South Central Power

“It’s a joy to talk to people about astronomy,” says Hoehne. “I’ve been stargazing most of my life, and this park is a great way to bring others into the fold and get them interested in science in general.”

Star struck

Getting Brad Hoehne to stand still for a photo isn’t easy.

Served by South Central Power Company, the park sits on an open patch of land within Hocking Hills State Park. It’s named for the Ohio-born-and-bred astronaut who was the first American to orbit the Earth. JGAP opened in 2018, but Hoehne had been thinking for years about creating a venue where the public could connect with the cosmos. “I got the idea in 2003,” he says.

The renewable, green energy source, generated and transmitted by Buckeye Power for OEC members, has been available since 2017 when the OurSolar program was launched.

Reality check

The hours of bright sunshine that come with scorching Ohio summers often spur people to consider harnessing energy from the sky’s brightest star with rooftop solar panels.

Bright side

Demarco Deshaies of Rockridge in Hocking County decided to investigate solar as a backup after losing electric service for several days following a devastating February 2022 winter storm.

On his wedding day, Jerry Swank wore three replicas of the legendary Colt .45 single-action Army revolver that helped tame the American West.

Rootin’, tootin’ & shootin’

When Jerry Swank married his wife, Carolyn, in 2003, he wore a rancher-style felt hat, boots with spurs, and three replicas of the legendary Colt .45 single-action Army revolver that helped tame the American West. 

Swank and his wife are South Central Power Company members who reside on 81 acres of farmland in the Hocking Hills. His interest in guns began when he was growing up in the Middletown area. He was introduced to shooting sports as a member of the Boy Scouts and while hunting with his father, and learned Western riding because his parents and grandparents kept horses. 

As an adult, he worked in sales, but he also parlayed his knack for riding and training horses into a carriage ride business in downtown Columbus. 

To maximize your solar productivity, ensure that your roof is in good condition and isn’t shaded throughout the day.

If you ask me...

March is the time of year when Ohioans are treated to an occasional teasing day of sunshine and warmth before winter reminds us that it’s not done just yet.

We asked a handful of energy advisors from across the state to get us started with some basic information and a few questions to ask as you do your research. All of them agree on the most important step: Contact your electric cooperative before signing any agreement. This is a crucial part of the procedure, not only to ensure that your array is built correctly and properly connects to the cooperative’s system, but also to get an understanding of exactly how solar is going to work for you. 

Ohioans enjoy nighttime kayaking at High Rocks Adventure

After dark

As twilight comes, the rugged cliffs, crevices, and outcroppings at High Rocks Adventure add a sense of mystery to what’s already an adrenaline rush. 

Night rappels are trips into the unknown. “You can’t see the bottom of the cliff, so there’s a lot of trust needed,” says Kayce, a member of South Central Power Company. Sometimes, the trust pays off with even more thrill — one time during a solo rappel, with her headlight turned off, 
a screech owl’s wings brushed silently past her face.

Roadside crew with danger sign

Danger zones

The constant presence of road crews, traffic cones, and orange barrels on Ohio highways, byways, and township roads is a way of life for Ohio drivers.

In the wee morning hours of Aug. 28, 2019, a line crew from Lancaster-based South Central Power Company was called to address a power hazard along State Route 73 near Hillsboro. An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper guarded the zone while the crew established a new traffic path for drivers, setting cones and putting caution lights in place. As the linemen were about to begin work, the trooper confirmed that the work site met construction zone safety standards and headed out.

Janet Bowers

Trufflemaker

For years, Janet Bowers would make truffles as gifts for friends and colleagues, but, she says, “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could do it professionally.” After all, she already had a full-time job as a practicing psychologist. 

Bowers, a member of South Central Power Company, grew up in Chillicothe and went on to work for the National Park Service and as a schoolteacher before deciding to earn her doctorate in clinical and forensic psychology.

Joe Lockhart

Iron man

A woman who had purchased a skillet from Lockhart Ironworks recently asked Doug Lockhart if he could add a helper handle to her cookware. The veteran blacksmith, a South Central Power Company member, gladly obliged.

Lockhart’s shop sits amid 83 acres of woods and fields on his farmstead, 10 miles northeast of Logan. He and his wife, Berta, live in an 1824 log farmhouse; keep ducks and goats for eggs, meat, and milk; raise some hay; and harvest their trees for lumber that they cut in the farm’s sawmill.

Nancy Crow

Star quilter

Nancy Crow’s quilts hang in the Smithsonian and the Museum of Folk Art. They’ve been on exhibit in China, England, France, and other countries. Some of her quilts even appear on the covers of two of Maya Angelou’s books.

Surprisingly, for a fabric artist as accomplished as Crow is, she did not learn to sew when she was young. She became an avid knitter in high school, but didn’t create any fabric art until she took a course in tapestry weaving at Ohio State University. Her BFA and MFA degrees from the university were focused on ceramics art.

Co-op annual meeting

In the know

For customers of an investor-owned utility like AEP or Dayton Power and Light, communication with their electric company probably extends no further than paying their bill or finding out how long an outage might last.

“Members who are engaged are the ones who will attend the annual meeting — for more than just the chance of getting a bill credit,” says Michael Wilson, director of communications at Logan County Electric Cooperative, based in Bellefontaine. “Without engaged and educated members, the cooperative business model could not exist.”