Celebrating 70 years – Holiday lights – Lights on in Bolivia


Arkansas Living celebrates 70 years


(Pictured left to right) Stacy Rinehart, Ouida Cox and Joy Rice with the celebratory cake.

Arkansas Living celebrated 70 years of publishing last month with a reception at the Arkansas Electric Cooperatives. Inc. (AECI) headquarters in Little Rock. The guest of honor was Ouida Cox, the former editor of the magazine. Cox joined AECI in 1948 and retired in 2013. Arkansas Living was previously known as Arkansas REA News and Rural Arkansas.


Be safe this holiday season

A myriad of seasonal activities puts the action indoors this month, where families gather for cooking, decorating and other pursuits that may involve an open flame. Unfortunately, enjoying some of those treasured pastimes means the risk of house fires and burns increases drastically.

Many burn injuries and fire risks can be avoided by practicing a few simple safety measures.

Seasonal decor


Keep safety in mind when decorating the tree.

Live Christmas trees need water daily. However, according to the survey, less than half of Americans perform the task. A dry tree can ignite in seconds, making tree fires one of the most dangerous types. Well-watered trees significantly reduce this risk. Set a reminder to add water daily to keep your tree safe and supple throughout the season.

Choosing the right place for your tree involves many variables. As you select the perfect vantage point, remember to keep trees away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents.

Consider using wickless or flameless candles. There are numerous inexpensive options that cast a warm, flickering glow so you can enjoy the ambiance of a lit candle without the risk.

Lights and electricity

Before installing decorative lights on a house or a tree, closely inspect each strand for frayed wires, bare spots and excessive kinking or wear. Discard and replace any lights that show signs of damage, which can pose a fire hazard.

During the holiday season, when you are likely to have more decorations, lights and other electrical items in use, take extra care to prevent overburdening an outlet, and use certified surge protectors and power strips.

Exposed electrical cords and uncovered outlets can attract the attention of inquisitive children. Take care to secure cords out of reach and cover any outlets not in use.

Despite the obvious risk of leaving lit candles unattended, 27 percent of Americans admit to this practice and 25 percent of respondents report leaving them in reach of a child. If you must use a flame-burning candle, do so only while you are in the room, and extinguish any lit candles if the room will be vacant.

Cooking safety


Handle hot food with care when cooking for holidays.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, holiday cooking is the leading cause of residential building fires in the month of December. With more cooking during this time, the risk of house fires and pediatric burns increases drastically. Outturned handles can be easily grasped by curious hands or snag on clothing or aprons and potentially scald a youngster underfoot. Be sure to turn pot handles toward the back of the stove, out of children’s reach.

Follow the lead of nearly 50 percent of Americans who know to keep a lid or cookie sheet nearby when cooking to help extinguish a fire.

Use electric appliances on a countertop, safely away from the sink or other water sources. Remember to avoid using an extension cord to supply power to kitchen appliances.

For more information, activity books for kids, tip cards and additional tools for families, visit beburnaware.org.

Source: Shriners Hospitals for Children, Family Features

Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas linemen bring light to Bolivian villages


An Arkansas lineman installs a light bulb for a villager.

Thirteen Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas linemen recently returned from a mission in rural Bolivia. The men ran power lines to three remote villages resulting in electric service to more than 360 residents. The villagers’ 72 homes near Guayaramerin located at the Brazilian border had previously been without service.

“The Operation Razorback Bolivia crew has changed lives in Bolivia,” said Duane Highley, president and CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “These men volunteered their skills and showed a passion for serving their fellow man. Their efforts will result in an increased quality of life for the villagers and future generations.”

The linemen represented electric cooperatives across Arkansas and worked closely with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) International team on the project. The Arkansas crew worked with the Guayaramerin Electric Cooperative, or COSEGUA, on the project that involved substantial construction of distribution lines.

A unique challenge was the Bolivian use of concrete powerline structures. With no bucket trucks and the inability to climb the poles, the men used ladders to run the conductor and build lines for the eager villagers who had been waiting for power for years.

Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas crews have assisted in establishing electric service to approximately 1,500 residents in rural Bolivia and Guatemala since 2013.


Linemen and their respective cooperatives participating in the project are: Bill Bonds and Doug Evans with Petit Jean Electric of Clinton; Richard Freeland with Ouachita Electric of Camden; Kenneth Byrd and Clayton McMurray of Arkansas Valley Electric of Ozark; Gene Milton with Woodruff Electric of Forrest City; Shannon Strope and Aaron Yearta with Craighead Electric of Jonesboro; Hugh Starkey with First Electric of Jacksonville; William Thompson with North Arkansas Electric of Salem; Jimmy Sharp and Alex Wright with Southwest Arkansas REA of Texarkana; and Kevin Riddle with Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., of Little Rock.