COUNTRY LINES Great Lakes Energy Cooperative
TAKE CHARGE Behind The Wheel Of An Electric Vehicle
Annual Tree Trimming Plans
Hope On The Slopes Director Profile
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In This Issue February 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 2
Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives
countrylines.com facebook.com/ michigancountrylines
Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer Design and Production: Karreen Bird Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591710, 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, secretary-treasurer. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org countrylines.com
CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.
General Manager Mark Kappler HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative
6 FEATURE Take Charge: Behind The Wheel Of An Electric Vehicle 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Try These Unique Twists For The Ultimate Hamburger Christin McKamey & Our Readers Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!
14 The Driving Force: Plug Into Electric Vehicles Read about two co-op members, who are also electric vehicle owners, and learn why they enjoy their EVs. 18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Best Of Michigan: The Best Burgers In Our Great Lakes State Peruse the satisfying list from fellow members to ﬁnd mouthwatering burgers around Michigan.
ON THE COVER Now with the potential to be three times cheaper than their gas-powered counterparts, electric vehicles are fast becoming more popular, less expensive to purchase, and able to drive hundreds of miles between each charge. Learn more about the beneﬁts of electric vehicles on pages 6 and 7. Win $150 for stories published!
Guest Column Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. Guidelines 1. Approximately 350 words 2. Digital photos must be at least 600 KB 3. Submit your guest column at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab
The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Board of Directors
Mark Carson Chairman, District 2
01950 Anderson Rd., Boyne City, MI 49712 231-675-0561 • email@example.com
John LaForge Vice-Chairman, District 9 7363 Walters Rd., Delton, MI 49046 269-623-2284 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Schemanski Secretary, District 1 5974 Stolt Rd., Petoskey, MI 49770 231-439-9079 • email@example.com
Larry Monshor Treasurer, District 4 1541 Thumm Rd., Gaylord, MI 49735 989-705-1778 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Brechon Director, District 8
22322 220th Ave., Paris, MI 49338 630-379-6218 • email@example.com
Paul Byl Director, District 7
9941 W. Buchanan Rd., Shelby, MI 49455 231-861-5911 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Evans Director, District 3 11195 Essex Rd., Ellsworth, MI 49729 231-883-3146 • email@example.com
Dale Farrier Director, District 5
2261 Wheeler Lake Rd. NE, Kalkaska, MI 49646 231-564-0853 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Kran Director, District 6
7380 N. Tuttle Rd., Free Soil, MI 49411 231-464-5889 • email@example.com
President/CEO: Bill Scott 888-485-2537
Communications Director/Editor: Lacey Matthews 231-487-1316 firstname.lastname@example.org
Boyne City Headquarters 1323 Boyne Ave., P.O. Box 70 Boyne City, MI 49712 Hours: 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. M–F Phone: 888-485-2537 Email: email@example.com
To report an outage, call: 1-888-485-2537
gtlakes.com Change of Address: 888-485-2537, ext. 8924 Great Lakes Energy is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
4 FEBRUARY 2019
Warm Up To Energy Saving Ideas Bill Scott, Great Lakes Energy President/CEO
February may be one of the coldest months in Michigan, but it also has its own beauty. Snow settled on branches and the formations of ice against the window pane, as well as the numerous winter activities we enjoy, help distract us from how far away spring can seem. But as temperatures drop it is difficult not to notice the rise in your electrical bill as heating systems work harder to keep us warm. Like many, you may wonder what opportunities are available to help reduce higher energy bills. Thankfully Great Lakes Energy is able to offer solutions. Through our Energy Optimization program, we offer a number of services to make your home more energy efficient. Most already know to look for products, such as lightbulbs and appliances, with the familiar Energy Star label. However, if you are looking for options tailored to your specific home, our free, online Home Audit can give you a personalized assessment for energy saving options. Simply complete an online survey (it takes less than 10 minutes) and you will receive a report with energy saving tips and recommendations for your home along with a free energy savings kit. The kit includes a smart power strip, energy efficient lightbulbs, pipe wraps, and water saving accessories. This program is offered to all GLE members, regardless of income. For those wanting to improve their heating and cooling comfort, the EO program offers a variety of incentives for heat pumps. Instead of generating heat, a heat pump simply moves the heat. During cold months, it is able to draw in heat energy from outside to inside, and in the warmer summer months, it cools your house by moving the warm air from your house to the outside. Total rebates for installing a new heat pump range from $50 to over $1,000 for a unit that can have a significant impact on lowering your bill. As always, little changes can also positively affect the size of your bill in the winter. Wrapping pipes, changing air filters once a month, and simply putting on an extra layer of clothing are all ways you can take the load off your heating system. We can’t avoid the cold temperatures, but GLE can help make your home and pocketbook more comfortable until spring arrives. For more information visit michigan-energy.org
Who Are Your Directors? Your Great Lakes Energy directors are not only part of your local community, but they are also members just like you.
Tim Brechon and his wife, Sharon, live in rural Paris, Mich., with their rescue dog, Munchkin (pictured). He represents District 8 that includes parts of Osceola, Clare, Newaygo and Mecosta counties.
Brechon has achieved all three director certifications through courses taken from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association: Credentialed Cooperative Director; Board Leadership Certificate; and Director Gold Credential.
Brechon brings to GLE 12 years of electrical utility service in generation and distribution from his work at Commonwealth Edison. This experience as well as his time as a math teacher has equipped him with an ability to effectively communicate complex concepts to others.
He has turned his attention in retirement to restoring a 1973 Chevy Nova—a car he purchased back in high school. Whether it’s a favorite car or his electric cooperative, Brechon values keeping things in tip-top shape and running smoothly. That’s the cooperative difference.
See Us At The Home Show Northern Michigan Regional Home Show MARCH 8 & 9 NORTH CENTRAL MICHIGAN COLLEGE, PETOSKEY
Visit the Great Lakes Energy booth at the home show. Stop by and speak to a representative to learn more about Energy Optimization programs designed to save you energy and money.
TAKE CHARGE Behind The Wheel Of An Electric Vehicle
? Is an EV right for you? Calculate the overall cost of EV ownership, customize it to your personal circumstances, and compare it to conventional vehicles.
ow would you like to bid farewell to the gas station and pocket a portion of the money you used to spend on ﬁlling up your tank? While it almost sounds too good to be true, electric vehicles (also known as electric cars or EVs) make it possible. The next time you’re in the market for a new car, consider the beneﬁts of climbing into the driver’s seat of an EV.
LESS EXPENSIVE TO DRIVE You may be surprised to learn that driving a 2019 EV in Michigan can be up to three times cheaper than driving a gas-powered vehicle. This savings is possible because EVs have much lower fuel costs than conventional gasoline vehicles. Considering the average U.S. household spends nearly one-ﬁfth of its total family budget on transportation, savings at the fuel pump can quickly add up. In 2017, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that the average American household spent nearly $2,000 a year on gasoline. Imagine having extra funds to afford that family vacation, complete a home remodeling project, or even just beef up your savings account? The simple step of not draining your bank account each week at the gas pump may help you fast track your ﬁnancial goals.
eGALLON COST COMPARISON
What is an eGallon? It is the cost of fueling a vehicle with electricity, compared to a similar vehicle that runs on gasoline.
MICHIGAN Regular gasoline
1 4 0
LESS MAINTENANCE Gas-powered automobiles require replacing parts that go bad over time. Electric vehicles are different because they do not require as many components to operate. For instance, electric motors only have one moving part while engines in traditional automobiles contain dozens. A perk appreciated by EV drivers is that you can roll past
3,000 miles without having to think about getting an oil change. EVs don’t require oil changes—ever. They also don’t require cooling system ﬂushes, transmission servicing and replacing the air ﬁlter, spark plugs, and drive belts. Regular service visits are typically limited to rotating the tires and checking brake pads and other components. Less maintenance equals more money in your bank account with less time spent at the service station or auto repair shop.
GOING THE DISTANCE EVs have come a long way (and can now, literally, go a long way!) since they were ﬁrst introduced to the U.S. consumer market. For example, Chevrolet advertises its 2019 Chevy Bolt EV with a range of 238 miles. Yes, that’s right! The Chevrolet Bolt can now drive 238 miles before needing to be charged. With the Bolt’s MSRP starting at $36,620, electric vehicles are truly becoming the affordable transportation of the future.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY Most EVs can be charged by plugging into a standard 120 V outlet, but many owners opt to install a specialized 240 V charging system in their garage for a faster charge. With no tailpipe emissions, EVs produce zero pollution except for emissions created in producing the electricity used to charge them. With a renewable energy portfolio of nearly 20 percent, Michigan electric co-ops are the state’s renewable energy leaders. Switching to an EV and charging on co-op power lines is a way to reduce your carbon footprint signiﬁcantly.
TAX INCENTIVES AVAILABLE While the operating costs of EVs are substantially lower, EVs can be more expensive to purchase than their conventional counterparts—although this up-front cost continues to decline as U.S. demand for electric vehicles rises. The good news is that the federal government offers limited tax credits up to $7,500 to EV buyers that can lower the up-front costs. Visit countrylines.com/ev to ﬁnd speciﬁc tax credit amounts for individual vehicles. Check out pages 14–15 to meet two co-op members who are also electric vehicle owners, and learn why they enjoy their EVs. Be on the lookout for more EV articles in future issues of Michigan Country Lines. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
NO BARRIERS ADVENTURES FOR RURAL VETERANS—APPLY BY FEB. 28 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 experience 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.
SAVE ENERGY WITH A HEAT PUMP SYSTEM It’s time to get excited about heat pump technology! Heat pumps heat and cool your home more efficiently, and put an end to your reliance on propane. You’ll enjoy: • Significant energy savings • Increased comfort • Reliable performance in cold climates
michigan-energy.org P H O N E : 877.296.4319 ONLINE:
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.
Most votes on Facebook!
GLE Photo Contest Snow Days 1. Snow Day with Pherb!——Yuvenka Clark, Shelby 2. Let It Snow, Let It Snow——Victoria Cooper, Marion 3. Winter red barn——Marie Eason, Grayling 4. Gorgeous blue ice viewed from Mackinac Bridge——Dawn Klee, Johannesburg 5. Would you like to play, too?——Kathy Schoenity, Petoskey 6. Bentley and Sawyer enjoying winter fun!——Wendy Meyers, Fruitport
Submit Your “Birds” Photo!
4 Enter to win a
energy bill credit!
Each month members can submit photos on Facebook or our website for our annual photo contest. The photo with the most votes on Facebook is published here along with other selections. Our February contest theme is Birds. Photos can be submitted by February 20 to be featured in the April issue.
How To Enter: 5
Visit Facebook.com/greatlakesenergy and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. Not on Facebook? You can also enter the contest at gtlakes.com/photocontest. Make sure to vote and encourage others to vote for you, too. The photo receiving the most votes from our online and Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Michigan Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. All photos printed in the magazine in 2019 will be entered to win a $200 bill credit in December 2019.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Ultimate Burgers Try one of these unique twists to the classic hamburger. Photos—Robert Bruce Photography
Bruschetta Burgers With Avocado Spread Morgan Wernette, HomeWorks Tri-County
Bruschetta Topping: 1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced 2–3 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons olive oil 10–15 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips • splash balsamic vinegar, to taste • salt and pepper, to taste • juice from half a lemon, optional Avocado Spread: 2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped 1 cup mayo 1 teaspoon garlic powder • dash cayenne pepper Burger: 2 pounds ground beef ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese ½ tablespoon dried basil ½ tablespoon dried oregano 1 clove garlic, minced ¼ cup red onion, diced 1 tablespoon olive oil 8 burger buns 10 FEBRUARY 2019
First, make the bruschetta topping; in a small mixing bowl, toss ingredients and set aside. Next, make the avocado spread; in a small dish, mix ingredients well and set aside. Then, in a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, mozzarella cheese, basil, oregano, garlic, and red onion. Divide the meat into 8 patties. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat and cook the burgers 3–4 minutes on the ﬁrst side until nicely browned, then ﬂip and cook another 5 minutes or until cooked to your desired degree of doneness. Spread avocado on bun, add your burger and top with bruschetta. Enjoy with fries or roasted potatoes for a complete dinner that satisﬁes the whole family.
Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos
Kickin’ Zion Heat Black Bean & Green Chili Burgers Janet Ruggles, Cherryland 2 ¼ ¼ 2 ½ 1 1½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ –¾ 6 6 6 6
pounds ground chuck cup sweet red bell pepper, diced medium ﬁne cup sweet yellow bell pepper, diced medium ﬁne (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles, drained and dried with a paper towel, divided cup cooked black beans, drained well tablespoon Koops Arizona Heat Mustard teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon chili powder, divided tablespoon Emeril’s Kick It Up Green Pepper Sauce (or Green Tabasco Sauce) teaspoon salt cup onion, chopped medium ﬁne tablespoon Chipotle Pepper Adobo Sauce (I use San Marcos brand) cup mayonnaise pre-sliced pieces medium cheddar cheese soft whole grain hamburger buns, split romaine lettuce leaves large tomato slices, ¼ inch thick
In a large bowl, combine ground chuck, red pepper, yellow pepper, 1 can green chiles, black beans, Koops Mustard, 1½ teaspoons chili powder, Emeril’s Green Pepper Sauce, salt, onion, and Chipotle Pepper Adobo Sauce. Mix gently. To form the burgers, use a 1-cup size Rubbermaid plastic top that is 5" in diameter and a 12" x 12" piece of plastic wrap placed in the plastic top as a hamburger mold. Eyeball the meat mixture in a bowl and divide it into six equal balls of meat. Place a ball of meat in the “hamburger mold” and ﬂatten it out to the edges to make a perfectly round patty. After forming each patty, place it on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until ready to grill. To make Kickin’ Zion Heat Sauce; in a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, remaining 1 can green chiles and remaining 1 tablespoon chili powder. Stir, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Grill burgers and add cheese toward the end of grilling; fold the four corners of each slice up to create a smaller, more rounded slice that will ﬁt on the hamburger top. Top each burger with lettuce, tomato and Kickin’ Zion Heat Sauce as desired.
Barbara Miller, Great Lakes Energy Sauce: 3 tablespoons mayonnaise 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 clove garlic, minced ¼ teaspoon dried oregano • salt to taste Burgers: ½ cup frozen, chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry ½ cup feta cheese 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon pine nuts (may substitute chopped walnuts) 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon oregano ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper 1 pound ground beef In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients. Cover and refrigerate. In another bowl, combine burger ingredients; mix well and make 4 patties. Grill burgers. Serve with sauce on toasted buns.
Breakfast and Brunch: due March 1 Delicious Vegetables: due April 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.
Enter to win a
energy bill credit!
Go to micoopkitchen.com for more information and to register. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Annual Reliability Improvements Begin Contracted tree-trimming crews this winter will begin removing trees and limbs near power lines throughout the Great Lakes Energy service area. The work is part of the cooperative’s annual vegetation management program to improve electric service reliability and safety. About $8.2 million will be invested in 2019 to re-clear trees along 1,291 miles of power line rights-of-way (ROW) in 18 counties and 58 townships.
Areas Scheduled For 2019 Re-clearing Re-clearing of vegetation along Great Lakes Energy power lines is scheduled this year in these counties and townships: Allegan: Gun Plain, Martin, Otsego, Watson Antrim: Mancelona, Warner, Jordan Charlevoix: Eveline, Wilson, South Arm, Melrose, Boyne Valley Crawford: Grayling, Lovells, South Branch, Beaver Creek Emmet: Resort, West Traverse, Pleasantview, Bay
Great Lakes Energy members will be notified by postcard, email and phone if ROW re-clearing work is scheduled in their area. Please be sure we have your current billing address, email address and primary phone number for your service location. This will help ensure we are able to reach you. Tree-related power line damage is a major cause of outages. Re-clearing of the co-op’s entire power line distribution system is performed on six to seven-year cycles. The amount of trimming to maintain adequate power line clearance depends on the tree type, location and growth, and line voltage size. In addition to weak and dying trees, healthy trees may need to be trimmed or removed if they pose a threat to your electric service. Please see the list on this page for areas where contracted crews will work this year. Have questions? Contact our Vegetation Management Department at 888-485-2537, ext. 8221 (central and south counties) or ext. 1295 (north counties).
Kalkaska: Cold Springs, Blue Lake, Excelsior, Rapid River Kent: Nelson, Solon, Tyrone Lake: Chase, Cherry Valley, Lake, Pleasant Plains, Sweetwater, Webber, Yates
Tree Planting Guide
Mason: Amber, Branch, Riverton Mecosta: Green Charter
Montcalm: Pierson, Reynolds Muskegon: Montague, White River Newaygo: Barton, Ensley, Grant, Troy Oceana: Benona, Claybanks, Ferry, Golden, Grant, Otto, Shelby Osceola: Burdell, Richmond, Sherman Oscoda: Greenwood, Big Creek
40' 30' 20' 10'
NO TREE ZONE
Otsego: Chester Ottawa: Blendon, Holland, Olive, Zeeland Contracted tree-trimming crews are again working this year to remove trees that pose a threat to power lines.
12 FEBRUARY 2019
30' Small Tree Zone: Trees less than 25' tall/spread at least 25' from line
50' Medium Tree Zone: Trees 25'–40' in height/spread at least 40' from line
70' Large Tree Zone: Plant trees larger than 40' in height/spread at least 60' from line
We’re Keeping the Lights
Reliable service means fewer power outages. We’re making improvements to provide you with better service.
AVERAGE OUTAGE MINUTES YEARLY COMPARISON
Looking Out for You
OUR YEARLY GOAL: UNDER 166.3 MINUTES.
We did it!
Construction begins Spring 2019. Register NOW for free installation. *Construction begins in the Petoskey service district.
Truestream is Great Lakes Energy's new ﬁber internet and voice network. It makes streaming, gaming, online education and more possible. Register today to ensure you receive free installation (a $149 value), only available for a limited time!
The Driving Force
Plug Into Electric Vehicles
CEO, Crystal Mountain Chairperson, Michigan Utilities Consumer Participation Board Electric Vehicle: 2017 Tesla Model S 100D As the Chief Executive Ofﬁcer and co-owner of a ski resort I can tell you that global warming is, simply put, bad for business. Widespread adoption of vehicle electriﬁcation represents one of our best opportunities to mitigate these effects while also generating signiﬁcant savings.
“Michigan’s utilities and cooperatives are well positioned to help lead the charge and benefit from investing in and incentivizing EVs.”
We’ve long advocated for EVs and their tremendous environmental and economic potential. Crystal was the ﬁrst northern Michigan resort to offer complimentary charging stations—we now have ﬁve. My ﬁrst electric vehicle was the Chevy Volt which is now one of our security vehicles. Today, I drive a Tesla and Crystal Mountain is part of its Destination Driving Program. Our EV chargers have attracted new guests to the resort, including at least a half dozen electric vehicles on display during Memorial Day Weekend’s Michigan Beer & Brat Festival. For a start, electric vehicles are way more energy efﬁcient and have a lot fewer moving parts. This makes them mechanically simpler and less subject to breakdown. They have software that can be updated over the internet. So, rather than becoming obsolete, they will improve over time—much like your phone. Michigan’s utilities and cooperatives are well positioned to help lead the charge and beneﬁt from investing in and incentivizing EVs and their charging infrastructure while also saving money for ratepayers. We are extremely proud of our partner in Cherryland Electric Cooperative. Their commitment to a 56 percent carbon-free energy portfolio is vital to a sustainable energy and environmental future.
14 FEBRUARY 2019
Electric vehicles remain a hot topic in 2019, as the purchase and use of EVs has fasttracked in popularity across the country. In rural Michigan, electric co-ops are keeping a close eye on the EV industry and can serve as a good resource if you have questions about purchasing one this year. Meet two co-op members on these pages who drive electric vehicles themselves, and learn how this shift in transportation has made financial and environmental sense for them.
General Manager, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative Electric Vehicle: 2017 Chevy Bolt I recently made the decision to purchase an electric vehicle for personal use. Before choosing to go electric, my wife and I carefully considered several factors, including what our primary use of the vehicle would be. But once we did the research and weighed the pros and cons, all signs pointed towards the Chevy Bolt. As we analyzed the way we used our existing small car, for short trips to the grocery store, to work and school, to events at Michigan State, etc., we found that the Bolt’s maximum mileage range of 238 miles per charge would more than meet our needs. We worked it out and realized the lower operating costs of the vehicle would result in a cost savings for us. After that, the decision was easy. Probably the biggest misconception regarding electric vehicles is the range anxiety that can come from not understanding how people use their current vehicles. Studies have shown that most people use their vehicles for shorter trips most of the time. My wife and I have a small SUV that we use for long trips and more carrying capacity, but for short trips, which make up the majority of our driving, we use our electric car exclusively. As a new EV-owner, I would encourage any co-op member purchasing a new vehicle to consider an electric vehicle.
“We found that the Bolt’s maximum mileage range of 238 miles per charge would more than meet our needs.”
Do you drive an electric vehicle? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information (name, email, phone number, electric co-op) and a brief testimonial outlining your personal experience driving an EV. Someone from the magazine may call or email you to interview you and possibly feature your story in an upcoming article.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 15
Hope ON THE Slopes By Brittany Kielbasa Photos courtesy of Challenge Mountain
n the winter of 1982, a tenacious kindergartner watching skiers cruise down the slopes of Boyne Mountain grew infatuated with the sport. Chrissy Evans was born without the use of her legs and limited use of her hands and arms, but that wasn’t going to stop her. She convinced her mother Darla to take her to Colorado’s Winter Park Handicap Ski Program where their lives—and the lives of thousands more—would be forever changed. On their trip to Colorado, Chrissy gained independence and freedom she had never known, zooming down hills on her own using specially adapted ski equipment. When they returned to Boyne Falls, Darla was so inspired by the experience’s impact on her daughter she set out to bring the same joy and empowerment to people at home in Michigan. Just one year later, Darla realized her dream when she founded Challenge Mountain and the organization began offering an adaptive downhill ski program free of charge to any physically or mentally disabled adult or child. Challenge Mountain guided more than 140 skiers in their first year—but Darla wanted to go further. Darla’s dream was to one day offer year-round programming. So, with the support of Challenge Mountain volunteers and board members, they set out to grow the organization with that goal in mind. Challenge Mountain now offers year-round adaptive programs including biking, kayaking, ropes courses, equine therapy, fishing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, in addition to downhill skiing. 16 FEBRUARY 2019
Challenge Mountain volunteer, Jeff VanDis, and local participant hit the slopes using one of Challenge Mountain’s bi-skis.
“We want to create a space for our visitors to feel empowered, to make friends, and to enjoy time with their families,” said Linda Winn-Armstrong, Challenge Mountain program director. “And we want to remove barriers to achieving those things— including cost and access to equipment.” Challenge Mountain believes having access to and participating in recreational and social activities is integral to well-being and fulfilling life for every person. The organization strives to consistently provide the absolute best recreational experiences for all who come to play, learn and enrich their lives. They believe that all people— regardless of ability—should have opportunities to experience life and adventure. Their passion and dedication in this belief drives Challenge Mountain’s staff and more than 70 resale store and programming volunteers to
This Challenge Mountain participant and volunteer are all smiles as they enjoy one of the organizations many programs.
Linda Winn Armstrong, Challenge Mountain program director, works with a participant from Petoskey Schools.
“You can come out here and put a smile on somebody’s face—or watch parents and grandparents just cry when they see their child coming down the hill all by themselves—it’s just a great experience.” —Mike Hurchick provide nearly 2,000 adventurous experiences per year— free of charge. “It’s instant gratification. You can come out here and put a smile on somebody’s face—or watch parents and grandparents just cry when they see their child coming down the hill all by themselves—it’s just a great experience,” said Mike Hurchick, lifelong volunteer, and former Challenge Mountain executive director and board member. “That’s the magic of Challenge Mountain.” Challenge Mountain’s passionate volunteers and community supporters, along with the organization’s resale store sales, help them provide these life-changing experiences at no cost. Great Lakes Energy’s People Fund is proud to be among the organization’s community supporters—but Challenge Mountain is also thankful for other benefits of their co-op membership. As an organization that utilizes Michigan’s many natural resources to support their mission, Challenge Mountain is proud of the co-op’s leadership in renewable and carbon-free energy through power supplier Wolverine Power Cooperative.
“We are continuously inspired by the feedback we receive from the families we serve,” said Gertz Looze. “Children who take these adventures often find new confidence and inspiration to overcome boundaries and try things they wouldn’t try before. And that’s why we do what we do.” Now, 35 years after taking a cross-country trip for a girl with a dream, Darla’s vision has realized a world of possibilities for thousands of individuals with disabilities and their families through fun experiences, making and sustaining friendships, building confidence and independence, and fostering positive and hopeful expectations for living life with a disability. Visit challengemtn.org to learn more about their programs and how you can support Challenge Mountain.
“Great Lakes Energy is progressive and ahead of the game when it comes to responsibility and foresight to protect the environment,” said Elizabeth Gertz Looze, Challenge Mountain executive director. “I love to say we’re part of a co-op and our lights are 56 percent carbon-free! That’s something we should be proud of!” For Challenge Mountain, protecting Michigan’s outdoors means more than protecting beauty and splendor. It means fostering the foundation to provide hope and empowerment for individuals to challenge themselves in allseasons—and beyond.
Olivia Francis, Challenge Mountain board member, takes a break from skiing with a participant for a quick photo.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17
MI CO-OP Community
Enjoy a handcrafted, juicy burger while bowling a game or two at Wagon Wheel American Grill in Portland. Visit their website at wagonwheelbowl.com for directions and hours. Photo credit—Wagon Wheel American Grill
Best Burgers In Our Great Lakes State Check out these recommendations from fellow members to ﬁnd mouthwatering burgers around Michigan.
J & B’s Bar & Grill ”Our favorite burger place is J & B’s Bar & Grill, 1060 M-32, Johannesburg. We feel that when you order a burger that is medium rare that it should be juicy, not dry, and that is exactly the way you get your burger each and every time at J & B’s. We have never been disappointed by the burgers, no matter how we order our burgers. It is the best burger around.” Michelle Rohr, Presque Isle Electric & Gas
Talley’s Log Cabin ”Hands down, the best burger is served at Talley’s Log Cabin located at 2981 Co Road 612, Lewiston. I’m old enough to remember when Hilda Talley owned, ran and cooked at the bar. Her burgers, along with the famous chili she made, brought people from everywhere to enjoy her food.” Dennis Nelson, Presque Isle Electric & Gas
Wagon Wheel American Grill ”Wagon Wheel American Grill, 7888 E. Grand River Ave., in Portland was voted Best Bowling Center Burger by MLive. Call anyone at HomeWorks, and they will tell you we have the best burgers around.” Terry Schrauben, HomeWorks Tri-County
The Station Grille ”The Station Grille in Muskegon at 910 W. Broadway Ave., has THE BEST BURGERS, bar none!!! No one else can touch them. Our family makes special trips there to get one!” Tina Boarts, Great Lakes Energy
Schuberg’s Bar and Grill ”Schuberg’s Bar and Grill, 109 N. Michigan Ave., Big Rapids, is the best of the best. Look at their menu and your mouth will water! My favorites include the Cowboy Schu, the Mushroom and Swiss Schu, and, of course, the Big Schu. Schuberg’s delivers the small town feel, but lives up to the legend they have made.” Jessica Bergman, Thumb Electric
18 FEBRUARY 2019
Buckhorn Inn ”To anyone headed north of the bridge, I have lived in the U.P. and have eaten out at many of the popular eateries and ‘mom and pop’ restaurants, cafes, and pasty shops from the eastern U.P. to the west. But of the many burger/bar combos I have ‘participated’ in, the Buckhorn Inn, 31324 W. Main Street, Trout Lake, trumps all the others. Accompanied by its comical antique attire and friendly staff, not only is Buckhorn welcoming, but so is the ‘blink of an eye’ town of Trout Lake. In my opinion, the Buckhorn burger is the best of them all! Far and wide.” Nick Palmer, Great Lakes Energy
Pure Country Family Restaurant ”The best burger is at Pure Country Family Restaurant, 601 W. 25th Street, Sault Ste. Marie. Bring your appetite! Amazing homemade food and the George Strait burger, two 6-ounce patties on a homemade bun, is excellent!” William Wolthuis, Midwest Energy & Communications
Clyde’s Drive-in ”Been going to Clyde’s Drive-in, 1425 Riverside Dr., in Sault Ste. Marie for many years! It’s a throwback to the car service restaurants of the past. The burgers are amazing, and the Big C burger is worth it! Clyde’s is right next to the Rotary Island Park, so it’s a great place to grab amazing food and then go watch the boats.” J. Dorr, Presque Isle Electric & Gas
Best of Michigan Up Next——Best Hiking Trails: Help us create a “Best Hiking Trails” bucket list. We will publish this stellar list of Michigan hiking trails to explore in our April issue. Submit your favorites at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab by February 20.
Applications Due Feb. 28 Tour Dates: June 15–20, 2019
Youth Tour WILL INSPIRE YOU, JUST KNOW THAT IT WILL. THERE’S NO TELLING HOW
From the battleeelds of Gettysburg to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.,
Youth Tour will explore the leadership
lessons of our nation’s history and immerse you in the cooperative spirit. Learn more about this FREE leadership travel opportunity, sponsored by the electric cooperatives of Michigan, at CooperativeYouthTour.com.