Feb. 2019 HomeWorks

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February 2019


COUNTRY LINES HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

TAKE CHARGE Behind The Wheel Of An Electric Vehicle Local Disabled Vet Thrives In No Barriers Program

Youth Tour: “A Once-ina-Lifetime Opportunity” HomeWorks Connect Announces Phase 2 of Fiber Optic Network

Act now to receive a 30% Federal tax credit*

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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 editor@countrylines.com 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.















Portland office/Mail payments to: 7973 E. Grand River Avenue Portland, MI 48875 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday Blanchard office: 3681 Costabella Avenue Blanchard, MI 49310 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday Night deposit box available at both locations. Electric bill/account questions: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-562-8232 Pay by phone, anytime: 1-877-999-3395 Service questions/outages: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-848-9333 (24 hours for emergency calls) Tri-County Propane: 1-877-574-2740

Democracy In Action At Your Co-op Mark Kappler, General Manager

HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative is a different kind of electric utility because it’s up to you to elect the board of directors who set the Co-op’s policies and strategic direction. Our democratic process starts in January when nomination and election information is sent to every member through Michigan Country Lines magazine. We sent a postcard reminder in mid-January to every member of the three districts holding elections this year, we’ll post reminders on Facebook, and details can also be found on our website at http://bit.ly/HWTCECElections.

HomeWorks Connect 1-800-668-8413

This year, elections will be held in:

homeworks.org Email: tricoenergy@homeworks.org

• District 1—Eaton, Ingham, and Jackson counties

Board of Directors

• District 5—Gratiot and Saginaw counties, plus Bingham, Duplain, and Greenbush townships in Clinton County, and Bloomer, Crystal, and Evergreen townships in Montcalm County, and

District 1 — John Lord 2276 Plains Rd., Leslie, MI 49251 517-974-2518 jlord@homeworks.org District 2 — Jim Stebbins 7139 Peddler Lake Rd., Clarksville, MI 48815 616-693-2449 jstebbins@homeworks.org District 3 — Luke Pohl Chairman 15560 W. Hanses Rd., Westphalia, MI 48894 989-292-0427 lpohl@homeworks.org District 4 — Kimber Hansen 6535 N. Wyman Rd., Edmore, MI 48829 989-506-5849 khansen@homeworks.org District 5 — Corinna Batora Vice-Chairman 7655 N. Watson Rd., Elsie, MI 48831 517-256-5233 cbatora@homeworks.org District 6 — Ed Oplinger Secretary-Treasurer 10890 W. Weidman Road, Weidman, MI 48893 989-644-3079 eoplinger@homeworks.org District 7 — Shirley Sprague 15563 45th Ave., Barryton, MI 49305 989-382-7535 ssprague@homeworks.org Editors: C harly Markwart Jayne Graham, CCC

Join us on Facebook. facebook.com/homeworks.org 4 FEBRUARY 2019

• District 7—Mecosta and Osceola counties. Directors John Lord (District 1), Corinna Batora (District 5), and Shirley Sprague (District 7) have all indicated they will seek re-election this year. If you’re an active member residing in one of these districts, and you’re interested in serving your neighbors, please contact the nominating committee in your district, or look into nominating yourself by collecting at least 25 signatures. Full information is available in the January magazine and postcard, as well as on our website. Then, watch for April’s issue of Country Lines. It will come with a special cover wrap with more information on the elections, and a ballot for you to use. You may also choose to attend your District Annual Meeting in May and vote there. Using this new voting system for the first time in 2018, voting participation nearly doubled. I challenge you to vote by mail or at your district meeting and give your district’s voting percentage a boost.

Districts 2 (Barry and Ionia counties) and 4 (Montcalm County, except Bloomer, Crystal, and Evergreen townships) are on deck for the 2020 elections!

HomeWorks member Lee McAllister (seated, second from left) during his recent No Barriers expedition in Colorado

Challenge Accepted Disabled Veteran Thrives During Intense, Transformative “No Barriers” Expedition HomeWorks member Lee McAllister, of Weidman, took advantage of the chance of a lifetime recently, when the cooperative nominated him to participate in the No Barriers expedition for rural disabled veterans. The program is sponsored by CoBank, which provides credit to electric cooperatives across the country. The 5-day, all-expenses-paid expedition in Fort Collins, Co. gives disabled veterans the opportunity to challenge their own limitations by completing demanding activities like rafting, rock climbing and hiking. “I enjoyed the challenge because I like to be tested,” said McAllister, who served in the U.S. Army from 1966-68 and now serves as a mentor to veterans in his community. “It was such an adventure. There was a team of eight of us veterans on the trip, and it was fascinating to see how everyone worked together and helped each other along. I really enjoyed that camaraderie of being together with my fellow veterans.” McAllister says he appreciates the fact that programs like No Barriers exist to give disabled veterans the chance to stretch their limits and try something new. “This expedition allows veterans to get away from things that are bothering us, get out in the wilderness and just take part in an adventure together. An opportunity like that can be a life changer for us.” Photos of Lee’s expedition courtesy of CoBank

Would you or someone you know like to participate? If you are a disabled veteran,* or you know of a disabled veteran in our community who would like to apply to participate in the No Barriers program, visit: CountryLines.com/NoBarriers. *Must have VA disability rating to qualify

Applications due by Feb. 28!


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.


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

2 08

Electric eGallon

1 4 0

Source: energy.gov/maps/egallon

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


Heat Pumps:

Start Saving Energy The Smart Way Did you know heating and cooling accounts for nearly 50 percent of the energy used in a typical U.S. home? * Investing in a highly-efficient HVAC system is therefore extremely important. Thanks to advances in technology, heat pumps are a smart alternative to electric baseboard heating or an electric or gas-powered furnace.

What is a Heat Pump?

You may not realize that refrigerators, freezers and air conditioning units are heat pumps. Heat pumps use a substance called refrigerant to move heat energy from one place to another. It is important to note that heat pumps only move heat; they do not make heat. That’s why they are an extremely efficient HVAC option for nearly any type of home.

Heat Pumps Can Heat and Cool Your Home

During the winter, heat pumps move heat from the outdoors to warm your home. That’s right—even when it feels cold outside, heat energy is still present. In the summer, a heat pump moves the heat from inside your home to the outdoors. Learn more at michigan-energy.org/heatpumps.

Heat Pump Benefits

• Use considerably less energy for heating and cooling • Eliminate or reduce your reliance on propane (no filling tanks or fuel price shifts) • More consistent temperatures equals increased comfort • Superior indoor air quality and dehumidification

Save now with cash back from the Energy Optimization program! A number of incentives are available to help you save on the upfront costs of investing in a heat pump system. Visit michigan-energy.org or call 877.296.4319 to learn more and view available incentives! *energy.gov/heating-cooling

Please see page 16 for more information on heat pump rebates.

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.

Snap Shot Snow Day

1. Carolyn Cunningham of Pewamo shared a snap shot of Henrik and Vera Thelen enjoying the first snowfall.


2. Angie Martin from Westphalia sent in this photo of Ellie and Jude Martin enjoying sledding on a sunny Michigan winter day. 3. Sara Miller of Sumner says, “This lovely scene played out on Christmas Eve morning. We had gotten some ice the night before and then the snow came. When I got up in the morning and saw the sun rising over the trees, I knew it was going to be a beautiful picture. I think the dove sitting on Tri-County’s power lines just kind of sealed the deal.” 4. Becca Fedewa of Portland shared this photo of her sons, Benson and Connor, during the first snowfall of the 2018–2019 season. 5. Cory Curtis from Barryton and his Cardigan Welsh Corgi, River, enjoy playing a rousing game of River ball. 6. Peter O’Neil of Caledonia, who receives service at Barryton, took and shared this photo of son Tyler and grandson Jaxson after all three made a snowman together.

2 Enter to win a

Upcoming Snap Shot Contest Topics And Deadlines


energy bill credit!

“Beautiful Birds,” Deadline: Feb. 15 (April issue) “Spring Flowers,” Deadline March 15 (May issue)



Go to homeworks.org and select Country Lines under the Electric tab to submit your photos and see additional themes. It’s fast and easy. To send by mail: include your name, address, phone number, photographer’s name, and details about your photo. Mail to Attn: Country Lines Snap Shots, 7973 E. Grand River, Portland, MI 48875. Photos will not be returned. Do not send color laser prints or professional studio photos.

Submit Your Photos! Submit Your Photos! Contributors whose photos we publish in 2019 will be entered into a drawing. Country Lines will choose two winners for a bill credit of $100 each on their December electric bill, due in January 2020!




Ultimate Burgers Try one of these unique twists to the classic hamburger. Photos—Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

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.

Zeus Burgers

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


Your Board In Action Meeting at Blanchard on December 13, your board of directors: • Reviewed and approved the 2019 operating and capital budgets for HomeWorks Connect, the cooperative’s fiber optic internet division. • Learned about progress made by the fiber optic internet division in 2018. • Read and accepted board policies 204—Contributions and Donations, and 207—Workplace Violence. • Discussed strategic planning and regular board meetings at Wolverine Power Cooperative and the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, along with recent legislation. • Named Director Jim Stebbins to attend the January 2019 Wolverine board meeting as a guest director.

People Fund Supports Area Services Meeting December 13, the Tri-County Electric People Fund board made seven grants totaling $13,500, including: • $3,000 to Housing Services of Mid Michigan, Charlotte, for their housing assistance program; • $500 to the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum for their Helping Hands scholarship program to help more children with entry fees; • $2,500 to Chippewa Lake Community Church to help with expenses for their mobile food pantry; • $3,000 to Voice for Clinton County Children, St. Johns, to cover special needs for client families; • $1,000 to Ionia County Great Start, to help provide kindergarten prep backpacks; • $1,000 to Hope House Free Medical Clinic, Big Rapids, to fund laboratory and radiology services for their patients; and • $2,500 to an Isabella County family, to assist with medical expenses and well repairs.

• Learned there were 117 new members in November. • Acknowledged the November safety report, listing employee training as well as minor employee and public incidents for electric and propane.

Time Set Aside For Members To Comment Before Cooperative Board Meetings The first 15 minutes of every board meeting are available for members who wish to address the board of directors on any subject. The next meetings are scheduled for 9 a.m. on Feb. 18 and Mar. 25 at Portland. Members who need directions to the meeting, or wish to have items considered on the board agenda, should call 517-647-7554.

How To Apply For A Tri-County Electric People Fund Grant The Tri-County Electric People Fund provides grants to individuals and organizations in the co-op’s service area for food, shelter, clothing, health, and other humane needs, or for programs or services that benefit a significant segment of a community. Write to 7973 E. Grand River Avenue, Portland, MI 48875, for an application form and grant guidelines, or visit the People Fund tab at homeworks.org. Note: Applications must be received by February 26 for the March board meeting.

Do you know a high school senior who could use a hand with college costs? Tell them about our $1,000 scholarships for HomeWorks members!

Apply by March 15 Learn more at bit.ly/HWScholarships

12 FEBRUARY 2019

Cooperative Youth Tour “A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” Each year, we send a select group of high school students from our membership area to participate in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. The weeklong trip brings together hundreds of students from across the country for a unique opportunity to explore the leadership lessons of our nation’s history and be immersed in the cooperative spirit. We are currently accepting applications for the 2019 Youth Tour, which will take place in June. Here’s what our 2018 participants had to say about the experience:




“I have so many great memories from Youth Tour. I’ll never forget sitting in the offices of our representatives of Congress and shaking their hands. That’s an experience you won’t get anywhere else. The whole trip was so much fun.”

“Youth Tour is a once-in-alifetime opportunity. I met friends I’ll have for the rest of my life, and I learned so much. It put insight into my mind of where I want to head with my life. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.”

“I’d seen pictures of our nation’s capital, but that didn’t compare to being there and seeing the real thing. Youth Tour changed my perspective. I’m so grateful I got to go. I wish I could do it again. I had an amazing time.”

Blanchard, MI

Portland, MI

Morley, MI

DO YOU KNOW A STUDENT WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN YOUTH TOUR? We would love to have them apply! Application to Cooperative Youth Tour is open to all 10th and 11th-grade students who reside or attend school within our service area (HomeWorks membership is not required). The 2019, all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. will take place June 15-20. To learn more or to apply, visit CooperativeYouthTour.com.

2019 APPS DUE BY FEB. 28!

The Driving Force

Plug Into Electric Vehicles

Jim MacInnes

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.

Mark Kappler

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 editor@countrylines.com 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.


HomeWorks Energy Rebates Reward You for Making Your Home More Energy Efficient Are you ready to save money on some great energy-saving measures for your home? We can help you with our new HomeWorks Energy Rebates! Check out the chart below to see the rebates you can earn by installing energy-saving heating, cooling, and car-charging systems at your home.

HOMEWORKS ENERGY REBATES $200 REBATE for Central Air Conditioner

$400 REBATE for Air Source Heat Pump

$500 REBATE for Mini-Split Heat Pump

$800 REBATE for Ground Source Heat Pump

$500 REBATE for EV Charging Level 2

Central Air units must have a minimum EER of 12 and SEER of 14 to qualify.

Air-to-Air Heat Pump units must have a minimum EER of 12 and SEER of 14 to qualify. Mini-Split Heat Pump units must have a minimum EER of 12 and SEER of 14 to qualify.

Closed loop must have EER 16.1 or higher to qualify. Open loop must have EER 20.1 or higher to qualify.

Provide a copy of the vehicle’s registration. Must be installed at primary residence.

Learn more at: bit.ly/HWEnergyRebates Note: This offer is valid for HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative residential members. Incentive funds are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Other terms and conditions apply. Visit bit.ly/HWEnergyRebates for more details.

Phase 2 Is In The Works!



The time has come to finally announce where we’re heading in 2019. If you live in the Clarksville or Sebewa zones, or what was once the Capitol zone, then you’re in luck! Our team has begun the yearlong process of designing your zones and building the mainline fiber optic network through them. Then, if you’ve pre-registered, you’ll be notified via email when contracts are released.






Remember that building a fiber optic network takes time, and by announcing Phase 2, we’re not guaranteeing service immediately. Instead, we’re letting you know that you’ll see us in your area planning and building the mainline. When all the mainline is built and it’s time to connect your home, you’ll be notified via mail, social media, and email that contracts are available.













To better help you track our progress with this project, and for us to better understand where we’re most wanted, we’ve also decided to split our larger zones into smaller zones. This means that what was once Capitol zone is now broken down into nine smaller zones. If you already pre-registered for Capitol zone, you don’t need to pre-register again. Instead, log into your account to see your new zone at Join.HomeWorksConnect.org!



If you haven’t yet done so, pre-register online today to see which zone you’re in.

Become A Connector Today! To pre-register, visit Join.HomeWorksConnect.org or call 800-668-8413! This service is not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

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


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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

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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.



Hybrid Geothermal

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Applications Due Feb. 28 Tour Dates: June 15–20, 2019


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.

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