September 2020

Coach Andrew Ruffing

Win-win

After a long, demanding day at work as part of a line crew, some of our electric co-op team members tackle a different sort of assignment. Swapping their hard hat for a coach’s cap, they’re in for a whole new ballgame.

Andrew Ruffing, apprentice lineman at North Central Electric Cooperative based in Attica, sees many similarities between his day job and coaching football. “You’re part of something bigger than yourself. That resonates in both sports and linework,” he says. “You learn to work as a team, to work toward a common goal.”

Drive-in movie theater

Retro cool

Back in their heyday, drive-in movie theaters meant parents could pile the kids in the back of the station wagon and head out to see a flick on a nice summer night, hooking the scratchy metal speaker on the car window, collecting popcorn and Cokes from the concession stand, and maybe playing a few holes of mini-golf to boot … all without making much of a dent in the pocketbook. 

Tom Graham with pigs

YouTube sensations

The sign posted outside the biosecure barn where Tom Graham raises some 2,400 pigs at a time says “NO ENTRY.” Nonetheless, Graham has given tours of his wean-to-finish operation at Oaklawn Farm to hundreds of children in grades K–12. How does he do it?

“We used to bring in busloads of kids, but after we got a biosecure barn, there wasn’t much they could see,” says Graham. He built the facility in 2004 in order to raise gilts and barrows on a contractual basis for Johnstown-based Heimerl Farms. The arrangement not only frees Graham from worries about market fluctuations but also furnishes income that has helped his close-knit family remain on their farm. “I always tell people my wife teaches at Zanesville High School so I can keep farming,” he says with a grin. 

Man with large lake sturgeon

Monster rebirth

Is there really a Lake Erie monster, as some claim? Well, yes, at least potentially. In fact, thousands of small ones are swimming in the big lake right now. Let me explain.

By mid-century, however, market conditions were rapidly changing, and from 1850 to 1870, products derived from sturgeon transformed this once-worthless fish into a valuable commodity. Caviar, fish oil, and a substance known as isinglass — a gelatin used in adhesives made from the air bladder of various fish, especially sturgeon — became extremely valuable. The fish became so sought after, in fact, that one of the largest sturgeon fisheries in America developed on Lake Erie. In 1885 alone, commercial fishermen on Erie netted more than half a million pounds of lake sturgeon.  

Museum display

Good golly, Miss Molly!

As vice president of education and visitor engagement at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Jason Hanley often observes the museum’s visitors.

The Rock Hall was the first museum dedicated to rock ’n’ roll, and its opening on Sept. 2, 1995, in a glistening I.M. Pei-designed building along Lake Erie, was a landmark event for popular culture. “It was truly significant,” says Hanley, “because rock music was being recognized, preserved, taught, and honored in a way traditionally reserved for high art forms.” Rock ’n’ roll’s royalty — think James Brown, Bob Dylan, and Aretha Franklin — showed up and celebrated with epic performances in Cleveland’s old Municipal Stadium. “We occasionally show that concert in the Rock Hall’s theater.

Knapke family

Online review

On any given day, 360,000 chicks roam the high-tech henhouse at Meiring Poultry Farm in Fort Recovery.

The four-story henhouse uses an elaborate lighting system that Knapke can control from his smartphone to simulate dawn and dusk. The system controls individual lights within the building, creating total blackness to bright-as-daylight and back again so the chicks become adjusted to the “natural” dawn and rising of the sun to a sunset that draws them into the roosting module where they nest for the night.

Carroll County Arts Center

Co-op Spotlight: Carroll Electric Cooperative

In the eastern part of Ohio near the Pennsylvania border, Carroll Electric Cooperative provides reliable and affordable energy to more than 10,000 consumer-members.

Carroll County attractions

The Carroll County Arts Center features exhibits designed to inspire an appreciation for the arts. It provides classes taught by local artists in birdhouse decorating, woodcarving, oil painting, and more. In keeping with their mission to provide a creative outlet for the community, admission is free to the public. 

Cook's choice

Around Sunbury, when Lanie Montgomery shows up at a potluck, folks inevitably find something a bit familiar about the dish she brings.

“We rarely had them at home, but we always had it in the school cafeteria,” she says. “When my grandma retired, I asked her for the recipe, and from then on, I carried it out more into the public. Every potluck I take it to — it’s gone. And everybody wants the recipe.”