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Proposed Government Regulations Are Challenging to Members' Electric Bills

REYNOLDS/PERRY/WARNER ROBINS/COLUMBUS-Proposed government regulations are expected to be extremely challenging for Flint Energies member bills, according to Chief Executive Officer Bob Ray.

“Since 2008, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has generated at least nine new regulations which attempt to reduce coal-fired generation for power plants,” said Ray. “Just two of those regulations have already cost Flint members $105 million.”

“These regulations essentially prevent construction of future coal generation plants,” he said. “The new ‘Clean Power Plan’ which has been proposed gives Georgia no credit for already reducing emissions since 2005, sets targets for renewable energy and efficiency which will cost more than they save, calls for more natural gas generation but no more gas pipelines to get the gas into Georgia….and effectively destroys affordable energy for our members.”

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Flint Energies Engages in Emergency Preparedness in October

REYNOLDS/PERRY/WARNER ROBINS/COLUMBUS-Flint Energies undertakes constant effort in emergency preparedness throughout the year, but several events in October have sharpened the skills of the cooperative’s employees, according to Sr Vice President Jimmy Autry.

“Each year, we plan a tabletop exercise where employees come to a meeting room expecting to see a disaster that needs a response,” said Autry. “It’s part of the inside joke is to call the tabletop event “Hurricane Jimmy” since I invent the challenge for our team.”

This year, employees gathered to respond to the multiplying disaster of tropical force storm winds, flooding rains and a security breach into the Warner Robins Service Center location. As the event unfolds, a disaster team of employees that is assigned leadership on the spot evaluates the needs and calls upon resources to respond.

This year's Fair second-best attended


After tons of food and fun, the 2014 Georgia National Fair officially ended Sunday night.

This fair was the second-best attended in its 25 years.

"2010 was actually our highest and we were about 10,000 off of that," said Fairgrounds spokeswoman Stacy Campbell,"But, we're very happy to have at least gotten a record fair this year."

Campbell says around 450,000 people came to this year's event.

And while 2010 may have the highest total attendance, last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday marked the largest daily crowd attendance for a Georgia National Fair.

"We couldn't have asked for better leadership from our authority and a better participation from our staff and a better turnout from our fair goers, so we're very happy," Campbell said.

She says it will be at least a week until the fair's total profit is calculated.

Governor candidates spar on education, more


Candidates vying to be Georgia's next governor met Tuesday night in an hour-long debate at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry.

They are Democrat Jason Carter, Republican incumbent Nathan Deal, and Libertarian Andrew Hunt.

And it didn't matter much which candidate they supported, the crowd at Tuesday night's debate rallied loud.

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Faircrackers and best buds for 25 years


They're an important part of what keeps the fair going. Faircrackers volunteer at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and help out wherever they're needed.

Best buds Virginia Gay and Bessie Dukes have been pitching in for 25 years. "We do get called firecrackers, which is OK because we're a hot group," said Gay.

One year, the friends dressed as clowns, said Dukes.

They even started a fair tradition: putting pins on their vests that they got as gifts or bought themselves.

Gay once had to kiss a frog. "I was hoping he'd turn into a prince, but he just stayed a frog. They would line up the frogs and the frogs would jump to the finish line, and my frog won," she said.

But you don't have to be an amphibian to meet the Faircrackers.

"I tell everybody to come to the circus because I'm the trapeze lady," said Gay.

Bunnies bring home big prize


Ryan McDuffie is only 13, but he's a seasoned pro when it comes to rabbit showmanship.

Three years ago, his 6th grade teacher told him about the opportunity.

"So when I saw the pictures of the rabbits, I was hooked. They're so sweet and you can't cuddle with a cow or a pig," says McDuffie.

One bunny eventually grew to 19.

He has two breeds: the Holland Lop and the Mini Lop.

Now he has not one, not two, but 5 grand champions in his herd. Two are real stars.

"This is Brad Pitt. He's a broken blue mini lop. When we got Brad Pitt, we just had to name her Angelina Jolie."

There's a lot of work to get them show-ready, starting weeks ahead of time.

"You have to brush them, clip their nails, and make sure their tattoo isn't faded, so you'll know which one is yours," McDuffie says.

Georgia Grown: Vidalia Valley onions


"An apple among onions." That's how Vince Stanley describes the Vidalia onion.

"When you see a Vidalia onion, it's still that nice, flat, onion, nice and round and flat," he explained, "It's most enjoyed raw, there's no doubt about it. It just doesn't leave that bad taste."

Stanley is a third-generation farmer and general manager of Vidalia Valley.

The farm spans six generations and almost 40 years.

"We've actually been farming onions now since 1975. Started out with 5 acres and now we have roughly 1,200," he said.

Along with onions, Vidalia Valley grows watermelons, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and more.

The farm is just one of many that sells its Georgia Grown products at the Georgia National Fair in Perry.

The farm's Sales and Marketing Director, Lauren Dees, calls the fair a huge asset.