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February 2020

Bill Sherrod, Editor


I had to smile while I read January’s cover story on Genevie Boarman.

I was hired in 1985 by Virginia Power and became a lineman trainee two years later. I soon learned July wasn’t the only month for fireworks because you will prove the law of gravity with a misstep on a pole and electricity is unforgiving. The last 17 years of my career I was a “servicemam.” My path would cross with the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative crews during major storms many times.

A lot has changed since then, but the feeling you get when you finally get to close that switch or cutout and that part of the world comes back to life is job satisfaction at its best. Genevie sounds like she will not have a problem handling things and I wish her the best.

I retired Aug. 1, 2019, with many memories and experiences … some good, some not so good. But I wouldn’t trade a minute

— Sally Farabaugh, Mt. Sidney, Va.


Words cannot express how very proud the entire Southside Virginia Community College community was when we saw our Power Line Worker Training School graduate, Genevie Boarman, on the cover of the January Cooperative Living. Laura Emery did a great job capturing the essence of our program and the amazing journey of Genevie in her article, “Aiming High.” Our training program is top-notch and would not be available without the support of the Virgina, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.

— Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D., president of Southside Virginia Community College


What a contrasting message the latest issue of Cooperative Living is sending! The issue begins with a great article, “Aiming High,” about a female lineworker, but then ends with a column on how Margo Oxendine needs a man to do her yard work. Seriously? While I have enjoyed some of Margo’s columns over the years, I can’t recall the time when one was actually entertaining. Time for a change. Maybe something as empowering as female lineworkers?

— A. Wright, via email


I’ve just read your cover story in the January 2020 issue of Cooperative Living. Regarding the “Inside Story” column about Genevie Boarman, Laura Emery wrote, “I believe she’ll end up at the lineman’s rodeo …” I hope this rodeo’s name is changed to “line techs” or “lineworkers” — a woman should not have to contend in a lineman’s rodeo. What would a man think if there was a preponderance of women in this industry, and this event had always been known as the “linewoman’s” rodeo? Well, a man shouldn’t have to contend in a “linewoman’s” rodeo, and a woman shouldn’t have to contend in a “lineman’s” rodeo. I’d like to see a name change for workers in this field, something generic. Cooperative line technicians or cooperative lineworkers would be all-inclusive.

— Barbara Weber, Manassas, Va.


I just wanted to compliment Laura Emery for the great article about Line Worker Training graduate Genevie Boarman. It was a pleasure to read about her, the dedication and desire she’s had since a young girl, and how she is following up and pursuing her dream!

I hope you all will keep us apprised of her future endeavors and successes in the field, as I have no doubt she will excel. She surely is on the path to be an inspiration for other women — and a standout even among men in the male-dominated field.

— Woody Rea, Spotslyvania, Va.



I want to communicate how much we appreciate and enjoy the Cooperative Living magazine each month. We particularly appreciate the January issue with the informative Virginia Legislative Guide. A recent poll indicated that the vast majority of Americans were unable to list the three branches of government. Most helpful! Love your recipes too. I am proud to be a cooperative member.

— Susan Gay, via email


I am a 4th grade teacher and a cooperative member. I look forward to your magazine each month. I teach Virginia history and always find articles to share with my class. This month I’m saving the Legislative Guide for when we get to our government unit. Keep up the good work.

— Michelle Cox, Woodbridge, Va.


Why devote two pages of your magazine to a plant from east Asia that has nothing to offer the natural food chain of our area? Far better to tout the lovely, native shrubs such as redbud, witch hazel, black haw viburnum or mountain laurel that are active participants in our local, natural cycle of life.

— Richard Stromberg, Front Royal, Va.


Today I read, “Play Ball, Clover Hill Community Covers All the Bases,” in Cooperative Living’s January 2020 issue. Please know this outstanding article is now saved to the “Wayne D. Beaman Archival File” forever and ever. Being avid admirers of the Clover Hill Volunteer Fire Company, the Clover Hill Bucks and the Clover Hill United Methodist Church, I read every word with a true sense of pride, knowing their hard work, accurate foresight and personal commitment to the Clover Hill community made possible all accomplishments captured within this glowing article.

We feel very, very proud for all they have done and are doing.

— Wayne and Joy Beaman, Dayton, Va.


I had sent my brother, Dave Zoern, in Wisconsin, Spike Knuth’s “Feathered Friends” columnist work from Virginia Wildlife, as he knew Spike. Then I found his work again when a friend sent me some pages from Cooperative Living.

I am writing because I want Spike to know that my brother died after brain cancer surgery at age 80 and I want all to know that Spike’s work is wonderful and appreciated.

— Rose Marie Armour, Springfield, Va.


Would you please do more articles on solar panels, such as: its proven technology, its energy benefits for the whole grid, net metering, progressive solar policies and Virginia’s stance on the impact of going solar?

As I see more and more solar panels being used by the government, businesses and homeowners, isn’t solar energy better for the planet? In this time of global climate change, shouldn’t more of us be “going solar?”

Why aren’t there more solar policies being implemented as a solution?

The term “Cooperative Living” would indicate an effort of different levels of healthy energies improving life.

— Lesley Mack, Luray, Va.