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The PRTC

connection march/april 2013

High-Tech Healthcare Improving rural medicine

Jackson County Cancer Fund

PRTC is helping to change lives

Local Treasures

Regional Food Center


Technology News

your

smart home

The animated television series "The Jetsons" gave us a glimpse into what life might be like in a high-tech future. While we’re not living in space with robot maids, we do have the technology to control and automate many home functions. A Wi-Fi network, powered by a broadband Internet connection, can put the power to control your home at your fingertips. Here are a few devices to help make that happen:

Dropcam

Use Dropcam to remotely monitor the kids, the pets, a workspace and more. Connect it to your Wi-Fi network, then place the Dropcam anywhere in your home or business. Smartphone apps let you monitor the camera’s 720p HD image, or you can log into your account from a computer. Features include digital zoom, infrared technology for night viewing and two-way audio. Price: $149 Website: www.dropcam.com

Belkin WeMo Switch

Plug a WeMo Switch into a standard electrical outlet, connect it to your Wi-Fi network and you can control whatever you plug into the WeMo Switch. Use it for lamps, fans, curling irons, coffee makers, stereos and more. The WeMo smartphone app lets you turn your connected device on and off from any location. Price: $49 Website: www.belkin.com/us/wemo

Nest Thermostat

Nest learns your patterns and schedules, and adjusts your home’s heating and cooling system to fit your lifestyle. And because it connects to your home Wi-Fi network, you can control it from anywhere using the iOS app. According to the company website, “Nest can lower your heating and cooling bills up to 20%.” Price: $249 Website: www.nest.com

That’s my web Whatever your interest or hobby, there are countless websites with tips and information you may enjoy. Here’s a look at a few of them. (We don’t support or control the content of these sites, so we’re not responsible for what you may or may not find there.) Food www.thekitchn.com This site features more information than you’ll ever be able to digest. Recipes, product reviews, advice, how-tos… you’ll find it all here. Cars www.jalopnik.com Jalopnik is obsessed with the cult of cars. Secret cars, concept cars, flying cars, vintage cars, tricked-out cars… you get the picture. Rural Living www.thepioneerwoman.com How can one woman do so much? Sections include cooking, home and garden, homeschooling, entertainment and confessions.

LIFX

Technology www.arstechnica.com This site “specializes in original news and reviews, analysis of technology trends” and includes advice on a wide range of technology topics.

See Page 7 for tips on creating a broadband-centric home.

News www.theblaze.com The goal of this news, information and opinion site is “to post, report and analyze stories of interest on a wide range of topics from politics and culture to faith and family.”

And coming soon… This is the light bulb Thomas Edison never even dreamed about. The LIFX bulb connects to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to remotely turn it on and off, adjust brightness and change colors. Control individual bulbs, rooms or your entire house. Available early to mid-2013. Website: www.lifx.com

2 | March/April 2013


P R O T E C T Y O U R T E L E C O M M U N I C AT I O N S S Y S T E M

Step outside and look up. You may see a valuable system of poles and wires — a system that delivers important telecommunications services to you and your neighbors. Telephone. Internet. And in some cases, even Digital TV. Damage to this network can interrupt critical services to dozens or even hundreds of families in your neighborhood and beyond.

We are asking for your help in protecting this valuable investment.

Please “Look Up!” before doing any of the following:

Planting Trees

For a distance of 15 feet in any direction of utility lines, only plant shrubs or trees with a mature height of less than 20 feet. Taller trees can grow into lines, which can create service problems, or their limbs could fall across lines during storms.

Also remember to

Call Before You Dig

Burning Brush

When burning brush, make sure you pile it far away from utility lines. The temperature of burning wood can easily reach over 1,000º F — and that is hot enough to melt telecommunications equipment.

Shooting

When you lift that gun, make sure utility lines are not in your line of sight. When a utility line is broken, it has to be spliced back together — a time-consuming and expensive task.

Spread the word. Look up. Protect your valuable telecommunications system. March/April 2013 | 3


From the CEO

Speaking with one voice in D.C. Almost every day in our nation’s capital, discussions are held that lead to decisions, which in turn lead to new laws and regulations. The effects ripple out from Washington, D.C., often making a real impact on lives right here in our service area. A good example is the work being done by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to restructure the telecommunications industry. The decisions this regulatory body is making are changing the very foundations of how companies like PRTC receive our revenue. There is good reason to fear that these decisions will drive up costs for subscribers in rural areas while limiting the services to which you have access. For these reasons, it has never been more important for cooperative and independent telecommunications companies to speak with one voice. These changes threaten to impact millions of individuals and businesses across America, and Washington needs to hear your concerns. The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, or NTCA, is the group through which PRTC and hundreds of other telcos like us make your voice heard at the national level. NTCA has a staff of professionals who keep a close watch on regulatory and congressional activity. They also engage with officials, educate them on our concerns, file briefs and court cases, and in general make sure that cooperative and independent telcos have a voice in the legislative and regulatory processes. One of the most important NTCA functions will take place toward the end of April when the organization hosts its annual Legislative and Policy Conference. NTCA members from across the country will gather in Washington, D.C., to meet with elected officials and regulators. We will ask questions, provide information and speak with one voice as we share our concerns on your behalf. In the previous issue of this magazine, I discussed the importance of building partnerships and how this regional publication is a great example of those efforts. The NTCA Legislative and Policy Conference is an even broader joint effort, allowing us to make sure the FCC and members of Congress know who you are. We are all fighting these problems, and it’s our job as your telecommunications provider to present your concerns to those making these decisions. Dealing with the federal government can at times be frustrating, to say the least. In the past couple of years in particular, the decisions and mixed signals coming out of Washington have left many people feeling like ours is a lost cause. But we will never give up the fight. We must keep a seat at the table if we hope to have an impact on the laws and regulations affecting the telecommunications industry. And we will do so with a unified voice, working together through NTCA to make sure officials understand that their desire to restructure our industry should not compromise the good work that has already been done to connect people and communities across rural America. 

Keith Gabbard Chief Executive Officer 4 | March/April 2013

is your member-owned cooperative serving Jackson and Owsley counties in East Kentucky. The cooperative is dedicated to using technology to keep its members connected through high-speed broadband Internet, digital and HD television, wireless 4G phone service, local and long-distance calling and beyond.

Board of Directors Don Hughes President Kendall Norris Vice President Wendell Gabbard Secretary Nelson Bobrowski Treasurer Donald Barrett Armel Davidson Pat Henderson Vol. 1, NO. 2 March/April 2013

The PRTC

connection is published by Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative, © 2013. It is distributed without charge to all members of the cooperative. Send address corrections to:

Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative P.O. Box 159 McKee, KY 40447 606-287-7101 • 606-593-5000 www.prtcnet.org Produced for PRTC by: www.WordSouth.com On the Cover:

Dr. Bradley Williams uses broadband to improve the quality of care for patients at White House Health Clinic. See story, Page 8.


Fiber Update:

PRTC pushes fiber project toward historic goal This is shaping up to be a huge year for Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative as we continue to work diligently to complete the largest construction project in the history of our cooperative. As some mainline work is wrapping up, we are now moving into the home installation phase. By the end of this year, we expect to have state-of-the-art fiber connections available to more than 95 percent of our members’ homes and businesses throughout Jackson and Owsley counties. Fiber optic technology is the future of telecommunications, and PRTC is dedicated to providing its members with the most advanced network available.

Benefits of fiber optic technology: • Faster Internet speeds • More video channels • High-definition television (HDTV) • Enhanced voice services • Increased property value • Opportunities for economic growth

PRTC Fiber Network Construction Map Shaded areas indicate communities where fiber construction is complete or underway.

Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative

March/April 2013 | 5


Safety Focus

Are you distracted? Teen’s story highlights dangers of texting behind the wheel By Stephen V. Smith, Editor

I

t was the middle of May 2009, and Ashley Umscheid had just finished her freshman year at Kansas State University. As the 19-year-old drove down a long, straight stretch of four-lane Kansas highway, she carried on a text message conversation with her sister. Ashley typed “K” to acknowledge a comment from her sister. In the seconds surrounding that one-letter message, the left tires of her small pickup truck dropped off the left shoulder. Reentering the highway, her vehicle began to flip, ejecting Ashley and strewing her belongings – including her cell phone – along the roadway. She died three days later from her injuries. While Ashley’s life was cut so tragically short, her story lives on to warn other students of the dangers of texting while driving. “Distracted: The True Story of Ashley Umscheid” is a DVD produced by Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative (FTC) in Rainsville, Ala. It uses interviews with Ashley’s family and friends, along with former high school classmates and a coach, to reveal a young woman ready to begin an exciting new phase of her life. “We knew it was important for students to see Ashley the way her family and friends saw her,” says Fred Johnson, executive vice president and general manager of FTC. “We wanted them to identify with her and remember her every time they got behind the wheel.” Once complete, Johnson licensed the video to the Foundation for Rural Service, a non-profit group that works with independent telecommunications companies to offer youth-based programs and educa-

6 | March/April 2013

tional materials. FRS sent copies of the DVD to more than 1,000 phone companies and associated firms throughout the U.S. for them to present in their communities and schools. The message, however, went well beyond the telecommunications industry. “We have reached a new audience with this DVD,” says Elizabeth Crocker, executive director of FRS. “We had police officers in Kansas calling us, and a Rotary Club in Texas.” Even U.S. Department of Transportation officials have contacted FRS for copies of the DVD. While interest continues to spread outside the industry, Crocker says the independent telecommunications companies have done a great job in sharing Ashley’s story in schools, through community groups and on their local television channels. “These providers are there, living with the folks they serve in the community,” Crocker says. “This is where they chose to live and work, and it’s important to them that their communities are safe and have access to learning opportunities.” Among those Ashley Umscheid left behind was her uncle, Terry Force. He is board president of his local phone company, Blue Valley Tele-Communications in Kansas, and was recently elected co-president of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA). “It is a blessing to see Ashley’s story touch so many lives across the country,” Force says. “This DVD delivers a strong message for young drivers, and we believe it has helped many other families avoid the tragedy that changed our family forever.”

Watch It If you are interested in showing “Distracted” in your school or community group, contact your local telecommunications company. See Page 4 for contact information.

Learn more FRS awards dozens of scholarships to rural students each year. It also sponsors a youth tour where students across the nation visit Washington, D.C., to learn about rural issues and how government works. Learn more about FRS at their website: www.frs.org/about-frs.


Wi-Fi

The key to a broadbandcentric home Having a broadband connection in your home opens the door to fast downloads, streaming video and the other benefits of high-speed Internet. But there is much more to broadband than simply browsing the Web.

T

o help understand this concept, think about broadband in terms of electricity. When electricity first came to the rural regions, residents were excited to light up their evenings with a single light bulb hanging from a cord in the middle of the room. They eventually learned that electricity could bring even more conveniences into their lives when the technology was applied to appliances and gadgets for the kitchen, the living room and the farm. The same holds true for broadband. A fast Internet connection can open a world of opportunities when extended beyond your computer. And Wi-Fi is the key to expanding those capabilities.

What is WI-FI?

Wi-Fi is short for Wireless Fidelity, a set of technical standards that enable devices to transmit and receive information without wires connecting them. It may sound complicated, but the results are empowering. By setting up a wireless network in your home, you can change the way your family enjoys entertainment, makes a living, stays connected and controls the functions of your home.

The Router

The heart of your Wi-Fi network is the router. In the early days of home Internet access, a phone line plugged into a modem

while a second line connected the modem to a single computer. Now the line from your telecommunications company can deliver broadband access to a router, creating a wireless network that can connect any number of devices.

Wireless Network Setup

Some telecommunications companies lease or sell wireless routers to their Internet customers, while others ask customers to purchase a router of their choice from a technology vendor. Either way, setup is simple when following the manufacturer’s instructions. Contact your telecommunications company if you need help with this phase. Once your wireless network is established, begin by connecting a laptop or a smartphone. Most devices have easyto-find network settings where you will identify and select your new network then enter your router’s password. It really is that simple.

Other Devices

Your laptop and smartphone are just the beginning. There are many devices on the market today that can use your broadband connection over a wireless network to bring greater convenience to your life. These include: • Tablets and e-readers: Read books, watch videos, browse websites and more.

• Gaming systems: Play video games with and against other enthusiasts from around the world. • Video players: With devices such as a Blu-ray player, Roku or Apple TV, watch streaming video on your television from paid video services, including Apple’s iTunes, Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. • Smart TVs: Skip the extra devices and watch streaming video through your television’s built-in ability to connect to paid video streaming services. • Surveillance systems: Monitor the activity and security of your home with a simple single-camera setup or a complex system of surveillance equipment.

Coming Soon

There are several household appliances already on the market that take advantage of your broadband Internet connection. These include washing machines that can be controlled remotely and refrigerators that recommend recipes based on the ingredients in them. As prices come down and features improve, it will become more practical for homeowners to connect and control almost every major function of their home. Create a wireless network in your home now, then add devices and appliances as it becomes affordable and practical to make their features available to your family.  March/April 2013 | 7


Broadband

Ginger McQueen, a dental hygienist at White House Health Clinic, registers patient data into an electronic medical record system.

is a shot in the arm to health care

W

hen a physician writes a prescription for a patient at any of the six White House Health Clinic locations, the medication is usually ready at the pharmacy before the patient leaves. And when Dr. Bradley Williams needs to consult a medical journal or review a patient’s record, he only has to go as far as his laptop computer. “Broadband opens up access to information that we normally wouldn’t have,” says Dr. Williams at the White House Clinic in McKee. Elizabeth Boggs, nurse practitioner at the Annville Medical Clinic, says broadband has opened up a world of information for healthcare providers. “If we can’t find the information in a medical book, there are a lot of good sites out there where we can find what we need.” Stephanie Moore, chief executive officer of the company that operates White House Health Clinics, says high-speed broadband Internet from providers such as Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative is not only improving information and making it more convenient for physicians and patients — it is revolutionizing health care in rural America.

Electronic Records

The most noticeable change technology brings to medicine is in the realm of electronic medical records, or EMR. More and more hospitals are storing medical records electronically, which gives physicians instant access to patients’ charts and medical history. 8 | March/April 2013

By Brian Lazenby

Patients can visit any of the White House Health Clinic locations in East Kentucky without worrying about whether the physician will know about their medical history. With just a few keystrokes on a computer, Moore says physicians can access a patient’s entire medical record regardless of which location has provided their care in the past. “Physicians can get a patient’s information at any of our clinics, and physicians that are on-call can access patients’ records from their home,” she says. “It has really changed the way we practice medicine.” Owsley County Medical Clinic in Booneville launched EMR in 2011. Sharon Ward, a nurse practitioner at the clinic, says there are many benefits to the system. “It took some getting used to at first, but I really don’t think I could practice without it,” she says. Ward says the EMR system allows easier access to a patient’s medical history, and it allows clinicians to quickly share the records to get a second opinion or make a referral. And if a patient seeks treatment at another facility, regardless of where it is located, records and medical history can be shared so physicians are more informed when making treatment decisions. Boggs says the Annville Medical Clinic will be switching to electronic medical records next year, and is eager for the change after seeing how much better the information is passed along from physicians already using EMR. “It is user-friendly and so much better than handwritten notes,” Boggs says. Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative


Sharon Ward, a nurse practitioner at the Owsley County Medical Clinic in Booneville, uses a tablet to record patient information in EMR.

“Treatment is so much faster now, but patients are still getting the special attention they need,” Moore says. Some worry that electronic medical records open them up to privacy violations, but Moore says there is no reason for concern. She says her staff is trained to protect patient data, and numerous steps are taken to keep the information private. “There is a great deal of security,” Moore says. “We go to great lengths to protect patient information.”

Informed and Educated

Elizabeth Boggs, a nurse practitioner at Annville Medical Clinic, says broadband has opened up a world of online healthcare information.

Faster Results White House Health Clinics have 15 physicians and nine dentists, nine pharmacists, plus a number of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. They all have access to the same system, which Moore says allows different doctors to offer treatment solutions for multiple conditions without concerns that some medications may interfere with one another or cause an adverse reaction. The ability for each staff member to have immediate access to medical records is great for patient safety. Moore says it also streamlines the treatment process and gets patients in and out much quicker than when staff members had to review handwritten or typed paper files. Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative

Prior to broadband, clinicians transported X-ray images off-site via courier so a radiologist could review them the following day. Now, the images are sent electronically and a radiologist is often available to interpret them the same day. Ward says the Owsley County Medical Clinic sends X-rays across a broadband connection to a radiologist who can usually read them and provide results while the patient waits. With broadband, lab results are no different. White House clinicians use a lab in Cincinnati to process their tests. The specimens once were transported by a courier, and results were usually delivered by fax. But now, the lab feeds the results directly into EMR.

Broadband is also helping clinical staff stay more informed and better educated. In addition to accessing a patient’s medical history, Dr. Williams says broadband enables him to research a disease, study the side-effect profile of a medication or read about a new treatment published in medical journals. Boggs says by the time medical textbooks are printed, the information is about two to three years old, but current information can always be found online. A broadband connection helped Ginger McQueen complete some online training courses through a program at East Tennessee State University. McQueen, a registered dental hygienist, praises the broadband connection provided by PRTC because it presents new opportunities for so many in rural Kentucky. “It helped me obtain a second degree, which I would not have been able to do without the opportunity to do the work online,” McQueen says. According to a study conducted by the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, healthcare facilities are implementing electronic medical records faster in metropolitan areas than in rural areas. But Moore says the high-speed broadband network enables the rural healthcare clinics to be on the cutting edge of technology. “Connectivity is so important. If you cannot connect to internal sites, much less external sites like the lab, you simply cannot deliver the best care,” Moore says. 

March/April 2013 | 9


N at i o n a l S e v e r e W e at h e r P r e p a r e d n e ss W e e k i s M a r c h 3 - 9

Ready, Set, Survive Be part of the “Weather-Ready Nation” By Tony Laiolo

“E

verybody talks about the weather,” goes the old joke, “but nobody does anything about it.” That may have been true in Mark Twain’s time, but these days people are doing quite a bit about the weather, and with good reason — preparing for violent storms can be the difference between life and death. Our part of the world attracts tornadoes, including some real movers and shakers. According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, EF-5 storms (winds over 200 mph) were until recently a rarity for us, with only nine on record from 1954 through 2010. Then, in April 2011 alone, four of the giants ravaged the Southeast, accounting for more than a third of the 338 tornadorelated deaths that month. What can you do? Become what NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) calls a “Force of Nature” — taking actions that give yourself, your family and your community a better chance to survive the moment and ride out the aftermath.

The calm voice before the storm

Lisa Spencer, chief meteorologist at Nashville’s WSMV-4, is a big booster Lisa Spencer of storm readiness. She doesn’t just see weather, she sees its effects on people. “The thing we kept hearing at disaster scenes,” she says, “was ‘I just didn’t know what to do.’ We wanted to address that.” Spencer and the station’s weather team created “Surviving the Storm,” a free, fun community outreach road show that teaches the “what, why and how” of severe thunderstorms. Using dramatic video, experiments, games and prizes, the team instructs and inspires, one group at a time. “People do seem to be taking serious weather more seriously, and more and more are preparing for it,” says Spencer, “although some still tend to think ‘it can’t happen to me,’ which of course it can.” 

A week of preparation

Any time is a good time to get ready, but March 3-9, 2013 — NOAA’s National Severe Weather Preparedness Week — is all about helping us become a “Weather-Ready Nation.” With the height of the tornado season near at hand, it’s the perfect time to focus the country’s attention on storm safety and help save lives this very year. It is a time to… • Know your risk — Learn the alerts and emergency plans for your community. Know the difference between a “watch” and a “warning,” and how to respond to each. • Make a plan — Decide where you’ll take shelter. Consider your family’s specific medical and assistance needs. Network with neighbors, friends and co-workers. • Build a kit — Assemble enough water, non-perishable food, medicine and supplies to last at least 72 hours. • Buy a NOAA Weather Radio — Equip yourself with a life-saver that activates automatically (even with the audio off) when receiving an alarm tone from the National Weather Service. • Be an example — Once you’ve taken action, share your story with family, with friends and over social media. 10 | March/April 2013

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Your telco is prepared for the threat of bad weather By Stephen V. Smith, Editor

W

hen severe weather strikes, citizens depend on their telephones, the Internet and television to stay informed and connected. However, the network of your local telecommunications company, who provides many of these services, is often the victim of storm damage as well. Knowing their services are critical to public health and safety, telcos across the country dedicate a great deal of time and resources toward preparing for the storms. “One of our biggest concerns during severe weather is the loss of power,” explains Jason Dandridge, CEO of Palmetto Rural Telephone Cooperative (Walterboro, S.C.). Being near the Eastern seaboard, the cooperative faces the threat of losing electricity for days when hurricanes hit. “Almost all of our lines are buried, so we don’t catch the effects of downed poles, Dandridge says. “But we have to keep our remote sites powered.” This requires a good supply of generators, a schedule of employees ready to operate them and enough fuel on hand to keep them running for several days if necessary. “Portable and fixed generators are critical in the event of a power outage,” adds Jim Cook, general manager of New Hope Telephone Cooperative (New Hope, Ala.). “Lining up commitments from fuel and service providers in advance can be the difference in being able to keep our network up and running for just a few hours to days and weeks without power.”

geographical issues

In contrast to the flat lands of Palmetto, the service area of Highland Telephone Cooperative (Sunbright, Tenn.) is rocky and hilly. The cooperative’s lines and equipment are therefore almost entirely above ground, attached to poles. “During the winters we can have heavy snows that will take our lines down,” says Mark Pat-

terson, Highland’s general manager. “We have to keep extra materials on hand for our crews to do rebuilds.” While tornadoes are uncommon there, one did pass through Highland’s service area some eight years ago. Patterson says crews had the materials in place to splice many of the lines where they lay on the ground. “We were able to restore telephone service within a day or so, even in areas where the power companies had not set new poles yet,” he says. Part of New Hope’s service area is low and surrounded by mountains, making it susceptible to flooding. “Depending on the type of disaster, low-lying buildings may need to be protected from water intrusion,” Cook says.

Phone and Internet lines brought down by a tornado

Phone and Internet lines destroyed by an ice storm

People are key

Regardless of what disasters may come, the employees of your local telecommunications company are the key to protecting the network and restoring your phone, Internet and TV service quickly and safely in the event of an interruption. “Everyone knows their role when the bad weather comes in,” Dandridge says. “From operating the generators to dealing with electronic issues, every employee knows their role in our response.” “Training is important,” adds Patterson.” We make sure our people have the training they need to do the job quickly and safely when severe weather hits.” “Our employees are our greatest asset, and their safety is our number one priority,” says Cook. “Having a communications plan established so that we can quickly confirm their safety and determine their ability to respond to the recovery efforts is essential.” From hurricanes to floods to tornadoes and beyond, telcos across the region are prepared to restore critical services in the face of damaging weather. 

Network equipment threatened by flood waters

Are you prepared? Just like your telecommunications provider, every family should be ready in case of a disaster. Prepare a basic emergency supply kit that includes such items as: • Water • Non-perishable food • NOAA weather radio • Flashlight • Extra batteries • First aid kit • Whistle (to signal for help) • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities • Manual can opener • Cell phone with chargers For more details, visit:

www.ready.gov/build-a-kit March/April 2013 | 11


PRTC teams up for the Jackson County Cancer Fund

K

12 | March/April 2013

A group of cancer survivors participate in a survivor’s celebration during last year’s Festival of Hope at Gray Hawk Park.

most money. Teams may sell meals their members have prepared, auction off crafts, hold a bake sale or simply solicit donations. Team winners are announced at the festival -- but the real winners are cancer patients needing help. Last year’s Festival of Hope raised more than $40,000 to support local cancer patients, and event organizers are hopeful they can top that number this year. Since the program began in 2006, the Jackson County Cancer Fund has raised almost $300,000. In addition to providing financial and emotional support to cancer patients, the Jackson County Cancer Fund also operates the Carroll DeForest Loan Closet, which provides cancer patients with medical items they may need. The Closet loans wheelchairs, canes, walkers, shower chairs, hospital beds and more. Pat Henderson, PRTC board member and the Jackson County Cancer Fund treasurer says that the JCCF also donates $5,000 a year to the Markey Cancer Center to support cancer research. The Kentucky Cigarette tax matches their donation for a combined annual donation

Kishia Rader

of $10,000. Miller says she is grateful for the support PRTC has provided to the Cancer Fund and knows many people received help because of PRTC’s involvement. “Peoples is a vital part of the Jackson County Cancer Fund and is a tremendous help to those in need,” she says. “They have been very good to us.” Anyone wishing to form a team or to make a donation may contact Vivian Marcum, a Cancer Fund board member, at (606) 287-3256. Donations are taxdeductible. Checks should be made out to the Jackson County Cancer Fund and mailed to JCCF, P.O. Box 1250, McKee, KY 40447. 

ishia Rader was 17 years old when she was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of cancer originating in her white blood cells. In the five years since the diagnosis, treatment for the disease has put a financial strain on Rader and her family. But the Jackson County Cancer Fund stepped in and offered Rader hope. The Cancer Fund helped pay Rader’s utility bills and provided gas cards so she could get from her Sand Gap home to her doctor’s appointments and the lab for blood testing. “If it wasn’t for help from the Jackson County Cancer Fund, I wouldn’t have been able to go to my doctor’s appointments,” Rader says. The Cancer Fund was formed to help people just like Kishia. Dozens more have also benefited from donations to the fund, which provides patients with gas cards, helps pay their utility bills or provides a number of other services to ease their financial burden. That is why Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative is an active participant in the charity. Beverly Fee, a customer sales representative and sales associate at PRTC, serves as vice president of the organization. She says it is part of the culture at PRTC to help the local community. “PRTC tries to stay involved with local organizations, and this is one we feel is important,” Fee says. “We support families going through a difficult time, with both financial and emotional support.” The Jackson County Cancer Fund depends on donations to operate and continue helping those in need. Its primary fundraiser is the Festival of Hope, an annual event held the second Saturday in September at Gray Hawk Community Park. Beverly Miller, Festival of Hope coordinator, says participants form teams that compete to see who can raise the

What: Festival of Hope When: Saturday, Sept. 14 Where: Gray Hawk Park Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative


Local Treasures

Cooking up something special Jackson County Regional Food Center helps get your recipes ready to market By Brian Lazenby

D

o you have a secret family recipe you think would fly off the supermarket shelves? Or maybe you would like to have your product bottled and labeled to give as gifts? Whatever your culinary goals, Greg Golden, manager of the Jackson County Regional Food Center, can help make it happen. “We have everything they need right here,” he says. “And we will walk them through the process step-by-step.” The Jackson County Regional Food Center can help anyone to process, package, label their food items and have a ready-to-market product when they walk out the door without spending thousands of dollars on equipment and overhead. “From start to finish we can do everything, and they really don’t even need a recipe,” says Golden, a former chef who has prepared meals for ambassadors of England and France, and for parties thrown by Donald Trump. “We can work with them to figure it out.” And for those secret recipes? Golden says his lips are sealed. “We sign a lot of letters of confidentiality to keep someone’s

Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative

recipe secret,” he says. “I won’t even tell anyone my name if they don’t want me to.” The kitchen is open to anyone wishing to bottle their new or existing product. This includes growers, producers, food entrepreneurs, caterers, chefs, homemakers, bakers and community organizations. Many of those using the Food Center are repeat customers who come in to replenish their supply so they can keep the stores stocked where their products are sold. Some of those include the awardwinning Tennessee River Barbecue Sauce, Big S Farms Salsa and a number of other products. The Regional Food Center is owned by Appalachian Alternative Agriculture of Jackson County, which is governed by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. The services offered at the Food Center come much more affordably than what it would cost an individual to rent the equipment or lease space in a commercial kitchen. The price is $35 per hour if you come to the kitchen to prepare the product with

Jackson C ount y Regional F ood Center Mis sion:

To assist the family farme r in improving q uality of life b y working tog ether to obta in a profitable re turn for farm produc ts.

Golden’s guidance. It is $50 per hour to deliver a recipe and come back to pick up the product. There is also a slight charge for the bottles, Golden says. The Food Center also operates the Jackson County Farmer’s Market, which is open in Annville, Sand Gap and McKee. They are part of Kentucky Proud, an association of local farmers working to ensure local products and produce are readily available. “They are great,” Golden says of Kentucky Proud. “They really help the farmers out.” For more information about the Jackson County Food Center, visit www.jcfoodcenter.com.  March/April 2013 | 13


Southern Kitchens It's more than just a side dish I was born and raised in the South and have always considered myself a good Southern cook, save one thing: before judging the National Cornbread Cook-Off and seeing the amazing things that could be done with cornbread, it was never on my table. As a cook-off judge though, I’ve witnessed and tasted it prepared in many ways and one thing always stays the same: the cornbread is served as an entrée, not just a piece slathered with butter. One of my favorites was made with shrimp and cream. While it may sound a little strange, it worked and won first place some years ago. In the midst of all the goingson at the National Cornbread Festival, there’s a gathering of cooks committed to wearing the cornbread crown. No small feat, as each cook/finalist has been chosen from thousands of entries by cornbread mix company Martha White, which sponsors the cook-off along with Lodge Manufacturing, maker of cast iron cookware. This year’s festival is lining up to be a great one. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Anne P. Braly Food Editor Email Anne Braly at apbraly@gmail.com. 14 | March/April 2013

America's best cornbread

C

ornbread is a favorite in Melanie McCoy’s home. And for good reason: McCoy is an expert at it. So good, in fact, she took first-place honors in last year’s National Cornbread Cook-Off, held annually in the small town of South Pittsburg, Tenn. At the age of 52, McCoy looks back on her childhood days of cooking as inspiration for her win. “I was an adventurous eater, and that’s what you have to be in order to be a good cook.” McCoy’s win came after three previous attempts at being crowned cornbread queen, one of the first three garnering a secondplace win in 2000 for her Shrimp Creole Cornbread. For her 2012 attempt, she decided to add a twist to her favorite shrimp cakes, NATIONAL WINNER— Melanie McCoy of Knoxville, Tenn. (center) won the 2012 National Cornbread Festival cookusing cornmeal rather than bread crumbs and serving it with a dol- off. Pictured on left is Bob Kellermann, chairman and CEO of event co-sponsor Lodge Manufacturing. On right lop of her tried-and-true mango salsa. “So many of my recipes are is Linda Carmen, spokesperson for event co-sponsor Martha White. twists on old favorites,” she says. Her “a-little-of-this-and-a-littleof-that” method won her top honors, a new stove and $5,000. McCoy is a native of Michigan, where cornbread is not a staple as it is in many kitchens of the South. But a Southern grandmother introduced it to her as a child. Since then, she’s found that it goes well beyond a simple bread with dinner. “It’s gone mainstream,” she says, adding that all the new mixes make it a versatile product that can go from side dish to main dish with the addition of a few key ingredients. “It’s really quite amazing,” she says. As a veteran of the National Cornbread Cook-Off, McCoy has seen the competition grow from an event of homespun flavor to one of a more serious, intense nature. “Contestants come from all around the country now,” she says. “It’s a fun time. It’s just amazing to me to see South Pittsburg grow from a few thousand to more than 50,000 on the weekend of the festival. It’s all a community effort. I call South Pittsburg ‘the little town that could.’” And it does. Every year. 

If you go...

This year’s festival will be held the weekend of April 27-28. The cook-off will be held on Saturday, April 27, on the town square. For more information, visit www.nationalcornbread.com.


Cornbread: An award-winning treat This winning recipe from the 2012 National Cornbread Festival was created by Melanie McCoy of Knoxville, Tenn. “The judges all worked diligently to select a winner,” says Bob Kellermann, chairman and CEO of event co-sponsor Lodge Manufacturing.

Sweet Cornbread Shrimp Cakes with Mango Salsa Cornbread: 1 (7-ounce) package Martha White Sweet Yellow Cornbread and Muffin Mix 1/2 cup milk 1 egg, beaten Mango Salsa: 3 cups peeled and chopped mango (2 to 3 mangoes) 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion Juice of 1 large lime Pinch salt 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Shrimp Cakes: 2 tablespoons butter 1 cup finely chopped celery 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion 1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped 3 teaspoons seafood seasoning 2 large eggs, beaten 1/3 cup mayonnaise 1/3 cup chopped cilantro Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste Butter for cooking shrimp cakes Lemon wedges and parsley for garnish

Bake cornbread mix according to package directions, using milk and 1 egg. Cool and crumble. Stir together salsa ingredients. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Serve or refrigerate until serving time. Heat butter over medium heat in 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Cook celery and 1⁄2 cup chopped red onion until tender, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer celery and onion to large bowl. Stir in shrimp, seafood seasoning, 2 eggs, mayonnaise, cilantro, salt and pepper. Stir in crumbled cornbread until well

blended. Using about 1⁄3 cup, form mixture into 12 shrimp cakes about 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat. Cook shrimp cakes until lightly browned and shrimp turn pink, about 4 minutes on each side. Cook remaining shrimp cakes, adding additional butter as needed. Place cakes on a serving platter. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. Serve with Mango Salsa.

March/April 2013 | 15


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