Author: Twin Valley Electric Cooperative

Twin Valley-sponsored team of Labette County High School (LCHS) students competed in the SunPowered Student Challenge in Topeka on Feb. 5. The development of this STEM learning opportunity was initiated by Pitsco Education in Pittsburg, Kansas, and several Kansas electric cooperatives. It was designed to educate future students about responsible energy consumption, local jobs in the electric industry (whether it’s in the field, manufacturing, dispatch or even sales and distribution) and even degrees obtainable in our local colleges. Last fall, each team was given a kit with parts to construct a miniature solar array, along with written materials outlining the…

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I would imagine most of us vividly remember the red poppies popularized by the American Legion Auxiliary, handed out to us by teachers in grade school, shared with the congregation after Sunday church services, and given to passersby on our town’s Main Street in exchange for a small donation. On Memorial Day and Veterans Day, millions of red crepe paper poppies are distributed across the country, as they have since 1921, in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans in our communities. Wearing a red poppy visually reminds us of the courage and selflessness of…

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Art comes in many forms — paintings, sculptures, glass creations and pottery — and is subjective to its viewer. Kansas is fortunate to be rich in art galleries and museums featuring well-known artists such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt and Louise Nevelson in the Wichita Art Museum (www.wam.com) and less-explored artists enlightening and enriching at smaller museums statewide. In Kansas, anyone who loves art has the opportunity to view the creations of its talented citizens, masters from another time, and traveling exhibits. Kansas is fortunate to have such a large art community. Several museums offer free…

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Ah, the maypole. The grade school physical education activity equivalent to trying to teach 18 fifth graders how to braid hair, on one person’s head — at the same time. Readers of a certain age may recall dancing, or in my case, stumbling and bumbling, around a maypole with a ribbon in hand and classmates relying on each other to follow directions. The end goal was, I think, to create an intricate woven pattern of the ribbons, which were generally red, white and blue. Instead, we ended up with tangled masses of fabric resembling macabre modern art of some sort.…

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While enjoying the colors of spring as the gardens come alive, it’s a good time to add new plants to the landscape. Many options provide a colorful show in the fall and planting them now offers time to establish a healthy root system before summer heat and the winter freeze. Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) is a large (60 to 100 feet tall), deciduous tree with needle-like leaves that turn bronze in the fall. Baldcypress are native to the swampy southeastern U.S. and do well in moist, well-drained soils. They are noted for their above ground root development known as, “knees.” This…

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Slow-Cooker Chicken and Noodles My grandma mostly worked without a recipe, adding and adjusting seasonings, tasting and timing everything out until her dishes were right. I have attempted here to recreate slow-cooker chicken and noodles in the spirit of what she made, but Grandma’s will always be the best. Keep the kitchen cooler (and low-stress) and save time for other activities by putting the slow-cooker to work. 2 lbs. uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts or a combination of breasts and thighsSalt and pepper1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning1 small onion (diced)2 sticks celery (sliced)2 medium carrots (sliced)1 clove garlic (peeled and…

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May is the month of mothers, and as much as my own mom enters my mind during this time, I also think of my grandmother, who went by her middle name of Mae. My May trips home — a favorite time to be in Kansas, when the green finally took hold and the sun was just the right amount of warmth — usually involved, if not a couple of short visits with Grandma Mae, a longer Sunday visit that meant attending church and having lunch with her. We would meet at grandma’s house, nested in a crop of woods perched…

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Visitors know they’ve arrived at Lucas when the World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plate, displaying the town’s name in vibrant colors, greets them.A life-sized faux tiger climbs one power pole within walking distance of the World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things.At Grassroots Art Center, visitors can pay an admission fee to tour its galleries, which showcase artwork that often repurposes everyday items.A brightly colored mural by AA Sign Writing adorning the exterior of Lucas Public Library draws onlookers. Quirky public art installations in LucasA massive, nearly two-story toilet appears in the distance. Nearby, a…

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I often hear claims you’ll never pay an electric bill again if you go solar. Is that true? The ability to generate your own renewable energy at home is an amazing thing. It’s pretty cool that the technology is accessible to home and property owners across the country. The concept of free energy from the sun is appealing, but solar power isn’t actually free. There are costs associated with capturing that energy for use in your home. Installing a residential solar system doesn’t equate to $0 energy bills. Prices for the solar system and installation vary, but adding solar typically…

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4 tips for staying safe1 Check for signs of overheating electrical elements. Something fishy is filling the air and it’s not the cooking. Did you know electrical fires hidden in the walls of your home often smell like fish? Overheating electrical components including outlets, circuit breakers and wiring insulation emit a fishy smell that can quickly waft through your home via the HVAC system.Forget hiring an air-duct cleaning service, once you smell something fishy, it’s time to call an electrician, like Michael Pollock. Pollock has been a master electrician and has worked for Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative in Dighton for 18…

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