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January 2013




EVERY DAY. Electricity plays a vital role in everything we do. At home, at work and at all points in between. So keeping it reliable and affordable is important to everyone. Your local electric co-op and its power supplier, Tri-State, provide electricity generated from a variety of sources like coal, natural gas, hydropower, wind and solar to deliver stable power to your home. Learn more about where we’re headed at

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association • P.O. Box 33695 • Denver, CO 80233 • Wholesale power supplier to 44 electric cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Volume 67, Number 1, January 2013

“The Rural Voice of Nebraska”

Staff Editor Wayne Price Editorial Assistant Kathy Barkmeier

Contents Features

Cutting Costs Through Innovation


Published by the

Visit us at General Manager Troy Bredenkamp President Gary Dill, Roosevelt Public Power District Vice President/Secretary Randy Papenhausen, Cedar-Knox Public Power District

Public power districts and electric cooperatives have been leaders in adopting technologies to improve reliability and keep costs contained. Brian Sloboda, senior program manager with the Cooperative Research Network, reports on how those new technologies are keeping affordable, reliable electricity flowing.

Meet Your State Senators The first session of the 103rd Nebraska Legislature convenes on Wednesday, January 9th in Lincoln. It’s a 90-day session. Stay in touch with your state senator using this helpful guide.

Treasurer Ron Jensen, Loup Valleys Rural Public Power District Published monthly by the Nebraska Rural Electric Association, 1244 K Street, Box 82048, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501, (402) 475-4988.

Advertising in the Rural Electric Nebraskan does not imply endorsement for products by the Nebraska Rural Electric Association. Correspondence should be sent to Wayne Price, Editor, Rural Electric Nebraskan, Box 82048, Lincoln, NE 68501. The Rural Electric Nebraskan is printed by Jacob North Companies, Box 82046, Lincoln, NE 68501. Form 3579 should be sent to the Rural Electric Nebraskan, Box 82048, Lincoln, NE 68501. Periodicals postage paid at Lincoln, Neb. POSTMASTER: send address changes to the Rural Electric Nebraskan, 1244 K Street, Box 82048, Lincoln, NE 68501. Publication numbers are USPS 071-630 and ISSN 0193-4937. Rates: $10 for one year; $15 for two years; $20 for three years, plus local and state tax.

January 2013


Departments EDITOR’S PAGE












On the cover A bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln greets visitors on the Nebraska Capitol’s west side. The statue was created by Daniel French, who also designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Photograph by Wayne Price.



Promoting the business of energy efficiency nergy efficiency isn’t a new concept for public power districts and electric cooperatives. We’re known nationally as leaders in helping our consumer-members better manage their electric use. The Nebraska Rural Electric Association’s 34 rural electric systems that provide electric service to consumers in most of the rural areas and many of the small towns are no exception. They offer an assortment of energy efficiency programs, services and online tools. Twin Valleys PPD in Cambridge, Neb. participates in the Nebraska Public Power District EnergyWise program and adds extra incentives on all heat pumps installed by consumers. They have Apogee energy calculators that customers can access online and they also have brochures that cover various energy efficiency topics available. Many of the rural electric utilities offer incentives to customers that install or upgrade their residential heating system with high efficient heat pumps. These incentives will vary by utility and could be available as cash or a credit to the customer’s electric account. Online calculators are offered by many utilities, including Elkhorn RPPD in Battle Creek, Neb. They provide a number of energy calculators for things like appliances, insulation, faucets/showers and water heaters. Energy calculators are designed to provide an idea of the costs of various daily things used in homes that use electricity. Most of the rural electric utilities can provide home energy assessments for customers looking to reduce their monthly electric use. These assessments are conducted by highly trained employees that can provide solutions to help customers lower their electric bill. Wheat Belt PPD in Sydney, Neb. encourages customers to replace incandescent light bulbs with the more efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. They purchased Energy Star CFL bulbs, and during recent meter changes for the new Cannon Metering system, they left a bulb at the home. Wheat Belt PPD also gives them away at customer events throughout the year. Surveys by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, our national service


by Wayne Price

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organization, found that 93 percent of public power districts and electric co-ops educate those they serve about energy efficiency, through the publication you’re reading right now to bill inserts to TV ads. Nearly 80 percent perform residential energy audits, which identify ways you can boost the energy efficiency of your home to keep electric bills affordable. Investing in energy efficiency also includes what rural electric utilities do. High West Energy in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, is implementing a number to technologies to efficiently manage and deploy their resources. They are upgrading a land-based analog radio system to a digital two-way radio system. This system allows not only voice transmission but some data as well. GPS location data for each radio is transmitted back to dispatchers and supervisors for real-time management of day-to-day operations or in outage or emergency situations. This technology also allows for the line-crew to see self-location based positioning on electronic maps in the service trucks to better locate facilities. We’re not alone in these investments, either. Rural electric utilities across the country are upgrading power lines, replacing transformers, and installing advanced metering infrastructure to increase efficiency of their operations. Of course, when it comes to efficiency, much more can be done. According to a study by the Electric Power Research Institute, Americans could save 236 billion kilowatthours by 2030 if utilities everywhere adopted simple energy efficiency initiatives. That’s five times the amount of electricity New York City uses in one year. It’s easy for you to get started on the path to energy efficiency. Call or visit your local rural electric utility to learn more about our energy efficiency programs and services. You can also visit and discover how making little changes around your house can result in big savings on your energy bills. Helping you keep electric bills affordable is just another way the members of the Nebraska Rural Electric Association are looking out for you.

Rural Electric Nebraskan

Good Hands y the time you read this I will have retired from the Nebraska Rural Electric Association after 24 years, starting in 1988 as the NREA Government Relations Director, and since 2001 serving as the NREA General Manager and Executive VicePresident. It has been a wonderful 24 years and I am proud to have worked for such a great organization. I am especially grateful for the opportunity to have met and worked with so many truly dedicated directors and employees that serve the 34 rural public power districts and electric cooperatives that together are the NREA, and our members’ wholesale power providers like NPPD, Nebraska Electric Generation and Transmission, Inc., and Tri-State Generation and Transmission, Inc. These are “good hands” people whose mission has been, and always will be, to provide you with safe, affordable, and reliable electricity to power your home, farm, ranch, or business in the face of many daunting challenges which they have worked tirelessly to overcome. In the early days, the rural electric “pioneers” pushed hard for the creation of the Rural Electrification Administration in Washington, D.C. and formed public power districts and rural electric cooperatives to provide a system to deliver power to rural areas that had none. Working with many others in the public power industry, they would eventually develop electric generation facilities to generate power for rural America, including the massive dams and reservoirs on the Missouri River that became part of the Federal Power Program. They formed national organizations, like the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the American Public Power Association to protect your interests in Washington, D.C. In more recent times they have created the Federated Rural Electric Insurance


January 2013

Jay Holmquist NREA General Manager Exchange, the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, Touchstone Energy and similar organizations to meet the needs of rural electric systems and their consumers. Working together, they have accomplished great things. There is so much “behind the plug” that the average electric consumer seldom if ever sees, and never really appreciates. While the dedicated rural electric line workers that go out in sub-zero temperatures during blizzards to restore your power are appreciated by everyone and even celebrated in song, there are many equally dedicated employees at the “REA” office, the electric generation facilities, operations control facilities, and our national organizations that seldom receive the accolades they deserve. Likewise, the elected directors of NREA’s member-systems are constantly working in your best interests to try to maintain the viability of your rural PPD or electric cooperative and continue the flow of safe, affordable, and reliable power for you. They have other jobs and responsibilities outside of their service to the “REA”, but devote a great deal of time to carrying out the job of being a “REA”

director. They attend training sessions to become Certified Cooperative Directors or achieve their Board Leadership Certificates, attend countless meetings and other educational forums to better serve you. You are in good hands. You should thank them! Looking into the future, there are more daunting challenges ahead, many of which you have read about in the pages of this magazine. Many, though not all of them, relate to the increasing pressure on the electric industry from the federal government to meet oftentimes questionable environmental regulations. These regulations have the very real potential to drive up electric rates for you and your family and threaten the reliability of our nations’ electric system. I am very pleased that my successor here at NREA is well prepared to meet these challenges and will be a strong advocate for the interests of our rural electric consumers. NREA will be in the good hands of Troy Bredenkamp, who was raised on a 500-acre diversified farm operation near York, Neb., which is still owned by his family. Troy’s wife Karol is also a native of Nebraska. Prior to being hired by NREA, Troy was the Executive Vice-President and CEO of the 23,000 member Colorado Farm Bureau, serving in that capacity since 2005. Troy, Karol, and their three children are very excited to be returning to the Cornhusker State after a long absence. Troy’s prior work experience will serve NREA and you, the consumer, well. He has served on the board of directors of the Consumer Energy Alliance and prior to working for the Colorado Farm Bureau, Troy was Director of Congressional Relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington D.C. (200205) where he was responsible for energy and natural resources issues. Previously, Troy served as CEO for the Colorado Livestock Association (2001-02) and as Vice President of Technical Services for the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association (1998-2001). Welcome home to Troy, Karol, and their family!



Rural Electric Nebraskan


INNOVATION Economic uncertainty drives public power districts and electric cooperatives to develop technologies to keep affordable, reliable electricity flowing by Magen Howard

f treated well, your public power district or electric cooperative’s equipment and infrastructure—poles, lines, transformers, and the like—can last for decades. But as useful life ends for these components— and with the difficulties of building new power plants in the near future—rural electric utilities are increasingly turning to innovative technologies to keep service reliable, safe, and affordable. “Public power districts and electric cooperatives have been leaders in adopting technologies to improve reliability and keep costs contained,” says Brian Sloboda, senior program manager with the Cooperative Research Network, an arm of the Arlington, Va.-based National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). A good example involves system automation, a set of devices and software programs that allows utilities to track the flow of electricity in near real time. Public power districts and electric cooperatives are leading the


January 2013

way in deploying and testing these devices, due to their potential to boost efficiency. Sloboda offers down-line automation (DLA) as a prime example. Rather than wait for an outage report to be called in, DLA—by monitoring electric lines—can detect a problem (such as a tree branch touching a line) as it occurs and possibly fix it remotely (by rerouting power) before an outage occurs. “The goal of DLA is to decrease the duration of an outage and reduce the number of people who experience it,” Sloboda explains. Another useful technology, called automatic vehicle location, or AVL, allows a dispatcher at utility headquarters to track service trucks and what equipment each truck carries. This comes in handy when a trouble report comes in; the dispatcher can route the nearest truck that has the right parts to the problem site. AVL saves time, fuel, and potential slow downs, because rural electric utilities can avoid sending a truck that may have to travel a blocked road, for example. Public power districts and electric cooperatives are also becoming more sophisticated with GIS (geographic information systems). With electronic mapping programs, utilities can log in every asset across its service territory, and its exact location and age, so items can be serviced or replaced on a schedule rather than after they’ve failed. GIS also helps in emergency situations, Please turn to page 8


Cutting costs From page 7

electric providers delay the need to buy additional power or construct new generating plants.

such as a storm or car accident, by showing poles, wire sizes, and equipment used at each location. This allows a utility to send correct replacement materials. “Anybody who’s had a dishwasher repairman come all the way to your house and finds he has the wrong parts can understand this,” Sloboda relates. “By having everything in your mapping system, you get it right the first time.”

Rising costs and regulations The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to impose tighter restrictions on power plant emissions. Thanks to these regulations and cheap natural gas, construction of coal-fired facilities idled in recent years. But natural gas prices are expected to surge again, and other options, such as solar and wind, can’t produce reliable roundthe-clock power the way baseload coal, natural gas, or nuclear plants can. “We believe in being environmentally responsible, but it’s important we do so in a manner that doesn’t result in a shortage of electricity or soaring costs for our consumers,” says Jay Holmquist, former NREA general manager. “Utilities are working as fast as they can to develop technology that can affordably slash emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants.” As it stands now, EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule requires power plant operators to reduce emissions of mercury, acid gases, and other metals by up to 90 percent by 2015. Some coal-fired generating units will be shut down, rather than retrofitted, because existing technology would be too expensive to implement. EPA is also considering many other major rules that could become gamechangers for electric utilities. The bulk of these EPA regulations result from court-imposed deadlines. “It’s entirely possible that tighter emissions standards and other rules

Proliferation of digital meters Digital meters may soon be coming to your public power district or electric cooperative, if they haven’t already. Spinning discs are being replaced with “smart” models by the millions—52 million nationwide have been installed by all utilities as of the end of last year, according to market research. Smart meters use two-way communications to transmit meter readings, sometimes hourly, to a utility. This data offers more accurate reads and can allow them to pinpoint spikes or dips in energy consumption, providing a boon for energy auditors. But smart meters also open the door for consumers to better control their electricity use. Through inhome displays that respond to price signals, online portals that show meter readings with tips on how to use less, and the opportunity to participate in demand-response programs, rural electric utility members can use electricity more efficiently and help their not-for-profit


will have a multi-billion dollar impact on the cost of doing business for public power districts and electric co-ops,” says Kirk Johnson, NRECA senior vice president of government relations. “But what the final regulations will look like remains unclear.” This comes at a time when costs to build new power plants are on the rise. After steady declines in the years following the 2008 recession, materials and construction costs are shifting upward, according to the IHS CERA Power Capital Costs Index, which follows prices for equipment, facilities, materials and personnel used in power plant construction. Steel costs alone increased 12 percent from the third quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011, and IHS predicts market volatility for other commodities like concrete and nickel will persist. Keeping the lights on Despite challenges, electric cooperatives continue to find ways to keep electricity flowing when their consumer-members need it. “Public power districts and electric cooperatives were created because there was a need that wasn’t being met, and rural people took it upon themselves to get the job done,” said Holmquist. “That pioneering spirit still exists. We’re on the forefront of technological advancements, and we will continue to work hard so our members’ needs are met. Reliable, affordable, safe electric power— that’s what it’s all about.” Sources: Cooperative Research Network, NRECA Strategic Analysis, U.S. Energy Information Administration, IHS

Rural Electric Nebraskan


Vinegar, Better than Prescription Drugs? Thousands of years ago ancient healers trusted apple cider vinegar, and modern research shows - vinegar truly is a wonder cure! In fact, apple cider vinegar’s biggest fans believe this golden liquid can help solve the most troublesome of human afflictions. Since even the earliest of times a daily vinegar cocktail was used to help control appetite to lose weight and continue good health. And now after years of continued research all across the globe, over 1000 new vinegar super-remedies and tonics are available in the brand new 208-page Vinegar Anniversary Book by famed natural health author, Emily Thacker. Author of the very first book of its kind since the 1950’s, Ms. Thacker brings her unique wisdom, experience and down-home flavor to this complete collection. From the Bible to Cleopatra to the fierce Samurai warriors of Japan, vinegar has been documented as a powerful tonic to ensure strength, power and long life. In China, the health system that has been in place for thousands of years recognizes the value of vinegar. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) oversees the health of millions of Chinese – not with modern drugs – but with proven remedies that include vinegar. Today’s research studies and scientific reports continue to praise the healing powers of vinegar to maintain good health and well being. Even grandma knew that her old remedies worked even if she wasn’t able to explain why. And scientific research confirms this. For instance, grandma said putting diluted vinegar in the ears would ward off infections. The American Academy of Otolaryngology’s doctors – who specialize in treating infections like swimmer’s ear now recommend using a vinegar mixture as a preventative. The Yale-New Haven hospital uses vinegar as a hospital disinfectant. When after-surgery eye infections became a problem, their Department of Bacteriology solved it with vinegar. Food poisoning? Some doctors suggest that regular vinegar use can prevent it!

The 208-page Vinegar Anniversary Book will amaze you with its over 1000 natural remedies, secrets, tonics and cure-alls for a healthier, happier life. You’ll get easy recipes that mix vinegar with other common household items to help: s Calm an upset stomach s Ease leg cramps s Soothe sprained muscles s Control appetite to lose weight s Relieve coughs s Banish nausea s Arthritis pain s Make hiccups disappear s Cool a sunburn s Boost memory s Reduce sore throat pain s Relieve itchy skin s Lower blood pressure & cholesterol s Eliminate bladder infections s Chase away a cold s Treat burns s Reduce infection s Aid digestion s Improve memory s Soothe sore feet s Treat blemishes & age spots s Remove corns & calluses s Replace many household cleaners And that’s just the beginning of the over 1000 new and improved hints and tips that you’ll get. 50 years ago a daily dose of an apple cider vinegar and honey tonic was used to ease arthritis. During the last 30 years or so, many wonder drugs have replaced this time-tested home remedy. Now vinegar, along with countless other old-time tonics, have new supporters including many medical professionals. The reason? Almost everybody has experienced the negative side of some of the powerful new drugs. Strep and Staph infections? Vinegar is a powerful antiseptic and kills even these dangerous bacteria on contact. Headaches will fade away with this simple vinegar concoction. Feel good and look good with these hair and skin-friendly vinegar remedies. You’ll learn when you should and should not use vinegar. Can apple cider vinegar really do all this? The answer is yes because it is such a marvelous combination of tart good taste, germ-killing acid and an assortment of

important vitamins and nutrients. Join readers like L.S. of Monroe, N.C. who says “Thanks, this book is wonderful. A real life saver for me!” Find different ways to combine vinegar with common foods like lemon juice, blueberries, onion, strawberries, garlic, honey, ginger and more to create recipes to help improve health and quality of life. All new ideas to put vinegar to work around the home to clean, disinfect and eliminate mold and mildew. Great for those with allergies or asthma! Save money as you put Emily’s latest discoveries to the test! There’s even 365 additional tidbits to take you through the year beginning with January’s winter snows through the dogdays of summer and into the golden leaves of autumn. Yes that’s over 1000 tried-and-true remedies and recipes in this handsome collector’s edition and it’s yours to enjoy for 90-risk free days. That’s right, you can read and benefit from all 208-pages without obligation to keep it. To get your copy of the Vinegar Anniversary Book direct from the publisher at the special introductory price of $19.95 plus 3.98 shipping and handling (total of $23.93, OH residents please add 6.25% sales tax) simply do this: Write “Vinegar Anniversary” on a piece of paper and mail it along with your check or money order payable to: James Direct Inc., Dept. VA2040, 500 S. Prospect Ave., Box 980, Hartville, Ohio 44632. You can charge to your VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express by mail. Be sure to include your card number, expiration date and signature. Want to save even more? Do a favor for a relative or friend and order 2 books for only $30 postpaid. It’s such a thoughtful gift. Remember: It’s not available in book stores at this time. And you’re protected by the publisher’s 90-Day Money Back Guarantee. SPECIAL BONUS - Act promptly and you’ll also receive The Very Best Old-Time Remedies booklet absolutely FREE. It’s yours to keep just for previewing “The Vinegar Anniversary Book.” Supplies are ©2013 JDI VA142S14 limited. Order today.

Purchase and use space heaters carefully ortable electric heaters can be the right answer in certain situations when it comes to providing economical, comfortable heat to a small area. However, while comfort and economics may be the reason for considering a portable space heater, there are potential issues one should be aware of! Dubious claims of capability and cost, as well as fire risks, ring a cautionary note to homeowners if they buy and/or operate space heaters. If you plan to use space heaters to help heat your home this winter, use extreme caution, advises safety professionals at Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL). According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) supplemental heating equipment, such as electrical and kerosene heaters, is the leading cause of home fires during December, January and February and trails only cooking equipment as the leading cause of home fires year-round.


A lot of hot air Here’s something else to be on the watch for. Some advertisers promote the sale of space heaters with, well, a lot of hot air. You may have heard radio ads or seen print ads that claim you can lower your heating bill by up to 50 percent by just buying their electric space heater. Not true. Consumer Reports read dozens of reviews at and from owners who say space heaters did not perform as advertised. The advice offered by your local utility on how to best heat your home is to invest in weatherization and insulation along with a quality electric heating system and adequate automated backup heating system. For more information on steps homeowners can take to improve the efficiency of their homes, contact your local public power utility. Lots of useful energy efficiency information is also available at


Macular Degeneration

or other vision limiting condition? Just because you have macular degeneration or other eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy doesn’t mean you must give up life’s pleasures like reading, watching your grandchildren across the room, or seeing signs at a distance. “People don’t know that there are doctors who are very experienced in low vision care,” says Dr. Robert Stamm, a low vision optometrist. ¹7]ZRWJQ[\WÅO]ZMW]\ everything and anything possible to keep a person functioning visually,” says Dr. Stamm. Carl Muller, a low vision patient (pictured above), says “I am so excited with these new glasses - I can’t wait to use them on an upcoming Alaska Trip. I can even

“Thank you Dr. Stamm so much for helping me see again. Without you and these glasses I wouldn’t be able to keep driving!”

read the small bible size print.” Call for a low vision refraction and consultation with Dr. Stamm to see if you are a candidate for a low vision examination

Dr. Robert Stamm Toll Free: 877-393-0025

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Meet Your State Senator he first session of the 103rd Nebraska Legislature convened on Wednesday, January 9th in Lincoln. It’s a 90-day session. If you want to write your state senator during the 2013 session, please address correspondence to: Senator (Last Name) District # State Capitol PO Box 94604 Lincoln, NE 68509-4604 Find your senator’s name, hometown, legislative district and Capitol telephone number here.



District 1

District 2

District 3

Dan Watermeier Syracuse 471-2733

Bill Kintner Papillion 471-2613

Scott Price Bellevue 471-2627

District 4

District 5

District 6

Pete Pirsch Omaha 471-2621

Heath Mello Omaha 471-2710

John Nelson Omaha 471-2714

District 7

District 8

District 9

Jeremy Nordquist Omaha 471-2721

Burke Harr Omaha 471-2722

Sarah Howard Omaha 471-2723

District 10

District 11

District 12

Bob Krist Omaha 471-2718

Ernie Chambers Omaha 471-2612

Steve Lathrop Omaha 471-2623

District 13

District 14

District 15

Tanya Cook Omaha 471-2727

Jim Smith LaVista 471-2730

Charlie Janssen Fremont 471-2625

Rural Electric Nebraskan

January 2013

District 16

District 17

District 18

Lydia Brasch Bancroft 471-2728

Dave Bloomfield Hoskins 471-2716

Scott Lautenbaugh Omaha 471-2801

District 19

District 20

District 21

Jim Scheer Norfolk 471-2929

Brad Ashford Omaha 471-2622

Ken Haar Malcolm 471-2673

District 22

District 23

District 24

Paul Schumacher Columbus 471-2715

Jerry Johnson Wahoo 471-2719

Greg Adams York 471-2756

District 25

District 26

District 27

Kathy Campbell Lincoln 471-2731

Amanda McGill Lincoln 471-2610

Colby Coash Lincoln 471-2632

District 28

District 29

District 30

Bill Avery Lincoln 471-2633

Kate Bolz Lincoln 471-2734

Norm Wallman Cortland 471-2620

District 31

District 32

District 33

Rick Kolowski Omaha 471-2327

Russ Karpisek Wilber 471-2711

Les Seiler Hastings 471-2712

District 34

District 35

District 36

Annette Dubas Fullerton 471-2630

Mike Gloor Grand Island 471-2617

John Wightman Lexington 471-2642


District 37

District 38

Galen Hadley Kearney 471-2726

Beau McCoy Omaha 471-2885

Tom Carlson Holdrege 471-2732

District 40

District 41

District 42

Tyson Larson O’Neill 471-2618

Kate Sullivan Cedar Rapids 471-2631

Tom Hansen North Platte 471-2729

District 43

District 44

District 45

Al Davis Hyannis 471-2628

District 46 Danielle Conrad Lincoln 471-2720

District 47 Ken Schilz Ogallala 471-2616

District 48 John Harms Scottsbluff 471-2802

District 49 John Murante Gretna 471-2725


District 39

Sue Crawford Bellevue 471-2615

Mark Christensen Imperial 471-2805

Plan a visit with your State Senator n effective way of conveying a message to your senator is by meeting with them or their staff. Below are a few simple steps which will help make your visit a successful experience. Plan your visit carefully: Know what you want to achieve and do your homework. Make an appointment: Contact the senator’s office and try to schedule a meeting. Explain why you desire a meeting and who you represent. Be prompt and patient: It is not uncommon for state senators to show up to an appointment late or to have a meeting interrupted. Be understanding, flexible and on time. State senators do not have time to wait on you. Be prepared: Know what you want to say and be equipped with information and materials that support your position. If a senator is not available for a meeting, talk with that member’s staff. Be pertinent: Demonstrate the connection between your issue and the interests of the member’s constituency. Try to convey to the member how you or your group can be of assistance to him or her. When appropriate, ask for a commitment.


Emailing your State Senator mail has become generally accepted among representatives as an acceptable form of communication. Email carries with it the benefit of having your information transmitted instantly. If you opt to use email, your correspondence should be similar in format to a traditional letter. Do not make the mistake of sending an informal letter through email correspondence.


Visit our grassroots website and find your state senator.

Rural Electric Nebraskan

Your Congressional Delegation

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry

Need to contact a member of the House of Representatives or a member of the Senate? Find Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation's contact information here.

Washington, D.C. Office: 1514 Longworth House Office Bldg., District of Columbia 20515-2701 Phone: (202) 225-4806 Website:

January 2013

Sen. Deb Fischer

Rep. Lee Terry

Washington, D.C. Office: Not assigned at time of printing District of Columbia 20510-2705 Phone: (202) 224-6551 Website:

Washington, D.C. Office: 2266 Rayburn House Office Bldg., District of Columbia 20515-2702 Phone: (202) 225-4155 Website:

Sen. Mike Johanns

Rep. Adrian Smith

Washington, D.C. Office: 404 Russell Senate Office Bldg., District of Columbia 20510-2705 Phone: (202) 224-4224 Website:

Washington, D.C. Office: 2241 Rayburn House Office Bldg., District of Columbia 20515-2702 Phone: (202) 225-6435 Website:



Determine the properly rated extension cord for the task xtension cords, with their ability to bring any appliance or lamp within easy reach of an electrical outlet, are one of the most convenient products in the home. But when they are misused, they can also be a potential source of danger. Extension cords are generally rated in amps and volts. To determine if an extension cord is properly rated, add the total wattage of each bulb or electrical device, then divide by 120 to calculate the total number of amps. If the total number of amps is equal to or greater than the maximum rating of the cord, you must use a higher rated extension cord. If you were to use a thin cord for a device that draws a lot of current, such as an electric space heater, the cord could overheat and start an electrical fire. Select the right cord for the job. Larger appliances and power tools use cords with three prongs, or conductors, one of which is the ground wire. Choose a replacement cord with the correct insulation. Electric space heaters, for example, are required to use cords with a thermosetting insulation to prevent the cord from melt-



ing. Look for the letter "H" on the cord. Lamp cords are usually flat, and the individual conductors parallel to each other. This type of cord is limited to indoor use and light duty. Appliance cords are usually round and have larger diameters because they are made using two layers of insulation over the copper conductors. The individual conductors are insulated and a second layer of insulation, called a jacket, is also applied. • Never run extension cords through walls, under rugs or furniture, or across doorways. • Never try to repair a damaged extension cord with electrical tape; replace it. • Never overload an extension cord. If any part of the cord feels warm to the touch, the cord is drawing too much power and could cause a fire or shock hazard. • Never cut off the ground pin to connect a 3-prong appliance cord to a 2-wire extension cord or recepta-

cle. Always use a CSA, UL or ETL listed adapter for this purpose. • Replace older extension cords if one of the prongs in the plug is not “polarized.” In a polarized plug, one prong will be wider than the other. • Avoid placing cords where someone could accidentally pull them down or trip over them. • Cover unused outlets on the extension cord to prevent children from making contact with a live circuit. • Before buying any extension cord, check the product to ensure that a nationally recognized laboratory, such as CSA, UL, or ETL, has certified the product. • Outside the home, only use extension cords designed for outdoor use. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International,

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Insulate cracks, gaps for maximum efficiency by James Dulley

: The wall and blown-in attic Q insulation in my fairly new house are at recommended levels, but my utility bills are still too high. What other areas should I check for inefficiency? : You are correct that the walls

A and ceiling are the areas of the

greatest heat loss from a house— proper insulation in those areas is of utmost importance. But it’s possible that many other areas in the exterior thermal envelope of your house have insulation voids or air leakage which can contribute to unnecessarily high utility bills. First, check the walls and attic. As your house is “fairly new,” you can probably assume that the walls are adequately insulated, most likely with faced batts that fit tightly between wall studs. “Facing” refers to a material that acts as a vapor barrier. Since you have blown-in attic insulation, check its depth. Depending on how it was blown in, it may have settled and no longer reaches the required depth and R-value for your climate. Also, using a rake, make sure it’s level across the attic floor. Wind coming in the attic vents can blow it around, creating high and low spots. Where there’s a break in the thermal envelope of your home, there’s potential for energy loss. One common spot is electrical wall outlets and switches on outside walls. Often, they are completely uninsulated and the vapor/air barrier is not taped tightly to them. Switch off the circuit breaker to these outlets and switches. Remove the faceplate. If you can get the tube from the urethane foam spray can into the wall around the conduit box, shoot some expanding foam in there. This should fill insulation voids and


seal it. Even if you were able to shoot in insulation, and definitely if you could not, install foam draft sealers behind the faceplates. They add only a slight amount of insulation, but they will improve the overall seal to reduce air infiltration.

Place inexpensive foam draft sealers under wall outlet faceplates. Photograph by James Dulley Recessed ceiling lights are another typical area of energy loss. These are particularly bad because they get hot, which creates a natural upward draft. The most efficient option is to replace your old canister recessed lights with new, efficient sealed models. Don’t just pour or pack insulation against recessed lights in the attic. This can cause older styles, which were not designed to be insulated, to overheat. You can caulk around the hole in the attic floor and the canister,

but some room air will still leak out through the canister itself. Ceiling paddle fans are another place to check. If you installed them yourself after the house was built and added support blocking, the insulation level will be less there. There may also be air leakage where you cut the hole to run the wiring. Push the insulation away and caulk the attic floor hole around the wire, then cover it with additional insulation. Next time you are painting the trim around doors and windows, pry off the decorative molding. You may find quite a large uninsulated gap between the rough opening and the door or window frame. Apply lowexpansion foam in the gap—but use it sparingly because it can deform the frame as it expands. Another area that wastes a lot of energy is the sill plate and rim joist. The sill plate is the piece of lumber that rests on the top of the foundation. The rim joist rests on top of the sill plate, and your house walls rest on the rim joist. The rim joist, often 2x10 ft. or larger lumber, typically is not insulated. Buy kraft paper-faced fiberglass batt insulation and cut it into short lengths to fit against the rim joist between the floor joist. Standard wall insulation batts are effective. With their short length and the floor joists, they should stay in place without stapling. While you are looking at the rim joist and sill plate, you will probably see a gap between the top of the foundation and the sill plate in spots. The top of a concrete foundation wall is seldom perfectly level and smooth. Apply urethane foam insulation from a can all along the sill plate/foundation wall interface. This will block outdoor air leakage and add some insulation value to that area.

Send inquiries to James Dulley, Rural Electric Nebraskan, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit

Rural Electric Nebraskan

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Creamed Cabbage Soup 2 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth 2 celery ribs (chopped) 1 medium onion (chopped) 1 carrot (chopped) 1 head (2 or 3 lbs) cabbage shredded 7 strips bacon (cut up and fried) or 2 cups cooked ham

1/4 cup butter or margarine 1/3 cup flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1 cup milk 2 cups half & half

In a large kettle combine broth, celery, cabbage, onion and carrot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. In medium saucepan, melt butter and add flour, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth. Gradually add milk and cream. Cook and stir until thickened. Stir milk mixture into vegetables and bacon or ham and thyme. Heat through.

Phyllis Stepanek, St. Paul, Nebraska

Cranberry Glazed Pork Roast

Beefy Mexican Lasagna 1-1/2 pounds ground beef sirloin 9 corn tortillas 2 cans (10 ounces each) mild enchilada sauce 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed, drained 1-1/2 cups frozen corn 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend Crunchy Tortilla Strips (optional) 1/2 cup chopped tomato 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro Heat oven to 350째F. Cook ground beef 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into crumbles and stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings. Return beef to skillet; stir in 1 can enchilada sauce, black beans, corn and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spray 11-3/4 x 7-1/2 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange 3 tortillas in dish, cutting 1 as needed to cover bottom. Spread 1/4 cup remaining enchilada sauce over tortillas; cover with 1/3 beef mixture, then 1/3 cheese. Repeat layers twice, omitting final cheese layer. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over top. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in 350째F oven 30 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with tortilla strips, if desired, tomato and cilantro.

Recipe provided by the Nebraska Beef Council 20

4 lbs. boneless pork loin 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel 2 tablespoon orange juice 2 tablespoon dry Sherry 1 (16 oz.) can whole cranberry sauce

In saucepan stir together all ingredients, except pork. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Set aside. Place roast in shallow baking dish. Roast at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Spoon 1/2 cup glaze over roast, continue roasting 30-45 minutes until internal temperature is 155-160 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce.

Meribeth Kelsey, North Platte, Nebraska

Praline Pecan Crunch 1 (16 oz.) box Quaker Oat Squares Cereal 2 cups pecan pieces 1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/4 cup butter 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Heat oven to 250 degrees. Combine cereal and pecans in a 9x13 pan and set aside. Combine corn syrup, brown sugar and butter in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high 1 1/2 minutes, then stir and microwave another 1/2 - 1 1/2 minutes or until boiling. Stir in vanilla and baking soda and pour over cereal. Stir evenly to coat. Bake one hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Spread on baking sheet to cool. Break into pieces. Makes 10 cups.

Cathy Holzwart, Columbus, Nebraska

Correction The Cheesy Potato Bacon Chowder recipe in the November 2012 issue should read 3 - 4 cups of milk, instead of 3/4 cup.

Rural Electric Nebraskan

Look for Adult Pen Pals next month ue to a low number of submissions sent in by readers for use in the January issue of the Rural Electric Nebraskan, no Adult Pen Pals submissions will be printed this month. Submissions sent for use in the January issue will appear in the February 2013 issue of the magazine instead. It is the policy of the Rural Electric Nebraskan to run Adult Pen Pal submissions only when at least six letters have been received by the Nebraska Rural Electric Association office in a given month. The Rural Electric Nebraskan Adult Pen Pal Service is exclusively for member-readers ages 18 and over. Adult Pen Pal submissions can be sent to REN Adult Pen Pal Service, P.O. Box 82048, Lincoln, NE 68501.


To appear in print The Rural Electric Nebraskan Adult Pen Pal Service is exclusively for member-readers ages 18 and over. To be considered for use, submissions must: (1) Identify rural electric system providing magazine; (2) Include $6 to cover mail forwarding costs; (3) Be 25 words or fewer; (4) Include full name and mailing address (will not be used in magazine); and (5) Be first person, submitted directly by person to receive responses. Acceptance, editing and issue scheduling is at editor’s discretion. Address all submissions to Rural Electric Nebraskan Adult Pen Pal Service, P.O. Box 82048, Lincoln, NE 68501. All responses received by the Adult Pen Pal Service are routed directly, postage paid, to the response number assigned to each submission. To write To respond to one of the adult pen pal requests, write letter, place in envelope, seal and affix first class postage. Address to full, correct response #, c/o Rural Electric Nebraskan Adult Pen Pal Service, P.O. Box 82048, Lincoln, NE 68501. Your letter will be forwarded unopened. Do not send money or additional postage; forwarding is prepaid. Enclose your full mailing address for return correspondence. Once again . . . it is very important that all responses carry the full response number—both month and number—to be properly forwarded. Abbreviation Code C — Christian; C/W — Country-western; D — Divorced; F — Female; M — Male; NS — Non-Smoker; ND — Non-Drinker; R&R — Rock and roll; S — Single; W — White; Wid — Widowed

January 2013

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Gascosage Electric Cooperative (GEC) seeks General Manager Headquartered in the city of Dixon, Missouri, the cooperative serves approximately 9,700 consumers located in Pulaski, Miller, Maries, Phelps, and Camden counties. The city of Dixon, with a population of 1,547, is located 45 minutes from Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, the Midwest's premier lake resort destination that offers world-class boating, golfing, shopping and fishing and a wide variety of lodging, restaurants, state parks, and other recreational activities. The General Manager of GEC is responsible for the day to day management of the cooperative and reports directly to a board of directors.

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Rural Electric Nebraskan  
Rural Electric Nebraskan  

The Rural Electric Nebraskan (REN) has been published since January 1947. The role of the REN is to chronicle the benefits and challenges of...