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March 2014

Volume 68, Number 3, March 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 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.

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.

Contents Features

Mining Uranium Under Nebraska


Protecting the land and water are among the priorities of all the employees at the Crow Butte Uranium Mine in northwest Nebraska. The mine has been in operation since 1991 in Dawes County and continues to produce a product that is used around the world to provide clean, affordable electricity.

Nebraska’s Neighbor


As the only state in the nation served entirely by public power utilities, there are many misconceptions about our Nebraska’s electric system. Pat Pope, president and CEO of Nebraska Public Power District, explains what public power means for our state.

Departments EDITOR’S PAGE












On the cover Crow Butte is one of the most prominent landmarks in the northwest corner of Nebraska. The site of a legendary battle in 1849 between the Sioux and Crow tribes, it gives its name to a uranium mine nearby. See related story on page 6. Photograph by Wayne Price.

Rates: $10 for one year; $15 for two years; $20 for three years, plus local and state tax.

March 2014



The message of safety is worth hearing again ne of the most important jobs performed by public power districts and electric cooperatives in Nebraska is teaching children about electrical safety. Most of the systems have programs with elementary schools in their service areas to teach kids about the dangers of electricity. Some rural electric utilities provide high voltage safety demonstrations at county fairs or other local events. Promoting electrical safety is an important priority for the electric industry. Kids are told not to fly kites near power lines, not to climb trees when power lines are nearby and to stay out of substations. Most of us adults have heard those same messages over the years. You’ve probably heard them from your local power utility. “Look up and Live” is a common safety message. The message of electric safety is one that we all need to hear and hear often. In the United States there are, on average, 325 people killed and 4,400 injured every year because of electrical hazards. Electricity ranks sixth among all causes of occupational fatalities. With warmer temperatures and an increase in yard work and other outdoor activities, the chance of an electrical incident also increases. Contact with power lines, both above and below ground, is the leading cause of fatal electrical incidents in the workplace, according to the National Safety Council. Workers using ladders, farmers moving irrigation pipe, and anyone operating large machinery or equipment need to be aware of power lines and stay clear of them. If you’re working outside around the house or on the farm or ranch, take a moment to look for power lines above your head. If you have to carry a ladder, aluminum siding, irrigation pipes, fencing or even lumber, stay clear of power lines. The best safety suggestion is for everyone to stay at least 10 feet away from power lines. According to a study on occupational electrical injuries in the U.S., contact with power lines caused 44 percent of workrelated fatalities from 1992 to 2010. Construction workers suffered the highest electrical fatalities, the report noted.

O by Wayne Price


Following a few simple safety rules can reduce the chance of injury or even death. • When working on a roof, which may put you close to an overhead power line, avoid standing up and accidentally touching a line with your head or shoulder. • A ladder that makes contact with a power line can be fatal, even if the ladder is made of wood. • If you see a downed power line, contact your local utility immediately. Don’t touch the line or anything that is in contact with the line. Don’t attempt to move the line. Keep others away. • Unplug all outdoor tools and appliances when not in use. • Inspect power tools for frayed cords, broken plugs and cracked or broken housings. Repair or replace damaged items immediately. • Water and electricity do not mix. Avoid working in damp conditions, including wet grass, when using electricity. If you touch a grounded surface and hazardous electrical equipment at the same moment, you can get an electric shock. The shock is the result of electric current (amperage) flowing from the electrical equipment through your body to the ground. The amount of damage depends on what part of the body receives the current and how long the current flows through the body. Even a small amount of amperage can be fatal. Knowing what to do when someone does come into contact with electricity is also important. The first thing to remember is don’t panic. If someone makes contact with a power line outdoors, contact the police and emergency medical services immediately. Do NOT touch the person and do NOT try to use a tool or stick to free the person. If the person makes contact with an indoor power source, follow these steps: Contact emergency medical services right away. Don't touch anyone who has become grounded. Switch off power at the fuse or circuit-breaker box or pull the plug. Call the local electric utility if you cannot get the power shut off. Don’t forget to talk to your kids or grandkids about being safe around electricity. It is important to teach them to respect the power of electricity.

Rural Electric Nebraskan


A look at public power from on top of a soap box t’s kind of funny how over time our governing boards are elected things kind of repeat themselves. locally. We are in business to reliably We had a customer serve our customers bring me the Rural and any margins we Electric Nebraskan from have goes back in to up April of 1972. It was kind keep and building of the of fun to look back at the system to serve those topics of the articles and customers. Not to to see what “Custer shareholders. We are Public Power” was talking required by state about in the insert, when statute to serve our I noticed an editorial page customers reliably and with the title of “Spirit of at the lowest cost Rick Nelson Nebraska.” possible. General Manager The editor of the I feel compelled to Custer Public magazine wanted to “get end with the editors Power District up on his soapbox.” So I closing paragraph: continued reading wondering what “Undoubtedly, you also have run was important in 1972 that he had to into these “types” of zealous friends. get up on “his soapbox.” Take a tip from me – don’t lose your He, Robert Anderson, editor, was having a conversation with somebody from Omaha about public power. His friend was talking about doing away with public power and the rural electric system. The argument was that public power was being subsidized by the Government, and it should be sold to private companies who are more efficient. I’m sure there were more arguments than that in the conversation, but I’m going off his editorial and those were the ones mentioned. Therefore, after hearing enough of his friend’s arguments, that’s when he found his soap box. Anderson listed 10 facts about the rural electric systems; most of which are still applicable today. I’ll just cite a few. Rural electric systems cover over 75 percent of the land mass in the United States. By policy, every rural power district must serve its entire rural area – everyone. The average rural residential customer now uses about 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month compared to 695 kilowatt-hours in 1972 and 357 kilowatt-hours in 1960. As I ponder public power existence, I also have to throw into the mix that


March 2014

soap box. Take it along and tell it like it is. Nebraska’s rural electric systems don’t need any apologies. They are the best approach yet to bringing the lowest possible priced electrical power to Nebraska’s rural areas, utilizing sound business principles.” Robert Anderson, editor I tell this story, not for the historical content, although it was fun to read, but for the significance of the content. Just like it was some 40 years ago, there are people who think that public power is not efficient or stand in the way of progress. This is absolutely not the case. I say good for you Robert back in 1972 for standing up for public power. Now you’re going to see me stand up on my soapbox a little more often as well.


Mining Uranium under Nebraska by Wayne Price

f you ask most Nebraskans about nuclear power in our state, they would probably mention the generating plants at Brownville and Fort Calhoun, along the Missouri River. Not many would mention another connection to nuclear power, the Crow Butte uranium mine in Dawes County in the northwest corner of Nebraska. Located near the town of Crawford, Neb. the uranium mine is the first step in the process of producing the fuel that powers a nuclear plant. Most Nebraskans don’t realize the Crow Butte uranium mine has been in operation for more than 20 years, and is in the process of expanding its mining field. Uranium is a silvery-white metal, roughly 70 percent denser than lead and is the only naturally-occurring fissile element on Earth. Uranium is more common than tin, about 40 times more common than silver and 500 times more common than gold. It’s found in very low concentrations almost everywhere on Earth in soil, rocks, water and even in your own back yard. Uranium at Crow Butte occurs in sandstone aquifers as coatings on sand grains at up to 300 meters underground. Uranium is removed



using a grid of injection and production wells. The mining process at Crow Butte uses the in situ recovery (ISR) method. There are no large machines digging into the ground or any tunnels or open pits. Instead there are what appear to be overturned garbage cans dotting the hillside along with the occasional small metal building. Those cans are well-head covers, to keep exposed pipes from freezing in the harsh winters “We are basically a large water treatment plant,” said Larry Teahon, Manager Safety, Health, Environment & Quality. “This is essentially a closed-loop recirculation system.” The uranium is insoluble in the native groundwater. Small amounts of oxygen and bicarbonate (baking soda) are added to the injection stream to dissolve the uranium. Water from the production wells is reintroduced in the injection wells. Slightly less water is injected than withdrawn to ensure the fluids are

Resin beads are used to carry uranium to a processing plant for recovery. confined to the ore zones intended for extraction. The uranium solution, less than 1/10 of one percent uranium, is then pumped from a production well to a satellite facility where the uranium is transferred to ion exchange resin beads similar to the sand from which it was extracted. The uranium-bearing resin is then pumped to a processing Please turn to page 8

Rural Electric Nebraskan

The Story Behind the Switch: Uranium mining Uranium ore is mined using the in situ recovery method, by pumping groundwater mixed with small amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide into the ground.

Conversion Uranium concentrates are purified through refining and converted to uranium hexafluoride, a chemical form required for the enrichment process.

Enrichment UF6 is enriched to prepare it for use as fuel in light water reactors.

Electricity Generation In early 2011, there were 437 operable nuclear reactors in 30 countries, providing nearly 14 percent of the world’s electricity.

March 2014


Mining uranium in Neb. From page 6 plant where it is removed from the beads, precipitated and dried to become the final product, yellowcake. It is stored in 55-gallon drums and shipped to a refinery facility in Canada for further concentration into nuclear fuel. Monitor wells are installed to allow testing of groundwater quality above, below and around the target zones to ensure fluids do not move outside those areas.There are more than 375 monitor wells that are tested every two weeks. These tests are done to ensure any potential issues remain within the mine field and do not have an impact on the neighboring area. “That’s different from the hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking,’ associated with natural gas,” he said. The in situ recovery extractive method is environmentally friendly because: • once operations are complete, groundwater is restored to regulatory standards • no waste or tailings facility is required • surface lands are easily restored to their original state “Crow Butte has never been cited by any government agency for polluting a well off the mine site,” said Teahon. In 22 years of operation, no contaminants from the mine operation have been detected downstream from the site. Crow Butte produces about 2,000 pounds of processed uranium per day. In 2012 the mine produced 0.8 million pounds of uranium. Protecting the land and water are among the priorities of all the employees at the Crow Butte Uranium Mine in northwest Nebraska. The mine has been in operation since 1991 in Dawes County and continues to produce a product that is used around the world to provide clean, affordable electricity. “Safety is also our priotity,” said


Larry Teahon checks on the water well system that is part of the mining procress. Teahon is the manager of Safety, Health, Environment & Quality at the Crow Butte mine. Teahon. “We work hard to make sure our employees are working in a safe environment.” Crow Butte is licensed and regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The operation also is subject to other federal and state regulations for the protection of people and the environment, including by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and

by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Federal and state regulators conduct regular site inspections and audits to verify that people and the environment are protected. The Crow Butte operation undergoes regular review and renewal of its operating permits and licenses. Crow Butte is served by Northwest Rural Public Power District, which is headquartered in Hay Springs, Neb.

Rural Electric Nebraskan

Tri-State to add 150 MW wind farm in eastern Colorado ri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. announced that it has entered into a 25-year agreement with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC for a 150 megawatt wind power generating facility to be constructed in eastern Colorado.



Under the 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA), Tri-State will purchase the entire output and associated environmental attributes of the Carousel Wind Farm. The 150 MW facility will be Tri-State’s largest wind energy PPA to date. When the project begins commercial operation, the wind

farm will provide affordable electricity to Tri-State’s 44 member cooperatives across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. “This was a timely and cost-effective opportunity for us to diversify our generation fleet and deepen our expertise in the challenging area of integrating variable energy resources,” said Brad Nebergall, Tri-State’s senior vice president. The Carousel Wind Farm agreement was the result of a solicitation for renewable resources issued by TriState in early 2013, months before the Colorado legislature approved a new mandate doubling the renewable standard for the state’s rural electric cooperatives. Although the project will assist the association to meet that mandate, as well as a renewable energy standard in place in New Mexico, Tri-State believes such mandates are unnecessary and that the not-forprofit cooperative’s resource decisions should be directed by its democratically-elected board. A NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary will construct, own and operate the Carousel Wind Farm. The project will interconnect to existing Tri-State transmission facilities in the Burlington area and is possible only because of planned transmission upgrades in the area. The upgrades have been in the planning process since 2010 and are expected to be completed in 2016. Nebergall notes that constraints in the grid system are making it increasingly harder to site and construct generation facilities in the region. The new facility will ultimately contribute to an increasingly diverse energy portfolio for the not-for-profit wholesale power supplier. Today, renewable resources generate approximately 23 percent of the energy that Tri-State provides its member systems. To date, Tri-State member cooperatives have 38 projects representing a total of 52 megawatts in place or under development. Source: Tri-State G&T

Rural Electric Nebraskan

Down The Enlightened Path by L.A. Jackson

aths are, of course, necessities when it comes to walking from Point A to Point B in a garden, but as utilitarian as they are, with proper planning, they can actually add to the beauty of the landscape. Below are some pointers that will help lead you down an enlightened path to a prettier garden.


Material What should your path be made of? The best answer lies in the effect you want such a trail to have on the landscape as well as the amount of work you prefer to devote to it. Here are a few suggestions: • Grass: Grass certainly has the natural beauty to accent any garden, but of all the materials that could make up a path, it is one of the highest in maintenance. Coring, liming, mowing, renovating, insect control, disease control, weed control—it can be a lot of work, which is time taken away from other garden chores. • Gravel: Pea-size gravel can visually blend in well with garden beds, but for those who enjoy their quiet time in the garden, keep in mind that each step down such a path will be accompanied by a loud “Crunch!” So, instead of smooth, rounded pebbles, opt for rough, jagged gravel, as it will lessen the noisy “slip-slide” factor. Also, to hold pebble shift down to a minimum, don’t layer this rocky path deeper than 3 inches. Keep the rocks in bounds by either digging the


A path of flat stones blends naturally into this New Mexico garden. Photograph by L.A. Jackson walkway out to a depth of 3 inches or flanking the sides of the path with 3inch-tall retaining barriers. And to help prevent weeds, lay down sheets of plastic weed-block on the walkway before spreading gravel. • Bark and Wood Chips: These tree

byproducts give a similar natural ambiance to a path as gravel but with much less noise. Bark, as well as wood chips, comes in many shades of brown, so you can fine-tune the Please turn to page 16

Rural Electric Nebraskan

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Down the Enlightened Path From page 14 visual appeal of a path. Unlike gravel, they will decompose, and replacement or refurbishment will usually be necessary every two to three years. As with gravel, adding (or digging) a retaining barrier and including weed-block is a good idea. • Stone: Large slabs of flat rocks for paths have much the same appeal as gravel, but without the crunch. Stones can be expensive, but they are also a rather permanent, lowmaintenance addition to a garden. However, it is still a good idea each winter to check the stones to make sure they are firmly embraced by terra firma. Any loose rocks should be reseated before garden activities pick up in the spring. • Brick and Block Pavers: Like stone, they can be fairly permanent fixtures in a landscape, and also like stone, they can be expensive. But they do look elegant. The repeat patterns possible from bricks and pavers make them ideal candidates for gardens that have more formal layouts. Path Width There is no set width for a path—just let available space and common sense, along with the following observations, be your guide. • One Foot Wide: If you want to have flashbacks to your days on Marine Recon patrol, this is your kind of path. • Two Feet Wide: Still a little too close, but with tall plants, it could make for a suitable surprise setup leading to the entrance of a special spot or secret garden. • Three Feet Wide: A bit snug, especially for carts, lawn mowers and other such garden helpers, but if it is flanked by border beds that contain low-growing plants, it is adequate for strolling visitors. • Four to Six Feet Wide: Optimum width for a path in a private garden, providing enough room for exploring visitors as well as gardeners on all fours doing plant maintenance


Although it can be high maintenance, grass makes these paths very eyeappealing. Photograph by L.A. Jackson without wasting bed space that could otherwise be used to show off more plants. Plant Suggestions Finding flashy flowers is easy—and subject to personal preferences—but for extra character and interest, consider: • Floppers: Think about softening the borders of a path by adding plants that playfully spill over onto the garden lane in a controlled

manner. Such candidates include ice plant, woodland phlox, vinca, lantana, Solomon’s seal, purple beautyberry, portulaca and dianthus. • Automatic Aromatics: Make your path a fragrant one and place plants that release their special scents when touched close to the walkway so they will be brushed against. Good choices are Russian sage, beebalm, scented geraniums, lemon verbena, thyme, rosemary, lemon grass and basil.

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Take control of your water heater ou may not realize it, but the water heater is the second largest user of energy in most homes in Nebraska. Only space heating and cooling systems use more. However, unlike heating and cooling equipment which are seasonal, your water heater works year round. The average home uses 65 gallons of hot water per day. If you pay an average of 12¢ per kilowatt-hour for electricity, you may be spending over $800 per year for hot water! If you are shopping for a new or replacement unit, there is a lot to consider. With today’s technologies, there are several different types of water heaters available: • Conventional storage water heaters offer a ready reservoir (storage tank) of hot water. • Tankless or demand-type water heaters heat water directly without a storage tank. • Heat pump water heaters move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly for providing hot water. • Solar water heaters use the sun’s heat to provide hot water. • Tankless coil and indirect water heaters use a home’s space heating system to heat water. Cost varies from technology-totechnology. In general, more-efficient technologies cost more up front but provide significant savings over time, which reduces the total amount you have to pay to have hot water. Even if you are not going to buy a new water heater, you can save a lot of energy and money with your existing system by following a few simple suggestions: Conserve Water. Your biggest opportunity for savings is to use less hot water. In addition to saving energy (and money), cutting down on hot water use helps conserve dwindling water supplies, which in some parts of the country is a critical problem. Water- conserving showerheads and faucet aerators can cut hot water use



in half. By installing these devices, a family of four can save 14,000 gallons of water a year and the energy required to heat it. Insulate Your Existing Water Heater. If your electric water heater was installed before 2004, installing an insulating jacket is one of the most effective do-it-yourself energy- saving projects, especially if your water heater is in an unheated space. The insulating jacket will reduce standby heat loss — heat lost through the walls of the tank — by 25– 40 percent, saving 4-9 percent on your water heating bills. Water heater insulation jackets are widely available for around $10. Always follow directions carefully when installing an insulation jacket. Insulate Hot Water Pipes. Insulating your hot water pipes will reduce energy losses as the hot water is flowing to your faucet and, more importantly, it will reduce standby losses when the tap is turned off and then back on within an hour or so. A great deal of energy and water is

wasted waiting for the hot water to reach the tap. Even when pipes are insulated, the water in the pipes will eventually cool, but it stays warmer much longer than it would if the pipes were not insulated. Lower the Water Heater Temperature. Keep your water heater thermostat set to the lowest temperature that provides you with sufficient hot water. For most households, 120°F water is fine (about midway between the “low” and “medium” setting). Each 10°F reduction in water temperature will generally save 3-5 percent on your water heating costs. When you are going away on vacation, you can turn the thermostat down to the lowest possible setting, or turn the water heater off altogether for additional savings. With a gas water heater, make sure you know how to relight the pilot if you’re going to turn it off while away. Source: Nebraska Public Power District

Inside a tankless water heater Unlike a traditional water heater, a wall-mounted tankless model does not store hot water. It heats water only as it is used with heating elements inside the water heater that are activated when a hot water faucet or valve is opened. Consumers can generally save more on energy costs by using traditional water heaters (with a tank) efficiently. Rural Electric Nebraskan

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All calls with InfinityDISH are monitored and recorded for quality assurance and training purposes. Important Terms and Conditions: Promotional Offers: Require acctiv tivation of new qualiffying ying DISH service. All prices, fees, charges, packages, programming, features, functionality and offers subject to change without notice. After 12-month promotional period, then-current ev everyday monthly price applies and is subject to change. ETF: If you cancel service during first 24 months, early termination fee of $20 for each month remaining applies. For iPad mini offer, if you cancel service during first 24 months, early cancellation fee of $30 for each month remaining applies. ts: For iPad mini Offer: Customer must select Hopper system and minimum of America’s Top 120 package; allow 4-6 weeks for delivery; offer not available in Puerto Rico or USVI. ETF based in part on everyday price (i.e. non-promotional price) for programming. Available while supplies Activation fee may apply. Additional Requiremennts: last. Model subjecctt to change without notice. Premium Channels: 3-month premium offer value is $165; after promotional period, then-current everyday monthly prices apply and are subject to change. Blockbuster @Home requires Internet to stream content. HD-only channels not available with select packages. Installation/Equipment Requirements: t Free Standard Professional Installation only. Certain equipment is leased and must be returned to DISH upon cancellation or unreturned equipment fees apply. Upfront and additional monthly fees may apply. Recording hours vary; 2000 hours based on SD programming. Equipment comparison based on equipment available from major TV providers as of 1/177/14 /14. Watching live and recorded TV anywhere requires an Internet-connected, Sling-enabled DVR and compatible mobile device. Miscellaneous: Offers available for new and qualified former customers, and subject to terms of applicable Promotional and Residential Customer agreements. tions and taxes may apply. Offers end 6/12/14. HBO®, Cinemax® and related channels and service marks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc. SHOWTIME T is a registered trademark of Showtime Networks Inc., a CBS Company. STARZ and related channels and service marks State reimbursement charges may apply. Additional restricctions tivation and $2.95 shipping and handling are property of Starz Entertainment, LLC. iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of this promotion. Visa® gift card must be requested through your DISH Representative at time of purchase. $25 Visa® gift card requires acctiv fee. Yoou will receive a claim voucher within 3-4 weeks and the voucher must be returned within 30 days. Yoour Visa® gift card will arrive in approximately 6-8 weeks. InfinityDISH charges a one-time $49.95 non-refundable processing fee. Indiana C.PP.DD. Reg. No. T.S. R1903. *Certain restrictions apply. Based on the availability in your area.

Plant a little shade for big energy savings ant to save money on your ciduous trees if possible. Unlike everpercent, but improper setup could reenergy bill without investgreens, these trees lose leaves in the sult in a drop in efficiency of up to 15 ing in expensive retrofits winter and allow more sunlight into percent. This drop in efficiency hapand renovations? Get a shovel. the home for natural warmth. pens when the vegetation blocks Strategically planting trees and For details on using trees to save enproper airflow to the unit or traps too shrubs around your home is a tried ergy, the U.S. Department of Energy’s much heat near the unit. and true way to save. Energy Efficiency and Renewable EnPlanting trees and shrubs near a Energy savings gained from shade ergy (EERE) website has thorough heating and cooling system requires trees depends on the location and oridiscussions of the benefits of shading constant monitoring. During the growentation of both the trees and the on its Landscape Shading Energy ing season, plants can creep closer to house. Your climate also comes into Savers page. the system and interfere with proper play. But smart landscaping can save Not all tree shading plans will realair circulation. generally shave about 25 percent of ize savings. Shading the coils of an airWhile trees and shrubs are often energy used for cooling and heating. conditioning unit has the potential to employed to thwart the efforts of In summer months a tree’s shade modestly reduce energy demand. But nosy neighbors, they have other praccools the surrounding air temperaif done improperly, there could be a net tical functions. Through the careful tures by as much as 9 degrees Fahrenincrease in energy use. Researchers planned positioning of vegetation, heit. Air temperatures directly under from the Florida Solar Energy Center homeowners can realize significant trees can be as much as 25 degrees savings on their home energy bills. found that effective shading of an AC Fahrenheit cooler. This means that a Research the best plants to use and unit could yield energy savings of 6 homeowner can reduce consider how and an unshaded home’s where they will grow summer air-conditioning before letting anything costs by 15 to 50 percent. take root. Make a Discover the benefits of vegetation shading from the In the winter, tree and practical investment shrubs block heavy in tree shading. It’s a U.S. Department of Energy at: winds. Homeowners are decision that will grow encouraged to plant de- on you.


An Online Resource


Rural Electric Nebraskan

Perfect Choice HD™ is simple to use, hard to see and easy to afford…

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ver the years, digital electronic technology has made the way we live easier, safer and more convenient. In many cases, it’s even made many products more affordable… (remember how much the first VCR’s used to cost?). Unfortunately, the cost of many digital products, including the hearing aid never seemed to come down. Now, a new option has been invented… it’s called Perfect Choice HD™.

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deliver them to your ear. Because we’ve developed an efficient production process, we can make a great product at an affordable price. The unit has been designed to have an easily accessible battery, but it is small and lightweight enough to hide behind your ear… only you’ll know you have it on. It’s comfortable and won’t make you feel like you have something stuck in your ear. It provides high quality audio so sounds and conversations will be easier to hear and understand.

Get a handle on plug loads by Brian Sloboda

s children, most of us were told to turn off the TV when no one was in the room to keep from wasting energy. But with today’s televisions, turning off the set doesn’t save as much energy as you think. “Off ” doesn’t really mean off anymore. Lights, air conditioning, and heating use most of your home’s electricity. However, all of the TVs, computers, printers, phone chargers and other devices add up. Many gadgets use energy even when you are not using them. These devices are commonly referred to as “parasitic loads,” “phantom loads,” or “energy vampires”— consuming electricity even when switched off. Phantom loads can be found in almost every room, but a favorite “coffin” is your entertainment center. Most televisions slowly sip electricity while waiting for someone to press the “on” button. They use energy to remember channel lineups, language preferences, and the time. DVD players, DVRs, and cable or satellite boxes also use energy when we think they’re turned off. In an average home, five to eight percent of electricity consumption stems from small devices that drain



energy even when no one is using them. To put that in perspective, the average North American household consumes roughly 10,800 kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity per year. If you estimate that 6.5 percent of your total electricity consumption comes from phantom loads, the amount drained by these vampires equals about 700 kWh annually— or $70 every year. So how can you tell which devices are okay to leave plugged in and which need to have a wooden stake driven through their hearts? Find plug parasites and use smart strips. Identify Plug Parasites Microwave ovens and alarm clocks, which use relatively small amounts of standby power, are acceptable to leave plugged in. A digital video recorder (DVR) uses a fairly significant amount of power when turned off, but if you record programs frequently you will want to leave it plugged in. You don’t have to worry about unplugging items with mechanical on/off switches, such as lamps, hair dryers, or small kitchen appliances like toasters or mixers they don’t draw any power when turned off. How do you save energy on the other devices in your home? Try

Rural Electric Nebraskan

plugging household electronics like personal computers, monitors, printers, speakers, stereos, DVD and video game players, and cell phone chargers into power strips. Not only do power strips protect sensitive electronic components from power surges, you can quickly turn off several items at once. (Routers and modems also can be plugged into power strips, although they take longer to reactivate.) Smart Strips = Easy Savings Power strips, however, are often hidden behind entertainment centers or under desks and forgotten. A better solution may be found in “smart strips.” Most smart strips feature three outlet colors, each with a unique task. The blue outlet serves as a control plug, and is ideal for a heavily used device like a TV or computer. Anything plugged into red outlets stays on—electricity to these receptacles never cuts off making

them perfect for satellite boxes or other appliances that need constant power. The remaining outlets, generally neutral or green in color, are sensitive to current flowing through the blue outlet, so turning off the TV or computer cuts power to them as well. Some smart power strips can be made even smarter with timers or occupancy sensors that determine when to cut power to various devices. Smart strips are available online or at specialty electronic retailers and online. Payback generally can be achieved in under one year, depending on the type of equipment the strips control and how often they are used. Maybe our parents asked us to turn the TV off because vampires, phantoms, and parasites haunted their electric bills. These days, smart strips can chase these load monsters away from your home—and your pocketbook.

Use a fireplace wisely


traditional open fireplace can be one of the most expensive energy problems in many homes. This is because the fireplace’s chimney is, in effect, a large hole in your house. This creates drafts elsewhere in your home as cold air is pulled in to replace the air that is sucked up your chimney. A fireplace is also a very inefficient heating device. The hotter the fire gets the more house air goes up the chimney. If your fireplace has a chimney damper, make sure it is closed when you’re not burning a fire. This will slow the flow of warm house air up your chimney. Be sure to open the damper before starting your next fire–perhaps you could hang a small tag from the damper to serve as a reminder. Many older fireplaces are never used. The best way to reduce heat waste from these is to seal them off altogether.

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Protect children from shocks with TROs he National Fire Protection estimated a Association yearly average of 2,400 children that suffer severe shock from electrical outlets and that 6 to 12 of these shocks are fatal. These incidents are a result of children sticking ordinary household objects in the slots of electrical outlets. Protect your children and young visitors from potentially fatal shock by making sure your outlets are tamper resistant. Tamper resistant outlets or tamper resistant electrical receptacles (TROs) have shutters that stay closed unless a plug with two prongs is inserted into the outlet. Both springs on the shutters must be compressed at the same time to allow an object to gain access. If a child attempts to stick an object in the outlet, the shutter prevents the object from entering and no contact with electricity is made. TROs are affordable and can be purchased anywhere from $1 to $10. Since 2008, the National Electrical Code requires all new and renovated dwellings to be equipped with TROs. Therefore, if your home was built before 2008, there is a good chance



Tamper resistant outlets protect young children from accidental shocks in the home. your outlets are not tamper resistant. Installing a TRO is a fairly simple home improvement project for experienced DIYers. If you do not have a thorough understanding of electricity, TROs should be installed by a professional. Steps include: • Before starting any electrical project, make sure to shut off the power at the breaker box. • Remove the faceplate to the

outlet with a screwdriver. • Next, remove the screws holding the device into the wall. • Pull the outlet out of the wall and loosen the screws holding the three wires in place and detach the old outlet. • To install the TRO, install the wires in the same locations that were on the old outlet: the bare copper (ground) wire gets attached to the green screw, the white (neutral) wire attached to the silver screw, and the black (hot) wire attached to the gold screw. • Fold wires back into the box and screw the new outlet back on the wall. • Finally, replace the faceplate and turn the power back on. TROs are strongly advised for household safety, but there are some other safety alternatives including outlet caps or sliding covers. These devices cover up the outlet, but they are not fail-proof. Outlet caps can be lost and are also a choking hazard for some children. Many children can also figure out how to remove the caps and sliding covers. Source:

Rural Electric Nebraskan

Thomas Kinkade Farmall Heritage Illuminating Canvas Print

arly Ne

First ever! Thomas Kinkade Gallery Editions Illuminating Canvas Print Featuring a classic red barn and a Farmall tractor, both proud symbols of America, Thomas Kinkade’s charming farmyard scene comes to life on a hand-stretched canvas print in this Gallery Editions premiere presentation. Better still, you can enjoy your art without installing expensive artwork lighting. Just flip on the switch and 10 LED lights built into the custom wood frame cast a soft glow for up to 4 hours thanks to a convenient timer.

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Install efficient outdoor lighting by James Dulley

: I need to add outdoor lighting Q for security at my home. I’d also like to use the lights for entertaining. How can I brighten outdoor spaces without driving up my electric bills? Outdoor lighting can be effecA :tive for security, but drives up utility bills if done improperly. Security lights are not always best for entertaining, and vice versa. Make your security and entertaining lighting plans independently, then check to see where they overlap. Security lighting is usually on all night; entertainment lighting is not. Choosing the proper security lighting has a greater impact on your utility bills. Before you consider adding outdoor security lighting, make other lowcost security improvements to your home. Make sure window latches lock securely, install bump-resistant door deadbolts, and consider an alarm system. Once you feel the perimeter of your home is relatively secure, plan your lighting. Do an outdoor walk-around inspection of your house at night to see where additional lighting might help. Sometimes there is enough brightness from a neighbor's home to illuminate otherwise dark, suspect areas. Prioritize lighting need areas. Installing just two 150-watt security lights and keeping them on all night can increase your electric bill by more than $100 per year. Keep in mind, the wattage of a light bulb does not determine how much light it produces. Wattage refers to how much electricity a bulb uses. Instead, look for light output— measured in lumens—on bulb packaging.


Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) produce more lumens per watt of electricity compared to standard incandescent bulbs. For example, an L22 array LED fixture uses less than 25 watts to produce the same light output (about 1,800 lumens) as a 100-watt incandescent bulb.

A motion-sensing two-bulb floodlight mounted over a garage door. It stays on for only 60 seconds after no motion is detected. Photograph by James Dulley When planning outdoor lighting, make an effort to minimize nighttime light pollution. Bright lights create a problem for wildlife and can be annoying to neighbors. If you install floodlighting, mount a directional light shield over it. I can barely see the stars on a clear night due to the excessive lighting in my subdivision. It is a misconception that brighter lights provide more security. Lower lighting levels are more effective because it’s difficult for the human eye to quickly adjust from a very bright area to darker area. If lighting is less bright, it’s easier to see movement in darker areas where someone might be hiding. Motion-sensor lights are some of

the most efficient and effective for security. When the light comes on, a would-be thief assumes he has been seen. They also catch neighbors' attention. Select one with two-level lighting. You can switch it on for lowlevel background lighting; it only switches to full brightness when motion is detected. Wherever there is access to the full sun, consider solar-powered motionsensing floodlights. Spend extra for an ample battery pack (measured in watt-hours). These lights continue to operate even after a few consecutive cloudy days with little recharging sunlight. If you plan to install low-cost standard 120-volt outdoor lighting fixtures, try using CFLs. These only use one-quarter as much electricity as standard incandescent bulbs and last at least 10 times longer. The overall savings will pay back their higher cost many times over. CFLs do not always work well in cold outdoor temperatures, and take a little while to reach full brightness. Try one or two first, and read the packaging to see if the bulb is intended for outdoor use. LEDs, another super-efficient lighting option, are not affected by the cold. With a bright white light output, LEDs last up to 50,000 hours. Their light output is directional, so they are best for lighting specific targeted areas. To light a larger area for an entire night, LPS (low-pressure sodium) fixtures are efficient. The fixtures are fairly expensive and they start up very slowly to reach full brightness. The light quality is monochromatic (yellowish) so they would only be applicable for security and not for entertainment lighting.

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

Rural Electric Nebraskan


Wow! A Simple to Use Computer Designed Especially for Seniors! Easy to read. Easy to see. Easy to use. Just plug it in!

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Have you ever said to yourself “I’d love to get a computer, if only I could figure out how to use it.” Well, you’re not alone. Computers were supposed to make our lives simpler, but they’ve gotten so complicated that they are not worth the trouble. With all of the “pointing and clicking” and “dragging and dropping” you’re lucky if you can figure out where you are. Plus, you are constantly worrying about viruses and freeze-ups. If this sounds familiar, we have great news for you. There is finally a computer that’s designed for simplicity and ease of use. It’s the WOW Computer, and it was designed with you in mind. This computer is easy-to-use, worry-free and literally puts the world at your

fingertips. From the moment you open the box, you’ll realize how different the WOW Computer is. The components are all connected; all you do is plug it into an outlet and your high-speed Internet connection. Then you’ll see the screen – it’s now 22 inches. This is a completely new touch screen system, without the cluttered look of the normal computer screen. The “buttons” on the screen are easy to see and easy to understand. All you do is touch one of them, from the Web, Email, Calendar to Games– you name it… and 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 home for 30 days. If you are not totally satisfied, simply return it within 30 days for a refund of the product purchase price. Call today. s Send & Receive Emails s Have video chats with family and friends s Surf the Internet: Get current weather and news s Play games on line: Hundreds to choose from!

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Dorothy Lynch Chicken 6 chicken breasts 1 cup Dorothy Lynch dressing 2 cups apricot preserves 1 packet Lipton onion soup mix (dry) Mix all ingredients together. Place chicken breasts in greased 9 x 13 pan. Pour mixture over chicken. Cover with foil and bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes to thicken sauce. Serve over white or brown rice. To make healthy use sugar free preserves & fat free Dorothy Lynch dressing. This also can be made in Crockpot. I put frozen chicken breasts in Crockpot, pour mixture over and cook on low 8-10 hours. Ready to serve when I get off work.

Darlus McWilliams, Norfolk, Nebraska

Amish Cake

Just Wonderful Lemon-Garlic Chops 8 boneless pork chops, 1-inch thick 2/3 cup lemon juice 1/2 cup olive oil 1 jar (4-1/2 ounce) chopped garlic 2 tablespoons dried tarragon, crushed Paprika

2 eggs 2 cups sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring 1/2 cup nuts, crushed 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple,

plus juice Topping: 1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese softened 1/2 stick butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar 1/2 cup nuts

Mix all cake ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Beat topping ingredients until smooth and add 1/2 cup nuts. Spread on cake while hot from the oven.

Fran Frerichs, Gurley, Nebraska For marinade, in a small bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and tarragon. Place pork chops in a 1-gallon self-sealing plastic bag; pour marinade over chops and seal bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Drain chops, discarding marinade. Place chops on rack in broiler pan so the chops are 4 to 5 inches from heat. Sprinkle the chops with a little paprika. Broil for 5 to 6 minutes or until brown. Turn chops and sprinkle with paprika. Broil for 5 to 6 minutes more or until chops are just done.

Recipe provided by the National Pork Board

Easy Chocolate Chip Bars Cream together: 1 cup margarine 3/4 cup white sugar 3/4 cup brown sugar 2 eggs Then add and mix well 2 1/4 cups flour 1 teaspoon soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup chopped nuts 2 cups chocolate chips Put in a 12x14 inch baking pan. Spread with a spoon so batter is even. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack 25 minutes and then cut into bars.

Dee Tibben, Fairfield, Nebraska 28

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 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. 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

March 2014



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Our 59th year


PO Box 10748, DEPT 38C White Bear Lake, MN 55110-0748


MARKETPLACE/CLASSIFIEDS 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 10’........$8,699 40’ x 60’ x 12’........$12,250 50’ x 75’ x 14.........$17,999 60’ x 100’ x 12’......$24,400 100’ x 150’ x 14’....$57,800


Arena Special (roof & frame) 100’ x 100’ x 14’...$35,725 (Local codes may affect prices)



F a x : 9 4 0 - 4 8 4 - 6 7 4 6 e m a i l : Website: http://www.RHINOBLDG.COM

Toll Free


Ask about our Outstanding Warranties



MOREL MUSHROOMS CREATE A MOREL GARDEN IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD SPAWN GUARANTEED TO PRODUCE We provide the spawn and easy to use instructions for preparing a perenial Morel Habitat. You just sow the seed, maintain the Morel Habitat, and pick & enjoy fresh Morel Mushrooms. $32.95 + $7.95 S/H ORDER (800) 789-9121


See what a difference it makes...

Advertise in Rural Electric Nebraskan Classifieds


Rural Electric Nebraskan

TECHNOLOGY HAS E VOLVED OVER THE YE ARS. And we’re evolving with it.

While our not-for-profit mission to provide reliable, affordable and responsible electricity to our member electric cooperatives has stayed the course for more than 60 years, the way we deliver on it is advancing ever y day. We are diversif ying our generation resource por tfolio while making investments to increase the efficiency of our power deliver y network – all to provide the best possible value to rural electric consumers. 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.

2 ! 1/ ICE PR

Introducing the Fastest Growing Quality Shade e Tree Tree to America!



Hardy, Hardy y, fast growing poplar! When you need shade in a hurryy, we suggest the fastgrowing Hybrid Poplarr. It has a handsome shape and will actually shade a ranch-type home in just 3-5 years! We haven’t found any tree that grows like it. It has a spread of 30-35′ and in just a few years, at maturityy, it reaches 50-60′. It normally lives 30-50 years. It is wind, disease and insectresistant — it can take the cold as far north as Canada. This is not the short-lived Lombardy Poplar. Best use is to provide beauty and quick, cool shade for new homes. Plant Hybrid Poplars for screening! The screen variety makes an ideal privacy hedge. It has a width of about 10′ and grows to a dense screen usually in 3 years. Plant for quick windbreaks on farms and for living snow fences. We ship strong, 2-4′ trees.

O 60% SAVE SA AVE UP T TO Large Quantity Orders! Orders! on Large

N5246 Shade Variety Tree N5247 Screen Variety Tree 2 for $6.95 NOW 2 for $3.47 (minimum order)

NOW 5 for $7.97 5 for $15.95 10 for $29.95 NOW 10 for $14.97 20 for $57.95 NOW 20 for $28.97 40 for f $109.75 $ NOW 40 for $54.87

! 1¢ LE SA


$2.99 each

3 for $7.99

HOW T TO OG GET ET YO YOUR UR F FREE REE T TREE REE Simply send us an order (any size) for Hybrid Poplars and we will send you an additional fast growing Hyo must indicate brid Poplar Tree free of charge. You your FREE TREE on the order form and also include variety — either shade or screen. No other nursery products included in this FREE TREE offer.



(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 winterr. Hardy and will grow in most parts of America! Plant in full to partial sun, 2-5′ apart. Potted plants. Zones 5-10.




1 for $2.98 + 1 for 1¢ = 2 for 2.99

2 for $13.50 6 for $37.99

Name ____________________________________ Address __________________________________ City ________________State _________________ (xxx x ) Zip _________________Phone ________________ Email ____________________________________ PLEASE PLEASE SE SEND ND ITEMS ITEMS CH CHECKED ECKED BELOW: BELOW:


■ N5247 SCREEN

(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 N6172

Abundant Crops Crops!!

$6.99 each 4 for $25.99

FOUR SEASONS NURSERY 1706 Morrissey Drive DEPT T. 945-9075 Bloomington, Illinois 61704

(Indicate variety)

GIANT GIANT BLUEBERRIES BLUEBERRIES Luscious, extra juicy, perfect for pies, cakes, fresh fruit desserts and preserving. In summerr, every bush is loaded with huge, clusters of giant blueberries. Last a lifetime and produce an ever-increasing supply of fruit every year. The three varieties we offer differ primarily in their ripening season: N6166 Duke (earlyy, ripens in late June), N6168 Bluecrop (midseason, ripens in mid-July), N6164 Jersey (late, ripens in late July). For better pollination we suggest you plant at least two varieties. Prices for all of one variety.

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.

DARROW DARROW BLACKBERRY BLACKBERR RY Large, sweet berries! (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.

N6151 4 for $9.99 8 for $18.49 12 for $25.99




3.95 3 95 Packing & Processing $______ SUBTOTAL $______ IL Residents add 6.25% Sales Tax $______ MN Residents add 6.875% Sales Tax $______ TOTAL AMOUNT ENCLOSED OR CHARGED $______

■ Check or Money Order enclosed. ■ Mastercard ■ VISA Credit Card #: _____________________________ Expiration Date: ___________________________ Signature: _________________________________

Order on-line at

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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