Robert Trick, Joseph C Trissell, Marie A Vandyke, Michael Vanhook, Tammy Vore, Carl W Ward, Lou W Ward, Ralph L Wardell, Howard C Waters, Kenneth E Wehneman, Arthur Weldy, Lucille F Whitmer, Jack Wilkins, Jerry Wilson, Walter Jr Wintrow, Charles W III Wissman, Ronald J Wittman, George Woodruff, Clara Worthington, Dennis Yount, Robert L Zeilman, Dorothy Zerkle, Doris




2021 SCHOLARSHIPS APPLY TODAY! Each year, Pioneer recognizes outstanding seniors in the Pioneer service area. Pioneer offers 10 scholarships to area seniors — awards include one $2,000 scholarship, one for $1,500, one for $1,000, and seven for $500 each. Eligibility is determined based on the following criteria:* » Must be the son, daughter, or legal ward of a Pioneer member » Must have at least a 3.8 GPA (4.0 scale) » Must score at least 25 on the ACT *Additional rules and regulations can be found online at www.pioneerec.com.

Deadline: Jan. 15, 2021 | Visit www.pioneerec.com for an application.




Terrence A. Householder

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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


Bad to the Bone Full tang stainless steel blade with natural bone handle —now ONLY $79!


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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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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Ohio Cooperative Living - December 2020 - Pioneer  

Ohio Cooperative Living - December 2020 - Pioneer