Author: Kentucky Electric Cooperatives

Governor Bevin Kicks Off Second Annual “Beautify The Bluegrass” Initiative

Shelbyville, KY. –Governor Matt Bevin and Kentucky Living magazine have launched the 2018 “Beautify the Bluegrass” initiative. Under this program, Kentuckians are encouraged to come together and make their communities shine.

“Our goal is for Kentuckians to identify a project in their community that they can be involved in repairing, enhancing, or beautifying,” said Gov. Bevin. “Gather together a group of one, two, three, five, fifty, or a hundred people—however many you need to improve a specific area. From updating landscapes to painting murals, there is so much we can do to beautify our communities. Let’s work together to make the Commonwealth shine.”

The initiative is a partnership between Kentucky Living and the Governor’s office. Kentucky Livingis published by the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, whose 26 members are committed to improving the quality of life in communities across the Commonwealth. With a monthly readership topping one million people, Kentucky Livingjoined the “Beautify the Bluegrass” campaign to help spread the word and get communities across the state involved in improving their public spaces.

“We are excited to partner with Gov. Bevin to make the Commonwealth shine through this initiative,” said Anita Richter, editor of Kentucky Livingmagazine. “Our team at Kentucky Livinglooks forward to seeing all the great projects that are to come.”

Shelby Energy Cooperative members worked to revamp the landscaping around the Shelby County Courthouse Annex earlier this year. The project was a group effort by co-op staff including linemen, and even enlisted the help of county inmates.

“We take pride in the communities we serve,” said Debbie Martin, Shelby Energy Cooperative’s president and CEO. “We’re thrilled to help Gov. Bevin launch Beautify the Bluegrass, and we bet other electric cooperatives across Kentucky will also roll up their sleeves.”

Gov. Bevin established the “Beautify the Bluegrass” initiative in 2017 to encourage Kentuckians to be involved in enhancing the existing beauty of the Commonwealth. The campaign follows a simple model: identify a public area in the community that needs attention, gather a team to take on the project, and put the ideas into action to beautify the space.

Last year, more than 25 projects from across Kentucky were submitted. The winning project was from Paintsville (Johnson County), where the Trail Town Committee painted numerous buildings to transform the downtown area.

This year, submissions will be accepted from April 30 to July 27 via KentuckyLiving.com. The winner will be announced by the Governor on August 23 at Kentucky Living’Best in Kentucky awards, live at the Kentucky State Fair. The winner will receive a barbecue meal for up to 200 people with Gov. Bevin and Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton.

Interested participants can visit Kentucky Living for more information.

Cooperatives Sign On To Help Kentucky’s Ronald McDonald Houses

Ronald McDonald House Charities provide a “home away from home” for families attending to a child who is in the hospital.

During 2018, Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives will sponsor Ronald McDonald Houses in Lexington and Louisville, providing funds to support the facilities and also lending a hand to provide that “home” for families during their time of need.

Throughout 2018, cooperative employees and their families will volunteer occasionally to assist with providing meals, restocking supplies, cleaning and decorating at both of Kentucky’s Ronald McDonald Houses.

“Ronald McDonald House Charities in Lexington and Louisville provide a priceless service to hundreds of families from throughout Kentucky,” said Sha Phillips, Marketing and Brand Supervisor for Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. “One of the fundamental principles of our cooperatives is concern for the community, and Ronald McDonald House Charities certainly demonstrate that quality.”

“Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are proud to sponsor Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana,” she said

“We are so grateful for the generosity of Touchstone Energy Cooperatives and the commitment they have shown in their time, talent, and treasure,” said Nate Graham, Executive Director of RMHC of the Bluegrass.  “This is a great example of a strategic partnership that will allow both Touchstone Energy Cooperatives and RMHC of the Bluegrass to have a greater impact on the children and families we serve from all over Kentucky.  Without the love, passion, and commitment from our community partners and friends we could not serve these children and families when they need us most.”

“On behalf of the families we serve at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana, we thank Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives for your generous support,” said Hal Hedley, Chief Executive Officer of RMHC of Kentuckiana. “We proudly provide a loving, caring “home-away-from-home” for families of seriously ill children, regardless of their ability to pay, and we could not do so without supporters like you.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass in Lexington create and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and to strengthen families by keeping them together in times of medical need. Lexington’s Ronald McDonald House is located adjacent to the University of Kentucky’s Kroger Field football stadium.  Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives will be Best Friend of the House during 2018.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana in Louisville provide a “home-away-from-home” for families of children receiving healthcare at area medical facilities. Louisville’s Ronald McDonald House is located on South First Street. Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives will be Leadership Partner during 2018.

Co-Op Painting Now A Piece Of History

From a coal miner in Salyersville to a basketball player in LaGrange, the faces of 21 members of Kentucky electric cooperatives peer into the future in a 1984 painting by Michael Finnell now on display at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort.

At a ceremony attended by more than 140 high school students on the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives Frankfort Youth Tour, the Our Power is Our People artwork was formally donated to the Kentucky Historical Society by KAEC President and CEO Chris Perry.

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life for our members,” Perry said. “To share their story – past and present – at this history museum is a natural extension of our commitment to the communities we serve.”

Our Power is Our People was commissioned to represent the 1.8 million people served by co-ops in 117 of 120 Kentucky counties. Upon the move of its headquarters in 2017, KAEC leaders determined the painting deserved a more accessible venue.

“The Kentucky Historical Society is very honored to accept this painting,” said Kent Whitworth, the society’s executive director. “Not only is it a compelling work of art, but the stories it tells are very much in keeping with our state mandate to preserve Kentucky’s history.”

The painting was the idea of Ron Sheets, who served as KAEC president from 1978 to 2010. Sheets attended the unveiling, offering advice to the youth tour students, with a nod to history.

“Remember back, think ahead,” Sheets said, quoting a plaque he displayed in his KAEC office.

High School Juniors Get Behind-The-Scenes Look At State Capitol

FRANKFORT – Around 150 from 18 of Kentucky’s electric co-ops participated in KAEC’s annual Frankfort Tour.

The group of high school juniors from all across the state spent the day touring the capitol, the governor’s mansion and were able to ask questions of House Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell, and Kentucky’s Secretary of Labor Derrick Ramsey.

“It’s great to see the kids experience our state capitol, especially those who’ve never been,” said Mary Beth Dennis who organizes the trip for KAEC.

In addition, the group lunched and toured the Kentucky Historical Museum.

A selected number of students that attended the Frankfort Youth Tour, will be invited to KAEC’s Washington Youth Tour in June.

A Beautify Friendship

Governor Bevin, Kentucky co-ops teaming up

It’s a partnership rooted in a simple goal, to help reveal the beauty of Kentucky.

The Bluegrass State’s natural beauty, from the mountains to river valleys, is well lived in, and sometimes that means her natural beauty needs a little help to shine bright.

That’s why Governor Matt Bevin, in partnership with Kentucky’s electric cooperatives and Kentucky Living, is encouraging Kentuckians to “Beautify the Bluegrass.” The program, in its second year, recognizes homegrown initiatives and clean-up projects as they happen, and culminates with Kentuckians voting for the best projects on KentuckyLiving.com.

“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,” says Bevin. “Get together one, two, three, five, fifty, or a hundred. I don’t care, however many people you need to incorporate to take on an area and make it better.”

When Shelby Energy Cooperative heard that the governor and Kentucky’s electric cooperatives were teaming up on Beautify the Bluegrass, co-op employees sprang into action. They volunteered to jumpstart this year’s initiative by sprucing up and landscaping the Shelby County Courthouse Annex area.

“We take pride in the communities we serve,” says Debbie Martin, Shelby Energy Cooperative’s president and CEO. “We’re thrilled to help Governor Bevin launch Beautify the Bluegrass, and we bet other electric co-ops across Kentucky will also roll up their sleeves.”

In aptly named Paintsville, volunteers behind last year’s winning “Beautify the Bluegrass” project say their efforts to improve the appearance of buildings in a downtown park are helping lift a cloud from the community.

“The paint transformed this little area of buildings, but more than that it transformed a spirit,” the Paintsville/Johnson County Trail Town Committee wrote in its entry. “Shame, embarrassment and hopelessness have been replaced with hope, excitement and the wonderful imagining of what we can be.”

As winners of the 2017 Beautify the Bluegrass contest, the Paintsville group was awarded a barbecue lunch with Governor Bevin.

The winners of the 2018 contest will also enjoy a barbecue meal with Governor Bevin and Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton, provided by the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives.

“We love when the governor says, ‘We are Kentucky,” says KAEC President and CEO Chris Perry. “Because, that’s what Kentucky’s electric cooperatives are all about, real Kentuckians who care about their communities. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in Kentucky, and our flagship publication, Kentucky Living, aims to celebrate the energy of Kentucky.”

“We applaud the governor for envisioning Beautify the Bluegrass,” Perry says. “Like our member-owned co-ops, Governor Bevin recognizes the value and values of hometown Kentucky. What better way to improve our quality of life than to make improvements where we live?”

To participate, entrants should take “before and after” photos of their beautification projects and upload them with the entry form on KentuckyLiving.com. Deadline to enter is July 27. A complete list of rules and an official sign to display in your photos are also available on KentuckyLiving.com.

In early August, Kentuckians can choose from among ten nominees on KentuckyLiving.com to determine four finalists. Governor Bevin will announce the Beautify the Bluegrass winner at Kentucky Living’s Best in Kentucky awards at the Kentucky State Fair on August 23.

With the support of Kentucky Living magazine, Kentucky’s most highly circulated publication, the reach of Kentucky’s electric cooperatives which provide service in 117 of Kentucky’s 120 counties, and the passion of Governor Bevin, the partnership aims to inspire Kentuckians to take improvement ideas into their own hands.

“The Beautify the Bluegrass contest provides you with an opportunity to make a powerful difference in your community, wherever you reside in the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Bevin says.

Co-Op Leaders Discuss Key Issues With Energy Secretary Perry

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky – In a roundtable discussion with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Hopkinsville, leaders from Kentucky’s electric cooperatives stressed matters of concern to co-ops while thanking Perry for his leadership on several key issues.

A guest of Kentucky’s senior senator, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Perry reiterated his commitment to the reliability of America’s energy system while addressing specific concerns of about 15 energy leaders from Kentucky.

Kentucky’s electric cooperatives were represented at the roundtable by KAEC President Chris Perry and Vice President Joe Arnold, Big Rivers Electric President Bob Berry and Government Relations Director Sharla Austin, East Kentucky Power Cooperative Chief Financial Officer Mike McNally and Pennyrile Electric President Greg Grissom.

The private hour long roundtable discussion also included representatives from other utilities, fuel producers, the oil and gas industry and education. Afterword, McConnell and Perry addressed a luncheon hosted by the Christian County Chamber of Commerce.

At that event, Perry noted that a “fair and predictable” regulatory climate is a key ingredient to a successful economy.  Stressing innovation, Perry celebrated advances in domestic energy production, citing recent increases in coal use and his upcoming trip to India to discuss U.S. energy exports.

Electric Cooperatives Applaud Rural Broadband Funding In Omnibus Spending Bill

Arlington, VA – Electric cooperatives today applauded congressional action to allocate $600 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for rural broadband grants and loans.  The measure is part of the omnibus spending bill unveiled by Congressional leaders last night.

Electric co-ops have encouraged Congress to set aside funding for accelerating rural broadband deployment.

“This is a positive step towards connecting the rural economy and closing the digital divide,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “Expanded broadband access is equally important to the people who live in rural America and operations of the electric co-ops that serve them.

“High costs and low population density remain the biggest obstacles to expanding rural broadband access. In order to close the digital divide for the 23 million rural Americans who lack broadband internet access, an expanded combination of federal grant and loan funding through USDA is essential. We look forward to working with Congress and the Trump administration as they consider the omnibus and other legislation to help deploy rural broadband and modernize rural America.”

Nearly 100 electric co-ops are investing in rural America by bringing high-speed internet access to homes, business and schools and many more are exploring broadband projects. These newly connected co-op communities are creating new jobs, attracting new employers, and directly jump starting local economies.

In addition to the omnibus spending bill, electric co-ops are encouraging Congress to continue pursuing other legislative vehicles to secure additional rural broadband funding. Other vehicles include the FY2019 spending bills, any potential infrastructure legislation, and the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Bipartisan Budget Agreement enacted by Congress on February 9 contained a $20 billion “infrastructure initiative” for FY18 and 19. Electric cooperatives called on Congress to dedicate funding each year for rural broadband deployment through USDA’s Rural Utilities Service.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.

KAEC Supports YFA Member Of The Year

On Saturday, March 17, The Young Farmer’s Association held its annual banquet at Lake Barkley State Resort Park. The main highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2018 Member of the Year award.

This year’s finalist were: Curtis Weatherford, a Gibson Electric member, Mark Thomas, a member of Nolin RECC, A.J Johnson and Grant Hildabrand, both members of Pennyrile Electric..

Weatherford   He is a farmer in Clinton, Ky.  He has 3700 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, and canola and some chicken barns.  Besides his farming responsibilities, he also involved in Kentucky YFA.  He has held the position of state vice-president and served on the state planning committee for the 2014 National Institute.  He also serves at his local level.  He is also the assistant fire chief for both the Hickman County Fire and Rescue and the Clinton City Fire.

He is married to Samantha and has two small children, Emmett (4) and Blakely (7 months).

The Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives was a presenting sponsor of the event.

Tips For How To Safely Clean Up After A Storm

When a storm has passed, learn the safety precautions to take once it’s gone.

After a storm, many think the danger left with the high winds, heavy rain and lightning strikes; but sometimes danger can come during the storm recovery period. Keeping your distance from downed power lines, and follow these safety tips for cleaning up after a storm:

Wear proper safety material: As you are cleaning up, make sure you are wearing proper protection to prevent injury. Work gloves, safety glasses, heavy-duty work shirt with long sleeves, work pants and steel-toe work boots are a good idea if you are working on clearing large amounts of broken, splintered or sharp debris.

Stay away from power lines: Always assume a downed power line is live. Downed power lines pose a particularly dangerous threat in areas where there are lots of people trying to clear fallen trees and branches from roads and lawns. Let the professionals handle this job. It’s not worth the risk. If you see a downed power line that is sparking or on fire, call your local power company immediately.

Use flashlights, not candles: When checking for damage to a home, never use matches, candles, lighters or kerosene lanterns as a light source. Igniting a flame while near damaged gas lines can cause an explosion.

Stay away from damaged buildings or structures: If a building has been subjected to rushing flood waters or has been submerged under water, it may not be structurally safe. It’s best to stay away from these types of structures until professionals can assess the extent of the damage.

Never operate gasoline-powered equipment indoors: Gas engines emit carbon monoxide—an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas you should never breathe.

Kentucky’s Electric Cooperatives Open New Headquarters

To better and efficiently serve its 26 member electric cooperatives across the commonwealth, the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives (KAEC) has relocated to new headquarters in the Hurstbourne Green Office Park in east Louisville.

The offices at 1630 Lyndon Farm Ct. are the statewide association’s fifth home in its 75-year history, all in Louisville.

KAEC provides services for the 24 local, consumer-owned electric distribution utilities in the state, as well as the two generation and transmission cooperatives that produce power for those distribution co-ops. Those services include representation before the General Assembly, Congress, and regulatory bodies; safety training; coordination of management training; and public relations support including publication of Kentucky Living magazine.

“This move reflects the mission of the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives” said KAEC President and CEO Chris Perry, “to support our member co-ops as efficiently and effectively as possible so that they in turn can provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to co-op members. Our goal is to improve the quality of life in Kentucky.”

The relocation from the Bishop Lane facility —  which served as KAEC’s home for nearly 60 years — represents a “right-sizing” of the association’s footprint. In 2015, KAEC’s electrical supply business transitioned to a distribution model with sister co-op United Utility Supply. As a result, the 195,000 square feet facility built to support a manufacturing operation dwarfed the association’s needs.

The KAEC Board authorized the purchase of the 25,000 square feet Lyndon Farm Ct. building. KAEC operations on the second floor of the two-story building include sister co-op, the Rural Cooperative Credit Union, and the editorial offices of KAEC’s flagship publication, Kentucky Living magazine and KentuckyLiving.com.

KAEC is governed by a board consisting of one manager and one director from each of its 26 member systems.