Consolidated Cooperative

Guy Denny with pigeon

Life with pigeons

Most men, believing ourselves invincible at one time or another in our lives, can think back to boyhood and remember doing at least one thing so incredibly dangerous that we were lucky to survive. Consolidated Cooperative member Guy Denny is no exception.

After dark one night, he and a young buddy climbed out on the massive, metal I-beams that support the bridge. There, beneath the bridge, with cars whizzing past just a few feet overheard, his buddy shined a flashlight beam into the eyes of the mesmerized pigeons while Denny grabbed them one by one and shoved the birds into a burlap bag. The boys’ poke was nearly full when Denny reached for one last bird — a beautiful, nearly pure-white pigeon — and promptly lost his footing on the bridge.

Bob Jenkins and Sam Gross

First Flight

Josh Maihle of Columbus still remembers the first airplane ride he ever took. “I remember I was just 6 years old and riding in the backseat of a small, yellow private plane,” says Maihle.

Bob and his wife, Jill — members of Consolidated Cooperative in north-central Ohio — own two small, vintage aircraft. “We own a 1947 Cessna 120 and a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub,” says Bob. “I also co-own a 1972 Cessna 172 with my son, Shawn.”

Jenkins has been flying for more than 50 years, ever since his father taught him to fly. He made his first solo flight at age 16 and earned his private pilot’s license in his early 20s.  

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.”

Jarraff Industries’ all-terrain tree trimmer

Power protectors

It’s a common sight, especially during the spring and summer growing season — crews cutting away tree limbs and foliage that have gotten too close to nearby power lines.

Generally, anything within a set distance on either side of the lines, as well as above and below the lines, must come down to prevent contact — especially when storms roll through. Without ROW maintenance, obtrusive branches and limbs often can be blown into the lines, creating dangerous and costly power outages. 

Consolidated Hayes

Co-op Spotlight: Consolidated Cooperative

Consolidated Cooperative serves almost 18,000 members in eight counties in north-central Ohio, concentrated in Delaware and Morrow counties. The cooperative not only provides electricity but also offers propane and fiber internet in some areas. 

Morrow County

Consolidated Cooperative’s main office is located on State Route 95 in Mount Gilead, the Morrow County seat. The county is home to an impressive and awe-inspiring park system, which co-op employees and many others often enjoy during lunchtime walks. Visitors from around the state are drawn to Mount Gilead State Park for its outdoor amenities, but Morrow County’s Parks District is also well-known for its recreational opportunities.

Suburban Columbus

Rural-to-suburban shift

Since electric co-ops were first established during the 1930s, they have served mainly rural areas of the United States.

“We continually beat the drum among our members about what the co-op is,” says Phil Caskey, president and CEO of Consolidated Cooperative, which serves eight counties in north-central Ohio. Caskey says that many residents of suburban areas, as well as former suburbanites who move into rural areas, are unaware of the differences between electric co-ops and large, privately owned electric utilities. In addition, rural co-op members tend to have a better understanding of the co-op’s place in the community, he says.

Dewey Davenport stands on the wing of a plane awaiting a passenger.

Fall fly-in fun!

Scattered across the rural landscape of the Buckeye State are hundreds of small, grass airstrips, their owners housing vintage airplanes in nearby hangars and barns. A private plane, even though dated, is not inexpensive to purchase or maintain; the pilots — both men and women — do so for one simple reason: their love of flying.

A man stands behind a woman pointing a gun at the clay in the air.

Shooting stars

For years, competitive shooter and professional shotgun shooting coach Dan Bailey of Mount Vernon dreamed of building and owning his own commercial clay-target shooting range. That dream came true in the summer of 2017 when he and his wife, Peggy, opened Eagle’s Nest Sporting Grounds, an 85-acre, state-of-the-art shooting facility located near Mount Gilead in central Ohio, served by Consolidated Cooperative.

Karen and Bruce Beck pose with their tandem bicycle for a picture.

The Becks: Pedal pushers

Like many middle-aged married couples, Consolidated Cooperative members Bruce and Karen Beck of Mount Gilead enjoy long, leisurely bike rides together. Their rides, however, are a little longer than most — the last one covered 6,500 miles and took four months to complete. They have another such ride scheduled later this year.

Gordon McDonald checks a sap bucket on his brother Gary’s farm near Chardon.

Maple syrup time!

When billowing clouds of steam begin rising from family sugar bush operations that dot the landscape this time of year, you know two things: Winter’s grip is finally beginning to ease a bit, and underneath all that steam is one of the tastiest treats there is.

Poured over pancakes or drizzled over ice cream, there is no better seasonal treat than pure Ohio maple syrup, and Geauga County produces more of the stuff than any other county in the state. The two main reasons: many mature sugar maple trees and many Amish farms — most of which operate a sugar bush.