January 2022

Looking ahead 2022

Looking ahead

As it does every year, the flip of the calendar brings both opportunities and challenges, and while our challenges for the coming year are significant, the prospects for 2022 seem exciting. The importance of Ohio’s electric cooperatives getting it right — meeting our challenges and seizing those opportunities — is as important as it’s ever been.

Pileated Woodpecker

Attracting ‘Big Bird’

The largest woodpecker in North America lives in the Buckeye State, and for years I tried unsuccessfully to lure one to my home birdfeeders — and, ultimately, within camera range.

As the photos with this story attest, I eventually achieved my goal of attracting and photographing pileated woodpeckers up close. But I have to give credit where it’s due — I had a little help.  

Langsdon Mineral Collection, Celina

A little of everything

Popcorn and pencil sharpeners, minerals and merry-go-rounds, Great Lakes, and great-big cuckoo clocks: Ohio has a plethora of pretty amazing things to explore. Here’s just a sampling of our state’s perhaps lesser-known museums, collections, and interesting sights. 

1. Langsdon Mineral Collection, Celina 

Back in 2006, local collectors Ron and Ruth Langsdon donated much of their extensive collection of rare minerals to the Mercer County District Library in Celina. The Langsdon Mineral Collection includes more than 900 stunning specimens of minerals from all over the world — from a peacock-colored bornite and raspberry garnet to azurite, amethyst quartz, and an enormous, polished piece of jade.

Judy and Larry Mercer with granddaughter, Lily.

Key to reliability

Judy Mercer was just sitting down with her family — all 16 of them — for Thanksgiving dinner in 2014 when the lights in their house near Wingett Run suddenly went dark.

“I’ve lived in the country my whole life, so honestly, I’m used to it,” Judy says. “We were actually thankful because we knew that there were linemen already out working on the problem even by the time we called it in, but that was when we got our generator.”

An owl observed during wintering-owl study.

Whooo’s there?

Regular readers of Ohio Cooperative Living may recall a story that ran exactly a year ago titled “Give a hoot,” describing a statewide wintering-owl study to be conducted by Blake Mathys, an Ohio Dominican University associate professor and Union Rural Electric Coo

“More than 1,600 owl sightings were reported to the project,” says Mathys. “Of those submitted, about half were able to be assigned to species with some certainty, based on a submitted photo, recording, or description.”

He says he received reports from 87 of Ohio’s 88 counties, with only Jefferson County in eastern Ohio lacking. The top five counties for reported submissions were Hamilton (19.4%), Franklin (7.6%), Butler (6.1%), Warren (5.4%), and Clermont (4.8%). 

The 1996 CompuServe team

Digital pioneer

  

Wilhite invented the GIF while he worked at CompuServe, an early tech company that was based in central Ohio. Although the name may not mean much to anyone under 40, CompuServe played a pivotal role in the early days of the Information Age. Digital breakthroughs still in use today originated there, including online shopping, stock research, and self-serve airline tickets.

Rick Moore with his flock.

Sheep-shape

Ohio, believe it or not, is the largest wool-producing state east of the Mississippi River. Sheep farms here come in all sizes, from larger commercial operations to small boutique plots. 

Multigenerational

Rick Moore is the seventh generation in his family to raise sheep at Cottage Hill Farm near Cadiz in Harrison County. The farm began as a land grant signed by James Madison in 1816. 

Moore’s son Steven and his father, Stanley — still active at 88 — farm with him. The foundation of Moore’s flock is 250 purebred Merino ewes. In alternating years, some are bred to purebred Merino rams and continue the line of high-quality wool production, while others are crossed with other breeds to produce lambs for meat.

Children's Memorial Garden at Do Good.

‘Let us do good’

Karen Homan of

Homan, who started the project with no previous experience running a business, says she was guided by the Holy Spirit after she was called to action while in her kitchen one day. 

“There was a voice telling me, ‘There are many good people in the world, but they are not coming to my churches. People are so busy with work, schedules, and children that they don’t have time for me — but they will go out to eat,’” says Homan, a member of St. Marys-based Midwest Electric.