April 2019

Page 1

April 2019


COUNTRY LINES Midwest Energy & Communications

Save Yourself From Vampires

Financial Reality Fair For Teens Board Election Results






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In This Issue April 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 4

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives michigancountrylines






Your photo could be featured here.

Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer Design and Production: Karreen Bird

Follow Us On Instagram!

Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. Association officers are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Mark Kappler, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com countrylines.com


Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us

michigancountrylines There’s snowplace like home! It may look like an igloo, but it’s a woodshed. The homeowner had to carve an entrance so he could feed the wood boiler that heats his home. photo by: @prohandyman.us #manthatsalotofsnow #sothisisspring #upperpeninsula

ON THE COVER Two of the U.P.’s finest bakers, Marybeth Kurtz of Midtown Bakery & Café and Joe Heck of Huron Mountain Bakery, teamed up for a current episode of “Winner Cakes All” on the Food Network. Read about their rise to local and national fame on page 14.


18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Michigan’s Best Hiking Trails!

As the snow melts and the trees produce their first buds, get out there and soak up spring weather on these reader-recommended hiking trails.

Photo by Daniele Carol Photography, Marquette

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Quick And Hassle-Free Appetizers And Snacks

Win $150 for stories published!

Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Guest Column:

Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. For guidelines and to submit your guest column go to countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab.

14 FEATURE U.P. Bakers Take The Cake

The Food Network’s show “Winner Cakes All” recently featured two of the U.P.’s most talented cake bakers, but their rise to culinary stardom began with twists and turns before they reached the top. Emily Haines Lloyd

The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.







Rising To The Occasion


CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS AND CASSOPOLIS SOLUTIONS CENTER 60590 Decatur Road Cassopolis, MI 49031 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. PAW PAW SOLUTIONS CENTER 59825 S. LaGrave Paw Paw, MI 49079 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ADRIAN SOLUTIONS CENTER 1610 E. Maumee Street Adrian, MI 49221 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

CONTACT US MIDWEST ENERGY & COMMUNICATIONS 800-492-5989 teammidwest.com Email: info@teammidwest.com

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Clarence “Topper” Barth, Chairperson, Three Rivers 269-279-9233 Clarence.Barth@teammidwest.com Ben Russell, Vice Chairperson, Constantine 269-506-1590 Ben.Russell@teammidwest.com Ron Armstrong, Secretary, Lawton 269-299-0443 Ron.Armstrong@teammidwest.com John Green, Treasurer, Dowagiac 269-470-2816 John.Green@teammidwest.com Gerry Bundle, Cassopolis 269-414-0164 Gerry.Bundle@teammidwest.com Arell Chapman, Onsted 517-292-3040 Arell.Chapman@teammidwest.com James Dickerson, Bloomingdale 269-370-6868 Jim.Dickerson@teammidwest.com Fred Turk, Decatur 269-423-7762 Fred.Turk@teammidwest.com PRESIDENT/CEO Robert Hance VP, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS/EDITOR Patty Nowlin COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

Amy Pales

Join us on Facebook: facebook.com/teammidwest Midwest Energy & Communications is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4 APRIL 2019


Robert Hance, President/CEO

j ust want to take a minute to brag a little. It’s my column, so I reserve the right to use it any way I want.

As I write this on a frigid Monday morning in late February, our electric crews and several contract crews are braving the bitter cold (it’s 14 degrees with a wind chill of -2 degrees) to work on outage restoration. Many of them left their homes and families on Sunday morning as sustained wind gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour pounded our southwest Michigan service territory, ultimately leaving about 1,300 customers in the dark. With 10 broken poles and downed trees and wire all over the territory, they’re facing a long Monday to get all service restored. Less than two weeks ago, a major ice storm hit our southeast Michigan service territory, leaving about 1,400 without power. With ice as thick as two inches on some of our power lines, we ended up with 15 broken poles and a whole bunch of downed wire. Everyone was restored inside of two days. A week prior to the ice storm, we had an unusual set of circumstances result in a Wi-Fi disruption for about 6,000 of our fiber internet customers. It was all hands on deck in our call center as we took thousands of calls and helped folks reset their routers. Oh, and let’s not forget late January’s polar vortex when we faced several days of sub-zero temperatures and historically low wind chills. Our propane team didn’t miss a beat and worked hard to ensure that our customers were safe and warm as Mother Nature put on the big freeze. It’s been a tough month, and I couldn’t be more proud of our family of 130 employees and how they rose to the occasion over and over again. And it’s not just the field staff who are braving tough conditions. The majority of our work is behind the scenes, including answering phones, creating work orders, documenting capital and other storm-related costs, managing inventory and allocating equipment, monitoring Facebook and responding to media inquiries, and arranging meals and hotel accommodations. And because we are local, many of our employees also found themselves without power during the storm-related events. “ It’s not unusual for our team to step up and provide you with the best possible service experiences; that’s just a quality that is part of our collective DNA.”

It’s not unusual for our team to step up and provide you with the best possible service experiences; that’s just a quality that is part of our collective DNA. However, for one solid month in early 2019, we were put through the wringer. Many of our customers offered heartfelt thanks and encouragement during these tough situations, and those comments kept us going. I just want to add my personal and sincere thanks as well. I’m beyond honored to work with such an amazing and committed team.

MEC NEWS OF NOTE Board Election Results One of the guiding principles of cooperatives is democratic control. We are governed by a board of directors, which is responsible for establishing corporate policy and strategic direction, hiring and evaluating the CEO, monitoring and evaluating organizational performance, and representing cooperative customers. Directors serve three-year terms, and are elected by and represent customers living in their districts. Ben Russell, District 6, was re-elected to a new three-year term after running unopposed in the 2019 election. Gerry Bundle, District 7, retained his seat after running against challenger Jim Abercrombie of Granger, Ind. District 9 remains an open seat. The district includes Hudson, Dover, Madison, Palmyra, Medina, Seneca, Fairfield, Ogden, Riga and southern portions of Blissfield and Deerfield Townships in Michigan. Also, Mill Creek, Gorham, Chesterfield, Royalton, Franklin, Dover, Pike, Clinton and German Townships in Ohio. Three seats on the Midwest Energy & Communications Board of Directors will be up for election in 2020. District 1,

represented by Fred Turk of Decatur, includes Hamilton, Decatur, Porter, Volina, Marcellus and Penn Townships. District 2, represented by Jim Dickerson of Bloomingdale, includes Silver Creek, Pipestone, Bainbridge, Keeler, Coloma, Watervliet, Hartford, Lawrence, Paw Paw, Waverly, Arlington, Bangor, Covert and Bloomingdale Townships. District 5, represented by John Green of Dowagiac, includes Milton, Howard, Pokagon, LaGrange and Wayne Townships. For more information about serving on the board of directors, please call us at 800-492-5989. We will share election information in the November/December issue of Michigan Country Lines.

Upcoming Office Closures Our solutions centers will be closed on Friday, April 19, and on Wednesday, April 24. Make a payment or report an electric outage via SmartHub. Call 800.492.5989 to make a payment or request an emergency propane fill. Drop box payments made at our three solutions centers will be processed on the next open business day.

Hance Wins NRECA President’s Award


ach year, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) President’s Award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to improving life in rural America; this year, our very own president and CEO, Bob Hance took home the honor. Beyond serving as a tireless proponent for eliminating the digital divide and bringing fiber internet to rural Michigan, Hance has helped secure more than $4 million in economic development funds and is a known voice among federal, regional and state policy makers. He also launched a proactive line clearance program to improve electric reliability, helped to develop one of the best workplace cultures in the area, and pushed MEC to become a valued resource for customers adapting to modern, high-tech life. “Bob has been a change agent,” said NRECA Board President Phil Carson. “Through his advocacy efforts and sheer willpower, he has helped bring rural broadband and the needs of rural communities to the fore.” “’Vibrant, relevant, sustainable rural communities.’ These aren’t just words on a wall somewhere. It’s a vision I live and breathe each and every day and it’s what motivates me to keep doing more—more for our customers and more for the communities we serve” said Hance.

Jim Matheson (left), CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), and Phil Carson (right), NRECA board president, present the President’s Award to Bob Hance (center).




01 HOIST For pulling guy wire and conductor to the proper tension.

Insulated fiberglass tool for opening and closing devices on the pole from the ground.

03 GROUND Placed between wires to ensure a line is de-energized before working on it.


02 03



04 CLIMBING BELT Worn around the waist by lineworkers to help with positioning and safety when working on a pole that cannot be reached by a bucket truck.

6 APRIL 2019

05 SHOTGUN STICK Insulated fiberglass tool for moving or adjusting live electrical equipment from a bucket truck.

06 CLIMBING HOOKS The sharp hooks, called gaffs, dig into the pole allowing the worker to climb.

07 PPE An acronym for “Personal Protective Equipment” which is mandatory on all job sites. The hard hat protects the head from blows and falling objects; gloves protect from high voltage, cuts or abrasions; while safety glasses protect the eyes.

e v a h a tt o g

Tools To Get Their Job Done And Keep Our Lights On



07 08

10 11



Hung on a device or line to let other crews know that the line is being worked on. This prevents devices from being operated and injuring those working down the line.

Used to pull material, tools, and other items to aerial workers.



Used to indicate if voltage is present before grounding and work begins on a line.



Used to cover lines when doing work on lines that are still energized.



Free Energy-Saving Products For Your Home


ooking for an easy way to start saving energy today? Request your FREE energy-saving kit from the Home Energy Express Program! This offer is available at no cost to you through your electric cooperative’s Energy Optimization program. What’s in the kit? The free kit contains products that will help you start saving energy immediately. The devices will help you control the amount of energy used to heat and cool your home, as well as the electricity used by lighting, appliances, and electronics. There may even be some water-saving items in your kit, which can help reduce the overall amount of water you use and the energy consumed for hot water heating.

How Do I Get Free Products? Step 1: Request your free energy savings kit by calling 877-296-4319 or emailing info@michigan-energy.org. Be sure to mention the Home Energy Express Program. It takes just moments to request your kit. An Energy Optimization program representative will help schedule the complimentary delivery and installation of your energysaving products. Step 2: Your products will be personally delivered and installed by an Energy Optimization program contractor. The contractor will make sure you know how to use all the items before leaving your home.

The following items could be included in your free kit: • Energy-efficient lighting (LED bulbs) • Smart power strip • Smart thermostat or programmable thermostat (depending on eligibility criteria) • Pipe wrap • Water-saving products (such as faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads)


Energy, Save


Take control of your energy use at home today The Home Energy Express Program provides FREE energy-saving products for your home, plus free delivery and installation by an Energy Optimization program contractor.

Saving money at home has never been easier.

ONLINE: michigan-energy.org PHONE: 877-296-4319 Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Other restrictions may apply. For a complete list of participating utilities, visit michigan-energy.org.

Get Started Today Before requesting your free kit, please review the following eligibility requirements. You must: • Be a member of Midwest Energy & Communications. • Own a single-family home or, if you are a tenant, must have the owner’s permission to have work done on the home. • Be willing to sign a document to allow work to be done on the home by professional, trained contractors. Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Other restrictions may apply. For a complete list of participating utilities, visit michigan-energy.org.

THE From our operations crew in the field to our support staff in our offices, our employees help create vibrant, relevant, sustainable communities every day, and many of them also call these communities home. In 2019, we are taking you behind the lines to introduce you to a few of these individuals who are MEC customers just like you. Rylie at work

MEET RYLIE Meet Rylie, a solutions agent. She helps our customers when they call in with questions, and she also works in our dispatch center sending our line crews, propane service techs, and internet field support to help customers throughout our service territory. Rylie grew up on our lines and even remembers us as Fruitbelt, and she continues as a current MEC customer for electric, internet and propane. A native of Decatur, she currently lives just outside of the town with her husband, stepson, five dogs, three cats, and cows. Rylie came to MEC four years ago after dispatching trucks nationwide for a flower company. “I love helping people, and that’s why I enjoy working in dispatch. I know the work I do makes a difference, and every day is different,” said Rylie.

As a family, they believe in the value of knowing where their food comes from. “We don’t buy boxed food. We raise our animals for meat and grow our own produce. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it,” said Rylie. That dedication also comes through in the elaborate cakes that she makes for family and friends. “I bake everything from scratch and really enjoy making new creations. I also love knowing that I can brighten people’s days with my hobby.” Her kindness extends to animals as well. In fact, all of her pets are rescues. She mentioned that “it’s hard to say ‘no’ to an animal in need. We take them in whenever we can because they deserve good lives in a caring home.” That passion for helping others is why we are proud to have Rylie as part of the MEC family. We know what a difference it makes.

Rylie earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and human services, through which she focused on learning how to become a 911 dispatcher. Those skills serve her well at MEC, especially during major outage situations, where she utilizes her calm demeanor and attention to detail to ensure our crews have the information they need to make repairs safely and efficiently. When not at work, she and her husband enjoy fishing, particularly catfishing, and they also hunt when they can. They have fun supporting their son’s passion for science. “Our kitchen doubles as a science lab, and it’s so much fun to watch him learn through performing experiments,” she noted.

Almost too cute to eat! Rylie made this cow cake for a friend.



Appetizers & Snacks Quick and hassle-free recipes Photos—Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

Pineapple Papaya Salsa

Bethany Cumper, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op 3 1 1 5 • 2 3 1 2

tomatoes, finely diced fresh pineapple (about 2 pounds), finely diced fresh papaya or mango (about 1 pound), finely diced green onions, sliced small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped jalapeños, seeded and minced tablespoons lemon juice teaspoon garlic, minced teaspoons salt, or to taste

Mince or chop all ingredients according to recipe. Add all ingredients to a glass bowl and stir to combine. Serve immediately or chill and serve. Flavors will meld with longer chilling; 4 hours chill time is recommended. Use this as a traditional salsa or try it as a garnish on grilled chicken!

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos

10 APRIL 2019

Bacon Crackers Judy Skowronski, Cherryland

½ cup mayonnaise 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce ¼ teaspoon salad seasoning or seasoned salt ¹/8 teaspoon paprika 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or other cheese of choice) 4 slices crisp-cooked bacon 2 tablespoons minced onion 32 to 36 round crackers Mix mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salad seasoning (or seasoned salt), and paprika. Stir in cheese, bacon, and onion. Spread about ½ tablespoon mixture over each cracker. Arrange crackers (8 or 9 at a time) in a single layer on microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high until hot and puffed (15 to 30 seconds). Serve warm.


Prepare to taste the cake that took Huron Mountain Bakery’s Joe Heck and Marybeth Kurtz from Midtown Bakery & Café all the way to the finals of “Winner Cakes All” on Food Network. This cake recipe combines these top bakers’ skills and delivers award-winning flavor straight to your kitchen.

Smoked Salmon & Mango Salsa Connie Pietila, Ontonagon REA

¼ pound piece smoked salmon, diced into ¼-inch pieces 2 ripe Hass avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced into ¼-in pieces ¼ cup diced vine-ripened tomato 2 tablespoons finely diced purple onion (rinsed, if you like a milder flavor) 1 large, ripe mango, diced 1 jalapeño chili pepper, minced ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped • juice of 1 lime, or 2 tablespoons bottled juice 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper • tortilla chips In a bowl, combine salmon, avocado, tomato, onion, mango, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice. Gently fold together. Add olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper, and gently fold again. Spoon about 1 tablespoon onto each tortilla chip (Tostitos Scoops work well for this). Arrange on a platter. Or keep in bowl and serve with chips, if you prefer. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Marybeth’s Mom’s Chocolate Cake 2 cups sugar 1 3 cups flour 2 6 tablespoons unsweetened 2 cocoa powder 12 2 teaspoons baking soda 2

teaspoon salt cups cold water teaspoons vanilla tablespoons oil tablespoons vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix on low speed the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Then add the wet ingredients in order on low; water, vanilla, oil, and vinegar. Mix till smooth and pour into greased and papered round cake pans, wrap pans with cake strips. Yields two-8-inch round layers. Bake 50—60 minutes rotating at half of the time. Let cakes cool completely. Joe’s Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting 1 pound softened salted butter 2 pounds powdered sugar ¹⁄8 cup heavy whipping cream 2 cups smooth peanut butter Whip softened butter until light and fluffy. On low speed, add powdered sugar slowly until incorporated. Add heavy cream and whip until medium consistency. Microwave peanut butter until just liquid, then on a low setting, add peanut butter and whip until desired consistency.

Festive Desserts: due May 1 Tailgating Favorites: due July 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Go to micoopkitchen.com for more information and to register.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Joe’s Chocolate Ganache 675 grams Belgian chocolate 1 quart heavy whipping cream Melt chocolate over a double boiler; remove from heat. Bring cream to a rolling boil. Stir half of the cream into chocolate until incorporated. Add second half of cream until combined and let it cool. Assembly Of The Cake Take one cooled 8-inch cake round and place on cake plate. Spread a thick layer of ganache over cake. On top of ganache, add one layer of buttercream frosting. Place second 8-inch cake round on top and use remaining buttercream to frost the entire cake (sides and top). Read the full story about Joe Heck and Marybeth Kurtz on page 14, and find this recipe and others at micoopkitchen.com. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES



n February 22, high school students from Britton Deerfield School District, Morenci Area Schools and Riverside Academy headed to Adrian College for a lesson in real-life financial management at the “It’s Reality” personal financial management fair held by TLC Community Credit Union, Adrian College and us.

Eric Keller

Welcome To Reality MEC employees Sherri Dotson, Eric Keller and Patty Nowlin help students learn about personal finances.

Sherri Dotson

12 APRIL 2019

Patty Nowlin

The students picked a hypothetical career and established the average monthly starting salary. Students were then provided with a budget sheet that included monthly income, an amount in a credit union account and a credit score. They had to manage their finances by making purchases and staying within budget. The goal of the fair was to give kids a dose of reality and make them understand the value of making wise financial decisions. Several staff members from MEC attended the event and helped students make financial decisions on furniture, food, transportation, technology and more.

Save Yourself From



id you know that many of your household electronics continue to use electricity even when they aren’t on? Additionally, device chargers that are left plugged in after the device has been removed from the charger also continue to utilize electricity. This means that your household is still using electricity even if you aren’t. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, this wasted energy adds up to roughly $200/year in electricity costs. Here are some tips to reduce the drain: • Unplug devices and chargers when they aren’t in use. • Put your computer into sleep mode when unplugging it isn’t practical. • For devices that aren’t easy to unplug, consider using an advanced power strip that can automatically shut off the power for you. Here are some of the types available: Timer power strips shut off the power at a set time º every day.

Activity monitor strips use motion sensors to look º

for signs of activity in the room. If no activity is detected, it shuts off the power. While convenient, this type isn’t always reliable—especially if Fido roams around the room.

Master-controlled strips turn off the power for º

the entire strip when the item designated as the “master” gets turned off. These power strips also often have an “always on” outlet in case you want to plug something in, such as a wireless router, that should always have power even if other devices plugged into the strip are turned off.

Masterless power strips cut the power when all the º devices connected to it are turned off.

Remote switch strips allow you to turn off the º power via a remote. However, you have to remember to shut it off.

• When replacing or adding new electronics to your home, select ones that have are energy efficient to reduce the amount of power consumed while in standby mode.

Michigan Residents Purchase an advanced power strip at one of our solutions centers for as little as $10 and save money and energy. We also have LED nightlights and lightbulbs to help you save even more.



Joe Heck & Marybeth Kurtz By Emily Haines Llyod Photos by Daniele Carol Photography


oe Heck of Huron Mountain Bakery (Marquette and Ishpeming) and Marybeth Kurtz of Midtown Bakery & Café (Negaunee) are still fresh off the airing of their episode of “Winner Cakes All” on the Food Network, a show where pairs of bakers team up for a chance to win $10,000. The Upper Peninsula duo’s episode was fairy talethemed and led to baking a cake for host, Giada De Laurentiis, a panel of judges, and the actresses from Broadway Princess Party. It wasn’t all glitz and glam that led up to this point in the lives of either of the U.P. bakers. Both admit they needed their own fairy godmothers along the way to help kick start their culinary journeys.

Be sure to check out micoopkitchen.com for Joe and Marybeth’s chocolate peanut butter cake recipe from “Winner Cakes All” on the Food Network!

Joe Heck grew up in Wisconsin and eventually moved to New York City after high school. His first job was as a night shift baker, a gig that allowed him to practice decorating cakes. “Eventually, the baker who did our high-end cakes saw my work,” said Joe. “She made me a deal. She would pay for me to go to culinary school if I’d work for her for five years.” Joe took the deal, attended the Culinary Institute of America, and then worked for his fairy godmother for 13 years. But, like in all good fairy tales, twists and turns happen. A year later, Joe hit some very hard times. When he needed it, a “genie in a bottle” presented itself. Joe’s best friend invited him to visit Marquette, giving Joe his first glimpse of the U.P.—a place he ended up calling home. Meanwhile, Marybeth Kurtz was hustling in Detroit and, while traveling to open a new restaurant in Florida, she met a pastry chef. As if nudged by a magic wand, Marybeth ended up training with her and became a pastry chef herself.

14 APRIL 2019

Something was missing for Marybeth too, as she and her husband began dreaming of owning a business somewhere with a little less hustle and bustle. As if on cue— bippity boppity boo—Negaunee, that is. “Everyone is very supportive and collaborative in the U.P. and small towns in general,” said Marybeth. “Everyone helps each other out.” That might sound like a well-crafted sound bite—except Marybeth was out shoveling her neighbor’s snow-packed driveway minutes before this interview. When a Food Network producer saw Joe on the local news and approached him about a possible show, Marybeth’s well-known spirit of generosity might have been exactly why Joe thought of her as a potential teammate. “I didn’t know what or when the opportunity would be,” said Joe. “Finally I got the call for ‘Winner Cakes All,’ and I called Marybeth.” Joe and Marybeth met years earlier through various charity events and have been working together ever since. “Actually, we really became friends when I stole a hexagon cake pan from her,” said Joe jokingly. The two chuckle, as you’d expect with old friends. Even though Food Network producers resisted the idea of two competing bakers on the same team, it only took one Skype call with the pair to put the producers’ worries at bay. “We’re hard to resist,” chimes in Marybeth and the two laugh again. Joe and Marybeth flew to California to film their episode with the final challenge to create a cake for the cast party of the Broadway Princess Party. While the judges loved the team’s chocolate cake with peanut buttercream and chocolate ganache, another team edged them out for the final win in the end. As the two get back to daily life, they have taken away great memories. “It was the experience of a lifetime. I’m so grateful we got to represent the U.P. well,” said Marybeth. Joe pauses from the jokes for a moment and offers up some advice. “Don’t be afraid to do something out of the box,” he reflected. “Don’t let fear stop you.” Marybeth quickly adds, “Yeah, that too!” And once again the two are in a fit of laughter. Their infectious joy, friendship and love of cake baking is a simple reminder that magic, and even fairy tales, are everywhere.

LOCATIONS Huron Mountain Bakery • 1301 S. Front St., Marquette | 906-225-1301 • U.S. 41 W., Ishpeming | 906-485-6848 Babycakes (part of the Huron Mountain family) • 223 W. Washington St., Marquette 906-226-7744 Midtown Bakery & Café • 317 Iron St., Negaunee | 906-475-0064

Introducing Emergency Repair

Coverage From HomeServe W

hen an unanticipated problem occurs with your home’s electrical, water heater or HVAC systems, it can be expensive, and damage to these systems from normal wear and tear is typically not covered by basic homeowners insurance. So we are partnering with HomeServe to offer you optional coverage to help protect your pocketbook against emergency repairs. These affordable plans provide emergency repair service through HomeServe’s 24/7 hotline. Work is performed by local, licensed and insured technicians with no deductible or call-out fees (up to the benefit limit). There is a one-year guarantee on all covered repairs. Don’t get caught off-guard by emergency repairs. Sign up now and get peace of mind knowing that a plan from HomeServe can help protect your finances. Please watch your mail for additional information coming soon.

Available Plans And Pricing  (30-day wait with a money—back guarantee) Plan

Price Per Month

Annual Coverage With Multiple Service Calls

Description Of Coverage

Exterior Electrical Line Coverage


Up to $3,000

Repair or replacement of the overhead or underground exterior electrical wiring components

Interior Electrical Line Coverage


Up to $2,500

Repair of faulty outlets or GFCIs, switches, wiring or rewiring circuit to breakers, individual breakers, breaker panels or fuse boxes and junction boxes

Water Heater Repair and Replacement Plan


Up to $1,000

Repair/replacement of tank-based electric, natural gas and propane systems (additional charge for tank-less coverage)

Cooling System Coverage


Up to $2,500

Repair of many home cooling system components

Heating System Coverage


Up to $2,500

Repair of many home heating system components

Electrical Surge Coverage

$3.99 $5.99

Up to $3,000 Up to $5,000

Coverage for damage to appliances or electronics in the home that occurs as a result of a surge event (lightning strikes, power surges, etc.)

*Plans cover repairs, up to the benefit amount, for damage from normal wear and tear, not accident or negligence to covered items. Plans subject to eligibility requirements, exclusions and coverage limitations. See upcoming letter for more information. HomeServe USA Repair Management Corp. (“HomeServe”), with corporate offices located at 601 Merritt 7, 6th Floor, Norwalk, CT 06851, is an independent company separate from Midwest Energy and offers this optional service plan as an authorized representative of the service contract provider, North American Warranty, Inc., 175 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604. Your choice of whether to participate in this service plan will not affect the price, availability or terms of service from Midwest Energy & Communications.

16 APRIL 2019

Notice to Electric Customers of Midwest Energy & Communications Special Board Meeting: April 23, 2019 The Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) Board of Directors will consider changes to the cooperative’s rates and tariffs in accordance with P.A. 167 of 2008, at its meeting on April 23, 2019, beginning at 10 a.m. The meeting will be held at the headquarters office, 60590 Decatur Road, Cassopolis, Mich., and is open to any MEC electric customer. Customers will have an opportunity to address the board on the proposed changes prior to board action. The following item will be considered: • Increase Distribution Charge across all rate classifications Notice of changes or additions to the cooperative’s electric rates or service rules shall be sent to all customers as required by P.A. 167, by publication in Michigan Country Lines at least 30 days prior to their effective date. Participation: Any interested electric customer may attend and participate. The location of the board meeting site is accessible, including handicapped parking. Persons needing any accommodation to participate should contact Paige Deak at 800-492-5989, ext. 1049, a week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing or other assistance. Comments may also be made through Ms. Deak, or by email at team.midwest@teammidwest.com.

Notice to Electric Customers of Midwest Energy & Communications 2019 Annual Meeting The Annual Meeting of the Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) electric customers is April 23, 2019. The Annual Meeting will immediately follow a Special Board Meeting, which begins at 10 a.m. The Annual Meeting is called by the Secretary of the Cooperative pursuant to Article II of the MEC Bylaws. The purpose of the annual meeting is to announce the results of the ballots cast and the election of the MEC Board of Directors in Districts 6, 7 and 9, and to act on any other business properly brought before the board. This annual meeting will be held at the MEC headquarters office, 60590 Decatur Road, Cassopolis, Mich., and is open to any MEC electric customer.



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MI CO-OP Community

+ TIP Trying to find the best Michigan trails? Visit AllTrails.com, an excellent resource for great hiking trails, running trails, mountain biking trails and more.


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Best Hiking Trails Bucket List From Fellow Members— Go Out And Explore Michigan!


White Pine Trail The White Pine Trail runs 92-miles from its southern point in Comstock Park to Cadillac. The “vibe” in each section of the trail is unique. You can ride bikes and visit quaint shops in Rockford, see Amish buggies, wildflower fields and enjoy amazing views of the Muskegon River in Big Rapids. Hikers can also experience the quietness of the trail while spotting wildlife and enjoying the nearby lakes in Cadillac. The trail offers many experiences for hikers young and old. Larisa Draves, Great Lakes Energy


Chapel Trail Mosquito Falls Loop, near Shingleton in the Upper Peninsula Various hikes are available depending on the trail and how long you wish to walk. The views are gorgeous with waterfalls into Lake Superior and lots of look-outs. Richard Liebermann, Great Lakes Energy


The North Country Trail The largest hiking trail in the USA! It stretches over 4,600 miles! It is a year-round trail system with many connector trails to get you to the most beautiful destinations! My hiking group SHE_Mitten_Hikers (Self Healthy Exploring) has snowshoed and hiked our favorite stretch in northern Newaygo County around Nicolas Lake. Kelly Wawsczy, Great Lakes Energy

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Michigan Trails And Greenways Alliance Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is working with communities all over Michigan to build a series of five “Great Lake to Lake Trails” that will link existing trails into a series of destination trails that will allow people to move from one Great Lake to another. These trails, three in the lower peninsula and two in the Upper Peninsula, will link Lake Michigan with Lake Huron and Lake Michigan with Lake Superior and bring communities together in a pathway to provide a recreation experience and transportation opportunities and the chance to learn about our state’s natural resources and historical legacies. Bob Wilson, Great Lakes Energy

Country Lines Editor’s Pick (pictured)

The Empire Bluff Trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore The trail leads to a high bluff overlooking Lake Michigan with panoramic views. The trail is about 1.5 miles round-trip. It’s also pet-friendly, not strenuous or technically tricky—— an absolute favorite!


Bundy Hill Preserve, Remus You can hike to the highest point in the county at 1,270 feet. Morgan Wernette, HomeWorks Tri-County


Manistee River Loop The Manistee River Loop is excellent. The suspension bridge is beautiful, and I’ve had a bear sighting on this trail. Troy Bischoff, Great Lakes Energy


Jordan River Pathway The Jordan River Pathway is such a gem. There is a fish hatchery just off the trail, beautiful scenery and some of the highest elevations in our lower Michigan. Misty Bischoff, Great Lakes Energy

18 APRIL 2019

Best of Michigan Up Next: Best Ice Cream Shops: Help us create a “Best Ice Cream Shops” list to visit this summer. We will publish this list on the best “scoops” in our June issue. Submit your favorites at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab by April 20.

LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD Well-Connect captures energy from your well water to heat (and cool) your home and eliminates the need to burn wood.






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teammidwest.com/internet | 800.492.5989 Twelve-month contract required. Oer valid until 6.30.19 to new subscribers only. Gift card will be emailed following installation. Free installation available to Midwest Energy & Communications electric customers only. Internet services are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

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