Firelands Electric Cooperative

Lorain-Medina school donation

A little help

School districts across the country struggled with how to continue their operations through the COVID-19 pandemic. How could they keep kids and teachers safe during in-building instruction?

But the coronavirus did force changes. The district needed to find a way to teach the 230 students who chose online instruction, while keeping those in the buildings safe with increased personal protective gear and gallons upon gallons of sanitizer for hands and high-touch surfaces, as well as other incidentals that came up every day.

“Contrary to what anyone may think, these expenses have not been just a drop in the bucket, and there has not been much help forthcoming from the state or federal government,” Clark says. “All of our COVID-related expenses have really added up.”

Firelands ACRE meeting with Bob Gibbs

Collective voice

Allen Heindel of Celina says he’s not particularly active politically, beyond voting for issues and candidates that represent his views. 

“I feel that Midwest does a nice job keeping us informed about what’s happening legislatively and how those things might affect the cost of electricity,” says Heindel, an engineer with Crown Equipment Corporation in New Bremen. “It just makes sense for electric cooperative members to have a voice in the legislative arena, because these are things that affect us every day.”

John Martin, trustee at Firelands Electric, speaks into a microphone.

Co-op trustees: Strong voices, guiding hands

John Martin braved one of those arctic January Ohio mornings to come from his home near New London to Columbus for training that would help him in his newest position.

Martin, a retired CSX signaling supervisor, had been elected to the Firelands Electric Cooperative board of directors only a few months earlier. Since a director’s decisions impact issues such as service rates, rights-of-way, and work plans, it’s a position of great responsibility. It requires people who understand their community’s needs and have a desire to serve the cooperative consumer-members’ best interests.

Joe Bodis opens the top of a birdhouse to examine the insides.

Backyard conservationist

It’s easy to find Joe Bodis’s property in Huron County, a few miles southeast of New London, Ohio. Just look for the house surrounded by “weeds.”

In actuality, those “weeds” are a carefully planned and developed island of wildlife habitat in a sea of corn and soybean fields. “When I first moved in, neighbors used to stop and ask when I was going to mow the weeds,” Bodis says. “Now they ask what things they can do on their property to attract wildlife.”

A retired pharmaceuticals salesman and member of Firelands Electric Cooperative, Bodis moved to his 5 acres in 2002.