Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

November 23, 2016- Monroe, N.C.- Tucked away in the rolling hills of Stanly County, sits Almond’s Christmas Tree Farm. With a bustling business including acres of cattle, blackberries and honeybees, Earl Almond has decided to take his operation year round by adding Christmas trees to the mix.

As a member of Union Power Cooperative, imagine the surprise to learn of a Christmas Tree farm in the five-county service territory.  In fact, Almond Farms will be the only Christmas Tree farm located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. With White Pines, Leland’s, Virginia Pines and Carolina Sapphires, Earl hopes to add to see new growth as he adds Christmas trees to his business. Started on family land, he has entered his second and perhaps, most favorite career as a farmer. With an already successful beef cattle and blackberry business, Almond stated he “needed something to do in the winter, and trees were a perfect fit”! Planting his first tree five years ago, this year he has an estimated 150 trees ready to brighten someone’s home for the holidays.

Christmas tree farming can be a big challenge as Earl has discovered. While planting 300 trees each year, he claims only about half will survive. With pests like fungus and deer, getting a tree to maturity is no easy task. Thankful for the support and assistance from the Eastern NC Christmas Tree Growers Association, specifically a Plant Pathologist, a Soil Scientist and Marketing personnel, Earl has become a scientist of sorts as he is now experimenting with grafting various tree types together to create the perfect full tree.

With an opening date of Friday, November 24th, 2016, visitors to the farm won’t be disappointed as items like honey, Earl’s special BBQ sauce, jellies, wreaths, kissing balls and mailbox huggies, will be available for purchase. Visitors to the farm will also get a glimpse of Earl’s Smoke House, opening sometime next year. With hickory wood chopped from trees on the farm, this operation is sure to provide a bit of something for all ages while visiting the farm.

Union Power Cooperative is pleased to add another local business to its member list. And what a treat to have a Christmas tree farm in our own backyard.




November 7 – Monroe, N.C. – High school juniors, why not “SAY YES” for an opportunity to join other students from across the country in Washington, D. C. this coming summer?

Union Power Cooperative will sponsor three local students to join the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. The all-expense paid, week-long trip is a 50-year tradition with participation from electric cooperatives across the country. More than 1,800 students from over 40 states are expected to participate in 2017. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives will send a delegation of nearly 45 students.

Winners will experience the nation’s capital like never have before. They will take part in adventures like laying a flag at the Vietnam War Memorial, visiting the Washington Monument, meeting elected officials and touring Smithsonian museums; all while building connections with peers and future leaders from across the nation.

Interested students can visit Union Power’s website at union-power.com/youthtour to obtain information and apply for the tour. All entries must be postmarked by January 9, 2017.  Winners will be announced in early spring.

Union Power Cooperative is a member-owned electric cooperative, which provides electric service to more than 72,000 member accounts in Union, Stanly, Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, and Rowan counties.

Union Power and Carolina Panthers Surprise Educators with Bright Ideas Grants

November 3, 2016 – Kicking off Union Power Cooperative’s “Bright Idea’s” month, Tuesday, November 1st was a special day for Media Specialist, Elizabeth Medlin of Poplin Elementary School. Starting her day thinking she was coordinating an Assembly for a surprise guest, little did she know, she would be the surprise.

In a surprise assembly coordinated by Union Power Cooperative’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Carrie Stroud, and Poplin Elementary Principal Scott Broome, the Cooperative prize patrol surprised Mrs. Medlin with a $2,000 Bright Ideas grant. With an introduction by Carolina Panther’s Tight End, Ed Dickson and Defensive End, Wes Horton, the players set the tone of for the exciting event with a discussion on the importance of literacy. Turning the microphone over to Stroud who discussed the Bright Ideas program, Mrs. Medlin was called to the stage where she was awarded a grant for her idea titled “Creation Station”. To add further excitement, Panthers Mascot, Sir Purr entered the gym to get in on the action by providing a dance routine, autographs and big hugs for the grant winner and students.

The “Creation Station” Bright Ideas-funded project is designed to help students collaborate to exchange ideas, develop new understandings, make decisions and solve problems. With a “green screen” for video production, students will build their stations using Legos, paint, fabric, and drawing supplies. Other activities will include using electronic building block kits called “Littlebits”, which are color coded for motion, sensors, lights, sound and internet. The bits snap together to make larger circuits which stimulate problem solving and creativity.

The surprise event is part of a month-long, statewide celebration of grant-winning teachers, innovation in education and the Bright Ideas program. This November, North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives will award approximately $600,000 to educators statewide to fund close to 500 projects. Since its beginning in 1994, the Bright Ideas program has presented more than $9.6 million to Tar Heel educators. More than 9,200 projects in subjects ranging from mathematics to the arts have been funded by the Bright Ideas grant program, benefiting more than 1.8 million students throughout the state. Regarding Union Power’s involvement in the program, Stroud added “through grant submissions like Mrs. Medlin’s, the Bright Ideas program allows educators a creative and innovative way to bring learning to the classroom. We are thrilled to help strengthen our communities through programs like Bright Ideas”.

In addition to supporting local communities, North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives power the lives of more than 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.

Union Power Cooperative is a member-bright-ideascdbise-128owned electric cooperative, which provides electric service to more than 72,000 member accounts in Union, Stanly, Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, and Rowan counties.