March 2020

Stillwater River

To the source

Our state’s very name, translated from the language of its original inhabitants, means “Good River.” While Ohio is named specifically for the mighty waterway that forms its eastern and southern borders, that name serves as an apt description of the entire place.

Rivers, to me, are analogies of our humanity: They begin as spindly streams, unglamorous trickles, and, like people, they find their way — carving their character as they go, widening and deepening with distance. If a river can have such an ignominious beginning yet end with a glorious, glowing connection to something larger, then couldn’t that be a template for a life well-lived?

E. Lucy Braun

Woods woman

I have a recurring daydream where I try to imagine what it must have been like to see the Ohio country hundreds of years ago, long before European settlement.

Large apex predators once lived here, too: mountain lions and wolf packs preying upon myriad white-tailed deer and elk. Ohio even had buffalo herds (I’ll write more about those later this year).

Green Circle Growers

Co-op Spotlight: Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative

Just to the west of Cleveland and a little south of Lake Erie, Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative (LMRE) serves more than 16,700 consumer-members on 1,541 miles of electrical line across five counties.

Who they serve

In addition to residential service, LMRE provides service to some unique companies. They serve Green Circle Growers, one of the largest greenhouses in North America. Green Circle Growers is a family-owned company in Oberlin with over 100 acres of indoor space for growing seasonal crops, tropicals, foliage, succulents, and more. LMRE also serves Goldrush Jerky, a company that originated with its owners selling snacks out of the back of a car. Goldrush Jerky now sells beef jerky and beef smokies in all 50 states.

Digital divide

Kyle Hicks sat at his computer at his Lancaster-area home, the homework assignment for his College Credit Plus course due in a few hours. He knew he was cutting it close.

Like a vast number of people in rural areas of Ohio and the rest of the nation, Hicks and his family have limited access to high-speed internet. The one company that provides broadband service where he lives promises connection speeds “up to 5 megabits per second,” but he says tests on the line show it’s rarely above 1 Mbps. What’s more, service in his area, even at that level, is expensive.

Satellite broadband could be an option but costs even more.

Maude Collins

Sheriff Maude makes history

In November 1927, Edgar Foy and Rose Waldron were delivered to the Ohio State Penitentiary for their part in a violent robbery.

Widow with a badge

Born in 1893, Maude Collins was the granddaughter of Randall McCoy, patriarch of the McCoy clan during its infamous feud with the Hatfields. Maude’s husband, Fletcher, was a former Navy fireman and a popular sheriff. Fletcher, however, was shot in October 1925 while attempting to serve an arrest warrant, leaving Maude to raise their five children alone.

Lineworker with Guatemalan children

Las luces!

Ohio electric cooperatives have a long history of bringing light to areas where it’s never before been available. In the 1930s, that meant neighbors helping neighbors bring electricity to the farms and homes in those rural parts of the state that for-profit utilities ignored. That spirit has, in more recent times, lit the way for us to carry the tradition beyond our borders.