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Hall of Fame seeks teachers

State grants East Kentucky Power rate increase

Guest Opinion: Judgment Day

Kentucky’s historic storm

The best way to save money on energy? Plug air leaks

Co-ops offering college scholarships

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month


Hall of Fame seeks teachers

Nominations for the 2010 class of the Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame are being accepted by Western Kentucky University through July 15. The honor recognizes preschool through 12th grade teachers. The recognition began last year with the induction of the first three teachers into the Hall of Fame: Jan Kathryn Weaver Lanham of Bardstown; Patrice McCrary of Bowling Green; and Sheila Ann Miller of Owensboro. Nominees must have a minimum of 19 years of teaching experience, including 10 in a preschool-12th grade Kentucky school. Information and nomination forms are available online at http://edtech.wku.edu/deans_office/ Gov-LBN_KY-THF.htm. Or you can contact Cathie Bryant, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Western Kentucky University, 1906 College Heights Blvd., #11030, Bowling Green, KY 42101-1030, Cathie.bryant@wku.edu, (270) 745-4664.

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State grants East Kentucky Power rate increase

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has granted a base rate increase effective April 1, 2009, to East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC), the not-for-profit electric power supplier to 16 member cooperatives. EKPC needs the additional revenue to meet financial obligations and to recover costs for a new clean-coal generating unit.

EKPC’s member systems must pass along this increased cost to retail members. The increase will add about 5 to 7 percent to monthly bills, which will raise the average residential bill by about $6.75 per month.

Please keep in mind that despite rising energy costs, cooperatives are working hard to keep rates as low as possible. The member cooperatives include:

Big Sandy RECC
Blue Grass Energy Cooperative
Clark Energy Cooperative
Cumberland Valley Electric
Farmers RECC
Fleming-Mason Energy
Grayson RECC
Inter-County Energy
Jackson Energy Cooperative
Licking Valley RECC
Nolin RECC
Owen Electric Cooperative
Salt River Electric Cooperative
Shelby Energy Cooperative
South Kentucky Rural Electric
Taylor County

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Guest Opinion: Judgment Day by Paula Sparrow

I may have to fire my hairdresser.

I hate to, but she did something that really bothers me.

She bought a dog. On impulse. At Christmastime. For her unsuspecting husband. It’s their first dog.

She couldn’t wait to tell me about it, she was so gleeful, so excited about giving the boxer puppy to her husband.

I couldn’t help it: I blurted out, “Why didn’t you adopt a dog from a shelter?”

“Oh,” she said dismissively, “I looked into it. But they wanted references, they wanted to do a home check. It was too much trouble. But it’s okay, this dog has papers!”

“Papers? Really? So you’re going to breed and show this dog?”

“Oh, no, no, she’s just going to be a pet.”

“I see,” I said, “so, you spent hundreds of dollars for a dog to sit on the couch with you.”

She looked lost for a minute.

“And did you research this breeder? Get references? Did you poke around the facility, see that all the dogs were happy, healthy, and well-socialized?”

“Well, no, I never thought to look around.”

I was trying not to get mad.

“How about a return policy? A reputable breeder will take a dog back if it doesn’t work out.”

“Um, no, I never thought to ask…”

She was starting to look deflated, so I didn’t point out that a shelter dog was killed because she’d bought a dog from a breeder.

Days went by, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what she’d done.

She’d woken up one morning and decided to get a dog. By the end of the day, she had one. How much had she researched adoption? Did she know how to find a responsible breeder?

For years she’d heard me despair that millions of shelter dogs are euthanized every year. She knew I’d adopted every one of the dogs I’ve had. She knew that purebred dogs can be found in shelters.

I guess she wasn’t listening after all. But who was I to judge? Why was I so bothered? I think it was that she was so gleeful about getting this dog that she’d never given a thought to what she’d done. She was only concerned about how much she’d spent for this dog, and bragging about her useless papers.

People say when they went to a breeder and saw the faces of the puppies, they just couldn’t resist. What would they have seen on the faces of shelter dogs? Desperation. Begging. A longing to know why they ended up in a shelter, and a pleading for a home.

Whenever I go to my hairdresser, I’ll always see in my mind the shelter dog she could have saved.

And I’ll know that dog is no longer alive.

You can read the author’s column, Creature Comforts, at www.KentuckyLiving.com.

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Get the inside story of Kentucky’s historic storm

In January we lived through the worst ice storm in Kentucky’s history. A new book by Kentucky Living shows and tells the dramatic stories of nature’s devastation and how people came together to brighten those dark, cold days.

Frozen State—The deadly beauty of the 2009 ice storm and the heroic story of how Kentuckians fought back documents those days with dozens of photographs, stories about how communities rallied to restore demolished electricity lifelines, and important ways to keep you and your family safe by preparing for future storms.

Order Frozen State through the mail by filling out the form in the magazine or online at www.KentuckyLiving.com, for only $12 each (including shipping, handling, and tax).

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The best way to save money on energy? Plug air leaks

Children running in and out of the house on a hot summer’s day may hear a common warning: “Don’t leave the door open—you’ll let the air out!” But how many adults do the same thing without realizing it?

Laura Matney, a Building Performance Institute-certified building analyst, advises electric co-op consumers to look into weatherization before investing in other energy- efficiency measures. “I certainly encourage the selection of energy-efficient appliances, but they don’t provide the amount of savings that proper sealing of air leaks can. If a homeowner only has money for one area then nine times out of 10 I recommend sealing.”

For example, the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR program advises addressing air leaks and ductwork in your home before investing in a new heating and cooling system; sometimes, those are the real sources of problems rather than your equipment.

Most leaks occur in the basement and attic. Starting in your basement, look for gaps and cracks where your cement or block foundation meets the frame of your home. Joists (building supports that are smaller than beams) between the floor and the foundation (called rim or band joists) create cavities, small empty spaces that are hard to insulate and may leak. Not all of the gaps are visible, so ENERGY STAR suggests sealing the top and bottom of cavities around rim joists. Use caulk to seal cracks that are 1/4 inch or smaller; spray foam works best to fill gaps from 1/4 inch to about 3 inches.

It’s also a good idea to seal gaps between the basement ceiling and the floor above, like holes for wiring and water pipes.

In the attic, there are many small areas where air may come in, but focus on large spaces. For example, if your home has dropped soffits—part of the ceiling that has been lowered for lighting design—be sure they’ve been properly sealed.

Even though there may be insulation covering dropped soffits in your attic, be sure all cavities around the soffits have been properly plugged. To do this, place fiberglass insulation inside plastic garbage bags and stuff it tightly into any cavities.

Pay attention to dirty insulation; it’s a big clue that air is moving through the area. And just like the basement, be sure to seal gaps between the attic ceiling and the rooms below, including holes for wiring, lighting, and the attic door.

As a result of the federal stimulus package, families with household incomes below 200 percent of the national poverty level are eligible for up to $6,500 in energy-efficiency improvements. For a family of four, that’s an income limit of $44,100.

For co-op consumers not eligible for the program, the stimulus bill provides a homeowner efficiency tax credit of up to $1,500, or 30 percent, of the cost for upgrades, including insulation that meets the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.

There are many more ways to protect your home, including weatherstripping doors and windows and sealing ducts. For step-by-step instructions on how to weatherize your home and start saving energy dollars today, download Sealing Air Leaks and Adding Attic Insulation, a do-it-yourself guide to weatherization from ENERGY STAR. The guide is available at www.energystar.gov.

—Megan McKoy, NRECA

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Co-ops offering college scholarships

Women in Rural Electrification (Kentucky W.I.R.E.) is taking applications for $1,000 scholarships. The scholarships are open to any eligible student whose family is served by a Kentucky electric cooperative and has at least 60 hours of credits at a Kentucky college or university by the start of the fall term. W.I.R.E. will award three scholarships. The deadline for application is June 19. For an application form, go to www.kaec.org and click on the link at the bottom of the New Info box, or call your local electric cooperative or the Kentucky Living office.

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Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month

Keep Your Engine Running In Top Form

Fixing a car that’s noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy, www.fueleconomy.gov

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