Month: September 2022

Beautify I-65 Project in Warren County Receives 2022 Beautify the Bluegrass Governor’s Award

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 28, 2022) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and Kentucky Electric Cooperatives President and CEO Chris Perry announced the Beautify I-65 Project in Warren County is the winner of the 2022 Beautify the Bluegrass Governor’s Award. For the sixth straight year, the Governor’s Office, Kentucky’s electric cooperatives and their flagship publication, Kentucky Livingcollaborated on the Beautify the Bluegrass initiative to recognize and celebrate efforts that enhance the Commonwealth and make us proud to call Kentucky home.

“It’s a privilege to congratulate the Beautify I-65 project, along with all the other Beautify the Bluegrass initiatives, for their incredible efforts to make Kentucky a better place to live and raise a family,” said Governor Beshear. “The Beautify the Bluegrass program is one of my favorite examples of what it means to be on ‘Team Kentucky.’ I am so grateful to every individual, family and organization who volunteered their time to improve their community.”

“All five of these projects are worthy of this award,” said Johnny Webb, the project’s organizer and fundraiser. “We hope to make other communities in Kentucky jealous of us, but jealous in a good way. We would like for other communities in Kentucky to do what we’ve done because we want to elevate the commonwealth of Kentucky. It creates community pride, and it’s an economic development tool for our community.”

Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation (WRECC) nominated the Beautify I-65 project, which involves planting flowers and trees, installing fencing along five local interchanges and creating “gateway” exits with attractive signs and colorful flags. The project is a partnership among Operation PRIDE, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the City of Bowling Green, and Warren County. Organizers hope to entice travelers to explore the community and engage with local businesses.  

“Because co-ops belong to and are led by people in the communities they serve, improving the quality of life in those local communities is at the heart of the electric cooperative mission. I’m especially pleased that Warren RECC and the entire Bowling Green area rallied around this project to earn this recognition,” Perry said. “The statewide association of electric cooperatives takes great pride once again highlighting impressive, homegrown projects across our Commonwealth that are making Kentucky a better and more beautiful place.”

Kentuckians cast votes for their favorite beautification project from five finalists on The other finalists included: 

  • Veterans Memorial Park Beautification Project, Liberty;
  • Eastern Elementary Garden Club, Pleasureville;
  • Lifeline Recovery Center Playground, Paducah; and
  • Hodgenville Elementary School Natural Trail and Outdoor Classroom

North Carolina co-ops and employees donate over $20,000 to Kentucky flood relief

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have joined together to support co-op communities in Kentucky affected by recent flooding. In late July, portions of eastern Kentucky were struck by torrential rainfall and devastating floods that led to the destruction of homes, businesses and livelihoods. At least 39 people have died as a result of the historic flooding, and two women remain missing. Thousands of people lost their homes, and it remains to be seen how many businesses and jobs will be restored.

In response to this disaster, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives activated the Human Connections Fund to provide needed support to people and communities impacted. Electric cooperatives and co-op employees from across North Carolina made generous donations to aid relief efforts, raising a total of $20,205 to assist communities and families impacted by the flooding.

“The long-term recovery from the flooding devastation in eastern Kentucky is going to need a lot of assistance” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “We are humbled but not surprised by the generosity and leadership of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives who immediately stepped up to help their co-op family in this critical time Kentucky’s electric cooperatives enjoy a long and sincere friendship with our counterparts in the Tarheel State, from mutual aid after disasters to advocacy for the members we serve. When I think of the co-op spirit of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, I am reminded of their state motto: To be, rather than to seem. Thank you for being there for Kentucky.”

“In times of crisis, co-ops and their employees always step up to assist our neighbors,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president and COO of association services for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “Whether it’s through sending line crews to assist in outage restoration efforts or donations to local charities and non-profits, the cooperatives’ focus on community and the power of human connections shines when their members need it most.”

The Human Connections Fund was established in December 2005 and gives North Carolina electric cooperatives and their employees the ability to assist sister cooperatives and their members in times of need. The initiative has previously provided donations to those affected by severe storms, hurricanes and other disasters here at home and throughout the country.

In Time of Rapid Change, Matheson Tells Electric Co-ops ‘It’s Good to Be Us’

NRECA CEO Jim Matheson urged electric cooperative leaders at Regional Meetings 1&4 to take on the historic changes and opportunities emerging across the industry and know the association is ready to lead and partner to ensure co-ops are equipped to best serve their members.

“It’s all about change and the opportunities it brings,” Matheson said in his keynote address Wednesday in Indianapolis.

“This meeting is your chance to meet the people at NRECA who are leading these efforts, and for you to learn more.”

Matheson noted three key areas of transformation and opportunity for co-ops—broadband, infrastructure and politics—and how NRECA is evolving in its own right to meet their needs.

“It’s the most important work we’re doing right now, and we want you to make the most of these opportunities to invest in your co-op’s reliability, resilience and relevance,” he said.

NRECA Broadband launched in July for co-ops delivering high-quality internet, building networks or finding other ways to help close the digital divide. Its team of experts are steeped in telecommunications policy, regulations and its highly competitive politics, he said.

“We’re positioning NRECA to best support our members [and] to make darn sure we are on a level playing field,” said Matheson.

When it comes to infrastructure, the $1.2 trillion federal law offers enormous opportunities for co-ops to invest in electric vehicles, disaster mitigation and technologies for a smart grid, microgrids and cybersecurity.

To help smooth the complex compliance process, NRECA is bringing co-ops together to work on projects and grant applications.

“NRECA is here to make it as easy as possible to access these programs and put them to work for you,” Matheson said.

In the political arena, polarized gridlock may be a constant, but “electric co-ops will be as respected, as relevant and as effective in politics as we’ve ever been,” he said.

“You have credit and credibility on both sides of the aisle for the work you do. NRECA’s reputation, your reputation, is sterling. And that matters more now than ever before.”

For example, Congress came together last month to pass the budget reconciliation bill with provisions giving direct-pay tax credits for electric co-ops to deploy new energy technologies—a top priority for NRECA.

“It covers any tax credit for energy technologies—renewables, storage, carbon capture—anything the federal government might offer as an incentive to a for-profit utility, a not-for-profit co-op can now use, too,” Matheson said. “Now, and in the future. And that’s a pretty big deal.”

In many ways, NRECA member co-ops “are much bigger than politics,” he said. By revolutionizing the electric industry and making key investments in their communities, co-ops draw bipartisan recognition in Washington, he said.

“It is a time of rapid change—to be sure—but it’s also good to be us,” Matheson said. “Thanks to the work of your co-op, we have every advantage with us as we lead the way to that bright future.”

Cathy Cash is a staff writer for NRECA.