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March 2013



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Volume 67, Number 3, March 2013

“The Rural Voice of Nebraska”

Staff Editor Wayne Price Editorial Assistant Kathy Barkmeier

Contents Features

Whooping Cranes along the Platte River


Published by the

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

March 2013

Mark Peyton, biologist for the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, tells the story of the Whooping Crane and how understanding the pathways the birds follow during migration and the hazards they face will aid biologists in designing and enhancing the areas the birds need for survival.

Bettys by the dozen


Freelance writer LaRayne Topp shares the story of the Platte Valley Betty Club. Although these Bettys share a common name, none of them sport the wide eyes, spit curls and heart-shaped lips of Betty Boop, an animated cartoon character created by Max Fleischer in 1930.

Departments EDITOR’S PAGE












On the cover Canoeing in the Middle Loup River is one of the recreational activities at the NREA Youth Energy Camp. See the related story on Page 18. Photograph by Wayne Price.



Planting grassroots power across Nebraska very spring people start planning their vegetable garden. The timing must be perfect. You can’t plant too early, because a late frost could wipe out seedlings. You can’t plant too late since the buds may not have time to take root and produce a crop. Without the protection of water and a strong grassroots system, most vegetables can’t survive a hot summer. Oddly enough, great ideas are the same. If you share an idea too early without a community’s support, it gets lost in the shuffle. If you lobby for an idea no one knows about— even something that would help everyone— lack of interest may cause the idea to wilt and die. How do great ideas thrive? They need grassroots support. Nebraska’s public power districts and electric cooperatives are looking out for you, making sure you have affordable, reliable, and safe electricity. Sometimes state or federal laws and regulations threaten this, so we lobby hard on your behalf. But without your support, our ideas often don’t reach the right ears. No matter how loudly we speak out on how legislation or an agency rule may impact electric bills, our voice dims in comparison to one of the most untapped resources in our community—YOU. We’re a statewide association—YOU are a voter. We’re working hard on your behalf, but your support helps ideas take root and survive. Nebraska’s public power districts and electric co-ops are working with their membersystems to create political action plans. The Nebraska Rural Electric Association has launched a grassroots initiative that is based in education. Nebraska’s public power districts and electric cooperatives are facing growing uncertainty over the future of America's energy policy. As we focus our efforts to ensure Nebraska continues to provide affordable, reliable, and safe electric power, we are turning to the member-owners for help. No one understands your electric bill better than you; and the NREA Grassroots Initiative provides direct communication between elected officials and those they are elected to represent.


by Wayne Price


All member-owners are encouraged to take an active role in the Grassroots Initiative and to take advantage of the opportunities presented. Rather than a single voice, the Grassroots Initiative will mobilize a movement of Nebraskans concerned about energy issues and affordable electric rates. With your active involvement, we can be a powerful voice in Lincoln and Washington. As Congress and the State Legislature continue to debate energy issues, we all have a responsibility to ensure the concerns of electric providers and consumers are heard by our representatives. Now is a historical time for Nebraska's electrical industry, and we must work together to ensure elected officials understand our issues and a balanced debate occurs. By increasing the dialog between representatives and constituents, the Grassroots Initiative will build strong relationships with policy makers, increase education of the issues, and raise awareness of the concerns of rural America. Electric utilities can’t go it alone. CEOs and utility boards are doing everything they can to keep electric costs affordable. And they do a great job of it. But there are things outside their control, like regulations that affect prices and electric service. By having a strong political action plan and an engaged membership, each utility can help drive these concerns home. But if they’re going to speak on behalf of their member-owners, they must be engaged in the process. And when lawmakers hear from the folks—voters—back home, they listen. If you would like to be included in the NREA Grassroots Initiative and receive notice of important energy initiatives, you can sign up to receive email alerts at By signing up to stay informed you will join thousands of Nebraskans already involved in the NREA grassroots movement. The Nebraska Rural Electric Association and our 34 electric distribution members across the state are committed to powering your community and empowering you to improve your quality of life. We work closely with political leaders and want to arm you with the tools needed to help us plant deeper grassroots. Learn more at

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The benefits of public power in Nebraska s the General Manager of a public power system in Nebraska, Custer Public Power District, I know some of the history of public power in Nebraska. I sometimes catch myself thinking that everyone knows as much as they ought to about Nebraska’s strong public power advantages and heritage. That’s not true, of course, so allow me to take you down memory lane. For some readers it may be familiar territory. For others, it may be new information. First let’s explain what the term “public power” means. It means electric utilities that are owned by the public. They operate on a not-for-profit basis, at cost, as opposed to profitmaking utility companies whose first loyalty is to shareholders who primarily live elsewhere. Public power utilities come in three flavors. There are public power districts, which cover all or part of a county or several counties, and are much like a school district in that the business they operate is owned by the public and governed by a board of directors elected by the consumers in the area served during each general election. Municipal utility systems are similar, except that they are creatures of city government and their operations are pretty much confined to city limits and the board of directors are either elected officials or appointed by the city council or mayor. We also have a few cooperatives, primarily along western and northern edges of the state. They, too, are not-for-profit but rather than being a quasi-governmental district, they are private corporations that use the cooperative business model. They are owned by the customers, who elect the board at their annual meetings. In the early days of electricity in Nebraska, private, shareholderowned, for-profit electric companies


March 2013

Rick Nelson General Manager Custer Public Power District served mainly towns and urban areas. The Nebraska Legislature -and more specifically George Norris - realized that the private companies were not going to service rural customers because they could not make a profit. Norris developed state laws that gave people the ability to form public power districts and rural electric cooperatives. They also gave public power the right of eminent domain to ensure that Nebraska would be a completely public power state without private electric companies making a profit on electricity, since electricity had become a necessity for modern life rather than a luxury item. Nebraska became and still is the only state in which 100 percent of the customers are served by electric utilities that they own. Not one penny of dividends is tacked onto electric bills and sent to out of state or foreign investors. Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) was formed to serve retail operations and also to be a wholesale supplier to some rural public power districts and cooperatives. Some of these rural public power districts and

cooperatives are actually served by a generation and transmission cooperative directly. The Nebraska Generation and Transmission (NEG&T) cooperative then purchases wholesale power from NPPD and passes it through to its members. NPPD is the wholesale supplier for Custer Public Power through NEG&T, although we are three separate entities. NPPD supplies wholesale power to Custer. We buy it and then distribute it to some of you. This concept is the same for other public power districts and cooperatives in Nebraska served by NPPD. A few public power districts and cooperatives in western Nebraska receive their wholesale power from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Cooperative, in much the same way as we do from NPPD. Again, Tri-State is a separate entity owned by the local systems that buy power from it, and it is those local systems who elect directors to the TriState board. Having organizations like NPPD and Tri-State gives consumers the enormous advantages of scale and technical sophistication. Custer PPD, like all the other PPDs in Nebraska, is not an isolated little “buggy whip” operation. It is part of a larger network that pools all kinds of resources for the good of the consumers. Being in that network also gives us a certain measure of our own “energy independence.” When we need to buy power, we are not at the mercy of outof-state utility holding companies whose focus is maximizing profits for the next quarterly report. Custer PPD was formed in 1943 to serve the rural customers in central Nebraska, which later included all or part of 13 counties. Custer PPD was formed by the customers that we serve. We are governed by seven local directors who are elected locally and all of whom receive their power from Custer PPD and pay the same electric rates as every other consumer. They Please turn to page 10


Whooping Cranes along the Platte River Understanding the pathways the birds follow during migration, the habitat they utilize, and the hazards they face will aid biologists in designing and enhancing the areas the birds need for survival. by Mark Peyton

remember the day well. I remember sitting there in the truck with the rising steam from the hot coffee creating a film of condensation on the cold windshield making it difficult to see. I remember savoring not only the taste of the Columbian Blend mix, but the heat as well. The temperature outside the pickup was in the lower 30’s. It wasn’t much warmer inside the truck. The air was calm. The sun was well on its way across the morning sky and a little less than a half mile down the road from where I had parked, out in the corn field, three whooping cranes were feeding. Those three large white birds, probably two parents and a juvenile, were special birds. They were special in the fact that they were in Nebraska in late January and early February, but more importantly (to me), they were the first whooping cranes to be verified as using the area that the Central Nebraska



Public Power and Irrigation District (Central) had developed specifically for migrating whooping cranes. There was an unverified report of a bird in the area from eight years ago, and a family group of three roosted just down river from the area five years ago, but these were the first actually photographed ON the property. Whooping cranes in Nebraska, and specifically along the Platte River in Nebraska are a big deal. In 2013 the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (PRRIP) will budget thousands and thousands of dollars for tracking, monitoring, and possibly evaluating stop over locations of the white cranes. In my humble world what’s budgeted is a lot of money, however, it pales in comparison to the millions that have been spent and will continue to be spent along the Platte by PRRIP, utility companies, conservation groups, government agencies and others. Money for leasing and purchasing land. Money for the enhancement of the land for use by the birds. And, money spent for

water. Lots of money for water. All to make this narrow 6-mile wide swath stretching from Lexington to Chapman better for the birds. Yes, whooping cranes along the Platte River are a huge deal! The warm winter of 2011-2012 provided more than just a 25 percent reduction in the cost to heat my house; it stimulated the early migration of any number of species, including those three birds. The birds were not marked in any way, but three whooping cranes, two adults and a juvenile, had spent the warm winter in Kansas. They left a few days before the three birds I had been watching showed up. They were first reported in the Platte just downriver from the Overton Bridge, but they didn’t stay there long. They moved about four miles further downriver to property owned by the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). NPPD manages the property specifically for endangered species and this was the second time that whooping cranes were documented to have landed there.

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The whooping cranes stayed a couple of days but then, they disappeared. PRRIP biologist Dr. Dave Baasch jumped in a plane and flew the area finding the birds seven miles upstream on the Jeffrey Island Habitat Area located along the river between Overton and Lexington. The Habitat Area is leased by Central and like the NPPD property; it is dedicated to wildlife, specifically whooping cranes, least terns, piping plovers, sandhill cranes, and migratory waterfowl. I received a call that morning and I joined up with Jim Jenniges, the biologist with NPPD who had been monitoring the birds. Jim and I walked the river where Dave had seen the birds roosting. The birds had long since flown and we wanted to take a closer look at the area. Whooping crane tracks were everywhere. The tracks confirmed what we’ve seen before. The cranes don’t just stand in one spot…they walk all over the place. After getting a mental picture of what the birds had been doing on the river we went looking for them

A pair of adult Whooping Cranes stop in Wisconsin. and found the cranes in a corn field south of the river. Jim had a meeting to attend so he left and I took up the task of monitoring the birds. That was last year and now, as I sit here and type this, I’m reminded of the first live whooping crane that I saw. It was 25 years ago and the bird was a juvenile named Oklahoma. The young bird had leg bands so it could be identified and it spent a couple of years overwintering with sandhill cranes in Oklahoma...hence the name. Typically during migration whooping cranes, unlike the more

Above: Three Whooping Cranes find food in a corn field South of Overton, Nebraska Opposite: Whooping Cranes share the shallow waters of Funk Lagoon in southcentral Nebraska. Photographs by Mark Peyton

March 2013

common sandhill cranes, rarely stay more than a couple of days on the Platte. Oklahoma, however, spent several weeks in the area during both 1987 and 1988 and was probably the most studied and monitored individual whooping crane ever! I’ve seen a number of whooping cranes since that first bird near Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary. My job with Central gives me that opportunity. I tell people that I have the most enjoyable job in Nebraska and watching cranes each fall and spring is just one of the reasons why. In trying to count up the total number of whooping cranes that I’ve seen I quickly realized that I can’t do it! There’s been too many. Not only has it been 25 years (50 migrations…spring and fall) but the size of the population has doubled over that time period so the chances of seeing birds each migration just got, and continues to get better and better. Let’s see, one fall there were the eight that spent a week at Funk Lagoon and then there were the nine in a Ducks Unlimited pond between Overton and Elm Creek. Three flew over me one day when I was at Lake McConaughy and I once spent the night in a sleeping bag monitoring a pair of birds on NPPD’s property. There were three that spend the week in Joe Jeffrey’s slough and three one year and four another on the Cottonwood WPA southeast of Bertrand. There were other birds at Funk, and any number of individual juvenile birds hanging out with sandhill cranes. In Wisconsin I saw a dozen or so adult birds and 14 juveniles training behind an ultralight for their migration to Florida, and I was fortunate enough to visit adults in the captive breeding program at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. However, my favorites are the three birds at Funk Lagoon that allowed me to take their picture, the three birds that flew into the roost at the Crane Trust near Alda when I had Please turn to page 8


Whooping Cranes From page 7 my adult education class from Gothenburg there watching sandhill cranes, and those three I watched last February…my Jeffrey Island Habitat Area birds. It is entirely possible that two of the three birds I watched were the same that I spent that night with on NPPD’s property and then one year later roosted just downriver of the Habitat Area. They may have been the same adults that a year after that spent the week in the Jeffrey Slough. However, because these birds were not marked in any way, we’ll never know. I suspect they were the same birds and I suspect they follow pretty much the same path each migration. Thus, I figured that the chance we would see them again on the Habitat Area in future migrations was pretty good. I may have been right. Six whooping cranes (five adults and a juvenile) spend a night and day on the Jeffrey Island habitat Area in November. Were they the same ones? Don’t know. If only they were marked in some way. Well, one of them is now. That is information that a portion of the money budgeted by PRRIP may provide. Each winter for the last three years biologists with the PRRIP, USGS, the Crane Trust, Fish and Wildlife Service, Canadian Wildlife Service, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, and the International Crane Foundation have been trapping birds at the Aransas refuge in Texas and young chicks on the nesting grounds in Canada. Once captured the birds are outfitted with radio transmitters that send a GPS reading to a satellite. From there it is downloaded and the location of the bird can be determined. The transmitters are estimated to have a battery life good for four years, or eight migrations. In 2013 the number of birds outfitted with GPS transmitters should surpass 40 and then, in 2014, ten more will be added. The transmit-


An aerial view of Whooping Cranes in the Platte River on the Jeffrey Island Habitat Area. Photograph by Dave Baasch ters have already been providing valuable information on day-to-day movements in Aransas, stopover locations during migration, day to day movement by juvenile, unpaired birds in Canada, location and sizes of nest territories, and the movement of birds on Central’s Habitat Area. One of the six birds that spent the day on the Habitat Area in November had a GPS transmitter. We know the bird was in south-central South Dakota, more than 300 miles north of the Platte, and then less than 18 hours later on the property. We know it spent time during the night out in the pasture, flew to a cornfield, and then to the river. We also know it roosted on the Cottonwood WMA near Bertrand after it left the Habitat Area. We are learning a lot! More information is expected. Information that can help us understand if the birds actually target a specific habitat for use or simply stop when they get tired. The transmitters also have a feature that if the bird stops moving completely a signal will go out indicating that the bird is probably dead. Biologists can then try and locate the bird and determine what killed it. Understanding the pathways the birds follow during migration, the

habitat they utilize, and the hazards they face will aid biologists in designing and enhancing the areas the birds need for survival. At about 11:30 AM on that cold, clear February morning the birds in the corn field took flight and headed back to the northwest. They made a direct line to the roost area on the Habitat Area. They were following the same pattern they had followed all week. They return to the river for a mid-day drink and then back to the corn field to spend the afternoon. I decided to take the opportunity to get something to eat and headed the truck in the direction of Lexington. I had a hot meal at Tep’s and then it was back out to the corn field. Yes, if those birds had been carrying the transmitters I could have stayed in the office and received reports from the tracking team on their locations and movement. It would have been warmer in the office, and my desk chair is more comfortable than the pickup, but then, where would the fun have been in that? Lots of people get to sit in an office…but when you have the best job in the state…you get to sit along a corn field and watch the birds live and believe me, there is no substitute for that!

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Public Power in Nebraska From page 5 are customers who represent their fellow customers. This unique distinction of being the only state in the union which is 100 percent public power is one of the major reasons why Nebraska is ranked 7th in the nation for having the lowest electric rates. For the most part states whose rates are lower are the lucky few whose geographic good fortune put them near huge hydroelectric resources, such as the Columbia River in America’s northwest or huge coal fields in Kentucky. There’s one thing that I particularly like about all of this. It’s a story that proves once again that here in rural Nebraska, we know how to take care of ourselves, take care of each other, take care of our communities, and take care of business. It’s a story worth passing on to the next generation.

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IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION: DoubleTime offer valid on Basic 19 Plan and applies to new GreatCall customers only. Offer ends 3/31/13. Offer valid until plan is changed or cancelled. All GreatCall phones require a one-time set up fee of $35. Coverage and service are not available everywhere. You will not be able to make 9-1-1 calls when cellular service is not available. Rate plans do not include government taxes or assessment surcharges and are subject to change. No roaming or long distance charges for domestic calls within the U.S. There are no additional fees to call GreatCall’s 24-hour U.S. Based Customer Service. However, for calls to an Operator in which a service is completed, minutes will be deducted from your monthly balance equal to the length of the call and any call connected by the Operator, plus an additional 5 minutes. 1 We will refund the full price of the GreatCall phone if it is returned within 30 days of purchase in like-new condition. We will also refund your first monthly service charge if you have less than 30 minutes of usage. If you have more than 30 minutes of usage, a per minute charge of 35 cents will apply for each minute over 30 minutes. The activation fee and shipping charges are not refundable. Jitterbug and GreatCall are registered trademarks of GreatCall, Inc. Samsung is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2013 Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC. Copyright ©2013 GreatCall, Inc. Copyright ©2013 by firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bettys by the Dozen by LaRayne Topp

hey’ve partied together at state conventions in Hawaiian muumuus and Mardi Gras leis, cowboy duds and star-studded, patriotic shirts. A fun-loving group, they’ve visited art shows, toured museums, celebrated each other’s birthdays and attended holiday events. They live on farms or in town, are married or single, tall or short. But there’s one thing you notice about them. If you happen to be in the midst of them and call out the name, Betty, every one of them will answer. All are members of a Betty Club, a nationwide club for Bettys only. The Platte Valley Betty Club was organized in 2001, with members first rounded up by Betty Marxsen of North Bend. “She’s our fearless leader,” the rest say. Marxsen read an article about the Bettys Clubs of Nebraska in an issue of Good Housekeeping magazine in 1999. She saw a photo of the group, dressed alike in sweatshirts and slacks. “That’s my kind of people,” Marxsen told herself, and began to call all the Bettys she knew in the Schuyler and North Bend area to begin a local branch. “Bettys like to run things,” Marxsen said. Betty Miller of David City agrees with a grin. The Platte Valley Betty Club originally met to assist the Schuyler Chamber of Commerce with its annual fund raisers. “That was our donation to society,”



Marxen explained. But today, they meet, as she says, “to take care of ourselves.” They don’t elect officers, collect dues or keep minutes. They just have fun. They do that by gathering together whenever the spirit moves them. How often is that? Not often enough, they say. Typically, the Bettys meet for lunch around four times a year, and then take in nearby sights or visit a local event. As many as possible attend the one-day convention of Nebraska’s Betty Clubs, listening to speakers and reveling in the entertainment. The Platte Valley Bettys will host the state’s annual Betty Clubs convention in April of 2014. Although the Bettys share a common name, none of them sport the wide eyes, spit curls and heartshaped lips of Betty Boop, an animated cartoon character created by Max Fleischer in 1930. Betty Boop made her first appearance on August 9, 1930, soon becoming one of the most well-known cartoon characters in the world. She went through a number of touch-ups after her start as a caricature of singer Helen Kane. Betty Boop became so popular many parents named their baby girls Betty. Because of their link to the famous cartoon character, many members of the Platte Valley Bettys collect Betty Boop Christmas ornaments, which they display at Christmas celebrations in nearby Columbus, Schuyler and David City.

Bettys gather to look over a scrapbook of p Glodowski, Rogers; and Betty Wachal, Schuy Miller and Betty Okrina, both of David City; an Henggeler, all of Schuyler; Betty Dowse, Betty The three communities receive electrical service for these displays from Omaha Public Power District, a company whose staff wishes the Betty Club success in their efforts to decorate with their unusual ornaments, according to Mike Jones, Senior Media Specialist with the OPPD. In addition to Betty Boop, Bettys were also named after personalities of the day: homemaker Betty Crocker, for instance, or actresses Betty Davis, Betty Grable or Betty White.

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past activities. They include, front row, left to right: Betty Marxsen, North Bend; Betty yler. Back row, from the left: Betty Elbracht, Howells; Betty Brichacek, Schuyler; Betty nd Betty Hamata, North Bend. Not pictured are Betty Bohaty, Betty Debower, and Betty y Hecker and Betty Phillips, all of David City; and Betty Mylander of North Bend. Betty Miller, however, wasn’t named after any cartoon character or famous actress. She was named after Queen Elizabeth of the Netherlands, she said, because her parents came from Holland and missed their homeland. The parents of Betty Hamata of North Bend named her Elizabeth because they were hoping for a nun in the family, although she never went by that name, answering to Betty instead. Betty Marxsen’s aunt called her Betty Boop, plus, several of

March 2013

Marxsen’s neighbors refer to her as Betty Boop whenever they see her out mowing her lawn. Instead of driving the rider lawn mower back and forth as many people do, she drives it around and around the house to trim the grass before parking the mower in the garage. “Here’s how’s her driving goes, boop, boop, deboop,” the neighbors say. So many baby girls were named Betty during the 1920s and ’30s, Betty was one of the most popular names given to newborn baby girls.

It’s no wonder then that the ages of the Platte Valley Bettys range in age from the early 60s through the 80s; the same as many other Betty Clubs throughout the nation. More recently, the popularity of the name has declined in usage, falling during the current decade below the top 1,000 names given to girls. At the same time, derivatives of the Betty name – Elizabeth, Bethany, Libby and Liz – have gained in popularity. The granddaughters of both Betty Glodowski of Rogers and Betty Elbracht of Howells are an example; they have granddaughters with Elizabeth for a middle name. A number of Platte Valley Bettys share a common middle name: Jean, although Marxsen sports the middle name Lavon, pronounced with a long O. She attended a state convention at one time, she said, in which the attendees were divided up by middle name, the Jeans sent to one corner, the Anns to another, and so on. “When it came to Lavon, I stood alone,” Marxsen said. Betty Marxsen calls herself a real Betty, although other Betty Club members are named Elizabeth. Betty Elbracht of Howells thought her real name was Elizabeth for years and years, she said, although she was always called Betty. Betty’s marriage license reads Elizabeth, in fact. When Elbracht applied for a passport, a birth certificate was required. It was then she found out she was, indeed, a real Betty. Whether an Elizabeth or a Betty, Betty Brichacek of Schuyler enjoys meeting with other Bettys in what she calls their exclusive club. She collects Betty Boop memorabilia whenever she goes on vacation. “I like to buy one nice remembrance, not trinket things,” Brichacek said. They’re not that easily found, she said, although she did collect a Betty Boop clock on a honeymoon trip. Betty Boop’s legs swing from beneath the clock and her eyes sweep from side to side. She’s probably looking around for other Bettys.


ave you ever noticed in your own garden how one vegetable plant can fail in one location yet thrive in another? Given the same soil, water and light, the two plants don’t seem to grow the same. The difference may be a plant that’s growing next door. This plant compatibility is the foundation of a gardening technique known as “companion planting” — a synergistic plant/world partnership that encourages plants to thrive and grow. This type of garden diversity is a complex codependency that increases the likelihood of combining plants that enhance each other’s performance. Companion planting can benefit your garden through five ways: providing nutrients, protecting against disease, repelling pest insects, attracting beneficial insects, and attracting bug-eating birds.


Companion Planting Some vegetables, herbs, and flowers protect and feed each other when grown side by side

by Kris Wetherbee

Plants that Nourish Certain plant allies improve the flavor of neighboring vegetables by providing nutrients. For example, comfrey, buckwheat and other plants with roots that grow deep can mine nutrients and bring them up to the surface, making them more available to other plants. Various cover crops (alfalfa, clover, and vetch, for example) also nourish neighboring plants with essential nutrients and trace minerals including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Other plants—such as peas, beans, lupines, and clover—have the ability to transport nitrogen from the air we breathe down into their roots, where bacteria can convert it into a plant-friendly form for neighboring plants. In this case, corn, peas, and other nitrogen-hungry plants make great companions as they will benefit from the “nitrogenfixing ability” of these legume-type plants. Plants that Protect Certain plants can improve the health of neighbors through a network of defensive chemicals that help ward off plant pests and disease.


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Marigolds are a classic example as both the French and African varieties contain thiopene in their roots—a substance that is toxic to certain types of soil-dwelling nematodes. As such, they make great companions for tomatoes, beans, and other plants that are susceptible to nematode damage. Plants that use similar defensive chemicals to protect against diseasecausing pathogens include garlic, onions, and chives—commonly known compatibles that prevent black spot on roses and scab on apples. Likewise, brassica roots release chemicals that suppress some soil-borne diseases. Equally important are silica-rich plants such as comfrey and borage, which may help neutralize rust, fungal attacks and other water-borne diseases. And dandelions in a tomato patch are a good thing as their presence may deter fusarium wilt, a soil-borne fungal disease that reduces plant health and overall yields. Other ways companion plants protect is by keeping it cool. Summertime heat can take a toll on radishes, spinach, lettuce and turnips. Larger plants such as pole beans and tomatoes provide needed shade, conserving moisture and reducing heat that would cause these vegetables to become woody or bolt.

March 2013


and beetles. Other plants contain phytotoxins that lure, then sicken or kill dining pests. Mustard oils found in cabbage and similar plants often poison unsuspecting spider mites, mosquitoes, and Mexican bean beetles. Therefore cabbage, broccoli, and kale make good companion plants for beans. Sometimes a plant can repel bugs simply by creating a physical barrier between the critter and the plant it wants to eat. If raccoons are raiding your corn you might surround it with a scratchy barrier of squash vines. One phenomenon I’ve noticed in my own garden is that flea beetles love to devour cabbage and cauliflower, but they never seem to bother the sticky, hairy leaves of tomatoes. When I planted the two vegetables together, they stopped bothering the cabbage and cauliPlease turn to page 16

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These bright calendula marigolds are right at home near some red lettuce. Marigolds contain thiopene in their roots—a substance that is toxic to certain types of soil-dwelling nematodes. Photograph by Rick Wetherbee

Plants that Repel Pests Most pests locate their next meal from their host plant’s chemical odors or color. A diversified garden boasts a complexity of plant odors, colors, and textures, thereby composing a natural barrier that makes it harder for these pests to locate their target meal. How easy it would be for the cabbage moth to hone in an area growing just broccoli and cabbage. By surrounding and interplanting that same area with carrots and onions you confuse the moth by masking the scent of the broccoli and cabbage. Strongly scented plants also benefit their neighbors by masking their scent, especially for those pests that rely on scent to locate good eats. Rosemary, sage, lavender, oregano and other strong-smelling plants often foil aphid attacks on susceptible neighbors. Another example is to plant the garden perimeter with garlic and marigolds to repel aphids

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that dine on cucumber beetles, grasshopper eggs, slugs, and caterpillar pests. And, when you get behind on harvesting your broccoli and lettuce, leave them be. Their flowers also provide a food source for beneficials.

Companion Planting From page 15 flower. Catnip is another repellent plant when it comes to flea beetles, Colorado potato beetles, and green peach aphids. But you don’t necessarily have to plant catnip in your garden to benefit from its protection. Catnip easily self-seeds, however if you grow it outside the garden it can then be cut and used as a protecting mulch. Additional repellent plants with beneficial qualities are leeks, onions, and rosemary against the carrot fly; parsley and tomatoes against the asparagus beetle; geraniums and petunias against leafhoppers; southernwood against cabbage moths; and nasturtiums against whiteflies. Plants that Attract Beneficial Insects In this case you want to attract bugs—at least when it comes to attracting beneficial insects that prey on pests. These insatiable insects seek out and destroy pests such as aphids, slugs and snails, cucumber beetles, caterpillars, and other nasty bugs that wreak havoc in our gardens. Adult beneficials and their larvae feed on insects, however these hardworking adults also need pollen- and nectar-rich flowers in order to sur-

Companion planting can benefit your garden through five ways: providing nutrients, protecting against disease, repelling pest insects, attracting beneficial insects, and attracting bug-eating birds. vive. Begin with spring-flowering plants such as sweet alyssum and sweet woodruff. Include long-blooming plants like marigolds, coreopsis, and petunias. Then extend the season with later blooming asters, chrysanthemums, and salvias. Attract parasitic wasps, lacewings, and syrphid flies with flowering members of the umbel family, including yarrow, parsley, dill, and chamomile. Doing so will greatly reduce pest populations of caterpillars, aphids, leafhoppers, and thrips. Sunflowers, echinacea, cosmos, zinnias, and other members of the composite/daisy family are prime flowers for luring in large predatory insects

Plants that Attract Bug-Eating Birds Another way to keep bad bugs in check is to attract birds that feast on insects. Bugs from soil-dwelling grubs to codling moths in flight provide a first-class feast for chickadees, robins, wrens, swallows, and other bug-eating birds. The best way to attract these beneficial birds is to grow a mix of nectar, seed, and fruit-bearing plants. For example, cosmos, asters, zinnias, sunflowers and other seed-bearing annual or perennial plants attract a variety of songbirds that also feast on insects. And tubular- or bell-shaped flowers rich in nectar—such as bee balm, pineapple sage, nicotiana, verbena, and salvia—lure in hummingbirds, which also dine on caterpillars and small insects in addition to nectar. Companion planting is all about diversity, which is key to any healthy garden. So go ahead and experiment with your own companion plantings. Grow flowers and herbs among your vegetables. For that matter, tuck in a variety of vegetables in your flower bed. The end result is bound to be a more beautiful, sustainable, and bountiful garden.

A diversified garden uses a variety of plant odors, colors, and textures as natural pest barrier. Cabbage moths are confused when the scent of broccoli and cabbage are masked by onions and carrots growing next door. Photographs by Rick Wetherbee


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A camp for kids who like to think ach year member systems of the Nebraska Rural Electric Association accept applications from area high school students to attend the NREA Youth Energy Camp at the State 4-H Camp in the Halsey National Forest. The 2013 Youth Energy Camp will be held July 15 - 19. The popular week-long camp is set up to give young people a better understanding of electricity, power generation and the rural electric program. Our goal is to offer a program that challenges participants educationally, recreationally and socially. The Youth Energy Camp is established as an operating power district and provides a “hands-on” approach to member-owned businesses. The students will join other high school students from Nebraska and Wyoming, along with adult counselors and junior counselors. The adult counselors are employees of rural electric systems who donate their time and talents to the camp. The junior counselors are selected by their peers to return to next year’s camp. On the first day of camp, a board of directors is elected to oversee the


operation of the newly formed electric power district. The board then chooses a general manager to oversee the committee activities and act as a liaison between the counselors and campers.

and have a week of fun! Every participant has a role in the workings of the camp. Students can participate in the Ambassador competition or actively seek a position on the Board of Directors. Each student must also volunteer to serve on at least one of the committees responsible for various aspects of the camp activities. There is even a talent show where the campers can show off their various talents. A highlight of the camp involves a tour of the Kingsley Hydro Station at Lake McConaughy and Gerald Gentleman Station, a coal-fired power plant at Sutherland, Neb. High school students who attend the energy camp may compete for a

chance to participate in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Youth Tour in Washington D.C. with expenses paid by the Nebraska Rural Electric Association. Three students are chosen as part of the Ambassador competition held during camp. The competition involves submitting an application at camp, presenting a self-introduction speech and delivering a five-minute speech on an assigned topic. Each camper votes for three candidates following the speech with the top male, top female and person with the next highest vote total becoming next year’s ambassadors. The top six finalists and ties are invited to return to next year’s Youth Energy Camp as junior counselors. Recreational activities include basketball, volleyball and canoeing. Camp expenses and transportation are provided by each sponsoring rural electric system. High school freshmen, sophomores and juniors whose families are customers of NREA member systems may apply. For more information about attending Youth Energy Camp, send the form below to your rural electric provider.

2013 Youth Energy Camp RSVP Form Name _________________________________________________ Age _______ Current Grade _______________________________ Address _______________________________________________ Phone number (____)______________________________________ City __________________________ State _____ ZIP __________ Name of parents or guardian ________________________________ Sponsoring rural electric system __________________________________________

March 2013


Emerson named as new NRECA CEO uring its Winter Board Meeting on December 3, 2012, the NRECA Board of Directors announced that U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) will assume the role of NRECA CEO effective March 1. Emerson, who will become the fifth CEO in NRECA’s 71-year history, will officially join the organization on February 11 and be formally introduced to the membership at the NRECA Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La., the following week. “We conducted an exhaustive search to identify the very best individual to lead a great association,” remarks NRECA Board President Mike Guidry of Louisiana. “We found that person in Jo Ann Emerson. Her background as a member of Congress and a trade association executive— coupled with her extensive knowledge of the issues facing electric cooperatives and rural America—make her eminently qualified to lead NRECA and represent the interests of its members. The respect she has from both sides of the aisle and her proven ability to bridge political and policy divides and find common ground will serve us well.” Emerson, first elected to the U.S. House in 1996 from Missouri’s 8th Congressional District, most recently served on the House Appropriations Committee and as chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, which has oversight of the U.S. Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, and various independent federal agencies, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the General Services Administration, and the Small Business Administration. In addition, she has taken a leadership role on agriculture, health care, and government reform issues during her congressional career and won recognition for her work on energy, including being presented with the NRECA Distinguished Service Award in 2006.



Jo Ann Emerson will assume the role of NRECA CEO on March 1. Photograph provided by Office of U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson Along with her committee posts, Emerson also serves as co-chairman of the Tuesday Group, a council of House GOP centrists; is a member of

the NATO Parliamentary Assembly; and holds a position on the board of the Congressional Hunger Center. A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, she held executive roles in communications and government affairs with the National Restaurant Association and the American Insurance Association before being elected to the first of nine terms in Congress. “Without reliable, affordable electricity delivered by electric cooperatives serving thousands of communities, millions of Americans would be left without the energy that brings economic opportunity, unsurpassed quality of life, and the promise of growth in the future,” says Emerson. “NRECA is committed to the electric cooperatives of this great nation, and works hard every day to improve the quality of life for their consumermembers. I am very honored to join an outstanding organization to work on their behalf.”

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a new screen opens up. It’s so easy to use you won’t have to ask your children or grandchildren for help. Until now the very people who could benefit most from E-mail, and the Internet are the ones that have had the hardest time accessing it. Now, thanks to the WOW Computer, countless older Americans are discovering the wonderful world of the Internet every day. Isn’t it time you took part? Call now, and a patient, knowledgeable product expert will tell you how you can try it in your

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Do Radiant Barriers Work? Some confusion exists thanks to misleading advertising and a lack of independent testing on some newer products

by Brian Sloboda

n many parts of the U.S., especially regions where you need significant air conditioning to maintain comfort, installing a radiant barrier can cut down the amount of heat your home receives from the sun. Unfortunately, lots of confusion surrounds how radiant barrier products are effective and in what applications. A radiant barrier is usually installed on the underside of your roof to help reduce the flow of radiant heat—the kind of heat transfer that you feel, as when the sun shines on your skin. Keeping radiant heat from entering your living space can significantly reduce air conditioning needs as well as improve the comfort of non-conditioned structures. Several factors impact radiant barrier effectiveness: • Climate. Areas that require a lot of cooling will provide the best return on a radiant barrier. • Attic insulation. As a general rule, the more insulation in an attic, the less effective a radiant barrier will be. • Location of ductwork. Radiant barrier systems generate greater savings when HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) ductwork is located in the attic. • Installation of the barrier. Radiant barriers are specialized equipment, and improper installation will dramatically lower their effectiveness. Radiant barrier material costs tend to be low—19 cents per square foot—but installation can add anywhere from 35 cents to $1 per square foot on top of that. Homeowners should shop around and compare prices and experience when selecting a contractor. Your contractor should be able to supply you with results from tests done according to ASTM International—an independent standards-setting organization—that will verify performance of the radiant barrier you’ve selected. Asking questions is important. In some cases, putting in the wrong product can actually increase the amount of hot air entering your home.


Types of radiant barriers A sheet radiant barrier, the most common type on the market, consists of highly reflective metallic foil laminated to one or both sides of a substrate, such as reinforced film, bubble film, or foam. To the naked eye it looks like aluminum foil. The material is most often stapled to the underside of a roof or across rafters. Single-


sided products must be installed with the reflective surface facing the inside of the attic. These barriers should not be installed on the floor, and their effectiveness will diminish over time as dust builds up. Energy savings will generally average from 2 percent to 12 percent. Interior radiation-control coating systems (IRCCS) are applied as a liquid to the underside of a roof with either a brush or sprayer. They are ideal for oddly shaped roofs or attics. Consumers should expect an energy savings of 1 percent to 7 percent. Some coatings are designed for exterior walls. While no standard exists for these products, payback will be affected by trees or other features that block the sun’s rays from the side of a home. Generally, these coatings are white, but a few come in different colors. Effectiveness has not been fully tested, but energy savings could range between 1 percent and 6 percent. Reflective insulation consists of a core material—bubble film, foam, or kraft sheets that entrap air spaces— with one or more outside layers of metallic film. When these products are used in open applications like an attic, they are considered radiant barriers; when installed within cavities with air spaces on one or both sides, they are considered reflective insulations. Reflective insulation can tag team with foam and other types of insulation to achieve higher R-values. Radiant chips—which are blown into an attic floor space—have appeared recently with claims that dust will not affect them because chips remain below the surface and continue to work even after the top layer gets coated. To date, no independent analysis of radiant chips has been conducted and consumers should be skeptical until proof exists. Finally, cool roofs aren’t usually called radiant barriers, but they work by reflecting solar radiation—which helps to prevent heat from getting into the attic to begin with. Light-colored roofs naturally will reflect more than dark ones, but new materials are available that will reflect even more sunshine. The concept began with commercial buildings but has begun to see use in residences, as well.

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Complete with Huskers® cap and blanket, and miniature football

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Shown slightly smaller than actual size. This doll is not a toy, but a fine collectible. ©2013 The University of Nebraska.

hand-crafted like a true champion There’s always plenty to cheer about if you’re a fan of the Nebraska Cornhuskers®— unless of course they’re not playing! Then you can’t help but ask, “Is it game day yet?” just like this little guy, the Premier Issue in the very FIRST Nebraska Cornhuskers® #1 Fan Commemorative Doll Collection. Officially licensed by The University of Nebraska®, this 5-inch doll by master artist Sherry Rawn is amazingly lifelike, from his irresistible chubbiness to his perfectly sculpted little fingers and toes! Best of all, he’s outfitted just like a Husker® fan his age would be with a Huskers® cap and blanket—sporting the Huskers® logos and colors— and a football just his size! A must-have for Husker® fans—only for a limited time! Beginning with “Is It Game Day Yet?,” each of the dolls in the Nebraska Cornhuskers® #1 Fan Commemorative Doll Collection can be yours for only $39.98*, payable in two installments of $19.99—a remarkable value! Your satisfaction is guaranteed for one full year, so there’s no risk. But orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis—for a limited-time only, so order now! ©2013 The Ashton-Drake Galleries, 9200 N. Maryland Ave., Niles, IL 60714-1397


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*Plus a total of $7.99 shipping and service charges per doll. Please allow 2 to 4 weeks for shipment of the first issue after order is received. All orders are subject to acceptance.


Look up, Stay alert during outdoor work, play s the weather begins warm up, kids and adults alike will soon head outside to perform winter clean-up and play. Before they do, remind them to look up and be alert for power lines and other electrical hazards, the best way to stay safe from electrocution—and even death. “Using proper procedures and safety measures is a matter of life and death,” explains Bob Cooper, NREA Job Training and Safety Coordinator. “We take safety seriously at home, too. Accidents happen, but if we educate ourselves and our children, we can keep them to a minimum.”


For kids • Never fly a kite on a rainy day or anywhere but an open space. A high point in the sky makes a kite a grounding point for lightning, and kites could easily become tangled in power lines. • Don’t climb trees that are near power lines and poles—evergreens can disguise dangers this time of year; leaves during the spring and summer. • Stay far away from power lines


Lingering winter storms and the onset of spring storms can bring down power lines and poles. When outdoor activities begin, remember to stay away from downed lines; you can’t tell if electricity is still flowing through them. Photograph provided by Liz Roll/FEMA lying on the ground. You can’t tell if electricity is still flowing through them. If there’s water nearby, don’t go in it. Water is the best conductor of electricity. • Obey signs that say “danger” and “keep out” around large electrical equipment, like substations. These signs aren’t warnings; they’re commands to keep you safe. • Never climb a power pole.

For adults • If power lines run through your trees, call your local rural electric utility—professional tree trimmers with proper protective equipment can trim branches safely. • Remember that power lines and other utilities run underground, too. Call 811 to have utility lines marked before you start digging. • Starting that winter cleanup yard work? Sweep dried leaves and debris from outdoor receptacles. • If they’re not already, consider upgrading your outdoor receptacles—or any outlets that could come in contact with water—to ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs immediately interrupt power flow when a plugged-in device comes in contact with water. Regardless, keep your outlets and cords dry and covered outside. • Use only weather-resistant, heavy-duty extension cords marked for outdoor use. • Don’t leave outdoor power tools unattended for curious children or animals to find. Sources: Electrical Safety Foundation International, Safe Electricity

Rural Electric Nebraskan


Keep your indoor air healthy and clean by James Dulley

: I want the best air quality at Q home for my family. Which type of central air cleaner is best, and will installing a central air cleaner make my heating and cooling more efficient? : Indoor air quality is becoming a issue for families as homes become more airtight for energy efficiency. And with all the synthetic products used in homes today, indoor air is often more polluted and hazardous to your health than outdoor air. Installing a high-quality central air cleaner or filter in the furnace/air conditioner duct system does not technically improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. What it will do is keep the units running at their highest original efficiency levels. Most air cleaners use little or no electricity to operate. With a lower-quality air cleaner, such as the standard one-inch-thick fiberglass filter, dust and dirt can build up on the heat exchanger and cooling coil surfaces. This dust creates a layer of insulation so that heat is not transferred as effectively as it should be. This reduces the overall energy efficiency. If you don’t change the filter often enough, dirt can clog the many pores in the filter medium and reduce air flow through it. This further reduces efficiency because the heating and cooling coils and heat exchangers are designed for a specific air flow rate. Within the past several years, manufacturers have begun producing new, super-efficient central air cleaners. They use a combination of electronic air charging and filter media to trap almost all of the tiniest particles in the air. They can even catch flu viruses and bacteria as they pass

A greater


through the duct system. Standard electronic air cleaners use wires to give air particles a negative charge. A collection cell has plates with a positive charge so the negatively charged particles stick to it. When the collection cell is dirty, you can wash it in the dishwasher or bathtub and slip it back into the unit.

With its great thickness as compared to a standard fiberglass filter, a pleated media air cleaner usually requires professional installation for the duct modifications needed. Photograph provided by Aprilaire For many people, this standard type of electronic air cleaner is adequate. I use one in the heat pump in my own home. For people with allergies to some of the smallest particles in indoor air, the new electronic air cleaners with the charged filter media may be more effective. The electricity cost to operate either type of electronic air cleaner is not significant. It’s important to regularly clean the collection cell of the standard elec-

tronic air cleaner to keep it operating at maximum cleaning performance and reduce the amount of ozone generated. When the cell gets dirty, the charge can arch from the wires to the collection plate. This may produce excessive concentrations of ozone gas, to which some people are sensitive. I set mine to a lower charging voltage to reduce ozone. Another option is a pleated media air cleaner. This type of unit is less expensive and relies on many square feet of folded filter material to catch particles as the air passes through it. There are various levels of media quality and price. The cleaning effectiveness of various models can be compared by their MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating. If you don’t want to have the ducts modified to install a new air cleaner, consider a self-charging electrostatic model. This slips into the existing furnace filter slot and is many times more effective than a fiberglass filter. Just the air flowing over the resin filter material creates a charge that tends to trap more dirt particles. Another option is a bypass HEPA (high efficiency particle air) cleaner that has its own air circulation motor. A HEPA is a very dense media filter, which makes it very effective, but it may create too much resistance for the furnace blower to force adequate air flow through it. The bypass design has its own blower so the air flow through the coils or heat exchanger is not impeded. With any central air cleaner, it cleans only when a furnace/air conditioner blower is running. To get around this, Aprilaire offers a new controller which mounts next to the wall thermostat. It allows you to automatically run the blower for any length of time when no heating or cooling is needed.

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

Rural Electric Nebraskan


THAT FEED OUR ECONOMY. Here in the West, we depend on reliable, affordable electricity to nurture the land and grow the economy. In the cooperative spirit, your local electric co-op and its power supplier, Tri-State, are doing our part to ensure rural businesses receive value for the electricity they use. Tri-State provides incentives through its member co-ops to help farms and ranches manage electricity use – which helps reduce all of our costs and keeps communities thriving. 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.



Golden Vegetable Soup 3 cups chopped potatoes 1 cup water 1/2 cup celery slices 1/2 cup carrot slices 1/4 cup onion 1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1 chicken bouillon cube 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups milk 2 tablespoons flour 1 cup Velveeta cheese cubes

Combine first 8 ingredients. Mix well. Cover; simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Gradually add milk to flour, mix until well blended. Add milk mixture to vegetables; stir and cook until thickened. Add cheese cubes and stir until cheese melts.

Vlasta Zrust, Clarkson, Nebraska

Caramel Bread Pudding

Pizza Del Giorno 5 cups halved, sliced yellow or red onions (about 1-1/2 pounds) 8 ounces spicy fully-cooked smoked sausage, sliced 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 Italian bread pizza shell (12inch) 1/4 cup broken walnuts, toasted 8 ounces mozzarella, sliced 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme 1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper or pimento strips SautĂŠ onions with sausage in olive oil in large skillet for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add a little oil if needed. Add vinegar and mix. Turn onion-sausage mixture over onto pizza shell. Top with walnuts, cheese, chopped herbs and bell pepper. Bake at 400 degrees 15 minutes or until hot through. Makes 1 (12-inch) pizza or 6 servings.

Recipe provided by the National Onion Association

6 slices day-old bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 1 cup hot water 1 cup packed brown sugar 4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups warm milk 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon salt

Place bread in a greased 2-quart baking dish. Combine water and brown sugar, pour over bread. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm or cold.

Stacey Mattox, Broken Bow, Nebraska

Bacon Tomato Pasta Stir Fry 6 oz. or 2 cups Bow Tie pasta (cooked, drained, kept warm) 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 2 boneless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips 1 cup baby carrots halved lengthwise 1/4 cup water

2 cups frozen sugar snap peas 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/4 teaspoon garlic 1/2 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons shredded fresh Parmesan Cheese

Prepare pasta as directed on package, keep warm. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add bacon, cook 4-6 minutes or until brown and crisp. Remove bacon. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings and add chicken, stir 3-5 minutes. Add sugar snap peas, tomato, garlic, pepper and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink, stir occasionally. Stir in pasta, bacon, and 4 tablespoons cheese. Cook and stir until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cheese.

Darlus McWilliams, Norfolk, Nebraska


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

For a FREE color brochure send the ad coupon or call toll free 800-658-7076 or fax 507-462-3211. P.O. Box 116, Minnesota Lake, MN 56068-0116

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

March 2013




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Arena Special (roof & frame) 100’ x 100’ x 14’...$33,992 (Local codes may affect prices)


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Rural Electric Nebraskan

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(Picea pungens glauca) A shining blue, northern-grown specimen which will add an interesting contrast to your landscape. These make excellent corner planting and windbreaks. Are often used as an individual specimen because of their beautiful coloring. You receive strong, nicely-rooted, nursery-grown, 3 year old, 10-18″ seedlings.

Dozens of large stalks grow to about 3′ topped with silky y, soft plumes soaring above them. Outstanding as a background or as an accent plant. Grows to a height of 6-10′ tall with plumes. Plumes start midsummer and last through winter. Hardy and will grow in most parts of America! Plant in full to partial sun, 2-5′ apart. Potted plants. Zones 5-10.



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(Plant Screen trees 9′ apart.) One Hybrid Poplar Tree sent at no charge when you send us a paid order (any size) for Hybrid Poplars below. Only one FREE tree per customer.

HOW MANY ITEM # N5246 N5247 N5324 N6164 N6166 N6168 N6151 N6208

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If any item you purchased from us does not live, for a free replacement just return the original shipping label along with your written request within 1 year of receipt. Replacement guarantee is void unless the original shipping label is returned. For a refund of the purchase price, return the item and the original shipping label with correct postage affixed within 14 days of receipt.





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(Rubus) A vigorous growerr, it starts to bear mid-summer and continues until fall. Berries are large and sweet, wonderful fresh, canned or frozen. One of the most winter hardy blackberries. Grow 4-7′ tall. One year old number one plants. Zones 4-8.

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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...