Month: February 2019

Celebrating local

Kentucky Proud and electric cooperatives make a difference

Do you remember your wedding vows? I will never forget my wedding day as I stood in front of friends and family and watched my bride escorted by her father into the sanctuary of Rose Hill Baptist Church in Ashland. That was 25 years ago.

We were so young and excited about what life had in store for us. I look back at the pictures and see two young people who were committed to each other and to making a difference in the world. She was beautiful then and even more beautiful today. I was much thinner and had no signs of gray in my hair. 

We were recent college graduates and I had accepted a job at Nolin RECC as an engineer. I am so thankful that I found a job working for an electric cooperative. I was able to find a program that had a mission that I could completely support. Electric cooperatives make a difference in their local communities and are always thinking of how to keep electric rates affordable. 

In our wedding vows, I remember the line “for better or worse.” I bet most married folks have lived out that portion of our vows at different times in our lives. For us, there have been the good times, but there have also been the bad times. 

In this issue of Kentucky Living, you will read about Kentucky Proud Weddings (page 24), which are uniquely Kentucky. The venue, flowers, food and entertainment have roots in our state heritage.

The idea of using local suppliers is to give back to your community. That’s something that electric cooperatives can get behind, because our roots have always been and are still locally based.

When I read the story, I immediately thought of my marriage. We were married in a small town and celebrate our Kentucky roots. I am proud of our 25 years—Kentucky Proud.

Co-ops Care: Pulling together to serve the community

Thankful for the opportunity to serve

Warren RECC Board Director N.E. Reed, center, celebrates at Bowling Green’s 80th anniversary celebration. Joining him are Board Director Orville W. “Pete” Dotson III and Warren RECC employee Launa Allen. Photo: Tami Cohron

Bowling Green

Concern for community is one of seven principles that Kentucky’s electric cooperatives adhere to. If you want to know what that really means, look at the life of N.E. Reed, a board director for Warren RECC.

For 21 years, N.E. was judge-executive of Edmonson County. Working with others, N.E. was able to build a library, senior center, courthouse annex and technology center at no cost to the county. He led the charge to create an industrial park and attracted three factories that hired 130 people. At the end of his tenure, the county budget was in the black with a financial reserve.

For 40 years, he also served Oak Grove United Baptist Church as song leader. He taught Sunday School, was a deacon and is still a clerk for the church.

“I’m most proud of the people here in our county willing to help,” says N.E. “When we put our heads together we come up with great things for the county. I appreciate the opportunity they gave me to serve.”

Nolin RECC’s John Mastin finds that being a bell ringer for the Salvation Army blesses him. Photo: Sarah Fellows

The cure for what ails you


If you ever get down on your fellow man, John Mastin has the solution: volunteer.

Mastin, a dispatcher for Nolin RECC, has volunteered for an array of causes, including serving as a Sunday School teacher for Eastwood Creek Baptist Church. Today he is a bell ringer for the Salvation Army and a flag stander for the Patriot Guard Riders of Kentucky.

“As a bell ringer, it blesses my heart to see people give although they may not have as much as others,” John says.

Flag standers honor veterans and first responders by standing in a flag line and rendering a final salute as the funeral procession passes. John knows what these men and women have given, since he was in the military from 1974-77.

“In my past 37 years at the cooperative, the co-op has always led by example and encouraged us to volunteer,” John says.

Adair named VP of Human Resources & Communications at Jackson Purchase

Jackson Purchase prioritizing communications with members and employees 

PADUCAH – Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation,  announced it has named Scott Adair as Vice President of Human Resources & Communications.

Adair brings a wealth of experience and demonstrated success in human resources and communications to Jackson Purchase Energy as the co-op works to better serve both its consumer-members and its employees.

“Scott will be an asset as we work to focus on communication with our members and employees,” says Greg Grissom, Jackson Purchase Energy’s president and CEO. “These are critical functions of our electric cooperative.”

Adair joins JPEC from Briggs & Stratton, where he has led professional training activities and served in several roles over the last eight years in Public Relations, Organizational Development, Communications, and Human Resources. His career also includes ten years in the hospitality industry at Kentucky Dam Village. Since 2011, he has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Murray State University.

Adair is a member of the Rotary Club and serves on the United Way Board of Directors in Murray, KY. He holds multiple degrees from Murray State University, including a doctorate of education in P20 and Community Leadership. Adair and his wife, Laken, live in Calvert City with their daughter.


NRECA Supervisor and Manager Development Program April 15-16

With the impending retirement wave of co-op leaders and the rapid changes occurring within our industry, NRECA has developed a new program to provide co-op employees with the knowledge and skills they need to lead their teams through these changes and bolster the co-op overall. Kentucky Electric Cooperatives will host two courses in the NRECA Supervisor and Manager Development Program (SMDP).

Instructor: Bryan Singletary

  • Monday April 15, 2019 – 710.1 Stepping into Your Supervisory Role: Learning to Lead
  • Tuesday April 16, 2019 – 714.1 Change is Hard: Guiding Your Team through Complex Times

Location: Statewide Office
1630 Lyndon Farm Court
Louisville KY 40223
Second Floor: Training Center

Supervisor and Manager Development Program (SMDP); – The Supervisor and Manager Development Program is a flexible, co-op-specific education program focused on strengthening the leadership skills, knowledge and abilities needed to hire, develop and lead others, manage performance, communicate effectively and make decisions.

If you were working towards the Supervisory Certificate and/or the Management Essentials Certificate, the courses you take in this program could count toward the Supervisor and Manager Development Program. (NRECA – 1 credit CEU – 0.6 credits)


Co-ops will be billed for their attendees at the per-person cost, which will be based upon the total number of attendees.  In any event, we will only bill enough to recoup the purchase price of the programs and ancillary charges such as food and beverage.


A block of rooms has been reserved at:
Embassy Suites by Hilton Louisville
9940 Corporate Campus Drive
Louisville, KY 40223

Cut-off date for making reservations is March 18.  Please make your reservation before that date in order to secure a room at our block rate of $129.  To make a reservation, either call (502) 426-9191, or click on the link below which will take you to the room block site.


Enjoy: complimentary cooked to order breakfast, Wi-Fi, and parking as well as an evening reception with beer, wine, cocktails, and sodas.

Please complete this registration form by APRIL 1 and return to Kelli Gibson



Wanted: Lineworkers

Want to join one of the Kentucky electric cooperatives, a utility construction company or other electricity provider in Kentucky? 

The new lineworker program at Madisonville Community College is the first in Kentucky to offer a for-credit course in that field. After eight weeks of class, graduates can start out making $30,000-$45,000, according to Mike Davenport, workforce solutions director for the college. Lineworkers have the potential to earn $75,000 annually within three years and as much as six figures if they are willing to travel and work overtime.

Students in the first two classes earned utility technician I and II certificates, Davenport says. The classes are also part of an associate degree program.

“The 12 hours they’ve earned count toward an advanced integrated technology degree should any of the graduates decide to return to college,” he says.

“This program gives students a leg up on apprenticeships and makes them more employable,” Davenport says. “When a program offers college credit, it has a lot of clout to it.”

He says demand for lineworkers is high, and it’s a challenge to fill the openings.

Demand for the lineworker class is also high—March and June classes are full, with a waiting list for September.

“Programs like this are included in what we call the career freeway, which offers many on and off ramps for earning credentials,” says Madisonville Community College President Cynthia Kelley. “Because there are so many financial aid sources available for this program, most students should have no long-term debt.”

For more information, contact Mike Davenport at (270) 824-8661.

When do I really need to change my air filter?

Breathe easier and also save energy and money by understanding your HVAC system

Air filters trap a lot of debris that otherwise would end up back in the house, stuck in ductwork, clogging heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment—or in our lungs. 

For optimum energy efficiency and good indoor air quality, air filters should be changed regularly, which also saves you energy and money.

How often they need changing depends on several factors, including pets that shed, carpeting, wood-burning heat sources and cigarette smoke. During extremely high use, such as winter and summer, consider changing your filters monthly. 

There are two categories of filters: permanent or disposable; and flat or pleated media. Disposable are the most prevalent, but don’t waste your money on the cheap ones with flimsy cardboard frames and thin mesh. Pleated filters perform better using media you cannot see through.

A bit about MERV, which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value: It’s a rating system that tells you how effective a filter is at trapping particles. The scale runs from one to 16 (higher is better), but for technical reasons, it’s not as simple as choosing one at the higher end of the rating scale.

So, how do you decide which level of filter to use? If you have your system’s operating manual or can find it online, check for recommendations. Otherwise, go with a decent pleated filter with a MERV of three to five and check it once a month to see how it is performing. Also check to see if the dust inside abates.


Low-cost energy ideas for renters

Energy-efficiency tips for homeowners are great, but how can renters like me reduce their energy bills?—Chelsea

Whether you’re renting or your budget for improvements is tight, take a look at these low-cost efficiency tips that can help you reduce your energy bills.

Mind the thermostat Carefully manage the temperature in your home. The federal Department of Energy suggests setting the thermostat to 68 degrees on winter days—even lower at night or when no one is home—and you can wear an extra sweater. The same principle works in reverse during summer months.

Go programmable If you don’t always remember to adjust your thermostat manually, you could benefit from a programmable model. In the right situation, set correctly, programmable thermostats can save $150 a year. Before you purchase one, make sure your landlord approves.

Try zone heating If you don’t mind less-used rooms being colder, you might be able to save energy by zone heating. Electric baseboards typically have thermostat settings on the units or in each room. Portable electric space heaters can also be a good tool for zone heating, as long as you reduce the heat to the rest of the home.

Stop air leaks Use weather stripping and caulk to plug small gaps around windows, doors, wiring and plumbing. Again, check with the landlord first, but better yet, convince him or her to do the work. You can also use draft stoppers under exterior doors.

Manage your windows and coverings Medium- or heavy-weight curtains and thermal blinds can help keep warmth inside. Open them up in direct sunlight conditions as a “passive solar” technique—do the opposite in the summer. You can also cover windows with clear plastic to reduce heat loss and air leaks.

Look for energy wasters There are also small steps you can take every day to reduce your energy use. Water heaters should be kept at the warm setting (120 degrees). Wash dishes and clothes on the most economical settings that will do the job and always wash full loads. Use the microwave instead of the oven when possible.

Co-ops Care: Something bigger in life

180 degrees


Samantha Howard is manager of environmental services for Big Rivers Electric Corporation, overseeing environmental documents for the Coleman and Wilson substations.

Outside of work, however, Samantha does a 180-degree into the warm and fuzzy as a volunteer for SPARKY, Saving Paws Animal Rescuein Kentucky. Rather than putting animals in a shelter, SPARKY volunteers keep animals in their homes until they are adopted.

Samantha fostered 22 dogs and cats this past year, and approximately that many each of the nine years before.

“Our approach is one-on-one,” she says. “If a kitten is sleeping on your pillow, you know it so much better than if you are taking care of it in a shelter.”

AnnaBell, for example, needed multiple surgeries that her owners could not afford.

“AnnaBell got her surgeries and lived with me several years,” Samantha recalls. “By then, I knew her and was able to make sure she got a great home.”

In the 2018 championship game, Chris Childress talks strategy with his team, getting them prepared for the second half. Childress’ team won! Photo: Tina Muse

Football and life


Not everything in life will be handed to you.

Never give up.

There is something bigger than football or school.

Have fun.

Along with how to play football, those are some of the life lessons Coach Chris Childress tries to teach members of his youth football team composed of kids ages 11-12.

“I grew up playing football,” Chris says. “I knew it would be a way to help them learn teamwork, sportsmanship, the value of hard work and about life in general. I try to teach them how to react when they are successful and when they fail. Sometimes we fall short of a goal and we often make mistakes, so we have to learn to never give up. Similar to life, football is something you have to work hard at to have any success.”

Chris is also pastor of Mt. Moriah Cumberland Presbyterian Church, so he makes sure his boys also learn there is something bigger than any sport.

Time to Beautify the Bluegrass

Kentucky’s electric cooperatives do an incredible job of caring for the communities they serve.  Here is an opportunity for your co-op to receive statewide attention for your beautification efforts, and earn some bragging rights as well.

“Beautify the Bluegrass” is a partnership with Kentucky Living and Gov. Matt Bevin. The project encourages people all across Kentucky to improve the physical appearance of the Bluegrass.

“Our goal is for you as community members to identify something in your community that you can be involved in repairing, or enhancing, or beautifying,” said Bevin in 2018.

Along with two public awards, the Governor’s Award and the Commonwealth Award, there is a specific category for electric co-ops. The winner of the “Cooperative Award” is chosen by Gov. Bevin.

Last year, 10 cooperatives submitted projects, ranging from picking up litter on a stretch of highway to beautifying several state parks.

Photo: Lori Ulrich

Fleming-Mason Energy won the Cooperative Award in 2018 for its efforts to spruce up Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park. The Fleming-Mason team not only replenished the mulch but also repaired the playground equipment. With the help of employees, co-op directors, families and friends, the team revived the pollinator garden with plantings and installed benches for visitors to enjoy.

“One of the core cooperative principles is commitment to community,” says Fleming-Mason’s Lori Ulrich, director of Community & Economic Development. “This project gave us a chance to work together as a team to help with a need in our community.”

Kentucky’s Electric Cooperatives encourages all co-ops to get involved in this project.  To be eligible, projects must have been started after July 27, 2018 and completed by June 28, 2019.

“The co-op mission is to improve the quality of life in Kentucky,” says Chris Perry, President and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “If you love Kentucky like we do, we hope you consider picking up a shovel or maybe just picking up some trash and be a part of this great effort.”

For more details about this project, visit Beautify the Bluegrass. If you have any questions, contact Thom Whittinghill at 502.815.6329 or