April 2022 Cherryland

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April 2022


COUNTRY LINES Cherryland Electric Cooperative

Choose Your Own Adventure WITH GEOCACHING

Energy Waste or Carbon Reduction?

Rural Real Estate Developing a Passion


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Contents countrylines.com

April 2022 Vol. 42, No. 4



6 GROWING ORGANICALLY Through enthusiasm, a commitment to sustainability, and roots in the community, Bear Creek Organic Farm has achieved its vision of a “homestead on steroids.”

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Spice It Up: Kick up the heat.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr

14 CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE WITH GEOCACHING Nature enthusiasts and tech lovers alike will delight in the world’s largest treasure hunt.


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Emily Haines Lloyd

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: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, 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


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

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

Be featured! Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.


Want to walk with me? Don’t forget your microspikes #repost @cindyscoviacphotos (Cindy Scoviac)

MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community



Win a $50 bill credit!

Win $150 for stories published!

Up Next: Potatoes, due May 1; Pasta Salads, due July 1

Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/community.

Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com.



CO-OP NEWS Cherryland Office Closed Good Friday cherrylandelectric.coop /cherrylandelectriccoop @cherrylandec BOARD OF DIRECTORS

David Schweitzer, President 231-883-5860 dschweitzer@cherrylandelectric.coop

Melinda Lautner, Senior Vice President 231-947-2509 mlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop

The Cherryland office will be closed Friday, April 15, in observance of Good Friday. Regular business hours will resume Monday, April 18. Line crews are on call to respond to any outages or emergencies. You can report an outage by texting OUT to 800-442-8616, logging into SmartHub, or calling us at 231-486-9200. Visit our website’s Outage Center for more details.

April 18 Is National Lineworker Appreciation Day When the lights go out, so do Cherryland’s line crews. Thank you to Cherryland’s lineworkers for all the work they do to keep northern Michigan’s lights on!

Gabe Schneider, Secretary 517-449-6453 gschneider@cherrylandelectric.coop

Cherryland’s 84th Annual Meeting Scheduled For June 9

Valarie Handy, Director 231-392-4705 vhandy@cherrylandelectric.coop

Members Donate To Local Nonprofits Through Cherryland Cares

John Olson, Director 231-938-1228 jolson@cherrylandelectric.coop

The funds collected through this program are then distributed by the Cherryland Cares Board: a five-member volunteer board that reviews grant applications and allocates the funds to nonprofits seeking assistance.

General Manager: Tony Anderson

If you are interested in participating, call the Cherryland office at 231-486-9200 or sign up through SmartHub.

Tom Van Pelt, Treasurer 231-386-5234 tvanpelt@cherrylandelectric.coop

Terry Lautner, Director 231-946-4623 tlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop

Co-op Editors: Rachel Johnson Courtney Doyle: cdoyle@cherrylandelectric.coop

OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.– 4 p.m. TELEPHONE NUMBERS 231-486-9200 or 1-800-442-8616 (Mich.)

Cherryland’s 84th Annual Meeting will take place Thursday, June 9 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Incredible Mo’s in Grawn. Cherryland will provide updates regarding the 84th Annual Meeting in Michigan Country Lines, on our website, and through social media.

You can help local nonprofits by contributing to Cherryland Cares. Cherryland Cares is funded by members who voluntarily round up their monthly electric bills to the next whole dollar amount. A member’s average annual contribution is approximately $6.

Members Earn Rebates With Energy Efficient Upgrades Cherryland members are eligible to receive rebates for energy efficient upgrades in their homes or businesses. For a guide to our residential and commercial rebate programs and a complete listing of rebates available on Energy Star qualified appliances, visit our website at cherrylandelectric.coop/rebates.

ADDRESS P.O. Box 298, Grawn, MI 49637 PAY STATION Cherryland Electric Cooperative office 5930 U.S. 31 South, Grawn MI, 49637 Cherryland Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

84th Annual Meeting 4 APRIL 2022

Incredible Mo’s Thursday, June 9

measure we offer a rebate for in order to support future program design in the years ahead. Why did we hire a contractor to develop this new process? Well, honestly, I would much rather prefer to “steal” it from another utility that was already doing it. We looked around and didn’t find one. It’s not the first time (community solar, twoway outage texting, etc.) and won’t be the last. Why establish such a system at all? We want to get out ahead of our future. When I read the political “tea leaves,” I see a future market for carbon savings or government mandates for carbon savings (maybe both?). Your cooperative wants to be able to help shape that future when it arrives. We can’t do that if we have not done the trial and error it takes to see what really works. When I talk to a legislator in the future to encourage them to do “Y,” I will be able to tell them all the reasons that “X” doesn’t work.

Energy Waste or Carbon Reduction By Tony Anderson, General Manager


lectric cooperatives have had energy waste reduction (EWR) measures for decades. We’ve also called them energy-saving programs and energy optimization measures in the past. All three titles mean the same thing—use the product of electricity wisely. It made sense from the 1960s to now. It will make sense in the 2020s and beyond. I believe it is time to toss out terms like waste, savings, and optimization. I believe it is time to focus on what we have been trying to do all along— reduce carbon. Wasn’t that the goal of the last 10 years of government energy waste reduction mandates in Michigan? Electric cooperatives no longer have a mandate to sell less of our product. This sunsetting of a state law doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to continue to do the right thing. Where we can do it affordably, sensibly, and

at a meaningful scale, I believe the right thing is reducing carbon. So, this is where we are going with our rebate programs at Cherryland while selling our only product at the same time. Our rebates will basically stay very similar to the past. We want to promote electric vehicles, electric heating systems, Energy Star appliances, etc. We have one product to sell and remain honored to be the ones to provide it to you. What will change behind the scenes is how we measure our success. In cooperation with an outside engineering firm, we have developed methods and procedures to calculate emissions, based on our actual fuel mix. That’s allowed us to create credibly sourced carbon reduction calculations for the rebates we offer. We now have the ability to analyze the emissions reduction impact of every

What if we never get to the world that ever measures carbon? I look forward to that world because it would mean that the universe finally agreed on the effects of carbon on our changing weather. Does anybody think the universe will ever agree? Cherryland staff members are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work rather than sitting idly by and waiting for universal consensus. This column doesn’t mean I am on one side or the other of a climate change debate. It simply means that I feel my industry is going in a direction. With affordability and reliability in mind, it is my job to set up your cooperative for success with whatever the next generation of legislators throws on my plate. As energy waste reduction walks out the back door and carbon reduction strolls in the front entrance, we are moving forward.

“As energy waste reduction walks out the back door and carbon reduction strolls in the front entrance, we are moving forward.” MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Courtney Kent Photography

Growing Organically I

n 2014, when Anne and Brian Bates started looking for a piece of land where they could start organic farming, they had a wild but achievable vision. “We wanted to create a homestead,” said Brian. “On steroids.” Entering year nine of Bear Creek Organic Farm, Petoskey's first-ever 100% USDA Certified Organic Farm and the first B Corp Certified Farm in the state of Michigan, things have gotten a little bigger than the Bateses first imagined. It’s mostly because their raw enthusiasm, passion, and pluck were just the “steroids” that their 76-acre piece of land needed to grow into a thriving business. While other business owners may kick things off with a one- or five-year plan, the Bateses were looking at something a bit more long-term. 6

APRIL 2022

“When you’re looking at farming, it’s not a quick-turn business,” said Brian. “We were looking for something that we could grow over 50 or 60 years.” The couple was looking at more northern climates, ultimately to hedge their bet against the fallout of climate change. The sandy terroir of Emmet County ended up the final winner. With neither hailing from farming families, Brian and Anne took internships on CSA farms, attended lots of farming seminars, and even ventured into Beekeeping 101. “There’s a lot of knowledge that gets passed down on family farms,” said Brian. “We were starting from scratch. But it felt like we’d ventured into the Old West. There was so much to learn, but everything seemed possible.” While they lacked the generational knowledge, their enthusiasm and even their naivete seemed to blend perfectly with the sandy soil of

By Emily Haines Lloyd

northern Michigan, as the farm started to grow as wildly as their crops. When asked about the decision to maintain a fully organic farm, Brian insists that while it aligns with their personal values, it wasn’t because they were looking to be rebels. “We knew we’d be the first organic farm in the area,” said Brian. “It’s not to be some sort of counter-culture revolutionary. We believe it is the most sustainable way to grow food, and we want to be part of the solution for the long haul.” Similar to their organic commitment, the Bateses have also invested in balancing the resources the farm consumes with a commitment to energy. As members of Great Lakes Energy Cooperative, the Bateses have invested in a 30-panel solar array. “When we first started the farm, we had this idea of making our own energy. We’d never heard of an

If we support the making of ‘good electrons,’ we feel like the market will see the value in the co-op model and we can all start supporting renewable energy producers.

electric co-op before,” said Brian. “If we support the making of ‘good electrons,’ we feel like the market will see the value in the co-op model and we can all start supporting renewable energy producers.”

With production booming (Bear Creek had their first million-dollar year), a dozen full-time employees, and 85% of their crops sold and consumed within a 12-mile radius of the farm–the idea of the lonesome homestead is long gone. As the Bateses have come to understand and know their community, as well as get more involved in groups like the local Chamber of Commerce, Crooked Tree Arts Center, and Thriving Petoskey, Brian and Anne understand more and more how deeply community affects farm life. As COVID-19 changed the lives of everyone, often closing people off–the

Bateses were faced with the opposite reality. With farmers markets closing, Brian and Anne actually opened Bear Creek Organic Farm up to the public. Intermingling between staff and customers, sharing time and space, and with a passion for lovingly grown food—Bear Creek Organic Farm keeps growing both logistically and communally. “We started out with this idea of doing everything on our own, but there is nothing sustainable about

In addition to the solar array panel that produces 10kW of renewable energy to the farm, Bear Creek Organic Farm is committed to sustainability in a variety of ways, including: • Passive solar hoophouses and greenhouses • Ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in their tractor • Clamshells are made in Michigan from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and are 100% recyclable • Packaging boxes, flats, and cartons are made 100% recyclable in Michigan • Transplant containers and propagation flats are made locally,

living on an island of self-reliance,” said Brian. “With every person we’ve met, everyone who has answered a question, or helped fix a tractor or build a greenhouse–we wouldn’t go back to the initial idea. Not when there is this new version with so many beautiful humans rooting for you.” It looks like another bumper crop of certified organic vegetables, civic engagement, and compassionate community for Bear Creek Organic Farm this year.

of recycled plastic, and are fully recyclable • “Plastic” produce bags at their on-farm market are 100% plantbased and 100% biodegradable in normal compost piles • Paper shopping bags are 100% recycled paper and 100% recyclable • Beehives are never treated with any fungicides, insecticides, or pesticides, ever

For more information, visit: bearcreekorganicfarm.com /bearcreekorganicfarm /bearcreekorganicfarm



Rural Real Estate By Courtney Doyle

Average Days On Market For a Three-Bedroom Home in Grand Traverse County:


Average Sale Price to List Price Ratio For a Three-Bedroom Home in Grand Traverse County:





Average Sale Price For a Three-Bedroom Home in Grand Traverse County:





f you’re in the market for a new home, or maybe you just enjoy perusing real estate apps on your smartphone, you’ve probably noticed that a three-bedroom, twobathroom house with a nice backyard is worth a lot more these days. Even just a year ago, that same home could’ve sold for tens of thousands of dollars less. “The dollars jumped from an average sale price of $337,000 in 2020 (in Grand Traverse County). You go to 2021—apples to apples—that same price from $337,000 is now $402,000,” said Matt Hodges, co-owner of Luxury Real Estate Boutique Kultura Group and president of Aspire North Realtors, a local arm of the Michigan Realtors Association. “That was probably the biggest indicator of how the market, especially those rural areas, are being squeezed as the dollars are going up pretty significantly.” Hodges says there are a couple of key factors that led us here. “We haven’t seen this type of market, maybe ever, in our lifetime. In 2020, every industry shut down. So you look at the trades industry. Nobody was working for several months, so essentially construction stopped. You can even take that back as far as 2008 and 2009 when the entire industry, the entire economy crashed, and building wasn’t happening. So we were already in a pinch, probably eight to 10 years behind on new construction. Then, of course, the pandemic hit where everything just stopped,” he said. In addition to falling behind on construction, supply chain issues and the rising cost of materials are only adding to high prices. As the housing supply struggles to catch up, demand is only growing. We know better than most that northern Michigan is an incredible place to live. With increasing opportunities to work remotely, and easier access to the Grand Traverse region with more direct flights in and out of Traverse City—we’re also seeing more people set their sights on settling in our region. More interested buyers mean more competition for the same, low inventory. That’s keeping the

cost of homeownership high. As prices hold high, more are looking to rural areas close to all the conveniences of a city, with slightly softened sticker shock. Hodges says the number of homes sold has held steady the past couple of years. In 2020, roughly 1,700 homes were sold in Grand Traverse County. The same was true for 2021. Excluding homes owned by landlords in those same years, Cherryland recorded around 1,000 account transfers each year, which in most cases signifies the sale and purchase of an individual home. That’s more than half of the real estate sold in the county located on cooperative lines, in historically more rural areas. So what does that mean for you and your co-op? Growth is good news. Unique from other utilities, 95% of Cherryland’s members are residential. When our residential membership grows through newly constructed homes or as seasonal cottages are converted to year-round homes, it helps us keep prices low by spreading the cost of electricity across more members. At the same time—Cherryland is proactively considering the infrastructure needed to facilitate the growth by carefully curating the supplies we need to be prepared as this growth trend continues. As for the future of our real estate market, Hodges says, “The buyers are here, the inventory is short, and we don’t see that going away. I think it’s going to continue to be a seller’s market. That’s probably the biggest thing.” Whether you’re window shopping on Zillow or on a serious hunt for your next home—Hodges says even the National Association of Realtors doesn’t see this fast-paced, high-priced market slowing down. A serious buyer should be prepared to understand what their money can buy in this new market. Homes aren’t lasting long before they’re spoken for, so buyers should be ready to make moves. Finally, keep an open mind. Your perfect home may be more affordable if you consider the benefits of rural real estate. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


MI CO-OP Recipes

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

SPICE IT UP Kick up the heat.


Bean Cakes: 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 6 garlic cloves, minced 2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and finely diced 1 tablespoon ground cumin 2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (pat dry) ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper 2 cups finely grated raw sweet potato (press with paper towels to remove moisture) 4 green onions, thinly sliced 1 egg, lightly beaten ½ cup panko breadcrumbs Lime Sour Cream: ½ cup sour cream 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced • salt and pepper, to taste



energy bill credit!

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Potatoes due May 1 • Pasta Salads 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. Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, jalapeño, and cumin; sauté until softened and fragrant. Transfer contents of skillet to a large mixing bowl. Stir in black beans and mash well. Add salt, black pepper, sweet potato, green onions, egg, and breadcrumbs. Divide into 12 balls and flatten into patties. To the medium skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the bean cakes, turning often so as not to burn. Cook about 5–6 minutes or more on each side, until browned and cooked through. To make lime sour cream, mix the sour cream, lime juice, jalapeño, and salt/pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate (can be made first). Serve black bean cakes topped with lime sour cream. Note: You can also bake the cakes at 375 F for 30–45 minutes (spray both sides with baking oil first), then flip 20 minutes in to ensure even cooking. The longer you bake, the firmer and drier they will get. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos

KICKIN’ HOT CHOCOLATE Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy

2 cups whole milk ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon • pinch kosher salt • generous pinch cayenne pepper or hot chili powder 3½ ounces chopped dark chocolate • whipped cream to serve, optional

Combine milk, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne (or chili powder) in a medium pot. Heat over medium heat until simmering. Reduce the heat a little and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add chopped chocolate. Cook, whisking, until the chocolate is fully melted and emulsified. Taste for sweetness and spice. Adjust as needed. Pour hot chocolate into mugs. Add whipped cream if desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


Tommie Schmidt, Midwest Energy & Communications 2 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

tablespoons olive oil cup diced green peppers cup diced white or yellow onion cup diced celery teaspoon chili powder (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes (8-ounce) can tomato sauce tablespoon hot sauce tablespoon Worcestershire sauce teaspoon white sugar pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

To a medium skillet over medium heat, add the oil, peppers, onion, and celery. Sauté until soft. Add to slow cooker. Add chili powder, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and white sugar. Cover and cook on high 3 hours. Add shrimp, cover, and cook an additional 3–5 minutes. Serve over rice. Serves 8.

ALL-IN FIRED UP CHILI Dennis Miller, Great Lakes Energy

1 pound ground round, browned, crumbled, and drained 1 pound Bob Evans hot breakfast sausage, browned, crumbled, and drained 1 pound stew beef, seared 1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks and cooked 1 large red onion, diced 1 large red bell pepper, diced 1 large green bell pepper, diced 1 cup celery, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 4–5 hot peppers (serrano, jalapeño, habanero, etc.), diced

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles 1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes 1 (15-ounce) can hot chili beans 1 (15-ounce) can Great Northern beans 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans 1 (15-ounce) can black beans 1 bottle spicy V8 juice 3 tablespoons chili powder Add all ingredients to a large stew pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer low, stirring occasionally, for at least 2 hours. Serve in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and crumbled corn chips.



Practice Work Zone Safety W

hen your power is out, our line crews are hard at work on restoration. Help keep our crews, and you, safe by following these tips around utility work zones:

• SLOW DOWN AND MOVE OVER. According to AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, a person has a 50% chance of suffering severe injuries when struck by a vehicle going just 31 mph. Please slow your speed when passing our work zones and move over when possible. • DO NOT DISTURB. If you see our linemen working, please leave them alone to do their jobs. Stopping them to ask questions delays restoration and could put the crew and you in danger. For updates on the status of an outage, please call us at 231-486-9200. • RESPECT ROAD CLOSURES. Sometimes safe restoration work requires that we close a portion of a road. When you see road closure signs, please find an alternate route. Bypassing these signs is extremely dangerous. Additionally, always avoid downed lines. Assume any line you see is energized and stay 50 feet away. Don’t drive over any lines, and please call us at 231-486-9200 to report the location.

UTILITY POLES ARE NOT BULLETIN BOARDS Think before you post that sign! Staples, nails, and tacks used to hang signs and fliers create dangerous obstacles for electric lineworkers. Their jobs are dangerous enough – help us keep them safe!

Your Board In Action February Board Meeting • The board approved a proposal to decrease PSCR adjustments based on 2021 margins.

• The board elected Gabe Schneider to represent Cherryland on the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA) board of directors. Schneider will serve a two-year term as MECA Director.

• Due to conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the energy industry is on high alert for cyberattacks. Cherryland’s IT administrator reported that the co-op’s network scans have detected an increasing number of high-priority alerts; however, the systems in place continue to secure Cherryland’s cyberspace. The co-op will continue to keep a close eye on the conflict and its impact on Cherryland’s cyber security. • Cherryland’s member relations manager provided an update on the effectiveness of the co-op’s outage text system. Following the December 2021 storm survey, members reported feeling significantly more informed compared to the August 2021 storm. They also found text message updates on restoration efforts more useful and were overall significantly more satisfied with Cherryland’s reliability.

Money for your back pocket. We’re giving you money for purchasing energy-efficient appliances.

Learn more at cherrylandelectric.coop and claim your rebate.

Choose Your Own Adventure WITH GEOCACHING


erhaps the most concise explanation of geocaching can be found on a bumper sticker that reads:

A scavenger hunt using multimillion-dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods. If that’s not quite enough to get you interested in the sport—and yes, enthusiasts insist it’s a sport—then maybe a few more details might help. The perfect combination of technology and nature, geocaching started more than 20 years ago in Oregon using decommissioned satellites and longitude and latitude coordinates to locate a specific spot. This outdoor recreational activity uses a GPS receiver or mobile phone to locate a “cache” in a specific location that is uploaded to the official website—geocaching.com. Your average cache is a small, waterproof container that must at the very least contain a logbook and sometimes a pen or pencil. Just as often, tiny toys or tchotchkes can be found with a “take one/leave one” exchange policy. All you have to do to join the fun is create a free profile on the website and prepare to get hooked. Most of us already hold the key tool in our hands, a mobile device with some navigational ability. Also required is

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By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos courtesy of Jamie Ball, Michigan DNR.

something we all started out with, but have often forgotten along the way–our sense of curiosity. “Geocaching gives you this fun reason to go exploring,” said Stephanie Yancer, social media coordinator for Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “You get out there in the woods or the wild and there is this wave of fun and excitement you can’t help but feel.” Walking through parks, forests, hilltops, and even urban environments, a cache can be found anywhere. With caches located in 191 different countries, on all seven continents, this global treasure hunt may well speak to our fascination with buried and lost treasure and tug at our inner Indiana Jones. With more than 3 million caches around the world, it’s no wonder there are 7 million active geocachers on geocaching.com. Locally in Michigan, there are many avid geocachers, including individuals who belong to MiGO (Michigan Geocaching Organization). Steve Bassette, who is the president of the executive committee and an avid geocacher himself, has helped grow interest in the sport, which also promotes environmental stewardship and an appreciation of the outdoors.

“I ‘accidentally’ came across geocaching when my wife and I were camping and kept seeing a couple hopping on and off their bikes in the woods where we were set up. We finally asked them what they were doing,” said Bassette. “They explained geocaching to us and we’ve been hooked ever since.” Bassette and MiGO hope to leave the discovery of the sport less up to chance and are determined instead to bring as much attention to geocaching as they can. MiGO has partnered often with the DNR and other organizations to coordinate year-round events, including Camp MiGO every August and specialized events like the Michigan State Parks GeoTour, which celebrated our state parks’ 100-year anniversary in 2019 by placing 100 new caches throughout the state that can now be accessed annually.

“You get out there in the woods or the wild and there is this wave of fun and excitement you can’t help but feel.”

“After surveying folks who participated in the GeoTour, we found that people had discovered 80 new parks on average for themselves through the event,” said Yancer. “This is the heart of geocaching—discovering something new.” Yancer has even found herself discovering things in environments she thought she knew well. While participating in an Adventure Lab, a sort of clue-based cache that involves multiple sites, Yancer took a colleague on a tour of the murals in downtown Bay City, where she works. She saw many wonderfully expressive paintings– some she knew, some she didn’t, and some she was seeing with new eyes. “It was such a great way to show someone Bay City,” said Yancer. “And to rediscover it for myself.” Ultimately, geocaching can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. Each cache is identified by two indicators–difficulty and terrain. You can use your phone or find yourself a GPS receiver. You can look in Antarctica or Ann Arbor for treasure. In the end, it’s your quest. “The best part of geocaching is the unexpected adventures it takes you on,” said Bassette.

Geocaching Go Bag After creating your free profile on geocaching.com, Stephanie Yancer recommends pulling together a small backpack that’s ready to go. She recommends: • Bottles for water • Snacks • First aid kit • Bug spray and sunscreen • Extra batteries (if you’re using a GPS receiver)



Developing A Passion By Kristen Stewart, Cherryland Member Experience Specialist

nce, there was a small camera store on River Street in Manistee, Michigan. My dad—a tall, lanky guy with a laugh that you can hear from two blocks away—took over for a guy named Ed Hokanson in 1984 and kept the name Hokanson’s Camera. I grew up in the place. Between the store and backstage at the Ramsdell Theatre, both within walking distance, there was far from a lack of artistic influence in my upbringing.


I started “working” there on Saturdays when I was 11, only a couple of hours each week. I didn’t do much other than dust cabinets, walk to the post office to check the mail, and keep my dad company. It wasn’t very demanding for a first job, but it was a fun way to earn an allowance. Once I got a little older, I started to take on more responsibilities: working with customers, developing film on “the machine,” scanning and restoring family photos, and most importantly, learning the fundamentals of photography (film and digital). I fell deep into the world of photos. It only made sense to continue with this fascination when it came time for college. I started by packing up and moving to Kalamazoo to be a part

16 APRIL 2022

of the photo program at Western Michigan University, where my sister had gone and done the same thing 10 years before me. After some time there, discovering who I was artistically, I took my first trip to the picturesque Upper Peninsula and was wooed entirely. So, I packed up again, this time heading north to Marquette, Michigan, finishing my BFA in photography at Northern Michigan University. Still, my summers were spent at Hokanson’s during all my schooling. I started using everything I was learning at college to educate and assist my community members, some of whom were there to purchase their first-ever digital camera. We were always very community-focused. In June 2020, after 88 years, Hokanson’s Camera closed its doors for the last time. My dad kicked off his retirement with one final message: “I want to thank all the wonderful people of our community for their loyal support all these many years. It has been my great pleasure helping you preserve your family’s memories. It has given me great pleasure to do so. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Today, I proudly display the Hokanson’s Camera sign in my photography studio.


Plants & Flowers 1. “We enjoy sunflowers in our garden every year! Taking photos of the beauty is another reward of growing them. In this photo, there is an American goldfinch enjoying the flower along with the honeybee.” — Myongsoon Olson 2. “Jacob’s dahlia.” — Melissa White 3. “Butterfly and blanket flower.” — Debra Hunt 4. “Our cut flower garden.” — Joanne & Ron Flitton 5. “Fall flowers framing the Mighty Mac.” — Andy Marek






4 Enter to win a


energy bill credit!


Submit Your “Hometown Pride” Photos By April 20!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Our April theme is Hometown Pride! Photos can be submitted through April 20 to be featured in our June issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest, visit cherrylandelectric.coop/photo-contest or visit facebook.com/ cherrylandelectriccoop for a link to the current photo contest. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2022, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2022 bill. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17



ADVENTURES FOR RURAL VETERANS—APPLY BY MAY 13 IN-PERSON EXPEDITIONS WILL TAKE PLACE IN JULY AND AUGUST Michigan electric cooperatives believe there should be “No Barriers” for veterans with disabilities. That’s the name and idea behind CoBank’s No Barriers initiative. Michigan cooperatives are looking for qualified veterans* from our local community to participate. No Barriers is a five-day, all-expenses-paid expedition in Colorado, designed to help veterans with disabilities transform their lives through curriculum-based experiences in challenging environments (climbing, rafting, and hiking).

If you are a disabled veteran, or you know of a disabled veteran in our community who would like to participate in the No Barriers program, please complete the form on our website:

countrylines.com/nobarriers *Must have VA disability rating to be eligible.

Well-Connect qualifies for rebates and a 26% tax credit through 2022. Add Well-Connect geothermal heating for $0 down and as little as







I installed a Well-Connect at my home in Northern Michigan over two years ago. I am very happy with my decision and the performance of the Well-Connect. My primary goal was to reduce heating costs. I now purchase significantly less propane today than I did prior to installing a Well-Connect. I love the fact that I now have air conditioning – NICE BONUS! The temperature in my home is more consistent and comfortable. Specifically the basement is warmer in the winter and the upstairs bedrooms are cooler in the summertime. Another advantage with a Well-Connect acting as my primary heat source, my forced-air system is used much less and I expect it to last longer than planned. Finally the function and performance of my Well-Connect is monitored in real-time with the performance logger. It’s another great feature.

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Lineworker Appreciation Day On April 18, remember to #ThankALineworker.

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