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June 2014

Celebrating The National Rural Electric Youth Tour


Volume 68, Number 6, June 2014

“The Rural Voice of Nebraska”

Staff Editor Wayne Price Editorial Assistant Kathy Barkmeier Published by the

Visit us at General Manager Troy Bredenkamp President Randy Papenhausen, Cedar-Knox Public Power District Vice President/Secretary Ron Jensen, Loup Valleys Rural Public Power District

Contents Features

Rural Electric Youth Tour The Rural Electric Youth Tour is turning 50. Youth Tour brings together some 1,600 teens from 43 states for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity culminating in Washington, D.C. They learn about electric utilities and grassroots political advocacy. They live in awfully close quarters for a week and are given a small taste of freedom and independence.

Finding Balance

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 Quad Graphics, 660 Mayhew Lake Rd. NE, St. Cloud, MN 56304. 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.

June 2014


Pat Pope, president and CEO of Nebraska Public Power District, explains how Nebraska utilities are balancing generation choices with rate affordability. As low-cost coal plants are retired, Nebraskans will see costs rise. Nebraska utilities will work to minimize this impact to customers as much as possible.

Treasurer David Keener, Niobrara Electric Association, Inc. Published monthly by the Nebraska Rural Electric Association, 1244 K Street, Box 82048, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501, (402) 475-4988.


Departments EDITOR’S PAGE












On the cover Merry Lee Blair, a teacher at Birchcrest Elementary in Bellevue, Neb., attended the Youth Tour in 2002. See the related article on Page 6. Photograph by Wayne Price.



Take a step towards reducing your electric bill here isn’t much in our daily lives that doesn’t involve the use of electricity. From flipping on the lights, starting up the computer, cooking a meal, keeping food cold, watching our favorite show on all requires reliable electricity. And every time we turn something else on it causes the electric meter outside to spin a bit faster and the monthly electric bill to climb a little higher. When the electric bill arrives each month I wonder if there is any way to reduce the amount of electricity my family uses. The answer is, “Yes.” The first step is to learn everything we can about energy conservation and efficiency. These two things are not the same thing but they are related. Conservation is the reduction of the total consumption of electricity. This can be done by simply turning off anything that uses electricity when you’re not using it. Energy efficiency happens when you change or upgrade things in your life that use less electricity while still providing you with the same benefit. Things like light bulbs, appliances, and insulation. You can determine how much electricity your home uses by having a complete home energy audit performed. Many of the public power districts and electric cooperatives in Nebraska offer this type of service for free. Once you have the audit you can figure out what you can do to make your home more energy efficient and take action. The effect of these small steps will have a combined, direct impact on reducing electric demand and could lower overall costs to electric systems and their consumer-members. Energy efficiency helps manage load growth as well and delays the need for new electric generation facilities. The Nebraska Rural Electric Association and its 34 member-systems are working with public officials to find balanced and achievable solutions to climate change. Making conservation and energy efficiency part of our daily routine is the first step. Energy consumption will continue to rise but if we use electricity more efficiently, we can slow down the overall growth for more power.


by Wayne Price

Follow me @RENeditor 4

Here are some money-saving tips to help cool off your hot-weather electric bill: • The easiest tip is to simply ask everyone to switch off the lights when they’re not using them, or when they leave a room. Seems obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people forget. Especially if you’ve got small children or teenagers in the house. • Switch your ceiling fan to turn in a counter-clockwise direction in the summer. In the winter, run it at low speed, but clockwise. Only run the ceiling fan when someone is in the room. Ceiling fans cool people with air movement so running a fan when the room is empty just wastes electricity. • Close your exterior doors and windows tightly when the air conditioner is on. Save even more by turning off kitchen and bath exhaust fans. • Occupancy sensors are an inexpensive, easy-to-install money saver. They automatically switch lights on when someone enters a room, and then off again when the room is unoccupied for a set period. They’re useful in basements, closets, garages, hallways; any place where people may forget they left the lights on. • Block the sun from overheating your home! Inside, use shades, blinds and drapes. Outside, use awnings, trees and shrubs. • Strategically placed outside your home, motion detectors turn on outdoor floodlights only when a person walks near them. In addition to saving electricity, they also make your home more secure, since thieves don’t like being caught in the spotlight. • Replace regular light switches with dimmer switches. Consider this: if you dim a bulb to 50 percent brightness, you use about 40 percent less electricity, and extend the life of the bulb around 20 times. Plus, dimmers can help set a mood, whether watching a movie in the home theatre or gathering in the dining room for a special meal. Set different levels in the same room and create an attractive custom lighting scene. • Wall-mounted digital timers work like a regular switch when you turn them on, but then shut power off within a set range of timed intervals, from minutes to hours, depending on your need.

Rural Electric Nebraskan


Let’s get to the heart of the matter, local control and you ebraskans, especially those from the rural areas, are an independent bunch. Selfreliant and neighbor friendly, they want to take care of themselves, reach out to help neighbors in need, and generally “do the right thing.” They believe, and rightly so, that they know what’s best for themselves and their community. The local leaders they elect to serve on the Rural Electric Boards, Natural Resource Districts, and School Boards, are picked because they reflect that attitude, and are easily found when a problem arises. Matters can be discussed, questions answered, and problems addressed, often in person at the local coffee shop. Today this idea of “local control” is under attack on many fronts from folks in Lincoln who want to make decisions on issues concerning people they have never met, in places they have never been, on issues they can’t understand and with results they don’t have to live with. One example is LB1100. This bill was introduced this past legislative session, and when it didn’t advance was made an interim study - LR590. The purpose of both the bill and the study is to consolidate the power distribution districts and municipal power suppliers to increase efficiency and keep rates low. Now to hear that reasoning, you would think that Nebraska has out of control rates, and employees sitting around wishing they had something to do… Nothing could be farther from the truth. We have the similar number of electric utilities, compared to the surrounding states, and lower electric rates than everyone around us, except South Dakota which is blessed with an abundance of low cost hydroelectric generation. It is somewhat ironic that the neighboring state, with the fewest utilities, also has average rates that are almost 1 ½


June 2014

John Hoke General Manager Niobrara Valley Electric Membership Corporation cents higher than Nebraska – the colorful state of Colorado. Fewer power districts might mean a few less employees, but it would also result in less access for the member/customers, to their directors. Access that gets questions answered - and changes made. I know this because every decision made at our cooperative is made with regard to what the members will think and how it affects our electric rates. Our member/customers make their money by controlling input costs since they have no control over the price of their product. This attitude is brought into the board room because the decisions that are made there directly impact their own operations from the standpoint of cost and reliability. These local directors never forget that the customer/members are watching what the cooperative or power district is doing as well. The local member/owners serve as the regulatory agency watching over the actions of their utility. A trip to the local coffee shop or downtown for parts or groceries often results in a

local director answering friends and neighbors questions about rates, line builds, or other concerns. These questions are asked and concerns discussed at the next board meeting sooner if needed. This activity, this accountability, is the heart of local control. So why do some folks want to do away with local control? Because by eliminating this kind of accountability, by moving those who make decisions farther away from those who live with them, it becomes easier for a few people to direct what you will do rather than what the member/owners want done. These folks, to make consolidation more attractive, offer to provide a regulatory body to protect the citizens from any unfair action these consolidated utilities might take. So to increase the efficiency of utilities, we decrease the citizen’s ability to control their utility by insulating the director’s from accountability for their actions. Then we increase the size of government with yet another agency designed to regulate the actions of these same directors. Today the power to direct how your utilities are run is held in the hands of many elected directors. This governing power is spread amongst your friends and neighbors. People you know, that are accountable directly to you. People you have easy access to because you see them regularly around town. George Norris, the founder of public power in our state, said, "To get good government and to retain it, it is necessary that a liberty-loving, educated, intelligent people should be ever watchful, to carefully guard and protect their rights and liberties." The public, in public power, the heart of public power is you. Don’t let the loss of the local control you enjoy today, cut that heart out.


Rural Electric Youth Tour: Shaping our Youth for 50 Years By Magen Howard

Youth Tour 1975

Youth Tour brings together some 1,600 teens from 43 states for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Cory Rosenblad Attended Youth Tour: 2004 Age: 27 Wife: Bobbi Rosenblad City: Elkhorn, Neb. Sponsoring Electric System: Dawson Public Power District Hometown: North Platte, Neb. College attended: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, (Major in Mechanical Engineering) Current Occupation: System Engineer with Omaha Public Power District Favorite memory on YT: The entire trip was pretty awesome. I haven’t been back to D.C. since but I’d like to someday. How has YT influenced your life/career: It gave me an appreciation of the electric utility industry as a whole. I almost went to school to be a lineman but power plants have always interested me. People are always going to need power.


he National Rural Electric Youth Tour is turning 50! And oh, what a tour it’s been. “I’ve loved this trip. Every year is a new adventure,” said Kristen Gottschalk, Youth Tour director for Nebraska Rural Electric Association. “While the National Tour has been going on for 50 years, Nebraska has been offering this experience to students for 55 years!” Anyone who’s looked after a group of 16- and 17year-olds in Washington, D.C., for Youth Tour knows how challenging and physically exhausting it is, not to mention how hot


and humid the nation’s capital can be in the middle of June. But there’s a reason the program has not just endured but thrived for half a century—and why people like Gottschalk stick with it year after year: the students. “It’s been an honor and a pleasure to work with new groups of students each year,” she said. “It’s so rewarding to see each student grow and discover how they can significantly impact their community through this program. This program truly is changing lives.” Youth Tour brings

Rural Electric Nebraskan

YT 67 High School students from Nebraska have been making the trip to Washington, D.C. since 1958. Students visit the Gettysburg Battlefield, Jefferson, FDR, and Martin Luther King memorials, Holocaust Museum and Ford’s Theatre. They also meet with Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation. together some 1,600 teens from 43 states for a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity culminating in Washington, D.C. Students see the roots of American history. They learn about rural electric electrification, electric coops and grassroots political advocacy. They live in awfully close quarters for up to a week and are given a small taste of freedom and independence. They sleep a little and talk a lot. These students become college roommates, professional colleagues, lifelong friends and sometimes even spouses. For some, it’s a fun trip that later brings fond memories. To others, Youth Tour inspires kids to discover the adults they’re going to be. For those accepted into the Youth Leadership Council (YLC), the experience is even richer. These students – one representative from each participating state – work the congressional action center at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA)

June 2014

Annual Meeting. They also participate in a special meeting one month after the Youth Tour to delve more deeply into leadership and cooperative grassroots issues. Much has changed during the past 50 years since the National Youth Tour was born, but the one constant has been the students, who never fail to be amazed, inspired, humbled and grateful, according to the faithful rural electric system employees who bring new groups back to Washington every year. For the chaperones and state coordinators, Youth Tour is an enormous amount of work culminating in just a handful of frantic days each year. Flexibility and being able to roll with the punches are must-haves. But it’s a labor of love for most. “You have to be ready for any change that might happen and deal with any problems that come up, no matter what, for the safety of the participants” Gottschalk says. “You have to be ready to take on

responsibility for these young adults.” “Rewarding” is a common refrain from those involved in the program, from administrators and coordinators to parents and participants—even the bus drivers who stick with a state year after year. “I’ve had parents come up to me after the program and say, ‘I don’t know what

you did, but you brought back a different kid than you took.’ And for parents to say that is gratifying and humbling,” she says. Rooted in politics Youth Tour was born from a speech at the 1957 NRECA Annual Meeting by then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson. He was a longtime advocate of Please turn to page 8

Michael Gubbels Attended Youth Tour: 2006 Age: 26 Wife: Lesley Gubbels Children: Jordann, Claire City: Stromsburg, Neb. Sponsoring Electric System: Cedar-Knox Public Power District Hometown: Hartington, Neb. College attended: Northeast Community College, (Major in Electromechanical Technology) Current Occupation: Journeyman Substation Technician at Nebraska Public Power District Favorite memory on YT: I enjoyed visiting D.C. and seeing all the memorials but my favorite memory was the dance because I enjoy country dancing. How has YT influenced your life/career: It helped make my decision to pursue a career in the electric industry.


Youth Tour From page 7 electric co-ops, having lobbied for the creation of Pedernales Electric Cooperative in 1937 as a young politician in Texas. “If one thing comes out of this meeting, it will be sending youngsters to the national capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents,” the future president said. With that encouragement, Texas electric co-ops began sending summer interns to

work in the senator’s Washington, D.C., office. In 1958, an electric co-op in Iowa sponsored the first group of 34 young people, including three from Nebraska on a weeklong study tour of the nation’s capital. Later that same year, another busload came to Washington from Illinois. The idea grew, and other states sent busloads of students throughout the summer. By 1959, the Youth Tour had grown to 130 participants. In 1964, NRECA began to coordinate joint activities among the state delegations and suggested

that co-op representatives from each state arrange to be in Washington, D.C., during Youth Tour week. The first year of the coordinated tour included about 400 teens from 12 states. As word spread, the program grew—and grew and grew—until no hotel was large enough to house all of its participants. Karen Bailey, NRECA’s longtime Youth Tour coordinator, said it was a relief when the Hyatt in Crystal City, Va., was built in the late 1990s. Most states’ participants stay there, and some bunk

down the street at the Hilton. “Now, we have 500 rooms at the Hyatt, 200 at the Hilton, and it works out perfectly,” she says. The prospect of contracting 700 hotel rooms years in advance doesn’t seem to faze Bailey, who has worked on the Youth Tour program for 25 years and has been the main coordinator for the past 15. Since 1999, she’s seen the number of participating states rise from 32 to 43 and the number of students from Please turn to page 10

Merry Lee Blair Attended Youth Tour: 2004 Age: 28 Husband: Shane Blair Son: Grant City: Papillion, Neb. Sponsoring Electric System: North Central Public Power District Hometown: Plainview, Neb. College attended: Doane College Current Occupation: Classroom Teacher Birchcrest Elementary; Bellevue Public Schools Favorite memory on YT: Qualifying for Youth Tour is a moment that I carry with me. I had never been someone who enjoyed talking in front of large groups or being the center of attention for that matter. However, I soon learned about the opportunity to be an Ambassador for Youth Tour. I could not wait to see what influence and impact my leadership and words could have upon my peers. To qualify, we chose a topic to address Energy Campers and staff during our last evening’s awards banquet. I chose to discuss the influence of media upon our ongoing war in the Middle East. I enjoyed sharing my beliefs and possibly influencing the thinking of my peers who may not have considered the perspective or circumstances I shared. When I was bestowed the honor to represent Nebraska on Youth Tour, I knew my hard work and desire to lead and influence others was a gift. How has YT influenced your life/career: While


on the Youth Tour, I was able to take on our nation’s capital first hand. Growing up in rural Nebraska, the big city and our Nation’s capital was a picture in a book; however, Youth Tour presented an opportunity for me to grow and learn first hand not only about where our country began, but also about how a small rural area really does have an impact in our country. As a current third grade teacher, many of the historical sites such as Mount Vernon, the newly finished WW2 Memorial, the Capital Building, and the museums positively enrich to our curriculum. I am able to use brochures or photographs I took while on the tour to show my account. It was also a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness our American government in action. Sitting down and meeting with former Senator Chuck Hagel and other key officials opened my eyes to the importance of our civic duties. I preach to my students, your ideas count!

Rural Electric Nebraskan

Dredging underway at Sutherland Reservoir f you are a boater and are planning to use Sutherland Reservoir, stay away from the channel area at Gerald Gentleman Station for the next few months. On May 1 Nebraska Public Power District began dredging operations Monday through Friday, tentatively through October 30. Normally, boaters are not allowed into this channel which brings water from Sutherland Reservoir into the plant. And for the public’s safety, NPPD is asking individuals who like to fish or use the reservoir for other recreational purposes to stay away from the area while the dredging operation occurs. Water from this channel is used for cooling purposes in the plant’s operations. Silt in the water naturally builds up as it flows through the channel. The silt build-up in the channel needs to be removed to allow water to move into the plant without blockage.


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Youth Tour From page 8 around a thousand to surpassing 1,600 last year. “Even through economic changes in the past few years, Youth Tour numbers never went down,” Bailey says. “Many states bring at least two or three more kids each year. Our numbers have always gone up.” In fact, the Hyatt’s ballroom, where Youth Day is held each year, is bursting at the seams. Already, chaperones are left to stand or watch the presentation in an overflow room—only students get a place to sit. But it’s a good challenge to have. Youth Day, generally on the Monday

Marshall Rosenblad Attended Youth Tour: 2002 Age: 29 Wife: Kalli Rosenblad Children: Makenzi & Kambri Rosenblad City: Chadron, Neb. Sponsoring Electric System: Dawson Public Power District Hometown: North Platte, Neb. College attended: Northeast Community College Norfolk, Neb. (Major in Utility Line) Current Occupation: Journeyman Lineman with Nebraska Public Power District Favorite memory on YT: I will never forget the morning we woke up at 5:00 AM to get on our tour bus, where we drove to a secret location. We got off the bus with Congressman Adrian Smith and Kristen to look up at a huge building in downtown D.C. A man in a black suit met us outside, and told us we were about to go inside the Secret Service Agency building. He led us about three stories underground in their parking garage, and we then stood in front of the biggest silver garage door I had ever seen. He punched in the code, and behind that door sat the presidential motorcade for President Bush’s business trips around Washington, D.C. The agent had me try to open the door up, and it felt heavier than a safe door. How has YT influenced your life/career: Youth Tour gave me the opportunity to see how big our government and country truly are. I was able to be a part of so many unforgettable moments when I was there, and I hope for the opportunity to go back with my family someday. I am a part of the electrical industry today at NPPD, and maybe someday my girls would consider a career there, too.


of Youth Tour, is when all the state contingents converge to learn about grassroots politics and hear from inspirational speakers. The students share their state pins, often vying to get the most pins or those that are rare, like those from Hawaii’s small group. “Youth Day is sort of our general session,” Bailey says. “And all the energy that comes with everything is amazing to see. It’s like I’m seeing it for the first time every year.” Points of Light As the Rural Electric Youth Tour enters its next 50 years, NRECA has partnered with a nonprofit organization to bring new opportunities for service to co-ops and their Youth Tour participants. The venture between NRECA and Points of Light, the world’s largest non-profit organization focused on volunteerism and service, will officially launch during Youth Tour this month. Points of Light’s youth division, generationOn, will conduct training and provide tools and resources to support local volunteerism. It also will manage a grant program for Youth Tour participants to receive $500 to grow their own service projects. The program will give cooperatives opportunities to enhance their current service projects or create new ones, and it connects Youth Tour participants’ service projects to their rural electric utility.

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June 2014


Surviving Surviving the the

Storm The danger does not end when the storm does. People can be hurt or killed by hazards left behind. If the power to your home is out for a prolonged period after a storm or disaster, knowing important safety rules can help keep you safe.

long with warmer weather, this time of the year also brings the threat of severe storms. Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange along with Safe Electricity would like to remind member insureds of the increased electrocution risks that storms and flooding can cause, and offer safety tips to avoid serious injury or death when dealing with the aftermath of a major storm or disaster. “The danger does not end when the storm does,” says Molly Hall, Director of Safe Electricity. “People can be hurt or killed by hazards left behind. It’s wise to be cautious in any cleanup effort.” • Stay away from downed power lines and be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Treat all downed or hanging power lines as if they are energized. Warn others to stay away and contact the electric utility. • Shuffle – never run – from a fallen power line. A live wire touching the ground causes electricity to fan out in a pool and the action of running will cause your legs to bridge current from higher to lower voltage and you may receive a shock. • A downed power line causes other things around it to become potentially hazardous. A fence or guardrail touching a


Please turn to page 16


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Surviving the Storm From page 14 downed line can be energized for several thousand yards, and this poses a threat to anyone coming into contact with these structures. • Stay away from puddles of water in contact with downed lines. Encountering these objects can be as hazardous as coming into contact with the downed power line itself. • If using electric yard tools in clean-up efforts, do not operate them if it’s raining or the ground is wet, or while you are wet or standing in water. • Keep all electric tools and equipment at least ten feet away from wet surfaces. “Before re-entering storm-damaged buildings or rooms, be sure all electric and gas services are turned off,” says Hall. “Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. If you can’t reach your breaker box safely, call your electric utility to shut off power at the meter.” During storm clean-up also remember: • Never step into a flooded basement or other area if water is covering electrical outlets, appliances or cords. Be alert to any electrical equipment that could be energized and in contact with water. • Never touch electrical appliances, cords or wires while you are wet or standing in water. If your stove, washer, dryer, microwave or other appliances become wet, be extremely cautious because there is a danger of electrical shock. Let the unplugged appliance dry completely. This may take a week or two. “Cleaning up and using water-damaged appliances also carry safety


risks,” said Hall. Electric motors in appliances that have been drenched or submerged should be thoroughly cleaned and reconditioned before they are put back into service. It may be necessary to repair or replace electrical appliances or tools that have been in contact with water. Do not use any water-damaged appliance until a professional has check it out.” If, after a storm or disaster, the power to your home is out for a prolonged period, know important safety rules, such as: • Never using a charcoal or gas grill to cook inside. • If you use a standby generator, make sure a transfer safety switch is used or connect the appliance directly

to the generator output through an isolated circuit before you operate it. This prevents electricity from traveling back through the power lines, what’s known as “back feed.” Back feed creates danger for anyone near lines, particularly crews working to restore power. During an outage, Safe Electricity recommends turning off electrical appliances and unplugging major electronics, including computers and televisions. Power sometimes comes back in surges, which can damage electronics. Your circuits could overload when power returns if all your electronics are still plugged in and on. Leave one light on to indicate that power has been restored. Wait a few minutes and then turn on other appliances and equipment—one at a time. To help you get through, have a storm kit prepared. Keep the kit in a cool, dry place, and make sure all members of the family know where it is located.

Rural Electric Nebraskan


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Time is precious when responding to a stroke On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds. Every four minutes, someone dies from one, according to the American Stroke Association. trokes may occur at any age, but your risk doubles after age 55, with 75 percent of all strokes occurring in people over 75. African-Americans are at a disproportionally high risk, with almost twice the chance of suffering first-ever strokes compared to other demographics. Despite these sobering statistics, fewer than half of us know at least one of the warning signs that a stoke has occurred. Take a minute to memorize the acronym FAST and what its letters represent, so that you can take action quickly if you or someone you’re with experiences a stroke. The most effective stroke treatments are only available if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within 3 hours of the first symptoms. Stroke patients may not be eligible for the most effective treatments if they don’t arrive at the hospital in time.



F = Facial Weakness Can the person smile? Is the smile uneven? Do his or her mouth or eyes droop when attempting to talk or change expression? A = Arm Weakness Can the person raise both arms? Is one arm slightly lower? S = Speech/Sight Difficulty Can the person speak without slurring words or see clearly and understand what you say? T = Time to Act If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 immediately. Those who receive a quick exam to determine the type of stroke and are then treated as appropriate may be able to have the stroke’s effects completely reversed. If your symptoms go away after a few minutes, you may have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Although brief, a TIA is a sign of a serious condition that will not go

away without medical help. Tell your health care team about your symptoms right away. Unfortunately, because TIAs clear up, many people ignore them. Don’t be one of those people. Paying attention to a TIA can save your life. For the most common type of stroke (ischemic strokes caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain), a clotdissolving stroke treatment called tissue plasminogen activator, or t-PA can completely reverse the stroke’s effects. However, to be effective, t-PA must be given within a few hours of the onset of symptoms. In addition to early treatment, many major risk factors for stroke can be prevented and controlled through diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercise, no smoking and limited alcohol use. To learn more, call 1-888-4STROKE (477-7653) or visit Source: Centers for Disease Control

Rural Electric Nebraskan

The washing machine doesn’t do the laundry. Power does. Power works tirelessly around the house. It helps us do the things we need to do — and lets us do the things we want to do. To that end, electric cooperatives across the West are working hard to make sure that power is reliable, affordable and responsible. With their power supplier, Tri-State, co-ops are innovating to help homeowners, farmers and ranchers, and businesses use power wisely. In doing so, members of electric co-ops save money and make better use of resources. Learn more 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.


Keep the fun in your summer pool time efore you jump in the pool this summer, you need to take the necessary steps to make sure everything is safe and you are ready for any possible emergency so that you can concentrate on having fun! Homeowners should make sure that the National Electric Code (NEC) has been followed for wiring and that ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are properly installed on equipment in areas around pools, spas, and hot tubs. Other recommendations from the Consumer Protection Safety Council (CSPC) involve: • Knowing where electrical switches and circuit breakers are for pool, hot tub, and spa equipment and know how to operate them. • Refraining from swimming before, during, and after thunderstorms. • Having an electrician who is qualified in pool, spa, and hot tub repairs inspect and upgrade your pool, spa, or hot tub in accordance with local codes and the NEC. • Making sure all electrical wires and junction boxes are at least 5 feet



away from water as required by the NEC. • Ensuring that the overhead power lines and junction boxes are safely positioned and have the proper clearance according to the NEC when installing a new pool, hot tub, or spa. • When cleaning the pool, knowing where any overhead power lines are to avoid making contact with them while using long-handled tools. • Purchasing a fiberglass Shepherd’s crook/rescue hook for emergencies. Other steps to take to ensure the

swimming season is a safe one include using battery-powered appliances and electronics around the pool instead of connecting them to an extension cord. Pool owners should have an emergency plan posted in plain view in the pool area with instructions on how to assist someone who is suffering an electrical shock. One such emergency plan is available from CSPC at REL/prhtml03/03125.pdf. For more information on electrical safety around water, go to

Rural Electric Nebraskan


Why Diet? Try Vinegar! Eat and lose pounds the healthy way.


f you want to lose weight and keep it off -- hate dieting and are tired of taking pills, buying costly diet foods or gimmick “fast loss” plans that don’t work-- you’ll love the easy Vinegar way to lose all the pounds you want to lose. And keep them off! Today, the natural Vinegar weight loss plan is a reality after years of research by noted vinegar authority Emily Thacker. Her just published book “Vinegar Anniversary” will help you attain your ideal weight the healthiest and most enjoyable way ever. You’ll never again have to count calories. Or go hungry. Or go to expensive diet salons. Or buy pills, drugs. You’ll eat foods you like and get a trimmer, slimmer figure-- free of fat and flab-- as the pounds fade away. To prove that you can eat great and feel great while losing ugly, unhealthy pounds the natural Vinegar way, you’re invited to try the program for up to 3 months on a “You Must Be Satisfied Trial.” Let your bathroom scale decide if the plan works for you. You must be satisfied. You never risk one cent. Guaranteed. What’s the secret? Modern research combined with nature’s golden elixir. Since ancient times apple cider vinegar has been used in folk remedies to help control weight and speed-up the metabolism to burn fat. And to also aid overall good health. Now-- for the first time -Emily has combined the latest scientific findings and all the weight loss benefits of vinegar into a program with lifetime benefits-- to melt away pounds for health and beauty. If you like food and hate dieting, you’ll love losing pounds and inches the Vinegar way. Suddenly your body will be energized with new vigor and zest as you combine nature’s most powerful, nutritional foods with vinegar to trim away pounds while helping the body to heal itself. You’ll feel and look years

younger shedding unhealthy pounds that make one look older than their age. According to her findings, staying trim and fit the Vinegar way also provides preventive health care against the curses of mankind-- cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure and other maladies. In fact, the book’s program is so complete that it also helps you: s ,EARN SECRETS OF AGELESS beauty and glowing skin s (ELP BUILD THE IMMUNE system, to fight arthritis and disease s 3PEED THE METABOLISM TO use natural thermogenesis to burn fat PLUS so much more that you simply must use the book’s easy Vinegar way to lose all the weight you want to lose--and enjoy all its other benefits-before deciding if you want to keep it. To Lose Pounds and Enjoy a 90-Day No-Risk Trial... Do This Now To Get Your Personal Copy of the Book: Simply write “Vinegar Anniversary” on a piece of paper and send it with your check or money order of only $12.95 plus $3.98 shipping and handling (total of $16.93, OH residents please add 6.5% sales tax) to: James Direct, Inc. Dept. VA2388 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. Remember: You’re protected by the publisher’s 90-Day Money Back Guarantee if you are not delighted. WANT TO SAVE MORE? Do a favor for a relative or friend and get 2 books for the low introductory price of $20 postpaid. You save $13.86. Special Bonus - Act promptly to also receive “The Very Best Old-Time Remedies” booklet absolutely FREE. Supplies are limited so order now.

LETTERS Dentist Recommends Vinegar


have some useful advice that others may be interested in. When I got my Dentures several years ago, the Dentist told me use vinegar to get the plaque off them. So - about once a week I soak them in the wonder liquid and Presto - they sparkle. I have since gotten implants - Since I am not fond of the hygienist scraping the posts for cleaning - I clean them with Vinegar before going for my check-up. On my last visit to her, she couldn’t believe how clean they were and praised me for it! I then asked the Dentist that put the implants in if the vinegar would harm the metal posts and he informed me it is OK to use it. - D. L., New Braunfels, Tx.

Vinegar Heals Ear Ache in 2 days.


have been plagued with an itchy ear for several months. It then developed into an earache. I was able to cure both the itch and earache in two days. - J. D., Jacksonville, Fl.

Vinegar Diet helps mother of the Bride


his is kind of embarrassing, but here goes. My name is Sarah Pierce. I am 58 years old, and through the years (in my mind’s eye) I always thought I looked pretty decent. Especially so when our second daughter was married. I really considered myself a rather ‘smashing’ Mother of the Bride. That is, until the wedding pictures came back. I just couldn’t believe it. Here I am, definitely portly - not lean and svelte like I thought. Unfortunately the camera doesn’t lie. Since then, I heard about Emily Thacker’s Vinegar Diet and decided to give it a try. What surprised me most was how much I could eat yet I was losing weight and inches. It was like I was getting thin, thinner and thinner yet with the Vinegar Diet. I just thought you should know. - S. P., N. Canton, Oh.

NEWS & RESEARCH Simple Vinegar used to reduce cervical cancer deaths by 31%


he latest study about vinegar, shows it will prevent an estimated 72,600 deaths from cervical cancer each year. This according to a study released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago, IL. The results were based over a 12 year period tracking 150,000 women in Mumbai, India, between the ages of 35-64 years. The conclusion, a simple vinegar test significantly reduces cervical cancer deaths. Immediate plans are to implement this simple and successful screening test in developing countries. The study had been planned for 16 years, but after the results were analyzed and found to be conclusive it was stopped at 12 years. Vinegar has always been used for its versatility in home remedies, cooking and cleaning. And now scientific and medical findings are showing its a simple, low cost, non-invasive and safe for the patient.

Scarlett Johansson confesses her apple cider vinegar beauty secret


hen celebrity beauty Scarlett Johansson needs to keep her skin looking beautiful and glowing one would think she would turn to high priced beauty creams. Not so, according to an article in the February 2013 issue of Elle UK. She uses simple apple cider vinegar and its natural pH balancing properties to keep her skin looking amazing. *Testimonials are atypical, your weight loss may be more or less.

©2014 JDI VA176S04


The advantages of geothermal heat pumps by James Dulley

: I have an old inefficient Q propane furnace and central air conditioner. I was thinking of replacing them with a geothermal heat pump. Does this sound like a good idea and what types are best? : With all the problems last winter with propane shortages and the price uncertainty of natural gas, many people are considering geothermal heat pumps. In fact, I just installed a variable-speed WaterFurnace 7-Series geothermal heat pump in my own home. In addition to extremely efficient and comfortable heating, a geothermal heat pump also is the most efficient central airconditioning system available. During summer, when in the cooling mode, it provides free water heating for additional savings. Even though the overall geothermal heat pump installed cost is higher than other heat pump systems because of the ground loop, it will pay back its higher cost in savings. Also, if one is installed by 2016, there is a 30-percent federal tax credit on the total cost. The difference between a standard and a geothermal heat pump is the geothermal unit uses liquid-filled (water/antifreeze mix) piping in the ground instead of the outdoor condenser unit. Since the ground stays at a fairly constant temperature, it is extremely efficient year-round. Most people install deep vertical loops, but I have a large backyard, so I installed a five-footdeep horizontal loop. The big advantage during winter is the heating output of a geothermal system does not drop as it gets colder outdoors. This is when your house



also needs the most heat. For this reason, the expensive backup electric resistance heating very seldom comes on with a geothermal heat pump. I chose this WaterFurnace model because, with its variable-speed compressor, it has the highest heating and cooling efficiencies. The heating COP (coefficient of performance) is 5.3. Using the free heat from underground, it produces more than $5 worth of heat for each $1 on my utility bill.

Typical installation of a variablespeed geothermal heat pump in a utility room or basement. Photograph provided by WaterFurnace When cooling during the summer, the EER (energy efficiency ratio) is as high as 41. This is more than twice as efficient as the best new standard heat pumps and central air conditioners. Instead of the heat from the house being exhausted outdoors and wasted, it goes into the water heater for free heat. For extra savings, I also installed

an optional hot water assist unit. During winter, excess heat being produced by the geothermal heat pump goes into the standard electric water heater. This heats the water using just one-fifth as much electricity as the water heater elements. The variable-speed compressor in my 7-Series model is connected to its matching thermostat to fine tune its heating and cooling output to the instantaneous needs of my house. This provides excellent comfort and maintains even room temperatures and lower noise levels. By constantly varying the output, it runs in more efficient, slower, quieter, and longer cycles. This is coupled with a variable-speed blower which matches the air flow from the registers to the compressor output. This is why the comfort is so good. Another significant advantage of the variable-speed compressor is humidity control during summer. Set the desired humidity on the thermostat. When it is humid, but not very hot outdoors, the blower slows down and the compressor runs fast to provide more dehumidification with less cooling. This type of compressor also provides a 120-percent instant supercool mode. The next step down in comfort and efficiency is a model with a two-stage compressor. Most of the time, it runs at the lower-output speed. When it cannot heat or cool your house to the thermostat setting, it automatically switches to the higher speed for more output. Its EER is as high as 30. The simplest design is a singlestage compressor which either is on or off. This still provides much better comfort and savings over a standard heat pump.

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

Rural Electric Nebraskan

The importance of electrical safety measures for older adults


tatistics show that home fires, from a variety of causes, result in a significant number of deaths and injuries each year. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated average of 371,700 home structure fires per year. These fires cause an estimated average of 2,590 civilian deaths and 12,910 civilian injuries. Although electrical hazards plague the public at large, older adults are burdened with the gravest risk. Adults over the age of 65 are more than twice as likely to die from a house fire as the general population, and this risk increases with age. Those 75 years of age and over are challenged with a risk that is 2.8 times higher, and adults over 85 are at a staggering risk that is 3.7 times higher. As baby boomers enter retirement age, the United

June 2014

States Fire Administration (USFA) has predicted that the percentage of older Americans will increase significantly, thus making a corresponding increase in fire deaths and injuries among older adults probable. Electrical failures are a leading cause of home fires every year, and electrical distribution and lighting

equipment fires have been shown to increase in frequency with increasing dwelling age. Homes with aging electrical systems are at a heightened risk for electrical fires, posing a serious risk for older adults who have remained in the same home for an extended period of time. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, half of the homes in use in the United States were built before 1973, which is long before many of the electronics and appliances we use today were even invented. Unfortunately, our increased demands for energy can overburden an older home’s electrical system causing fires or electrocutions. Many home electrical fires can be prevented by using more up-to-date technology and by recognizing warning signs your home may be showing. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International




Rhubarb Crunch Dessert 4 cups diced rhubarb 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 cup water 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour 3/4 cup oatmeal 1 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Place diced rhubarb in a 9”x13” pan. Cook together until thick sugar, cornstarch and water. Stir in vanilla. Pour over rhubarb. Combined flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Sprinkle over the rhubarb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Jenny Bergt, Amherst, Nebraska

Asian Sesame Chicken Mexican Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Salsa 1 lb. Ground Turkey 1 egg, beaten 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs 1 Teaspoon chili powder 1/2 Teaspoon cumin 4 ounces tortilla chips, finely crushed Nonstick vegetable cooking spray Creamy Salsa: 3/4 cup non-fat sour cream 1/2 cup salsa

2 cooked chicken breasts (or substitute 1 pound pork loin) 2 carrots, biased-sliced 2 celery stocks, biased-sliced 1 medium onion 8 oz. sliced mushrooms 3 tablespoons soy sauce 1/4 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of honey 1 cup chicken stock 1/4 cup vinegar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 1/2 tablespoon Asian seasoning 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic chili sauce 1 1/2 teaspoon extra olive oil Green onion, sesame seeds (garnish)

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan, then stir fry carrots, celery, onion and mushroom. Whisk together sauce ingredients and add to pan, stir and cook until thickened. Add cooked chick and serve over white rice. Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds. Serves 5.

Amy Bashtovoi, Sidney, Nebraska In medium bowl, combine turkey, egg, garlic, onion, bread crumbs, chili powder and cumin. Mix well. Shape into about 36, 3/4-inch balls. Place crushed chips on plate. Roll each meatball in chips, coating thoroughly. Lightly coat baking pan (10 x 15inch) with nonstick vegetable cooking spray and arrange meatballs on pan. Bake at a preheated 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink in center and internal temperature registers 165 degrees F.

A Cup of Cake Mix one box of Angel Food cake and one box of cake mix of your choice. Measure 1/3 cup of dry mix into a microwavable cup. Add 3 tablespoons of water. Stir with a fork. Cook 1 minute in the microwave. Cool before turning out onto a plate. If desired, choose a topping of your choice. I keep the dry mix in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Ellen Barlow, Culbertson, Nebraska

Creamy Salsa Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine sour cream and salsa. Use as dip for meatballs.

Recipe provided by the National Turkey Federation 24

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 June issue of the Rural Electric Nebraskan, no Adult Pen Pals submissions will be printed this month. Submissions sent for use in the June issue will appear in the July 2014 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 Rural Electric Nebraskan 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.

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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

June 2014

Farm • Industrial • Commercial 25 Year Warranty on Roof & Walls; Prices F.O.B. Mfg. Plants; Seal Stamped Blue Prints; Easy Bolt Together Design. 30’ x 50’ x 12’........$8,985 40’ x 60’ x 12’........$12,490 50’ x 75’ x 14.........$17,999 60’ x 100’ x 12’......$24,400 100’ x 150’ x 14’....$57,800



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McCook Public Power District is seeking applicants for a Director of Administrative Services. RESPONSIBILITY: The primary responsibility of this position will be to manage all financial aspects within the department such as the budgeting, customer billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, tax preparation, and other aspects of accounting within compliance of the current regulations. SKILLS: Must have a solid understanding of General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Computers, spread sheets and word processing (i.e. MS Office) is required. Southeastern Data Cooperative (SEDC) billing and accounting software is a plus. Must have proven supervisory, interpersonal, written and oral communication skills. QUALIFICATIONS: A four year college degree with emphasis in

business administration, management, and CPA Certificate. Closely related progressive job experience and specialized training may substitute for the education requirement. WAGE: Wage will depend on experience and qualifications. Visit our website at to learn more about us and view the complete job description. Resume, letter of interest, and wage requirements must reach our office by June 15, 2014. You can e-mail them to or mail to: McCook Public Power District Attn: Jim Florke P.O. Box 1147 McCook, NE 69001 Either method must be marked with “Position Opening.” An Equal Opportunity Employer

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Chicago Doctor Invents Affordable Hearing Aid Outperforms Many Higher Priced Hearing Aids

Reported by J. Page &KLFDJR%RDUGFHUWLĂ€HGSK\VLFLDQ'U 6&KHUXNXULKDVGRQHLWRQFHDJDLQZLWK KLVQHZHVWLQYHQWLRQRIDPHGLFDOJUDGH ALL DIGITAL affordable hearing aid. 7KLVQHZGLJLWDOKHDULQJDLGLVSDFNHG ZLWKDOOWKHIHDWXUHVRIFRPSHWLWRUV DWDPHUHIUDFWLRQRIWKHFRVWNow, most people with hearing loss are able to enjoy crystal clear, natural sound—in a crowd, on the phone, in the wind — without suffering through “whistlingâ€? and annoying background noise.



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Can a hearing aid delay or prevent dementia? A study by Johns Hopkins and National Institute on Aging researchers suggests older individuals with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. They suggest that an intervention—such as a hearing aid—could delay or prevent dementia by improving hearing!

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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...

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