Author: Chris Hayes

Rural Electric Magazine wants “Co-op Electric Vehicles” photos for February contest

Rural Electric Magazine announced their February photo contest theme is “Co-op Electric Vehicles.”

The magazine is requesting photo submissions of how your co-op demonstrates and promotes EVs to your members. 

Submissions and voting will be open until February 28. 

You can see entries that Rural Electric Magazine has received so far by clicking here

Social media best practices shared at 2019 KMSA

One of the presentations at 2019’s KMSA addressed the best practices you could put in place to help your cooperative’s presence on social media. This presentation was given by Kacey Harmeling, a graphic designer for Kentucky Living magazine, and Mary Lyons, Communication Office Coordinator at KEC. Both of which have prior experience in managing social media platforms for companies before they were hired at KEC.

The presentation included best practices like creating a social media calendar, examples of good social media content, how to engage followers, and how to best respond to followers.

Click here for a PDF version of the PowerPoint presentation.

If you have any questions about this presentation, you can email Kacey Harmeling at kharmeling@kyelectric.net or Mary Lyons at mlyons@kyelectric.net.

2020 WIRE Scholarships Available for Kentucky College Students

The Kentucky Chapter of Women in Rural Electrification (WIRE) is offering three $1,000 scholarships to Kentucky college students.

The scholarships are open to any applicant who meets the following criteria:

  • Student or Student’s family must be served by a Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative.
  • Student must have completed at least 60 credit hours at the end of the 2019 Fall College Term.
  • Student must attend a Kentucky college or university

The scholarship application deadline is JUNE 12, 2020. Scholarship recipients will be notified in July.

Scholarships will be awards based on academic achievements, extracurricular activities, career goals, recommendations from professors and community leaders, and financial need.

Application should be returned to Mary Beth Dennis, KAEC, P.O. Box 32170, Louisville, KY 40232.

15th Annual Kentucky Lineman’s Rodeo

Teams from electric cooperatives around Kentucky will be in the area Sept 26-27

Electric cooperatives power more 1.5 million people across Kentucky. Everyday, lineworkers labor in all conditions to keep the power on for their members. Once a year, some of these lineworkers come together in a unique competition.

The Kentucky Lineman’s Rodeo attracts the best lineworkers from around the commonwealth to compete in events based on traditional lineman tasks and skills. This year, Nolin RECC along with Kentucky Electric Cooperatives is hosting this friendly competition at the Hardin County Fairgrounds September 26-27.

The action begins Thursday, September 26 at 9am with individual Journeyman, Apprentice and Senior events. They will compete in Hurtman Rescue, Skills Climb, Angle Clip and a mystery event. On Friday, September 27, there will be a Lineman Memorial at 7:30am with team competition starting at 8:30am. Team events include Hurtman Rescue, Cutout Replace, Suspension Insulator and a mystery event.

“Safety is a priority for all of our lineworkers in everything they do. The Rodeo is about friendly competition, but the focus really is on safety and the skill it takes to do the difficult work that they do in their jobs everyday,” says Nolin RECC Manager of Communications Sarah Fellows.

The first Kentucky Lineman’s Rodeo was held in August 2005, with nearly 70 linemen competing. The Rodeo has grown to over 200 teams and 250 apprentices. The event is free and open to the public.

Jackson Energy provides loan that will provide jobs, decrease waste

 

Southeastern Environmental Solutions is turning recycled material into revenue. A Rural Development Loan through Jackson Energy Cooperative will help the Laurel County company grow while decreasing waste products in landfills.

The $2 million no-interest loan is offered through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office and the loans are administered by local electric cooperatives, like Jackson Energy. The company expects to add 30 new jobs over the next three years as a result of the loan.

“We recycle material that at one point in time would go into a landfill,” said Ernest Matt House, co-owner of Southeastern Environmental Solutions (SES). Other owners include Mike Bargo and Russ Asher. “We’re taking scrap material, mainly from the automotive industry, and repurposing it.” House said the scrap mainly comes from materials used for headliners and flooring that goes down before carpet is installed in vehicles.

The loan will be used to purchase an additional machine for the company’s site in the Fariston Industrial Park.

House said SES operates three shifts at the facility and has 15 employees. The additional machine will allow them to process more material. Scrap material comes into the company in big rolls and is shredded. “It looks like syrup,” he said of the first steps in processing, “which then freezes and is chopped into pellets.”

The pellets are eventually turned into fabric. An 80,000 lbs. load of scrap material generates 40,000 lbs. of finished product, which makes its way back to the automotive industry.

“One thing I’ve learned,” House said of the recycling process, “is how much everything has polyester in it.”

Currently, the company works with a broker to sell the finished product. House said the ideal situation would be to establish a working relationship with one or two companies to get their scrap material and ship the finished product back to them.

“The Rural Development Loan program allows Jackson Energy to help local companies expand,” says Jackson Energy President & CEO Carol Wright. “This is the twelfth loan we have administered to companies throughout our service area. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in the region not only by providing electric service but also through economic development.”

 

 

 Tri-County Electric 2019 Annual Meeting summary

 

Rain may have canceled some outdoor plans at the Tri-County Electric Annual Meeting, but the community and cooperative spirit were thriving inside Metcalfe County Middle School in Edmonton, Kentucky, on the evening of May 2. In the gymnasium, 220 members registered for the meeting. 

After registering, members made their way around the gym to visit booths from Kentucky Living and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Kids in attendance could also register to win an iPad and get their names airbrushed on free T-shirts by Robert and Beth Hollingsworth of Brush of Air. Always a favorite, Denny Whalen was on hand to draw caricatures for members who attended. 

At 7 p.m., members were encouraged to walk over to the school auditorium for the start of the business meeting. Once everyone was seated, one member won $100 cash. 

Mark Linkous, Edmonton District Director, welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order. The Metcalfe County VFW Post 6281 presented the colors, and Michael Gill, principal of Metcalfe County Elementary School, along with several of his students led the pledge of allegiance. Janey Miller, Todd Young and Kelli Barrett sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem, and retired Edmonton employee Joan Whitlow led the invocation. Co-op Attorney Ken Witcher Jr. read the notice of the meeting, as well as the proof of mailing. 

Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Tri-County Electric Paul Thompson introduced business and political leaders as well as TVA and other Tri-County Electric partners. Thompson took the opportunity to recognize the co-op’s representatives on last year’s Washington Youth Tour—both were in attendance. 

Officials, including David Callis, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, took a moment to recognize the late George Cowan, a longtime Tri-County Electric board member, who died last year. 

Callis spoke to the members in attendance, recalling time he spent the past week in Washington, D.C., advocating for members. “We talk about you and your needs,” Callis said. 

Chris Perry, President and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, reminded members of TV commercials from years past—including one that says, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” Perry reminded the crowd that, “Tri-County is listening to you.” 

Thompson reported on Tri-County Electric’s strong financial position and reiterated the meeting theme: Your Neighbor, Your Energy. “We truly are your friends and neighbors,” Thompson said. 

Nearly 60 door prizes were awarded during the evening’s activities, including the $100 Tri-County Electric gift cards, iPads, cash and the grand prize Ford Explorer won by getting name from Tammy Dixon. Tri-County Electric’s logo was displayed on the camp chairs given out to attendees, and free refreshments, including hot dogs and ice cream, were provided for everyone. 

Thompson, Linkous and the board of directors expressed gratitude to Metcalfe County Middle School for the use of their lovely school, and they thanked all the employees and volunteers for making the meeting a success. 

As required by the TCEMC bylaws, a meeting of the Tri-County Board of Directors was held immediately following the annual meeting. Officers elected were President Mike Miller, Scottsville District; Vice President, Mark Linkous, Edmonton District; and Secretary-Treasurer, Ray Goad, Lafayette District. 

Inter-County Energy 2019 Annual Meeting summary

 

With overcast sky and light rain, members entered beneath the U.S. flag hung between two Inter-County Energy bucket trucks at Boyle County High School, Danville, for the 81st annual meeting, Friday, May 3, 5–7 p.m., with entertainment at 6 p.m. and business meeting at 7 p.m. 

Booths lined hallways with about 10 employees registering 413 members, with approximately 1,000 people attending. Members received a bucket with LED bulbs. There was free popcorn and Perryville Christian Church sold drinks and food. Outside people lined up for free homemade ice cream scooped by 4 Generations, Stanford. They watched safety demonstrations and checked out an electric vehicle. Kids received free hard hats and caricature drawings from Denny Whalen and assistant, who were attending Inter-County’s meeting for the first time. 

A constant flow of people stopped at booths, including free health fair screenings, SimpleSaver fans, Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives cutting boards, recipe cards and Co-ops Vote sticky notes from Kentucky Living, with registration for the Ultimate State Fair Giveaway. 

People gathered in the auditorium at 6 p.m. to hear the Zach Shelton and 64 to Grayson band. At 7 p.m., everyone convened in the auditorium, where emcee Thom Whittinghill recognized veterans in the audience. The Marion County High School Junior ROTC presented the colors and Samuel Bullock, Stanford, sang the national anthem. 

With a sign language interpreter, Chairman Joe Spalding welcomed members; Director Louis Kerrick gave the invocation. Director Allen Goggin provided a safety moment about farm machinery on roads. Spalding introduced other directors and President/CEO Jerry Carter, who then recognized special guests, including member Georgia May Pike, Washington County, who has attended all 81 annual meetings. 

Spalding called the business meeting to order and Attorney Hadden Dean served as parliamentarian. Spalding confirmed the quorum and also the official notice by reading the proof of mailing. Dean announced the election of Allen Goggin, Boyle District, and J. Kevin Preston, Garrard District, both unopposed. In the third year of absentee ballots, he noted that nine votes were cast April 12-26 at Inter-County and Lebanon offices. 

Preston’s financial report referenced the 2018 annual report, which was mailed in Kentucky Living this week. The annual audit showed no deficiencies. Chairman Spalding noted in his report that our power is changing from coal to other sources and renewable energy like Cooperative Solar. Since 2013, he says Inter-County has been fortunate to receive competitive pricing from PJM, which provides wholesale energy to 13 states. This year for the first time, 16 co-ops received $1.8 million in capital credits from East Kentucky Power; Inter-County received $120,000. 

Carter began his president/CEO report with a moment of silence in memory of former employee Eugene McCowan, followed by honoring four retirees—Darryl Adams, Kent Loomer, Eugenia Adkins and Robert “Bob” Denny—with 85 years of combined service. Carter reviewed statistics, noting that Inter-County is one of the fastest growing co-ops in Kentucky with $131 million in assets; however, there was an operating loss in 2018 of $1.147 million, primarily due to increased vegetation management, equipment cost and steel construction hardware. 

Carter told the audience that for years Inter-County Energy has had higher electric rates than the for-profit IOUs, but he is happy to announce that is no longer the case. Inter-County Energy’s monthly customer charge is less and the meter per kWh cost is the same. 

He recognized the co-op’s 63 employees, commending all for going one year, or 118,000 hours, with no loss-time accidents. Carter said that Inter-County shows “Commitment to Community,” with employees who serve on many boards, councils and organizations. Christmas Blessings, which began in 2008, and a silent auction, raised $5,018 last year for children in 13 families. Since 2008, the program has raised $32,000, helping 249 children in 37 families. The co-op is committed to students by giving safety demonstrations, and last year by sending six students on the Washington Youth Tour and providing six others with $1,000 scholarships. Inter-County also is involved in community and economic development. 

Carter ended by reminding the audience of the co-op’s mission: to provide long-term, valued electrical energy and services to members through a culture of safety, accountability, innovation, integrity and commitment to community. 

The meeting ended with the drawing for six $500 Visa cards for members. 

 Grayson RECC 2019 Annual Meeting summary

 

Grayson RECC’s annual meeting was May 9, 2019, at the co-op headquarters. Carol Ann Fraley, president and CEO, greeted visitors from her rocking chair post on the porch of the plantation-style facility. The temperature was in the 70s, with occasional wind gusts and light showers throughout the daylong event. This provided a nice atmosphere for the 1,172 registrants, plus additional visitors, who attended the event. 

A steady stream of visitors picked up their buckets and bulbs, entered a drawing for a quilt and enjoyed hotdogs and popcorn while meandering through several activities on the grounds. East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) manned a booth with information and giveaways, and they also gave visitors an opportunity to check out a ChargeChangeKY electric vehicle. At Grayson RECC’s booth, visitors spun the wheel for prizes and picked up a bag of goodies, and at the Kentucky Living booth they gathered information on how to enter for a chance to win the Ultimate Kentucky State Fair Experience this summer. 

At 6 p.m., Fraley and the Grayson RECC board of directors convened the business meeting, along with approximately 40 attendees. The meeting was called to order by Board Chairman Harold Dupuy. Following his remarks, Fraley thanked the employees for all their hard work and shared accomplishments of the past year. Details were on the annual report handed out in members’ buckets and included eight major projects completed over the course of what Fraley described as “a very rainy year.” Fraley also touched on Grayson’s recent completion of a rate case with Public Service Commission (PSC), and said they will be working with the commission on follow-up items over the next few months. 

Legal Counsel, Derrick Willis declared there was a quorum, and a motion was passed to approve the 2018 meeting minutes, with no old or new business to discuss. There were no elections during the annual meeting. 

Fraley thanked Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, who stopped by and visited with employees and members prior to the meeting. Fraley also thanked EKPC and Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, along with board members’ wives and all the folks on hand to help with the meeting and daylong events. 

The meeting concluded at 6:15 and was followed by drawings for the quilt and door prizes. Prizes included an Amazon Echo, pressure washer, TVs and a soundbar, a small refrigerator, ION robot vacuum cleaner, Visa gift card, Sony PlayStation, and a Ring floodlight security camera. 

Co-ops Care: Cowboy friends and archery coaches

Concert blessings

HOPKINSVILLE

On July 27, popular country music singers and songwriters will take the stage for the 13th annual Brice Long and Friends Benefit Concert in Hopkinsville. Six months later—around Christmas—profits from that performance will help some 50 families in Christian, Trigg and Todd counties.

The tie between the concert and the Christmas event goes back to 2005 when renowned songwriter Brice Long wanted to give back to his native Hopkinsville after achieving success in Nashville, including a Country Music Association nomination for Song Of The Year for Like A Cowboy.

Long created Back2Back and named Pennyrile Electric’s Brent Gilkey as chairman of the nonprofit foundation.

Since its inception, Back2Back has raised more than $551,000 and helped more than 320 families.

“This foundation has just grown and grown,” says Gilkey, vice president of member services and communications for Pennyrile Electric. “Each year we talk with families in need and find out their most urgent needs. Back2Back representatives then make deliveries to families in each county. We focus on the family’s needs but also provide items that the children just want. Each delivery is customized for that particular family.”

Coaches help archery team members prepare their bows for a competition. Photo: Tony Martin

Bull’s-eye

BENTON

Tony Martin, manager of operations for Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation, has spent much of his free time in the past three years focused on a yellow dot.

Both of his children—Jon, 14, and Nya, 12—started archery at New Harmony Baptist Church. Dad Tony realized this was their passion, so he wanted to support it. Tony now volunteers as an archery coach for sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders at both New Harmony Baptist Church and North Marshall Middle School. This year the team went to the state championship.

But it’s not their prowess with a bow and arrow that attracts Tony or the kids to the sport.

“The thing I like about archery is that you don’t have to be really athletic to participate,” Tony says. “It’s really good for kids who are not natural basketball or baseball players. Every child fits in.”

It’s also rewarding for the coaches.

“Nothing can pay you for what you get in return for volunteering,” Tony says.