News • Ideas • Events




Do You Know What to Do?


The road to electrocution is too often paved with assumptions. So-and-so didn’t think such-and-such and assumed this-and-that but then … zap.

Electricity is hazardous. Deadly. It might be impossible to overstate the power of energy. There are hundreds of miles of electrical lines between us, powering desk lamps, computers, printing presses — only a few of the things needed just to put my words in front of you — thanks to a lot of people working together to deliver electricity safely.

It’s why you may have heard of cooperatives visiting schools, teaching local youngsters how to recognize potential electrical hazards and how to report them. You’ll also find cooperative lineworkers at county fairs, demonstrating safety protocols around live wires as well as the consequences of contact.

In the spirit of National Electrical Safety Month, consider this: Do you know how to recognize a hazardous situation? Do your co-workers? If someone gets hurt, who are you going to call?

safety demo

Every year, cooperatives send their lineworkers, engineers and other employees to the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association’s Job Training & Safety schools. These schools are led by industry experts who devote hundreds of hours to teaching cooperative staff what to do — and, more important, what not to do — around electricity.

This training is important — and can mean the difference between life and death. When you read this month’s feature story, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

So if you’re ever unsure about what to do when it comes to electricity, call your local rural electric cooperative. Even better, get educated about electrical safety. Every month in Penn Lines, your cooperative publishes valuable articles on a range of energy issues — safety, among them. When it comes to electrical hazards, it’s always best not to assume.




No one predicted latest Punxsutawney Phil development

After Punxsutawney Phil used his mysterious groundhog skills in February (OK, he emerged from a hole and didn’t see his shadow) to call for an early spring, no one — not even his handlers — could have predicted what was going to happen next.

“We have babies,” the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club announced on social media recently.

Yep, in a surprising turn of events, Phil and his mate, Phyllis, have welcomed two little ones.

“It was very unexpected; we had no idea that she was pregnant,” Tom Dunkel, president of the club’s Inner Circle, told a local TV station.

Following the news, well-wishes poured in.


“Can I be a fairy hogmother?” another asked.

For now, the phoursome is tucked away at the Punxsatawney Memorial Library, their home away from home at Gobbler’s Knob, the Jefferson County landmark where Phil makes his famous seasonal predictions on — you guessed it: Groundhog Day, each Feb. 2. The region is served by Dubois-based United Electric Cooperative.

Phil phans can catch a peek of the phamily at the library’s inside viewing area during regular hours. The library’s exterior viewing area is open 24 hours a day.

And if you can’t visit, the club has posted a video of the pups on its Instagram account, @punxsyphil.

Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog famous for predicting the start
of spring, and his mate, Phyllis, gave their handlers quite a surprise recently: two pups,
who arrived in March and are said to be doing well.
A HAPPY SURPRISE: Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog famous for predicting the start of spring, and his mate, Phyllis, gave their handlers quite a surprise recently: two pups, who arrived in March and are said to be doing well.


Ag officials take precautions after nearby states detect bird flu in dairy cows

Pennsylvania agriculture officials say there is no cause for panic here after the bird flu was detected in dairy cows in several states, including neighboring Ohio and Michigan.

For safety, however, the Commonwealth has instituted a quarantine order that requires cattle imported from a state where highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been detected to be tested within five days of movement.

At presstime, Pennsylvania had not had a positive HPAI case on a dairy farm. Also, meat and milk supplies are safe, according to Pennsylvania State Veterinarian Alex Hamberg, who said pasteurization should kill the virus.

Hamberg is encouraging dairy farmers to consult with their vets. Symptoms of the disease include rapid drops in milk production and milk taking on a deep, rich yellow or orange color, similar to an egg yolk.

The state’s Center for Dairy Excellence has been giving updates during weekly conference calls with farmers and providing biosecurity kits upon request. For more information, call the center at 717-346-0849 or visit


Cameron County designates four sites perfect for stargazing

Recently, much of the nation was focused on getting a glimpse of April’s solar eclipse, but on most nights in certain parts of Pennsylvania, visitors can take part in something just as spectacular: stargazing.

In Cameron County, for instance, officials are working to earn an official “Dark Sky Place” designation. With funding from the Pennsylvania Lumber Heritage Region, the county — parts of which are served by Mansfield-based Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative — has designated four new stargazing locations with plans for a fifth in the works.

Those locations are:

  • Moore Hill Stargazing Area near State Game Lands No. 14 via Moore Hill Road (41.46425197129469, -78.31511400318615)
  • Whittimore Hill Stargazing Area, which can be accessed via May Hollow Road (41.468500, -78.227639)
  • Bucktail Overlook, which can be reached via Mason Hill Road from Sterling Run or Driftwood (41.34982480922727, -78.15349680319066)
  • Sinnemahoning State Park along Route 872 (41.422685619304225, -78.02948741676141)

Cool, windless nights offer the best viewing conditions. Smartphone apps, such as Stellarium and Google Sky, can be useful for stargazing, too. (Just point your phone toward the sky to see names of major stars, planets and constellations.)

For more information and other places to explore in Cameron County and across Pennsylvania, go to


A decade ago, Penn Lines slithered into the world of rattlesnake roundups, five of which were sanctioned by the state at the time in Bradford, Cameron, Potter, Tioga and Wyoming counties. Educational for hunters and the public alike, the events followed a strict set of rules and at the end of each hunt, every snake — after it was measured and tagged — was returned to the exact spot where it was captured. Money from the roundups went to good causes, including local volunteer fire companies. All, except the Bradford County hunt, continue today.


May 2014 cover


Also in this issue


Coming Home

Co-op Lineman Gets Back to Work After Near-Death Experience

Penn Lines, People and Places

Magazine’s Editors Carry on Tradition of Spotlighting Rural Life

Read the full issue

May 2024 Cover

Read past issues

50th Anniversary Penn Lines magazine cover