February 2020

Lisa Rigoni and Mike Rigoni

Changing course

When I was younger, I was the girl who hated physical education, didn’t play sports, and ate a steady diet of junk food. Because I was young, I had no health concerns or weight issues.

My husband, Mike, a physical education teacher and a basketball coach at the time, was in a similar boat. When Mike and I met, he was active, playing softball, and later, he played men’s recreational basketball until his legs and ankles got the better of him. His weight had increased, and that led to surgeries on his knee and ankles. He was benched for a while and when he returned to the basketball court, he was overweight and run-down, often with barely enough energy to get through the day.

The National Museum of Cambridge Glass

Following the glass trail

Cindy Arent adjusts her white gloves and smooths the front of her apron over her 19th-century dress.

National Museum of Cambridge Glass

The coal seams and sandstone deposits layered within the hills of eastern Ohio provided the perfect environment for the glassmaking industry to take root and flourish. The Cambridge Glass Company began operations in 1902, producing glassware until the plant closed in 1958. In 1982, the first museum of Cambridge Glass opened, brought to life by the sustained effort of an Ohio nonprofit group called the National Cambridge Collectors.

Dave Shiffer poses with Champaign Lady in the museum’s hangar.

Flight plan

Of the more than 10,000 B-17 Flying Fortresses built during the World War II era, probably fewer than 10 of the iconic bombers are currently air-worthy.

It wasn’t long after the Liberty Belle left Grimes Field that Tom Reilly, who had led restoration efforts on the plane and brought it to Grimes Field, contacted the airport looking for someone to lead another B-17 restoration project. The Shiffer family jumped at the chance.

Powerlines in sunlight

Taking action

More than we like, the will and whims of government affect your electric cooperative’s costs and operational decisions. Federal and state elected officials and their appointed regulators set laws and rules that govern a range of issues, including regional electric markets, grid access, environmental impacts, employment laws, and taxes and fees, all of which affect the cost and reliability of your electric service. Government relations and advocacy are an essential part of the job of managing an electric cooperative.

Cooper’s hawk (Photo by Chip Gross.)

Look who’s coming to dinner

Just about every winter, I receive a frantic email from an Ohio Cooperative Living reader that goes something like this:

“Help! A hawk is attacking the songbirds at my birdfeeder! What should I do?”

It’s not the answer most want to hear, but the only alternative is to not feed birds. By choosing to feed, you congregate songbirds in numbers not normally found in the wild — and that, in turn, makes easy pickings for predators.

The most common hawk seen in the Buckeye State at winter feeders is the Cooper’s hawk. Sleek, fast, and deadly, this member of the accipiter grouping of hawks is one of the stealth fighter jets of Ohio’s bird world.

Serpent Mount in Adams County

Co-op Spotlight: Adams Rural Electric Cooperative

Largely serving Adams County, but spilling over the borders to four surrounding counties, Adams Rural Electric Cooperative serves over 7,500 members in southern Ohio. The majority of Adams REC’s consumer-members are residential, but they also serve commercial businesses like Hanson Aggregates Eagle Quarry, one of the largest producers of sand, rock, and gravel; and Murphin Ridge Inn, a popular bed-and-breakfast in Amish country. With 1,300 miles of distribution lines, Adams REC’s territory stretches across an area that is rich in history and nature.

The Weirich family of Cincinnati digs in to a meal at Camp Washington Chili. (Photo by James Proffitt.)

Chili, Cincy style

Fact is, no one remembers the day those foreigners invaded Cincinnati — they don’t teach it in the history books — but that influx of folks from Greece and the Macedonian region early in the 20th century has left its tasty marks on the region.

There are more than 200 such shops in the region, and the star of the show at each is the soupy, spicy concoction that, despite the name, bears little resemblance to what most Americans consider chili. Further, it’s tough to guess what’s in the chilis because no one wants to talk recipes.

The original

Steve Martin has operated Empress Chili in Alexandria, Kentucky, for 35 years.

“Empress is the original,” he says. “It all started in 1922 with brothers Tom and Jeff Kiradjieff; they were Macedonians. Empress is the best.”

WiNUP members gather at their most recent national conference.


Janet Rehberg, director of cooperative development at Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, began her electrical industry career as an engineer with AEP, designing the underground electrical systems for new housing developments.

Holly Huffman, communication support specialist at Indiana Electric Cooperatives (IEC), began her career in public relations. She worked for an agency for a while, as well as in the real estate industry, before a position opened up in the marketing department at Wabash Valley Power Alliance. “I didn’t know anything about the industry or what cooperatives were,” she says. “I just knew the electric company kept the lights on.” After eight years, she transitioned to her role at IEC, where she works with member cooperatives to produce content for Indiana’s cooperative-member magazine.