Line safety buckaroos
Eighty-four electric co-op line workers from 14 co-ops across the state gathered at Jackson Purchase Energy Co-op in Paducah this summer for a different kind of rodeo. Instead of riding horses, they climbed poles to show off their skills and safety sense.
The gathering marked the sixth annual Kentucky Linemanï¿½s Rodeo, which will be held at Warren Rural Electric Co-op in Bowling Green next year.
The day of friendly competition included events like the speed climb, in which a lineman carries an egg in a bucket to the top of a pole then comes back down holding the egg in his mouth; rescuing a mannequin from the top of a pole; and a transformer relocation exercise.
The events are timed, but points are mainly awarded for correct safety procedures rather than speed.
Two electric generation co-ops, working with state wildlife officials and volunteer bird groups, are helping peregrine falcons return to Kentucky habitats. These fierce, handsome hunting birds prefer high cliffs and ledges as natural nesting sites, but will also use tall man-made structures.
After observing a nest box installed at East Kentucky Power Cooperativeï¿½s Spurlock Station power plant on the upper Ohio River in 2006 and learning about its successful use, Samantha Howard, environmental scientist at Henderson-based Big Rivers Electric co-op, worked with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources biologists to bring falcons to the lower Ohio River Valley.
In August, Big Rivers workers used an on-site crane to lift a custom-made nest box to the eighth floor of a building at the Coleman Station power plant in Hawesville. Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky personnel released a female falcon at the site. Observers during next Februaryï¿½s mating season will note if falcons raise young there.
–Nancy S. Grant