Community Involvement: Youth to Washington Trip

The Youth to Washington tour highlights Eastern Illini’s involvement in youth programs and community involvement.

ytw4 Claire Bossong of Watseka, Miranda Fairbanks of Sadorus, Bridget McMullin of Loda, Jacob Reitz of Gilman, Renae Spannagel of Villa Grove, and chaperone Susan Brown represented Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative in Washington, D.C., during the annual “Youth to Washington” Tour, June 9-16. This event, sponsored by the electric and telephone cooperatives of Illinois since the late 1950s, is an introduction to our democratic form of government and cooperatives for rural youth.

The students met with Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Congressman John Shimkus, Congressman Rodney Davis, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, and were among 69 rural Illinois youth leaders selected for the trip.

The Illinois students joined more than 1,730 young leaders from across the country, a record high for the “Youth to Washington” Tour.

In addition to the Capitol, they also visited Arlington National Cemetery, the Washington National Cathedral, several Smithsonian Museums, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the World War II Memorial, memorials to Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington and Roosevelt, the National Archives, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, the Newseum, and several other historical sites.

Sophomores and juniors in high schools that are within the service area of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative are eligible to participate in the annual program.

The Youth to Washington program is just one aspect of Eastern Illini’s commitment to our communities and area youth. The cooperative invests in youth education and engagement programs throughout our local communities.

Some of the other activities include performing electrical safety presentations at area schools, working with local 4-H clubs to promote electricity learning, and sponsoring several other youth and community programs.

For more information about any of our youth programs (which are all offered at no charge), or to schedule events at your school, please contact us at 800-824-5102 or info@eiec.coop.

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Energy Efficiency: The Path to Independence

Start your path on the journey to energy independence this summer!

While fireworks and Independence Day parades are synonymous with the Fourth of July, no such fanfare comes to mind when discussing energy efficiency. Perhaps it should.

If you think about it, energy efficiency not only benefits individuals and families, but the country as a whole. Energy efficiency combined with energy conservation and advances in technology in the utility industry, ultimately help our country on a path toward greater energy independence. And that’s worth celebrating.

Benefits of efficiency
At its essence, greater efficiency means less energy is used for the production of goods and services. For individual consumers, a reduction in energy use usually translates to a tangible financial benefit – more money in your wallet at the end of the month. If your co-op neighbors are also using less energy, collectively, it means the overall cost of providing that electricity could be lower and may result in reduced costs for co-op members. For many, this is reason enough to strive for greater energy efficiency.

On a national level, energy efficiency, sometimes called the “fifth fuel,” has a more profound impact. It can potentially boost the economy by allowing consumers and businesses to invest their savings in other areas. As importantly, greater energy efficiency could also reduce our need for foreign energy.

Strike up the band
There’s no need to wait for the first exploding burst of fireworks in the night sky to start your energy efficiency efforts. Every American can take charge of their own energy use, regardless of the date on the calendar. Small steps can lead to a big difference for you and your neighbors, whether across the road or across the country.

Energy efficiency can generally be achieved two ways. The first is with mechanical change, such as replacing an older HVAC unit or less efficient appliance with a new ENERGY STAR model or upgrading to new, insulated windows. Less expensive actions include improving the seal of your home’s “envelope” by caulking exterior windows and doors and sealing openings where pipes and ductwork meet the outside. Swapping out your last incandescent bulbs (inside and outside) with LEDs also makes a noticeable difference.

Smart control
The second way to realize energy efficiency is through smarter management of your energy use. Leveraging smart thermostat technology is a good place to start. Most smart thermostats contain an app allowing remote control by mobile phone or tablet. Program your thermostat to reflect your family’s schedule. Many thermostat programs allow you to view and edit your thermostat schedule and monitor the amount of energy used.

Take control of your energy use
Sometimes, however, energy efficiency is simply a matter of changing old habits such as washing clothes in cold water instead of hot or running the dishwasher during off-peak times.

Regardless of the path you take on the road to energy efficiency and independence, Eastern Illini can help you on the journey. Contact our office at 800-824-5102 or visit our website at www.eiec.coop to learn how we can help!

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Message from the President: Happy Independence Day

I would like to thank all of our member/owners that attended the recent annual meeting. Almost 1,000 members, and their families, enjoyed the days’ festivities!

Along with the fun and games and great entertainment during the annual meeting, we also were pleased to present a very positive outlook for your cooperative. In 2016, we had a good year, and although the mild weather has reduced our kilowatt hour sales a bit this year, your cooperative is in a good position. Our employees are leveraging technology to better serve you, and options like SmartHub are giving interested members the chance to take control of their electric use.

As you enjoy time with your friends and family during the Fourth of July holiday, please do so safely, and with a sense of gratitude for all those who have led the way for not only our original independence and birth as a country but also for those in uniform that continue to provide us with the freedoms we all enjoy so much.



Bob Hunzinger

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2017 Annual Meeting Seminar Schedule

Each seminar session will be offered at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m.

Room 604 – From Pumpkins to Seeds
At the Great Pumpkin Patch in rural Arthur, Illinois, Mac Condill helps lead a team that takes great interest in providing beautiful surroundings in which to educate their guests about the Cucurbit family. Hear from Mac as he shares the story of their 300 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds from over 30 countries around the world!

Room 605 – Hats for any Occasion
Pat Milchuck, of Simply Pat’s Hats in Paxton, Illinois, has always had a passion for millinery. She harnesses that passion with her special approach to every hat she makes. Each hat is unique. Every design is distinctive. And each hat tells its own story. Pat’s hats are worn at the Kentucky Derby and around the world!

Room 608 – Modern Quilting
Donna Lee, Modern Quilter & cofounder of Bloomington-Normal Modern Quilt Guild, will give a trunk show of modern quilts and explain the difference between modern and traditional quilts. See bright colors and original designs in her presentation!

Room 609 – Tree Trimming & Chainsaw Safety, Tips & Tricks
Have you ever been frustrated while working with your chainsaw? Don Gerdes, Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative’s Right-of-Way Specialist and resident chainsaw expert, will offer safety tips and other tidbits to help you take control of your saw, and trim your trees the right way!

Room 610 – Q&A with the President/CEO
Here’s your chance to chat with the boss! Bob Hunzinger, Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative’s President/CEO, will be available to answer your questions. You’ll also be able to view some exhibits to learn more about the cooperative, and find easy ways to lower your energy bills.

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Generator Promotion – Act Now!

Standby Generator Extended Warranty: Limited Time Offer

Briggs & Stratton is here to back you up for today, tomorrow and now a decade longer.

For a limited time only, Briggs & Stratton is offering a 10-year limited warranty on standby generators1!

Purchase a standby generator between May 22, 2017 and June 30, 2017 and receive a FREE 10-year extended warranty! You’ll receive the same dependable Briggs & Stratton backed warranty, but now for an entire decade!


Briggs & Stratton Standby Generators

The Briggs & Stratton line of standby generators offers a comprehensive 5-year limited* warranty of parts, labor, and travel. But now for a limited time when you purchase a Briggs & Stratton Fortress Standby Generator you’ll receive an additional 5 years of warranty coverage. That’s a value of $999!

Have you purchased a generator between May 22nd, 2017 and June 30th, 2017? Register Your Warranty here and receive your FREE 10-year extended warranty!

Interested in back up power? Call 1-800-824-5102 for a Free In-Home Estimate.

1Offer is only valid with the purchase of a new Briggs & Stratton home standby generator installed by an authorized dealer in the continental US. Only valid on single-phase units with power nodes 12kW through 20kW. Exclusions apply; offer excludes extended coverage of the unit’s enclosure, see warranty details for more information or see dealer. Promotion starts 12:00a.m. Central Daylight Time (CDT) May 22, 2017 and ends at 11:59 p.m. CDT on June 30, 2017. Sponsor’s time clock is the official clock of the promotion. Registration and proof of purchase required to be eligible. Available only on Fortress and Briggs & Stratton 12kw-20 models.
2See https://www.briggsandstratton.com/na/en_us/buying-guides/standby-generators/why-briggs-and-stratton/warranty.html for more details.
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2017 Annual Meeting: Director Election

Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors is made up of co-op member/owners – just like you. They are tasked with setting the policies and guidelines that Eastern Illini’s management team then carries out. Each year, three of the nine positions on the board are up for election. Board terms are for three years.


Directorate District 2
Candidate Tom Schlatter, Chatsworth
Tom Schlatter has served on the Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Board of Directors since 2006. He has served as secretary of the board, vice chairman, and is currently the chairman of the board. Tom received the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate in 2006, the NRECA Board Leadership Certificate in 2013, and the NRECA Director Gold Credential Certificate in 2016.
Tom and his wife, Barbara, reside near Chatsworth in Livingston County where he operates a grain farm.


Directorate District 5
Candidate Kevin Moore, Hoopeston
Kevin Moore has served on the Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Board of Directors since 2014. He received the NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate in 2016. Kevin currently serves as Eastern Illini’s alternate director on the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives Board of Directors.
Kevin and his wife, Kasey, reside near Hoopeston in Vermilion County where he operates a grain farm.


Directorate District 9
Candidate Jay Hageman, Fairmount
Jay Hageman was elected to the Illini Electric Cooperative Board in 1986. He then served on the Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Board until 1989 and was re-elected to the Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Board of Directors in 2002. Jay has served as secretary of the board, and is currently the vice chair. He received the NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate in 2002, the NRECA Board Leadership Certificate in 2011, and the NRECA Director Gold Credential Certificate in 2016. Jay also serves as Eastern Illini’s director on the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives Board of Directors.
Jay and his wife, Tracy, reside near Fairmount and farm in the corner of Douglas, Champaign, Vermilion and Edgar counties.


Use this proxy ballot if you can’t make it to the annual meeting, but you’d still like to vote! Simply click on the ballot to get a larger image, then print it off, fill it out, and hand it to an Eastern Illini member who is attending the meeting.

For more information about our director’s election, please contact our office at 800-824-5102.

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Feature: Spreading Her Wings

McKenzie Krutsinger, from rural Sidney, is living her dream of flight.

When we heard McKenzie’s story, we were impressed with the drive and passion of such a young lady. We asked if we could share her story, and the information she sent us was so good, we thought we would let her speak for herself.  The following thoughts came directly from McKenzie:

pilot and plan

I was beyond lucky that I stumbled upon aviation my sophomore year of high school. I am forever thankful for the day I fell in love with flight.

As a sixteen year old at Unity High School, I was supposed to job shadow a career I wanted. Unlike some of my classmates I was unsure of what career field I wanted to go into. On a plane on my way to a softball tournament, my mother turned to me and said how she thought flying would be a really interesting career choice. Her comment  definitely sparked my interest in aviation.

The next week I called the Parkland Institute of Aviation and asked if it would be possible to job shadow at their facility. I had no idea what kind of jobs they had available for me to shadow or what operations they handled. The Chief Pilot, Sybil Phillips, organized everything for me.

In March, I showed up at the Institute not knowing what to expect for the day. Shortly after I arrived, they set me up with a flight instructor who they informed me I would be following for the day. I sat back and watched a lesson the instructor had with a student, then we went on a tour of the air traffic control tower, fire and rescue facility, and FlightStar, a charter based out of Champaign. I even got the chance to sit in the Captain’s seat of Jimmy John’s private jet!

pilot sunset

McKenzie Krutsinger fell in love with flight at the age of 16. Now 20, she already has earned several pilot licenses and is getting ready to participate in the Women’s Air Race Classic, a cross-country event that features all-women teams. Photos are courtesy of Scott Pelkowski.

At the end of the day I went on my very own discovery flight where I got to fly around my hometown. I saw my house and my friends’ houses all from a birds-eye view. The feeling was indescribable. As cliché as it sounds, this was the moment I fell in love with aviation and knew that it was going to be the career I wanted to pursue.

Fast forward to my senior year of high school. I was signed to play softball at Florida Institute of  Technology and earn my degree in Aviation Management with Flight with a minor in Unmanned Aerial Systems.

As a two sport athlete with a GPA of 4.0, I decided to take a dual credit course to earn my Private Pilot’s License. My 18th birthday was the day I received my temporary Private Pilot’s certificate. It was a monumental achievement in my life. I am now almost done with my second semester of sophomore year at Florida Institute of Technology. I recently earned my Commercial Multi-engine license and my Commercial Single Engine license. Now I am working on my Certified Flight Instructors license.

Freshman year I earned a 4.0 GPA, and blew through my flight training. I am currently at the head of my class in flight  training while still earning a 3.9 GPA. Freshman year I received academic honors such as the Dean’s List. I am also an active member in our Women in Aviation Chapter here on campus.

The summer of 2016 I decided to volunteer for the Women’s Air Race Classic. Willard Airport, near my hometown in Illinois, was a stop along the race this year, and I saw it as a  great opportunity to get to know more about the event.

There were fifty-five different teams of women who stopped at Willard. I was lucky enough to get the chance to network and ask the women pilots questions. I even put myself out there and told the pilots that I would be interested in being a co-pilot for a race if any of the pilots needed one.

To my surprise, in January, I received an email from a woman I had met during last year’s race. I grew with excitement while reading her email. She said she would love to race with me this year if I was able to. This year’s air race starts in Fredrick, Maryland and ends in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There are nine different flyby/stopping points along the route.

The race usually costs around $6,000 total, but my teammate and I are splitting the cost. I am looking for donations to fulfill my $3,000 end of the expenses. The money will be going towards expenses such as aviation gas, maintenance, hotels, food, entry fees, etc.

Not many 20 year-olds get a chance to compete doing something they love, or better yet, get the chance to fly all over the United States. Not only is it a great opportunity for me to meet many different women in the aviation field, but also women who could help me later on down the road with my aviation career.

If you’d like to help support McKenzie as she participates in the Women’s Air Race Classic, you can contact her directly by emailing her at mkrutsinger2015@my.fit.edu, or you can send a donation to her at 2197 CR 1100 N, Sidney, IL 61877.

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Annual Meeting Held June 8

Download the Annual Meeting Program/Annual Report

The Annual Meeting is one of the benefits of being part of an electric cooperative.

On Thursday, June 8, almost 1,000 member/owners and their families (totaling almost 2,000 people) attended Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative’s 30th Annual Meeting.

The event was geared for family fun and featured several children’s activities, including two bounce houses, an inflatable obstacle course, miniature golf, a petting zoo, and bucket truck demonstrations.

Other entertainment included the Marvin Lee Band, and all registered member/owners received a $25 attendance credit for attending the days’ festivities.

A full meal of fried chicken, ham, noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and desserts was provided by Niemerg’s Catering, and the Rocking K Chuckwagon provided lighter fare and snacks for those relaxing outside.

Several seminars were held during the day. The wide-ranging topics included a session by Mac Condill from the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur. Pat Milchuck, from Simply Pat’s Hats, discussed her love of millinery and showed off many of her amazing hat creations. Donna Lee, of the Bloomington-Normal Modern Quilt Guild offered examples of quilting designs and techniques.

Other sessions included a question and answer forum with Eastern Illini’s President/CEO Bob Hunzinger, and Don Gerdes, Eastern Illini’s forestry and right-of-way specialist, provided an overview of proper tree-trimming techniques and chainsaw safety tips.

Several legislators attended the meeting to show their support for Eastern Illini and to mingle with the crowd. Among the attendees were State Representative Tom Bennett, State Senator Scott Bennett, and Paul Faraci, a staff member for Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs.

Incumbent board members Tom Schlatter of Chatsworth, Kevin Moore of Hoopeston, and Jay Hageman of Fairmount were all re-elected to Eastern Illini’s Board of Directors.

Board Chairman Tom Schlatter, and Eastern Illini’s President/CEO Bob Hunzinger provided an update of the cooperative during the business portion of the meeting. They showed a video that highlighted a 1950’s era digger truck that was recently donated back to the cooperative and restored by employees. Also during the business meeting, Eastern Illini Serviceman Terry Riggins discussed his recent trip to Bolivia, where he worked with other Illinois electric cooperative employees to help provide electricity to impoverished rural areas of that country. The trip was sponsored by NRECA International.

Eastern Illini’s annual meeting is a tangible benefit of being much more than simply a customer. You are a member – and an owner – of your locally owned and governed electric cooperative.

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